Sailor Neptune.png

Sailor Neptune (セーラーネプチューン Sērā Nepuchūn?) is one of the central characters in the Sailor Moon metaseries. Her real name is Michiru Kaioh (海王 みちる Kaiō Michiru?, or Michelle in the English anime), an artistic schoolgirl who can transform into one of the series' specialized heroines, the Sailor Senshi.

Introduced in the third story arc, Sailor Neptune fights alongside her partner and lover Sailor Uranus in defending the Solar System from outside threats. In both versions of the story, she is elegant, sophisticated, capable of sharp anger, and sometimes cold. She is fully dedicated to her duty as a Senshi.


Michiru is formally introduced in the third story arc, although she appears in silhouette alongside Sailor Uranus in episode 89, a "teaser" to Sailor Moon S.

She is portrayed as a very polite, calm character in the series. She dislikes being patronized even if not doing so would hurt her feelings, and subsequently will not indulge people. This is alluded to in her backstory, explaining that she was congenial but generally not social. Michiru is also graceful and delicate, with an aura of sophistication. She is clearly intelligent, and this usually manifests itself through art and music. Usagi (to whom this observation is especially relevant) once commented that Michiru was the ideal example of a princess.

Michiru attends Infinity Academy with Haruka (and the younger Hotaru Tomoe) when she is first introduced. In the manga, after Infinity is destroyed, she and Haruka later attend the same high school as Usagi and the other girls. It is never mentioned where they go in the anime. According to the musicals, Michiru had experience studying abroad.[1]

Michiru's closest bond is with Haruka, and Takeuchi has explicitly stated that the two are in a lesbian relationship in both the manga and the anime[2] as well as the musicals.

Femininity and music are emphasized in her character design, and here she is half-submerged in water, reflecting the nature of her Senshi form. In the anime, Michiru briefly flirts with Kou Seiya, at that time a man, asking him to help her unzip her dress. Her stated intention, earlier in the episode, is to learn Seiya's motives out of fear that he is a threat to the planet.[3] This flirtation does not occur in the manga, where Seiya is always a female and plays a much more minor role. However, in the Infinity arc, Michiru appears as temptation for Mamoru, paralleling Haruka being used as temptation for Usagi. Though she never makes any of the advances on Mamoru that Haruka makes on Usagi, Usagi is jealous of her because she sees them together.

In the dubbed anime, her relationship with Sailor Uranus was redefined. In episode 95, Michelle (Michiru) and Amara (Haruka) are stated to be cousins by Amy (Ami), who barely knows them, and are referred to as such for the next few episodes. Thereafter, however, much of their flirting inexplicably continues.[4] In one episode, they claim to have known each other all their lives,[5] but a flashback to their first meeting (in the very recent past) is shown shortly thereafter. By the time the "S" series was released in English, many fans were already familiar with the characters and their relationship, so their treatment as family members is mostly ignored.

In episode 92, where the two flirt gently in the original, the dub changes their dialogue to a banter about love at first sight, and inserts the statement that Michelle does not believe in romantic love. In episode 94, Michelle talks about her first kiss with Brad, "the cutest guy in the school," where the original text was about the first kiss ever, between Adam and Eve.[6] She later says, "My sweet Brad... I wonder where he is today," further defining her as heterosexual.[7]

Michiru is deeply artistic and is the Senshi most associated with the arts. Her known skills include the violin, swimming, and painting; of all her skills, her strongest is as a violinist, which is also her greatest dream.[8] She likes all her classes, especially music, and belongs to the Music club at school as well as the Swimming club.[9] In the manga, she collects cosmetics; in the anime, she loves to swim, often using the water as a way to relax.[10] Her favorite food is sashimi, while her least favorite is kikurage mushrooms. She also dislikes sea cucumbers for unclear reasons, and her favorite color is Marine blue.[8]

Aspects and forms

As a character with different incarnations, special powers, transformations and a long lifetime virtually spanned between the Silver Millennium era and the 30th century, Michiru gains multiple aspects and aliases as the series progresses.

Sailor Neptune

Michiru's Senshi identity. She wears a uniform colored in sea green and deep blue, and unlike most of the other Senshi, her gloves extend only to mid-forearm and has a jewel on her choker. She is given specific titles throughout the various series, including Soldier of the Deep Waters[11] (or "Depths" in the English manga), Soldier of Embrace,[12] Soldier of Affinity,[citation needed] and Soldier of Comprehension.[13] Her personality is no different from when she is a civilian, although certain powers are unavailable to her in that form.

File:Neptune symbol.svg

Planetary symbol of Neptune

Sailor Neptune uses ocean-based attacks (not just water),[14] and carries one of three Talismans carried by the Outer Senshi; Neptune has the Deep Aqua Mirror, which always reveals the truth. She takes a black-and-white approach to her role as a soldier, one shared by Sailor Uranus, who is virtually always at her side.

