Nephrite and Naru:
The Star Cross'd
Sanjouin Masato had everything a teenage girl could want in a dream guy: looks, great hair, a sexy voice, and, of course, loads of money and a hot car.
Lots of girls -- and women -- saw this in him. Sanjouin Masato, in "real life" the Dark Kingdom King Nephrite, was quite a charmer, and he knew it, using his sophistication and convincing manner to affect many earth people in his plans to gather energy. Young and old, male and female; it didn't matter -- his charisma worked on everybody.
And it particularly affected one little girl by the name of Osaka Naru.
She first saw him at the tennis courts helping her very close friend play, and his looks instantly gained her notice. As it did for others, including a pigtailed blonde named Tsukino Usagi as well, but his impression was probably felt strongest by the young redhead.
After all, when all of the girls at Juuban Junior High School received letters from "Tuxedo Kamen", she was the only one who guessed that he was the one sending him.
Of course, he thought she was Sailormoon and attacked her for her insight. He did, however, notice that her love for his alter-ego filled her with an energy that surprisingly matched those of the people experiencing the once-in-a-lifetime energy peak. So he didn't forget her.
Poor Naru-chan later was haunted by quasi-memories of this experience, but she didn't remember anything clearly. So, while she was terribly confused about him, she nonetheless still had an enormous crush on him.
Nephrite utilized this fact two episodes later when he charmed her to get to Princess Dia, who he thought had the ginzuishou, and, when that failed, he again tried to use her when his kurozuishou showed her when he asked about the ginzuishou.
Why, I don't know. That kurozuishou is kinda odd.
After all, its creation and its advice definitely had a hand in Nephrite's death... It's a pity Nephrite switched from consulting the stars to consulting the ginzuishou-centric dark crystal. Maybe the stars could've foretold his impending doom.
Nevertheless, Nephrite took the kurozuishou's recommendation and gave dear Naru-chan a call.
And she tried to help him by bringing her a silver crystal from her mother's jewelry store, but that turned out to be quite ordinary. However, later on in the episode, they both managed to save each other, Nephrite doing so out of some sort of self-defense (after all, Zoisite's youma Yasha was not after Naru-chan at all, but merely was tailing Nephrite and took the opportunity to attack when she saw what she and Naru both thought was the ginzuishou), and Naru because, as she claimed, she loved him.
In fact, to Usagi, earlier in the episode, she described herself as being in "an adult love", which frightened the senshi (and especially Usagi-chan herself), because they knew that her adult love was actually a Dark Kingdom villain in disguise. But I do sympathize with Usagi's predicament -- how exactly are you supposed to let your best friend know that? It would be exceptionally difficult.
I won't get into too much detail about what happened beyond this; you already know it, and if you didn't, check out my Nephrite shrine. The whole story is there.
In a nutshell, Nephrite ended up really pissing Zoisite off, so Zoisite (who was rather disdainful to begin with at what he interpreted as Nephrite having fallen in love with a human female) kidnapped Naru-chan to use as hostage for the kurozuishou. Nephrite ended up saving her, and then noticed that this little girl, whom he had been manipulating through skillful, suave lies since the beginning, had actually gotten to him.
Why else, after eliminating the initial threat of Zoisite's three youma -- whom he didn't kill, and instead left with them with a warning message for Zoisite to back off (and underestimating the shorter king and his youma would come back later to haunt him) -- would he carry Naru-chan off with him to a park, rather than taking the kid straight home and putting her back to bed, where she belongs? I don't know, myself. Maybe he felt guilty about putting her in the middle of this. Maybe he was keeping an eye on her in case another attack was made on her. And maybe, just maybe, her extreme adoration made him actually want to spend time with her.
Whatever the motivation, they actually start to begin a nice little cutesy conversation, when Zoisite's assassins kill him. The loss of this changed warrior saddens all. Well, almost. (I mean, I felt bad, but I felt it was about time for Zoisite to get the spotlight!) But anyway.
