Pairing(s): Usagi Tsukino/Mamoru Chiba
Manifesto By: skysamuelle
Spoilers: Vague info but scattered details about the whole the series-long ship-evolution.
Ah, Sailor Moon … a guilty pleasure I keep returning because a) you can’t beat a classic and b) lots of sweet childhood memories associated to both the anime and manga versions of the characters. Plus … there’s something about the particular mix of heroism, idealism, rampant girl power and romanticism that wormed its way into my heart since the beginning. What I admire about Sailor Moon is that it went on strong on the idea that a young woman didn’t need to be perfect or even avoid sporting evident personality flaws to be capable or worthy of grand feelings and great actions. The protagonist, Usagi for one, is lazy, a terrible student, a real klutz the most of time. And yet she is also the leader who, times and times again, brings together her people, never fails to motivate them to fight for themselves or the world, remains unfailingly empathetic and compassionate in spite of not always being treated with perfect consideration, goes that extra mile to reach victory against her enemies even to great personal cost.
Also, one of the most genuinely open and affectionate characters of the anime world. I loved her when I was a kid and I do enjoy her even more now, after getting the chance to compare her to all the heroines that came in the next anime generations.
I’ve certainly entertained the fantasy of a lot of ships for her… Usagi/Demando was morbidly sexy and controversial, Seiya/Usagi was interesting in setting her up with a man with a personality much more similar to hers than Mamoru’s but… Mamoru/Usagi is by far the favorite SM ship, the one I can’t stop being in love with.
They first met in a past life on another planet as Endymion and Serenity… prince to princess, starcrossed lovers from literally different worlds, torn apart by war, death and one maliciously envious rival, just to find each other again in human bodies, sporting utterly different personalities… and it was anything but love at first sight. Oh, they still recognize each other on some level but it’s all teasing and rivalry and poking at each other edges in very human ways, and under the surface … I really liked that they always believed in each other and inspired each other, even when they went to each other’s throats.
(Fanart by soloretta,deviantart)
Usagi/Mamoru is my first and only OTP for Sailor Moon because they just eclipsed all others with their awesome.
Mamoru’s cool, reserved, level-headed temperament suited perfectly to balance out Usagi’s temperamental, sensitive occasionally flighty, all over the board vivacious personality, and he was , for the most, an unfailingly supportive boyfriend who constantly put her safety and happiness first … although there were times his being much of a pragmatic and rational individual got in the way of his handling both goals with the same success (like when he was sure she was going to die if they remained together so he abruptly dumped her and treated her horribly for quite some time, to convince her of his sudden lack of feelings toward her – although, I admit in the anime he’s much more an asshole about it, whereas in the manga he is more … standoffish and cold than deliberately cruel).
I love that Mamoru, while adoring Usagi and treating her with great tenderness and respect and protectiveness, never quite puts her on a pedestal or shies from her weaknesses. This is more evident in the manga version of their story, where he takes care of her and she takes care of him, and it never feels like anything less than an equal partnership … the anime series downplayed this aspect a bit, choosing the highlight the sides of these characters that are more …teenaged, but also gives more space to more lightheartedness and teasing.
Just compare the utterly transparent joy of this:
To the gentler, casual intimacy of this:
The manga plays this ship to more delicate and nuanced chords, whereas anime plays a more flamboyant and vibrant melody but, at the heart, the lovestory remains the same.
One of my favorite things is that in the total course of the series, since Mamoru and Usagi became a couple there was never a doubt about commitment of even the shadow of a third person being a real threat to their relationship. For all their differences and the interest other people could manifest toward either, and little shows of jealousy her and there … Mamoru and Usagi just always knew they wanted each other and their mutual devotion to each other never faltered.
I like that they had everything – the romantic past, the realistic day-to-day discovery of each other, the idealized infatuation of seeing each other as savior of sort… and then the getting together, the sticking to each other through more wars and bloodshed and separations you could count, the awesome marriage. A daughter.
(I wish I could say I love the latter just as well, but unfortunately Chibiusa is about the one part of their epic I never grew to stomach. Sorry.)
Yet, even I can’t deny the three of them make for one very cute family.
