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Bad Romance: The Problematic Ships of "Sailor Moon"

A fan of the series since 1995, Koriander runs the popular Moon Sisters fan site and studies the Sailor Moon franchise closely.


Usagi And Mamoru

Sailor Moon is heavy on the romance, but some of this is problematic.

While Mamoru is closer to Usagi in age in Sailor Moon Crystal and is a thoughtful high school student, his 90s counterpart is vastly different.

The first two seasons of Sailor Moon saw a bully version of Mamoru follow Usagi around and insult her, with the DiC version constantly name-calling her.

His future self as King Endymion is no better, using his powers to torment his younger self with horrible nightmares and forcing him to break Usagi's heart for half a season in Sailor Moon R, traumatizing Usagi and nearly wiping Chibiusa out of existence during her time traveling mission to save Endymion.

Worse? Mamoru is 18 while Usagi is only 14, and she's not the only 8th grader he dates either.


Rei, Mamoru and Yuichirou

Before officially dating Usagi, 90s anime Mamoru found himself forced into a very one-sided relationship with Rei.

Rei initially only seemed interested in what he could do for her. Rei called all of the shots and never once asked Mamoru what he wanted to do, or if he even wanted to be her boyfriend at all.

Even though he was an adult, he seemed to be coerced into the relationship, and wound up ghosting her just before everyone got their memories back.

Even after Mamoru officially started dating Usagi, Rei didn't let her obsession with Mamoru completely go until SuperS.

Worse? During her relationship and going well into SuperS, Rei also finds herself nearly dating Yuichirou, a 26-year-old man who works at her grandfather's shrine.


Motoki, Usagi and Makoto

Motoki (Andrew in the DiC dub) was the first crush for Usagi, Makoto and Minako.

The live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series ends with him engaged to Makoto, but there is one problem.

Motoki is even older than Mamoru.

In Crystal and in the manga, he's actually somewhat flirty back with Makoto and Usagi, even after its established that he is dating Reika.

Considering Usagi and Makoto are younger than his little sister Unazuki, it's a very bad look.


Nephrite And Naru

Naru and Masato Sanjoin/Nephrite's relationship in the 90s anime was such a culturally significant moment, that Archie Comics stole the DiC versions of the characters (Molly and Nephlyte/Maxfield Stanton) and made them a married couple in the pages of a Veronica story.

And yet nobody seemed to notice the problem.

Naru is a 14-year-old girl who is being groomed, manipulated and ultimately used in plots created by the 19-year-old Nephrite.

At one point, he even leers through her bedroom window and uses his crystal to see through her clothes while she sleeps. Creepy!


The Four Generals And The Inner Sailor Guardians

Sailor Moon fans loved the tenderness between Kunzite/Malachite and Zoisite, they seemed absolutely beautiful until Zoisite's murder.

Beautiful that is, if you ignore the fact that in the Sailor Moon Materials Collection art book, Kunzite is 26 and Zoisite is 16 to 17.

And they were almost brothers related by blood.

As for their relationships with the Inner Guardians, while Zoisite at 16 would be fine with 14-year-old Ami, the same is not said for 18-year-old Jadeite, nor Kunzite or Nephrite, who really have no business with a bunch of 8th grade kids.


Ail and En

Ail and En are 15 and 14 years old respectively, and both attend the same school as Usagi, so Ail dating Usagi might not seem so strange, until you get to the part where he is trying to destroy Earth as she knows it and plans to take Usagi's love by force.

En has similar plans for Mamoru, who again, is an adult, and not interested.

Ail and En are also head over heels for each other, which would be fine, except that they are full blood brother and sister, and even after being told this, continue to be inappropriate with each other.


Prince Demande, Usagi and Black Lady

It's alarming to know how many Sailor Moon fans keep shipping the murderous alcoholic, adult Prince Demande with 14-year-old Usagi, knowing that in all versions of the anime, manga and stage plays, Demande kidnaps Usagi, forces his energy into her while she is asleep, re-dresses her, holds her captive, tries to possess her, tries to kidnap her again and keeps trying to destroy her planet and kill Chibiusa.

When Chibiusa becomes Black Lady, the 90s anime teases a little flirting with the two, and Germany would produce merchandise for this pairing, knowing Demande is still trying to possess her mother, Usagi, and that if he had succeeded in making Usagi his bride, he could have fathered Chibiusa.


Fiore and Mamoru

Childhood friends reunited at a botanical garden, Fiore and Mamoru almost seem like a gorgeous couple.

But what makes this ship problematic isn't that Mamoru has already been dating Usagi, but that Mamoru makes his boundaries clear with Fiore, and Fiore does not respect them at all. Mamoru only sees Fiore as a friend.

Fiore refuses to accept "no" for an answer, fights Mamoru, kidnaps him, and imprisons him all while looking for a way to force Mamoru to be his boyfriend.


Haruka And Usagi

On the surface, Haruka and Usagi seem like a perfect match.

After all, Haruka slowly becomes a protector for Usagi, especially in Sailor Moon Eternal Part 2.

They're only a year apart in age, and when Haruka isn't butting heads with Usagi, it seems like Haruka really cares about her, to the point of crying in Eternal when she is away for a while.

Where this is problematic however, is that Uranus kisses Sailor Moon without consent in Crystal, and both are already in committed relationships.

Haruka is in a serious relationship with Michiru, who seems to tolerate the flirting, but she shouldn't have to.

Mamoru and Chibiusa are already in the picture for Usagi, and her meetings with Haruka in Crystal almost drive a wedge between she and Mamoru.


Chibiusa, Helios and Peruru

While Eternal's Helios is a sweet priest who keeps Chibiusa's parents updated with information, his 90s counterpart was more manipulative, keeping vital information from Chibiusa and demanding she keep their meetings a secret.

The big issue is the age gap, with Chibiusa being 902 years old yet trapped in a tween's body, and Helios being more than 1000 years old.

Peruru's age is never stated, though both boys appear physically older than Chibiusa, with Helios's body age being around 13.


Seiya and Usagi

Fans romanticize Seiya with Usagi because they are the same age and Seiya looks similar to Mamoru, but has a sassy personality, but those traits do nothing to minimize the fact that Seiya is predatory.

Usagi spends all of Sailor Moon Sailor StarS telling Seiya "no" and "I have someone" and yet Seiya never respects Usagi's boundaries.

Seiya stalks Usagi. Seiya uses Usagi's friends to convince her to engage in softball and in other events Usagi doesn't want to participate in. Seiya tries to cozy up to Usagi's mom Ikuko and to Chibi Chibi. Seiya invites herself into Usagi's house and in one episode, is waiting under her window.

Even when Seiya tries to kiss Usagi, Usagi pulls away, crying in the 90s anime. Usagi is clear that she only wants to be friends with Seiya and to help them fight Sailor Galaxia, but she wants nothing beyond that, and at no point is this respected.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Koriander Bullard