Let’s talk about Michiru Kaioh.
For some reason, I see a lot of weird accusations leveled towards this character. She’s a snob! She’s a perfect Japanese housewife and therefore not empowered! She’s obsessed with sex (and that’s terrible!) She’s a satellite character that exists only to complement Haruka! It’s also naturally assumed she’s the weaker of the duo because she’s the more feminine.
Another day of being a female character (and especially a queer one) but hey, it still bothers me. Because I adore Michiru and think she’s a very complex character who brings a lot to the story. So I’m going to talk about that.
First of all, there’s the fact that in the anime she was a Senshi before Haruka. We don’t know for how long, but there’s an implication that she fought alone and it was very hard for her. It changed her. She seems to indicate in her episode that she started off trying not to kill, but something bad happened as a result of that (like Haruka almost dying in that episode because of the hesitation), hence her resolve.
We don’t know what happened to Michiru’s family, but she appears to be wealthy and upper class and yet she’s not with her family anymore. She may have been isolated and very sheltered. In fact, that’s what Haruka accuses her of being when they first talk- a “sheltered rich girl”. This indicates a class difference between the two of them (as suggested in the Drama CD) (also in the manga Haruka acts rather hyperactive and braggy about the amount of money they have while Michiru is embarrassed by the behavior, which indicated to me Haruka is new to having lots of money). Michiru seems to be attracted to Haruka for the bold, down to earth attitude she has, which is probably very different from the circles Michiru is used to. She specifically tells Haruka that she wants to be with someone who is “honest to their own feelings and doesn’t depend on anyone” and she admires Haruka for that. She apparently thinks that she lacks such traits, though Haruka thinks the opposite.
I think probably one of the most interesting things about her is that she was ultimately the person responsible for Haruka becoming a Senshi. It always seems to be her greatest source of conflict. She gave off the impression of having been incredibly lonely and lost and when she finds this connection, it’s like a lifeline to her. But at the same time she doesn’t want to pull this one connection into the same kind of danger she’s in. If she puts Haruka in that kind of situation, there’s not only a chance Haruka will die, but that she’ll change, the same way Michiru seems to feel she’s changed. But she can’t keep it inside, and even though she tries to prevent Haruka, she breaks down in tears in front of her admitting that she’s in love with her and she’s selfish because she was so happy that someone would be with her on this really stressful and terrifying journey she has to take. Michiru is the kind of person who keeps things bottled up- “goes into her own world” as Haruka puts it- and then it tends to build to a bursting point.
I don’t think Michiru ever forgot she was the reason Haruka became a Senshi- it sort of informs all of her actions.In S, it started out with Haruka emotionally questioning what they were doing and Michiru being cold, but then became the other way. I think that was because it scared Michiru when Haruka got colder and more used to it- it meant what was happening had changed her. So she began to question as well.
She informed Haruka to leave her behind if things got rough, but never intended to keep her end of that promise. I don’t think it’s just the pureness of love though. If Haruka dies being a Senshi, it’s her fault in her head, so she’s almost eager to take that bullet, especially since Haruka is so important to her. she really does save Haruka a lot, it’s like her job. Also this isn’t just limited to Haruka. In the Stars Nehelenia arc she instantly tells Rei to shoot through her to get to Nehelenia, without even considering another solution. I think again, that’s a product of guilt and her early isolation. She’s always carrying this “I have to take care of everyone alone, and if I’m in a position where I have to throw my life away it’s my fault for being weak and cowardly, I should be glad to give it up to the greater good” thing with her.
I think oddly, out of all the Senshi (even including Usagi), Michiru values “normal life” the most. In both continuities, she expresses a desire to start a family with baby Hotaru right away. She was the first one to jump on that. She really desires a family connection. and in the manga she’s absolutely thrilled about going to high school again. Haruka points out that they’ve like, traveled all over the world and raised a child, but Michiru goes into spasms of joy about how being in a normal high school is the best and they’ll get to pass love notes and omg. Haruka enjoys being flashy, but Michiru is someone who enjoys serenity. Hence her calm attitude, hence her connection to the sea, hence her interest in such traditionally serene endeavors as violin and oil painting. It also may account for her intensity about preserving peace-peace is her favorite thing. It also accounts for the fact she things Usagi and her friends are so cute and talks about it in an almost envious way (in fact she did say “I envy them” once). She really wants that level of normality and innocence.
There’s a lot of parallels between Usagi and Mamoru and Michiru and Haruka- the fact is that Michiru and Mamoru are both the rational, intellectually driven ones while their respective girlfriends are more driven by passion and emotion. And again, they’re both wealthy and probably grew up isolated (we know this for a fact with Mamoru).
Other interesting traits Michiru has: she’s really hypercompetitive (both anime and manga, when Yaten tried to challenge her in the manga IT WAS ON), and absolutely hates someone losing on purpose to her. Remember the episode with Ami? Her icy response reduced Ami to tears and Haruka had to tell her she was being mean and it confused and worried her. I just wanted her to respect me!!! but then Haruka’s like “no she just hates conflict come on”. So despite her intuition, Michiru can’t read people all that well- again, indicating isolation in her past. She’s of course, hugely snarky and she really enjoys pushing the buttons of those she loves and getting a rise out of them. She is the master of being passive agressive and she uses it in spades on Haruka. It’s a way of expressing frustration that’s both sneaky (which she enjoys) and allows her to maintain the cool exterior she tries so desperately to uphold. And she just finds it adorable to tease. But she’s incredibly generous, as shown by all the free concert tickets and meals she gives out and how nice she is to Usagi and her friends, and she appreciates kind people. She’s comfortable and open about her sexuality (and yes! Flirting! It goes with her love of pushing people’s buttons, and also she’s attracted to her gf! gasp!) because I think it is one of the things about herself she’s sure of and proud of- she could never see any need to be ashamed about loving Haruka.
Yeah, she’s feminine. But she kicks just as much ass as Haruka. Again, she tends to be the one to save her honey, and along with Mako and Haruka, she’s one of the Senshi who employs martial arts the most. She’s definitely not subservient to Haruka, she take the lead a lot and again, trolling her gf is her fave thing to do. She’s very much in charge of her own life and independent, she just loves Haruka. And she’s just as tough. I honestly never thought her being a badass was a question, but I’ve heard phrases like “even Michiru was badass!!!” Even? Her very first MEETING with Haruka as Sailor Neptune had her tackling Haruka away from a hellbeast at the cost getting back completely gashed open which was basically the biggest wound the anime ever showed, and then standing up and DeepSumberging the thing without missing a beat before collapsing. There would not even be a Sailor Uranus is if it wasn’t for her. That’s just the FIRST on the list. This girl’s default state is badass.
In conclusion- fuck you, she’s awesome. Also, happy belated, Michiru.