the dead moon circus

I’m going through the Dream arc of the manga, thinking about the upcoming Crystal season, and noticing things I didn’t before. I’ve always kind of glossed over Act 42: Jupiter Dream. I guess it’s just never really stuck out for me, not the way that Jupiter-centered chapters in earlier arcs do (one of my favorite parts of the entire Nemesis arc is Makoto’s chapter, so it’s a tough act to follow).

But reading over it again, I love this.

Makoto meets a member of the Dead Moon Circus who has just opened their own herb shop. Although suspicious at first, seeing this person pursuing a dream that she herself shares makes Makoto open up to a complete stranger. She wants so badly to connect to this classy older drag queen. She wants a mentor so badly that she’s willing to ignore a bunch of red flags (a circus member who sells herbs from the amazon?) because it’s so rare that she finds a kindred spirit.

She wants to believe that there’s someone like her. Someone who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, who loves pretty things, who takes pleasure in food and tea, who wanted to own a shop and actually went for it. She sees someone like Hawkeye, ridiculously tall with weird bird hair, rocking a black lacy dress like it’s no big deal, unashamed of who they are and finding success in the life that Makoto wants.

Of all the senshi in this arc, Makoto is the only one who actually connects with the enemy on a human level. Fisheye sneaks into Ami’s home as an actual fish, Tigerseye mostly runs around as an actual tiger. But though Hawkeye’s trap has already been laid in the form of a cursed ring, Makoto actually returns to talk about the issue again.

How do you get to an orphan with aspirations? With a mentor.

And this is how the enemy gets her. Not by brute force, but by connecting with her on an emotional level. By showing her a future that she wishes she could have for herself.