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?
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:
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)
- 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
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
- 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
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)
- 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!
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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” 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
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!
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.