How Many Sailor Plutos Are There in Sailor Moon?

Won't the real Sailor Pluto please stand up?

Won’t the real Sailor Pluto please stand up?

While some may refer to Sailor Pluto as the Guardian of Time, I find myself typically referring to her by a very different name: the Soldier of Convenience.

It’s not that I don’t like her character — quite the opposite, in fact! — but more that it seems like so little thought was given to her background and motivations that she winds up just filling whatever plot hole the series is dealing with at the time.

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, we also need to contend with the fact that there are actually multiple Sailor Plutos within the Sailor Moon timeline!

… I mean, you knew that there were multiple Sailor Plutos, right?

Well, dear reader, it looks like we have an interesting conversation ahead of us. I hope you’ve had your coffee, because you’ll want to be awake for this!1

Being the Sailor of space and time can be damaging to your health

Being the Sailor of space and time can be damaging to your health

So when I say that there are multiple Sailor Plutos, what do I actually mean by that?

There are obviously multiple Sailor Moons out there: Original, Super, Eternal, Chibi Chibi, Cosmos, and possibly Princess Serenity, depending on if you count that as a transformation. But that’s not what I’m referring to with Sailor Pluto.

In its simplest form, I mean basically that the Sailor Pluto we see throughout the series is not always necessarily the same person, and that there are quite likely more than one of her existing in the same universe at the same time.

Take, for example, the original Sailor Pluto that we’re introduced to in the Black Moon arc of the manga.2

From what we’re told, she has lived from the age of the Silver Millennium, survived through its collapse, and has dutifully stood guard at the Door of Space and Time all the way through the “modern era”3 and on until the events in Crystal Tokyo unfold in the Black Moon arc.

The O-Puu

The O-Puu

For the sake of convenience, I shall call her the “Original Pluto,” and that’s only because it sounds mildly more professional than my first draft of this article where she was dubbed the “O-Puu.” You can thank me later.

After she breaks her sworn oath and uses the forbidden ability of stopping time, the Original Pluto dies in the 30th century.

Neo Queen Serenity, either realizing that this was totally a jerk move to begin with or due to the need to perform her annual Queen-ly pardon, uses her power to have the Original Pluto reincarnated back in the “modern era” as Setsuna Meioh in the Infinity arc.

All good, right? Well, kinda.

First and foremost, assuming that Setsuna was actually reincarnated as a baby back in the past, this means that she would have already been alive — and likely even classmates with Reika! — all the way back in the Dark Kingdom and Black Moon arcs. But since she had not yet woken up as Sailor Pluto yet, we will put that issue aside and just assume that she was living a normal life at the time. We’ll call this new Sailor Pluto “Setsuna,” for obvious reasons.

The Setsuna Paradox

The Setsuna Paradox

For those playing along at home, this technically means that during the Infinity arc, there are two Sailor Plutos existing concurrently in the Sailor Moon universe: the Original Pluto, who is still sitting at the Door of Space and Time and guarding it, and Setsuna, who is busy adventuring with Sailors Neptune and Uranus.

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But this wouldn’t be an interesting discussion if that was all there is to it. Oh no, dear reader, there’s a third Sailor Pluto out there that throws a wrench into this delicately-crafted story.

Fast forward to the Sailor Stars arc,4 after ChibiUsa returns to the future and is greeted by her parents. We’ll get back to the problem with this scene in a second, so hold on for a bit.

Anyway, upon her return, ChibiUsa notices that something strange is going on now that she’s home, and that the sky is looking pretty ominous and foreboding. So, as one does, she decides to go in and check on Sailor Pluto.

Sailor Pluto reports to the Queen

Sailor Pluto reports to the Queen

What ChibiUsa finds instead is that Sailor Pluto is busy reporting to her mother, Neo Queen Serenity, about the events unfolding in the past and how they may have an impact on the future.

Now here’s the problem with this scene: at this point in the story, all of the Inner Sailor Team are already dead. If the past was having an impact on the future, then she should have noticed something by now. Indeed, King Endymion’s presence at ChibiUsa’s arrival makes it pretty clear that the past is actually not affecting the future, on account of the fact that he’s kinda… you know… dead in the past.

