The Dark Kingdom’s continuing effort to gather energy from unsuspecting humans motivates them to target love, a key emotion, by manipulating the time-worn shōjo tradition of the love confession; many shōjo works set in a hit school feature the now-common image of a female student leaving a love letter within the shoe locker of the boy/girl they wish to express their feelings towards, and that iconic desire to express love informs Jadeite’s scheme in this episode. By encouraging listeners to his mysterious Midnight Zero program to submit love letters to be read on the air in exchange for a flower-shaped brooch, Jadeite has the opportunity to draw upon the wish of many girls to demonstrate their feelings for another; it sounds rather cliche now to present such a common element in shōjo as exclusive to women (and it very much is), but it does speak to how shōjo works such as Sailor Moon focus primarily on interpersonal relationships, whether it be love or camaraderie. After all, Sailor Moon itself is structured explicitly around such relationships – the Scouts themselves (as we shall see in subsequent episodes) protect each other from Dark Kingdom encroachments, and two Scouts themselves, Uranus and Neptune, are in love with each other. One can see this motif of love clearly with Usagi’s fascination with Tuxedo Mask; ironically, she shows frustration with Mamoru Chiba, unaware of his dual identity as the man she fell in love with. By contrast, the Dark Kingdom has a rigid structure of subordination, nominally towards Queen Beryl; Jadeite submits himself to Beryl’s will, rather than exerting his own ambitions (at least not so explicitly). Love and affection are seemingly irrelevant in Beryl’s estimation – she requires her minions to exact her own desires, specifically increasing the strength of the Dark Kingdom by preying upon human victims.
This distinction between the Dark Kingdom and the Scouts pervades the series as a whole; their specific color palettes even indicate their moral standing, with the Scouts (and the human world) consisting of softer, brighter colors while the Dark Kingdom exists in darkness surrounded by grotesque architecture. As villains, the Dark Kingdom represents a sort of supernatural corrupting influence against humans; the Scouts must protect the human population from their own desires, as Beryl and her subordinates can easily manipulate them into committing morally questionable (or outright evil) acts with little to no chance of redemption. Sailor Moon and her allies thus represent the desire to do good in all of humanity; corruptive emotions (such as anger and lust) can lead people down a difficult path, but redemption is still possible in a world where guardians exist to lead you down the correct path towards the light. That someone can be so misled by darker forces is a refrain found in Buddhism – Buddhist teachings speak of the karmic cycle, where one’s next life can be influence by behavior exhibited in a previous life. One can see this specifically expressed with the five precepts, a core moral guide within Buddhism; in order to achieve enlightenment, one must refrain from engaging in such behaviors as murder and stealing. The Dark Kingdom’s machinations illustrate what might happen if a human deviates from that moral code – they have their energy stolen, and the inhabitants of the realm gather such energy for nefarious purposes. By opposing the group’s attempts at controlling the world, Sailor Moon exhibits the sort of redemptive potential within humanity – she can guide people towards a better life, where their positive energy becomes a source of inner strength.
Jadeite manages to operate without rousing suspicion from the humans around him by commandeering a radio station; the Midnight Zero radio program he hosts is not recognized either by the station itself or newspapers, showing that he can control people without making them skeptical of his actions. When Usagi approaches a police officer near the station, he denies any knowledge of Midnight Zero – even those within and around the building are unaware of Jadeite’s presence, as Jadeite can place those around them asleep (and thus unconscious of his behavior). This shows how someone overtly duplicitous and malevolent like Jadeite can act without anyone catching on – he can exploit human weakness, demonstrating how malice can spread subconsciously, without the victims noticing what happens. Love, like any emotion, can be manipulated to allow for evil deeds; one must be aware of the nature of human emotion, which can be both good and evil, to be able to avoid being controlled by more dangerous, hostile elements. The series in general shows how humans can be guided to either extreme of moral spectrum, thanks to the actions of a few; the more influential members of the Dark Kingdom, for example, can command legions of youma to do their bidding, while the Scouts struggle to counteract their intrigues. As a note, this formula is constant throughout Sailor Moon – most of the action takes place between these two forces, without much interactions from the secondary characters, making the story a fight for the fate of humanity in a world where immoral characters with access to supernatural powers see people merely as sources of mystical energy to strengthen their influence over the world.
Sailor Moon’s eventual victory over Jadeite and his youma cohort continues the trend of Usagi winning against a seemingly overwhelming foe – her initial hesitance to fight shows she is still a neophyte when it comes to physical combat, with the youma showing no hesitation at all in attacking. The Dark Kingdom’s forces are shown to be more conniving and willing to kill, while Sailor Moon acts more defensively; Jadeite does not care about any casualties, as he is motivated primarily by a desire for energy accumulation, viewing humans as expendable sources that he can dispense with they outlive their usefulness to him. Sailor Moon, by contrast, wishes to protect those around her – even though she hates being placed within a dangerous position, she fights because she wants all of humanity to survive, rather than out of a selfish desire to improve her power or exert herself as an authority that should not be questioned. The Dark Kingdom exists essentially as a manifestation of the emotional darkness present in the universe; by continuously working to extract energy, they exploit the corruptive potential of emotions, forcing their victims to undergo a moral change for the sake of authoritarian control over society. The ongoing fight against two morally opposing forces is thus a reflection of humanity’s internal struggle to do good – the Sailor Scouts represent the potential for positive change, while the Dark Kingdom represent the great encroaching evil that must be destroyed before any change can occur.