Despite getting a great deal of screen time, especially in third season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Neptune admittedly could always use more. She an intriguing character in the original anime series and manga. Paired with Sailor Uranus in more ways than one, the two are out to stop the destruction of the world at all costs, putting them at opposition with Sailor Moon and her friends.
Neptune & Uranus’ Goal
The most prominent of the Outer Senshi don’t want to work with Sailor Moon and her Inner Senshi allies and see them as being in the way as well as ill prepared to make the hard choices. Uranus and Neptune are willing to let people die or even kill them if necessary to protect the world as a whole. Neptune, aka Michiru Kaio (Kaiou, Kaioh), however starts to doubt their approach as the anime goes on. She nonetheless stays loyal to Uranus. Throughout their encounters with the other Senshi, Michiru does tend to take a liking to them. Though she doesn’t push too hard when Uranus strikes down the idea of teaming with them.
The Two Senshi Of Water
Neptune is the only Senshi to share the same element in her attacks as another as both she and Sailor Mercury use water for their powers. Water tribe! For Neptune, this makes sense as Neptune is the god of the sea/ocean, and Mercury is the god of something else entirely. The two’s proclivity for water even is put to the test when they have a swim race during the season giving Michiru and Ami Mizuno (Mercury), a chance to bond slightly. Neptune’s aquatic aquamarine color scheme is perhaps the best in the series.
Michiru and Haruka
Michiru is one of the earliest Senshi to be awakened, as she and Uranus are granted their powers earlier than most if not all of the Inner Senshi are (though Sailor Venus might have been given her powers at a similar time). It is Neptune who Haruka Teno (Tenoh, Tenou), to awaken Sailor Uranus within. Just as Venus has had to carry the burden of fighting evil for longer it is apparent that the Outers have been hardened by it. Though Michiru still finds time to be an elite violinist and dabble in art. She is not only capable of belting out a fantastic melody but can do while balancing a lemon on the violin to amuse Haruka.
Michiru generally is more friendly to people than Haruka but only to a point. In the fifth season when the mysterious Three Lights appear, Michiru is even slightly flirtatious with one of them, whereas Haruka is not having it. Haruka is also aware of people’s romantic interest, and does play it up, but also seems to just be delighting in it with little interest in an actual connection. Michiru on the other hand seems to like people more readily leading to her questioning of Haruka’s belief that the Inners cannot be worked with.
Oddly enough, while Uranus is portrayed as gender-fluid, capable as presenting as male or female at will, there is a somewhat more masculine vibe assigned to Haruka, where as Neptune presents as feminine. Their relationship appears to others unaware of Haruka’s gender, as stereotypical hetero. This even plays out in several cases where Neptune falls into a “damsel-in-distress” trope scenario causing Uranus to have to make difficult choices when Neptune’s life is at stake. This also puts Michiru in the situation of having to be prepared to die to save others, which she is always willing to do.
While In The Manga…
In the manga, the characters are not given as much room to develop as the manga volumes are filled with far less content than a long TV series. In fact, Michiru gets far less development than Haruka does and is often just acting in agreement with Uranus. The two are initially even more aggressive towards the Inner Senshi even attacking them, though Neptune breaks out her violin to do so, and Uranus just levels them with World Shaking! They never reach this point in the anime series for the most part, and Uranus is always more aggressive. As Sailor Moon Crystal is based on the manga, Neptune’s portrayal is very similar.
Arguably, Neptune deserved more manga development, if possible, and even in the anime she certainly was spotlighted but could have used even more opportunity. Uranus often comes through as the driver of events, no pun intended. Neptune goes along, no doubt in agreement with their mission, but still sometimes comes off as the sidekick. It is clear from her way of doing things, that Michiru had a deeper understanding, and even a larger willingness to trust others, even as she didn’t want to disrupt their mission.
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Featured image credit: Toei Animation