Why Did Makoto Change Schools to Juban Junior High?

"Sooo... what brings you to Juban Junior High?" "I plead the fifth."

“Sooo… what brings you to Juban Junior High?” “I plead the fifth.”

Poor Makoto. Though she’s just as much an important member of the main cast of Sailor Soldiers and the rest of her pretty warriors of love and justice, she just doesn’t seem to get the screen time (or page time?) that she deserves.

The problem with this is that there are so many small details about her character introduced that we never get proper answers for. And one of those such questions is what brought her to Juban Junior High School in the first place?

Today we’ll be looking at exactly that question. I hope you join along!

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How Different Was Makoto in the Anime and the Manga?

Sailor Jupiter

Sailor Jupiter

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?

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Is Sailor Saturn a Member of the Outer Senshi?

Are there too many members here?

Are there too many members here?

The interesting, and seemingly inaccurate, breakdown of the two teams of Sailor Soldiers is definitely an interesting issue that I don’t feel gets discussed as much as it deserves to. Obviously from where we stand at the 25th anniversary of the beginning of Sailor Moon there are many answers that we could provide, but I’d rather take a look in how the teams formed in the first place.

Join me along for a look back into how the Inner and Outer senshi teams were formed in the first place, and where Sailor Saturn fits into that mess.

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Was Sailor Jupiter Almost Cut from Sailor Moon?

The Original Sailor Team

The Original Sailor Team

While it’s easy to look at the Sailor Moon series now, in its long history spanning nearly two-and-a-half decades, and to say that its monolithic success was basically guaranteed. I mean, when you look at its legacy – an immensely successful five-year run for both anime and manga, a long-running musical, a television drama, and countless other product lines – it’s hard to not look at it with our 20/20 hindsight and say that the series was destined to end up this way.

But is it really that simple? When you take a look at some of the decisions Ms. Takeuchi and the animation staff made, there’s some room to wonder if some emergency plans were made to cut the series short, specifically before Makoto made her appearance. Let’s take a closer look!

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What is Sailor Jupiter’s True Element – Lightning or Wood?

Jupiter Supreme Thunder!

Jupiter Supreme Thunder!

Despite being one of the five (six, if you count Mamoru / Tuxedo Mask) main original cast members, and the fourth Sailor Soldier to join the team, there’s a lot about Makoto’s back story that’s left untold. Not only does her background suggest that she was very possibly a member of a gang, but we were often left hanging wondering if we would ever find out about her mysterious ex-boyfriend/sempai or if she’d ever find a new love interest to get her mind off of him. But what we’re here to talk about to day is another one of those mysteries that has stymied Sailor Moon fans for decades: just why is it that Sailor Jupiter – the Sailor Soldier of thunder/lightning – also have wood/plant elemental attacks?

Well… actually, no. It turns out that this is yet another case of needing to re-frame the question to help us understand what the real issue is and to arrive at the right answer. As we’ve previously discussed, each of the Sailor Soldiers’ names from from the Japanese name for the planet their affiliated with, which also neatly gives them an elemental association. In the case of Ami Mizuno, for example, the Mizu in her name comes from the kanji for water (水; mizusui)1 which is incidentally also the kanji used to represent the planet Mercury (水星; suisei)2 in Japanese.

Mercury to Jupiter, in Japanese

Mercury to Jupiter, in Japanese

So what about Makoto then? Well, her last name Kino is made up of the kanji for trees  (木; kimoku)3 which ties back into the kanji used to represent the planet Jupiter (木星; mokusei).4 What this tells us is that it’s likely that Makoto’s primary element is actually supposed to be wood/plants and in fact the lightning attack is actually the abnormality. But before we can say that for a fact, we need to consider why this would be.

Coconut Cyclone

Coconut Cyclone

Why give Sailor Jupiter a lightning attack at all, you ask? Well, quite simply, one of the most memorable features of the planet Jupiter is its turbulent weather system, leading to violent thunderstorms as large as 1,000km across.5 Zeus and Jupiter, of Greco-Roman mythologies, were also known for throwing lightning bolts.6 When choosing an attack for the Sailor Soldier of the planet Jupiter, it’s hard to argue that her Supreme Thunder didn’t fit the role nicely.

However, as the series progressed, you can see that Ms. Takeuchi actually stuck with using purely wood/plant-based attacks going forward, with the single exception of Jupiter Thunderbolt.7 From thereon, we had (together with its first appearance):

  • Flower Hurricane (Act 5)
  • Sparkling Wide Pressure (Act 16)
  • Jupiter Coconut Cyclone (Act 27)
  • Jupiter Oak Evolution (Act 42)

The anime, however, seemed to prefer the electricity theme and continue to go with it whenever new attacks were created, though they sometimes implemented the manga attacks as well, which is what leads to some of the confusion.

