In this ficlet, I look at the Sailor Moon story from the point of view of Tsukino Kenji, as he reflects about his daughter, Usagi. I wanted to explore the love a parent feels for their children, especially one with a destiny written in the stars. I hope you like this offering.
I am a working man, my name is Tsukino Kenji, and I am just like any other family man in Juuban -- a picturesque suburb of the city of Tokyo. I am most fortunate to have a beautiful wife, daughter and a son I love more than anything else in the world. I am contented. Rarely do I get the chance to reflect, given my busy schedule, but all that is changed.
I and Ikuko are, for the most part, your typical Japanese suburban family. Yes, but there is one very important difference between ourselves and our neighbors
– allow me to explain.
Our daughter is an effervescent young woman with dreams and aspirations, as with any typical young lady her age. But what sets her apart is the fact our gifted daughter has a most extraordinary legacy.
In all my wildest dreams, I could not have possibly anticipated anything like this – so here is my story.
I remember this day with absolute clarity; there I was, with my charming wife, Ikuko, her lovely purple hair streaming loosely down her back, in her soft amber dress with its Cherry Blossom motifs that cradled her youthful figure to perfection -- revealing equally youthful limbs from beneath its wide flowing knee-length hem.
She turned bright eyes towards me, melting my heart as Usagi and Shingo looked about them in awe, gasping at the incredible exhibits. We were standing within the newly opened Tokyo museum, its white marble walls ascending some 150 feet over our heads. We were admiring its lavish murals -- these played host to a plethora of incredible exhibits.
Before us rose a reconstructed ancient ship, rescued from the corrosive tendrils of the waters off the east coast of our beloved homeland. Its sculptured woodwork and metalwork within the accommodations, bridge and elsewhere aboard this vessel were most impressive -- its deck and rigging fully restored; it was magnificent. The tour had been a wonderful experience, to go back centuries and taste a little of our history, reclaimed from the depths of the great ocean was truly amazing. The ship, mounted on its massive platform within the vast chamber was one of hundreds of fascinating exhibits for locals and tourists alike. These ancient mariners must have been amongst the bravest and most mysterious amongst the ancestors, and perhaps the bravest.
After exiting the ship and stepping onto terra-firma, we stopped to catch our breaths and took digital footage of the magnificent craft. Then, all of a sudden, the foundations shook violently, almost toppling the display.
We ran into an adjacent chamber and sought what shelter we could manage at short notice. I stumbled. Ikuko grabbed Shingo and we crouched together in an archway beneath a granite table as the sound of thunderous footfalls -- like nothing I had ever heard in my life -- continued to cause panic around us.
The vast chamber where we clung desperately together was filled with screaming children and shouting adults, seeking cover from an unknown threat. But soon its source became horrifically apparent.
"Shingo, stay absolutely still…Usagi, keep him quiet, that thing is coming this way -- Ikuko, my love, its all right. We are safe here. It won’t be able to reach us under here," I said with more confidence than I actually felt.
"It's a Youma mom," Shingo gasped, his young face contorted with fear.
"I know darling, now please, keep quiet," she told him, drawing her children closer to her bosom.
"Usagi...? Will Sailor Moon come to our aid?"
"I am sure she will, Shingo… I want you to keep very still and listen out for Sailor Moon, K. She will be here in a minute… I know it." Usagi hugged her mother and stepped away. I stared at her and was about to order her to get down when my attention was drawn back to the entrance. Little did I expect Sailor Moon to come to our aid, and her words would prove to be so close to home, and that all our lives would be changed forever.
Without warning, my heart was filled with terror as a bright red light exploded within the chamber, blinding us for a second or two. I lifted my gaze to locate its source, and my mouth gaped at the sight of the hideous creature -- part machine and part pterosaur – as it lunged at the people trying to escape the museum.
Usagi looked at Luna, who had mysteriously appeared at her side. I worried for the little black cat, asking myself how she made her way here and how on Earth she snuck past the vision of nightmare before us.
Then, I thought I was really losing it. Shingo stood stock still, despite his fear, staring at his sister. Ikuko was shocked and began to tremble as Usagi spoke to the cat and it answered in a cultured voice, saying -- transform now Sailor Moon – Usagi thrust her arm into the air -- no time to think – and transformed into… Sailor Moon…, I was too stunned to bother about the Youma, or the fact the family cat, Luna began to instruct our daughter on the best strategy on how to – take out—this frightening opponent
Sailor Moon stood like a Goddess of ancient times, beautiful and powerful, aglow with silvery light, raising her crystal wand unleashing rays of brilliant silvery-maroon light that struck the monster, shattering the thing. It was made of crystal.
