SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
ARE THE GUARDIAN SENSHI TO BE FOREVER ALONE?
One of the major complaints about the Sailor Moon franchise is that it seems that Usagi, Chibiusa, and Haruka & Michiru are the only Senshi who canonically find love. Setsuna and Hotaru’s duties and powers seem to indicate that they could never be in a romantic relationship. But what of Ami, Rei, Makoto and Minako? In the anime especially, we see them go through ups and downs in their relationships with boys, but nothing significant ever comes of them. It is stated repeatedly, especially in the manga, that the Guardian Senshi will always choose their duty to Princess Serenity over love. And because the series concludes when the girls are all only 16, we never know for sure how their lives end up. None of them seem to mind their roles as Usagi’s bodyguards, but it would seem that romance is just not in the cards for them. Which is a depressing thought considering they will live for around 1000 years. But, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that they are supposed to be single forever.
Ami’s love life seems to be the one that is given the most attention (other than the canonical relationships in the show). In the first season, many of you will remember a recurring character named Ryo Urawa who appeared in 3 episodes in the anime. He knows Ami’s true identity as Sailor Mercury, and also knows his true identity as one of the Seven Great Youma. It is made clear that he has a deep crush on her and admires her academic abilities, and she seems to reciprocate at least some of his feelings. Her biggest issue is her shyness, but some coaching from Makoto makes her acknowledge her attraction to Ryo. At the end of his second appearance, they go on an amusement park date together. His final appearance is in the penultimate episode of the series, where the DD Girls show Mercury an illusion of him being captured. The illusions are based on the person that the Senshi would be most desperate to rescue (since they show illusions of Tuxedo Mask to Moon and Motoki to Jupiter), so this is another indication that Ryo is definitely an important person to her. It seems that the main reason why their relationship didn’t progress is because his family had to move far away. His final appearance is in the video game “Sailor Moon: Another Story.” He visits Tokyo to give premonitory news to Ami, who is clearly excited to see him. After that he isn’t mentioned again in any medium, but I think it’s safe to say that if they were not separated by distance, they easily could have been in a happy, stable relationship together, and it would not have conflicted with her duties at all.
The “Ami’s First Love” short is a bit of a misnomer. She becomes obsessed with a rival genius with the codename Mercurius, as he often ties or even beats Ami’s scores on practice exams. Her friends tease her that she’s in love with Mercurius since he inspires a drive and passion we don’t normally see from her. However, I hesitate to really call this “love” since they never meet, and her obsession is basically sheer competitiveness combined with Ami’s workaholic tendencies. Her friends meet Mercurius through Umino, who is a friend of his, and it turns out that not only is his codename just a pun on his real name, he looks almost identical to Umino. They decide not to tell Ami what Mercurius really looks like, and instead tell her he resembles a teen idol so as not to ruin her visions of him. After that, Ami pretty much goes back to normal. And by normal I mean her usual “MUST STUDY NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW” self.
In Stars, she has somewhat of a burgeoning relationship with Taiki, mostly because they are both shy intellectuals. But Taiki is also very standoffish and cynical, and neither of them really have any conversations that aren’t strained in some way. There’s a possibility of a relationship there, but it’s pretty vague.
In the manga, Rei harbours a deep distrust of men. The reason why she lives with her maternal grandfather at his shrine is because her mother died when she was young, and she never felt any sort of closeness to her cold politician father. She resents him for not visiting her dying mother in the hospital. As a result, they only see each other once a year on her birthday. In the Stars arc, she and Minako tell the Three Lights that they don’t need men, and are perfectly happy devoting their lives to protecting their Princess.
Anime Rei is MUCH different than her manga counterpart. (I’d argue that her character changes the most out of all of them.) She’s a lot more boy crazy, and we never hear the backstory of her parents. One lengthy subplot in the first season is her short-lived relationship with Mamoru. It’s clear that there’s not really much going on between them. She thinks he’s handsome and that they have things in common, and he probably just goes with it because Rei has a lot of things going for her. But she’s dating him just for the sake of having a boyfriend, which is why when Mamoru and Usagi’s past relationship is revealed, her relationship with Mamoru ends quietly and they form a strong platonic friendship as a result.
Yuuichirou falls in love with Rei at first sight, and continues to love her right up to his final appearance in SuperS. She knows how he feels about her, but it seems that she doesn’t really reciprocate his feelings. She does kiss him on the cheek, and her last words to Usagi when she dies in the first season were her regrets that she’d never kissed Yuuichirou. But I think her regret is more that she has died without experiencing an actual relationship, as opposed to regretting never kissing Yuuichirou specifically. After that, she’s basically openly contemptuous of him. I feel it’s very unlikely that she’ll ever be in a relationship with him.
She’s clearly an incredibly beautiful, mysterious and talented woman, and several men are shown to be attracted to her. Her manga counterpart would be fine living without a man, but I sincerely doubt that Anime Rei will truly be alone forever.
