The question of whether or not Naru knows about Usagi’s secret identity has been a constant point of contention among fans since… well, since the show first came on air. What seems like a question that should be a simple “yes” or “no” answer gets muddy quickly due to the complicated interactions between each of the different tellings of the Sailor Moon story.
Today, I’m going to try my hand at answering this highly charged question and see if maybe I can at least shed some light on both sides of the argument.
You better stick around — there’s a Youma holding Naru captive at the bottom of this article, and she needs your help!
So, why is the whole argument over whether Naru knows about Usagi being Sailor Moon so complex in the first place? I mean, it sounds pretty straight forward when you pitch it like that.
Well, part of the problem with this question is that you first need to ask “Which Naru are we talking about?”
When you get down to it, Sailor Moon actually had many different continuities that you need to sort out, with some of them overlapping and playing nice with each other and others being totally contradictory. Generally, the continuities can be broken down into:
- the manga
- the 90s anime
- the ani-books based on, though not totally in line with, the anime
- the audio dramas, which can be considered a companion universe to the anime
- the movies, which are likely canon but fall outside the standard anime universe1
- the musicals
- however, not all musicals are compatible with each other, and there is no consistent musical universe
- the games
- including the continuity in Sailor Moon: Another Story, as well as the fully-animated PC-Engine games
- the live-action PGSM tv show
- Sailor Moon Crystal
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be addressing this question from the point of view of the manga, the 90s anime, and the live-action show.2
The other major issue that makes answering this question a nightmare is that, absent any official statement from either Ms. Takeuchi or the anime staff, we frankly have no idea what the characters are actually thinking. Any argument can easily degrade into “Well, maybe she was just faking it!” and there’s really nothing you can do to counter that. So for the sake of my own sanity, I generally take what characters say at face value, unless they have an obvious reason to lie.
So, does Naru know that Usagi is Sailor Moon? Let’s take these one at a time!
I’m starting with this one because the answer is the most uninteresting: yes, Naru knows. Late in the series, in an episode aptly titled “Actually, I’m a Guardian!” (実は戦士なの！),3 Usagi is forced to transform in front of Naru in order to save her friend from an attacking Youma.
Frankly, there’s really not much to discuss about this one, so onto the manga!
Did Naru know about the Usagi/Sailor Moon connection in the manga, then? I’d personally say “no,” due mostly to the fact that we don’t have any evidence to say otherwise. “You’d suspect…!” and “She has to notice…!” are nice and all, but that same logic can apply to every character in the series.
One scene often touted as “proof” occurs in the first act of the Infinity arc,4 when a Mugen Gakuen student turns into a monster (daimon) right in front of Usagi and Naru’s eyes.
Mamoru, ever willing to help but not actually do any real work whatsoever, dives into the scene and tells Usagi to leave Naru and Umino to him. In the next panel, Minako calls a “Thundercats — HOOOO!!!”5 and the Sailor Team transforms.
Since it’s a manga, we can’t say how much time passes between one panel and the next, but I’m willing to give Mamoru the benefit of the doubt that he’s not totally useless and that he got Naru and Umino out of there before they saw anything. Naru also never brings this up (which you think would be kind of important), so I think we’re safe saying she’s still unaware.
Finally, that brings us to the anime! Naru actually started off as a major player in the original season, with fans even speculating that she may be the next Sailor Soldier, but her role continued to be cut down as the cast expanded, and our poor monster-fodder was left to fend for herself. So how about the anime?
While I can’t say definitively, in my opinion Naru absolutely did know about Usagi.
At the very end of Sailor Moon R,6 Naru confronts Usagi in the park as she’s on her way to meet up with the other Sailor Soldiers to face off against Prince Demande.
The way their conversation goes, it’s obvious that Naru knows that something’s up and that Usagi is right at the center of it all.
Naru: Has something happened? … You’ve been acting strange lately … Does it have something to do with that eerie phenomenon? [i.e., the giant evil black crystal in the middle of the city]
Usagi: [look of shock]
Naru: I knew it. You know what that thing is, don’t you? Usagi, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know, okay?
Usagi then tries to play it off like it’s nothing, and Naru responds that “we all have things we can’t talk about,” and that she “won’t ask any more questions.” As Usagi runs off, Naru looks up to the sky and prays to the heavens to protect Usagi and her friends.
I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s pretty solid evidence that Naru knows something, even if she may not know exactly what’s going on.
A scene similar to this also exists in the manga, but the nuance is much more vague in my opinion, and seems to suggest more that Naru senses a distance growing between herself and Usagi (possibly due to some big changes), but it’s nothing more than that.
Of course, we don’t have any definitive answers on any of these (except for the live-action series, of course) and this is all open to interpretation.
Personally, I feel reasonably comfortable saying that Naru doesn’t have any idea in the manga, while it’s a very strong probably in the anime for me. But maybe you have a different take of this scene, or maybe there are other scenes in the manga or anime that I’ve totally overlooked.
So let me know what you think! Is Naru really as clueless as we’re left to believe, or is she watching over Usagi like a dutiful friend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- Which basically makes them not canon. I know, it’s weird. ↩
- Unfortunately, I don’t have transcripts of all of the audio dramas, so those are out, and the musicals aren’t consistent from one story to the next anyway, so those are out too. As for Sailor Moon Crystal, not only does it generally follow the manga, but I don’t watch the series that closely. ↩
- See episode 41 of the live action series; see WikiMoon’s episode summary ↩
- See Act 24 of the original release, or Act 27 of the Remastered Shinsouban release ↩
- See Thundercats Ho, from Thundercats ↩
- See episode 87 of the series, or episode 41 of Sailor Moon R ↩