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Literature: Sailor Nothing

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

Take a basic Magical Girl template, influenced most of all by Sailor Moon (note the title). Infuse some Neon Genesis Evangelion, mix in the tone and atmosphere of Animorphs, and add some of the self-awareness of Scream on top. What do you get? Sailor Nothing, a Web Original written by Twoflower and a very scary magical girl story, not unlike Elfen Lied. It also predates some other takes like Futari wa Pretty Cure and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (but not Shamanic Princess), being written in 2000 and 2001.

Uncommonly, it doesn't begin with the heroine's origin story. In fact, as the story opens, Himei has already spent five years as Sailor Salvation, and acquired a lifetime's worth of horrific memories fighting as the sole grunt soldier in a futile war against the Yamiko. 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 despite the trope-y name), finally gets fed up with her complaints and fits of Unstoppable Rage and fires her. After all, more even than most, she just wants to be normal...

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...

Written in 2000 and 2001, and available via this link.

This story contains examples of:

  • Abandoned WarehouseWhere Magnificent Kamen takes Dusty after kidnapping him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer — A standard High School trope
  • Allergic to Evil — Himei detects the birth of a Yamiko via nearly debilitating headaches.
  • Anachronic Order — Chapters 8 and 9, the former being "stream of consciousness" and the latter much more orderly, both venturing into Mind Screw.
  • And Your Little Dog Too — If Himei almost losing her friends and boyfriend were enough to trigger a Heroic BSOD, you just knew the guy who kidnapped her cat was going down.
  • And I Must ScreamAmi. Oh god, Ami...
  • Anti-Hero — Shoutan Himei
  • Anti-Villain — Dark General Cobalt.
  • The Atoner
  • Battle Aura
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn — Aki, Shin, and Himei, respectively.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
  • Big Fancy House — Seiki's, to some degree.
  • Black Eyes of Evil — The Yamiko.
  • Book Ends — The opening and closing sentences are almost exactly the same, except for Himei's age.
    • That and the reason why she's 'very tired'. In the opening, it's the weariness of having the fate of the world on her shoulders for far too long. In the closing, she just didn't get enough sleep the night before.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick — "Rose... wand... floating... superior... crystal... eternal... beautiful... flower... genocide!"
  • Break the Haughty Ami didn't end up broken so much as snapped in half. Actually, snapped in half might have been kinder.
  • Breaking SpeechAki's Yamiko to Aki.
  • Broken Bird — Himei without a doubt.
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Card-Carrying Villain — Deconstructed, as being pure evil makes the Yamiko incapable of plotting and scheming.
    • Argon plays it straight, largely because he's Genre Savvy enough to know he's a Card-Carrying Villain and plan for it. Averted by Cobalt, who keeps his CCV tendencies in check in the interest of making his plans work.
  • Catch Phrase — "This should not be happening"; Himei also grimly quips that "I'm very tired" wouldn't sell any action figures. However, she gains a new one later: "I want to live."
  • The Chessmaster: Cobalt, the priestess, Argon. Radon tries, but is really too handicapped by his monstrousness to pull it off successfully.
  • Child Soldiers — The sailors.
  • Clark Kenting — In chapter 4, Shin explicitly draws the comparison with Superman, noting, "The magic even extends to MPEG."
  • Collapsing LairThe entire Yami-Gaia
  • Crapsack World — Sure, it's a Toyko not too different from our own... except for the presence of Yamiko, which spiritually ravage their victims, turn into their dark sides incarnate, frequently kill their original selves, and go on to wreak merry hell on the world before returning to the Yami-Gaia. That alone must mean that the rate of random, unexplained disappearances and unsolved violent crimes is much higher than our own world.
  • CuckoldSeiki is forced to watch while his Yamiko rapes Himei.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle — Very, very few Yamiko can stand against even a normal-power Sailor. None can withstand their Unstoppable Rage except the Dark Queen.
    • Yes and no. The special finisher attacks of the Sailors instantly disintegrate any Yamiko who isn't very old or very powerful, so when the heroes plan a proper ambush or fight as a group against unskilled monsters it's over in a moment. However, this relies on the Sailor striking a pose and making specific hand motions (made difficult or impossible by injury) and going through the whole name of their attack, and the yamiko failing to get out of the way. And newborn Yamiko may not have any strength beyond that of a normal adult human with no inhibitions, but the Sailors have all the strength of ordinary little girls. Most combats are slow, unpleasant, inflict lasting harm on the heroines, and several would have been lethal without the timely arrival of assistance.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Argon, who not only knows that he's both The Dragon and a Card-Carrying Villain, but is able to avert Smug Snake status because of it: he knows he's an arrogant, condescending bastard and plans for it. He's also aware he's in a deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre, knows the roles the others are playing and works with it.
  • Dark Chick — Cobalt, who combines this with many of the traits of the Evil Genius. In a group of Mad Artists, sexual predators, and Card Carrying Villains, he's into Pragmatic Villainy and just wants to get things done.
  • Darker and Edgier