But just when we thought our amazing daughter had saved the day, a legion of small figures -- like reptiles with wolf-like faces -- jumped from its glittering remains. Sailor Moon was in trouble, but she held her own.
Then, a tall, longhaired blonde man wearing a court-jester's hat covered in strange chiming bells in a glistening black leather body suit and black knee-high boots, holding a gold staff appeared before her. He laughed, throwing witticisms at our Usagi… Err, Sailor Moon. And his jokes, puns and jeers were themed on the different creatures that flooded the complex.
I thought we were done. People lay everywhere, drained of energy. I was certain these individuals were on the threshold of the afterlife when a gathering of newly arrived suited fighters materialized in the center of the room, eleven in all -- four of these I'd not seen before -- accompanied by a brilliant flash of magenta light. These older and dressed more like exotic dancers than what the people of Tokyo were used to seeing whenever the Senshi fought an enemy. But there was no mistaking their incredible abilities.
They raised their wands, and with one voice chanted their battle cry.
The jester dropped a terrible line. Shook his head, made his apologies to his decaying minions and excused himself. "Ladies, it's been nice, and Tux, you really have to do something about that dowdy old suit of yours…its cramping my style…old boy," he chuckled, shaking his head before crossing his arms like a pharaoh and vanished into a silvery-green flare, and was gone.
But before he dematerialized, his passing comments were followed rapidly by a blaze of black light – black – yes…light, of that I couldn't say for certain, but it was most unhinging.
As if we hadn't seen enough, all at once the exhibits came to life and began attacking the Senshi. Sailor Moon was struck, and both I and my wife screamed with pain and rage.
We didn't care about the Youma. We rushed to where our daughter lay unconscious and knelt by her side. Then a volley of red-roses struck the front ranks of the Youma descending upon us all and Tuxedo Kamen joined us, comforting my beloved Ikuko -- weeping uncontrollably with our daughter’s limp body in her arms.
But then, a beautiful sound filled the chamber. Our child, this courageous young woman -- a heart as big as the moon she represented -- aglow with a fantastic shining light of silver and gold, the silver light emerging from her heart, blending with the golden light issuing from the caped warrior at her side. He brushed her lips with his own whispering his proclamation of eternal love for Sailor Moon. "Don't leave me, my only love. I need you… I love you, my Usako," he said with all the emotion and conviction one who truly loves possesses. I recognized this feeling as I chanced a look at my Ikuko. I wasn't angered by this man's declaration, as was usually my way. Usagi was an adolescent young woman, all of eighteen years of age. It was not objectionable to me if a man of such valor and honor had given his heart to our precious daughter. Of course, I was curious about his identity, but felt at peace having this man holding Usagi's heart in his care. I felt a little sad at the thought of handing our daughter into this valiant warriors keeping, but given our current predicament, I soon found myself dragged to the present moment -- Tuxedo Kamen, Ikuko -- as were we all at that moment -- found ourselves enveloped by silvery-gold light.
But while all this was happening around us, the child we knew as Hotaru ran into the chamber, raised her hand into the air and transformed. She too was a Senshi, my mixed feelings of joy and fear at the sight of this young Senshi, a friend of our niece, Rini -- a Sailor Senshi. And this too blew my mind completely. It seemed the Senshi had always been part of our lives from the very beginning.
Sailor Moon – our beloved Usagi – had opened her eyes. It was then I realized she was wearing a most stunning silvery gown – atop her head, a silver tiara with a moonstone crescent set into the fine silvery lattice upon her brow adorning her familiar Odangos -- she was a princess, so beautiful and majestic.
Saturn raised her glaive and chanted some sort of incantation and the creatures returned to their pedestals and platforms.
Tuxedo Kamen asked us to step back from Usagi, or Sailor Moon – I didn't bother with distinctions at that point. She was our daughter, and that counted for everything at that moment. The princess of the moon climbed to her feet, raised her arms and a shimmering light streamed from our daughters hands and heart, washing over the fallen -- bringing them back from the brink of oblivion.
Well, many tears were shed in that all-important moment. The sounds of ambulances, police sirens and a lot of scurrying about as Japanese Home Guard Special Forces searched for the long gone protagonists and secured the museum. As the military leader set eyes on our beautiful daughter, he and his troops, fell to their knees and gave their salutations to Princess Serenity.
As you could imagine, we had many questions to ask of our daughter and the Senshi. But first, we savored our elation at the victory of our beloved Usagi as Sailor Moon and her suited warriors in the face of such an ominous threat, and for this, we were relieved and most grateful. The Senshi had teleported away and only the princess and legendary Tuxedo Kamen -- flanked by the talking cats -- Luna and Artemis remained.
