Even when anime was struggling to find mainstream acceptance overseas during the early '90s, Sailor Moon was still getting through to young audiences and making a difference. Decades later, Sailor Moon’s popularity is still rampant and perhaps even bigger than ever before. It’s a series that perpetually seems to be churning out new content, and has become a formative example whenever the magical girl genre of anime is in discussion.
Understandably, the main aspect of Sailor Moon that people focus on is its positive message of female empowerment and the camaraderie of the Sailor Scouts. However, there's another fundamental character from the series who happens to be on the other side of the gender divide: Tuxedo Mask.
Tuxedo Mask, otherwise known as Darien Shields, helps represent the show's air of mystery. Tuxedo Mask also fulfills the fundamental role of being the dreamy, romantic heartthrob who so often operates as the series’ de facto knight in shining armor.
In spite of the character coursing through much of Sailor Moon and its various sequels and offshoots, Tuxedo Mask still may appear largely as a cipher to audiences. Well, now it’s time to remove the mask and unpack the layers of the curious hero that lies underneath.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Sailor Moon’s Tuxedo Mask.
In the Sailor Moon anime Tuxedo Mask always knows exactly the right moment to throw a rose, but does the guy actually have any practical skills? Well, the Sailor Moon manga takes many strides to actually flesh out Tuxedo Mask— and Darien, by proxy— as characters.
The manga version of the character imbues the masked fighter with psychic powers, including psychometry and even healing. These psychic talents continue to grow and evolve through the Sailor Moon manga and even eventually receive their own storyline once the series enters its Black Moon story arc. The anime, while dipping slightly into this material, doesn’t show Tuxedo Mask’s skill developing over time.
Tuxedo Mask’s psychic abilities even hit such heights that he becomes able to see and understand characters’ dreams, with Rini in particular being on the receiving end of this. Not only that, but he can also monitor the status of the Earth, an ability which is a whole lot cooler than tossing roses. If he wanted, he could basically know how many roses are growing on the Earth at any given time.
Tuxedo Mask might be the object of affection for many female audience members, but it’s not without good reason. The design and look of this mysterious character wasn’t just something that was randomly thrown together, but rather, a meticulous assortment of traits that Sailor Moon creator, Naoko Takeuchi, would consider to be her ideal man.
The friendly, chivalrous personality of Tuxedo Mask and Darien is very appealing, with Takeuchi originally intending for the handsome character to be involved with more mysteries within the series.
Curiously, the original mold for Tuxedo Mask was pulling heavily from the confident, unflappable nature of Captain Harlock from the anime Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Takeuchi also originally referred to Tuxedo Mask under the codename “Mysterious 2098 Face,” a perplexing decision that even Takeuchi would later admit was ridiculous.
It’s worth pointing out that Tuxedo Mask’s outfit is also full of many different pieces and parts. In spite of Takeuchi designing the costume herself, she often forgets aspect of the outfit and unintentionally leaves out pieces of it.
There’s something to be said for the white knight who ends up getting himself in trouble more than often than saving others. Tuxedo Mask may look cool and put on a big show, but that might just be to cover up his insecurities over how many times he’s been kidnapped.
In spite of the guy’s heart always being in the right place, this doesn’t stop Darien from not only getting kidnapped, but also brainwashed twice in the original series alone. It’s one thing to get caught and become a burden on your team, but to actively work against them is serious business.
It becomes somewhat of a running joke throughout Sailor Moon over just how many times Tuxedo Mask needs rescuing. It is a constant problem for the Sailor Scouts, with Tuxedo Mask being held hostage by everything from determined villains, jilted lovers, and even his own daughter. Clearly her kidnapping genes don’t come from her father’s side.
Sailor Moon’s manga finds plenty of interesting areas to zero in on in order to provide increasing depth. The anime, of course, sees Darien’s Tuxedo Mask alter ego acting as essentially a superhero’s disguise. He changes into his anonymous crime-fighting attire when it’s time to get down to business.
However, the manga decides to go in a rather creative direction with all of this. There, Darien is unaware of his dual-identity of Tuxedo Mask and the transformations into his alter ego happen involuntarily. Whenever Serena/Sailor Moon is put in harm’s way, Tuxedo Mask will receive massive visions and then transform against his will.
While the whole Tuxedo Mask process is initially a painful one for Darien, it’s eventually something that he slowly adapts to and is eventually able to willingly activate the transformation. As important as control is in any battle, the element of surprise that comes with someone all of a sudden morphing into a well-dressed hero makes for quite a battle.