  • A Darker Me — The Yamiko are the physical manifestation of this. They're just like regular people, but with absolutely no inhibitions or moral concerns. This is the clinical definition of psychopathological behavior. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., the foremost psychologist currently (or maybe ever) teaching on the subject, has written or collaborated on a formidable number of texts.
  • Dark Magical Girl
  • Death SeekerArgon, and arguably the Dark Queen.
    • Himei, in some ways. Given that she has no way to attack the enemy at their source for the majority of her time as a sailor, she sees death as the only way out.
  • Deconstruction — ...of heroes and villains both, and Magical Girl stories in general.
    • In Real Life, a lone magical girl fighting monsters in an urban enviroment will quickly suffer combat fatigue and PTSD. If she can only fight the Monster of the Week instead of the monster maker, she will see the war as endless and despair.
    • A race that is Always Chaotic Evil wouldn't be able to cooperate and wouldn't be always chaotic evil either.
  • Defector from DecadenceDark General Cobalt
  • Despair Event Horizon — Himei being on the edge of this pretty much sets the tone of the entire story.
  • Determinator — Kongou Shin, always.
  • Determined Defeatist — Himei.
  • Distant Finale
  • The Dragon — Argon to The Dark Queen & Ohta to Cobalt.
    • Dragon-in-ChiefGiven that the Queen's pretty much insane, the weaker but functional Argon very much serves as this.
  • Driven to Suicide
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Emotionless Girl — Sailor Nothing
  • Enemy Without — Happens multiple times, each with significant plot effects.
    • Aki: ruins her reputation and tries to kill her. Alerts her to both the existence of the war (including Himei's involvement in it) and her own repressed feelings about her life.
    • Kotashi: tries to rape Shin, forever changing their relationship, and brings her a few steps closer to the Truth.
    • Himei: One of the most powerful Yamiko in existence, and possibly the most powerful newborn Yamiko in history. Actually tries to mercy-kill her and her friends (along with Dark General Cobalt), who barely make it out alive.
    • Seiki: successfully rapes Himei, which finally cracks her much-worn psyche and leads her to lock herself in the bathroom and slash open as many arteries as she can, in graphic detail. Despite this, he's the nicest Yamiko, which should tell you something about the rest of them...
    • Shin: initially subverts this, helping Shin to kill Dark General Xenon, but runs off to go kill her uncle (who raped her and got away with it) immediately afterwards.
  • Enigmatic Minion:
    • Argon; while his loyalty to the Queen is unquestioned, his motives, backstory, and ultimate goals remain obscured to the very end.
  • Evil Overlord: The Dark Queen
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness
  • Evil Twin: All Yamiko
  • Fate Worse Than Death — Take your pick. Ami is a good candidate.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Argon, who lampshades it constantly.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Five-Bad Band: A variation:
  • Flashback Nightmare
  • For the Evulz — The motivation of pretty much all the Yamiko except for Cobalt and Radon. Justified in that they're largely incapable of even having a more complex motivation.
  • Four Is Death
  • Gayngst: Turns out Aki has this without her knowing; while she has feelings for Himei, she spends most of the story not realizing that they're romantic ones and isn't really sure what to make of them.
  • Genre Savvy: Several of the protagonists, and Cobalt. Argon is Dangerously Genre Savvy, much to everyone's regret.
  • Giant Mook — The insane, nigh-unstoppable, Sailor-killing Super Yamiko.
  • Girl Posse — The fashion club.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Dark Queen, who's insane to the point of being practically schizophrenic.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong The priestess that created the first Yamiko was attempting to purify herself. It didn't go quite the way she was expecting...
  • Gratuitous Japanese — Intentionally invoked for much of the Japanese names and terms. We hope.
  • The Heartless
  • Heroic BSOD
  • Heroic Fatigue
  • Heroic SacrificeOhta.
  • Heroic Willpower
  • He Who Fights Monsters — The whole reason the story isn't over in the first chapter.
  • Hurting Hero — Himei
  • I Did What I Had to Do
  • I Just Want to Be Normal — Very.
  • Impossible Task/Snipe Hunt - No, Cobalt, it's not possible to restore the Yami-Gaia to prosperity because the Yamiko are too Chaotic Evil to focus on some bigger picture.
  • Infinite Canvas — Used in a few places, especially chapter 7.
  • In the Name of the Moon
  • Incompatible Orientation: Aki is a lesbian and in love with Himei, who is straight and in love with Seiki.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Shin. She idolises Hunter S. Thompson and is obsessed with bringing out the Truth, even becoming a Sailor to learn more. Her name even means "truth" in Japanese.
  • Ironic Echo: "I'm very tired."
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In pretty much every single permutation available.
  • I Wished You Were DeadShin to Ami
  • Jerk Ass:
  • Jumped at the Call — ...and regretted it. Later others "Call" themselves.
  • Kick the Dog — Magnificent Kamen kicks it harder and harder as the story goes on.
  • Kick the Son of a BitchAmi. Even wishing her dead turns into this.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Played straight with Cobalt who never really receives any comeuppance for the death and destruction he causes. Possibly justified as he turned traitor, and the war may not have ended without him doing so.
    • Inverted to truly gruesome effect with Ami. Her punishment is worse than anything she deserved.
  • Knife Nut: A whole lot of Yamiko, including Dark General Argon.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The title says it all.
  • Knight Templar: Magnificent Kamen, pre-Face-Heel Turn.
