While Sailor Saturn is generally considered by fans to be the most unlucky of the Senshi, personally I’d argue that it’s Setsuna who really got the short end of the Moon Stick.1 Between her unrequited love for a married man, having a non-sensical back story, and getting killed for literally doing her job, it’s not easy being Sailor Pluto.
One thing that’s always bothered me, though, were the circumstances surrounding her death in the Black Moon arc. Why did she die, and who condemned her to death in the first place?
Today we’re going to take a closer look into Sailor Pluto’s so-called “taboos” and how they ended up being placed on her. Make sure your Space-Time doors are fully closed, you’ve had your morning coffee or tea, and let’s get going!
I’m pretty sure that this will come as no surprise to many of you, but for the sake of a brief refresher, let’s go over the basics.
Sailor Pluto is the guardian of the Space-Time Door, where she has stood watch for countless millennia. This also puts her in the unique category of being one of the few denizens of the Moon Kingdom to have lived from the Silver Millennium all the way through to Crystal Tokyo outside of Luna and Artemis.23
While you’d naturally assume that this would give her a lot of leeway to engage in excellent adventures and bogus journeys, unfortunately for her, she’s bound by what’s known as the Three Taboos:
- she must not travel through time
- she must not abandon her post at the Door
- she must never cause time to stop
The first two are “rules” to the extent that covering your mouth when you sneeze is a rule — it’s the right thing to do, but nothing bad will happen to you if you don’t. We see her violate these rules with no ramifications whatsoever. The third one, however, is a bit more serious: violation of this rule will result in her death.
Wow, okay, so things escalate quickly between these rules, now don’t they.
The question, then, is where do these rules even come from? Are they universal constants that simply have to do with the way the space and time function? Or did someone arbitrarily decide them and put them into place?
Spoiler: it’s the second one.
Over the course of several cut scenes in the manga, we see Queen Serenity explain to Sailor Pluto what her role of the Space-Time Door gatekeeper involves and the Three Taboos that she’s subject to.4 A charitable reader of the manga could probably argue that she was merely passing long the rules, but things get a little clearer when you dig even further into the founding of the Silver Millennium.
“But Jason,” I can hear you writing with unrestrained gusto in the comments. “The Space-Time Door could have preceded the Moon Kingdom! So we don’t know she was involved.”
Fortunately for you and me both, my fictional reader, this conveniently leads me to my next point: the Space-Time Door was created in the Silver Millennium. We can say this with relative certainty for two reasons.
First off, according to statements made by Nehellenia,5 we know that Queen Serenity and her retinue came to the Earth during the planet’s infancy, quite possibly shortly after the hypothesized planetary impact that created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago.6 She describes a desire to watch over the planet though there is clearly no civilization in place at the time on the Moon or seemingly elsewhere in the area. This means that no civilization in the Solar System predates the Silver Millennium.
Second, Sailor Pluto herself states that only denizens of the Silver Millennium — which apparently includes Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity by extension — can enter through the Space-Time Door.7 A door located within the deepest recesses of the Crystal Palace, might I add.
Considering that the Space-Time Door, and the place which it encompasses, is the sole domain of the Silver Millennium and that Queen Serenity herself founded said monarchy, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to go so far as to say that Queen Serenity herself created the Space-Time Door.
And, by extension, the Three Taboos by which the Soldier of Time is bound.
This means that Queen Serenity created the area, assigned Sailor Pluto to watch over it, gave her the rules to operate under… and ultimately it was none other than Queen Serenity herself to condemn Sailor Pluto to death.
What’s more, it was at Neo Queen Serenity’s wish that Sailor Pluto was reincarnated in the past as Setsuna Meioh to take part in the Infinity arc in the battle against the Death Busters. Considering that Neo Queen Serenity is clearly unable to reincarnate people on a whim elsewhere in the story,8 I think it’s not unreasonable to interpret this as the heir to the Moon family throne forgiving Sailor Pluto for her transgression.
As for why Queen Serenity would want to do this to one of her subjects, that’s certainly an interesting question open to debate. Perhaps there was a greater reason why she would place these rules on the gatekeeper of the Space-Time Door other than purely for the sake of it. In any case, it just further cements the fact that Sailor Pluto was given a pretty rough lot in life.
So what do you think of all this? Was Queen Serenity justified in placing such harsh restrictions on Pluto? Or do you think there was some other, yet unseen force at work? I’d love to hear your take on the situation down below!
- I will never turn down the opportunity for a lame pun. Never. ↩
- It’s unclear if Phobos and Deimos were reincarnated down on Earth or if they lived on, but then again, the “put to sleep” thing was mostly an anime invention anyway when you consider that Saturn pretty much murderfied everything in the manga. ↩
- Before you say Helios, yes, I know. But he technically wasn’t a member of the Moon Kingdom court. ↩
- See pp. 168-169, vol. 5; p. 10, vol. 6 of the original release ↩
- See act 41, vol. 15 of the original release ↩
- See Giant Impact Hypothesis (Wikipedia) ↩
- See p. 48, vol. 5 of the original release ↩
- If she could, her troubles with the Black Moon and Shadow Galactica would have been easily resolved. ↩