If I were to describe Makoto to someone who had never heard of Sailor Moon, it would probably be “feminine tomboy.” That’s one of the things that I really liked about her.
While it would have been all too easy to have gone for the easy gag and made Makoto an out-and-out tomboy with a feminine side that she was ashamed to admit, Makoto owned both of the two sides of her personality, being both proud of her strength as well as proud of her delicate touch.
Today, I’ll be taking a look in how Makoto – and, in particular, Sailor Jupiter – differed in the anime and manga. Why don’t you come along?
Compared with the rest of the original cast of Sailor Moon, Makoto was always something of an outlier – at least in her original incarnation.
We had Usagi, the girl who – according to Umino1 – could make friends with anyone, Ami, the girl genius with a presumed IQ of 300, and Rei, the cool and mysterious beauty. Well, at least if you’re consulting the manga.
And what about Makoto? For a show built up around a magical girl romance, she was a pretty rough-and-tumble character, at least as originally planned by Ms. Takeuchi. She was a cigarette-smoking, (possibly) beer-drinking, gang-inspired schoolgirl. While I would have loved to see how Mamoru – proto-Makoto’s name – would have played out in the series, I’m still happy with the character we did get.
So how did the anime and manga portrayals of Makoto differ?
Right off the bat, probably the biggest thing between the two of them is in what ways the two series focused on her femininity.
While the first we see of Makoto in the manga is with her homemade bento, which Usagi helps herself to after little prompting from Makoto, there’s actually must more emphasis on Makoto’s love for gardening and plants in the manga than there ever was in the anime. Even upon their first meeting in the manga, Usagi comments on Makoto’s earrings, and that they “smell nice” – hinting that Makoto leaves behind a scent of roses.2
Later on, in the manga side stories,3 we find out that Makoto even fills her apartment with plants in her attempt to escape the melancholy mood she’s found herself in. This is also the issue where she ultimately learns Coconut Cyclone.
So what’s my point in all this? Much like how Rei continuously reinforces her connection with fire, Makoto was really supposed to be a character centered around a connection with nature, and not necessarily the electrically-powered domestic cooking goddess like she ended up in the anime. The color of her uniform and her last name further reinforce this point.
Of course, this isn’t the first time I’m brought up confusing situation surrounding Makoto’s elemental affinity. But I think it’s worth seeing how Sailor Jupiter was looked at differently in the manga and anime, right from the very start.
Looking back on Sailor Moon like we do from the point of view of analyzing a completed story, it’s easy to forget that Sailor Jupiter’s first attack in the manga was actually Flower Hurricane,4 and not her anime regular go-to attack of Supreme Thunder. While Supreme Thunder did eventually make a manga appearance, it wasn’t until Act 7.
Yes, I can hear you flipping through your manga, frantically typing comments. Makoto did do an electric attack in Act 5, but this was originally not a named attack. She just shouted out 「いかずちを！ふらせよ！」 (ikazuchi wo! furase yo!; unleash the lightning!) and brutally murdered Nephrite. In the remastered shinsouban release the attack did get a name, called the “Jupiter Thunderbolt.”
This is unfortunately another time where I can do little more than pontificate about the series by looking at the evidence, so it’s worth noting that the following is just my take on the situation.
Personally, I think that during the initial phases where Ms. Takeuchi and the anime production staff were fleshing out the details, they were probably at odds over how to portray her character. This isn’t the first time that happened – Ms. Takeuchi explained earlier in the manga that the reason why Rei’s introduction differed in the anime and manga was due to her and the anime choosing different ideas pitched at a meeting.5
Never one to give in, though, Ms. Takeuchi continued with her original intentions, even naming Sailor Jupiter’s Black Moon Clan rival 嵐のペッツ (torune-do no pettsu) – “Tornado Petz.” Though Ms. Takeuchi gave the kanji here an alternative reading (嵐 should be read as arashi; a storm/tempest),6 it’s worth noting that this is the same kanji Sailor Jupiter uses in her attack phrase when she first joins the fray against Nephrite.
Ultimately, we can’t really say what it is that inspired the difference between Makoto depiction in the anime and manga, but I imagine it’d probably boil down to something pretty simple: basically, lightning attacks look a lot cooler, cooking is easier for your young audience to get behind (how many elementary school kids like gardening?), and the anime wanted to focus in on her “badass” side.
That aside, though, I think if I had to choose which I prefer more, I’d probably pick Makoto’s manga depiction. While I really like her in the anime as well, she never felt like she was “trying” to be tough in the manga… it was simply who she was. In the anime, however, Makoto seemed to embrace this toughness as a part of her personality, and expressed it.
Not that either’s bad, but that’s just my personal preference. What do you think about Makoto, and how different parts of her were emphasized? Do you prefer one over the other?