TS Sailor Cronus wrote:
This. This right here, and I keep forgetting to say anything about it.
I think it's worth mentioning that in "closeted" examples, there usually aren't ANY other characters that are homosexual or anything. I don't know anything about Korra, but I do know about Dumbledore, and HP never featured homisexuals anywhere, at least no more overtly than DD himself. Buuut... in Sailor Moon, we have definite confirmation that Ura-Nep are homosexual, and at least in the older anime they featured a few others, long before Ura-Nep made any appearance. It would seem strange not to be open about throwing in another pair that way.
I think it's also worth pointing out that Chibi Usa is clearly intended for Helios, as finding her own prince was a big deal to her, and Helios promised he would wait for her and see her again. I just don't see her breaking that so soon, and I can't see Hotaru being such an unfaithful friend as to get in the way of that.
Also, I have COMPLETELY forgotten to address the very first question regaurding the nude shot of them. That's actually a common form of art in Japan, and there's a name for it. It's a way of showing the closeness of girls/ women, and is not intended to have lesbian undertones (not that it excludes such tones). I wish I could remember what it's called though. >_<; Aarrghhh!
Haruka and Michiru are older characters and their sexuality adds to their mystique persona that makes them fan favorites and in the 90s anime at least, Haruka and Michiru are presented in a heteronormative femme/butch dynamic. Chibiusa and Hotaru are younger characterless that don't as easily fit into this butch/lipstick lesbian dynamic. Even among a lot of Western fandom that are otherwise progressive and supportive of Haruka and Michiru, there are a lot of fans who are still uncomfortable with the shipping Hotaru and Chibiusa under this notion many fans still seem to have that homosexuality is something people only experience at an older age. Given this, I can see either Naoko or her editors being pressured to keep the nature of Chibusa and Hotaru's relationship ambiguous to avoid attracting controversy. We definitely know of other instances where Naoko was pressured by her editors to change aspects of her story to avoid causing controversy with her younger readers like changing the ending of the first story arc. I won't dispute that Helios is Chibiusa's destined lover but I don't see how that would disqualify any possible same-sex feelings she may have. Bisexuality is a thing that exists and Chibihusa falling in love with someone of the opposite gender doesn't suddenly negate any bisexual feelings. Bisexual people are still bi even if they're with someone of the opposite gender.
There is also a trope that you sometime see in anime called lesbians until graduation where women are portrayed as experimenting with same sex feelings until they reach a certain age. This trope can have problematic issues of it's own but it's interesting I've read an interview with Naoko where she described Haruka and Michiru's relationship under the "lesbians until graduation" terms when she was responding to the SOS's infamous Prince Uranus controversy. Whether it was intended to be platonic or romantic, growing up as a gay Moonie, I was always inspired by the non-canon gay couples like Chibiusa and Hotaru and Rei and Minako as much as I was by Haruka and Michiru. And I always saw Chibiusa and Hotaru's deep bond as a role model for how relationships should be even if it's more platonic than romantic in nature.