DiC vs. Toei: Raye vs. Rei

Sailor Moon- DiC OpeningSo, I talk about Sailor Moon a lot. I’ve been a fan of the show for years and, like most English-speaking Moonies, I was introduced to it by the English dub produced by DiC Entertainment. As such, I have a lot of affection for the dub and will defend many aspects of it. I don’t believe that one country’s adaptation of another country’s entertainment needs to be a carbon copy of the original. I’ll take into account cultural differences and marketability concerns because they are huge factors to consider when making a product for mass consumption, and, in the past, I have mostly sided with DiC in their decisions. There are times, however, when I have to state that DiC made the wrong choice, and I believe that is the case with how they handled the character of Rei.

Raye HinoIn Toei’s original anime, Hino Rei first appears as a young miko who is clairvoyant, passionate, and quite short-tempered. She is almost always at odds with main character Usagi, and the two bicker constantly. As the show progresses, however, Rei seems to soften. She learns more patience and more details about her personal life and character emerge. It is clear that even though she argues with Usagi, she cares deeply for the girl and cherishes her as a friend. It’s this character development that is sorely lacking from Raye, DiC’s version of the character.

Raye is comparatively flat. Just like in Toei’s original, she first appears as clairvoyant, passionate, and short-tempered. In DiC’s dub, however, this is pretty much all she is from start to finish. Yes, she has moments in which she shows care for her friends, but they seem far outnumbered by her angry outbursts and there’s very little nuance to the character. Sometimes she’s mean, sometimes she’s nice, and there doesn’t seem to be much connection between the two personalities.

On the note of her meanness, it also needs to be said that for all DiC did to make the show more kid-friendly, their Raye is far more cruel than the original Rei ever was. While Rei would bicker with Usagi and take just about every opportunity she could to disagree with her, Rei rarely attacked Usagi with the vitriol with which Raye regularly attacked Serena. It seemed no episode of DiC’s dub was complete without Raye calling Serena some combination of Klutz/Ditz/Crybaby/Spazz/Meatball Head or some other personal insult. Additionally, Raye was never above kicking Serena when she was down, always ready to make it clear to Serena that her misfortunes were her own fault and she should probably feel worse than she already does.

Another of my disappointments with DiC’s Raye is her toned down spirituality. Being a shrine maiden was a huge part of Rei’s life, and she took it pretty seriously. Since DiC tried to make the show more educational with their “Sailor Says” segments, they could have taken the initiative to educate viewers a little bit about Shintoism and what Raye’s position entailed. Instead, they made it seem like a fairly inconsequential aspect of her life, like an after-school job or something. While the effort probably didn’t really need to be made to explain what a miko is to Japanese audiences, it would have made a considerable difference for the Canadian, American, English, and Australian audiences who watched DiC’s dub and probably knew very little, if anything, about Shintoism.

I know that I personally had no idea what Raye’s shrine was all about when I watched the show as a kid and, being a very sheltered Catholic, I worried that her control of fire and psychic abilities indicated some kind of connection with the Devil. Add to that her excessive cruelty and my views on Raye were extremely warped.

Sailor Mars- Fire Soul- R MovieAs the Soldier of Fire, and one of the fiercest fighters on the team, Rei needs to have a strong personality. DiC got that, but I don’t think they understood that she was allowed to be more than that, and was in fact written to be more than that. While I will forgive DiC for painting the characters with broader strokes than the original writers (since they were aiming their version at a younger demographic) I do not accept how much of Rei’s character they failed to include. After watching the original anime, Rei became one of my favorite characters, but Raye still upsets me.

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4 thoughts on “DiC vs. Toei: Raye vs. Rei

  1. Pingback: DiC vs. Toei: Season One Finale | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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  3. Oh God, after seeing the original Rei and even more so her manga counterpart classic!Raye just pisses me off. She gets slightly better in the R season, especially in the Black Moon arc, but in classic she was just a bully who got off on kicking Serena around.

    • Yeah, she definitely got better in the Black Moon episodes. The whole show did, in my opinion. Even with Rini that was still the pinnacle of the dub for me 🙂

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