There’s a lot happening here in these frames, and it’s kind of exquisite, the places we go. COME LET’S TAKE A TOUR.
Our first stop is Haruka, who just puts it all out on the table. Like I said a couple posts ago, she’s not into playing games really (when she seems to be, it’s not a game so much as “I HAVE GIANT FEELINGS AND NO MEANS TO DEAL WITH THEM”). So when Minako’s trying to act like she’s digging into Haruka’s deepest darkest psyche with her questions about loneliness and ordinary happiness, Haruka’s response is basically “Do YOU?”
Which isn’t too terribly surprising. Depending on the details (and precisely how far up her ass her head is at the time), Haruka does have a knack for figuring people out.
It helps, too, when Minako is being as subtle as brick to the head.
Which brings us to our next stop: MINAKO’S SHOCK AND WONDERMENT
It’s hilarious because while I do give Haruka some credit for insight here, YOU’RE STILL THE FUCKING BRICK MINAKO. You may think Minako is being sarcastic here, but I truly don’t think so. I believe her surprise that Haruka just cut right to the heart of it all is completely genuine, AND THAT IS FANTASTIC.
For as much as I love to talk up Ten Steps Ahead Minako (and I do, I believe in her utterly), the fact remains that she’s also incredibly young, as well as incredibly inexperienced, despite her experience. She’s also distressed right now and going through some shit, and I think she got so absorbed in playing her game with Haruka, she forgot that she was showing her entire hand in the process.
SHE’S JUST SO FLOORED THAT SOMEONE WAS ON TO HER
In one quick move, Haruka’s turned it all around on Minako, and she was entirely unprepared for it. She lies (of course she lies), but she’s too stunned to sell it. She can’t even look Haruka in the eye as she does it. (Wonderfully contrasted by how earlier she spent an entire conversation cheerfully lying to Kid Volleyball’s face.)
Which brings us to the final stop on our tour, and that’s the expression Haruka has in the bottom cap. There’s such warmth and fondness in that moment. I think it’s more than just solidarity, too. Yeah Haruka DOES know about sacrificing happiness and feeling lonely and isolated because of those choices. She gets where Minako is coming from, even if she couldn’t possibly guess right now just HOW closely their experiences align.
That’s part of it though. That Minako can innocently ask these questions, that the full breadth of her worries and concerns would be “I have to study for high school entrance exams and don’t have time for dating right now, WOE MY ORDINARY HAPPINESS HOW BITTER IS MY SACRIFICE”. That’s exactly the shit Haruka is fighting for, willing to kill for. So that bright, lively, wonderful girls like MInako can worry about school tests and dating.
The other part, I think, is just Haruka happy in this moment that she can help. SHE can help. Her, Haruka, not Sailor Uranus. She doesn’t have to kill anything or fight anyone. She doesn’t have to be a soldier. She just has to be a compassionate shoulder and an understanding voice and she can make a difference.