Haruka and Usagi
My take on the Haruka/Usagi relationship - is it platonic or romantic?

In the anime series, it is pretty clear to me that Haruka's relationship with Usagi is platonic. In civilian form, Haruka and Michiru are both fond of Usagi, although Haruka is obviously fonder. Haruka likes teasing Usagi and calls her pet names, including "odango" and "koneko-chan." However, in my opinion, there's never any real indication that Haruka feels anything more than a strong protectiveness towards Usagi. This protectiveness is based on Usagi's purity and innocence, which Haruka frequently comments on, as well as Usagi's status as the Sailor Senshi's princess. As for Usagi, she doesn't show any genuine attraction to Haruka after discovering that Haruka is female, although she likes how Haruka smells and is occasionally flustered by Haruka's flirtations. Usagi is even distressed at Makoto's apparent continued attraction to Haruka, even though Makoto knows that Haruka is a girl.

Going to the opposite end of the spectrum, while Uranus and Neptune are generally cold to Sailor Moon and the Sailor Team in Sailor Moon S, they don't hate them. Yes, there is a lot of tension between the two groups, but this is due to their different objectives and completely different ideologies. In SailorStars, Uranus's mission becomes to protect the Earth and Princess Serenity, something she would not fully commit to if she did not care for Sailor Moon.

I believe that Haruka loves Usagi, but just as all the other Sailor Senshi do - as a friend, as a protector for her princess. Usagi is important to Haruka, and Haruka is important to Usagi. There's love, but it's platonic love.

The manga, though, is more problematic.

To clear up a few misconceptions, Sailor Uranus kisses Sailor Moon once; Usagi dreams that Haruka kisses her once; and Haruka seems about to kiss Usagi before she is interrupted by Mamoru. Mamoru is understandably upset by the attempted kiss but tries not to show it. Soon afterwards, Usagi and Mamoru make up; they confess their jealousy of each other - Usagi was jealous because Mamoru was friendly with Michiru, and Mamoru was jealous because of Haruka. Although Usagi is intrigued by Haruka and probably even physically attracted, her attraction is motivated more by her subconscious jealousy of Mamoru and Michiru; additionally, her interest in Haruka is also based on her belief that Haruka is related to the new Sailor Senshi in some way, as well as her confusion about Haruka and Michiru's attitude.

As for explaining Haruka's actions, I've heard several theories about this: that Takeuchi-sensei hadn't really established Haruka and Michiru's personalities, which I don't see any evidence of, or that Haruka and Michiru were just playing games with each other, which I don't buy into since 1) Michiru doesn't seem to know about Haruka and Usagi's activities and 2) that behavior doesn't mesh with Haruka and Michiru's manga personalities. (It may be worth noting that Haruka does, however, first flirt with Usagi after noticing Michiru talking to Mamoru.)

I believe that Haruka is initially attracted to Usagi. Although this attraction may be somewhat physical, too, I think it is more an innate attraction to Usagi's naivety, purity, and innocence. Characters throughout the series are naturally drawn to Usagi's aura of goodness; Haruka appears no different. Furthermore, Haruka says she wanted to meet Usagi when Usagi didn't know anything about her; Usagi sensed a strong wave of sadness from Haruka; and Mamoru comments that he thinks Haruka and Michiru have "hard circumstances." I therefore think that Haruka sees a way to alleviate her sadness by finding refuge in Usagi's goodness - hence, her attraction to Usagi. On the other hand, Mamoru says that his jealousy of Haruka is justified since Haruka always looks at Usagi "in that way." However, that could just be Mamoru mistaking how Haruka sees Usagi.

Additionally, I think that Haruka confuses her protective feelings for Usagi as attraction, and that this attraction later fades as her protective streak grows. After Mamoru interrupts the almost-kiss, Haruka makes no further romantic overtures towards Usagi throughout the rest of the series. Nevertheless, Haruka's protectiveness of Usagi remains. Uranus is the one that Moon runs to after the Outer Senshi save the Inner Senshi in the Infinity arc. After Sailor Moon appears to have sacrificed herself, Uranus cries that she just wanted to "protect that girl." In the Dream (SuperS arc), Haruka cries a little when she remembers Usagi; Michiru hugs her to comfort her, saying that Haruka wants to see Usagi. While these scenes could be construed as romantic, I think they show Haruka's platonic love for Usagi, however strong that love is. Similarly, all the Sailor Senshi love and want to protect Usagi at all costs, as she is their most important person and their princess.

It is also possible that Haruka was just suffering from the generic "love the main female character" syndrome that strikes a lot of characters in Sailor Moon (and shoujo manga generally). Though this theory also appeals to me, I'm not sure what the point in it happening to Haruka is, either, unless it was just to create a minor roadbump for Mamoru and Usagi's love.

In a nutshell, I believe Haruka's attraction to Usagi is driven mostly by a combination of 1) an attraction to Usagi's inherent goodness and 2) feelings of protectiveness for Usagi. At some point, this attraction becomes platonic love. Usagi, for her part, is mildly attracted to Haruka, but she never really sways from Mamoru. Thus, I think that ultimately, Haruka and Usagi's relationship in the manga is platonic, not romantic.


Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is © Takeuchi Naoko.
Image of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune is © Shoko Mikuni.
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