Of the Heart

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is a series highly centered on its title character. As a result, other characters remain fairly underdeveloped, especially in the area of romance. Makoto in particular has been overlooked as far as details are concerned. Still, the anime and manga have provided a few possible suitors.

Senpai

Makoto becomes a go-to confidant for others' boy problems throughout the series, lending a patient ear and offering advice from her own learned experiences. This is due largely to events surrounding a boy that happened before she relocated to Juuban.

"There was this older guy I was in love with, but he broke my heart. And after that, it was really painful to face him every day at school." — Sailor Jupiter, Act 5: "Makoto – Sailor Jupiter"

Manga This failed almost-romance was with a boy at her old school who Makoto usually only identifies as her "senpai."1 This nickname suggests someone, possibly older, to whom Makoto looks up. The events surrounding her heartbreak are hazy, and the anime and manga suggest similar but different scenarios.

The manga gives little insight to the actual chain of events and focuses more on Makoto's reaction in the aftermath. Right on the heels of killing Nephrite, Sailor Jupiter reveals that the initial reason she transferred from her old school was to get away from a boy who rejected her.

Her brief conversation with Rei in "Casablanca Memory" is the most telling. Rei, lonely over memories of Kaidou, asks Makoto about her own experiences with unrequited love. Makoto opens up about the incident over drinks, revealing that two girls, Makoto and an unnamed friend, vied for their senpai's love, and that he ultimately let Makoto go.

Rei: Mako-chan?
Makoto: Yeah?
Rei: You said your heart was broken before you came here?
Makoto: A friend and I, we both liked the same guy, but he didn't choose me. I was the closest girl to him, so I thought he would, but . . . you know.
—Short Stories Collection, "Casablanca Memory"

But these brief recounts shed light only on what happened and not on who this mysterious person is. In Act 5, Makoto mentions that Motoki looks a lot like her old crush, implying that he was indeed older than her (possibly a high-school-aged student like Mamoru). The two hazy-faced pictures of him that show up in Makoto's dreams do bear faint resemblances to Motoki, at least in face shape and hair style.2 He is likely popular since more than one classmate was vying for his attention, and, if his resemblance to Motoki is any further than skin-deep, he is a warm, big-brotherly type. Lastly, "The Melancholy of Makoto" opens with Makoto's daydream about being married to a hazy-faced man, who may or may not bear a physical resemblance to her old crush.3

Anime The anime gives us an entire flashback sequence in episode 49, "Shiroi baraha dareni? Tsukikage no knight toujou," though the events leading up to the break-up are never fully revealed. On a rainy afternoon under a gazebo, the boy presumably tells Makoto that he doesn't love her. She pleads, she cries, but nothing changes his mind. He runs away abruptly, leaving Makoto standing alone in the rain.

The scene following Zoisite's attack at the restaurant in episode 25 provides another clue to what might have happened:

Crane Game Joe: [running away] That big girl isn't my type!
Makoto: [to herself] He said the same thing to me. . . .
—Episode 25, "Koisuru kairiki shoujo, Jupiter-chan"

The suggestion here is that Makoto's senpai turned her down because she was not feminine enough. This explanation would serve to support Makoto's long-running struggle with her own femininity. It haunts her all the way through the rest of the anime, causing her to be reminded of her senpai almost everywhere she goes.4

Ittou Asanuma

AsanumaAsanuma is perhaps the non-senshi who comes closest to the heart of the thunder goddess. Introduced in Act 15: "Permeation – Sailor Mars," Ittou Asanuma is a charming boy of fourteen who attends the seventh grade at Mamoru's school, Moto Asabu. With cropped blonde hair and gorgeous blue eyes, he is quite popular and well liked. He is a regular at the Crown Fruits Parlour, where he often hangs out with Makoto. He also has a deep interest in supernatural events and is an active member of the Science Fiction Appreciation Club, often working in conjunction with the Paranormal Activity Club.

He has a deep respect for Chiba Mamoru, admiring his success in academics, sports, and personal relationships. Asanuma strives to be just like him, following and spying on him. This admiration often borders on a fault as Asanuma tends to be strong-minded about how he thinks Mamoru should act. For instance, he pictures Mamoru with a girl who is tall, graceful, and raven-haired, and he is surprised upon meeting Usagi that Mamoru's actual girlfriend is quite the opposite. In fact, he later remarks that Rei would be a better match for Mamoru.

