“Moon Prism Power, Make up!!”
With those five simple words, the klutzy 14 year old crybaby Usagi Tsukino turns into the sailor-suited soldier of both love and justice, Sailor Moon. Once her power is unleashed, she’s able to fight the toughest monsters the enemy can throw at her, and… umm… heal the baddest of the bad?
What I’d like to talk about today is something that has been on my mind for awhile: does the brooch make Usagi into Sailor Moon, or is it just a way of channeling her inner power?
Hopefully you’ll join me on this in-depth look into the source of Sailor Moon’s power!
If a reporter were to approach me while I was on my way to work and ask me “is Sailor Moon’s brooch essential to her remaining transformed?” I probably would answer ‘yes’ on gut instinct alone.
After all, there are multiple scenes throughout the anime – and even the manga – where Usagi is detransformed (is that word?) by having her brooch damaged or removed.
And it’s not even just Sailor Moon, either. Sailor Mercury, for example, is shown to lose her transformation in Urawa’s premonition when her brooch (gem?) gets cut off.
Of course, I guess you could make the argument that it wasn’t really a premonition per se seeing as it didn’t actually come true, but I’m willing to accept it as legitimate since it also properly predicted that he would turn into Bunbo and that he would end up fighting Sailor Mercury.
What’s especially noteworthy about this is that, other than Sailor Moon and Sailor ChibiMoon, none of the other Sailor Soldiers even use a brooch to transform. Rather, they all use various pens, sticks, or in the case of the Outer Senshi, even lipstick.
So if even the other Sailor Soldiers will lose their transformation from losing their brooch – and we’re going to keep calling it a “brooch” for lack of a better term – then I think it’s a safe assumption that Sailor Moon needs it too.
To the best of my knowledge, Usagi has had her brooch taken/damaged and lost her transformation a total of four times in the series:
- Episode 51 in her battle against the cherry-blossom Cardian, Leshy
- Sailor Moon R Movie in her battle against Fiore
- Episode 90 in her battle against the shinto-inspired Daimon, Mikuuji
- Episode 199 in her battle against Galaxia
Before you start writing comments, let me point out that I’m aware Sailor Moon and other members of the Sailor Team have lost their transformations for other reasons throughout the series. However, that’s beyond the scope of this article. The question is whether the brooch is essential.
So with all that proof out there, we’re pretty much ready to call it a day, right? I mean, we’re five for five, and that’s just because I’m too lazy to look for if there are any more scenes with the rest of the Sailor Soldiers.
Of course, there wouldn’t really be any point in me writing this long post and dragging my answer out like this if there wasn’t a catch.
You see, in all two-hundred episodes of the anime’s run, episode 85 is the first and only time we see Sailor Moon take her brooch off. And she stays transformed.
Why? Well, personally, I suspect she did it just to spite me. But that’s neither here nor there.
Usagi, in her bid to turn ChibiUsa back from the villainous
Wicked Black Lady, removes her brooch and summons all of her power as Sailor Moon to remove the darkness from ChibiUsa’s heart.
Taking this into consideration and looking back at all the other evidence mentioned earlier, we really only have three conclusions we can reach:
Episode 85 was a fluke
While this is a tempting explanation, when you run a blog entirely on the concept of analyzing every minute detail, no matter how trivial, the last thing you want to do is start discounting random details that don’t back up your point. Besides, I think we can justify this anyway, so let’s pass on that.
The damage caused her to detransform the other times
Also a tempting explanation, but it frankly doesn’t make any sense. Sailor Moon’s brooch being damaged or destroyed is a pretty central theme to the four aforementioned scenes. Also, that wouldn’t explain Sailor Mercury in the battle against Bunbo, or the fact that the Sailor Soldiers didn’t transform back when they died in the final battle against the Dark Kingdom.
She needs an intact brooch to be Sailor Moon
After taking into account all of the evidence we see throughout the series, I think we can fit the information together to reach a reasonable conclusion.
Basically, we see that damage to her brooch makes her lose her transformation as Sailor Moon, and we also see that having it removed from her chest does the same. Taken as a whole, I think we can reach the conclusion that because Usagi was holding the brooch the entire time, she was still able to maintain her power and stay as Sailor Moon.
When you look back at her transformation, and how she uses the brooch to transform to begin with, it’s actually not all that surprising. But it does lead to some interesting questions over how things work for the other Sailor Soldiers.
If Sailor Saturn, for example, wanted to take her brooch off and play with it, I’m guessing she’d be fine. But if she took it off and used it like a shuriken, then she’d turn back to the moe-powered Hotaru Tomoe.
At least that’s my take on the situation. What’s yours? Do you think that the brooch is the source of their power as sailor-suited magical warriors, or was it just a plot convenience and a way for the animation staff to drum up some extra drama during some key, transitional scenes?
And how do you interpret the episode 85, brooch-holding scene? I’d love to get some other insights into all this!