Kunzite and Zoisite:
In all reality, the odds that two members of a four-person group would find themselves compatible enough to fall in love are very slim. These odds are magnified to little or no chance with the fact that all of the members of the group are men, so that in order for two to fall in love, they must be compatible in personality and sexuality.
The Dark Kingdom kings known as Kunzite and Zoisite apparently didn’t choose to listen to the odds that told them that a relationship like theirs could not be.
The anime never goes deep into the details of their past as a couple. Actually, the anime never goes deep into the details of the pasts of any of the Shitennou, except that it does show that they were the original commanders in the attack on the Moon Kingdom during the Silver Millenium under Beryl. It is unknown if Kunzite and Zoisite were lovers even then (they are standing next to each other, but not at all suspiciously close). That scenario is possible, as is the fact that they may have come together during the thousand years when no one knows exactly what did happen to the Dark Kingdom. The matter is quite open to opinion.
In fact, much about them is.
The general assumption is that Kunzite was Zoisite's teacher. Basically all he does in his first few appearances is to hold Zoisite and give level-headed recommendations that sound more like an instructor's than a lover's or even a superior's. However, this is never proven one way or the other and is not a definite fact. And whether or not he was ever taught by his lover, Zoisite is clearly not a student anymore.
And it is interesting… it is thought by some that Zoisite is very easily gay-looking and effeminate, whereas Kunzite is quite masculine and considered to be wasting himself on another man, and yet Zoisite was not known to be gay for several episodes, while it was obvious from Kunzite's first appearance where his preferences lie.
In most cases, a straight guy wouldn't make his first appearance calmly comforting a pretty young man who was crying into his lap. A straight guy would probably smack the pansy and tell him, "shape up, be a man, toughen up, and get your fool head off my legs." Kunzite pretty much said the shape up part, but he used a smile, soft, stroking hands rather than fists, and didn’t mind how Zoisite positioned himself. (you should've seen my mother's face when she saw the picture I have just above there... I think it frightened her. I had to explain, "No, Zoisite's just sad, and Kunzite's consoling him, that's all. Really!")
So Kunzite really never made viewers ask, "Is he or isn't he?". They knew he was.
Gender aside, Zoisite and Kunzite make a fascinating couple in their differences. Rational, composed, cold Kunzite is nothing like impulsive, hotheaded, emotional Zoisite. They are, more or less, opposites, which makes their togetherness all the stranger, and, of course, all the cuter.
They are also opposites in looks -- Kunzite has colorless hair, pale eyes, and dark skin, whereas Zoisite has bright hair, dark eyes, and pale skin. Kunzite is tall, broad-shouldered, and muscular; Zoisite is short, slender, and lithe.
What is also unknown is how much anyone in the kingdom knows about them. In episode twenty-three, when Zoisite sends the youma Yasha out to tail Nephrite, Yasha is right there to respond, and it doesn't faze her that her masters are cuddling.
However, when they appear in front of Beryl together, they certainly don't act like lovers. Kunzite acts rather cold and haughty to Zoisite (sparing a few discreet glances and sometimes a relatively close proximity) up until the last time, when he does show some emotion as he tries to take the blame for Tuxedo Kamen's injury and the loss of the ginzuishou. While the younger often tries to hide his emotions as well, his obvious admiration and affection for Kunzite often shows on his face.
Even if he doesn't say it till the very, very end, it's quite clear that Zoisite loves his Kunzite-sama.
Kunzite is much harder to read. He appears, when they're alone, to be charmed and amused by Zoisite, but it's much less obvious. I do think he loves Zoisite back, but... in his own way.
Zoisite's first loyalty lies with Kunzite; at one point he swears to himself that he would throw his life away for his lover. Kunzite's loyalties, like much about the most powerful king himself, are unclear, as he continued working for Beryl after Zoisite's death, but his performance was definitely suffering.
They are also not mushy or lovey-dovey. They are, after all, Dark Kingdom Kings and warriors. Yes, they are often seen together, and often when they are seen together, they are doing some sort of snuggling or touching, but for the most part, their dialogue consists of talking mainly about business.
Or, at least, their dialogue onscreen. Offscreen, well... that's left up to the viewer's imagination, I suppose. That, and fanfics/doujinshi.
It's rather clear, however, that part of their implied offscreen time includes some sort of intimate relationship. Careful observation of the scene in episode #23 in which they are sitting together in the garden (the same scene as the earlier screenshot above that shows them holding hands) shows that Kunzite has his other arm around Zoisite's body, and Zoisite's other hand is resting on Kunzite's upper thigh, and the whole picture, to me, has this air of being... suggestive. Yeah. They definitely give off an aura of physical attraction.