  • Kuudere — Himei
  • Laser-Guided TykebombRevealed to be the purpose of the Sailors.
  • Late for School
  • Let's Get Dangerous: When Himei says, "This shouldn't be happening," Unstoppable Rage isn't far behind.
  • Lonely Rich Kid — Seiki
  • Loners Are Freaks — Cobalt concludes The Quiet One will spawn the darkest, most powerful Yamiko ever.
    • This is actually a subversion, as it is stated in the first chapter that the purer the individual, the more evil the Yamiko.
  • Love Makes You Evil
  • Lyrical Dissonance — One character runs right into it when he is told what the meaning of an American song he's enjoyed listening to while trying to cope with his parents' death. To little surprise, it's a song by They Might Be Giants.
    • To be more specific, it's "Everything Right Is Wrong Again", which is quite possibly the worst thing to have been listening to in that situation...
  • Mad Artist — Argon
  • Magical Girl — Hitemi is one.
  • Magical Girl Warrior
  • The Magic Goes Away: The ending.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Argon and Radon
  • Meaningful Name — A number of characters (and other things) have these.
    • Shoutan means "crying in pain". Himei is "scream" or "shriek".
    • Himemiya means "princess". Doubles as an homage to Revolutionary Girl Utena.
    • Komachi can mean "belle" or "town beauty". Aki in turn can mean "emptiness".
    • Kongou can mean the vajra, which involves symbolism for the Five Buddhist Wisdoms; one dictionary lists the word as "Buddhist symbol of the indestructible truth". Shin can (more plainly) mean truth, as well.
    • Seiki can mean "spirit of justice".
    • If you take some notice, the Nothing of the title Sailor Nothing translates as Mu in Japanese, making it Sailor Mu with a similar sounding to Sailor Moon.
  • Mind Rape — Thankfully, the victim tends to block the memory out. Probably closer to "Spirit Rape" anyway.
  • Mind Screw — Justified: the chapter where this happens is narrated from Himei after attempting suicide, and her mind is currently not sure of how "cause and effect" is supposed to occur.
  • Minion Shipping — As observed elsewhere, Cobalt and Ohta have a definite Burns/Smithers vibe.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much — Cobalt and Ohta are both able to channel their Yamiko tendencies into constructive means rather than constant cruelties, and Cobalt is shown constantly annoyed by the inability of everyone else to follow their lead. As it turns out, they had unwittingly been helped in that regard.
  • Mysterious Protector — Magnificent Kamen in the backstory, though also a total jerk.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain — Aki's reputation being destroyed by her own Yamiko turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to her.
    • Magnificent Kamen sure shot himself in the foot by trying to let Himei kill herself, even if you don't count creating her in the first place due to being too indirect.
  • Noble Demon — Argon deconstructs the trope. As it turns out, having something resembling morality is not good for the self-image of a race of psychopaths. Even his treatment of Ami is deliberately meant to inflame the Saliors' will to destroy the Yami-gaia
    • Played straight with Cobalt.
  • Non-Action Guy — Kotashi
  • Now or Never KissHimei and Seiki — three times
  • Painting the Medium — The font varies slightly depending on who's narrating, and the background color of the webpage is usually black, but goes white at the beginning and end.
  • Parental Abandonment
    • Minor forms. Seiki lives alone, which he can barely stand, and Himei's parents don't notice her injuries.
    "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 Plan: 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.
  • The Power of Friendship — Darker than usual, but used as straight as possible.
  • Power Trio
  • Pure Is Not Good
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Like all the Yamiko, Cobalt's a 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.
  • 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" SpeechAki 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 RevealKamen's, the Queen's, and Argon's true identities.
  • Save the Villain: Shin stopping her Evil Twin from killing her rapist uncle.
  • 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" KissHimei'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.
  • Spiritual Successor: Though it probably didn't inspire Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the feel's the same. More straightforwardly, it's one of the main inspirations for ''Princess: The Hopeful'. Exhaustion is its stated 'mood'.
  • 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.
  • Stupid Evil: Most Yamiko. Exceptions include Pragmatic Villain Cobalt, Radon, and Dangerously Genre Savvy Argon.
  • Suicide by Cop:
    • Inverted: The "cop" knowingly walks into an unwinnable fight.
    • Dark General Argon plays it straight later.
  • Superpowered Evil Side — The Yamiko, especially Himei
  • Surrounded by Idiots — Cobalt. This is both during and AFTER his tenure as a Dark General. After the end of the Yami-Gaia, 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.
  • 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 — Downplayed. There are therapists, but they never do anyone any good.
  • This Loser Is You: Shoutan Himei herself is always angstily complaining about being forced to live up to her responsibilities, even if she doesn't want to. Because of her attitude, countless others, including those who care about her, come to harm.
  • 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.
  • Wakeup Go To School Save The World
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?The unnamed priestess who started this whole mess.
  • Word of God — Right on our Headscratchers page.

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alternative title(s): Sailor Nothing; Sailor Nothing
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