mamoru's confession

In the final moments of episode 200 of Sailor Moon, Usagi asks Mamoru how he feels about her. It is within this quiet, intimate moment, the battle with Galaxia finally at an end, that Usagi and Mamoru share in their final piece of dialog with one another of the anime series.

Usagi: Mamo-chan, do you love me?
Mamoru: Yes.
Usagi: Really?
Mamoru: Yes.
Usagi: Like how?
Mamoru: What brought this on all of a sudden?
Usagi: Please, like how?

Their words are quietly exchanged, Usagi clinging onto Mamoru's arm, face pressed against the sleeve of his coat. Mamoru's replies are simple, yet as Usagi continues to question, his syllables become slightly accentuated, conveying his commitment to what he says. When Usagi presses once more, Please, like how? Mamoru finally relents. Yet, this response by Mamoru is one that has often aggravated me. Usagi softly pleads with Mamoru to finally express how he feels and his response is anything than what I would have imagined:

These were, what I felt, rather lack luster words by Mamoru. Here we are witnessing the final moment with Usagi and Mamoru that we are ever going to see in the anime, and after everything that Usagi had gone through, did she not deserve a more passionate response? But it is important to first understand the nature of the Japanese language in comparison to others. Unlike English, the Japanese do not have a slew of words to express love. The words I love you, do not really exist and are rarely used. It is difficult for Mamoru's response to be properly translated into English. Some translators will use the words that describe Mamoru as feeling wonderful energy by being around Usagi. For my own aesthetic pleasure, I prefer the translation of It feels wonderful to be with you.

Now it is important to consider not simply the words spoken by Mamoru, but the manner in which he speaks them and the emotion held upon his face. Mamoru does not respond to Usagi in a way that implies that he is simply trying to satisfy her, an unfelt stream of "I like being around you" in order to placate a small child. Nor does Mamoru say these words in a light hearted manner.

Mamoru hesitates for a moment. Not because he feels cornered, scrambling to concoct some desperate phrase so that Usagi will not unleash her tidal wave of tears upon him. Mamoru needs this moment. His voice grows soft, as if the words are difficult to speak, as if he has spent countless hours, days, months without the feeling of Usagi by his side, lost in death as he was, and now that he is with her once again, the words may rush from him in a broken spill of fragile emotion. Mamoru manages to smile for her and his eyes become watery. Mamoru very rarely shows this expression. He has only allowed this naked sense of tearful relief to appear on two other occasions, both of which involve one similar situation: Usagi's resurrection.

We first see it in the R season when Sailor Moon awakens from her battle from Wiseman, in which her use of the Gizinshou has drained her body of energy. When she finally awakes in Mamoru's arms, smiling weakly into his face, Mamoru responds with a tearfully grateful smile of his own. The second is in the R movie, after Sailor Moon has used the Gizinshou to safely return everyone home. Here, Sailor Moon has died, and it is only after Fiore gives up his life for her does she return. This time Mamoru is unable to hold back tears, smiling and nodding down at her, eyes brimming with gratefulness.

This is the expression that Mamoru holds now as he whispers to Usagi: It feels wonderful to be with you. Mamoru speaks these words with indescribable emotion, as if he does not know how to convey his affection towards Usagi in any other way, that centuries of history - secret love, torn apart from one another in death, reunited once again only to go through countless trials, countless deaths, countless meaningless pain - that it is all narrowed down to one moment between them. Mamoru strips away all that cumbersome and pain-laden history and seeks to convey his emotions as simply and honestly as he can.

And Usagi in return understands, as she always has, she understands the meaning behind his words and accepts them with adoration and love. © 2012 rebecca.
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