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Usagi Tsukino (known as Serena Tsukino in the English dub, as well as Bunny in many other countries) is the present-day form of Princess Serenity. A carefree schoolgirl, she can transform herself into Sailor Moon, leader of the series' primary heroines, the Sailor Senshi. She is the love interest and future wife of Mamoru Chiba.
Usagi is a clumsy and silly 14-year-old (15 after episode 101 and 102 in the S season, and 16 in the Stars season) teenage girl. She has long blonde hair that she usually keeps tied into two buns/pigtails (odango hairstyle), and blue eyes. She is described being one of the shortest Senshi, said to be standing at 4'11" (possibly 5'0" or a bit taller in later seasons). As Princess Serenity, her hair is silver.
Usagi wears a lightish blue middle school uniform, which has a blue sailor collar with two white stripes. She has a red ribbon on the front of her uniform, which she ties her locket too. She has a white school top with blue sleeves which have white stripes on like the collar. She has a blue pleated skirt with a blue ribbon on the back. She usually wears white socks and black shoes.
In Stars, Usagi wears a navy blue high school uniform, with a navy sailor collar and red stripes. Her bow on the front of her uniform is navy with blue sleeves, red stripes(like her collar) and a white top. Her shoes remain unchanged.
She starts out as a reluctant heroine who others often have to bail her out but later she comes to accept her full identity. She eventually becomes the strongest and most powerful Senshi in the galaxy, but her capacity for caring about other people is frequently shown to be much stronger and more powerful still.
Super Sailor Moon
As she grows stronger and more powerful, Sailor Moon gains additional powers and abilities, and at key points her appearance and title change to reflect this. The first change takes place during the third major story-arc (Act 30 of the manga and Episode 111 of the anime) when she obtains the Holy Grail and becomes Super Sailor Moon. Her uniform is altered and her powers are increased. At first she is unable to take this form without the Grail, and is weakened when its effects fade. Near the end of the S series, she takes this form using pure desperation and the combined powers and abilities of the other Senshi after the Holy Grail has been destroyed. Later, in Act 34 (episode 128), Pegasus powers enables her to transform without it.
Eternal Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon receives her third form at the end of the fourth major story arc (in Act 41 of Dream in the manga, and Episode 168 of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars in the anime). The combined powers and abilities of the other members of the Sailor Team transforms her into Eternal Sailor Moon, whom Diana says is the closest in power to Neo-Queen Serenity. Her uniform is altered more radically. In the manga, Eternal Sailor Moon uses the Silver Moon Crystal (an evolved form of the Silver Crystal) to carry out her attacks while in the anime, it's less clear whether the crystal she is using is still called the Silver Crystal. The names of the attacks are congruent with the manga, which uses the name of the new crystal, but the crystal is not clearly given a new name.
Princess Sailor Moon
This form was only seen in the live-action series. It is a powerful combination of Sailor Moon and Princess Serenity, introduced when Usagi is "possessed" by the spirit of her former self. She originally appears in Act 36 after Queen Beryl held the Shitennou hostage in exchange for Mamoru. Silently furious by this, Sailor Moon transforms into Princess Sailor Moon and halts Queen Beryl using her sword.
Unlike Usagi's other forms, Princess Sailor Moon is more serious and she shows no remorse for the fate of the Shitennou (at least Nephrite's fate), and she also refers to Mamoru as "Endymion" rather than using his civilian name. She is also constantly angry, and tends to leave flaming carnage in her wake. In one Act, for example, Naru Osaka accidentally gets too close and winds up in the hospital for a while. It should be noted that even though Princess Sailor Moon smiles in most promotional material for the series, she does not smile in the series itself until the very end.
