What Do the Lines on the Sailor Senshi’s Collars Signify?

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other…

If you’re anything like me – and I’m not really sure if that’d be a good thing or a bad thing – it’s entirely possible that you didn’t even notice that there was a difference in the lines in the collar on each of the Sailor Soldiers’ uniforms. In fact, I didn’t even really notice until multiple years after I first became acquainted with Sailor Moon, and that’s only because someone pointed it out.

Today, we’re going to take a deeper look at one of the smaller details on the uniforms worn by our favorite sailor-suited soldiers of love and justice. I hope you join along!

Don't worry about the manga... it's actually not relevant to our conversation!

Don’t worry about the manga… it’s actually not relevant to our conversation!

What do I mean by a difference in lines? Well, what we’re discussing is specifically limited to the anime, because the manga… well, the manga kinda keeps with this thematic element, but largely throws it out the window. But we’ll talk about that a bit later.

Specifically, the lines on the collars of each of their Sailor uniforms is as follows:

  • Moon: 2 lines (anime); 3 lines (manga)
  • Mercury: 2 lines (anime); 3 lines (manga)
  • Mars: 1 line (anime); 3 lines (manga)
  • Jupiter: 2 lines (anime); 3 lines (manga)
  • Venus: 1 line
  • Pluto: 0 lines
  • Uranus: 0 lines
  • Neptune: 0 lines
  • ChibiMoon: 2 lines
  • Saturn: 0 lines

So what are we looking at here? Well in the anime, each of the Sailor Soldiers either has one, two, or no lines on their collar. Once their all hit their Super forms, this thematic element was removed with all team members having one line on their collar, with the exception of Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor ChibiMoon, who both had two.

Sailor Team (not in order of importance)

Sailor Team (not in order of importance)

But that’s neither here nor there. You’re probably wondering (i) who cares and (ii) what the heck am I going on about. Both are valid questions.

Anyway, my first gut instinct was that these lines signified something to do with their roles in the team. After all, Sailor Moon has strong connections to the Super Sentai series,1 and uniform colors there tend to tell us a lot about the characters and their roles. Sailor Venus has one stripe, so perhaps that’s to signify that she’s the leader?

While that may make some sense in the manga, it doesn’t hold true in the anime. After all, Sailor Mars also has one stripe on her collar. I guess you could use this to back up the theory of Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus forming a sub-team, but that’s crazy talk. Oh, and not really true.

Nope, as is often the case, the answer is much simpler than that. But also more interesting.

The Juban Jr. High School uniform

The Juban Jr. High School uniform

The stripes on each of their collars is in direct reference to their respective school uniforms, with the exception of ChibiUsa… kinda. But I’ll get into that later. What’s nice about this is that it brings it all together full circle how their Sailor uniforms are indeed based on their school uniforms.

If you look closely at the Juban Junior High uniform, you’ll note that there are two lines on the collar – in the manga there are three lines, which explains at least the initial discrepancy. From here on out, though, the manga seems to have dropped that theme.

Yep! Makoto's school uniform too!

Yep! Makoto’s school uniform too!

What about Makoto? Well, incidentally, the uniform she wore from her previous school also has two lines on the collar. Good on ya, Makoto, for fitting in!

Minako and Rei? Check!

Minako and Rei? Check!

Rei and Minako, who attend TA Gakuin and Shiba Koen Junior High School respectively, each have one line on their Sailor collar because, well, that’s the way their school uniforms look as well.

Mugen Gakuen uniform (from Crystal, but it's the same in the original anime)

Mugen Gakuen uniform (from Crystal, but it’s the same in the original anime)

This theme continues all the way through the Outer Senshi as well, with Setsuna in university and Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru’s school uniforms at Mugen Gakuen lacking any lines on their collars, which is reflected in their Sailor uniforms as well.

What about ChibiUsa? Well, not being content with falling in line, she had to march to the beat of a different drummer. I guess you could argue that there are two lines on her collar, but that more feels like cheating than anything else.

I guess you could argue there are two lines?

I guess you could argue there are two lines?

More likely, they just wanted Sailor ChibiMoon’s design to match that of Sailor Moon and didn’t really care about conforming the school uniform to match. Which is especially relevant when you consider that ChibiUsa doesn’t even have a school uniform to begin with, and she just chooses to dress like this.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this element was dropped once all of the Sailor Soldiers reached their Super form, instead going in favor of a unified design for all of the Sailor Soldiers, even minimizing the Inner and Outer Senshi distinction.

Sad to see that the unique uniforms were done away with

Sad to see that the unique uniforms were done away with

Honestly, I think it’s really cool that they included this tiny throwback to each of the girls’ human identities, though I wish they did a little more with it, like how in the manga Ms. Takeuchi actually made each of the uniforms slightly different from each other, such as with Mercury’s lack of sleeves and Venus’ belt.

Anyway, I basically dismissed the manga as having any sort of theme due to the Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mars inconsistencies, seeing as they have two and one (zero?) lines on their school uniforms, respectively. But what do you think? Do you think there was still a theme in the manga, especially considering Sailor Venus is different from the rest? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts!

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17 thoughts on “What Do the Lines on the Sailor Senshi’s Collars Signify?

  1. I thought I was the only freak obsessed with this kind of details, your blog made me feel (kind of) normal again. I remembering looking into my giant posters as an 11yo boy trying to figure out this and the order the girls were drawn on this and the smaller posters that covered my walls…

    when I saw the manga for the first time I came to notice the other small differences (the jewel on Mars’s waist, belt with a potpourri sphere on Jupiter’s) and got even more obsessed with this details… three earrings on Mercury’s from the beginning and wait until SS to put them in the animation…

    Thanks for this little trivia, your explanation is probably the most reasonable I heard…

    Even if it’s maybe only to calm the voices in your head (I heard those too by the way).

