The Girl Underneath

Long before she guarded the streets of Tokyo by night as a sailor-suited soldier for justice, Kino Makoto was a regular junior high student with her own hobbies, friends, and history.

"They say she possesses superhuman strength, and got thrown out of her old school for fighting." —Umino; Act 5: "Makoto – Sailor Jupiter"

From a Distance Makoto's personality is multifaceted and best described by analyzing her interior and exterior traits. At a safe distance, her exterior is rough. She is much taller than other girls her age at 5'6", even towering over many adults. Her frame is slender but strongly built, and her wavy brown hair gives off an air of rebellion.1 These physical signifiers are compounded by an unnatural physical strength. She is athletic, quick on her feet, and quick to respond to threats (like a speeding car heading straight for Usagi).

Her height, athletic build, and brute strength contribute to rumors that Makoto is violent and unkind. When she first transfers to Juuban Junior High School, none of the other students will go near her, whispering that she must have been expelled from her old school for fighting. The fact that Makoto is accustomed to being alone and not an extrovert when it comes to building friendships allows these rumors to fester.

Among Friends Makoto's friends know her quite differently from those peers too afraid to come any closer. Though her sporty image is still apparent, Makoto's inner femininity really blossoms when she's around her close friends. She fills her apartment with potted plants, spends afternoons cooking and baking, and is eager to share her favorite rose tea with visitors.

She can be very social and likes to hang out at the local arcade or go shopping. She receives average grades at school, wavering in the middle ground between barely-passing Usagi and overly-studious Ami. She often brings snacks to their study sessions and seems to view most schoolwork as an unpleasant but necessary hurdle. It allows her to spend time with classmates and participate in fun activities like school festivals and the gardening club. Her favorite class, home economics, gives her a brief reprise to focus on the things she truly loves.

Makoto's heightened sense of perception sets her apart from others. Her sense for approaching danger works on a lesser level than Rei's, but she still tends to notice nuances that others do not.2 This ability to read situations serves her as a soldier but is effective outside of battle scenarios as well. Makoto is very conscious of her friends' emotions, and she can easily pick up fluctuations in their moods. Makoto has a way of coaxing insecurities out of her friends and helping them talk through their issues. In this way, she is a great source of comfort for her friends, notably Chibi Usa, Rei, and Ami.

Makoto Up Close Like many characters who are initially portrayed as tough, she has an inner side that is too often overlooked. Makoto's outer physical strength mirrors an inner emotional strength. She's the type to learn by experience rather than observation and often has stories to share involving heartache, loss, and personal growth. This positions her as a natural caretaker among her close friends, and others often come to her seeking advice with their own problems. Makoto is a patient listener and very empathetic, lending her time and attention freely to those she loves.

This openness, however, is sometimes her Achilles' heel. On more than one occasion, the incident with her senpai being the most memorable, Makoto has let her love for someone cloud her judgement. She can be loyal and trustworthy to a fault, but her uncanny ability absorb the lessons amid heartbreak enable her to dust off her hands and carry on a little wiser, time after time.

Contrary to her reputation as a tomboy, Makoto really doesn't act like one up close.3 In fact, she's rather more mature and responsible when compared to some of her friends. She lives alone, likely manages her own finances, upkeeps her own residence, and holds herself accountable at school. She's learned to rely on her own strength and respond to her own needs, which raises an important question: how do others fit into her equation?

It's implied in the manga that Makoto didn't always understand the value of friendship. She tells Asanuma in Act 17: "Secrecy – Sailor Jupiter" that she never responded to the obvious affection from a girl at her old school, letting the friendship dissolve without ever fostering its growth.4

This realization not only cements her commitment to her new friends, it expands her capacity for compassion. Makoto muses in "The Depression of Makoto" that her one wish is to make enough food for everyone so that no one would be unhappy.

1 For further reading, see Gang Mentality.
2 Makoto is the first to point out that Endou could be possessed by Metallia in Act 11: "Reunion – Endymion" and that the Black Moon might be searching for Chibi Usa in Act 17: "Secrecy – Sailor Jupiter."
3 Anju of Morning Star suggests that Minako, not Makoto, is the real tomboy of the group. Her great article "Everyday Girl: The Token Tomboy" discusses this idea in detail.
4 Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Act 17: "Secrecy – Sailor Jupiter." Makoto speaking to Asanuma: "You are just like a friend I had a really long time ago, frank and honest. She cared about me with all her heart, but never said anything to me about it. And then I ended up moving away, to come here. I never really gave her the proper care that I should have. I didn't really know what direction I wanted to take my life in. And I didn't understand how important friendship really was."

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Emerald Star © 2000 Kotono. Kino Makoto/Sailor Jupiter and Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon © 1992 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.