And yet, a mere three chapters later,5 we find Neo Queen Serenity kneeling over Luna and Artemis as she watches them fade away mere moments after they die in the past. On the following page, we see that the Sailors are all in caskets of sorts and their chests are shining, indicating that their Sailor Crystals have been stolen.

Mysteriously, Sailor Pluto and Endymion are also shown.

The obvious interpretation of this whole scene taking place in Crystal Tokyo is that there was a “time lag” of sorts in the order that events took place in the past and when they were reflected in the future. Or possibly that Chaos followed ChibiUsa into the future, which is what started connecting the past events to the future.

Both interpretations, however, fail to explain away our Sailor Pluto conundrum.

The Sailor Pluto that ChibiUsa spies reporting to Neo Queen Serenity cannot be either Original Pluto or Setsuna. The reason for this is quite simple:

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She’s Super Sailor Pluto.

Had the Original Pluto somehow survived and continued to live on, she would continue to be her normal, first-form self. If Setsuna had lived on from the past and on into Crystal Tokyo like the rest of the Sailor Soldiers, then she would be in her Eternal form. Even if the battle with Sailor Galaxia and Chaos had never happened, she had already powered up into Eternal during the Dream arc, so she absolutely would have that power.

The Eternal Senshi as of the end of the Dream arc

The Eternal Senshi as of the end of the Dream arc

“Wait a tick,” you say with a heavily-forced fake British accent, “what if ChibiUsa is returning to the future that she left — from the Infinity arc? Maybe this is a parallel future where the events of the Dream arc never happened!”

Also a good idea, but it doesn’t work out in practice.

Why not?

Well, because the Sailor Quartet are waiting for ChibiUsa in the future. This means that, at the very least, the events of the Dream arc had to have played out.

Basically, what this means is that we have a completely separate, third Sailor Pluto (Alternative Pluto) that exists in Crystal Tokyo and serves Neo Queen Serenity and know exactly nothing about her.

Yeah, umm... no clue on this one

Yeah, umm… no clue on this one

I hate to end an article without having some sort of strong conclusion, but unfortunately there’s really no conclusion for us to reach here, with the limited information we have. The best possible explanation is that ChibiUsa comes “back in time” from alternative futures, and that the universe that this ChibiUsa came from is in a post-Infinity universe where the Dream arc never happened.

That doesn’t explain away the Sailor Quartet, unless you want to argue that Nehellenia never even existed and thus never took the Asteroid Senshi’s stones, and instead leaving them to slumber in the Amazon rain forest until the future. But that raises the question of why future ChibiUsa didn’t already know about them, and introduces a whole lot of other plot holes.

So anyway! If you have any ideas on how to make sense of this whole situation, I’d love to hear your theories down below! Maybe we can hash out something reasonable out of this together.


References:

  1. I tried really hard to think of a time pun, but I blanked. Sorry.
  2. For the sake of simplicity, I will be restricting the conversation to the manga throughout. Sailor Pluto is even far less important in the anime, so I think this is a fair concession.
  3. Which is technically no longer “modern” since the story takes place a quarter century ago, but let’s not worry about that.
  4.  See Act 45, vol. 16 of the original release
  5.  See Act 48, vol. 17 of the original manga

16 thoughts on “How Many Sailor Plutos Are There in Sailor Moon?

  1. This is so great! My eyes started to cross at one point actually but now I’m inspired to go and read the manga again and form my own theories. Do you think it’s possible that the reason for “alternative” Pluto’s Super Fuku is perhaps the Outer Senshi were placed back at their original posts/respective castles and thus their rank was reduced back to Super? Maybe they would assume the Eternal rank again if they were needed to fight alongside the inner senshi. Let me know what you think!

    • If that were the case, I would assume that it would make more sense for all of the Sailor Soldiers to be reduced to their original rank (the first uniform in the series) rather than them being knocked back just one level from Eternal to Super.

