Sailor Moon: 10 Questions About Sailor Neptune, Answered

Sailor Neptune Sailor Moon Crystal

Of all of the Sailor Senshi in the Sailor Moon franchise, Sailor Neptune is one of the most mysterious. Introduced with the Outer Senshi (Uranus, Saturn, and Pluto) late in the series, Michiru Kaioh was the picture of grace and elegance, but she could tear her enemies to pieces just as easy as she could breathe.

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With a love for the arts and a strength that could outmatch the Inner Senshi, Sailor Neptune has long fascinated Sailor Moon fans. She’s also often seen as half of a pair with Haruka Tenoh, but there’s so much more to her than her romantic relationship.

10 Why Is The Design of Michiru’s Hair Significant?

Sailor Neptune

In the magical girl genre of anime, technicolor hair is a must. While there are plenty of characters who have hair colors found in nature, some get to be bright spots in the animation, sticking out from the rest. It isn’t just Sailor Neptune’s aquamarine hair color that’s special, though.

Michiru doesn’t have the stick straight hair of the majority of the Senshi. Instead, her hair has a lot more of a wave to it. Some would say her hair even looks like it’s constantly floating in water. That’s exactly the intention. Michiru’s grace and appearance is meant to conjure images of the sea. Creator Naoko Takeuchi even called Michiru’s waves “seaweed hair” in her Materials Collection.

9 How Did Sailor Neptune Regain Memories Of Her Past Life?

The Sailor Senshi In Sailor Moon Crystal

While Sailor Moon is the first member of the Sailor Senshi the fans see awaken to their past life, she’s not the first to remember her past — Sailor Venus was. Like Sailor Venus, Sailor Neptune remembered her past life before ever meeting up with Sailor Moon and the other Senshi.

Michiru had dreams that opened up her mind to the past life she lived in the Moon Kingdom. When she fully realized who she was, she set out to find Haruka and begin their lives as Sailor Senshi. Neither Artemis nor Luna had to give her her memories back.

8 Does She Have Powers In Her Civilian Form?

Sailor Moon - Neptune and Uranus

The Sailor Senshi don’t have access to their entire arsenal unless they’re in their Senshi forms. As civilians, only a few of them retain some of their powerful abilities. In Michiru’s case, she has a power in common with Inner Senshi member, Sailor Mars

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Like Rei, Michiru has some precognitive abilities. Her go-to phrase is that the “sea is stormy” when she thinks there’s a villain on the way. Haruka largely depends on Michiru to pinpoint when their enemy is going to strike next. Most of the time, however, like Rei, Michiru's abilities manifest in the form of dreams. That’s why she was able to awaken her past life memories. 

7 Are Sailor Neptune And Sailor Uranus Actually Cousins?

Sailor Neptune And Sailor Uranus

This question is one that comes up time and again by fans who are only familiar with the English-dubbed Sailor Moon anime of the '90s. In that version of the story, all same gender pairings were eliminated, despite their existence in both the Japanese anime and manga.

Michiru and Haruka were never actually cousins. The producers of the '90s English version were just afraid to present two female characters in a romantic relationship. The modern Sailor Moon Crystal has even made it clear that Haruka is genderfluid instead of strictly identifying Sailor Uranus as female.

6 Why Might Some Fans Call Her Nerissa?

Sailor Pluto And Sailor Neptune In Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Neptune’s civilian name in the source material is Michiru. That’s also true of the Japanese anime, and in the recent English version of Sailor Moon Crystal. The '90s English dub, however, renamed her Michelle. Strangely enough, that's not her only name.

A series of Sailor Senshi dolls were released before Sailors Neptune and Uranus made their debut in the English dub of the anime. It seems that the manufacturers of the dolls didn’t yet know what the names of the characters would be in English. Instead of identifying Sailor Neptune as Michelle, they labeled her as Nerissa. It was a fair mistake since Nerissa is ancient Greek for “from the sea.”