As she grows stronger, Sailor Neptune gains additional powers, and at key points her uniform changes to reflect this. The first change takes place in Act 39 of the manga, when she obtains the Neptune Crystal and her outfit becomes similar to that of Super Sailor Moon. She is not given a new title. A similar event takes place in Episode 167 of the anime, and she is given the name Super Sailor Neptune. A third, manga-only form appears in Act 42, also unnamed but analogous to Eternal Sailor Moon (sans wings).[15]

Princess Neptune

During the Silver Millennium, Sailor Neptune was also the Princess of her home planet. She was among those given the duty of protecting the solar system from outside invasion. As Princess Neptune, she dwelt in Triton Castle and wore a sea-green gown. She appears in this form in the original manga Act 41, as well as in supplementary art. It is unknown whether she had a romantic relationship with Princess Uranus at that time.

Special powers and items

In her first Senshi uniform, Sailor Neptune demonstrates her ocean-based powers with Deep Submerge.

Even in civilian form, Michiru has some precognitive gifts, as she occasionally states that "the sea is stormy" when there is an evil presence at work. She is not shown using any other special powers in her civilian form, and must first transform into a Sailor Senshi by raising her hand or a special device into the air and shouting a special phrase, originally "Neptune Planet Power, Make-up!"[16] In the manga she eventually gains her Neptune Crystal and this phrase changes to evoke Neptune Crystal Power.[17] In the anime, although she does upgrade to Super Sailor Neptune, the Crystal is never mentioned and her transformation is never shown on screen after the upgrade.[18] Her transformation sequence involves a pillar of seawater encircling her body and swirling around her as her uniform appears.

Sailor Neptune's powers are inspired by Roman mythology, where Neptune is the god of the ocean. She never uses the element of water in a general sense, that being Sailor Mercury's domain; instead, she draws energy from the "deep waters" and blasts this at her foes (rather than attacking with physical ocean water). She is given three major attacks in the series, and although they all have English names (like those of the other Sailor Senshi), each is also given kanji in the manga to denote the meaning to Japanese readers. For example, her first attack, Deep Submerge,[19] is given kanji which translate precisely to "deep" (?) and "submerge" (水没?).[20] The intended English pronunciation is given in furigana. This is Sailor Neptune's primary attack for most of the anime series.

In the manga, Michiru owns a special hand mirror which supplements her precognition.[21] This turns out to be the Deep Aqua Mirror, one of three powerful Talismans, the other two of which are carried by Sailor Uranus and Sailor Pluto. In the anime, she does not gain the mirror until she is revealed as one of the Talisman bearers;[22] in either case, it is used in her second attack, Submarine Reflection[23] (深海鏡射? "deep sea mirror shoot").[20] The mirror itself is lent to Chibiusa in the manga while Michiru and the other Outer Senshi are away.

Michiru's violin, a Stradivarius worth some five million dollars, is called the Marine Cathédrale and is named after "the temple of the sea".[24] Aside from playing it in concert, she uses it in her third and final attack, which (like the instrument itself) has a French-inspired name: Submarine Violon Tide (深海提琴潮流? "deep sea violin tide").[25]

The Neptune Crystal is perhaps her most important possession, as it is her Sailor Crystal and the source of all her power, which becomes especially important in the fifth story arc. It is given to her by Sailor Saturn.[20]


The character of Sailor Neptune was not developed until partway through the Sailor Moon series, after the Guardian Senshi were well-established. She was created in tandem with Sailor Uranus, as a pair of "complementary but opposite characters",[26] and meant from the beginning to work alongside Sailor Pluto. Creator Naoko Takeuchi has said that she was shocked by the changes made to Michiru's personality in the anime series, but that she was glad fans still liked the character.[27]

Sailor Neptune's visual design is intended to evoke images of her element, from the choice of colors to the wavy quality of her hair, which Takeuchi even joked might be thought of as seaweed hair. In street clothes, Michiru is supposed to be an "artist type" and to dress accordingly; in fact, initial drawings are extremely elegant and "adult", because she was originally intended to be involved in the all-female Takarazuka Revue with Haruka.[28] Although this was not included in the series itself, Takeuchi stated in an interview that she feels Takarazuka is "the maximum level of feminine emancipation," that as such it was her inspiration for the character of Haruka, and that it seemed natural for Haruka to fall in love with another woman—namely Michiru.[29]

Certain background details of Michiru's character were chosen symbolically—for instance, her Western astrological sign is given as Pisces,[8] which in astrology corresponds to the planet Neptune. In reference to a popular Japanese belief, her blood type is given as O,[8] supposedly indicating an agreeable and vain nature.

The kanji of Michiru's surname translate as "sea" ( kai?) and "king" ( ō?). Together, they constitute most of the name of the planet Neptune in Japanese, Kaiōsei. Her given name is in hiragana (みちる michiru?) and so its meaning is not inherent, but the word itself means "to rise". The packaging of Irwin dolls released in Canada in 1998 called Michiru by the name Nerissa.

