Of course my black ass would write a Sailor Saturn centered post.
So, “A Bright Shooting Star! Saturn, and the Messiah.” This is one of my favorite episodes in my personal anime viewership history. There’s just so much build up in this episode leading up to epic debut of Sailor Saturn – solider of destruction. There’s the drama the Outer Scouts wanting Sailor Moon to kill Hotaru (as Mistress 9) to save the world, as well as the two gettin’ on her case for being optimistic and idealistic. Next, you have the pain of Souichi, Hotaru father, and his desperate struggle to restore her. Finally, there’s Hotaru herself (as Saturn) sacrificing herself to save not only the world itself, but her father and best (and only) friend Chibi-Usa. The episode is one of the most emotional of the series as well as one of the highest quality ranging from voice acting, animation, music, story, and direction.
Let me break this episode down for you as I’ll focus more on the story.
Instead of Usagi’s normal narration before the episode’s start, it’s Hotaru who takes up the role. Everybody’s favorite depressing emo goth kid talks about how anyone can be a messiah. That anyone can be a savoir if they love and care about people. She ends her monologue with “I’ll make sure to save you!!” Keep this in mind: Sailor Moon S’s key narration theme is messiah and saviors. Messiahs tend to die for a cause.
Hotaru is going to die.
Afterwards, the episode starts. We see Sailor Moon attempting to reach out to Hotaru (whose body has been taken over by Mistress 9). However, Mistress 9 tells her that she’s dead. Moon doesn’t believe this, but Sailor Neptune and Uranus take Mistress 9’s statement as fact. The two decide to kill Mistress 9 with a combined World Shaking/Deep Submerged attack. Sailor Moon jumps in front of Mistress 9 (optimistic that Hotaru is still alive), and the blonde idiot takes the blast for her.
Even Mistress 9 was impressed by her heroic actions and thanks her for it. She’s such a polite woman.
Fasting forward, Mistress 9 captures Uranus and Neptune with her overflowing, living hair and starts to violently choke them, demanding Moon to hand over the Holy Grail or she’ll kill them both. Moon whips out the Holy Grail (much to the Outer Scouts’ protest) and starts to walk over to the Daimon. As she walks over to her, Souichi appears behind Sailor Moon.
Mistress 9 sees a chance.
She collapse in pain, clutching her chest and her breath labored. Using Hotaru’s voice, Mistress 9 pleads with Souichi and Usagi to give her the Holy Grail. In between breaths, she explains that she needs the Holy Grail to restore herself as “Hotaru”. Usagi, a paragon of common sense, doesn’t realize this is merely a bait and switch, and agrees to “Hotaru”’s wishes. She gives Souichi the Grail to give to his “daughter”. With a cold smile, Mistress 9 snatches the Grail away from him, gains a power boast from it, and blows everyone away. All hope seems lost as Mistress 9 holds the Holy Grail in her hands.
‘Good warriors make others come to them, and do not go to others.’
-Zhang Yu, 8th Century scholar
Next, Mistress 9 starts talking that good shit on how she has the Holy Grail, and that Sailor Moon can’t do anything to stop her or Pharaoh 90. Mistress 9 then places the Grail inside a machine and summons forth Pharaoh 90. The immerse force of his summoning not only destroy most of the Mugen District, but the Holy Grail itself.
Usagi Tsukino, you’re a stupid idiot.
Everyone’s morale drops. The Outers Scouts berates Moon for her stupidity, and the Inner Scouts (fighting other Daimons outside) are getting bodied by other Daimons. Usagi (still not losing hope) whips out her staff, firing an energy beam towards the appoaraching Pharaoh 90. Pharaoh 90 is unaffected, fires an energy beam back, knocking Usagi out. Mistress 9 talks more shit, poppin’ off at their success. Pharaoh 90 gives Mistress 9 his thanks by blasting her with an energy beam as thanks for her services.