Zoisite's three hit-youma reappear out of the blue, and Nephrite sees them, shoves Naru-chan aside, and gets speared quite viciously in the shoulder.
Of all the kings, Nephrite definitely met the most gruesome, painful end. And with a fourteen year-old watching! How traumatic!
In the midst of this terrible scene, Zoisite makes his appearance, and, in a terribly gloating tone, takes the kurozuishou.
There was nothing Naru could do. She tried to pull out the thorn-weapon (which was somewhat foolish -- no, he wouldn’t die from energy loss, but still, wouldn't he die from blood loss from the massive, gaping hole in his body?), and, impossibly, began to succeed, showing the strength of her devotion.
And then Nephrite defended her from the attack the angry youma shot at them, shoving the thorn back in and destroying any chance for survival that he may have had.
They never got to eat a chocolate parfait together; poor Naru was denied her dream. And she never found out if Dark Kingdommers get Sundays off. I doubt it.
Nephrite didn't ever tell Naru that he loved her, though she already had admitted several times that she was in love with him. He did say, though, that he was glad to have met her, and for a sometime insensitive, uncaring, and cruel jerk like the second of the kings, that was saying a lot.
Don't get me wrong; I like Neph. But there's really no denying what he was. I like Zoisite, too, but I'll admit he can be a mean, self-centered, vengeful pansy crybaby. And Jadeite, who can be a spineless, no-personality, nasty brown-nosing fool. And Kunzite, who can be heartless, sarcastic, arrogant, and a sadistic bastard.
Oh, I need to say some more bad things about Nephrite to even things up. Well, he's also stupid, greedy, and a definite user of people. Funny, the kings share many unwholesome traits -- what I said for one can, in most cases, go for another. Hmm… one would think that they are villains, or something.
Well, now that I've finished making fun of my cherished kings, I'll continue with the shrine.
Were they in love?
I personally don't think so. But then, I'm not much of a believer in love at first sight. This wasn't quite "first sight", but it was close, and neither of them knew each other to any great extent.
I don't think it would have been out of the question, though, if he hadn't died and they'd managed to get to know each other a little more.
Naru had a schoolgirl crush, but crushes can so often turn into real love if the crush turns out to be an okay guy who reciprocates the affection.
Nephrite was showing affection to the girl, the one who opened his eyes and his heart to concepts that he really hadn’t believed existed. And she had shown him that he was an okay guy.
I think the bond that they created so quickly at the end could have easily turned into one that was very strong and deep. However, since the opportunity to create that bond died with Nephrite, it never had the chance to exist.
They are sweet together, the handsome and powerful warrior and the cute little mortal he falls for. This was a relationship that no one really expected to amount to what it did.
Least of all Nephrite, of course.
But maybe it wouldn't have worked out. Naru ended up going with another person who saved her life, the geeky but sincere Umino Gurio. Though he wasn't a dashing older man from an evil alternate dimension, Naru found someone who was willing to care for her and take care of her. He may not have been Nephrite, but he was devoted to her. And they both got really crappy voices in the DiC dub, but had really nice ones in the original. Not that that has anything to do with anything.
Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of Umino/Naru than Nephrite/Naru -- Umino is, after all, closer to her age, and he's nothing but competely honest towards her -- but I did appreciate the chance at giving Nephrite some sort of development (on top of his rivalry with Zoisite). She helped to make him a more interesting character.
It's a shame that after the Dark Kingdom was destroyed and all memories of them were wiped, Naru-chan never remembered her first adult love...
What would have happened between Nephrite and Naru if he would have lived is unknown. At the very least, he probably could have prevented several attacks from future villains on her. That was not to be. However, the short amount of time they had together turned into something special and unique for both of them. Though their differences may have proven too great in the long run, they never the chance to find out, and so the affection they discovered at the very end of Nephrite's existence, which was denied the chance to grow into the love it may have been, will forever remain a brief spark of something better in both their lives.
What do we do with your energy?
Truthfully, Naru-chan, I have no idea, but it sure must be good stuff, right?
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