Aquarelle: A Sailor Neptune Fanpage


the introductions

Hello! You've come upon Aquarelle, a fanpage for the character Michiru Kaioh, aka Sailor Neptune, from the Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon metaseries. This site is different from my other websites in that all the information is listed on one page, as part of Amassment's 1M|1P marathon challenge. Please use the quick links in the site map for your convenience.

Here you'll find information on Sailor Neptune. I focus mainly on the animated series, because it has the most sentimental value for me, and there's limited real estate at a 1 page shrine. Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is a huge franchise, with multiple tv series, musicals, manga, and video games. If you'd like to learn further details about Sailor Neptune in the all BSSM adaptations, I recommend checking out the links out I've listed at the bottom of the page.

:: Table of Contents ::
[001] Soldier of Deep Waters ~ Basic profile of Sailor Neptune/Michiru Kaioh
[002] Mysterious New Warriors ~ Neptune in the Sailormoon S storyline
[003] Opposite but Complimentary ~ The relationship between Michiru and Haruka
[004] Water Labrynith ~ The relationship between Michiru and Ami
[005] Fluid as Water, Harsh as Ice ~ Examining Sailor Neptune's decisions
[006] Still Waters Run Deep ~ Symbolism in her visual designs and motifs
[007] Acting With Grace ~ Michiru as a conceptualization of gender and sexuality
[008] Time of Farewell ~ Website information, linkback buttons, and exits

SOTM Award
This site was Site of the Month at Deep Submerge! (Sept. 2010)


 soldier of deep waters

Michiru Kaioh / Sailor Neptune

"Summoned by the new age,
I am the graceful Sailor Neptune!"

Her civilian name is Michiru Kaioh. Her secret identity is Sailor Neptune, soldier of the deep seas. In the world of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon), the solar system once lived in peace during an ancient golden age called the Silver Millenium. During that time, the princess of each planet (excluding Earth) acted as Sailor Soldiers, women of strong magical powers who could protect the kingdom. In the present day, they were all reincarnated into ordinary girls. They would eventually discover their hidden powers and use them to battle demonic forces that threaten Earth today.

Michiru first appears in Sailormoon S, the third season of Sailor Moon. She is one year older than the Inner Soldiers and attends school with Haruka Tenou at Mugen Gakuen (Infinity Academy), a school for the intellectually gifted. This is actually just an undercover position to investigate the anatagonists of season. She also lives with Haruka. She is the only reincarnated soldier to reawaken to her Sailor Soldier form without the aid of someone else (she recovered her past life memories through her dreams).

Personality-wise, Michiru fits the trope of the "Ojou", or a proper young lady of class. She's beautiful, mature, and multi-talented. Even in middle school, she was a reknown violinist. She is also shown to be a prodigial painter, featured in galleries and exhibitions. However, she has many other characteristics that differ from the superficial image that others apply to her. Despite being well-known, people gossiped about her loner nature, saying that she doesn't really get along with others (before Haruka came along). She's also competitive and prone to bouts of sharp anger, usually surprising those who consider her a yamato nadeshiko.

As Sailor Neptune, she has heightened physical abilities & spiritual detection, as well as ocean-based attacks. Her first attack is Deep Submerge, where she gathers tidal water in a ball of energy above her head before blasting it at the enemy. After receiving her talisman, the Aqua Mirror, she uses it for her Submarine Reflection attack. Her last attack appears in the manga only and is called Violin Tide. All these can be used at direct energy spells toward an enemy. Her Aqua Mirror doubles as an item that can reveal a demon's true nature or its weakness.

  mysterious new warriors

the storyline of Sailor Moon S

Though she makes a shadowy cameo at the end of Season 2, Neptune first visibly arrives in Season 3 (Sailormoon S). Sailor Moon and the other girls often encountered Uranus and Neptune when monsters appeared. It became clear that the two groups had different philosophies in regards to the victims. The Inner Sailors disliked Uranus & Neptune for their seemingly heartless approach, calling the two "hyenas", while Uranus & Neptune saw the younger girls as idealists who didn't understand the necessity of finding the talismans (items that could save the world from destruction).

Meanwhile, in civilian form, Haruka & Michiru befriend all of the girls in various casual enounters as well. They first met when Minako & Usagi develop a crush on Haruka, not realizing her true sex. Hilarity ensues, the truth is discovered, and everyone continues running into each as good friends, not knowing that they act as "enemies" in their sailor forms. In one battle, Sailor Moon, Venus, Uranus, and Neptune are forced to transform in front of eachother, revealing everyone's secret identities.

