How Smart Is Mamoru in the Anime and Manga?

Mamoru Flexing His Intelligence

Mamoru Flexing His Intelligence

One of the well-known – yet often forgotten – facts about Mamoru’s character is that he’s not only tall, mysterious, rich, and handsome, but he’s actually quite brilliant. In fact, if you were to judge by the levels of the schools he attends, he’s arguably on level with – or even above! – Ami. Of course we’ve already mentioned that Mamoru was changed from a high school student to a university student in the transition from manga to anime, but that actually has very little impact on the conclusions we can make, for reasons we’ll discuss below. So just how smart is Mamoru Chiba? Let’s find out!

Mamoru Sitting Down to a Good Book

Mamoru Sitting Down to a Good Book

First off, let’s start with manga Mamoru. Since he shows his school ID to Usagi when they share a bus on the way to Rei’s shrine,1 and Luna later stalks him with her impressive computer resources down at the Crown Arcade,2 we know for a fact that Mamoru is a second-year high school student at Moto-Azabu High School, a nearby all boy’s school. While Usagi may not be up on the latest trends in high-end schooling, fortunately Ami is and upon seeing Mamoru in his school uniform informs Usagi (and us, the readers) that:

Wow! He’s wearing the school uniform from that super escalator school, Moto-Azabu High School. They have a 90 point differential (偏差値; hensachi)! How elite!

But Usagi being friends with someone like that?? Just what kind of guy is he?

Ami Discusses Mamoru's School (p15, vol. 2)

Ami Discusses Mamoru’s School (p15, vol. 2)

While a Japanese reader may throw down her pencil in disbelief at Mamoru’s brilliance upon reading this sentence, I’m afraid that to a western reader the meaning doesn’t really come across due to the ambiguity of the point differential (hensachi) system used for ranking schools in Japan. While that’s a bit beyond the scope of this blog, essentially it’s a score given to schools throughout Japan used for determining relative difficulty and rank, with the statistical baseline average being 50.3 A school with a rank of 40 is below average, and a score of 68 (the score for the school Rei’s TA Academy is based on) is actually pretty good. It goes without saying that 90 is therefore absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that there are actually no schools in Tokyo with such a score and the highest for 2016 is 78.4

It’s not all completely made up, though. Mamoru’s school is based on a real-world high school (also well-known for its intelligent students), Azabu High School, which has a respectable point differential value of 75.5 That’s no small feat!

So now that we know that manga Mamoru is pretty intelligent, what about his anime counterpart? He’s no slouch, right? If you can believe it, anime Mamoru manages to actually top his manga self.

Intelligence may not relate to fashion sense...

Intelligence may not relate to fashion sense…

We know that in the anime Mamoru and Motoki Furuhata are classmates in university and that Motoki is a “first year humanities/social sciences major at the nearby K university.” This could cover any major from history to literature, philosophy to education, or even library sciences. Incidentally, he attends “KO University” in the manga,6 those these both refer to the same place. Both K and KO university are both in reference to Keio University (pronounced “Kay-Oh,” hence “KO”), an elite private university which has a campus for their humanities department in Mita, located in the same Minato ward where the story of Sailor Moon takes place.7 In the manga, while the rest of the Sailor Soldiers move onto high school, Mamoru goes on to “KO” university, finally matching his anime counterpart.

One thing that’s particularly interesting about this, and was probably overlooked by the animation staff and Ms. Takeuchi, is that Mamoru’s dream (as written in his bio) is that he someday wants to become a doctor. However, seeing as he’s already a university student – and studying humanities at that! – it actually isn’t possible for him to become a doctor as-is. Unlike universities in America, you cannot just change majors on a whim, but need to re-apply to the department you wish to enter, re-test, and are essentially treated like a new applicant. Though I suppose it technically is just his “dream,” it still seems strange!

Keio University Mita Campus

Keio University Mita Campus

So, interestingly enough, it seems that Mamoru is quite intelligent – and by extension, so is Motoki! None of this is terribly impressive, since Mamoru does have a well-read, cool, and intelligent air about him, but it still is a bit odd that the series never really spent much time actually showing him help out the girls with their trouble-solving or other issues, other than his “dive in, throw rose” routine. Hopefully that’s something the Crystal series will take a closer look at!

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  1.  See vol. 1, p. 96 of the original manga
  2.  See vol. 1, p. 120 of the original manga
  3.  See Shiritasu Private Junior High School Evaluation
  4.  See 2016 High School Point Differential Rankings
  5. See High School Hensachi Navigator
  6.  See vol. 3, p. 71 of the original manga
  7.  See Keio University (Department of Humanities and Social Studies)

9 thoughts on “How Smart Is Mamoru in the Anime and Manga?