The Rec #0 or… the FanFic Comic : Silver Legacy
Link: Chapter 1- http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/24242807/silver-legacy-ch-1
Chapter 2 – http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/24935412/Silver-legacy-ch-2
Chapter 3 - http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/24387124/Silver-legacy-ch-3
Chapter 4 http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/25702810/Silver-legacy-ch-4
Chapter 5 http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/26978749/Silver-Legacy-ch-5
Chapter 6 http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/29064490/Silver-Legacy-ch-6
Chapter 7 http://soloretta.deviantart.com/gallery/41596235/silver-legacy-ch-7
Why This Must Be Read: Okay, this is not a real first rec, but you can consider it the prelude to the the recs that will follow and integrant part of my ship manifesto blurb as it is both fanfic and fanart. SoLoretta crafted a beautiful fanfiction in form of manga-style comic, trying re-imagine an unexplored chapter of the Shenshi’s story – the one right before the fall of Silver Millenium. On the Moon, Serenity lives among her court waiting to receive her legacy as a princess, the power of the silver crystal that will finally allow her realize her dream to see the Hearth. The light of her character is beautifully rendered in there and so it is the atmosphere of the court, and the depth of her connection to her warriors… even Saturn, who is feared as a goddess of death and almost more of an hostage than a guest. In the meantime Endymion ‘s days pass idly, as he is disturbed only by his mother’s intent of pushing him into a betrothal … in a rather unexpected but wholly credible exchange of roles, it’s going to be the accidental encounter with one dutiful moon princess to inspire him to take more of an interest in his kingdom. Honestly, this story became my headcanon for the Silver Millennium events and the illustrations are breath-takingly beautiful. I could not to NOT rec it, even if it is not a ‘proper’ fanfic.
And now… on with the fics!
Rec #1: [Less Than Perfect]
Word Count/WIP?: 59,339, no
Why This Must Be Read: It takes place in series 1. Usagi awakens to her memory as moon princess, but she is not ready to reveal her rediscovered identity to her shenshi … or Tuxedo Mask. Part of her can’t believe she is supposed to be this pure creature that means so much to so many but more than that, she doesn’t want her friends to look at her differently… she is not who she used to, and she is not perfect. Yet as her newfound confidence starts emerging , and she lets in a few on her secret, she finds that to prepare her warriors before the truth comes out might be a race against time itself. This is a beautiful tale following Usagi as she steps into her role as moon princess more gradually and completely than we saw in canon, with Mamoru at her side. Ship-wise, it highlights all the things I most liked about Usagi/Mamoru in the mangaverse – the natural way they fit together, the easy intimacy and trust in each other, the constant supportiveness. Character-wise, it takes Mars’ attitude and random arrogance from the anime series as even the group’ occasionally dismissive approach to Usagi, and by owning up to them, it uses them to push further a more complex and adult story of leadership, friendship, and love.
Rec #2 Stolen Moments
Word Count/WIP?: 65,188, no
Why This Must Be Read: ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. ‘A series of one shots following Usagi during her first semesters of college trying to live a normal life after defeating Galaxia, getting ready to rule the world and dealing with Mamoru-Baka who keeps showing up everywhere! U/M Fun, light and happy.’
This one instead does a perfect job of showing off what makes Serena/Darien so enjoyable in the anime-verse – accidental camaraderie and faux antagonism and playfulness. A lighthearted journey of them sharing the college experience, and growing closer for it, told with a wonderful sense of humour.
Rec #3: Saw,Loved, Sought
Word Count/WIP?: 3824,no
Why This Must Be Read: ‘Five times their past lives missed their chance (and one to live on).’ A poetically written collection of snapshots of different lifetimes where Serena and Darien (or their reincarnated counteparts, anyway) keep finding, loving, and losing each other since Silver Millenium, cutting through Ancient Rome, the Third Crusades, the 1520’s Renaissance and Puritan Massachusetts, until last present day chance where they finally seize their moment. It captures beautifully a sense of serendipidity and bittersweet longings and nostalgia for lost opportunities.
