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Part VII

Perfection: real and otherwise

One of the most important aspects of Sailormoon fan-fiction is the need to remember that none of the characters are perfect. Regardless of all the discussion from the newsgroups and other forums about the perfection of one character or another, none of the characters from Sailormoon are perfect. Not even Michiru ^_-.

Tim Nolan

It is very hard to do a profile on either Michiru or Haruka without including the other as well. These two women are so close that they are almost like the two halves of a whole, and you can't describe anything or anyone very well if you limit yourself to only one part of something. However, I am going to try to do that here. I will recommend that the reader also go to the profile on Haruka in order to read it as well, since one does need to know both of these women in order to properly understand either one.

This, ironically, is Michiru's biggest problem, it seems. Many people have often said that she seems so perfect, and have had a very tough time showing her as being anything other than perfect, especially when compared to her partner, Haruka. Haruka's problems are somewhat easier to see, and Michiru's seem to be lost in the shadows from the limelight that is focused on Haruka. It becomes difficult to give her a personality and role other than being a support for Haruka.

Of all of the Outer Senshi, Michiru is the one who is the hardest to pin down. She is often not given very much in terms of character development within a story (I include myself as one of the guilty parties here, btw.) Her background does not even give us much to work with, as opposed to some of the other characters.

We do know that she is from a fairly wealthy family, has probably led a sheltered, perhaps even pampered lifestyle, and she is also well known in art and music circles. It is also possible that she was one of the earliest active Senshi, possible even predating Venus' activities as Sailor V. There are no hints of problems at school or from a lack of friends. Michiru gets along very well with all of the Senshi, regardless of which group. Once again, we seemingly have another character who seems outwardly perfect, even more so than the other Outers. We have to dig a little bit deeper in Michiru's case to find out what makes her the way she is, even a little more than the other Outers.

We know of Haruka's devotion and need for Michiru. Far less well known is that Michiru feels the same way about Haruka. In one point during the anime, Michiru calmly risks destroying the world in order to save Haruka, on the simple fact that, to Michiru, a world without Haruka is not worth saving.

It only happens one time, but that really can tell us a lot about Michiru. Despite her background and upbringing, she obviously hasn't made any close friends besides Haruka, and is as afraid of losing her partner as Haruka is. However, as opposed to Haruka, this fact is much, much harder to see. Michiru buries her concerns so deeply that it is almost impossible to directly see without having known of or seeing this particular scene. The depth of Michiru's feelings are easily made apparent by her willingness to let several billion people die so that she will have Haruka. This is not something that a normal, healthy person would usually be able to do so easily.

During the search for the talismans, we do see a side to Uranus and Neptune that also gives us an insight into Michiru. On a few occasions, Uranus almost starts to try to stop the daimon of the day before it takes the heart crystal from the victim of the day. When that happens, it is Neptune who stops her, and coolly reminds Uranus of their mission.

What we can draw from that is while Michiru seems to be far more approachable and friendly than Haruka, it is not really the truth. As Senshi, Neptune is a far colder and harder person than Uranus, despite their apparent feelings towards people. While they often use a good cop/bad cop approach to dealing with people, one will initially think that Haruka would be the bad cop. Once you look at them and their personalities and behaviors, it becomes clear that Michiru is actually the one playing the bad cop while pretending to appear like the good cop.

The writer does have a distinct challenge when deciding to use Michiru as a character, and to show her having the feelings that she does have without making her shift out of character. Her actual feelings are very deeply hidden and will not easily come out without her either wanting to tell someone about them, or if she makes a slip and admits something. She was probably not this cold when she was younger, but the weight of their mission and the sacrifices involved have been a heavy burden that she has been carrying for a very long time.

What I would recommend is to portray her as having a number of insecurities, much like the same ones Haruka does, but to have her hiding those behind her facade of being the warmest of the Outer Senshi. I can easily see Michiru being the one who is helping to keep the Outers together and functioning as a unit. She would be the glue holding Haruka together. Michiru would probably be the first person who would be able to form some kind of a bond with Setsuna, and the one who Hotaru would feel closest to in some ways as she was growing up.