During a trap set by a member of the Death Busters, it is revealed that Neptune and Uranus have the pureheart talismans. Neptune is "killed" (her heart crystal is removed) trying to save Uranus, and Uranus also shoots herself, freeing the talisman. Sailor Pluto appears and revives them both, extracting their hearts from the talismans. Giving Usagi the Holy Grail to temporarily hold, Neptune has a new mission: to find the true messiah and stop the Death Busters from awakening an evil messaish. The Outer Sailors (Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto) decide to work seperately from the Inner Sailors while investigating Death Busters.

In the end, the world is saved by the unexpected arrival of Sailor Saturn at the darkest of times. Uranus and Neptune cannot forgive Moon's mistakes which led to the enemy becoming all powerful. They briefly nurture the infant Hotaru before returning her to her father. Then they confront Usagi about her dangerous actions. Sailor Moon duels Uranus and Neptune. In the end, Uranus and Neptune concede defeat, and are pleased that Sailor Moon is fit to be queen in the future. Content that the world is now safe, the two drive off away from the city.

Michiru/Neptune returns as a recurring ally throughout Sailormoon Stars, the last season of BSSM, to aid in the Inners' fight against a new enemy.

 opposite but complimentary

the relationship of Neptune & Uranus

THEIR CONNECTION. Though it is never explicitly said in the series, Haruka/Uranus and Michiru/Neptune are lovers. Takeuchi thought it was unnecessary to state something so apparent. However, fans constantly asked her about this at conventions, where she then confirms that the two are lovers and that Uranus was not a prince in her past life.

"I think the most important feeling in the world is friendship. The friendship between them is so strong that it becomes love. There's not only heterosexual love, but there also can be a homosexual love, in this case between two girls."
- Naoko Takeuchi (Interview)

The founder of Yuricon has called Michiru & Haruka "one of the most romantic, funny, and fun yuri couples, ever". Whether you agree or not, in the very least, they have a very healthy relationship. They encourage each other's individual interests. Michiru comes to Haruka races, Haruka lingers as Michiru swims and practices music. They joke around constantly. The two are flirtatious, both with each other and with other people! However, they never show any petty reactions any further than minor jealousy. As team in battle, they also demonstrate a coordinated harmony, showing that they have communicated their goals and methods to each other well. This makes for efficient battle tactics when fighting demons. Uranus even notices that Neptune adjusts her own running pace to match her partner's. Furthermore, they are comfortable enough to show their vulnerabilities. It is only during their moments alone that viewers get to see their most insecure sides. One such example is the the key scene where Uranus laments her methods, and Michiru comforts her by holding her hands (aka. accepting Haruka for all positive and negative traits).

Haruka: "These hands are dirty already.
No matter what I have to do, I'll get the talisman."

Michiru: "Don't worry. I like your hands"
- Episode 110

THEIR EVOLUTION. Their relationship actually evolves throughout the series. During a flashback to their first interactions, we see that Michiru had crush on Haruka long before approaching her. She is a bit more wishful and reserved then the present day. Haruka is also on her guard. They're not comfortable enough to tease or joke around like they do later.

In the beginning of SailormoonS, the two are focused on their mission and placed it over their value of their relationship. Uranus reveals this to Moon when Michiru falls from a waterfall in Episode 98. Despite their obvious grief when the other is in danger, they made a promise to forsake each other if the mission is at stake. Neptune's actions contradict this, however, as she dies in Episode 110 trying to protect Uranus. Their deaths, and subsequent resurrections, allow them to appreciate each other more. By the end of Sailormoon S, their continued relationship shows that there more to their life together than just a common mission. By the end of Stars, Uranus and Neptune's undercover operation against Galaxia showed that they shared enough trust that they would follow each other no matter what circumstances.

Michiru: "Right now, I'm happy. I could stay here for hours."
Haruka: "I'm happier in front of a steering wheel."
Michiru: *laughs* "Silly... It's not the fish."
- Episode 167, at the aquarium

Many stories present a couple in terms of their first meeting, falling in love, and entering in to a relationship to live happily ever efter. The prsentation of Haruka & Michiru skipped that. And perhaps that's why it's so endearing. Instead of fulfilling romantic fantasties, it reflects a realistic romance. It shows two people that are sharing an ever lasting adventure with each other. We never stop growing. Falling in love is only the beginning.

THEIR BASTARDIZATION. In various countries outside of Japan, the conversations and scenes were drastically edited to censor the relationship between Michiru and Haruka. Michiru was given lines to make her sound straight, by talking about boys more often. Some editions would make the two cousins, or would have Haruka dressing undercover as a male, with Michiru pretending to be her girlfriend. If some people have a "moral" opposition to same-sex couples, it's hard to change that. So let me give you other reasons why this censorship is awful.

- 1) The relationship between Michiru and Haruka demonstrated their affection without ever being visually explicit or inappropiate. It was a product of Takeuchi's masterful approach at body language, using subtle actions to signify something larger. By editing the relationship, censors debased Takeuchi's skill at a storyteller and an artist.