So there you have it! As it turns out, Sailor Jupiter’s proper element should actually be over plants and nature, though due to a little creative thinking on Ms. Takeuchi’s part when it came to making her first attack, there’s been some long-term confusion as to which she really should have command over. Minako also has a similar issue with regard to metal and love, though that is another discussion for another time.

What about you? Do you prefer Sailor Jupiter as the Sailor Soldier of thunder and lightning, or do you see her more as backed by the power of plants and nature? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Why Is Makoto Always Chasing After Men?

On a Constant Quest for Love

On a Constant Quest for Love

It’s always been interesting to me just how far Ms. Takeuchi went to take various related sources and pool them all together when creating the designs and personalities for each of the Sailor Soldiers. I feel that this is much more obvious in the original, so-called “inner” soldiers (even if that name is a bit of a misnomer, considering Jupiter is most certainly an “outer” planet),1 though planetary and mythological inspiration can still be seen here and there in the colors and designs of the outer soldiers. For example, Usagi is smaller than the rest of the cast because the moon is itself small while, on the other end of the spectrum, Makoto is the tallest of the group. Taking a look at mythology, we have the obvious Selene and Endymion connection and of course, the Minako / Venus / Aphrodite “goddess of love” inspiration. But what about Makoto? What role does her unrequited love for her ex-crush (and subsequent chasing of other men reminding her thereof!) does her role as the soldier of Jupiter play?

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What Food Did Makoto Make For Her Lunch?

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Episode 5

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Episode 5

This is, admittedly, a really silly question and goes way into detail about really tiny things. But these are actually my favorite types of questions because they really make you think and also analyze the context of the Sailor Moon universe and how it fits in (intentionally and unintentionally) with the real world. So with that out of the way, let’s dive right in and discuss: what was Makoto eating when Usagi decided to make friends (and quiet her trumpet-playing stomach)?

Well, like all seemingly simple questions concerning Sailor Moon, this question sounds incredibly simple but has a lot more depth to it than you’d first imagine. Most importantly, her lunch differs ever-so-slightly between the manga, original anime, and the Crystal reboot. Making matters worse, Makoto had already started eating in the 90s anime, and the manga image is slightly cut off, leaving us guessing on the full contents. Crystal, however, gives us a good, clear shot, so we’re okay there.

Let’s take this one by one, then:

The Manga

Manga Lunch (vol. 1, p. 168 of the original manga)

Manga Lunch (vol. 1, p. 168 of the original manga)

From what we can see in this picture (and in the other scenes we briefly get), she has:

  • small takikomi gohan1 riceballs (x3)
  • fried croquettes2 (x2)
  • green peppers wrapped in meat (probably bacon) (x2)
  • cherry tomatoes (x2)
  • spaghetti
  • boiled quail eggs (x2)

For someone who wasn’t expecting Usagi to come along and help her out with lunch, that’s quite a respectable lunch she has there! To be honest, this (relatively) simple lunch fits in the best with her being a junior high school girl living alone, in my opinion. But doesn’t quite show off her famous cooking skills!

The Original Anime

Original Anime Lunch (ep. 25)

Original Anime Lunch (ep. 25)

Once again, this scene actually starts with Makoto eating so we can’t get 100% accuracy here, but from what we get to see, her lunch consists of:

  • normal-sized takikomi gohan riceballs (x3)
  • croquettes (x2)
  • cherry tomatoes (x2)
  • little chick3 boiled quail eggs (x2)
  • cheese hamburger patty
  • glazed carrots4
  • parsley
  • meatball (we see her eating one)
  • ketchup packet

Honestly, compared to the manga I think that the anime really shows off Makoto’s cooking skills. Glazed carrots and specially cut boiled quail eggs are no mean feat to make in the morning, especially before school. Definitely impressive!

The Crystal Anime

Crystal Anime Lunch (ep. 5)

Crystal Anime Lunch (ep. 5)

Last but not least, we have Makoto’s lunch as served up in Sailor Moon Crystal. What did Makoto bring to share today?

  • small(ish?) takikomi gohan riceballs (x3)
  • fried fish with tartar sauce (x2)
  • octopus-shaped wieners5 (x2)
  • spaghetti
  • cherry tomatoes (x2)
  • boiled green beans
  • tamagoyaki6 (x2)

I’d say that the Crystal lunch places nicely between the manga and the original anime when it comes to skill required for cooking (and uniqueness of her lunch). Definitely more intense that the manga, but could be thrown together in less time than the original anime version.

More than anything else, though, I’d say I’m actually most surprised by how consistent her lunch had stayed throughout all these versions – and spanning over twenty years, might I add! As for which I’d rather eat the most? I’d probably say the lunch as it appears in Crystal, since it’s definitely the most diverse. I always want to try making this someday!

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