Darien and Serena may be a love story for the ages, but believe it or not, before these two were shacking up and becoming rulers of Crystal Tokyo, Tuxedo Mask was actually a bit of a player.
There’s always been a fiery rivalry between Serena and Raye, the Sailor Scout who represents Mars. The playful, competitive feud shared between Serena and Raye really gets to have some fun once this baggage gets drawn out.
Darien and Raye’s time together might have ultimately been brief, but it’s still significant. Sailor Moon is a series where all of the Sailor Scouts, Darien included, have a rich backstory that sprawls into the past. The only catch is that none of them are aware that they share history together in their past lives.
It’s during this period where everyone is unaware of their pasts that Darien and Raye begin to “date.” Once the revelation of who they all are comes about, he leaves Raye for his proper love and queen, Serena. This fling of sorts between Darien and Raye even causes animosity and jealousy between Serena and Raye during later seasons of the show.
Moonlight Knight is a bit of a confusing little paradox, but let’s try to unpack it all. The ending of Sailor Moon involves Serena wishing to just be a normal girl, and as a result of this wish, all of the Sailor Scouts’ memories of their superhero halves are repressed.
Of course, it’s only a matter of time until all of these people remember who they really are, but it’s during this time of ignorance set at the beginning of Sailor Moon R that Moonlight Knight is born. Even though Darien’s memories of his past with Serena are buried deep within him, his subconscious need to protect Serena is so strong that it manifests itself in the form of Moonlight Knight.
Weirdly, Moonlight Knight isn’t really that different than Tuxedo Mask. He has a weird hang up for Arabian garb and his roses are white rather than red, but other than that he’s the same old guy. Once Darien’s memories return, Moonlight Knight reincorporates himself into Darien, and Tuxedo Mask gets back on the scene. Hey, it’s at least good to know that Darien can pull off a different wardrobe if needed.
First off, yes there is a Sailor Moon musical (in fact, there are several), and yes it’s an absolutely mandatory viewing for any curious Sailor Moon fan. This musical takes a lot of liberties with the characterization of Sailor Moon’s cast, and as a result of this, many characters have new histories that are invented exclusively for the musical. One of the most surprising and unusual changes in the Sailor Moon musical is in the depiction of the relationship between Tuxedo Mask and Queen Beryl, as they used to be lovers.
One of the angles taken in the Sailor Moon musical sees Queen Beryl as Darien’s fiancé back during the time of the Silver Millennium when he was Prince Endymion of Earth. Darien slowly falls in love with Serena, even though it’s forbidden, with their union being what causes Beryl to go mad and become evil.
Beryl is portrayed as a truly innocent victim here whose malevolent nature is just another byproduct of Darien and Serena’s union. It’s an unusual and emotional take on the series’ villain, but it’s easy to see how Tuxedo Mask abandoning someone could cause them to become an evil genius.
The Sailor Moon anime positions Darien to be a suave, accomplished individual. He might be a bit of a mystery to Serena, but he still looks like an immense catch with minimal red flags in sight.
The initial depiction of Darien within the manga has a much more unscrupulous image. Darien enters the scene as a common thief who finds himself obsessing over the Silver Crystal and how to obtain it.
This inevitably has Darien intersecting with Serena, but it’s not as if sparks are flying right from the jump. Luna even warns Serena to stay away from Darien at this point because he looks to be like he’s trouble.
Once Darien’s former memories return to him, the whole street rat vibe is lost too. Anime Darien might be too caught up in being a goodie-two-shoes, but they both make for interesting interpretations of the character.
Part of the fun of Sailor Moon’s narrative is that, while it’s telling an engaging and modern story in the present, all of these characters also have ties to a much more classical, regal time period.
Dubbed the era of the Silver Millennium, Darien’s past has been spent as a member of royalty. Darien holds the prestigious title of the Crown Prince of Earth, also known as Prince Endymion.
Additionally, when Sailor Moon progresses to its 30th century Crystal Tokyo storyline, Darien once more retains his royal status. Only now, he’s known as King Endymion (or simply King Darien in the dubbed version).
Getting a look at Darien’s prestigious past and future is an important step in understanding this character. Even though Tuxedo Mask might look and feel a lot like some street magician, royal blood courses through his veins. Don’t sell this guy short otherwise you might find yourself a prisoner of Crystal Tokyo.
This moment is all sorts of weird, but at least Sailor Moon is trying to be consistent with its sexist, revealing transformation sequences. To be fair, these pin-up style transformation scenes have become the source of much scrutiny and censorship for the series, but they’re also one of Sailor Moon’s most recognizable elements. For the unfamiliar, whenever Sailor Moon or any of the Sailor Scouts transform into their super selves, a metamorphosis takes place highlighting their change.
