Happy Birthday to Chiba Mamoru!
(Possibly I’ve reblogged this picture before? I don’t care, it’s one of my favorites in the fandom!)
Mamoru is the character I find myself focusing on very frequently in this fandom partially because of the awful mocking (or outright bashing) he frequently receives, which makes me want to write about a hundred essays (some defensive, mostly the explosions of love for the character kind to bring myself back to my happy place), but at the end of the day? I love Mamoru because he’s such an interesting character and surprisingly complex when you really look at him.
Orphaned at a young age, Mamoru is not someone who easily lets people into his life. He is very reserved and very Japanese in so many ways, and yet he breaks molds in so many other ways. His love for Usagi brings so much life to him, his love for Chibi-Usa brings even more light into his life. It’s not easy for him to deal with the frustration of not being able to help them as much as he wants, but Mamoru is centered enough to always find a way to right himself and keep moving forward.
The reversal of the usual gender roles only ever bothers him insomuch as he’s frustrated by his inability to do more for Usagi. He never resents Usagi’s power. Even after he comes into his own as King Endymion (from what we can tell of their potential future) or with the Golden Crystal, he’s always lent Usagi as much power as he can, he’s always supported her in the fights, and when he wants to protect her, it’s not in place of her, it’s WITH her. One of the major points of the Dream arc is all about this wish—their wish to protect each other and this planet. Together. Both of them, not isolating either of them from the duty they’ve accepted.
In that same vein, more than once, he’s been useful in fights, even nearly taking down some enemies (like Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber putting out Rubeus’ fire attack, when the other Sailor Senshi had no luck putting out the Ayakashi Sisters’ attacks), without a Sailor Crystal himself. (Though, Naoko has said that Mamoru takes the place of Sailor Earth and, while reading the Dream arc, I began to feel that Mamoru’s potential was on par with a Sailor Senshi, just that it could never be realized because he was male and men cannot be Sailor Senshi.) Several of Usagi’s new weapons are a direct result of the two of them reaching for each other, of combining their powers together.
But still he never even thinks of trying to usurp her position as the main fighter of the series, he never tries to downplay her power, he never tries to take anything away from her. He supports her, both with power and emotionally, because he loves her so deeply. He wants to share everything with her, from the planet that he’s connected so deeply with to his life to their daughter to even the simple things of an ordinary couple.
And he’s brilliant, one of the super smarty-pants of the series, he’s going to one of the best schools in the country (and then one of the best schools abroad), but you can almost miss this because he never flaunts it and it’s only part of what defines him. Mamoru is clever, he’s the one who figures out who Usagi is pretty much RIGHT AWAY, in about chapter three!
Mamoru’s role in the series is often dismissed or ignored (which, granted, is much less in the anime) but he’s an important part of everything that is Sailor Moon, he’s a pivotal part of the plot and integral to the main relationship of this shoujo series. And he does this without taking away from the story being about women and their relationships, while not compromising his own character, either.
He has his own motivations, he has his own connections with characters (Mamoru’s protectiveness of Chibi-Usa being sent back into the past without her parents around is a big one), and he’s legit amazing in what he can accomplish. He’s frequently a badass in an understated way, so you can almost miss it, because Mamoru doesn’t need to take center stage. Hell, even in the anime, it took me forever to realize what a total troll he was to people around him because he plays it off so well and you wouldn’t expect it of him and he doesn’t make it obvious. Mamoru is a subtle character, but that only makes me love him more.
I love his complexities, I love his role in the plot of the story, I love how gorgeous he is, I love how much he absolutely loves Usagi, I love his mythology, I love how much he loves his little baby girl, and I love that Mamoru is someone I would want to know in real life.
I just love his character a lot. Happy birthday, Mamoru.