- 2) There are many strong friendships that mirror the traits Michiru and Haruka display. Some of these traits are acceptance for one another, mutual compassion, empathy, trust, emotional support, and reinforcement. These are admirable characteristics people should foster in their own social connections, romantic or not. Deleting scenes and changing dialogue cheapens the strong bond that could have been used as a positive influence on viewers.

 water labrynith

a look at Mercury & Neptune

Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury and Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune appear to both have similar superficial motifs. This often prompts fans to do a comparision between them, and usually a subsequent defense of one over the other. Fortunately, I'm a fan of both, and I think the two cover their respective areas of expertise and symbolism very well.

First of all, there's the question of who is "smarter" in regards to these two well-known geniuses. The answer is that they are both incomparable. As the writer of Windswept said, Ami represents excellence in the field of sciences, while Michiru represents excellence in humanities. Despite the years of thorough debate, there is no clear cut winner regarding these two fields. Both are have been integral to the development of civilization, and will continue to be necessary to societal evolution. With the little information we are given about Michiru's past, yet the knowledge that she attends an academy for the gifted, we cannot determine how much of her intelligence comes from natural iq or studious diligence.

Next, there's the issue of their elements. Both use watery spells, but each represents a different meaning and usage of that element. Mercury is a soldier of water in its purest form. This is natural to assign while developing a five girl team and covering all the basic elements. Her attacks can be either direct attacks or debuffs. On the other hand, Neptune is a soldier of the deep seas. The ocean is essential for her duality with Uranus (who represents the sky), and to provide insight on a generally mysterious character. (See more about this in the Ocean Symbolism). Michiru's spells utilize sheer force and might to beat the enemy into submission, as fitting for the potentially vicious power of the seas.

"She just wanted to become friends. She's the type of person who isn't confident in herself, so she just tried to avoid the competition. But you teased her." - Haruka

The episode that spotlights the dynamic between Ami and Michiru is Episode 97. The beginning of the episode demonstrates a possible identity contrast between the two. Ami worries that her academics is her only defining feature, and wonders if she can has an identity beyond that. Ganymede's mentions that Ami fits the expectations for an ideal Asian child. Indeed, throughout the whole series, Ami studies fervently to the point that it becomes a running gag of sorts. Michiru does practice her skills frequently, though we only see glimpses of it, but she does not appear to show any conflict with her identity as a "genius" and her true self. She possesses the self-confidence and personal knowledge that usually develops as one matures. Michiru does express concern in terms of her principles. She implies this is Usagi by describing herself as "lost."

"It's the first time I raced against someone like this.
I might lose. Why am I trying so hard? ...
It's because I don't want to run away from it."
- Ami

In Episode 97, both of their weaknesses are shown when Ami holds back during an initially friendly swimming race. As Haruka points out, Ami's weakness is that she's uncomfortable with confrontation, which is why she subconciously limits herself and ends up crying when Michiru calls her out on her action. Michiru's weakness is that she's too competitive. She lashes out coldly at Ami, not realizing that Ami just wanted to befriend her. Both of them rectify their mistakes soon after. Michiru immediately pushes Haruka to fetch Ami for a rematch, in which she greets Ami in a more whimsical and understanding manner, to indirectly apologze for her previously icy demeanor. Ami also was pushed to try her hardest in the race, where she rediscovered the value of going after a goal with passion. After that race, Ami stopped actly half-heartedly and resumed her efforts with newfound motivation.

  fluid as water, harsh as ice

explaining her decisions

Uranus & Neptune get a lot of fan hate for supposedly being heartless, rude, ruthless, and ungrateful. They are none of those things, and all of their actions can be described at rational at the given time. In any other genere, Uranus and Neptune would be the saving grace of a team, making logical decisions over emotional ones. They have big hearts, it's their compassion towards others that actually influence their seemingly cold actions.

"The new age is already coming. We have to get the talismans.
For that... We have to sacrifice everything."

- Michiru, Episode 99

REGARDING SACRIFICE. Concerning their early philosophy of allowing sacrificed hearts for talismans, it's a matter of misinformation. No one could have possibly known that Pluto had the ability to revive the owners of the pure hearts. With the knowledge they had at the time, if a talisman holder wasn't killed to retrieve the holy grail, they would die later anyway. They often show concern and pain for the targeted victim, so they never wanted anyone to die. But at the time, the stakes were too high to adopt a different doctrine. Saving a couple lives is not worth the death of millions. Admirably, they are not hypocrites either. When discovering the shocking truth that she was a talisman holder, Uranus followed through with her words and intentionally sacrificed herself.

