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Satsu makes her first albeit brief appearance as one of a small group of slayers accompanying Buffy on a mission to kill a nest of vampires. Her scene in issue #2 is also brief. Here she is one of three slayers that Buffy orders to attack her as part of a lesson during a training exercise. Of course Buffy makes quick work of the trio and afterwards remarks that Satsu has the “best hair ever” and “[she’s] making [Buffy] think [she] need[s] a new look.” Later that night, Amy attacks a sleeping Buffy, rendering her to nightmarish sleep unless a kiss of true love wakes her, which happens off panel in the following issue. A clue to the kisser’s identity is provided when Buffy sits bolt upright and remarks, “I have a funny feeling on my mouth. Cinnamon buns!”

Satsu is handpicked by Buffy to be her sole fighting companion to rescue Willow from Amy and her flayed boyfriend Warren. During a brief pep talk with Satsu, Buffy asks to borrow her lip gloss, commenting that it cinnamon flavored. The rescue mission is a quick success and a bit anti-climatic.

She next appears in issue #11. One night Buffy takes her out in the Scottish countryside to kill some vamps as training and an excuse to discuss Satsu’s love for her. Satsu is upset about her obsession with cinnamon flavored lip gloss and is worried Buffy will kick her out as well as Buffy thinking her love is just a crush. Buffy replies that “your kiss couldn’t have woken me up if it was.”  Once the vamps are dealt with Buffy confides that knowing Satsu loves her makes her feel a little less lonely but being in love with Buffy is bad since people horrible things happened to people before who loved her. After then dealing with a surprise attack by Twilight, Buffy checks in on Satsu who’s confined to bed in a makeshift hospital ward in the castle. Considering Buffy’s speech it was quite a surprise for many readers to turn a few pages into issue #12 and discover Satsu and Buffy both naked and lying entangled in sheets with Satsu’s arm draped across Buffy’s stomach. The conversation turns intimate and funny when Satsu asks how tomorrow should be handled though Satsu becomes downcast when Buffy admits she isn’t certain there is anything for them beyond that moment. Just then Xander walks in to apprise Buffy of a security matter and on cue is in turn followed by several others making for a very awkward situation.

The security issue turns into a serious breach as the castle is infiltrated and assaulted by a Japanese vampire Goth gang who prove not to be your typical vampires. It’s all a diversion as their leader Toru steals Buffy’s scythe from the castle armory. Xander is sent to enlist the aid of Dracula.

Aiko, a slayer operative in Japan, provides info leading to the whereabouts of the vampires. Satsu is reprimanded by Buffy when she questions her plan to take all slayer units to Japan. Later en route to Japan, Willow and Satsu have a heart to heart talk about Buffy. There’s quite a shock in store for Satsu when Willow asks her how Buffy is in bed, wanting to know if Buffy makes “that high-pitched squeal? I call it her ‘shoe-sale noise…” (Issue # 13)

The slayers arrive in Tokyo to find Aiko has been murdered by the Goth vampires and her body put on public display. Her body is taken down and Buffy temporarily places it in a small Buddhist temple while gathering her thoughts and formulating a plan. Satsu refuses to obey Buffy’s order to help bury Aiko, saying she isn’t sure if she should be hurt or touched, but either way she’ll fight on the battlefield. While Satsu does take part in the fight, she’s seen mostly in the background until after the Goth vampires are defeated and slain. The story arc closes with an intimate scene between the two women. Satsu confesses she doesn’t think she can be around Buffy and asks to stay in Tokyo as a slayer field leader to replace Aiko. They decide to spend one more night in each other’s arms after admitting to each other that the night they spent together was one of the best of their lives. (Issues #14 and 15)

The next story to feature Satsu is “Swell” in issue #22. Kennedy arrives in Tokyo to evaluate Satsu and her leadership and training skills of the Tokyo slayer cell. Kennedy takes a different tack with Satsu over her love for Buffy, trying to drive home the point that no matter what Buffy will never want a relationship with her. Her candid advice is to “Lost the cinnamon lip gloss you laid on Buffy and try kissing someone who can give you their heart not just their body.”

“Vampy cat” plush toys are set to become the newest craze in Japan. Satsu unwittingly picked one up when she discovered it on the scene of her latest mission. Little does she know that Twilight has created the cute and seemingly innocuous toys using a toy company as a front. The next day Kennedy and the other women are surprised to find Satsu wearing clothes and talking out of character as if she were straight. Satsu hits Kennedy, sending her across the room and a fight breaks out between them. Kennedy delivers a hard kick to Satsu’s stomach that causes her to vomit. They’re all shocked when an angry vampy cat rises from the liquid mess and shouts “I am discovered, my brothers! Use what I have given! Strike at the heart of the beast!”  Obviously there’s a new threat to be dealt with.

A surprise raid on the toy company meets with no resistance from its dead employees. One of the slayers accesses the company’s database and learns the entire inventory had shipped just an hour before. In the next scene Satsu and Kennedy appear on board a freighter ship hacking some of the vampy cats until they combine into one giant monster that threatens to kill them until Satsu signals a group of slayers in hiding who successfully execute “plan B.” The issue ends with a video conference between Buffy and Satsu, who seemed to have still hoped for her love to be returned. Suddenly Satsu understands that Buffy can’t and the last panel shows her casually tossing her lip gloss into the garbage and commenting it’s time to get a new flavor.

The initial Satsu story won GLAAD’s 2008 Media Award in the comic book category.

Satsu was created by Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty and first appeared in Buffy #1 (Season Eight). Art buy Georges Jeanty, Andy Owens, and Dave Stewart.

All rights reserved Twentieth Century Fox.

September 2, 2021
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