Once more, Sailor Moon jumps in front of Mistress 9, taking the full force of Pharaoh 90’s blast to protect Hotaru and Souichi (whom too was protecting her) Hotaru, (who regained control of her “body”) and Souchi share a tender father-daughter moment. Hotaru tells her dad that she forgives him for fucking up her life (despite that it wans’t his fault) . We then get a sappy flashback of the two in happier times. Ya know, to make us feel sorry for Souichi being an idiot for playing God and messing around with the law of physics, which got them in this situation in the first place.
Disgusted by their sappy cheesy moment, Mistress 9 gets pissed and attempts to regain control of Hotaru’s body. The two starts struggling for control until Hotaru overpowers Mistress 9. She declares that she must protect her dad and Chibi-Usa, awakens the spirit of Sailor Saturn and kills Mistress 9, destroying the body of the alien…which was also her body as well.
Following that, Sailor Saturn visits a dying Chibi-Usa at her dad’s house (Hotaru had a crush on Mamoru and was stalking him for a minute, that’s how she knew his address) and return her Pure Heart, telling her “My bad about stealing your pure heart and killing you.”, and thanks her for not being creep out by her weird powers. Oh, and making the final days of her short life enjoyable with her presence and kindness. That too.
Sailor Saturn then returns to the Mugen District (completely destroyed by Pharaoh 90). The Outer Scouts starts freaking out, assuming that Saturn will destroy the world, and they lose hope. Saturn greets Sailor Moon with a warm, but sorrowful smile. She thanks her for protecting her and informs her that she’s no longer Hotaru, but the soldier of destruction. She proceeds to jump into the core of Pharaoh 90 and tells Moon that in order to kill him, she must use her powers to its fullest and sacrifice her life.
Sailor Moon tries to stop her, but Saturn shoves her Glaive in her face. She doesn’t say anything, but her threatening posture and silence is enough to convince Moon to back off. Saturn simple tells Moon “farewell” and jump into the core of Pharoh 90. Moon tries to enter Pharoh 90’s but is pushed back by its power. Out of desperation, she attempts to transform into Super Sailor Moon without the Holy Grail, but she can’t. She attempts again, but nothing happens. She tries once more, out of pure frustration, sadness, and desperation. She is in tears, begging for the transformation, slamming her fist on the ground.
She wants to save Hotaru. She doesn’t want her young life to be cut so short.
Sensing the pleads of their leader, the Sailor Scouts (including the Outer Scouts) lend their power to Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon attempts to transform, this time, with success. Super Sailor Moon enters the core of Pharaoh 90 as a final effort save Hotaru. The massive combined power of Saturn and Moon proved too much for Pharoh 90, killing him.
The episode ends with everything restored to normal. The Sailor Scouts begin to regain conscious. Uranus and Neptune look around in silence, still stunned at what has transpired. Finally, Super Sailor Moon appears, blank, and emotionless. In her arms rest a young baby. That baby – a reincarted Hotaru. Usagi was successful in saving not only just her friend, but her daughter’s best friend as well.
Episode 125 of Sailor Moon S is one of my favorite anime episodes due to the emotional build up. Usagi still held on to the hope that she could save her friend despite the Outer Scouts tellin her to give it up. Even when at her lowest point of the battle with her losing the Holy Grail and the world being slowly destroyed, Usagi still held to that hope. Usagi’s Hope that would pay off in large with Hotaru overpowering and destorying Mistress 9, transforming as Sailor Saturn, and saving the world. I could go further by explaining how the flawless animation, the excellent voice acting, and amazing soundtrack worked in synergy for such a masterpiece, but that would take a great while for me to break down, and I believe provided more than enough reasons to explain my love for this episode.
‘If you have a bit of courage, people can really be soldiers.
If you have feelings for other people….anyone can be a messiah.
No matter how much you changed, please don’t forget that there are people who care for you.’
–Hotaru Tomoe, Sailor Moon S
Image and Gif sources:
3:36 – A Bright Shooting Star! Saturn, and the Messiah