Perhaps because the anime ran in parallel with the manga from the beginning, it had the opportunity to come into its own. Like with several other projects Ikuhara has worked on, the anime and manga represent two distinct continuities, with multiple noted differences in character backgrounds and relationships. The older/younger brother dynamic of the manga became a caring, mutual relationship between adults, with anime Zoisite in particular coming into his own as a visually older, more proactive, competent character with power and narrative weight equal to or greater than his partner. It proved to be one of the many aces up the anime's sleeve. While there are good episodes to be found from the get-go, it's when Zoisite steps into the spotlight as the enemy that the show truly finds its footing, using its monster-of-the-week format to tell interpersonal stories that either see the main cast strengthening their bonds or helping someone else. The overall writing and sense of stakes levels up, but it's helped by an especially strong and comparatively well-rounded antagonist. While Jadeite had stylish schemes and Nephrite was granted a last-minute boost of character writing before his death, Zoisite steps out of the gate strong. He has a distinct, memorable personality (as a snarky, vain, schemaing little shit who's happy to stab others in the back to advance himself), goals, and actively goes toe-to-toe with the heroes. He's also deeply devoted to his partner, Kunzite, a fact the show reveals without fanfare. Kunzite's first appearance is not shocking because he and Zoisite are lovers, but because it reveals someone more powerful in the Dark Kingdom that our heroes will eventually have to face.
Moreover, this establishing scene chooses not just to indicate via dialogue that Kunzite is a tactician, but visually that he's gentle and reassuring to his partner. And despite showing some feminine-coded qualities like long hair, vanity, aestheticism, and a one-time willingness to disguise himself as a woman, Zoisite escapes the mold of the typical queer-coded villain in multiple ways. Effeminate villains are often written as cowardly, but Zoisite is the most direct and efficient of the Four Kings in combat, mostly choosing to appear in his Dark Kingdom uniform while Nephrite and Jadeite disguised themselves as humans. And, put bluntly, Zoisite gets shit done. He takes a majority of the Rainbow Crystals for the bad guys and nearly murders Tuxedo Mask before the plot comes to the caped crusader's rescue. Nor is Zoisite coded as a sexual threat to the good guys, even in a PG-fashion. Queer-coded villains are often written to act suggestively during combat, implying the threat of assault against the hero or an out-and-out conflation of sexual desire and love of violence (see: Hisoka in Hunter x Hunter, Grell in Black Butler, Creed in Black Cat, Genkaku in Deadman Wonderland, Muraki in Descendants of Darkness, and on and on). Zoisite's fights are devoid of this. He's threatening because he can and does try to kill people, not because he's an implicit sexual deviant. While there certainly is a kind of tension in his spats with Tuxedo Mask, they read more as a rivalry-if anything, Tuxedo Mask is more likely to do the going. Nor are any of the sailor guardians ever put in a position to comment on or display disgust at Kunzite and Zoisite's relationship.
In other words, while they are queer villains, their queerness is not villainized.
In fact, the protagonists never seem to catch on at all that two of their enemies are in love. It's entirely a device meant to create more rounded characters. The fact that Kunzite and Zoisite love one another isn't meant to mark them as loathsome or deviant; to the Contrary, it's the one redeeming thing about them. Though they never kiss onscreen, they're allowed to be intimate and openly display affection for one another. After Zoisite's death, Kunzite is left a shell of himself bent on revenge, and his last words are "I'm coming, Zoisite." If Queen Beryl is a reminder that love can be twisted to do evil, then Kunzite and Zoisite are proof that love-while not redemptive on its own-can bring out tenderness and good even in terrible people. In other words, while they are queer villains, their queerness is not villainized. Instead, it's as close as the anime could offer to redemption with the likely requirement that all the villains had to be killed off (since the manga was running parallel to the anime). Sailor Moon is not a perfect series.
Is Manga Value [$] To You?