Makoto is the only character canonically to have been in a full-fledged relationship that failed. It is a running gag that she still carries a torch for her “sempai” (despite him completely breaking her heart) and she sees his resemblance in tons of different guys. She’s obsessed with the idea of romance, but has so far been unlucky in love because she’s tall, strong, and curvy, and it unnerves some guys. (Their loss.) She and Minako have a kind of rivalry about trying to find a boyfriend; Mako because she’s a hopeless romantic, Minako because she feels that symbolizing love is her duty. And so far, neither one has been particularly successful. There are a few guys in Mako’s life, however:
One-episode wonder Shinozaki is often paired with Mako in fanfiction and fanart. But I think this is fundamentally misunderstanding their relationship. Mako says clearly that his friendship means more to her than any romantic relationship ever could, and this is a profound statement considering how desperate for romance she is. He’s never mentioned again after his single episode, and although Usagi doesn’t really understand, we’re supposed to take the message that men and women can indeed be in a close platonic relationship. Manga character Ittou Asanuma only appears sporadically, but it’s clear that he and Makoto are close. In the Black Moon Arc, he finds out that Mako is Sailor Jupiter and who the others are, and Mako not only trusts him enough to tell him this information, she affectionately kisses him on the forehead. Although it’s ambiguous, I think their relationship is more likely to develop into romance than her relationship with Shinozaki. Finally, in the anime, she has a temporary obsession with Tiger’s Eye after they waltz together. Unfortunately, he was only using her so that other women would try to get his attention, and he didn’t have any real interest in her. (Scumbag.)
The live action series, abbreviated as PGSM, has a quite different ending to Makoto’s story. Motoki is a relatively significant character in this adaptation, who has a strong crush on Makoto. He eventually finds out she is Sailor Jupiter, and in the grand finale “Special Act,” which takes place 4 years after the series ends, we find out that the pair have been dating for some time. Motoki catches the bouquet at Usagi and Mamoru’s wedding, and then takes the opportunity to propose to Mako. She agrees. PGSM had Naoko Takeuchi’s heavy involvement, so that says right there that she doesn’t have to be alone!
Her love life is pretty damn complicated. In the anime, the only real relationship we see her having is her two-timing dates with Hawk’s Eye and Tiger’s Eye (who were competing for her affections). She also has somewhat of a tempestuous relationship with Yaten, who knows she has a crush on him. Like Taiki, Yaten is cynical, and also incredibly blunt. He confronts Minako over how her dreams to become an idol may conflict with her Senshi duties, though Minako stands up for herself and makes it clear that she shouldn’t have to give up her dreams just because she’s a Senshi. (This is also an indication that she doesn’t have to give up being in a relationship either.) Other than Usagi, Minako is the Senshi that Yaten communicates with most.
In the manga, things get really complex. In flashbacks to the Silver Millennium, Venus is shown to have a crush on Kunzite, though it never goes any farther than her blushing when looking at him. Adonis, on the other hand, was a soldier on planet Venus who was desperately in love with Venus, although it was unrequited. (Adonis was Aphrodite’s lover in Greek mythology. Venus is the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite.) He is reincarnated as Danburite, a subordinate of Kunzite’s. He goes out of his way to cause Sailor V to fall in love with him (in disguise as Kaitou Ace), which has the terrible consequence that she must execute the person she loves. Before he dies, he curses her love life so it would be doomed forever, and she would always choose duty over love. The “duty above everything else” is a very important characteristic of manga Minako, but it’s never proven for sure whether Danburite’s curse was real.
As depicted in the manga artwork posted alongside this article, Naoko Takeuchi had an aborted idea to have the Generals paired off with the Guardian Senshi. Venus’ attraction to Kunzite, and Jadeite’s attraction to Rei, were the only remnants of this plot idea. This was not explored in the anime at all, especially since Zoisite and Kunzite were made to be homosexual lovers and Nephrite had a short-lived relationship with Naru. However, although it ended up not being canonical, I would argue that the very nature of this idea (and how far it generally went in the storyline) says that the Guardian Senshi were not supposed to be alone.
PARALLEL SAILOR MOON
This was a short story meant to show an alternate universe where Usagi and Mamoru had a second daughter named Kousagi. It takes place well into the future, since Chibiusa and Hotaru are now in the 9th grade (approx. 15 years old). We know that Usagi gives birth to Chibiusa at age 22, so she and the others are about 37 years old in this story. However, one major indication that this story is in a parallel universe (beyond the title) is that Usagi seems to have a normal middle-class life, and isn’t Neo-Queen Serenity yet. (Also, it’s more-or-less the present day and Chibiusa has clearly grown, and hasn’t spent 900 years as a 5-year-old)
But, this story also gives a sign that the Guardian Senshi CAN have normal love lives despite their duties, as all four of them are married and each have a daughter named after them. (Originality does not seem to be a trait when it comes to naming offspring of Senshi.) Ami’s husband is a fellow doctor, Rei’s husband is a teacher and Shinto priest, Makoto’s husband helps her run a restaurant, and Minako’s husband is an assistant director for TV comedies. Mako also indicates that she’s been married for 7 years (and has only been living with her husband for the last 2 years), so she got married at approximately age 30. This short story indicates that since the canonical storyline normally ends when they’re all 16, there’s plenty of time for them to find true loves of their own.
I cannot give a conclusive answer to this week’s question (as this is partly an opinion-based article rather than a purely factual one), but the ambiguity of how the Guardian Senshi’s love lives turn out suggests to me that it’s not necessarily true that they must devote themselves solely to protecting Princess Serenity. Really, she wouldn’t want that anyway. The series ends when they’re relatively young, there are several hints of relationships for each character, and Takeuchi herself did not originally intend the Senshi to have no romantic relationships. So, ultimately, I can say, “Why not?”
And be kind of annoyed that the 10-year-old gets a boyfriend before they do.
Artbook scan by Manga Style! and edited by me.