The question, however, is Michiru doing this out of a desire to help her teammates, or is it also a way of helping the other people around her so as to avoid needing to confront her own problems? As stated earlier, she was willing to trade the rest of the planet for Haruka, so we can see that she undoubtedly does have some problems. Her willingness to seek help or to continue to ignore this potential problem could provide some interesting stories for anyone exploring this angle.

While both Neptune and Uranus are very powerful, they do not wield the same level of power as Pluto and Saturn do. They will probably not have the same chances of suffering from a superiority complex as those two, but both Neptune and Uranus still consider themselves far more capable than the Inners on a level of raw ability, as opposed to raw power.

A point that also should be considered is what Michiru's Talisman, the Deep Aqua Mirror, can do. It is supposed to be able to reveal things to Michiru. There is no proof that the Talismans have any connections to their owners, but it must be noted that Michiru is supposedly very insightful, and has a tool that may be in some way the reason for that ability. This is another thing that could be looked into further.

Greenbeans

In my opinion, of all the Senshi, Michiru is probably the most mis-portrayed of the lot. I see two main things come up over and over again. The first is to have her portrayed as perfect, which she isn't. The other is to under portray her, thus having her come out as an echo or shadow of Haruka.

As disappointing as it may be to some, Michiru is not perfect, nor does she ever make claim to be. People point how she's brilliant in the arts and academically. My answer is: 'So?' Michiru's got a brain, so does Ami. I believe what leads people to this perfection misconception is more of how Michiru carries herself. She doesn't show to disadvantage easily.

Let's explore this for a moment. Michiru is just as sore of loser as Haruka is, maybe even more so. I can see her going to great lengths to assure that she is the one on top of the dog pile. If we were using a sporting event as an example, I don't believe that she would cheat (since that would grate against her pride) but she would put every effort into making sure she was up to the challenge.

From what I understand of the character, Michiru is a very proud person (all of them are actually..) There is a difference between pride and confidence. She is very confident in her abilities as a Senshi and in her every day living. I would say that her confidence does spill over into arrogence. It's a trait that all of the Outers share and probably feeds upon itself some.

This lack of development makes Michiru a difficult character to work with. The material for a distinct personality is there, but it is hard to see next to the 'glow' of Haruka. Some things that I keep in mind when I work with Michiru: She's intelligent, worldly (the opposite of Ami's naitive), and has a wry sense of humor. The third point is the one I like to focus on. There have been countless times when Michiru slips in a little comment that demonstrates (to me at least) a healthy sense of humor.

Undeniably, the mirror is a powerful Talisman. The weight of carrying something that can see into the future and having it usually be in regards to bad things would be very tiring. Michiru is a strong character that can withstand that weight. I think most any other person would have dumped the mirror in a river or something to that effect.

Some of the most interesting stories that has examined Michiru's past and interaction with Haruka would include: Truth: A Sailor Moon Moment by Jennifer Wand, Kiaoh-san's Family by Ilana R. Tavan and The Hardest Step by Ysabet.As well, Tim Nolan's Awakenings has established a viable background history for Michiru.

Just as Michiru has had a very brief introduction within the Sailormoon Universe, Haruka has had numerous background histories and futures created for her. Fan-fiction stories that have looked at her past and its impact upon her character would include: Distant by Amanda 'Greenbeans' Anderson...

Perfection is an overstated quality -- nobody wants to read about a perfect character -- every character that has ever been created will always have a flaw. Within Rumiko Takahashi's creations, each and every single character has flaws, Ranma: stubborness and speaking too quickly...Just the same as Ranma , Sailormoon character also carry their flaws, it just so happens that Kaioh Michiru is able to hide her insecurities and burdens much better than the others.


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