Sailor Nothing

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"My name is Shoutan Himei. I'm sixteen years old, and I'm very tired."

Sailor Nothing is a Web Original novel written by Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne, a dark and disturbing take on the Magical Girl genre which predates some other subversive takes like Futari wa Pretty Cure and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (but not Shamanic Princess). Written between 2000 and 2001, it takes inspiration from Sailor Moon (note the title), Neon Genesis Evangelion, Animorphs and Scream.

Himei has spent five years as Sailor Salvation, the sole grunt soldier in a futile war against the Yamiko, and has acquired a lifetime's worth of horrific memories. Having initially Jumped At the Call, she sees it as cause for celebration when her boss and Mysterious Protector Magnificent Kamen (nicknamed "Magnificent Bastard" for good reasons) finally gets fed up with her complaints and messy combat tactics. Fired from her fuku duty, she can finally be free.

There's just one problem: she can't be. Kamen cut her off, but she still has her powers, and still gets the unbearable splitting headaches that signal the birth of a new Yamiko. There's no escape, except one option... and that option is looking more attractive every day...

Tropes used in Sailor Nothing include:

"I told mom it was a fashionable thing at school now to tape your left hand."

    • Far worse was the behavior of Shin's parents in her backstory: although not the classical form of abandonment, leaving your daughter with a known child molester as babysitter has got to be one of the most negligent acts of parenting ever.
      • It gets worse when you realize that he did it to others in the family, too.
  • Personality Powers: Himei's favored attack is called "Nothingness", Aki's is "Amazing Grace", Shin's is "Rude Awakening".
  • The Power of Friendship: Darker than usual, but used as straight as possible.
  • Pure Is Not Good
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Cobalt, so very much. Like all the Yamiko, he's a total sociopath. However, he's also obsessed with getting things done in the most efficent manner possible, which means he has no time for rape, random murder, or any of the other typical Yamiko pursuits.
  • Psycho for Hire: All Yamiko, especially Neon and Xenon.
  • Rape as Backstory: Pretty much describes Shin's backstory, but not so much Himei in a later chapter, whose experience is explored in more detail.
  • Rape as Drama: Several times, including Shin and Himei.
  • Rape Is Love: Subverted. Himei knows, deep down and through long experience, that Yamiko-Seiki's actions have nothing to do with Seiki himself, and loves the latter.
    • Possibly a trait of Yamiko in general. Love usually includes the desire to have sex with that person. When a Yamiko is made, it's basically a copy of a person with all the good removed. Good such as love, or caring what the person you want to have sex with thinks. In this case, rape is all that is left of the originals love.
      • Close; the Yamiko-Seiki still obviously cared about Himei in a deeply fucked-up way. But being a yamiko meant he ceased to care what anyone else felt or wanted, and no longer care if she felt similarly. He automatically assumed she'd do whatever he wanted and couldn't even comprehend otherwise, only focused on his own desires to the point of monstrous selfishness. All while still believing it was love.
  • Reconstruction: At first it deconstructs how painful fighting real monsters would be for a child, but then it shows how good friends can make it all bearable.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Aki gives this to Ami when she is dropped from the Fashion Club.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The human Ohta is this to Cobalt, replacing his Yamiko version.
  • The Reveal: Kamen's, the Queen's, and Argon's true identities.
  • Save the Villain: Shin stopping her Evil Twin from killing her rapist uncle.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Eventually subverted as Aki realizes that while she does love Himei dearly, Himei has a boyfriend, and they're not meant to be. Double Subversion in the epilogue, when it's mentioned that Aki has a girlfriend, Keiko.
  • School Newspaper Newshound: Shin; explicitly, she wants to unearth the truth wherever she can.
  • Shadowland: Even once using the phrase "shadow realm"
  • Shell Shocked Senior: Himei...while still in high school.
  • Shout-Out: A very subtle one to They Might Be Giants.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Himei's and Seiki's first Now or Never Kiss
  • Sissy Villain: Argon effects this appearance, with his nail polish, mincing/floating walk, love of fine clothes, and appreciation of art.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Thrown way out of whack.
    • For all its grimness, however, it ultimately has a core of idealism. The Power of Friendship plays an important role in keeping the heroine together, and the key to defeating the Big Bad in the end turns out to be forgiveness.
  • Smug Snake: All Yamiko, except Cobalt, who's too much of a pragmatic villain, and Argon who's both high-functioning and Genre Savvy enough to know he's a Smug Snake and work around it. Radon is a particularly vile example.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist
  • Something Completely Different: Chapter 7 departs from the written format to an animated sprite comic with captions.
  • The Starscream: Radon, who openly plots to displace Argon and then seize the Queen's throne.
  • Stepford Smiler: Aki starts out as a Type A.
  • Suicide by Cop:
    • Inverted: The "cop" knowingly walks into an unwinnable fight.
    • Dark General Argon plays it straight later.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The Yamiko, especially Himei
    • Also subverted. Himei thinks that her Unstoppable Rage is this, especially when she starts feeling other strange symptoms... which turn out to be the flu. The rage turns out to be something quite different.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Cobalt
    • Note: that is both during and AFTER his tenure as a Dark General. After the end of the Yami-Gaia, however, it's mere human stupidity bringing him down. Thankfully, Ohta's available to again bail his ass out, or the poor sucker might just get Driven to Suicide after the dog and pony show had already ended.
  • Taking the Bullet: Subverted in the final chapter as Aki is merely wounded, not killed, in the process.
    • Also toyed with in that two people dive for the same bullet, the second pushing the first out of the way in addition to the original target.
  • Theme Naming: The fashion club and the Dark Generals.
  • Transformation Trinket: Every Sailor uses one. In Sailor Nothing's case, it's a literal trinket, originally just a cheap plastic trinket, before it was enchanted.
  • There Are No Therapists: There are therapists, but they never do anyone any good.
  • This Loser Is You: Shoutan Himei herself, of course, for always angstily complaining about being forced to do her responsibility even if she doesn't want to. Because of her attitude, countless others including those who care about her are getting harmed one after another.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Xenon and Neon. No one can really tell them apart, and Cobalt actually refers to them as the "WhateverOns.
  • Trailers Always Lie: What each Next Episode section said might not be what you should expect from the next chapter. You've been warned!
  • Triple Shifter: Himei is so tired...
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Argon, who knows the Dark Queen better than she knows herself.
    • Ohta displays the same sort of loyalty to Cobalt.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Argon's loyalty to the Dark Queen is based on the fact that his human self was her human self's boyfriend.
  • Unstoppable Rage
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: Played with. Done straight throughout most of the fic, with the vilest acts either done offscreen or quickly named with no description. Then hideously averted with Ami's fate, made even more effective by the earlier straight play.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: The Dark Generals
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The unnamed priestess who started this whole mess.
  • Word of God: Right on our Headscratchers page.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The entire story. The priestess manipulated Cobalt and Radon in the hopes of being able to stop the Yamiko. She was very weak, and her direct interactions were limited, but without her acting, none of the events of the story would ever have happened.