Who Destroyed the Moon Kingdom and Ended the Silver Millennium?

Okay, who did this??

Okay, who did this??

What was once merely referenced in passing as a peaceful utopia, the story surrounding the Moon Kingdom and its demise became increasingly more complicated as Sailor Moon‘s lore deepened.

While it would be easy to say that Queen Beryl is responsible for the fall of the Moon Kingdom, I don’t think that’s exactly a fair assessment when you take into account all of the other forces at play behind the scenes. After all, was it Queen Beryl’s unchecked jealousy that spurred her on, or does the blame rest entirely with Queen Metalia for playing to her weaknesses?

Or perhaps it goes even deeper than that…

Today, we’re going on a trip back to the Silver Millennium to analyze all the many moving parts that brought down a great empire. Bring a jacket — I hear it’s cold on the Moon!

Sailor Venus clearly blames Queen Beryl

Sailor Venus clearly blames Queen Beryl

As in pretty much every discussion, we need to tear down our question to the basics and figure out what it is we’re trying to answer here.1

Essentially, the crux of our question is focused on how we want to distinguish between being directly vs. indirectly responsible.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Queen Scorned

Let’s return to our Queen Beryl & Queen Metalia example for a moment. Were it not for the corruption in Beryl’s heart, it’s possible that Queen Metalia may never have been able to corrupt her and, in turn, empower the wayward sorceress to invade the Moon Kingdom. Conversely, Beryl would almost certainly not have been able to cause as much damage as she did were it not for Queen Metalia’s immense power.

In that case, I think we can say that they are both directly involved in the downfall of the Silver Millennium… but not necessarily “responsible.”

But that doesn't make any sense!

But that doesn’t make any sense!

You see, in a sense, the fall of the Moon Kingdom may have been destiny… or fate, if you’d prefer.

The Nehelenia Problem

When Queen Nehelenia was banished away to the mirror of darkness by Queen Serenity, she placed a curse on the infant Moon Princess, declaring that the Moon Kingdom would fall and Princess Serenity would never take the throne. As I’m sure most of your are already aware, that curse happens to be surprisingly on the mark with respect to the Moon Kingdom’s ultimate fate.

Queen Nehelenia comes to wish Serenity a happy birthday

Queen Nehelenia comes to wish Serenity a happy birthday

So that leaves us with two possible interpretations:

  1. Queen Nehelenia was just angry and didn’t take rejection well, causing her to spout off random threats like a blocked Twitter follower; or
  2. It was ultimately Queen Nehelenia’s curse which would give rise to the circumstances leading to Beryl and Metalia joining forces to fight the Moon Kingdom
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I think we can safely rule out the former option since it kind of undermines everything about Nehelenia’s character, leaving us with #2 — it was Beryl’s destiny to fight against the Moon Kingdom. In that sense, you could argue that she  (and even Queen Metalia, by extension) was just as much to blame as the Shitennou and other brainwashed forces.

… right?

Kinda!

Chaotic Chaos

Chaotic Chaos

The Chaos (lowercase c) of Chaos (uppercase c)

Chaos, true to its name, manages to throw a wrench into things here. Though at first glance it doesn’t have anything specifically to do with the destruction of the Moon Kingdom, Chaos does state that all of Sailor Moon’s villains — Queen Metalia, Death Phantom, Pharaoh 90, Queen Nehelenia, Taiki (?) — were merely incarnations of itself.

In that sense you could say that Chaos (Nehelenia) cursed the Moon Family, giving rise to Chaos (Queen Metalia) to later make good on her threat.

So Chaos destroyed the Moon Kingdom… right?

A new challenger arrives

A new challenger arrives

Death, Rebirth, and Honorable Mentions

If you want to get technical — and you know I do — then that means we need to stop for a second and look back at our initial question. When you get right down to it, Beryl & Queen Metalia may have been the catalyst for the downfall of the Silver Millennium, but they by no means actually destroyed it.

Despite their best efforts, Queen Serenity still managed to (mostly) seal away Queen Metalia using the power of the Silver Crystal. At that point Queen Serenity had arguably already won the battle, though the losses suffered — Princess Serenity, Prince Endymion, and the Sailor Senshi — were too great for her to accept and the decision was made to reincarnate everyone in the future to give them another shot at peace and happiness.

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In comes Sailor Saturn, the Galactic Reset Button.™

One Death Ribbon Reborn Revolution later and the Silver Millennium was nothing more than a fallen empire, its denizens annihilated in the hopes of giving them another shot at a rich and fulfilling life in the future.

