3:30 – Awakening of the Messiah of Silence? Stars of Destiny
Alternative Title: This is Why You don’t Pick on Lonely Nerds
First Aired: 24th December 1994
The time of the Messiah of Silence to awaken is approaching, heralded by Rei’s premonitions of a shadowy figure wielding a scythe. The Outer Senshi become increasingly worried about Hotaru Tomoe being linked to the approaching doom, and orchestrate her being at the scene of an attack to see what Hotaru truly is. She does not disappoint.
Yeeeeeah this is more like it! Been waiting for a decent story progression for so long, and this really pays off. Not too much really happens, except the foreshadowing of yet another new Sailor Senshi, but that’s enough to get the series exciting again.
There’s been about a 5 episode run of mediocre episodes that I’m glad to report come to an end here. The final story arc of Sailor Moon S really begins here.
The episode opens with a return to Rei’s premonition. We haven’t seen this in a while, so it’s worth reiterating how creepy, moody and excellently stylised this reoccurring sequence has been. It’s added so much to this running foreboding thread running throughout the season.
This time, Rei sees the darkness approaching, and turns again to seek out the Messiah, but this time she sees a new figure… one with a scythe. Just to impress on the viewers that this is not the Messiah Rei was looking for, they flash a big old tarot card of Death.
Saying that, I’m not sure younger Japanese viewers would really understand what “LA MORT” might be referring to, so go ahead and feel smug.
The dream ends rather violently for Sailor Moon – the figure leaps down towards Rei, and there’s an eruption of blood as she brings the scythe downwards… blimey, they’re really trying to set up Sailor Saturn as a strong antagonist, aren’t they?
As it turns out, Rei has been spacing out in study group again. I love the mini conversation between Ami and Usagi in the corner. It’s so sweet and throwaway, yet really speaks to this bond they’ve developed between these fictional characters. In the sweetest tones:
“And then this goes like this.”
“Do you get it now?”
I know it seems trivial, but it’s little moments like these that Sailor Moon Crystal lacks, mainly because of their advance time schedule.
Rei is troubled by the development of her premonition, and we get a fairly clear shot of the avatar of Death in her dream…
…and then just to ensure you’re thoroughly creeped out…
WOW. That’s effective. Seeing Hotaru so… menacing is something new. She’s been mysterious and powerful in previous episodes, but the face she pulls, and that wicked weapon she wields, screams, screams of a level of threat we haven’t seen in the series thus far.
Chibi-Usa comes creeping into the room acting disturbingly contrite that it immediately sends alarm bells ringing for Usagi (who gets called “Usagi-Oneesan” for the first and last time).
You can instantly see why I do not like this art studio. I don’t like how they do faces at all. They’ve only done a few from this season so far, but this team will be doing more next season, and I’m not overly fond of their episodes.
Anyway, Chibi-Usa obviously wants something – it’s to go to a planetarium for a special exhibit. Minako notices that it’s being hosted by “that cute boy DJ Thomas Harris.”
I have so many issues with this. First of all, it’s 1994, so I suppose I shouldn’t criticise their taste for what constitutes “cute” – this is the era of Take That after all. That being said, fuck this guy and his stupid hair.
Also, his name is Thomas Harris. You know the one, the guy who wrote Silence of the Lambs? Wow, Sailor Moon, odd choice of names there.
Chibi-Usa happily announces that she’s going to invite Hotaru to the event. There is such a thing as seeing too much of someone, you know. Hotaru needs some alone time every now and again.
Minako is rarely the buzzkilling mood-switcher (it’s typically Ami, bless her) but she decides to openly ponder why the Outer Senshi have been spying upon Hotaru. Apparently their loitering has not gone unnoticed by the Inner Senshi, even though we have never seen them acknowledge their presence in the last few episodes.
Why Ami ponders whether or not the Death Busters continuing to gather Pure Hearts has something to do with Hotaru, Rei begins having major acid flashbacks to her premonition. She unwisely dismisses her fears.
After Chibi-Usa uses more bishy sparkles to request that Usagi pay her admission fee, there’s a great 5 second pause where everyone just looks blank. Always laugh at that.
Minako then brings up the fact that Usagi should be more motherly towards Chibi-Usa, leading to a rather interesting little daydream for Usagi. They so rarely make use of the fact that the girls are, in fact, mother and daughter, that moments like these are to be cherished.
Chibi-Usa ends up rubbing herself on Usagi, calling her mother in a baby voice, with Usagi spluttering “BUT I HAVEN’T GIVEN BIRTH TO YOU YET.”