"Mom, dad… I never meant for you to find out I was Sailor Moon. You see… I didn't want you to worry yourselves sick about my safety. I did it--"
"It's all right, Usagi dear. I am proud of you, but a little afraid for you, too, my daughter," Ikuko told her in a whisper.
"We must leave now. But mother, I will explain it all at home tonight," she told her mother as they embraced, and I and Shingo wrapped our arms about them protectively as Tuxedo Kamen gave us this moment as a family alone.
"We will be waiting," Ikuko told Usagi.
I turned to Tuxedo Kamen, "See she arrives safely son," I said with a smile on my face.
He returned the smile and nodded, "Yes, Kenji-sama. I will, on that you can rely." then they were gone.
I hadn’t expected an epiphany for any of us. Life I knew was forever changed for us all.
Usagi sat us down and began explaining the process of transformation we had witnessed, "Like Me, we all must return to the physical plane every so often to learn and to grow. Some of us have specific tasks to perform beyond those expected of the majority, as you have discovered."
Usagi smiled and held the glowing Ginzuishou in her slender hands. We all touched it. Then a silvery light surrounded us all, and for a moment, I felt all the power of the stars and love that throbbed through our Usagi rush into our bodies. It was amazing. I knew and understood it all as did Ikuko and Shingo. The Silver Millennium, the conflicts with countless enemies our brave daughter and her Senshi had fought over the last five years since her awakening.
I smiled at Luna -- to talk to a cat was something we were going to have to get used to -- but I didn't mind.
After this revelation, life gradually returned to normal. The enemy Sailor Moon had encountered had been defeated in a final showdown a month after her identity was revealed. Mamoru, we learned through the Ginzuishou, was Tuxedo Kamen and had been Prince Endymion in previous embodiments, and would be king of the Crystal Kingdom -- its capital -- Crystal Tokyo in the future. Rini, we also discovered with surprise and delight was actually Usagi's daughter sent from the future to be trained in the ways of a Senshi Princess and to be protected from the Dark Moon Family. We were spellbound by all this. And after all these startling revelations, we were content with the knowledge our people, our country and our world were safe.
As time progressed, Usagi became more like any other typical University student, surprising everyone with her academic achievements. Who would have believed that the once forgetful and scatterbrain girl we loved so well would become a focused achiever and have the world at her feet.
I can tell you, that even if Usagi weren't a soldier of justice, she is as beautiful and formidable as any Senshi Princess without the powers and responsibility that goes with that station.
I find myself standing with tears of joy on my cheeks. Ikuko, likewise overwhelmed. We have a beautiful granddaughter -- little Rini -- a wondrous dream come true -- her soft pink face and tiny hands seizing life with a determination that matched that of her mother at a similar age. And why not, as the world was unfolding before her in a tapestry of colors, delicious sound and sensations that were a smorgasbord to her senses.
Rini clung tenaciously to my index finger and growled. Usagi giggled while Mamoru beamed with pride.
Parenthood definitely agreed with them -- baby Rini -- feeding determinately at mother's breast. Usagi suggested we drop in on the Cherry Hill Temple to catch up with her friend, Hino Rei.
It was a gorgeous sun splashed afternoon. We smiled our agreement as we joined the many families enjoying the fragrant afternoon in the temple grounds -- children, friends and lovers alike all about us were taking in the festive atmosphere and beauty of the Cherry Blossom festival. We were dumbstruck by the breathtaking carpet of soft petals that almost seemed to have been sprinkled upon the ground for baby Rini and her mother.
Rei was delighted to see us, her eyes lighting up like lanterns as she rushed to greet us, having set aside her broom -- ebony tresses flowing out behind her as the priestess opened her arms to receive Usagi. The two women fussed over the baby, talking animatedly, "You look amazing, girlfriend…as do you, Mamo-chan, as always!"
The young Miko looked exalted by the reunion. She told us it had been almost three months since she'd last seen Usagi and Mamoru. Rei had been away studying in Osaka, causing her to miss the birth, "Come. Grandfather is preparing green tea. We have your favorite, Usagi-chan, blueberry muffins!"
"Oh, wow, mom…dad, Rei makes the best muffins -- just wait till you taste them," she said in that wide-eyed way we'd come to know so well -- turning quickly to lead the way inside -- Luna hot on her heels.
Usagi smiled warmly at Rei, "Want to hold her?"
"You bet I do, Usa-chan," she replied, a gentle expression on her face. Soon Rini rested in the arms of the awestruck priestess, "She is so tiny and so sweet…she's beautiful, Usa-chan. She has your eyes and Mamoru's smile!"