Reincarnation is never easy

Reincarnation is never easy

Personally, I’d say the credit — assuming that’s the right word — goes to Queen Nehelenia as ultimately her curse did come true regardless of who was ultimately responsible for making that final move, be it Queen Metalia, Queen Serenity, or Sailor Saturn. Like a half-baked psychic who gives nothing but vague predictions, she ultimately was right that the Silver Millennium would end and that Princess Serenity would never assume the throne.

Obviously the Chaos angle muddies things up and, in my opinion at least, ultimately takes away a lot of Queen Nehelenia’s credit. After all, if Chaos was responsible for both the “curse” and then making good on it, that means that Nehelenia’s words meant nothing — there’s no supernatural power (fate, destiny, etc.) at work here and it’s merely Chaos biding its time.

Ultimately, the biggest question this brings up for me is: was it actually necessary to bring an end to the Silver Millennium after the battle with Queen Metalia? Or was the loss of her dynasty a sacrifice Queen Serenity chose to make for your daughter?

I’d love to hear what you think down below!

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  1. This is the easiest part for me considering that I chose the question in the first place.

15 thoughts on “Who Destroyed the Moon Kingdom and Ended the Silver Millennium?

  1. i think that ultimately it was a lot of little things that snowballed over time that brought an end to the silver millennium…

  2. Reading these are both interesting and funny ( I don’t think I can ever see Queen Nehelenia again without imagining her being an angry, blocked Twitter follower )

  3. Naoko Takeuchi kept piling on the layers until she nearly ruined the lore behind this. It didn’t help that besides that line in Stars about all the major enemies being incarnations of Chaos, she never really referenced former enemies.

    The whole Sailor Saturn reset was overkill and Nehelennia’s curse seems redundant and tacked on.

    When I was younger I used to think the manga blew the anime away, and in some aspects it did…but I’ve become much more forgiving of the anime’s flaws over the years and realized sometimes the directors were right to reign in some of the more bizarre and half-baked concepts from the manga.

    I’m all for some world-building, but it is fairly obvious Naoko didn’t have a plan laid out and instead just repeated a formula and added on lore as she went rather than making a goal (besides a wedding) and getting there.
    I’ve been guilty of this myself in writing and it can be fun and in the case of Sailor Moon, gave us a lot of enjoyment, but we never got proper explanations for a lot of the lore and some of the elements feel tacked on.

    • While I love both the anime and the manga and could hardly pick a favorite, I believe the manga should have ended with Dream. You can tell that Naoko was getting tired and running out of steam by the end of that story arc and Stars felt like a bunch of ideas dumped onto paper with absolutely zero resolution to any of them.

      At worst, it felt like it retconned a bunch of the series with no real reason why. =(

      • It was also bizarre to have an entire storyline about how the Sailor Soldiers are at their strongest when together and united, only to immediately kill them off in the next chapter (offscreen even).

        Stars really should have been a time-skip with Chibiusa and gang.

  4. My mother destroyed the Moon Kingdom and her obsession to try to take away me from my beloved grandmother Queen serenity luckily my grandparents raised me to follow in their footsteps and teaching me also left I’ve already got Ms saloon she’s a Maine Coon cat long hair domestic fuzz part-time at fazoli’s Brittany tindle reminds me of sailor Jupiter she loves cooking Susie reminds me of sailor Venus Morgan Eldridge sailor Mars
    Amanda Sexton sailor Mercury

    Paige fugite reminds me of sailor Pluto Danielle Lowe reminds me of / Sailor Saturn

  5. My take: The “biggest picture” answer is given in Act 60 of the manga (Stars 11).

    The Silver Crystal and Chaos represent the two sides that make up the essence of the universe (portrayed by the Galaxy Cauldron). Traditionally they are depicted as yin and yang, with the two pursuing and giving rise to each other like night and day. This cycle is eternal and never-ending, as Guardian Cosmos tells us.

    From this perspective, the destruction of the Moon Kingdom is like a sunset, and the defeat of Metalia is the subsequent sunrise. By their choices, Beryl and Sailor Moon fulfilled their respective destinies.

  6. I think you can go further with the Chaos connection. In essence Metalia and Nehalenia were part and parcel of the same entity. So Chaos, as Nehalenia, might not have actually invoked a magic curse so much as she promised to get even, which she did as Metalia. Nehalenia might have KNOWN Metalia was sound asleep inside the Sun when she made that curse so in effect she knew that there was a back up plan ready and waiting.*

    As for where the blame lies, I think you could easily compare the Beryl/Metalia situation to Darth Vader and the Emperor. Anakin and Beryl both had emotional issues that Metalia/Palpatine exploited, but they still CHOSE to turn to the darkside at the end of the day. And they both CHOSE to work with their new evil overlord in mass murder.