However, despite this obvious fondness, Zoisite is a highly jealous person; his lover is very desirable and he knows it, so he more-than-likely fears that Kunzite will find someone else. It is probably true that Kunzite could have just about anyone he wanted, but it is apparent that Zoisite does not see the honor in being the one who Kunzite chose. (he also seems to disregard that he's quite a catch, himself...)
Despite this, he does feel comfortable enough to pout about what Kunzite does and while staying confident that Kunzite will not be so angered as to leave him.So maybe he does realize that he's as cute as the dickens, and no one in his right mind would even consider leaving him...
Regardless of his jealousy, it is clear that Kunzite finds Zoisite beautiful. The scene in episode twenty-nine displaying this fact is one of their most famous, and quite endearing, making the two seem just a little bit less evil and more human.
Not that that's always a good thing, but here, it is.
The rose that is Kunzite's gift is, though, is apparently either completely unexpected or perhaps a sentimental inside statement -- whichever it is, Zoisite accepts it as an apology and absolutely adores the gesture. I don't think Kunzite is big into giving presents or apologizing, and the rose acts as both.
I like this scene a lot, if you can't tell.
The only thing that makes me mad is the animation. Very rarely do the two look as good as they normally do. In practically every angle, it looks like one or the other (or both) has a problem with the lineup or focus of his eyes, or the shape of his mouth or nose, or some other problem. The only part that looks really good is when Kunzite makes the rose. Other than that, the drawings are just off enough to make me want to cringe.
However, it's a lovely, definitely romantic scene between my favorite characters, and they don't get many of those, so I am very fond of it.
One thing that I would like to comment on now is the height difference between the pair. In some episodes it appears to be only about half a foot or less -- um, maybe between 10-15 cm., for the metrically inclined -- and some it looks to be maybe even over a foot -- between 30-35 cm.. Same thing goes for the general size difference -- sometimes Zoisite looks really tiny compared to Kunzite, and sometimes he looks… well, not close; they always follow the yaoi height rule (the shorter man in a pairing will always be the more submissive one), but sometimes Zoi looks a little bit more endurable and less pixie-like, a little bit more comparable to his well-built lover.
To put my own $0.02 in, I think Zoisite's supposed to be of average height -- I don't think this screenshot accurately reflects their character design -- but Kunzite is just really tall. (However, I prefer the episodes in which Zoisite is drawn to a height of at least above Kunzite's shoulders; if you watch episodes 25 and 32, that's what I like.)
But Zoisite obviously feels inferior to Kunzite; I'm sure no one but himself is making him refer to Kunzite as Kunzite-sama every time. Even when they are sharing a private, intimate moment, Zoisite does not drop the honorific, which says so much about the respect involved in this relationship on his part. And contrary to much fanfiction (though I do like it occasionally in fanfics -- it's cute!), Kunzite does not use any sort of honorific toward Zoisite. There's no "Zoi-chan", "Zoi-kun", or any of that. Just "Zoisaito". But at least (usually) he says it in a pretty affectionate manner.
And that makes up for everything.
Part of this affectionate manner, I do want to note, does stem from the visual. I made a reference on my Zoisite page to that I think much of Zoisite's vanity can be attributed to a quirk of Kunzite's -- yes, for a long time I've believed that Kunzite-sama is an aesthetic, which has at least something to do with his affection for Zoisite. I think I've thought this ever since I received my fansubs of episodes #29-36, back in early summer 1999. You see, in just these few episodes, Kunzite calls many things beautiful, including Reika, Zoisite, the nijizuishou, the darkness, his shadow-dome... "utsukushii" seems to be his favorite word.
So where does that leave poor, needy, affection-starved Zoisite? (who, incidentally, never gives any signs that he loves Kunzite for his looks...)
Well, if Kunzite loves him for his beauty (I really don't think Kunzite's that shallow, but you never know, and I think Zoi'd rather be safe than sorry!), hey -- he'd better work hard at protecting that beauty! He gets so angry when his "beautiful face" (to use his words, though I can't help but wonder if he's echoing his lover) gets injured -- but no wonder! A bruised mouth, a cut on the cheek -- and there go Kunzite's good graces! Sure, he wants to die pretty; after all, that's a way he can ensure that Kunzite will forever remember him fondly!
Oh, my. I think I've gone to theorizing again.
Okay. Like most of my theories/opinions, that may or may not be accurate, but that's how I feel. Do give it a thought, will you?
Affection, romance, and aesthetics aside, Kunzite and Zoisite make a damned good team. A damned good evil team, but hey, it's what they are.
When they worked together in the last few episodes that Zoisite was in, they made an awfully tough opponent. In fact, at more than one instance they had their enemies completely helpless, and they only failed in the end due to circumstances beyond their control -- a couple of instances of deus ex machina, if you will, one being Sailorvenus, the other being the ginzuishou.