REGARDING ELITISM. For their next mission (searching for the messiah and investigating Mugen Academy), Uranus & Neptune paired with Sailor Pluto only. They weren't being elitist. As outer soldiers, aliens such as the Death Busters were traditionally their jurisdiction. They have the knowledge and power specifically for handling such enemies. Furthermore, they wanted to protect the younger girls from having to make difficult decisions. Neptune has a tendency to want to bear a heavy burden herself, rather than let innocent people take it. Before the inner sailors, she also tried to prevent Haruka from joining her battles.

"I know more about you than you do...
I don't want you to take the same path that I took."

- Michiru, Episode 106

REGARDING SAILORMOON. Now let's talk about their critque of Sailor Moon in Episode 126. Sailor Moon made a great risk by giving the Holy Grail to Mistress 9. She almost became a murderer of millions. She didn't know if there would be a chance to save the world after that, she did know of the destruction that would come - she is lucky that there was time to stop the apocalypse. And no, she didn't save the world in season 3. Sailor Saturn did.

Uranus & Neptune were right to scold her on this. In the future, Usagi will be a leader, responsible for many people. As a leader, you can't always stubbornly adhere to your beliefs, and throw a tantrum until your willpower allows you to make things right. A stubborn person cannot be a leader, she'll only become a dictator. She has to learn to compromise and think practically. There won't always be a deus ex machina to save the day.

Haruka & Michiru DO love Usagi. However, they are not going to baby her. It's not wrong to criticize a person's poor judgments if they can grow from it. By being strict on her, they want her to learn from her mistakes, so that she can eventually be a mature queen who makes responsible decisions. Additionally, they have not been with Usagi since the beginning, so they haven't seen her grow. They confronted her because they care about the world and they wanted to make sure that the future world is in good hands.

  still waters run deep

the symbolism in her design

The ocean has a lot of properties that tie in with Michiru's femininity and the more mystical elements of women. It is deep and mysterious. The sea furthers the already strong ties between women and nature, as both are creators of life. Though they can be nurturing, the sea during a hurricane is the most suffocating, overwhelming force humans can face. A violent ocean's waves can seem endlessly relentless. It's a paradox, like Michiru, who is both maternal and destructive.

Her paintings also reflect a lot about their creator. Michiru, the prodigious painter, paints the various facets of the seas. The painting of a whale gracefully "swimming" through space depicts the sea as an all encompassing part of nature. The painting of the mermaid emphasizes traditional beauty and sensuality. The dramatic painting of a horror-stricken city being destroyed by a tsunami shows the serious power (and melancholy) of the seas. These variations work to also demonstrate how the many sides of her personality as well.

  acting with grace

as a conceptualization of gender

"This is it! This is the ideal princess!"
- Usagi, watching Michiru perform, Episode 93

There's so much more to Haruka & Michiru's gender roles than just the butch/femme simplifications. The BSSM creator, Naoko Takeguchi, was a fan of the Tarazuka Revue, a female musical troupe, calling them "the maximum level of female emancipation." She has also said that, in creating Neptune and Uranus, she was trying to create "opposite but complimentary" characters. Based on these interests and intentions, I believe that Neptune and Uranus represent the two sides of the feminine identity that cannot exist without the other.

Uranus represents androgynous beauty and liberation. She is the one who is directly inspired by the Tarazuka trope, where female actors play male roles as well. Neptune embodies the strengths of the classic feminine depiction. Many people in modern times view traditional femininity as a weakness and a stereotype. Takeuchi, who loves strong women characters, attempts to correct this by reminding us of the many admirable aspects of themselves that women should embrace.

Michiru displays positive elements that are commonly associated with women, either from natural biology or from childhood socialization. She can be extremely nurturing and supportive, invoking a maternal instinct towards others. She can also be complicated and distant, as well as a harsh disciplinarian and an unforgiving opponent. Hell hath no fury like a woman's wrath, correct? In many countries, women are also socialized to develop their communication skills, in other to maintain strong networks and group harmony. This trait is shown in Michiru at times, as she is more likely than Haruka to collaborate with the other Sailor Soldiers.

While Uranus is a more obvious break from gender norms, Michiru is the subtle celebration of everything that makes women unique, regardless of whether it comes from nature or nurture. Neither ends of the spectrum can exist without the other, and it is only together that they make up the feminine gender itself.

 the time of farewell

website info and links out

This website was built in July 2010. It is written and designed by Ava at Wild-Seven.Org. To contact her, you can either send an email or leave a comment on her update blog. Graphics resources used in this layout came from Lycentia's, ArinThoughts, Cloaks, and CrazyKira. Thanks to the following people for donating banners: Anise, dubiousdisc, Sarah, and more at Amassment..

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Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is © Naoko Takeuchi and whatever company is licensing the series in your area. This is an unofficial fansite created by a fan for fans. It has no affiliation with the official Sailor Moon franchise.

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