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Literature / Sailor Nothing

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"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 the darkness of Neon Genesis Evangelion, mix in the tone and atmosphere of Animorphs (but far less kid-friendly), and add some of the self-awareness of Scream on top. What do you get? Sailor Nothing, a Web Original written by Twoflower (writer of Slayers Trilogy) 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, sixteen-year-old Himei Shoutan has already spent five years as Sailor Salvation, and acquired a lifetime's worth of PTSD and recurring nightmares fighting as the sole grunt soldier in a futile war against the Yamiko. Having initially Jumped at the Call as an elementary student, 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 fits of Unstoppable Rage and fires her. After all, more even than most, she just wants to be normal and stop being so tired...


There's just one problem: she can't. Kamen cut Himei off, but her cat Dusty can still talk, she still has her Sailor powers, and she still gets the unbearable splitting headaches that signal the birth of a new Yamiko. There's no escape for Himei as she returns to the fight under the new moniker of Sailor Nothing, except one option... and that option is looking more attractive every day...

This story contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Where Magnificent Kamen takes Dusty after kidnapping him.
  • 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.
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  • And I Must Scream: Ami. Oh god, Ami...
  • 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 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, and is sure she'll be fine the next day.
  • 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 Speech: Aki's Yamiko to Aki.
  • 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.
  • 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 Lair: The entire Yami-Gaia.
  • Crapsack World: Sure, it's a Tokyo 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.
  • 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.
    • The special Finishing Moves 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 Yamiko, 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.
  • 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.
  • Dark Magical Girl
  • Death Seeker: Argon, and arguably the Dark Queen.
  • 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 Decadence: Dark General Cobalt.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Himei being on the edge of this pretty much sets the tone of the entire story.
  • Distant Finale
  • The Dragon: Argon to The Dark Queen & Ohta to Cobalt.
    • Dragon-in-Chief: Given that the Queen's pretty much insane, the weaker but functional Argon very much serves as this.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • 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, as her creation was actually planned by the heroes, and she helps Shin kill Dark General Xenon, but immediately afterward, she incapacitates the real Shin, kisses Kotashi, then runs off to go kill Shin's uncle (who raped her and got away with it).
  • 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 are like this. Generally, the nicer the person, the crueler the Yamiko.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Take your pick. Ami is a good candidate.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Argon, who lampshades it constantly.
  • Forced to Watch: Seiki is made the victim of this trope while his Yamiko rapes Himei.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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. While it isn't very accurate, it does add to the "early 2000s anime dub" feel of the story.
  • The Heartless: Yamiko are this in a nutshell, with most of them having a heaping helping of Stupid Evil on top of it.
  • Heroic BSoD
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ohta.
  • Heroic Willpower
  • I Did What I Had to Do
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: Ami.
  • Jumped at the Call: Himei, when she was an elementary student... and she's regretted it ever since. Later Aki and Shin "call" themselves.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ami. 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.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Revealed to be the purpose of the Sailors.
  • Late for School
  • 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 Genre Deconstruction: After five years of increasingly miserable Triple Shifter Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World life, Himei is fired as a Magical Girl at the beginning of the story. To her despair, she Can't Stay Normal with the evil Yamiko still infiltrating the world. She is very tired.
  • 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.
    • Himemiya means "princess". Doubles as an homage to Revolutionary Girl Utena.
    • 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: On a spiritual level, how the Yamiko are created. Thankfully, the victim tends to block the memory out, due to the sensation being so alien.
  • 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.
  • 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 Kiss: Himei 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: Himei, Aki, and Shin.
  • 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 efficient manner possible, which means he has no time for rape, random murder, evil gloating, 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.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The human Ohta is this to Cobalt, replacing his Yamiko version.
  • Sissy Villain: Argon affects this appearance, with his nail polish, mincing/floating walk, love of fine clothes, and appreciation of art.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Very much on the cynical side.
    • 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.


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