This really demonstrates that the Shitennou, as powerful as they are individually, work better as a whole. Of course, Kunzite had no problem on his own taking on the senshi, and Jadeite did a good job of taking out Tuxedo Kamen in his last episode, but even those can't compare to how Kunzite and Zoisite completely dominated the heroes when they worked together. Sure, as (presumably) the only two of the Shitennou who could stand each other, they had that advantage, but still, it makes one wonder what would have happened if all four of 'em swallowed their pride and worked together...
But only the two who loved ever gave working together a chance.
And when they did, things definitely worked out better than they did for either of them alone .
But, like all good (okay, I'm not sure if this is the best choice of words here, but it'll do) things, this relationship had to come to an end.
Zoisite's death was arguably the most beautiful and romantic death in the entire series. To me it is, anyway. (and, you know, I thought it was incredibly sweet and sad when Haruka and Michiru died in the end of the series, or when Endymion died at the end of the first season, but I disregard that -- after all, they come back! So it doesn't really count. I suppose I should amend that statement to say he had the most beautiful and romantic death of any villain in the entire series... yeah, that makes more sense.) The drawing is... decent... barring that shot up Kunzite's nose. That one just scares me. Aside from that, everything from the look of betrayal and fear that changes to an overwhelming sorrow and regret on Kunzite's face to the sad, resigned, scared, but completely loving and forgiving expression on Zoisite was done well. I'm not the huge fan of this animation here that I used to be; however, it's still good enough. Better than ep. 29, at any rate.
The script was marvelously to character, with Zoisite still being completely respectful and devoted to Kunzite, as well as being sweetly vain as he makes his last request, and Kunzite being upset but not gushy or showing his devastation outwardly.
The flowers made a nice touch, too, and meant so much -- the sakura and the pink roses, especially.
It made me cry.
When all I knew was the dub version, it made me cry.
The dub still makes me cry, but only because it is so painfully diced up in all of the important, tender moments, and because the lines are so wrong. Minor details, right?
(Anyway, I haven't watched the dub for a while. But still, the memories remain.)
It made me cry even when I just heard their voices saying the lines on a sound file.
It makes me cry even when I would watch them going through the motions soundlessly on an animated gif.
I'm a very sensitive person. I don't cry anymore (I'm a bit conditioned to watching it, now...), but sometimes I come close. Especially when that tear falls from Zoisite's eye. Or when I hear Kunzite choke out, "Forgive me... Zoisaito..." It's just too sad, I tell you! How can anyone not feel bad for the two of them?
But, oh, what a death scene for a guy.
It's kind of too bad in a stereotypical way -- Zoisite gets the mushy, pastel-filled, tearjerking death because he's the gay, effeminate king.
Poor baby. I'm sure he didn’t mind, though. He died with the one he loved, making what he told Nephrite as he had him assassinated a brilliantly-executed foreshadowing.
Kunzite died alone in battle; a striking difference from his lover's death. But he died thinking of and calling out to Zoisite, showing that he was horrified at his lover's downfall and that he was always on his mind, even in the midst of a horribly important fight. As I said in my Kunzite shrine, I think it was suicide, because the heartbroken king had nothing left to live for.
All he had left to remember Zoisite by was the picture of the two of them. This picture is very curious -- it is a prominent display of their relationship; even if no one sees it, someone had to have taken it, and they make no pains to hide the image somewhere -- it's just there. It's a strange thing for them to have, and they both look at it independently of each other and in two different episodes, so it must mean something to the both of them.
It's a beautiful picture.
They both look very good in it, and their pose is just adorable. Zoisite poses possessively around Kunzite, managing to look attached, loving, and like he's reminding anyone who looks at it that Kunzite is his. He also shows the two ways he feels toward Kunzite: dependent in the way he leans desperately against him, and protective in the hand he places on Kunzite's chest. Conversely, Kunzite stands upright and military as always, but shows affection at the same time with the arm wrapped around Zoisite's shoulders. It is quite true to character.
Am I the only one that notices the problem with Kunzite's cape? He is wearing it, but in the gaps under his arm and between his body and Zoisite's, the picture shows the pink (pink? oh, great) background rather than the purple (oh, yes, purple is a much better color) inside of his cloak that it should. I'm just mentioning this because I've never seen anyone else mention it. Oh well.
Nevertheless, it is a lovely idea and a splendid testimony to their love and the devotion they must have for each other to show it so blatantly.
This love, though, was doomed. Villains who love often become good, because they often love a hero, and villains who love other villains usually mend their evil ways, too. Not so with these two: they loved, and they stayed true to their cause. And because they did this, they were doomed.
But they were better than the Kingdom that they worked for, because in all the gloom, evilness, and darkness, they found and shared something that was special, something that no one else had. They found love in a place where only hatred was supposed to exist.
But we weren't allowed to even kiss onscreen.
Let's hear it for doujinshi!
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