Reception and influence

The official Sailor Moon popularity polls listed Michiru Kaioh and Sailor Neptune as separate characters. In 1994, with fifty one choices, Sailor Neptune was the seventh most popular character, receiving almost eight thousand votes more than Michiru, who was the ninth.[30] In early 1996, with fifty one choices, Michiru was the sixteenth most popular character, and Neptune was the twenty second.[31]

Fan fiction featuring Haruka and Michiru is among the most searched-for fan fiction on the Internet.[32]


In the Japanese anime series and movies, Michiru Kaioh is voiced by veteran voice actress Masako Katsuki.[33] In the English-language dub, the voice of "Michelle Kaioh" is provided by Barbara Radecki, who had previously played Usagi's mother and Queen Serenity.

In the stage musicals, Michiru has been played by 8 actresses: Kaoru Sakamoto, Chikage Tomita, Miyuki Fuji, Hiroko Tahara, Sara Shimada, Yuhka Asami, Tomoko Inami, and Takayo Oyama. Asami, the longest-running of these actresses, knew nothing about Sailor Moon when she was given a role in the musical, but came to greatly admire the character of Michiru after reading the manga and watching the anime. Nao Takagi, who played opposite her as Sailor Uranus, has stated that certain scenes were specially created just for the two of them.[34]

Michiru does not appear in the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.


  1. Sailor Moon Musical, 1998 Eien Densetsu kaiteiban, Stage 1, after Dream wa Ookiku everybody congratulates Ami on studying abroad and Michiru says,"If you go abroad rely on me, I'm experienced with that."
  2. BLACK MOON - Sailor Moon, created by Naoko Takeuchi
  3. Sailor Moon episode 180 - "The Brightness of the Calling Stars! Haruka and Company into the War"
  4. Sebert, Paul. "Kissing cousins may bring controversy Cartoon Network juggles controversial topics contained in the “Sailor Moon S” series", The Daily Athenaeum Interactive, 2000-06-28. Retrieved on 2007-02-21. "Although the L-word has yet to be uttered by a single character, the gay subtext still exists. ... the two girls referred to each other as "cousins"." 
  5. Wheeler, Robert; Bednarski, Dan; Wood, Tiffany. Sailor Moon Uncensored. Retrieved on 2007-03-11. Full list of changes made for English dub
  6. Wheeler, Robert; Bednarski, Dan; Wood, Tiffany. Sailor Moon Uncensored. Retrieved on 2007-03-11. Full list of changes made for English dub
  7. Wheeler, Robert; Bednarski, Dan; Wood, Tiffany. Sailor Moon Uncensored. Retrieved on 2007-03-11. Full list of changes made for English dub
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named vol 10
  9. Takeuchi, Naoko (September 6, 1996). "Act 43", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 16. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178841-8. 
  10. This hobby can be seen in Sailor Moon episode 097, Sailor Moon episode 110.
  11. Takeuchi, Naoko (November 2, 1994). "Act 26", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 8. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178790-X. 
  12. Takeuchi, Naoko (March 6, 1996). "Act 39", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 14. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178826-4. 
  13. 1997 Winter Special Musical - Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (Revised)
  14. Takeuchi, Naoko (February 6, 1995). "Act 29", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 9. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178797-7. 
  15. Takeuchi, Naoko (July 5, 1996). "Act 42", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 15. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178835-3. 
  16. First used in Act 27 of the manga (she raises her hand) and Episode 106 of the anime (she raises the Lip Rod). In the English anime, "Michelle" does not say 'Make up' when transforming, and the phrase "Neptune Star Power" is usually used instead.
  17. "Crystal Power" starting in Act 39, when she acquires her second uniform. No new phrase is used for her third uniform.
  18. She does say the phrase "Neptune Crystal Power, Make up!" in her Sailor Stars image prologue. Retrieved on 2007-04-13.
  19. First appears in Act 26 of the manga and Episode 92 of the anime. In the English anime, the word Neptune is sometimes added at the beginning.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Takeuchi, Naoko (March 6, 1996). "Act 39", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 14. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178826-4. 
  21. Takeuchi, Naoko (July 6, 1994). "Act 24", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 7. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178781-0. 
  22. Episode 110.
  23. First appears in Act 31 and the SuperS movie.
  24. Takeuchi, Naoko. "Act 26", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 8. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178790-X. 
  25. Act 43. This attack is also used by the evil Sailor Neptune in Act 50, where it is renamed Galactica Violon Tide.
  26. Takeuchi, Naoko (February 6, 1995). "Act 29", Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 9. Kodansha, p.31. ISBN 4-06-178797-7. 
  27. Takeuchi, Naoko (September 1996). Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon Volume III Original Picture Collection. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-324518-7. 
  28. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named materials
  29. Kappa magazine, September 1996.
  30. Takeuchi, Naoko (June 6, 1995). Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 10. Kodansha, pp.138-139. ISBN 4-06-178806-X. 
  31. Takeuchi, Naoko (July 5, 1996). Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Volume 15. Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178835-3. 
  32. Hurd, Gordon. "Fantastic Fiction", Yahoo! Buzz, 2007-03-20. Retrieved on 2007-07-05. 
  33. Doi, Hitoshi. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon. Retrieved on 2006-10-31.
  34. Hyper Hobby Interview. Retrieved on 2007-12-09. Nao: "Some of the scenes were created for the two of us"

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