In Memoriam: Kunzite, as beautiful as he was inept
Kunzite is the greatest of all the Dark Kingdom’s generals. He was a presence full of enmity from a relatively early episode, but only got to try his hand against Sailor Moon et al. when the goal was a search-and-destroy mission. He had a lot of flavour to his character, especially form his relationship with his subordinate Zoisite, but his malevolence was tempered by a complete lack of accomplishment.
I never really liked Kunzite. Sure, he looked awesome and had slick charm when he wanted to turn it on, but mostly he cocked-up. He never quite lived to his potential.
Kunzite started out with a lot of promise, way back in episode 22, in a rather brilliantly sinister scene. Shrouded in shadow, with the menacing Zoisite completely subservient to him, and that silky-smooth radio voice of his, Kunzite continued to be a dark aura hanging over Nephrite’s tenure and even during Zoisite’s arc.
These were his best days – hanging back, self-confident, manipulative. His relationship with Zoisite I’ve discussed before – it’s remarkably progressive for the time period and for the audience, and is even more poignant when you (eventually) realise that Kunzite’s feelings for his underling were genuine.
It was hard to tell for a while, since Kunzite showed no overt emotion towards Zoisite. His intentions seemed only to make Zoisite jealous and malicious, perhaps to make him more or less effective at his job.
However, Zoisite’s death made it abundantly clear where Kunzite stood.
After the death of his lover, Kunzite understandably had far less swagger and, although this despondency made him a more interesting character when you stepped back from the series, within the episodes he was markedly less involving.
Zoisite was a enemy you could really hate, since his tactics essentially involved attacking children and stealing Rainbow Crystals. Kunzite’s response was generally to run away without doing much at all.
The series tried to give Kunzite depth after Zoisite died by creating enmity between him and the newly-brainwashed Endymion, but this competition between the two never went anywhere. Aside from an episode in which their childish bickering allowed Sailor Moon to get the upper hand (I actually loved that), their relationship did not develop.
The truth is we all wanted Kunzite and Endymion to hook up, but alas, nope.
Kunzite’s greatest moment for me was probably in episode 33, the advent of Sailor Venus. While Zoisite was running around in a mini-skirt, literally stabbing people in the back, Kunzite stood around in high places giving soliloquies about how much “Darkness” gave him a boner and nonchalantly almost-killing the Sailor Senshi.
His plans to find and kill Sailor Moon were mixed. He had an almost preternatural ability to predict the behavior of the Sailor Senshi, which was impressive, but despite this clairvoyant insight he was unable to finish the job.
Kunzite used DNA testing, morphology comparison software and a Moon Princess skiing competition, and always came so very close to identifying Sailor Moon’s true identity, yet failed miserably every time. I understand that, as the heroine, she was never going to get caught and killed, but at least when, say, Nephrite failed, he did it in style.
Kunzite’s hubris sort of left him looking like a douche most of the time.
His death was simultaneously brilliant and pathetic – one of his final war cries, “Upon my pride I will not yell Refresh!”, was fantastic, as was his last, sad call to his beloved Zoisite…
…but being impaled upon your own pink laser-boomerang makes it look like Kunzite wasn’t even trying very hard.
Full of style, dashingly homosexual, but in the end Kunzite couldn’t deliver on the promise of his evil aura. He still has a place in my heart, but the space was given up grudgingly.
Rest in peace you bleached loon.
Number of Episodes Survived: 9 episodes as the main bad guy (that’s pretty pathetic), in total 22 episodes present (..ok that was pretty good.)
Effort: C (He was sleepwalking through the last dozen episode.)
Final Score: 3/5 (He did the bare minimum to achieve “just fine”.)