Asanuma and MakotoBut perhaps the person he respects most is Makoto. The two met around Moto Asabu, a place Makoto used to frequent, and hang out at the Crown Fruits Parlour after school. Although the two sometimes blush around each other and Makoto remarks that he is cute, their relationship is otherwise non-romantic. They interact much like brother-sister.

Their bond is deepened in Act 17: "Secrecy – Sailor Jupiter." Following the disappearance of Sailor Mars two acts earlier, Asanuma begins to notice strange things about Makoto and her friends. He finds the burned corpse of a nun after Rei's school festival. He overhears conversations about Rei's and Ami's disappearances and watches secretly as Mamoru heals an injury on his arm. He hears luna speaking to Usagi. He keeps these observances to himself and decides that Mamoru, as well as Makoto and the others, must be alien or superhuman.

A secret revealed...In Act 17 Asanuma meets Makoto at a drug store and offers to walk her home since she is not feeling well. When they reach her apartment, Asanuma finally confronts Makoto about all the strange incidences he's witnessed. Makoto, realizing that it is too late to cover anything up, admits that she is Sailor Jupiter and reveals to him the identities of the other known senshi. Asanuma is amazed and tells Makoto that he greatly respects their mission. The two resolve not to let anyone else know. Makoto leans over and kisses Asanuma's forehead before he runs back home.

"You're so strong, so incredibly strong. You're all such amazing people. I want to become strong like you guys. I want to be of some kind of use to you, Makoto. As a strong man you can lean on. . . . If I had the power, I would protect you."
—Asanuma; Act 17: "Secrecy – Sailor Jupiter"

When the senshi finally return to the present after defeating Death Phantom, Asanuma is shown embracing Makoto, overcome with relief that she is safe. Asanuma is often identified as Makoto's closest friend in the manga. He is certainly the only person who Makoto trusts enough to tell her secret to. And he cares for her deeply right back, admiring her personal strength and expressing feelings of inadequacy for not being able to return the kind of protection she offers him.

He still keeps in touch with the senshi team through the Sailor Stars season when Mamoru leaves for America, faithfully keeping his promise to withhold the identities of the senshi.

Shinozaki

Shinozaki is an anime-only character often erroneously referred to as the anime version of Asanuma.5 As an episodic character, his personality is greatly undeveloped. Everything we know comes from Makoto's recollections.

Shinozaki comforting MakotoThe only episode in which he appears is 49, the same episode in which Makoto speaks about the end of her relationship with her senpai. When a daemon attacks Makoto in a deserted park, Shinozaki risks his life to push her out of the way, severely injuring himself in the process. At the hospital, Makoto insists on donating her blood to help with Shinozaki's injuries even though it is critical for her to do so. She tells Ami and Usagi at the hospital that he is her best friend.

She tells them about that melancholy day in the rain when her senpai rejected her. As she stands alone crying in the downpour, Shinozaki appears with an umbrella, ready to comfort an aching Makoto. "Maybe he's much more important than a boyfriend could be," she closes.

It is suggested that Makoto's relationship with Shinozaki lasts for a long time afterwards; Makoto's words as Shinozaki is leaving the hospital are, "Now it is my turn to watch over him." However, any knowledge of this is unknown as he is not mentioned further in any incarnation of the series.


1Makoto calls him Nichougi-senpai in Act 31: "Infinity 5 – Sailor Pluto Meiou Setsuna," which is likely his last name. She never states a first name.
2 Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon. Act 31: "Infinity 5 – Sailor Pluto Meiou Setsuna" and "The Lover of Princess Kaguya."
3 This is all, of course, my own speculation and should not be taken as canon.
4 It should be noted that Makoto's "he looks like my senpai" routine is greatly and unfairly magnified in the anime. She says it more often and about more people than she ever does in the manga, making her attitude towards romance seem more flighty and insincere.
5 For further reading, see "Are Asanuma and Shinozaki the same person?" in Queries.


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