I finally got around to watching Pacific Rim last night. It looked like little more than an action movie to me, and having seen it, that assumption wasn’t far off. The main reason I went to the effort at all was what I’d heard about Mako.
After it was over and I’d come to my own conclusions about her character, I looked through Tumblr and saw that the general opinion is split. Some people say that Mako Mori is an incredible character, one of poise and strength. Others claim that she’s too quiet, too submissive, and won’t stand up for herself. Those people are wrong.
Miss Mori is great. No other female character comes to mind who embodies the restraint, deference, and resilience that Mako does. She inspires me. Too often people equate strength and power with unilateral action and berserker violence (i.e. most action heroes). Mako is more rounded. Throughout the film she proves her value as a fighter. Her Jaeger simulator rating is 51/51 and she does better than any of the other (exclusively male) prospective co-pilots in the combat room.
However, she exercises restraint in every circumstance. Mako respects Pentecost enough to follow his orders, but she doesn’t give up. She controls her strength, it doesn’t control her. This doesn’t make her a weak character, it illustrates her confidence in her own abilities. Anyone who thinks Mako Mori was a sidekick didn’t watch the same movie I did.