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!

Was Makoto a Member of a Gang?

The Juvenile Delinquent, Makoto Kino

The Juvenile Delinquent, Makoto Kino

Out of all of the Inner Sailor Soldiers, Makoto is definitely the one who has changed the most from her original inception and her final incarnation in the manga. Ami and Rei of course also differed from the original plans written up by Ms. Takeuchi (to say nothing of the differences between manga and anime Rei) – though the differences weren’t quite as dramatic as Makoto – while Minako stayed largely the same, thanks greatly in part to the fact that she starred in her own prequel manga running parallel to the Sailor Moon universe.

Mamoru Chino, p. 237, vol. 3 of Sailor Moon

Mamoru Chino, p. 237, vol. 3 of Sailor Moon

As we’ve discussed previously, the Makoto Kino that we know today was originally to be known as Mamoru Chino, a cigarette-smoking, rough-and-tumble junior high school girl. Naoko’s notes here read (clockwise, starting from the top):

  • Wait until you’re an adult before you start smoking!
  • This is the first name I thought up for Mako-chan
  • In the beginning, she was a juvenile delinquent sukeban (to be discussed below)
  • “Chino, Mamoru”

So we can see here that Makoto was originally planned to be something of a juvenile delinquent though, in Ms. Takeuchi’s own words, apparently she had been reformed somewhat. Though, the question is: did Makoto really change all that much from Naoko’s original plan?

Sukeban style

Sukeban style

When we first meet Makoto in the manga,1 she’s introduced as the new transfer student to class 2-6 who wears a different school uniform due to “the sizes not fitting,” and according to Umino, was kicked out of her previous school for fighting.2 One of the first things that stands out is not so much that she’s wearing a different school uniform per se, but the style and how she’s wearing it. The long skirt Makoto wears is reminiscent of the sukeban fashion of the time, the mark of a female juvenile delinquent which was popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The most popular example of this at the time is probably from the manga Delinquent Girl Detective (スケバン刑事),3 a manga series which has been adapted into an OVA, live-action drama, and live-action movies. The word sukeban itself is an abbreviation of sukebanchou (女番長), which stands for “female gang leader.”

In addition to the other variations/accessories to the style,4 some of the main hallmarks of the sukeban was the long skirt, the rolled-up sleeves, and the lack of the bow or ribbon that typically accompanied the sailor schoolgirl uniform. All of these, as you may have noticed, are present in Makoto’s character design.

Last, but not least, for the evidence toward Makoto still retaining the wild streak Ms. Takeuchi had originally planned for her, is the scene in the manga where Motoki, possessed by a youma, tries to seduce Makoto.5 In the scene, we can see Makoto, alone, going to a vending machine late at night.

Makoto purchasing beer at a vending machine

Makoto purchasing beer at a vending machine

What’s noteworthy about this scene, however, is the sign at the top of the machine which reads “Asa__ Beer.”6 At the time (and even today), it wasn’t uncommon to find vending machines selling alcohol that anyone could purchase from without supervision or needing to prove your age,7 which it looks like Makoto is doing in this scene.

While Makoto may not be – as far as the storyline canon is concerned – a member of a gang, it’s pretty clear that Ms. Takeuchi’s original intentions for the character are that she has some strong anti-social tendencies and, even if not directly involved in gang-like behavior, definitely bears a strong resemblance to the anti-establishment movements at the time. It’s also pretty evident that, though I’m sure she was tamed down a little bit and became even more so as the series progressed, Ms. Takeuchi intended for her to still be something of a troubled and openly defiant young girl. I’d love to see more of her notes on this someday, but for now we have to just make do with what you can see in the manga!

What is the Origin Behind Sailor Jupiter’s Attack Pose?

Sailor Jupiter Summoning Up her Supreme Thunder

Sailor Jupiter Summoning Up Her Supreme Thunder

At first glance, it may just look like Makoto is pulling out her best pose and summoning up the power of the heavens to unleash lightning1 on the unsuspecting enemies. In fact, for years (and until I started doing more research into this), I just figured her pose was to simulate lightning rods with her fingers. But, believe it or not, there’s actually more of a story behind Sailor Jupiter’s signature attack pose. In fact, it all has to do with her name. Or, more specifically, why everyone insists on never calling her Makoto-chan.

This seems silly at first, especially if you know anything about the penchant for shortening and combining names in Japanese. But the more you think about it and look around at other characters in the series, especially in the first season of Sailor Moon, the exclusive use of Mako-chan by all the characters, even when Minako typically got the fully Minako-chan treatment, seems a little out of place.

While we’re on the topic of names, though, it’s worth mentioning that in Ms. Takeuchi’s original reference material, Makoto was actually known as Mamoru Chino2 (lit. “Protector of the Land/Earth”) and it was only later when the series actually was going to be released that she became Makoto.

Mamoru Chino, p. 237, vol. 3 of Sailor Moon

Mamoru Chino, p. 237, vol. 3 of Sailor Moon

You might first be a bit surprised to hear that she would be called Mamoru, seeing as we’ve come to associate it with the male lead of the series, but when you consider that most of the names in Sailor Moon were chosen for meaning over the name (usagi = rabbit being a prime example) and also that Makoto is meant to be boyish, it’s not all that surprising. What’s more, the name Makoto itself is gender neutral, so it looks like Ms. Takeuchi didn’t stray too far from her original image.

Now that we got that out of the way, back to my main point: why was Makoto called Mako-chan throughout the series? Well, after some digging, it turns out that the answer is relatively simple: there was another Makoto-chan a little too closely associate with the name, which could lead to misunderstanding or – worse yet – some pretty odd associations between the two by readers!

Makoto-chan vol. 1

Makoto-chan vol. 1

Makoto-chan” was a so-called gag-comic – mostly physical comedy, a la The Three Stooges and the like – written and illustrated by Kazuo Umezu.3 The titular character, Makoto Kiwada, was always playing pranks on people and was an all around trouble-maker, so you can see how you would like to distance your rough-and-tumble tomboy from this image anyway you could, and a quick nickname change was just the way to do it!

And now, that finally brings us full circle: what does this all have to do with Sailor Jupiter’s attack pose? Well, it seems that Ms. Takeuchi (and/or the animation staff – I’m pretty sure this was consistent between the anime and manga) didn’t completely disavow the connection between Makoto-chan and Makoto Kino! In fact, what Makoto-chan is most remembered for today is his unique phrase – guwashi – he’d yell out while making a bizarre hand gesture.4

Gwashi!

Gwashi!

Who knew that all along that other than looking cool, her hand gesture was even an homage to another anime and manga character that happened to share the same name!

Why Does Makoto Live Alone?

Though families play a relatively minor role in the Sailor Moon universe – indeed, other than Usagi’s parents and Rei’s grandfather, the rest are only mentioned in passing – the story behind Makoto’s family is particularly troubling. We see from her first appearance that she had transferred from another school (though we never really learn the details behind that) and learn that she lives alone, though we know very little beyond that.  How is it that a junior high school girl can live alone and unsupervised?  And for that matter, how is she even paying for this apartment?

Though we later learn that she lost her family to a plane crash “at a young age,” that’s as far as the manga, anime, or live action series go into it.  However, by taking a look back into Japan’s recent past, we may be able to unravel this mystery, or at least get closer to an answer.

Fortunately, Japan has had relatively few domestic plane crashes that resulted in deaths. Assuming a basis in the real world (which is a fair assumption, thanks in part to the detailed research Ms. Takeuchi did when creating the world of Sailor Moon and for the reasons described below), this makes it possible to narrow down actual dates and give us an age for Makoto at the time the tragedy hit.

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