I love those sentences that would never make sense in any other context but the one it was uttered in. This is such a moment. Love it.
Just to ensure all this comedy doesn’t detract from the foreboding mood from the beginning of the episode, the scene ends with Rei continuing to freak out. Poor girl.
We cut to the Outer Senshi chilling on the roof discussing their own premonitions, and the need to find the true Messiah quickly. Haruka reiterates her unwavering feeling that Hotaru Tomoe will bring disaster to them.
Michiru, as the most sensitive to premonitions and fairies and junk, brings up that her own premonitions have been just as revealing as Rei’s, but when she brings up a shadowy figure holding a long weapon, all three recognise this as the Silence Glaive – the tool weilded by Sailor Saturn,
Uhhhhhh soooooo cooooooooool why are you so fucking cool Sailor Saturn? OK they don’t actually say Sailor Saturn yet, but you can guess.
Even better is Haruka referring to her as “the soldier of ruin” (such a sick name), and explaining that her revival will mean the end of the world. She’s banking on them finding the Messiah in time to defend the Earth from Sailor Saturn.
Strange to think that the final enemy that this series is pointing towards is a Sailor Senshi. It’s fascinating, really. All this season they have been redefining what a “Sailor Senshi” really is, from ideological and role differences between Inner and Outer Senshi, and now the inclusion of a Senshi so powerful and dangerous that all the others fear her.
Poor Saturn must not be invited to parties much.
It’s also nice to see the Outer Senshi relevant to the plot again.
I’m not freaked out enough with all this talk of Soldiers of Ruin and Silence Glaives and the End of the World, so let’s return to the Death Busters’ basement and the Messiah of Silence talking through old fashioned speakers, announce her revival being imminent.
Still not freaked out? Why don’t we have our possessed Hotaru rip a teddy bear in two then throw the remains casually at Professor Tomoe’s feet, with the lines:
“Be of use to me. Try to make me happier.”
That’s some next level creepy shit. I love this episode. The culmination of a few different threads.
We cut to DJ Thomas Harris (lol) speaking English on a television programme. Who is he trying to kid? He’s definitely not English. Always adorable when Sailor Moon tries to have Westerners on the show.
This TV show is being watched by Mimett (obviously). So tired of her. Oh well, at least we don’t have much longer together. I should try to treasure what little time we have left.
Anyway, Mimett is obviously going for Thomas Harris (lololol), which is no big surprise. We leave the scene with the Professor pondering over stars, and we get this rather intriguing moment:
“The stars know everything… was something someone said before.”
First of all, is this a reference to Nephrite!? Because that would be awesome.
“Wish upon a star… was something else…” OK now it sounds like the Professor is having a stroke. He’s just repeating things he’s heard off Disney films.
Note too that the screen zooms onto a rather innocuous looking device. It looks like a VHS recorder with a glittering globe on top. This will play more of a role later, but it’s rather great to have it foreshadowed here.
Hotaru is on the way to school. She hears someone yell “Tomomi!” and mistakes it for “Tomoe!“, and for a second looks really happy to be acknowledged by her school mates. This is actually incredibly crushing, not only for her, but for the viewer. Hard to watch such a manifest sign of loneliness and deprivation.
But then steps in Chibi-Usa. This is the first time I really get the relationship that has built up between these two. Before it was just sort of assumed that they’d be best friends, despite the difference in their ages, but here I see Hotaru’s utter helplessness and desperation turn into joy at the sight of a friend.
This will sound rather lame, but that moment was really touching.
Chibi-Usa invites Hotaru to the planetarium right then and there. Give her a heads up, Chibi-Usa, jeeze. Hotaru thinks she should go home and ask her father, but Chibi-Usa drags her off with a “Girls of this day and age shouldn’t say things like that!”
The 90s were weird, guys. Although I happen to agree with her.
Just to complete Chibi-Usa’s corruption of poor Hotaru, Usagi and the others turn up to encourage her to totally bail on going home or even letting her dad know where the fuck she’s going.
That’s messed up but in a funny way. These girls are total jerks.
So we enter the planetarium, and with Thomas Harris (seriously, that name is so lol) commentating on the constellations. This is a pretty cool design actually, I rather think someone spent a goof while sketching out a real planetarium, and it shows.
Mimett is rather obviously gushing over Thomas Harris (LOL)… and someone actually spots her today.
Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna are here, and identify Mimett at once. This is the only time that glasses and a headscarf have been unable to disguise an antagonist successfully in Sailor Moon.
The Outer Senshi know that Thomas Harris is the target, but chose not to intervene just yet… as they sport Hotaru Tomoe with Usagi’s group. Haruka darkly suggests that they use the situation to see what Hotaru Tomoe really is. Gosh darn that’s dark, Haruka, even for you.
Usagi, enjoying the show, sudden has a weird flash of Setsuna’s eyes, and she’s aware of her presence at the back of the room. I really like this moment, it suggests powers from Setsuna that aren’t concrete. She’s so mysterious. I like the subtle way they did this too. Nice work.
Usagi and the other Senshi go to see what Setsuna wants, trying to grill her on why the Outer Senshi are stalking Hotaru, although none of them suggest the obious which is that they’re unemployed and have nothing better to do.
Setsuna finally explains to the Inner Senshi who the fuck they’re fighting, since this appears to be the first scene in which they’re actually aware who the Death Busters are. It’s been 30 episodes.
Setsuna then tries to explain what the Silence is by revealing that Rei has been having dark premonitions, and we get a pretty cool; sequence of Setsuna using the Garnet Rod to show the rest of the Senshi Rei’s premonition.
So we’re back here once again, with all the Senshi seeing the Silence destroying the Earth. This brings the threat to a very real level – these girls were completely unaware of the stakes at play here, which goes a lot to explain the disparate philosophies between Sailor Moon and Sailor Uranus.
We’ll see if this knowledge changes Usagi’s outlook and ethics.
Finally, Setsuna reveals the entity, the harbinger of doom who will return the Earth to non-existence as her role. The Messiah of Silence.
Rather cruelly, it seems, Setsuna had not called the Inner Senshi away from the show to enlighten them – it seems more in the way of a distraction, to allow Mimett to begin attacking the crowd just so that Uranus could play her games against Hotaru Tomoe. This, I feel, is rather unlike the cool but honest Sailor Pluto we’ve seen so far, so I can only suppose she thought the subterfuge more important than her honour.
Interesting to consider in about 2 or 3 seconds before things move on.
Mimett’s monster is the Daimohn… Uchoten. Well this is on the nose. Definitely star themed… but not really subtle at all. I must say I don’t think much of her design.
That’s quite a bit of side-boob she’s sporting.
She begins attacking the crowd asking them in a sweet voice to “WISH UPON A STAR” before finally approaching the increasingly cowardly-looking Thomas Harris (ROFL WHAT A STUPID NAME).
I actually really like how Mimett sweetly asks the DJ for his autograph before she kills him, and he responds by throwing a chair at her, which she does not take well, obviously.
Mimett conveniently knocks everyone in the audience out except for Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, who picks a really inconvenient time to have one of those racking seizures. It occurs to me that this is the 6th or 7th dangerous situation Hotaru has been in in a row. Maybe you should have just gone HOME?
Chibi-Usa begins running for help, but Uranus stops her gently, suggesting they “see how she fares for a bit longer.” You goddamn psycho, Uranus. That’s a little girl having a seizure you’re talking about, and now you’re asking her best friend who is 9 to watch as she writhes about in pain?
Uranus is getting cooooold again.
Enter the Sailor Senshi, giving it large to Mimett. The real action has nothing to do with these guys today, but hey, they may as well look the part.
Uchoten (my those boobs are just all over the place, aren’t they?) doesn’t even bother with Thomas Harris (OK the humour has worn off) and begins firing off… stars or something at the Sailor Senshi. Seriously, she sort of really sucks in design.
Hotaru, meanwhile, is not doing good. In fact, this looks like the most painful seizure we’ve seen her in. It makes for uncomfortable viewing, especially when you consider that Uranus essentially orchestrated this.
About here, the fight which no one really cares about sees Tuxedo Kamen appear, fail to do anything of any worth, then yell at everyone to duck after he makes things worse. Great job, Tux.
With Uchoten firing off energy blasts in every direction, Hotaru suddenly stands up in the throes of agony. She’s really not looking so good…
And then it happens. THE MARK OF THE DEVIL.
Hotaru is, in fact, a Sailor Senshi, and even the Daimohn seems to recognise that something terrible has arrived… Not that she can do anything, because Hotaru, looking fierce as SHIT, paralyses her with a single glance.
Bit of a cheap set up to get Super Sailor Moon to pull of a Rainbow Moon Heartache, but I suppose they always have to crowbar in the attack sequences every episode… unless they’ve got a really good writer who’s willing to break routine.
