Ordinary-schoolgirl Usagi Tsukino is far less loved than her Sailor Senshi form, but even the celestial star of the show gets outvoted.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK recently wrapped up an online poll asking fans to pick their favorite character from the Sailor Moon anime franchise. The voting is now finished, and while some of the results are no surprise, the big shocker is that Sailor Moon herself failed to capture the top spot in the popularity rankings for her own series.

A total of 82,706 votes were cast, with 89 percent of the respondents being women, and only 11 percent men. Age-wise, the largest groups were respondents aged 30-39, followed by 20-29 (30.6 percent), 19 and younger (11.7 percent) and 40-49 (8.3 percent). Also, before we get to the top 50 results, keep in mind that the poll split each character up into all of his or her alter egos (with the sole exception of Helios/Pegasus, who ended up at number 33). That means, for example, that votes for Sailor Moon, her ordinary schoolgirl persona Usagi Tsukino, her past life Princess Serenity, and her future-self Neo Queen Serenity were all counted separately.

As a result, the Sailor Senshi and their secret identities dominated the upper rankings, accounting for 15 of the top 20. Notable characters pushed out of the top 20 included Setsuna Meioh (Sailor Pluto’s civilian form, ranked 48), Luna (30), Tuxedo Mask (27), Mamoru Chiba (26), Sailor Chibi Moon (25), Chibiusa (23). Sailor Pluto (22) and Rei Hino (Sailor Mars’ secret identity, 21).

OK, with that groundwork laid, let’s look at the top 20 results.

20. Sailor Jupiter
19. Black Lady
18. Luna (human form)
17. Tomoe Hotaru
16. Sailor Mars
15. Usagi Tsukino
14. Sailor Neptune
13. Princess Serenity
12. Sailor Venus
11. Fish Eye

▼ Fish Eye, in case the name doesn’t ring a bell


The 11-20 group has a surprisingly strong showing from cat mentor Luna’s human form, which she only appears in for the Sailor Moon S movie and briefly in one episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, but left enough of an impression to inspire a wedding gown and lingerie set based on the character’s design. Another unexpected presence is Sailor Moon R sub-villain Fish Eye, and this is also where Usagi Tsukino shows up, putting her in the bottom half of likability for the Sailor Senshi’s everyday identities.

10. Sailor Mercury
9. Ami Mizuno
8. Makoto Kino
7. Sailor Saturn
6. Michiru Kaioh
5. Kou Seiya
4. Minako Aino

▼ Makoto Kino at 8th will seem way too low for fans with refined taste.

During the Sailor Moon anime’s 1990s TV broadcast, in Japan it was Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno who had the most vocally loyal fanbase. NHK’s poll, however, has Sailor Jupiter’s alter ego Makoto Kino beating out both forms of the character, and among the Inner Senshi’s schoolgirl personas it’s Minako Aino (a.k.a. Sailor Venus) who ranks the highest, and who also makes the top four spots a sweep for Sailor Moon’s blonds.

3. Haruka Tenoh
2. Sailor Moon
1. Sailor Uranus

▼ Sailor Uranus

In the end, Sailor Moon only manages to climb to the number-two spot, sandwiched between Haruka Tenoh and her Outer Senshi form of Sailor Uranus.

NHK’s results don’t mention the exact vote count for each character, so there’s no way to tell how wide Sailor Uranus’ margin of victory was. However, with Uranus/Haruka finishing at numbers 1 and 3, compared to Moon/Usagi’s 2 and 15, pooling the alternate-form votes would likely have the Outer Senshi well ahead of the anime’s titular star.

As a matter of fact, with the exception of the oft-forgotten/off-screen Setsuna, none of the Senshi had a bigger gap between their Sailor and non-Sailor forms than Usagi and Sailor Moon. Maybe that shouldn’t be so shocking, considering that the anime’s commitment to consistently showcasing Usagi’s lazy or selfish tendencies can sometimes end up making her personality grating instead of relatable, and it’s possible that aspect of the character is part of what ultimately made even her role as Sailor Moon less admirable in voters’ eyes than the always strong and cool Sailor Uranus.

Source: NHK
Top image: NHK
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