It was revealed that Princess Serenity had full control of Princess Sailor Moon and she states to Usagi during inner dialogue that she has no qualms about destroying the Earth if Endymion is ever taken from her, and later on even summons her own special minions to fight her friends, all bearing moon-shaped signs similar to hers. Usagi struggles to suppress her power in fear that she would eventually destroy the world, something that comes to light in an Ideon-like fashion for the series finale. Her internal conflict is the major conflict for the rest of the series. For a while, she was able to keep her at bay with the endurance training. However, when Usagi was forced to kill Mamoru while he was possessed by Metalia, Princess Serenity overcame her resistance and destroyed the planet as Princess Sailor Moon. She also has the ability to levitate, and to teleport. After the Earth was destroyed, she saw the full extent of the consequences her selfish actions had and was encouraged by Endymion to reverse it's effect. At the end of Final Arc, Princess Sailor Moon/Serenity finally made peace with Usagi.
Princess Serenity was Usagi's incarnation in the past, and she was the daughter of Queen Serenity, the ruler of the Moon Kingdom at that time. Her best friends were her guardians, Sailors Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, but her true best friend (and her lover) was the crowned prince of Earth, Prince Endymion.
In the past, her hair was wore in Usagi's signature odango hairstyle, except in the live-action series, where it was worn straight. Her hair color varied in the different incarnations of the series: it was silver in the manga, blonde in the anime, and brown in PGSM. She wore a white dress, with shell-shaped sleeves, and the royal mark of the Moon Kingdom, a crescent moon, was on her forehead. She dwelt in the Moon Castle.
Neo-Queen Serenity is the future Usagi. Her daughter is Chibiusa Tsukino, and her husband is King Endymion. In the anime, when she appears talking to Chibiusa about friends, she seems wise, grand and powerful, which seems impossible for some people. Usagi's royal dress stays the same, but she had a big, butterfly-shaped bow and a royal crown which had hearts and gold ornaments on it. She also appears to be more mature and calm.
In Sailor Moon R, the ghost of King Endymion, tells the Sailors that in the near future, the world goes to a long, long sleep, and the world is cold and icy, but Sailor Moon's Silver Crystal awakens everyone and the people proclaim her as a queen.
Before she appeared in Sailor Moon, she appeared in Codename: Sailor V in both Vol.5 - The Machinations of the Dark Agency and Vol.6 - Showdown! Sailor V vs. Cyber-Girl Warrior Lurga. In Vol.5, she was seen looking at a poster advertising the Sailor V game and in Vol.6, she and Naru where outside of Game Center Crown, which was where Usagi wanted to go inside the game center and play the Sailor V game but Naru, who was afraid that they might see one of their teachers and get in trouble, stopped her.
Usagi's signature hairstyle derives from a "good luck charm" of the artist's. In college, Naoko Takeuchi would put her own hair up in odango before difficult class exams. By the intermediate stages of development, Takeuchi planned to have the character's hair be blonde in civilian form and change to silver when she transformed, but she was told by her editor that silver hair would be too plain for cover art. Stylistic use of differently-colored hair does sometimes appear in later artwork.
Of all the Sailor Senshi, Usagi's personality is closest to Takeuchi's own personality at the time Sailor Moon was created. The dubbed version made Serena more of a ditz than Usagi, featuring for example lines such as "Hi, you look like da bomb in those kimonos," which emulates stereotypical valley-girl usage. By contrast, in the following episode, Neo-Queen Serenity talks without this pseudo-valley girl dialect, showing this was intentional and inherent to the voice actress. Serena was often made to whine and not control the modulation of her voice (compared to that of Neo Queen Serenity) rather than simply get louder. This can be compared best in the last few scenes of episode #125. Kotono Mitsuishi, Usagi's seiyuu, got louder, whereas the voice actresses for Serena get louder and then whined at the end.
Certain background details of Usagi's character were chosen symbolically for instance, her Western astrological sign is given as Cancer, which in astrology corresponds to the moon. In reference to a popular Japanese belief, her blood type is given as O, supposedly indicating friendliness, optimism, and carelessness.
The kanji of Usagi's surname translate as "moon" (月 tsuki?) and "field" (野 no?). Her given name is in hiragana (うさぎ usagi?) and so its meaning is not inherent, but the word itself means "rabbit" and this is used as a pun frequently throughout the series, even in her hairstyle and possessions. Her entire name is structured as a pun, as the syllable "no" indicates a possessive, so that her name can also be understood as "Rabbit of the Moon." This derives from a Japanese folktale about the rabbit that is said to be visible in the Moon's face, much like the Western Man in the Moon. The English-language manga gives her the nickname Bunny to partially preserve this pun; many other localizations use the name Bunny as well. "Usagi" is not a common given name in Japan.