The excitement is far from over, however, as Uranus immediately, with no hesitation whatsoever, throws a World Shaking at Hotaru. She’s recognised her as the enemy and, without hesitation or regard to Hotaru’s human life, is prepared to kill her to save the Earth. Neptune is just the same with a Deep Submerge moments later.
This is good character development. It’s frightening how driven she is.
I’m actually surprised to see that even Pluto attacks without mercy. She seems so aloof, but apparently she’s just as dedicated to Uranus’ ideals as Neptune. In fact, it’s a little shocking.
This is SO exciting. They’re essentially attacking a little girl, for the greater good. Of course, they’re so blind to their mission that their other fairly big objective, i.e. to NOT kill their future Princess and Queen Chibi-Usa, is somewhat set aside, as obviously she would object to them trying to murder Hotaru.
Super Sailor Moon saves them both from the triple attack (which actually looks rather scary. Action moments that get the blood pumping are relatively rare in Sailor Moon), but a major altercation is about to take place.
We’ve seen the philosophies of the Inner and Outer Senshi clash before, but never so suddenly, never so violently. This is furthest apart these teams have ever been, with Uranus calling out Hotaru as “the one guided by Saturn, the planet of destruction… the soldier of ruin, Sailor Saturn.”
How they expected Sailor Moon to just roll over and accept their shouted insistences that a little girl had to die was beyond me. Bad interpersonal relationship management and office synergy, Sailor Uranus.
These woman are coooooold. Chilling to see them demanding Hotaru’s death, then and there. I completely understand their utilitarian ethics, it’s one life to save billions, but at the same time it’s terrifying to see them calling for blood like this.
Absolutely great writing here.
Naturally the Inner Senshi can’t swallow this pill. What price would they pay, what would they sacrifice to save the world? We’ve seen this theme developing over the entire season, so it’s ruddy brilliant to see it coming to a head.
I also find this to be an interesting critique of Christian lore, the idea that humans required the sacrifice of an innocent soul to save them. It’s touted as a wonderful sacrifice on the part of Christ and our sin that it had to be done, but the overall impression from Sailor Moon S is that this is a reprehensible act, a mutilation of our ethics, of our humanity. We shouldn’t have to demand death for our own lives and our peace of mind.
Personally… I would agree with Sailor Moon, but then again I am a hopeless liberal optimist who is also a heathen, so clearly I’m biased.
The matter is closed when Hotaru suddenly vanished to whence or where no one knows.. Uranus has missed her chance, it seems.
Hotaru rematerialises in bed, watched by Kaori… it seems that it was she who teleported her home, blithely whispering that she’s a bad girl for not coming home immediately. I guess Hotaru had all that autonomous freedom to wander around and go to school because the Death Busters were never not informed of her presence or unable to retrieve her immediately.
It makes her even more of a tragic puppet figure than before. Poor girl. And again, brilliant writing!
Speaking of which…
The Professor appears to be having a conversation with someone who’s answers we cannot hear, someone he refers to as “Pharaoh 90” which, ladies and gentlemen, is the single coolest bad guy name in the history of mankind.
Yeah Darth Vader, I’m including you in this. Pharaoh 90. Just saying it makes me shudder.
It appears as though Pharaoh 90 is… inside the glittery orb from earlier? The Professor cannot think of a better candidate for the Messiah of Silence than the Senshi of Ruin. Hotaru now has about 8 or 9 monikers and personas shoved inside her poor head.
We then zoom farther and farther into the glass orb, where we see… another galaxy? Pharaoh 90 is another galaxy? Another universe?
That is so frickin’ cool. What a brilliant way to set up the finale of the series, and to wrap up an already brilliant episode. So much good stuff here. Although it’s more of the story points being revealed than any particularly amazing moments, this is an eminently watchable and memorable episode.
Episode Score: 4/5 (Just lacking that perfect moment that would have pushed it into a 5)
Monster Score: 2/5 (She was rubbish, but then again she really wasn’t the focus of the climax)
Final Thought: As an expansion of the core Sailor Senshi lore, Sailor Moon S is incomparable. I love exploring the ideas of what it means to be a Senshi, what unites them, what separates them. Sailor Saturn is the most mysterious of all, despite that there being another member of the team who controls time.
NEXT TIME: How could the Death Busters be more threatening? 1) Remove Mimett (which happens) and 2) EVIL SCHOOL.