    Great Article, Love your blog.


    • I’m not sure if I’m a good example of “normal,” but I’m glad that there are other people who grew up watching Sailor Moon and asking themselves these same questions!
      When I first learned about the series and started watching it nearly 20 (!!) years ago, I had so many questions about the characters and the world they live in, but no matter how much I scoured the internet, I couldn’t find the answers I was looking for. Much like you described, I’d stare at my wall covered in Sailor Moon posts and wonder why some characters were designed certain ways, why Rei went to Catholic school, and many of the other “trivial” details about the series.

      So now that I have the language ability and resources to answer these questions, I’m glad that I can go back and take a look into these things. And along the way, I’ve had an opportunity to get to know many other fans. Isn’t that a perfect bookend for a series about love, justice, and friendship? ^_-

  2. I always noticed that too and I’m so glad there’s an answer!

    Btw: Was it ever answered why Mercury’s senshi outfit doesn’t have sleeves?

    • I don’t believe the sleeve thing was ever addressed, though I guess she liked the design enough to re-use it for Sailor Pluto. I guess it was just her “extra touch” for Mercury, like the waist accessories Mars (jewel), Jupiter (potpourri?), and Venus (chain).

      • I always preferred Mercury with sleeves. The lack of them always bothered me, like one of those animation errors you saw often in 70’s/80’s cartoons.

        • Ahh, the golden days of 80s cartoons, where you were lucky to make it 5 whole minutes without a single animation error.
          Ninja Turtles was especially bad.

          But yeah, I think it would have stood out a lot less if more characters had different sleeve/glove options (long sleeves??), but if it’s just Mercury, she looks like the odd-man-out.

          • I don’t remember when or where I heard it, but I thought Mercury’s sleeveless design was made to be more like a swimsuit, a nod to her aquatic powers.

          • That’d be interesting if so! Pluto also doesn’t have the sleeves, so I always assumed it was just a way of differentiating their designs, much like their boots/shoes and belts.

  3. Hello there!

    The number of lines on the girls’ Senshi collars is an interesting question. I had never noticed that, in the classic anime, the number of lines on their fuku corresponded to the number of lines on their school uniforms. So thank you for writing this text!

    But I have another interpretation, based on the manga, and not the anime:

    Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter (Inner Senshi) = 3 lines;
    Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto (Outer Senshi) = 0 line;
    Venus (Inner Senshi, leader) = 1 line;
    Chibimoon (Inner or Outer? That is the question!) = 2 lines, because she is an apprentice soldier (you’ll notice that not only her collar has two lines instead of three, but her sleeves and her gloves also has two “rings” instead of three).

    As for Mercury’s sleeveless fuku, I agree with you, this may be her “extra touch”. But I think that this is also a way to indicate that she has a defensive and strategic role in the team, whereas the other Senshi have offensive attacks. Moreover, since Mercury’s powers are based on water, her sleeveless fuku may evoke a swimsuit.
    Also, in one of Naoko Takeuchi’s early artworks, Mercury is seen with long sleeves that entirely cover her arms, a chain attached to her bow tie and a microphone: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/03/cc/00/03cc00ac519375782ee24671036fa3f6.jpg. Surprisingly, though, her collar only has two lines…

    About the extra touches on the girls’ uniforms:

    Mercury: no sleeves, her microphone, her chain (initially) and her goggle glasses;
    Venus: her chain and, why not, her red mask as Sailor V;
    Mars: the pendant at her waist, Phobos and Deimos;
    Jupiter: her pot-pourri belt and her lightning rod (that, initially, was always out);
    Saturn: her sleeves, her gloves, her bow tie, her scythe;
    Uranus: her sword;
    Neptune: the jewel at her choker, her mirror;
    Pluto: no sleeves, the jewel at her choker and her key belt, her rod.

    • This this this!! I like the conclusion you made based on the Manga (versus the Anime which I DON’T consider as true or cannon) The extra tidbits really help me out and find their true “character” in their sailor uniforms…also–as V is lead…the stripe just made sense to me (tho being that a high number of stripes seems to mean a lower rank kinda is boggling cuz Star Trek!) I really like the stripes meaning something special to their rank or duty versus their ffffukus…!

  4. I’ve always wondered this detail and liked it too.

    Call me odd, but I actually preferred Mercury with sleeves on her, and oddly thought Pluto looked better without them…and oddly there was an error in Crystal’s 9th episode where an animator mistakenly drew her with sleeves. 😛

    Love your blog.

    • Also, I at first assumed Mars was the leader of the Inners, but that’s because I was used to the Super Sentai/Power Rangers format where the Reds would be the leaders.

  5. I’ve noticed this always have.

    Rini has two stripes on her “uniform” at least regardless of anime or manga, at least until she’s Eternal. By then she’s the only one in her own team to have a stripe.

    I love the idea of the Sailor form connecting to their school uniforms (even with Mina as V in the manga, not so much the anime where as V she had two for some reason) mew.


  6. Glad to see I’m in good company noticing this detail. I’ve always wondered what it meant, but aside from all the Outers not having lines at all, I couldn’t find a pattern until now!

    To be honest, though, I’ve been pondering even weirder questions about the details in the designs of the uniforms. Namely: why are Mars’ and Uranus’ back ribbons the same colour as their skirts, while the others’ are the same colour as the front ribbons? Except for Venus, who has two totally different colours? The only consistent subset in this regard are the Asteroid Senshi (secondary colour in front, lighter primary on the back).
    And why do Pluto and Saturn have differently coloured gems than their collars / skirts / chokers / gloves for brooches and on their tiaras?
    Is there a pattern I can’t see in all of this?

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