  1. I’d love to see the other side of the coin for this: why was Usagi such an unintelligent character? Even as Neo Queen Serenity she apparently had trouble writing. We could say she’s just lazy, but I feel like, especially in the anime, she’s meant to be really, really unintelligent. Mina isn’t much better, especially with her ongoing bad puns and misquoted phrases. That would be an interesting comparison too: who was smarter, Usagi or Minako? And, why was there such an intelligence gap between Mamoru and Usagi?

    • Not quite what you were discussing, but I actually did write about something similar in the past: Is Usagi Much Smarter Than the Series Implies?

      The short version is that, sure Usagi being dumb is played for laughs, but when you look at all of the details, Usagi is probably just the victim of being surrounded by massively intelligent people. She probably isn’t even really “dumb” at all.

      As for Minako, I’d love to write an article about her habit for mixing up popular phrases, names, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of these are language jokes and it requires a lot of explanation as to what she mixed up and why it’s funny, so I’m not sure if it’d pan out for non-Japanese speakers.

  2. Oh I did read that one after I saw this one. (I’m not reading these articles in order, just kind of jumping around to whatever catches my eye at the time!) And that article does make sense as far as test scores go.

    I guess what I’m talking about, at least in the anime, is that she doesn’t seem to understand very basic situations. Sometimes the gravity of a situation is lost on her, or maybe she’s a little *too* honest, or she completely misinterprets someone’s intentions, etc. Basically, everyone is constantly correcting her, even Mamoru. So, it’s odd, I guess that their intelligence levels are pretty different.

    • I’ve actually been asked a similar question by my brother (four siblings, all are really into anime/manga). “If Japanese society is so big on studying and getting good grades, then why is Usagi – and, actually, lots of main characters – so… not smart?”

      Without going into a 5-page term paper on Japanese sociology like I’d written many times back in university, the easiest way to look at this is to realize who the audience is, and how the audience relates to the main character – in this case, Usagi.
      The people who spend a lot of time reading manga like Sailor Moon are, much like Usagi, not exactly the most studious types. I mean, there’s a reason why they have all this time to read manga, right? It’s not to imply that people you like manga/anime are innately dumb, simply that their priorities are different and that they value their own personal time over studying.

      So what kind of character do these people find themselves naturally drawn to? Someone who’s like them, of course. Someone who doesn’t study all the time, someone who is kind of a screw up, has a lot of flaws, and yet still is successful in the end. Usagi, in a way, embodies what the fans want to envision for themselves: it’s okay to not be perfect, you can still be awesome in the end.

      At least that’s my take on the situation. Usagi is flawed, dense, naive, and sometimes a little bit of a dunce as a way of reaching out to the audience.

    • It’s a good question. Honestly though Usagi is very smart, in her own way. That’s not disparaging, I believe there are all sorts of types of intelligence and being good at math doesn’t always translate to being good in other fields.
      Mamoru and Ami are both brilliant when it comes to math, science etc, but seem to be unable to handle social situations as well as some other characters.
      Look at Rei, she may not have the same type of smarts as Ami, but she has a whole other skillset that I’m sure Ami would be lost in…because that is what is important to Rei.

      Usagi excels at empathy (usually) and her priorities are in other places, like art and crafts. I can relate to this, even though to me I feel like an even worse slacker than Usagi is…

  3. In episode 93 when Usagi goes to Mamoru´s place, she finds a book regarding Genetic Engeneering -or at least the title was translated like that in the Latin American dub- so I always thought anime Mamoru was studying Genetics, or maybe I got confused because all those Professor Tomoe’s weird egg-creation experiments! XD

    • =D Could always be a hobby? I have a lot of books on computer programming in my house, but have no formal training or work experience in the topic.

  4. Isn’t it possible that Mamoru could have taken classes at the Mita campus and still been a biology or pre-med major?

    When I went to university in Japan for a while, there were lots of “General Education” classes that everyone had to take regardless of major. Admittedly, they were all still on the same campus, but I think that’s because my university didn’t have multiple campuses.

  5. Thank you for this! In all of these years I didn’t realize that becoming a medical doctor is out of reach for Mamoru. I’ve always pictured him attaining that somehow alongside Ami. This gave me a new headcanon: Mamoru wants to pursue psychiatry which in the U.S. requires going to medical school and earning the title of “doctor.” He was influenced by his own memory loss/trauma and wants to study it and help others experiencing the same thing. This could tie in to the book on genetics in his apartment and his traveling to America in Stars. So his dream is to become a doctor, but maybe not in the sense that we tend to initially think of!

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