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Kunzite and Zoisite were two villains from the first season of Sailor Moon, members of the villain organization the Dark Kingdom. Zoisite was introduced in the same episode as fellow Shitennou Nephrite, whom he mercilessly bullied, while Kunzite's very first appearance was to establish him as Zoisite's mentor and lover. The two had a surprisingly loving and devoted relationship considering they were villains, and was a strange mingling of gay stereotyping and positive representation, the latter being quite an anomaly in 1990s Japan.
However, being villains, the two would not survive to the end of the season. Zoisite was killed by Queen Beryl as punishment for disobeying a direct order from her, and his death scene is considered one of the most iconic in all of the series.  Kunzite would spend the rest of the season angry and vengeful over the loss of his lover, especially towards the brainwashed Endymion, until his own death at the hands of Sailor Moon. His last words were calling out to Zoisite.
The North American dub of Sailor Moon changed Zoisite into a woman named Zoycite, due to American television being reluctant to show a gay relationship in a series meant to be watched by kids. While many fans were outraged at the change, Zoycite did wind up with a sizeable fanbase due to being radically different in character and personality and being voiced by the beloved Kristen Bishop.
Kunzite's name was changed to Malachite, possibly for legal reasons.
Kunzite/Zoisite has a strongly devoted fanbase, now more than ever due to the series being redubbed by Viz with the original homosexual romance intact. To anime fans who grew up with the series, they were considered Baby's First Yaoi Pairing (usually by way of learning about the Japanese version on the internet) while new fans were enthralled with the dialogue and voice acting given to the couple in the redub. The love for the pairing was so strong that it caused some controversy among fans when Sailor Moon Crystal followed the manga, in which the two were implied to be involved with Sailor Venus and Sailor Mercury.
Eventually, the fandom began to surmise that Kunzite/Zoisite may have existed in some form in the manga due to a scene of the two sitting close together, plus Kunzite's seiyuu's comments during an interview regarding the relationship. A scanslation supposedly claimed Kunzite had an attraction to Zoisite, despite the source being considered unreliable.
A favorite pastime of the current fandom is to analyze every one of the couple's scenes together, pointing out the nuances in their speech and their body language in great detail using screencaps.
Essays and Meta
Archives & Fannish Links
- Kunzite/Zoisite works on AO3
- The Scrumdiddlyumptious Dark Kingdom Love Revival
- Dark Kingdoms: Kunzite & Zoisite's haven