"And Usagi's appetite," Mamoru chuckled, as Rini, once more fastened on for another long feed.
"She's a growing girl, you know…" Usagi laughed.
"Like mother, like daughter…" Rei giggled as we sat for our green tea and enjoyed the leisurely afternoon sunshine.
Later, Minako , Makoto and Ami, along with Usagi's other friends gathered at the family home for a meal. Ikuko had help from Makoto in the kitchen whilst the rest of us fussed over baby Rini and Usagi -- Rini loved the attention. We all had a wonderful time.
The holiday period passed all too soon. Both Usagi and Mamoru said their goodbyes and were almost ready to go. Like Ikuko, I can say I shed a few tears, and aren't ashamed to admit it either. But the parting would be brief, for in three months time they would be buying a house on the outskirts of Juuban, a twenty-minute drive from the family home. Far enough away that we didn't cramp their style, but close enough to make distance less of a barrier – the happy medium.
Before they stepped from the veranda, our daughter handed the baby to her proud father and turned to face me, producing a small package from her shoulder bag. It was a soft toy cat key holder -- almost identical in color to Luna. It seemed that everything had come full circle, as we had given Usagi such a gift when she was a girl.
The first time a Luna look-alike key holder found its way into Usagi's life was the day Ikuko took Usagi shopping. She had spotted the key holder in the window of a little jewelry store. It turned out that Molly's mother owned the business and was more than happy to sell the trinket at a fare price. The key holder possessed a pair of fiery golden eyes and diamond studded collar. Usagi fell in love with it as soon as she clapped eyes on it. It was the perfect gift for Usagi's fifteenth birthday.
The key holder was almost identical to her beloved cat, Luna. Usagi told us years later that while Luna waited for her to emerge from classes, she spent time outside on a low hanging branch in the playground. That was when she and Artemis weren't on a mission or meeting at Central Control with the others . The Luna look-alike key holder was in hand, or hanging upon a chain around her neck -- this cute little keepsake meant Luna could be with her in spirit whenever the faithful feline was unable to enjoy her company. The talisman, served as a special link between them. Usagi delighted in telling us about how she would stroke its soft fur while trying to puzzle out a particularly difficult problem during an assignment, and she swore it helped.
**End of Flashback**
Childhood is such a fragile and transient thing. I know. But Luna and Usagi were inseparable. When all was revealed regarding her Senshi nature and the fact that Luna and Artemis were from a world called Mau and could talk, we appreciated how special Luna and her companion truly were. Luna had guided Usagi through the difficult journey fate had bestowed upon her, and did it extremely well I must say. Luna has since shared many anecdotes about those days, many chilling, but most heart-warming.
Usagi found Luna in a park; some children were teasing her, having placed band-aids over a unique marking on the cat's brow -- a crescent moon. Usagi had chased off her protagonists and Luna had taken to her immediately. After a period of careful observation, the Moon Cat revealed herself as Usagi's feline guardian and told her of her legacy. In fact, Luna had become part of the family well before the revelation of Usagi's identity as the Moon Princess to us all.
It is a week after Usagi and Mamoru had visited us with the baby, and though we miss her terribly, we will remember the wide-eyed princess as a magical child, who, whenever she entered a room, would illuminate it without effort.
A parent's love knows no bounds. Usagi is truly special, for not only did she endear herself to all of us who love her most, but to everyone in Juuban and beyond.
I remember it all with fondness as if it were the day before, taking her for a ride on my motorbike when I was still finishing my PHD. I delighted in our four-year-olds giggling and exclamations at all she encountered, Usagi would stare, fascinated by a blossoming flower, be enraptured by the melodic refrain of a beautiful songbird and mesmerized by colorful butterflies.
Everyone wanted to be her friend. She would help anyone in trouble, be it with homework, or comforting a friend. She was first to put up her hand if help was called for. We are so proud of her.
As I touch the Luna look-alike key holder that Usagi bought for us to think of her whenever we miss her, Mamoru and the baby – even Luna – and that's just about all the time – I become lost in my thoughts. Ikuko touches my cheek, and I smile as I take her hand and we go inside the house.
I sit in my favorite chair, the warmth of the sun lifting my spirits, feeling the soft ears of the cat key holder in my palm -- unconsciously stroking its soft back – eyes closed -- I see Usagi and Luna sitting on the rug in front of the fire. Oh, what memories, I think to myself as I wrap another soft cat key holder for six year-old Rini, place it under the Christmas tree in the living room, and smile at our daughter.