The '90s anime's most memorable moments of representation are cumulative, and almost all of the anime writers' invention: Uranus and Neptune were given more time flirting together onscreen and dramatically showing devotion to one another; transfeminine Fish Eye both breaks from the villains to help the heroes and earns a redemptive rebirth; and there isn't room here to go into the genderplay involving the Sailor Starlights. And all of that starts with Zoisite and Kunzite. None of this is to say that writing these sorts of characters would fly in 2018. There's still a few stereotypes at work (the crossdressing plot in particular), and the "bury your gays" ending with only the vaguest hint toward reunion and rebirth is a tired story that ought to be retired from the hands of straight creators. But in the context of when the show aired, they were outright revolutionary. And for characters that are so engagingly written and dear to many, it's worth affording them respect for the path they helped pave-a path that many modern anime which insist on having queer-coded villains can't even match.
Sword Art Online is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara with accompanying illustrations drawn by abec. The series takes place in the near-future and focuses on various virtual reality MMORPG worlds. ASCII Media Works began publishing the novels on April 10, 2009 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. Russia. With more than 16 million copies in print worldwide, there are future plans for publications in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Vietnam and others. Kawahara also began writing a parallel series of light novels titled Sword Art Online: Progressive, a spin-off that focuses on the clearing of Aincrad, unlike the Aincrad stories of the main series. As of June 10, 2021, eight volumes have been published as part of the Progressive series. In addition to the original storyline of Sword Art Online and Sword Art Online: Progressive, Kawahara has also written and published Sword Art Online side stories. Accel World, have been sold at Comitia, Dengeki Bunko's Fair and have come along with the limited edition Blu-Ray/DVD Sword Art Online compilation volumes.
However, all of the art in the Material Editions is drawn by Kawahara himself.
Before Sword Art Online was published, Kawahara had posted Sword Art Online novels on his website and there are still a few side stories on Sword Art Online, although the original novels have been removed. In addition, Kawahara has published a side story of Sword Art Online in one of his other works, Accel World. In the tenth volume of Accel World, there is a chapter where it depicts a cross over between Sword Art Online and Accel World. Several of the side stories that he has released are in a collection called the Sword Art Online Material Edition, sold at the Comitia dōjinshi-selling event, which range from novels to manga. However, all of the art in the Material Editions is drawn by Kawahara himself. Aside from the light novels written by Kawahara, there are also two spin-offs written by other authors with supervision by him. The first one is Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online series written by Keiichi Sigsawa and illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi, while the other is Sword Art Online Alternative: Clover's Regret, written by Watase Souichirou and illustrated by Ginta. While both of these series take place in the same world as the main series written by Kawahara, they each feature different characters as the focus compared to the main series.
Afterword of the first light novel volume.(April 2009).1〉アインクラッド (電撃文庫) (in Japanese).26 V (in Japanese).(October 2012). 1 (電撃文庫) (in Japanese).(June 2021).8 (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Kawahara, Reki.(in Japanese).
Sword Art Online"Light Novel and Manga Release Details Listed". Kawahara, Reki (22 April 2014). Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad.(10 August 2009).2〉アインクラッド (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 2: Aincrad.(10 December 2009).3〉フェアリィ・ダンス (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 3: Fairy Dance.(April 2010).4〉フェアリィ・ダンス (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 4: Fairy Dance.(August 2010). 5〉ファントム・バレット (電撃文庫) (in Japanese).
Sword Art Online 8. Yen On.(10 February 2012).(9) (電撃文庫) (in Japanese).
Sword Art Online 5. Yen On.(December 2010).(6) (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 6. Yen On.(April 2011).7〉マザーズ・ロザリオ (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 7. Yen On.(August 2011).8〉アーリー・アンド・レイト (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 8. Yen On.(10 February 2012).(9) (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 9. Yen On.(July 2012).10〉アリシゼーション・ランニング (電撃文庫) (in Japanese).
Sword Art Online 10. Yen On.(December 2012). 11 (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 11. Yen On.(April 2013).(12) (電撃文庫) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 12. Yen On.(10 August 2013).(13) (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 13. Yen On.14 (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 14. Yen On.15 (in Japanese). Sword Art Online 15. Yen On.(in Japanese).