Rei: I believe, if I were ever to fall in love I would be just like him. Putting my fate in the hands of others, but at the same time, wanting everyone to only focus on me. I don’t ever want to become that kind of person. So I will make sure never to fall in love.
(looking to Usagi, Ami and Mako) For now, I don’t need to be in love to get along. All of us have the same obligation, the same mission, we are kindred spirits. I have you guys.
SO I’M GONNA TRY TO COLLECT MY THOUGHTS ON THIS.
I really do like this page a lot, not just because Rei is a babe, but I think what she says is important.
Maybe she did have the beginnings of feelings for guydude. The way she phrases things here, it’s clear she didn’t consider herself to be in love with him and she doesn’t consider his actions admirable. I don’t think it contradicts my reading of her as ace at all since I have feelings for peeps too and have been brokenhearted over shit. I never said she was totally aromantic (I ship her and Mina after all). I don’t think she gets sexually attracted to people in the manga, but romantically, sure. I don’t think it happens often for her, but it happens.
What was important about this experience for her I think, is that she thought someone was her kindred spirit and they weren’t. At the beginning of this story, she is cold to Usagi and Ami because of her past bad experiences with people, and that was one of them. When she said she didn’t want to get married, guydude (SORRY DON’T CARE ABOUT HIS NAME) said the same thing and expressed sentiments she agreed with and she was like “wow, we’re kindred spirits I feel the same!” And is excited because SOMEONE GETS HER SOMEONE SHE CAN TRUST! She even found out that he bought her the presents her dad supposedly bought her. It’s clear that while having feelings, she also considered him kind of to be someone that could fill the loneliness she felt after her dad’s abandonment. It’s not a simple experience for her at all.
Then he turns out different. He’s not hers. He goes and gets married to a lady, her dad likes him, he becomes his number one guy. Her criticism of his actions here is pointed “putting his fate in the hands of others, while focusing only on himself”. He’s willing to put himself under her father’s thumb, risk becoming her father for his own personal happiness. Rei can’t stand the idea of giving up control of herself because of petty desires. She never could.
So I think it’s really important that she echoes the “kindred spirits” line here. The line she’d previously used in the context of trusting this guy- it shows what she really wanted was someone who could understand her, to be close to, and there were the beginnings of romantic feelings there, but that was the main deal for her. Because she’s so lonely. And that’s what she’s found in the Senshi (and why she was initially afraid it was too good to be true). People she loves and can rely on, people who get her, what she wanted from this guy. She doesn’t necessarily need it in a romantic context. She explicitly says she doesn’t need romance because she has her friends. She’s happy. And I think that’s such a powerful, such a good message because Rei remains happy. She never expresses a desire to be “fixed”. Her life isn’t defined by this dude or her heartbreak, it’s just a bad memory, a cautionary lesson that she doesn’t want to end up like him and throw her principles away for personal happiness. It’s a step to finding her true purpose in life. The end of this comic has a bunch of boys throwing themselves at her. Is she heartbroken or offended? Nope, she’s like “by all means, keep buying me drinks guys, I’ll enjoy them and ignore your babble ahhhh this is the liffffe!” She’s NOT damaged. She’s whole now because she knows what she wants.
She doesn’t explicitly desire this guy to come back to her or remember him as her first love. In the Kaguya sidestory, she does say the season changing reminds her of stuff and vaguely alludes to this story, but when the monster makes them remember their previous romantic attachments and imagine spending Christmas with them, it’s not about this guy for her at all- and the monster does seem to specifically focus on romantic attachments above other stuff. I’m sure Mako would rather have her parents alive than her boyfriend back with her, but the monster seems to focus on romantic attachments so she hallucinates spending xmas with him. Rei, on the other hand, hallucinates her parents being together and her mom alive (SAD), not this dude. That means she doesn’t really have any romantic attachments to the guy at this point, though she may have in the past- it was largely, for her, a substitute for this idea of kindred spirits and the family she wanted, and that’s how she remembers him if she does at all. The major thing she wants that she can never get back is her parents both alive, together, and loving her.
There’s also the fact that her arc in SuperS didn’t have her fretting about how she couldn’t wanted to date boys because of *heartbreak* she didn’t want to be *hurt* it will turn out *bad* again- nope, she just genuinely didn’t understand why everyone was so interested in boys or romance and felt abnormal. The monster tried to convince her it was because of her loneliness and she should go after boys even if she felt no attraction because that’s what was done and maybe this can fill the hole inside you, and she said “no I don’t want to do that, I’m plenty fulfilled with my mission and friends thanks. I voluntarily took a vow of chastity in my past life, that’s how hardcore I’ve never been interested in that junk. I won’t just go after boys to be normal. I’m Sailor Mars, I’m happy that way, you’re dead”.
That’s not really a narrative that supports “Rei only acts ace because she got her heart broken” and I think it’s empowering regardless of backstory. She made a decision not to deal with that stuff, and is fulfilled despite it, and that’s presented as okay. Rei’s narrative is really important to me and that’s how I read it, is just…what I’m saying. It’s not perfect, but I connect with where she’s coming from a lot.
Okay so those are my thoughts! I guess! I just really connect to manga Rei and I think those feelings are valid!