A Sailor Senshi (セーラー戦士 Sērā Senshi?) appears as a type of heroine in the metaseries known as Sailor Moon. The name comes from sailor fuku, a type of school uniform, and senshi, which can mean "soldier" or "warrior". Naoko Takeuchi, the manga artist who originated the series, coined the term by fusing English and Japanese elements, and fans speaking each language have adopted it. The translation "Sailor Soldier" is also common, used not only by English-speaking fans but also appearing in the stage musicals. The live action series translates the word as "Guardian". The DiC dub of the anime used "Sailor Scout" for the majority of its run; other common titles include "Sailor Warriors," "Sailors," or simply "Senshi." Like most Japanese loanwords, the word Senshi is both the singular and plural form.
Sailor Senshi, as classic magical girl heroines, have both civilian and magical identities. Each Senshi has a transformation sequence which grants her a uniform in her own theme-colors and her own kind of elemental power; these powers come from an object called a "Sailor Crystal" said to be within each of them. Accessories gained with their uniform, such as Sailor Moon's tiara, can also be used as weapons. According to Naoko Takeuchi, only females can be Sailor Senshi, although there is at least one male with a Sailor Crystal. This is Mamoru Chiba, who is the guardian over the planet Earth and gives himself the pseudonym "Tuxedo Mask." In the manga only, he has subtle powers of psychometry.
The most iconic and well-known Senshi, Sailor Moon herself, leads the primary group of Senshi in defending the Earth (or the galaxy, if necessary) from other-worldly threats. Officially, this team consists of ten people: Sailor Moon herself, Sailor Chibi Moon, and eight planetary Senshi named after the planets of the solar system, including Pluto (but not Earth).
When referring to a group, the series itself uses the terms "Sailor Senshi" and "Sailor Team" with multiple meanings. "Sailor Senshi" may refer to the entire classification of heroines, but either term may also mean the ten planetary Senshi, or the group of five comprising Sailor Moon and her four Guardian Senshi (see below) in particular. Usually the intended group may be discerned from context, but usage of this term can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the series. English versions also use the phrase "Sailor Scouts".
The Sailor Team often divides itself into subsets, based both on civilian age and on Senshi-related duties. The story usually makes it quite clear who belongs in which group, as they tend to work separately, so the series rarely refers to the differences. Official titles do exist to disambiguate between the groups, which this article refers to in shortened form as "Guardian Senshi" and "Outer Senshi". English-speaking fans usually use the non-canonical term "Inner Senshi" for the first group.
The stage musicals use the terms naibu taiyōkei yon senshi ("inner solar system four warriors") and gaibu taiyōkei yon senshi ("outer solar system four warriors"), but these do not appear in any other media. Still, Japanese fans occasionally use the non-canonical terms gaibu senshi (外部戦士) and naibu senshi (内部戦士).
Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon, though both members of the Sailor Team, do not belong in either of these subgroups. Together they are often referred to as Double Moon. In the manga, Sailor Chibi Moon is also part of her own team made up of herself and the Sailor Quartet. The Sailor Quartet do not count as part of the Sailor Team in the series. Like Chibi-Moon they come from the 30th century, but unlike her they rarely join the Sailor Team in the present.
The Guardian Senshi (often called "Inner Senshi") consist of the four Senshi who serve as Sailor Moon's closest protectors, named for the four innermost planets of the solar system (sans Earth): Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. With Sailor Moon at the head, they form a sentai (a team of five), and are the primary characters of the various series. In the manga, their full group name is "The Soldiers of the Four Guardian Gods" (四守護神の戦士 yon shugoshin no senshi?), although this is very rarely used.
The storyline reveals that, in their past life, these four served as the guardians of Princess Serenity from her birth and lived with her in the Moon Kingdom. When their utopian way of life was destroyed, the five were reborn on Earth in the 20th century as Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) and her best friends, Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), and Minako Aino (Sailor Venus). They are all fourteen years old when the main story begins.
The Guardian Senshi typically appear more connected to their human lives, and to the world itself, than do the Outer Senshi. Although this does not always hold true, the Guardian Senshi tend to be warmer, sillier, and more open to outside help. If at all possible, they always try to save everyone they can in a fight rather than making sacrifices. They each eventually acquire accessory weapons, but these are not quite as critical or as tied to their powers as those of the Outer Senshi. The Guardian Senshi themselves are also rather less powerful as well as less mature and less experienced; nevertheless, it is often through their compassion and perseverance, rather than through force, that victories are achieved.
Modern astronomy divides the inner solar system from the outer by the location of the asteroid belt and by the groupings of terrestrial planets as opposed to gas giants. Both of these distinctions would place Jupiter in the outer system, whereas the series includes Sailor Jupiter among the "Inner" or Guardian Senshi.
The Outer Senshi, those who defend the solar system from external threats, take their names from the four planets furthest from the sun (as reckoned at the time the series was created): Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The series treats these characters very differently than do the fans—they are considered a group of three, with Saturn excluded due to her unique role in the story, however, Saturn does join them later in the series after the third arc. In the manga, they are officially called the "outer solar system warriors" (外部太陽系戦士 gaibu taiyōkei senshi?), and use this name to refer to themselves in the anime as well. The Guardian Senshi usually refer to them as "Uranus-tachi," meaning roughly "Uranus and the others."
