Kaitou Alterna: Recurring Symbols

Though a part of the larger Sailormoon multi-verse, Kaitou Ace is specific to the Sailor V manga incarnation. Though Sailor V herself is at least mentioned in other versions, our beloved bandit remains overlooked. There are, however, a number of symbols associated with Ace that Takeuchi reuses in BSSM. Though these symbols are not necessarily meant to evoke Kaitou Ace,1 they might make you think.

The Mask
The mask is commonly used to connect Kaitou Ace to Tuxedo Mask,2 but masks are widely used throughout the Sailormoon-universe.

In addition to Ace and Tuxedo Mask, masks are worn at various points by Sailor V, Sailor Moon, and Sailor Uranus. Sailor Mercury wears goggles, and while not exactly the same as those worn by the other soldiers, she uses them in a similar fashion. There is also a sketch of early designs for the guardian senshi from Takeuchi's sixth artbook in which each girl is wearing some kind of mask or goggles. It is worth noting that masks are only worn by protagonists, perhaps as a symbol of their unity and secrecy.

There are three characters within the BSSM manga universe who wear the same cat-eyed white mask: Kaitou Ace, Tuxedo Mask, and Sailor Uranus.3 These three characters wear the mask to conceal their identities, and they do not seem to possess any additional functions (like Sailor Moon's and Sailor V's masks or Sailor Mercury's goggles).

I stated earlier that the masks could serve to unify protagonists, but this particular mask could signify ambiguous alignments: the three wearers of this mask are first thought to be enemies before being proven as allies.4

The Ace
In the first act of the first volume of the BSSM manga, Usagi's classmates are discussing a series of jewelry store robberies around Tokyo. Umino pops up to say that Sailor V has defeated the criminals. When Usagi asks what he's talking about, Umino goes into a spiel about the amazing sailor-suited soldier for justice, and a picture of Sailor V flashes in the background. In this picture, she is holding a playing card with a single heart in the lower corner.

This could be a small reference to Ace, since the single heart implies it is the ace, and since fortune-telling was involved in Sailor V's last encounter with Ace. At this point in the story, Ace would have been Sailor V's most recent adversary, so this allusion would make sense.

I like to think Takeuchi put this particular after image there to make the hearts of Ace fans flutter a little bit. I know mine did. :)

Playing Cards
The deck of cards is a very important symbol in CNSV. Saijou Ace uses them to predict Minako's destiny, Kaitou Ace wields them in battle, and the name "Ace" itself is thought to be derived from his use of playing cards. The same cannot be said, however, for BSSM. The deck of cards does make a few brief though notable appearances.

During the Stars arc of the manga, Sailor Kakyuu wields an attack called Starlights Royal Straight Flush,5 which bears an uncanny resemblance to Kaitou Ace's sole attack, Delicious Four Card Shot. Both attacks involve shouting the attack's name and throwing an entire deck of cards towards an enemy. The cards themselves are very sharp and are capable of ripping an enemy into shreds. The key difference between these two attacks is the type of cards themselves: Ace's Delicious Four Card Shot involves standard playing cards, and Kakyuu's Starlights Royal Straight Flush involves tarot cards.

Fortune Telling
Fortune telling is a common occurrence in both series, and in each the skill is specific to a main character: Hino Rei in BSSM, and, of course, Ace in CNSV.

Rei uses tarot cards. Even before she became a senshi Rei read simple fortunes for patrons of her family's Shinto shrine. Later she uses her talent to aid the senshi in predicting an enemy's moves. Rei's talents with card reading extends to her own clairvoyance. In addition to reading tarot cards, she is also skilled in fire reading, and she has the ability to foresee future events.

Ace's skill with a deck of playing cards, unlike Rei's, is unrelated to any kind of extra-sensory perception. His readings are predictions but not solid foretelling of future events.6

1 I would just like to reiterate the fact that these conclusions are based on Kotono's pure speculation and have not been verified by Takeuchi herself. They are meant to provoke thought and should not be used to confirm the presence of Kaitou Ace within the BSSM manga.
2 For further reading see "Aesthetics" in Two Pair.
3 Ami of Windswept Sea refers to this incarnation as "Tuxedo Uranus."
4 This idea cannot be studied completely since Danburite's face is never shown, and it is unclear whether he wears the mask in his villain form.
5 Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon Volume 18, Act 49: "Stars 7."
6 Though I hold to the thought that Ace's fortune telling is unconnected with supernatural ability, this interpretation is widely challenged among fans. For further reading see Cruel Medium.

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Ace of Hearts © 2001 Kotono. Kaitou Ace and Codename wa Sailor V © 1991 Takeuchi Naoko. This shrine was created in whole by the webmistress and is not to be copied. It is part of the Paper Cranes collective.