Similarly for the dubbed anime, "Serena" is probably at least in part a play on the word Selene, a moon goddess in Greek mythology who fell in love with a shepherd named Endymion. It also derives from the name of the series' moon princess, which is alternately either "Selenity" (from Selene) or "Serenity" (from the Sea of Serenity on the moon). Serena is also the feminine singular of the Latin word "Serēnus", which means "Serene".
Reception and Influence
Over the years, Usagi was seen as the second most popular character from the series and one of the most notable at that too. Like Sailor Moon, she has influenced many characters too. For example, she influenced the hairstyle and personality of the character Misato Katsuragi from another popular anime series called Neon Genesis Evangelion.
When she wrote about the English re-release of the Sailor Moon manga, Rebecca Silverman had felt that Usagi's usual hesitancy about whether she is good enough to be Sailor Moon added authenticity to her claim to be an "ordinary girl". She had also stated that Usagi gave a rise to an "unintelligent heroine" character type. However, she feels that even in the first volume, Usagi's determination had set her apart. Usagi has usually been described as less-than-feminist for her traits.
- In the English manga she is mostly called by the nickname Bunny, which is the literal meaning of Usagi. Her boyfriend for most of the series, Mamoru Chiba, calls her by the affectionate nickname "Usako" or "Meatball Head" in the English dub due to her round hair buns and love of rabbits.
- Her name is changed in most of the dubs of the anime series:
- Her name was "Serena" in the English Dub.
- Her name was "Annie" in the Swedish Dub (or "Anni").
- Her name was "Sera" in the Korean Dub. It should be noted that "Sera" sounds similar to the name "Serena", which was the name used in the English Dub.
- "Bunny Rivere" was her name in the French Dub.
- In early promotional videos for the English dub of the anime presented by DiC, Usagi was called "Victoria." On Kodansha's English website, she was originally referred to as "Celeste."
- Kotono Mitsuishi, the actress who played Usagi in the anime, was sick during the production of episodes 44 through 50, and during that time the character was instead voiced by Kae Araki who later voiced Chibiusa/Sailor Chibi Moon.
- In Act Zero of the live-action series Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, before she discovered her identity as Sailor Moon, Usagi cosplayed as "Sailor Rabbit" to fight against jewelry thieves.
- Usagi was the only character to appear in all 200 episodes of the anime, all 52 acts of the manga, and all episodes of the live-action series.
- The fact that Usagi disliked carrots was mentioned in the live-action, anime, and manga versions of the series.
- Usagi was born on June 30th, her birthstone is the Moonstone, her blood type is O and she is a Cancer as stated by "Sailor Moon: Scout Guide."
- Usagi's family take their names from the real family members of the metaseries' creator, Naoko Takeuchi.
- In the manga, she is kissed by Mamoru Chiba, Prince Diamond, Seiya Kou and Haruka Tenoh (twice).
- She is hinted to have a physical relationship with Mamoru; she was seen sleeping with him in the last volume of the manga.
- In Mad's "Grey's in Anime", one of the surgeons wore a school uniform similar to Usagi's school uniform.
- Usagi had image songs in every incarnations that image songs were present (anime, PGSM, and Sera Myu): The songs include:
- Anime: Ai Kotoba wa Moon Prism Power Make-Up! (The Password is Moon Prism Power Make-Up!); Ai wa Energy (Love is Energy); Ai wo Shinjiteru (Believe in Love); I am Sailor Moon; Yume Miru Dakeja Dame (You Can't Just Dream), and You're Just My Love (shared with Mamoru Chiba)
- Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (live-action): Over Rainbow Tour, Here We Go! -Shinjiru Chikara-(Here We Go! -The Power to Believe-), and Friend (shared with the other four Inner Senshi)
- Sera Myu (musicals): The Last Change and Koi no Senshi ja Irarenai (We Can't Be Soldiers of Love Forever; shared with the other 20th century Sailor Senshi)