In the age of the Silver Millennium, Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto guarded the edge of the solar system and had instructions to fend off any alien attacks. Sailor Saturn was not among them, as she is the bringer of destruction and ruin. In the manga, their backstory becomes more complicated: it had always been the other Outer Senshi's duty to prevent Sailor Saturn's birth, but when they gathered to witness the Moon Kingdom's destruction at the hands of the Dark Kingdom, the Outers inadvertently allowed Saturn to be born so that she could destroy the remnants of the kingdoms of Earth and Moon. All four are then reborn as in the anime. In both storylines, Sailor Pluto plays a double role as the guardian of the Gates of Time (the manga extends her duties by hinting that she is also guardian of the underworld).
On Earth, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune become, respectively, Haruka Tenoh and Michiru Kaioh, partners and implied lovers a year older than the Guardian Senshi. They work together for some time, only later joined by Setsuna Meioh (Sailor Pluto), a college student, and by Hotaru Tomoe (Sailor Saturn), a much younger girl (whose age varies due to rebirth and accelerated growth).
The Outer Senshi appear charming, mature, and personable in their civilian forms, and the Guardian Senshi admire them enormously. However, they also demonstrate extreme dedication to their role as soldiers, and, should they determine that sacrifices need to be made, can be entirely ruthless with allies as well as enemies. While in Senshi form, Uranus and Neptune are cold, aloof, and are not inclined to trust offers of help from other groups, preferring to work alone, even to the exclusion of the Guardian Senshi, while Pluto and Saturn often help the Guardian Senshi. The manga shows that, even if the Outer Senshi prefer to exclude the Guardian Senshi, they love Princess Serenity very tenderly - to the extent that they would treat her with complete disrespect to protect her. They regard Prince Endymion with utmost courtesy and even go out of their way to care for Chibiusa.
Each of the Outer Senshi fights with a special weapon; Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto bear the three Talismans, and Sailor Saturn carries the Silence Glaive, which is capable of destroying whole worlds. In general, the Outer Senshi are more powerful and more experienced than five out of six Guardian scouts: Sailor Uranus is physically the strongest by use of her Space Sword, Sailor Neptune is granted special visions by use of her Deep Aqua Mirror, Sailor Pluto can stop time itself by use of her Garnet Rod, and Sailor Saturn is regarded as the most powerful of all, second only to Sailor Moon (she is even able to block attacks from Sailor Galaxia, one of the most powerful Senshi in the universe).
Pluto mediates between Uranus and Neptune and the other Senshi.
At the time of the writing of the series, astronomers regarded Pluto as a planet, although astronomical authorities have since re-classified it as a dwarf planet. On the other hand, modern astrology (both Western and Eastern) divides the planets between Saturn and Uranus: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were only recently discovered, and are not visible from Earth with the naked eye, while the other planets have been known since antiquity.
Uniforms and make-ups
The uniform worn by the Sailor Senshi resembles a popular style of Japanese school uniform, the sērā fuku or "sailor suit". Creator Naoko Takeuchi attributes the idea for this motif to her editor, Fumio Osano. Originally, each of the Senshi had her own fairly unique outfit, related to the others only in its basic form, but in later stages of character design Takeuchi settled on a more unified appearance. Within the Sailor Senshi, only the outfit worn by Sailor Venus during her time as Sailor V varies significantly from the others — most notably in the manga of the same name, which pre-dates the Sailor Moon series.
As the Senshi gain additional powers and insights, the features of their uniforms change to reflect these advances. Most of them have unique traits to begin with (such as Sailor Pluto's lack of sleeves, Sailor Neptune's neck-pendant, or Sailor Saturn's flower-petal shaped sleeves, and the spiky star brooch on her front bow, and other unique features), but as the group becomes more powerful, their individual uniforms become more similar, until finally color schemes mark the only differences. The Guardian Senshi are frequently exceptions, but over the course of the series, the other characters pass through three basic phases:
a)Their original forms resemble each other closely, but have some individual variety. The sub-groups show traces of theming: for instance, the Outer Senshi do not have stripes on their collars, while the Inner Senshi each have one or two. In the manga, the Inner Senshi gain a few upgrades before fully changing to their second forms, as with the alteration of their brooches from circles to hearts.
b)eir second forms become a little more similar to each other, but allow for some distinctions to remain, such as earrings and shoe-style. When Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon take on this form, they become "Super Sailor Moon" and "Super Sailor Chibi Moon". In the manga the others do not change their names accordingly, but in the anime they do.
c)Their third forms replicate each other entirely in form, and generally reach an ornate peak. When Sailor Moon takes on this form, she becomes "Eternal Sailor Moon", gains wings and loses her tiara; the others do not reflect any of these three changes. This form never appears in the anime for anyone but Sailor Moon.
When the Sailor Senshi of the 30th century appear during the second story arc, they wear their original uniforms, without any enhancement. Chronologically, this was prior to the introduction of costume changes for most of the characters, so it may be a plot hole. Whether or not Takeuchi has developed an explanation is unknown.
Right side (From top): Sailor Pluto, Sailor Neptune, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Mercury Middle(from Top): Sailor Mars, Super Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon Left(from Top) Sailor Saturn, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus