Back when most Americans thought anime was just a weird misspelling, Sailor Moon straightened them out.
It wasn’t the first anime to air in the US, but it clicked with mainstream audiences, kicking off the wave of imported anime that followed. Sailor Moon also introduced Americans to the Japanese "magic girl" genre, which showcases heroic teen girls with powers. Sailor Moon still airs on Hulu, inspiring and entertaining fans with stories of Sailor Moon, the Sailor Scouts (Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter), and their mysterious ally Tuxedo Mask.
The Sailor Moon/Tuxedo Mask relationship has been a constant in all the versions of the story (manga, anime series, movies, musical theater, and live-action). In a sense, they've always been destined to be a couple: a thousand years ago they were lovers in their past incarnations. In the present, though, they’re more likely to be arguing about anything and everything, at least until the monster of the episode shows up and the action starts.
There’s an undeniable charm to someone who fights evil in evening clothes and a cape, and does so without stealing the spotlight from the protagonist. Some fans, though, don’t feel the magic. Even some who do are discomfited by the age difference between the couple. Still, it seems you can’t have Sailor Moon without having Tuxedo Mask.
Here are 16 Things You Didn’t Know About Sailor Moon And Tuxedo Mask’s Relationship.
16 Their love destroyed the ancient Lunar Kingdom
When the series starts we know nothing of the Sailor Moon/Tuxedo Mask backstory. We don't even know there is a backstory. Only later in the series do we learn Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, and the other Sailor Scouts are resolving a battle that began in their last lives.
Long ago Sailor Moon was Princess Serenity of the beautiful, peaceful Moon Kingdom. Tuxedo Mask was Earth's Prince Endymion. They were young, happy and in love, so of course they were doomed. The Moon Kingdom went with them.
Blame falls on Earth's Queen Beryl, a sorceress obsessed with winning Endymion's love. When Serenity won his heart, Beryl triggered an apocalyptic Earth/Moon war that destroyed the lunar kingdom. Endymion, Serenity, and the scouts all died. When Beryl and her dark powers reawaken in the present, it triggers the return of the heroes to stop her from wreaking havoc again.
15 The hidden meanings behind their names
Away from the action, Sailor Moon is Usagi Tsukino (Serena in the American dub) and Tuxedo Mask is Mamoru Chiba (AKA Darien Shields). The names weren't chosen at random.
Usagi is Japanese for "rabbit." As Japan sees a rabbit in the moon rather than a man, that establishes Usagi's link with the moon even before she gets her powers. Mamoru Chiba translates into "Earth protector," reflecting that he fills the role of Earth's Sailor Scout.
Their past-life names are significant too. "Serenity" (named for her mother, Queen Serenity), links the princess to the Sea of Serenity on the moon ("Serena" is a logical Americanization). Endymion, in Greek myth, was a shepherd who fell in love with the moon goddess Selene, a name that's close to "Serenity."
By contrast, the meaning of "Tuxedo Mask" is completely clear. He is, quite literally, a guy in a tuxedo and a mask.
14 Sailor Moon has a lot of competition for Tuxedo Mask’s heart
Unfortunately for Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask is something of a babe magnet.
As Prince Endymion, he drove Queen Beryl crazy with desire without even trying. In the present, after Beryl reawakened to her past life, she had the same obsession with making Endymion her own.
Competing with hot-tempered Rei Hino, AKA Sailor Mars, was a little safer for Usagi. Rei even dated Mamoru when he and Serena were on the outs, but she eventually conceded it was Usagi who held his heart. Though, she still freaked out to learn that in the future, Usagi and Mamoru were not only married, they had little Chibiusa.
Chibiusa also wound up crushing on Mamoru when she fled into her past (the series' present). Despising Usagi, she got in the couple's way as often as possible. Mamoru found it amusing - Usagi not so much.
13 Tuxedo Mask has competition too
Sailor Moon doesn't draw as much romantic attention as Tuxedo Mask, but he has had some rivals.
Motoki, a clerk at the game center where Usagi plays regularly, was one of them, at least in Usagi's head. It's obvious to viewers that he sees her as a little sister, but Usagi was convinced their relationship could blossom into love. It didn't; in fact he was happily dating someone else. While Usagi crushed on handsome guys quite a bit, none of the others were noteworthy.
Prince Demande of the Black Moon Clan was noteworthy. He became obsessed with Queen Neo-Serenity, Usagi's adult self, from the moment he saw her. When Chibiusa brought Sailor Moon and her crew from the past to defeat the Black Moon, Demande recognized Sailor Moon as a younger Serenity. He sought to possess Serenity by possessing Sailor Moon — but in the end, he failed.
12 Usagi and Mamoru are opposites who attract
From what we see of their past life, Serenity and Endymion were a perfect fit. By contrast, Usagi and Mamoru have very little in common.
Usagi is a mess. She's goodhearted but lazy, disorganized, perpetually snarfing food and late for everything. Usagi plods through school with grades that make her parents despair. She proves herself as a hero but nobody sees her as princess material. Even the Sailor Scouts and her cat Luna are stunned when it turns out she’s the Moon Princess reborn.
Mamoru? Despite being orphaned in childhood, he’s calm and easygoing, though he doesn't always maintain that temperate with Usagi. In the manga, he's smart enough to attend a top-tier high school; in the anime, he's in college at 17. If you combine his academic skills with Usagi's, you'd end up with someone well above average. Despite all the differences, though, their love endured.
11 Age difference
Manga Mamoru is a high-school student of seventeen, while Usagi's only fourteen. For some fans, that's pushing into very uncomfortable territory. In the anime, they're not knocking boots, at least. Mamoru's in college, though, which makes the age difference feel more drastic.
Possibly it's meant to reflect teens' fantasies that someone attractive and older would find them attractive. Certainly there are other, similar relationships in the show. Usagi's classmate Naru, for instance, falls for Nephrite, one of Beryl's agents, an attraction he shamelessly exploits. Demande has no qualms hitting on the younger girl.
At least with Usagi/Mamoru, you can argue their past-life relationship binds them together regardless of their age now. However that's not entirely satisfying, any more than when American comics have used the same rationale.
10 Tuxedo Mask’s future self tried to break the couple up
By the start of the Black Moon arc, Usagi and Mamoru seem a solid couple. Then Mamoru breaks up with Usagi without explanation, and becomes cold, even mean toward her. Usagi's heart breaks, but Mamoru doesn't care.
Or so it seems. The truth is, he's having nightmare visions in which a mystery voice disrupts their wedding day, warning that their marriage will doom the world, and lead to Sailor Moon's death. Mamoru decided to end things, even though his own heart broke too.
By the time they reach Chibiusa's future, they're back together. When they learn future Mamoru, King Endymion was responsible, Tuxedo Mask is pretty furious. The king explains he didn't want to break them up, but with the challenges ahead, their love has to be rock-solid to survive. Testing their bond was only to make it stronger.
9 They first met as little kids
Sailor Moon R is the second Sailor Moon series, but it's also the title of the first Sailor Moon movie (subtitled The Promise of the Rose in the U.S.). While Usagi and Mamoru apparently met for the first time in the first Sailor Moon episode, the film retcons a different encounter
The film reworks the plot of the R series' first story arc, about aliens draining human energy to feed a magical tree. In the film, the alien Fiore meets Mamoru in childhood, not long after Mamoru lost his parents. Mamoru assumed he'd imagined Fiore, but it turns out he's wrong.
In one scene, little Usagi meets young Mamoru in the hospital and hands the orphan boy a flower. It's this flower Mamoru later gave Fiore as a gesture of friendship. For those who count the movie as canon, the couple's first meeting goes back a long way.
8 They have two children
As you’ll have gathered by now, Serenity and Endymion will eventually have little Chibiusa. While we don't see a lot of Neo-Serenity and Endymion's life in Crystal Tokyo, Endymion's clear they only have one child. On at least one Earth, though, Chibiusa has a sister.
Parallel Sailor Moon was a 1999 short story set in an alt Sailor-verse where the Scouts have already grown up and had kids. The protagonist is Kousagi Tsukino, the second child of Usagi and Mamoru. She hangs out with the daughters of the other scouts, but they’re quite mean to her.
Then an adventure happens, forcing Kousagi to transform into a Sailor Scout. She outranks the other girls the way her mother outranked their parents. As the adventure involves a giant swarm of killer rabbits, the girls wake up wondering if it’s just a weird dream
7 Tuxedo Mask only exists to protect Sailor Moon
Back in the Moon Kingdom era, Prince Endymion was noble and heroic, but he wasn't Tuxedo Mask.
As soon as Mamoru saw Sailor Moon, he sensed a connection with her. When she's in danger, Mamoru becomes Tuxedo Mask to defend her. He attacks her enemies with roses studded with razor-sharp thorns. Poor Mamoru actually has no idea this is going on.
As we eventually learn, all he knows is that he gets painful headaches and loses track of time for a while. Tuxedo Mask apparently has no idea why he's driven to protect Sailor Moon, he just knows that me must. Eventually Mamoru learned the truth about his past incarnations and gained control over his transformations.
Even given that, dressing in formal clothes and fighting with roses seems an odd choice for defending Sailor Moon. But Tuxedo Mask's creator had her reasons.
6 They have to save each other a lot
Tuxedo Mask plays a vital role in the Scouts’ battles. In the standard pattern of the first season, the scouts engage the monster of the episode. Things go badly, then Tuxedo Mask intervenes to save them. He usually doesn’t fight much, and simply gives them breathing room so they can take the monster down, then vanishes afterwards.
The rescue shoe is frequently on the other foot. Tuxedo Mask gets kidnapped more than any of the other characters, ending up helpless and, in a couple of cases, brainwashed. That leaves it up to Sailor Moon and the Scouts to save the masked man she loves from the latest threat.
Sometimes that means saving Tuxedo Mask from himself: after Queen Beryl brainwashed him, he loyally fought for her against the Sailor Scouts.
5 Mamoru has protected Sailor Moon in more than one identity
The nightmarish climax of the first Sailor Moon series has the Sailor Scouts perishing one by one, to help Sailor Moon destroy the monstrous Metaria. In the aftermath Sailor Moon, now accessing her full power, resurrects them all, but erases their memories so they can live normal lives again.
Of course, that doesn't last, and the girls are soon fighting the latest menace. Mamoru stays blocked longer so he can't become Tuxedo Mask. Instead his instinctive desire to guard Usagi manifests as a psychic projection, the Arab-cosplaying Moonlight Knight. Same come-and-go style, same use of roses, but the new identity kept the Scouts guessing, as they had about Tuxedo Mask.
To further confuse things, the Knight, being a psychic projection, sometimes wound up in the same room as Mamoru, proving they were different.
Eventually, of course, Mamoru got his memories back and switched back to evening clothes.
4 In the manga, Mamoru starts out as a thief
Like countless American comics, the manga changed when Sailor Moon made the jump to anime. One of the changes was how Tuxedo Mask debuts. In the anime he shows up to save Sailor Moon and that appears to be all he wants.
In the manga he also shows up to save Sailor Moon. However he states that he wanted to steal the Silver Crystal from the jewelry shop where Sailor Moon first appeared. He only protected her on impulse. The crystal is a talisman of power with ties to the Moon Kingdom which explains Tuxedo Mask's interest, but readers don't know that yet. Tuxedo Mask seems to be a thief with a heart of gold - or at least silver.
Sailor Moon Crystal, the recent anime which hews more closely to the manga, also used the is-he-a-bad-boy approach.
3 Mamoru insults Usagi differently in Japanese and English
Like many anime shows, Sailor Moon underwent a lot of changes for the original American dub. The censors turned gay characters straight. They also eliminated occasional drinking, revealing scenes, and the Scouts' deaths in the battle with Metaria. Some of the changes applied to names: Usagi to Serena, Mamoru to Darien, Demande to Diamond.
The American dub also changed the nicknames Mamoru throws at Usagi. In Japanese he mocks her for her hair style as "bun head," though it's sometimes translated as "bump head." In the English dub, Darien calls Serena "meatball head" instead, though it makes the same point.
Another change is in the name of Sailor Moon's team. The Japanese term, Sailor Senshi, translates into something equivalent to Guardians or Soldiers. The English dub made them Scouts and the later subtitled versions have stuck with that term.
2 They get married onscreen, eventually
While Sailor Moon R showed us visions of Usagi's wedding day, the event didn't happen for real until 2004, in the live-action version Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. At time of writing it hasn't been seen in America, though you can find clips online, such as the live-action transformation sequence.
The final episode, "Special Act — We're Getting Married" takes place four years after the previous episode. Usagi, Mamoru, and the Scouts are now living normal mortal lives and the wedding's in one week. Usagi-Mamoru bickering threatens to derail the marriage for good, even before Mamoru is — wait for it — kidnapped again, by a villainess who also wants to marry him.
Becoming their super-identities for a final time, the Scouts defeat the enemy and Usagi and Mamoru tie the knot. Usagi realizes her Sailor Moon years are done — it's time to start adulting.
1 They will be happy together for literally a thousand years
When Sailor Moon and the others meet King Endymion in the ruins of Crystal Tokyo, he not only explains those nightmares he sent, he fills the heroes in on their future.
In the manga, when Usagi becomes 22, she turns into Neo-Queen Serenity. With her ascension to her full power, the silver moon crystal stops everyone on Earth from aging. The planet becomes a united kingdom with its capital in Crystal Tokyo, from which Serenity and Endymion rule over all the world.
The anime edited out the 1000 year reign. Instead Earth in Usagi's near future falls into an unexplained "cold sleep," leaving the world in suspended animation for a millennium. Then Neo-Queen Serenity wakes up and uses the crystal's power to wake the rest of humanity. Once again, utopia results, at least until the coming of the Black Moon Clan.
Any details about Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask that we missed? Tell us in comments.