    *My headcanon by the way is that Metalia’s presence inside the Sun created a doorway for Nehalenia to enter the Silver Miellennium in the first place since you’d think the Outer Senshi would have prevented that. After all, in the 20th century she enters Tokyo via an eclipse. It would have been easy for Chaos to transfer the Nehalenia part of itself onto the Moon when it was in perfect alignment with the Sun where another part of itself resided.

  7. Also, a question I’d like to know is who or how the reincarnation of everyone happened.

    In the anime it is pretty clear that Queen Serenity is the person who actually casts the spell to reincarnate everyone. But in the manga I found that to be a little more ambiguous. Saturn is the Senshi of death and Rebirth so does that mean it was HER power that reincarnated everyone? Or was it the Galaxy Cauldron that did it?

    Or was it some kind of combination of the three?

    As in, was Queen Serenity was so heartbroken the Moon Kingdom was essentially doomed since she was never going to be able to rule it properly after her daughter died. Therefore, Saturn showed up to destroy everything (but somehow leave the Moon Castle computer still working?????). And by destroying everything she simply sent everyone to the Galaxy Cauldron where they then got reincarnated? In other words is it the case that Saturn simply facilitates rebirth as opposed to having magic to actually make it happen?

  8. There’s an element that hasn’t been addressed.

    Queen Serenity failing to properly prepare the Princess for her ascension to the throne. Had the Queen managed to properly impress upon her daughter why it’s a bad idea to go on trips without your security detail (or convince said security detail to go along, but not notify anyone about it), the Princess wouldn’t have caught the eye of Prince Endymion. Had she not caught the eye of Endymion, Beryl wouldn’t go and make a deal with Metallia.

    But the Princess was able to just casually jaunt down to Earth so often that she was able to find a boyfriend, meaning that she either wasn’t prepared properly or didn’t pay attention. Going by the Princesses personality, I’d favor the latter.

    (Credit given where credit is due “White Devil of the Moon”, a Sailor Moon/Nanoha crossover where Queen Serenity coughed at the wrong point when performing the reincarnation spell, causing the Princess to be reincarnated not as Tsukino Usagi, but rather Takimachi Nanoha. Let’s just say that Nanoha does not have many kind words for the deceased queen.)

  9. While I think it’s quite obvious that lore kept getting tacked on as the story went, I think Stars was also an attempt to take the whole conflict…and make it bigger, galactic, inevitable. It’s been a while since I read it, so bear with me here…

    Maybe I’ve been playing too much Dungeons & Dragons, but I’ve always looked at it as the battle between Chaos and the wielder of the Silver Crystal being akin to Chaotic vs Lawful on the D&D alignment chart, and how this struggle was always inevitable. All of those villains were incarnations of Chaos aka the “Chaotic” end of the spectrum, just like Sailor Moon/Queen Serenity/Cosmos were incarnations of the peaceful aka “Lawful” end.

    Sailor Cosmos was the Sailor Moon of the future who had fought so hard and for so long that she forgot that the fight was the point. The universe is a balance of peace and chaos. Lawful vs Chaotic. Sailor Cosmos vs Sailor Chaos. The Silver Crystal vs Chaos.

    The full lore of the fall of the Silver Millennium illustrates how these forces are intertwined, as do the same mistakes repeated by Neo Queen Serenity. Both queens zealously maintained their peaceful, lawful kingdoms and both inevitably created their own enemies, created the chaos that took them down. Queen Serenity used the Saturn reset button, just like Cosmos attempted to go back and change the past. Both were wrong in thinking this would stop the struggle, though.

    Perhaps it’s reading more between the lines, but I’ve always loved the idea that the Silver Crystal creates its own enemies simply by existing. A force of such purity and light couldn’t exist without corruption and darkness. But both are intrinsic to the makeup of the universe. You can’t have one without the other.

  10. I actually don’t think it was Nehellenias curse. When Nehellenia mentions the curse, Neptune says “Neither did your curse destroy the kingdom, nor did it kill the Princess. It was fate”. Saturn replies: “Someone like you cannot determine fate.”
    And I don’t think Naoko would have included these lines if they weren’t true. I also think overestimating her importance fits her character, because she also talks a lot about being the real moon queen, although this is bs.

  11. I would say that if we are speaking on the 90s anime atleast with regards to Sailor Saturn then she probably didn’t reset the Solar System as in that atleast when the 3 Talismans come together in the 90s anime it brings forth The Holy Grail not summoning Sailor Saturn. Thus it also removes the plot hole of Sailor Pluto allegedly living on to the era of Crystal Tokyo but also being killed/reincarnated by Saturn etc.

    Likewise Nehellenia may have never cursed Princess Serenity to fall when she was a baby a la Sleeping Beauty as in the 90s anime I believe both Queen Serenity and Princess Serenity sealed her away into the Mirror when she assaulted Elysion.

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