5 Why Did Viz Media Apologize To Sailor Neptune Fans?

Sailor Neptune In The 90s Sailor Moon Anime

Viz Media is the company behind the modern English dubs of Sailor Moon products, like Sailor Moon Crystal. Their publishing imprint is also responsible for translations of products, like the Sailor Moon Sailor Stars booklet that gives fans more facts about the characters in the franchise. In June of 2019, Viz Media had to issue a formal apology for fans of Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus.

When the book was translated from Japanese to English, the text identified Michiru and Haruka as friends. That would have been just fine if they were literally any other members of the Senshi. As the two characters whose romance was erased in the first English anime, fans were worried about what that meant. After Sailor Moon fans brought the terminology to the attention of the media company, Viz Media issued an apology on Twitter, and started the process of reprinting the books to note the two were partners, not just friends.

4 What Does Her Name Mean?

The Outer Senshi In Sailor Moon Crystal

The Inner Senshi’s names all reference their own planets and elements. For the Outer Senshi, they don’t quite follow the same pattern. However, Sailor Neptune’s name does fit half of the pattern.

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Her surname Kaioh is part of the Japanese word for her planet, Neptune. In Japanese, Neptune is Kaiosei, which translates literally to “sea king star.” Michiru’s surname translates simply to “sea king.”

Michiru, on the other hand, literally translates to “to be full” in Japanese. Some fans have taken this to be reference to high tide, but it’s not clear if that was ever the intention. 

3 Did She Appear In The Anime In Season One?

Princess Serenity And Prince Endymion As The Moon Kingdom Ends

Fans keeping an eye out for small details in the anime would have noticed what looked like a familiar design early in the series. In the first season of the anime, backstory for the Moon Kingdom — and its fall — revealed a look at how all of its residents were sent to Earth to be reincarnated for new lives.

The souls of the Moon Kingdom ended up on Earth in bubble-like structures. When the anime showed these bubbles, it highlighted the Inner Senshi, Princess Serenity, Prince Endymion, and a surprising figure between the latter two. Fans thought it was Sailor Neptune because of the color scheme and the Senshi uniform. 

According to animator Hisashi Kagawa on his Twitter account, that wasn’t intentional. When designing the scene, the animating team knew it was likely more Sailor Senshi would eventually be revealed and tried to include a few more. It simply worked out that this one looked like Sailor Neptune.

2 What Is Special About Her Water-Based Attacks?

Michiru Kaioh Is Sailor Neptune In Sailor Moon

Like Sailor Mercury, Sailor Neptune’s attacks are based in water. But there is one big difference between the two Senshi besides them belonging to the Inner and Outer ranks — their water attacks come from different sources.

Sailor Mercury’s water-based attacks are the result of her drawing water from around her enemies. Her attacks are nearly always based on water in the weather — like mist, snow or hail Sailor Neptune’s attacks, on the other hand, do not rely on the water around her enemies. Instead, they rely on the depths of the oceans. 

1 Why Do Some Fans Theorize Sailor Neptune Is Really The Strongest Senshi?

Sailor Moon Crystal - Neptune

In her many incarnations, Sailor Moon is always the strongest of the Sailor Senshi, right? There is, however, a fan theory that Sailor Neptune might really be the most powerful of all.

In the days of the Moon Kingdom, the Sailor Senshi were stationed at their own planets, in castles that acted as their own bases. The Outer Senshi, specifically, were meant to protect the solar system from outside threats. While they each lived on their own planet and monitored the stars, with the exception of Pluto, the Inner Senshi protected Princess Serenity.

Because Sailor Pluto guarded the depths of the castle against those who would travel through time, Sailor Neptune was literally the kingdom’s first line of defense against any encroaching enemies. She had to be strong enough to insure that nothing ever got passed her.

NEXT: Sailor Moon: 10 Questions About Sailor Mercury, Answered

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