Who Sentenced Sailor Pluto to Death?

Oh, Pluto... if only you knew what's coming next

Oh, Pluto… if only you knew what’s coming next

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!

Sailor Pluto, very much not dead

Sailor Pluto, very much not dead

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:

  1. she must not travel through time
  2. she must not abandon her post at the Door
  3. 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.

Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 -- just die

Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 — just die

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?

Read also:  5 Things You Didn't Know About Sailor Moon (I Promise!)

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.

Kind ruler or ruthless monarch?

Kind ruler or ruthless monarch?

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.

Sailor Pluto* (*not actually a planetary Senshi)

Sailor Pluto* (*not actually a planetary Senshi)

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.

Read also:  When Did the Silver Millennium / Moon Kingdom Fall?

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.

And if you break the rule, you die lol

And if you break the rule, you die lol

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!

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  1. I will never turn down the opportunity for a lame pun. Never.
  2. 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.
  3. Before you say Helios, yes, I know. But he technically wasn’t a member of the Moon Kingdom court.
  4. See pp. 168-169, vol. 5; p. 10, vol. 6 of the original release
  5. See act 41, vol. 15 of the original release
  6.  See Giant Impact Hypothesis (Wikipedia)
  7. See p. 48, vol. 5 of the original release
  8. If she could, her troubles with the Black Moon and Shadow Galactica would have been easily resolved.

9 thoughts on “Who Sentenced Sailor Pluto to Death?

  1. I’ve thought that the death as a side-effect for using the time stop (like it completely drains her life-force), which could have been a warning from Queen Serenity.

    But it could also have been a penalty/curse (depending on how you see it) given by either QS or Chronos to ensure that she wouldn’t be tempted to misuse it (like if too many time stops could be harmful to the space time).
    Still harsh though since she saved the universe with it.

  2. Well, seeing as it’s always a disaster when shows/movies do time travel as it opens up plot holes galore (Ex. Marvel) I think it’s a rather meta way of Naoko acknowledging this, though she ironically did nothing to avoid it. You mess with time, you mess with everything else. As shown by Chibiusa fading from existence at the death of one of her parents or at their breakup. As to why the first two rules are no big deal and the third one is, I can’t posit any explanation other than Queen Serenity perhaps knew how things would play out and it was part of a “divine plan”…

  3. There’s also Chronos. We don’t know exactly what or who he/it is. We know Setsuna calls him father.
    He seems to be the one governing time.
    If he is in fact her literal father, and that’s not just all symbolic, I’m not sure that’s a better one to blame.

    Personally, I don’t think anyone executed Sailor Pluto. I think those rules just exist.

    Not traveling through time is a good rule. I think that one could be manmade (moonmade?) because of all the obvious issues it can cause.

    Not leaving her post is probably a rule more than a taboo. Perhaps Chronos used to guard the door and left and bad stuff happened.

    But stopping time could be something that actually effects the user’s body with actual consequences.
    Maybe Chronos was even killed doing this in the distant past. The strain it could cause on the body to be the only thing in existence to still be moving forward might be too much.

    I really wish we knew more about Chronos.
    Is he just an abstract concept?
    A god on par with Serenity or maybe more powerful?
    Is he the Greek Titan Cronus who was the father of Pluto in mythology? But wait…that would make him Saturn…oh…the mythology in Sailor Moon needs filling in!

  4. Omg I’ve always wondered this! I remember being like: “Why does she have to die!? She’s literally related to the god of time!” It more, too, because she’s my favorite Senshi ;-;

  5. Pssst. The story kind of implies that Queen Serenity was super benevolent but not necessarily a great mother or leader. When she sent everyone to reincarnate in 1990s Tokyo, that was her wishing to set things right.

    One of the themes of the show are that they were all born together at the same time. All the senshi together, not separated by age in the case of the inner senshi and not separated by distance in the case of the outer senshi. Notice that when Pluto and Saturn are finally reunited with the rest of the senshi, the team is at their strongest.

    Sailor Pluto’s taboos and isolation at the door was another one of Serenity’s good intentions, bad executions.

  6. Okay, the “Pluto is not a planet” joke is really getting old.

    Sailor Pluto’s death is honestly one of the weirder moments of the manga, in that it’s the sort of scene that exists purely for drama but still has the decency to be foreshadowed to some extent. (Pluto’s reincarnation in the next arc, on the other hand, comes out of nowhere and barely receives any explanation beyond “future Usagi did it”.)

    The “stopping time requires so much energy it’ll kill you” idea is the one implicitly used by games like Another Story, where it’s not deadly but does drain all energy points.

    • I think Naoko basically just wrote herself into a corner. She needed to have Pluto stop time in order to tie the scene together, but it also raised a question as to why Pluto didn’t… you know… just stop time whenever they needed it. So she threw in this important rule about how it killed her.

      Then when she wanted Pluto back in the story, she just kinda decided to fudge it and ignore that rule altogether.

      • That could be explained by considering that Sailor Pluto never stops time after she is reincarnated. Perhaps the original Pluto was also a demi-god of sorts. She had the ability to stop time but it would be deadly as she was not a true goddess. Queen Serenity made the act of stopping time taboo to prevent Pluto from accidentally killing herself. When Pluto is reincarnated, she becomes a regular mortal human and loses the ability to stop time.

        Neo Queen Serenity sending Pluto’s reincarnation to the past fixes a loose end from Queen Serenity, finally reuniting the Outers together.

        • According to the manga, it’s actually the Garnet Rod, not Pluto, that has the power to stop time (p. 10 of vol. 7 of the original manga; Act 23 “Never Ending”).
          Which makes things a lot more complicated. x_X

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