Rec #4: Apologies
Word Count/WIP?: 3014, no
Why This Must Be Read: ‘King Endymion has to answer for the R-break up. He thought Sailor Pluto would be the most difficult apology. He was wrong.’ Ever wondered how NeoQueen Serenity would respond to know her husband plotted to mess with the timeline, engineering one unnecessarily painful breakup and loss of many happy memories she was sure she had at some point? Or about the King specific motivations behind the sending of prophetic dreams to his past self? Or Sailor Pluto’s feelings about having her task violated by his meddling? Well, wonder no more. This story will answer all the questions you never knew you had. With both seriousness and humour. Hell hath no fury as a sarcastic and furious wife. Brilliant dialogue and catching portrayal of older and married Serenity and Endymion.
Rec #5: the borderlines we drew between us
Word Count/WIP?: 3130, no
Why This Must Be Read: Tosca writes this ship like nobody else, especially when it comes to show how Usagi and Mamoru mend each other in times of crisis. Here she takes the moment in S arc of the manga where the outer shenshi were still ambiguously keeping themselves apart and nearly-antagonistic toward the inner shenshi, after a particular betrayal that left the group fragile. Mamoru knows he can’t fight his princess’ battles for her, but he will bring to the fight what he has, establishing himself as mediator and protector. It paints a stunning picture of a man who is aware of his limitations and is willing to play his strengths all he can to stand by the women he loves. The author also has a clear-cut perception of who Usagi is both as a person and as leader that jumps across the page without even trying.
Rec #6: Empty as that beating drum
Word Count/WIP?: 3554, no
Why This Must Be Read: Yet another great Mamoru POV from tosca1390, digging in his mind to explore how and why he came to need going to Harvard. His love for Usagi, his insecurities as a man, his full commitment to the future he knows it’s already written but it still requires all of his responsibility to choose it – it makes for a very complete character portrayal, and tosca1390 complete the picture by pinning down the relationship between him and Usagi through the deep and natural intimacy of small gestures of consideration and respect toward each other . Sad and lovely.
Rec #7: Operation Heart Angels
Word Count/WIP?: 13032, no
Why This Must Be Read: ‘Usagi is devastated and crying in phone booths. Did Mamoru really think he could dump her without a reason and that the Inner Senshi would just stand by and watch it happen? Oh, silly man. [Set during R, between episodes 61 and 77.]’ Hilarious AND moving. Mamoru TRIES to stay strong and resist in front of every shenshi’s different tactic to get out of him the reason of his behavior and he almost succeeds. The girls are so IC here, and you even feel a bit for how much it costs to Mamoru to keep up his charade. Priceless.
Rec #8: oh, take me back to the start
Rating/Warning(s): mature, some sexual situations
Word Count/WIP?: 16072, no
Why This Must Be Read: Silver Millennium AU in which due to circumstances that threaten her life, Serenity is smuggled to Earth and hidden in the court of Prince Endymion, a man she heard little of, and none of it good … fae away from home, the princess tries to prove herself as more than a fragile thing. Masquerading as a bodyguard to the prince, and kinswoman to one of his generals, she has to be careful to not let her identity to be discovered and put Hearth to risk of a war it cannot afford. Intriguing premise, believably woven, and notable for the rare treat of a close friendship between Serenity and the four heavenly kings of canon. Sizzling chemistry between Serenity and Endymion. What more do you need?
Rec #9: i should tell you to leave ‘cause i (know exactly where this leads)
Word Count/WIP?: 36309, no
Why This Must Be Read: ‘I never truly hated Chiba, seriously. He was just my asshole jerk TA who never could seem to get it through his thick skull that maybe I just don’t like science, okay, it’s not a personal affront to your teaching stylings, God.
Usagi really just wanted to pass physics, not start a secret affair with her prickly but otherwise gorgeous TA, Mamoru.’
OR … The college AU where Usagi has quite the pottymouth and all the best lines, and she and Mamoru proceed to have one hot and clandestine relationship that is not without gloriously silly and sweet moments. Usagi really shines in this one as she is the witty and ever-entertaining narrator, and a note of difference is that the author portrayed her as bisexual and very in tune with her sexuality and herself in general. Part of a series: http://archiveofourown.org/series/223031
Rec #10: Key to my heart
Word Count/WIP?: 1641, no
Why This Must Be Read: Mamoru gives to Usagi the spare key to his apartment, her insecurities stir under the surface, candy sweet fluff ensues. Too cute for words, and full of banter.