For whatever reason, once and only once, Tuxedo Mask also receives a transformation sequences in the same scantily clad style. The character’s clothing and accessories slowly form around his body while he hurls a rose across the screen.
The best part about this is that Tuxedo Mask’s actor jokingly ad-libbed the line, “Tuxedo Power! Make up!” which has become a bit of a running joke in the Sailor Moon community. It’s hard not to love a phrase that’s so awkward, yet shouted in such confidence
This Tuxedo Mask tidbit is sure to stir up a bit of controversy, but it’s hard to overlook this creepy aspect of the character. Darien might be plenty charming and his Tuxedo Mask alias sure knows how to clean up nicely, but that doesn’t mean that the guy doesn’t still have vices.
At the beginning of the Sailor Moon manga, Darien is 17 years old and in college. At this point Serena is merely a 14-year old in middle school. Granted, when the two of them are both a little older and Darien is 19 and Serena is 16, things are a little less icky, but the guy is still a college student. As mentioned earlier, Darien also briefly dates Raye, and the same age restrictions apply here. Darien’s clearly got a type…
With all of the reincarnation and true love prophecies that fill Sailor Moon, some weird age math wouldn’t be the worst thing ever done, but Darien and Serena also feel like they’re years apart. Serena perpetually acts like a child while Darien is uber responsible and mature. At least while in costume they probably get fewer stares…
The slight differences present in the anime and manga versions of Tuxedo Mask have already been looked at here in a number of ways. This difference is by far the coolest, though, and it’s such an awesome display of power that it’s confusing that every version of the character wouldn’t want to incorporate it.
While Tuxedo Mask's anime powers follow a more practical nature, like having a super-strong unlimited supply of roses, his manga counterpart's abilities are rooted much more in magic. Tuxedo Mask's big show stopping number here is the gloriously named Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber attack.
This intense blast of power allows Tuxedo Mask to operate on the same level as the Sailor Scouts and their attacks. Smoking Bomber may become Tuxedo Mask's big finisher, but he also pulls off a strong blast of energy in a tandem blow with his daughter, known as Pink Sugar Energy Attack. Yep, that definitely sounds like a kid helped name it.
One of the more fascinating things about Tuxedo Mask is that, in spite of him being one of the series' good guys, he's actually got more game when he's hitting for the other team. No disrespect to Tuxedo Mask's saving skills, but the guy ends up being more of a liability than an asset a lot of the time. After all, there are only so many situations where throwing a rose is going to save the day.
When Queen Beryl manipulates Tuxedo Mask into working for the Negaverse, he experiences a renaissance (maybe they've got better coffee over there or something). Suddenly he becomes intimidating, capable of completing missions, and is overall not completely helpless to Beryl.
He's still able to refuse orders and ultimately keep Serena safe. Plus, when he's brainwashed as a bad guy, Tuxedo Mask's roses are black and electrified, which is pretty awesome.
Somehow a detail that constantly goes overlooked in the Sailor Moon universe is whether there is a Sailor Earth. Sure, Serena is the Sailor Scout of the Earth's satellite, but what about the planet itself?
Well, fans will be relieved to learn that, not only is there a Sailor Earth, but that it's also the only male Sailor Scout, so to speak. Deep into the Sailor Moon manga there's a reveal that Tuxedo Mask, as Prince of the Golden Kingdom, is in fact in possession of a holy stone, much in the same way that Sailor Moon wields the Silver Millennium Crystal.
Tuxedo Mask having ownership over the Golden Millennium Crystal not only grants him dominion over Earth, but he's also the planet's honorary protector. This does beg the question, though: shouldn't all the other planets also have Sailor Scouts representative of their moons? Consistency is important but sadly often overlooked.
Hopefully you're sitting down for this bombshell because this is the juiciest scoop. The character who seemingly cultivates his entire superhero persona around his classy outfit isn't even wearing a tuxedo.
This might be splitting hairs a little, but something like this feels kind of important. What Tuxedo Mask is in fact wearing is a cape with a full-dress tailcoat, but not the dinner jacket of an actual tuxedo. Somehow "Full-Dress Tailcoat Mask" just doesn't have the same ring to it...
At least the "mask" part is accurate, unless that facial accessory later turns out to be designer sunglasses or something else. Question everything about your moon-based heroes. Also, the baton is cute and all, but perhaps it’s time for an actual sword-- or at least something that can break the skin.
Is there anything else about the Sailor Moon debonair danger chaser that we’ve overlooked? In the name of the moon, it’s your duty to sound off in the comments!