      Also of interest, on the page where we see the Sailor Soldiers in stasis/with their chests lighting up in the future, all of the Inner Soldiers are wearing their original uniforms. However, there is a small problem with that scene: Mercury has arm sleeves, which her uniform shouldn’t have.

        • I’d be inclined to say it’s intentional, though why it’s intentional is a mystery.
          The Super form just seems too random to not be intentional. She had been drawing all of the Sailors as that form for ~6 months at that point.

  2. I already knew of the first two, but hadn’t realized about the third.

    I will thus apply my universal solution to time travel messes: take an aspirin and stop thinking about it.

    • And that’s not even getting into what type of time travel we’re talking about here. Does the past directly impact the future? Or is the future an alternate universe? Who knows!

  3. Setsuna is given two different stories in the Infinity arc. In Act 32, she says she was reincarnated thanks to Neo Queen Serenity (indicating that she’s the reincarnation of the Pluto who died from stopping time in the Black Moon arc). But then in Act 33, Michiru (who I believe is the one speaking) suggests she, Uranus, and Pluto were all reincarnated on Earth along with everyone else following the collapse of Silver Millennium (the artwork seems to support this reading). So…which is it? For whatever reason, whether by accident or design, Pluto seems to be the most inconsistent character.

    • Pluto, and bless her time travelling soul, is unfortunately one of the least developed characters in the entire series. In both the manga and the anime. One moment she’s a student studying astrophysics, the next she’s a school nurse (which isn’t even legally possible in Japan, nor would she be old enough) working at ChibiUsa’s school.

      Though I guess you could argue on the Act 33 inconsistency that Michiru knew that she and Haruka were reincarnated on Earth and just assumed that Setsuna was as well due to the fact that she was there.

      • But that would be weird since they were present in Act 32 when Pluto appeared and told everyone else that Neo Queen Serenity had brought her back to life in the 20th century. (And why exactly do that instead of just revive her in the 30th century and allow her to travel back to the 20th century if need be?)

        And don’t forget about her stint as an assistant astronomer! Or how Nakayoshi described her as a health teacher rather than a school nurse (but maybe she’s both?). And what any of that has to do with her alleged dream of being a fashion designer is beyond me.

        And is Chronos literally her father? Or is that just figurative? If he’s her literal father, does she have a mother as well?

        Maybe Pluto was inspired by Doctor Who and that’s why there are so many different Plutos in this series xD

        • Re: the “health teacher” vs. “school nurse,” I don’t believe Japanese schools distinguish that much since the nurses that work at school also need board of education certification.

          Is there a specific mess up surrounding that?

  4. Well as for Sailor Pluto being in her Super form as opposed to her Eternal form it could be said that the Sailor Senshi eventually gain the ability to switch back between their first forms, Super forms and Eternal forms. There is some basis to that. Minako can for instance still transform into Sailor V long after she gained the ability to transform into Sailor Venus so maybe the Inners and Outers also gained this ability to switch back between forms maybe as a way to conserve power. Also I don’t think that Chibiusa comes from a future where the Dream arc never happened. Because this is the very same Chibiusa who came to the past from the future in R from the Black Moon Clan arc and retains all of her memories of this event and at that particular event the Inners and Sailor Pluto’s future forms are all in their first forms. Personally I don’t think that in spite of certain plot holes there are multiple futures but Chibiusa went back in time in R in all continuities and the Black Moon Clan arc always happened in all of them. That being said maybe the 3rd Sailor Pluto is actually the future Setsuna who was reincarnated in the past who lived through the founding of Crystal Tokyo and eventually replaced the original Sailor Pluto at the time gate in the manga when she died. However another plot hole that is overlooked is that in the Mugen arc I believe Sailor Pluto along with Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were shown in a flashback in the Silver Millennium to have died there. Basically after the Silver Millennium fell Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Pluto went to the destroyed Silver Millennium. When united their Talismans called forth Sailor Saturn who in turn destroyed everything in the Solar System and reset it to the beginning. It was shown there that Sailor Pluto along with Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune died in Sailor Saturn’s world destroying attack and Sailor Saturn of course died when she used this attack. If you think about it the 90s anime actually has less plot holes with regards to this as there seems like there is just one Sailor Pluto who didn’t really die at the end of S when she stopped time on the plane to save Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune but was rather imprisoned in the Door of Space-Time as was shown in her talk with Chibiusa at the end of S and was sometimes freed in the events pre Sailor Stars.

    • As if the timeline in Sailor Moon wasn’t bad enough, Chibiusa just destroys continuity by traveling to the past.

      The main problem with Chibiusa not coming from an alternate future is that it implies that Usagi will allow the attack on Crystal Tokyo occur to preserve the timeline. It sounds similar to Sailor Cosmos deciding to not change Eternal Sailor Moon’s decision in the past and allow the war with Chaos to occur in the future, yet Sailor Cosmos is not Usagi. I cannot see Usagi allowing others to suffer if she can stop it. That would be one hell of a secret for the Neo-Queen and court to be sitting on for 900+ years.

      I was also going to mention Sailor Saturn’s awakening in the past. Sailor Pluto was clearly summoned from the Space-Time Door to Silver Millennium and was present when Sailor Saturn brought ruin to the remains of the Moon Kingdom. She would have either had to escape back to the door, leaving Neptune and Uranus to die or have died herself and been reincarnated. I’m not sure if Queen Serenity was dead at that point, so she may have been affecting events at the same time.

      I’m of the belief there’s at least two timelines. The original timeline where the battle with Metallia occurs, then nothing until Crystal Tokyo. That’s why Neo Queen Serenity cannot stop the attack on Crystal Tokyo, she has no memories of fighting the Dark Moon Clan as Sailor Moon. The second timeline splits off when Chibiusa travels to the past. This seems to be the only way to make sense of what we see during the Nemesis arc and how the story advances after that arc. The Nemesis arc occurs in the original timeline and the rest of the series occurs in the second timeline. The commonality between the timelines would be the Galaxy Cauldron. That’s why Chibiusa could exist until Mamoru was thrown into the Cauldron. At that point he stopped existing in all timelines, so she couldn’t exist. Sailor Pluto should be aware of multiple timelines, she could report to original timeline Neo-Queen Serenity with what’s happening in the second timeline.

      Definitely a reach, but that’s what happens when you make your second plotline involve time travel.

      • I have to disagree I don’t think that Neo Queen Serenity would allow the Black Moon Clan arc to happen but I think that the Black Moon Clan arc happened in all timelines. It is pretty much implied and outright stated that the Black Moon Clan arc happened in all timelines. The future is not shown to be changed and that Chibiusa is the same Chibiusa who will be eventually be born to Usagi. I imagine that Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion would try to stop the events of the Black Moon Clan arc however like in Classic Greek Tragedy the more you try to stop fate from happening the more you necessitate it’s arrival. In Greek Tragedy usually the particular individuals know that a negative fate awaits them but the actions they take to avoid this fate are usually the catalyst by which that fate comes to them. Only two people in Greek Mythology that I know of were able to circumvent fate successfully and they were Zeus and Odysseus. Zeus was foretold that with Metis his first consort that they will have two children one would be a daughter that would match him in power that child would be Athena and another would be a son that would be more powerful then him and eventually overthrow his dad. Likewise Zeus absorbed Metis before she could give birth to this son and now she lives inside of him giving him wisdom. Likewise Odysseus was fated to die by the sea but by using his wisdom and cunning gifted to him from Athena he was able to circumvent this curse of Poseidon. However on the most part fate is inescapable to mortals and Gods alike. I imagine that the Black Moon Clan arc is fated to happen no matter what is done and I imagine that the more that Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion try to prevent it from happening the more they hasten it’s arrival.

        Again the series only leads us to believe there is one timeline and Chibiusa even states at the end of Sailor Stars that she will see Usagi soon in the 30th Century not another Chibiusa from another timeline but the same one she encountered showing that there is one timeline where the Black Moon Clan events happen in all timelines.

  5. I wish there was a whole lotta depth to it, but I’m pretty sure it’s just Naoko getting confused with her own storytelling. 🙁

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