Something I hadn’t really thought about until just now while watching Rei and Michiru face-down in a puddle are the three different ways these pairings are defeated.
Ami and Haruka are deceived.
Rei and Michiru kill themselves,
Minako and Pluto are murdered.
The last two especially I’ve phrased as death, and while they didn’t actually die, for all intents and purposes they would have, had Nehellenia been out to kill them.
Everything in this arc — every last fucking thing — is commentary on the characters, and so I think that this, too must be.
With Ami and Haruka, I was thinking at first that they were out-thought or out-maneuvered, but they weren’t really. Nehellenia ambushed them while their guard was down, and I think that’s perhaps the key. Ami and Haruka, despite still being in a nothingless void of their enemy’s creation, stand around and reflect and pat each other on the back and basically forget entirely that they’re still in tremendous danger.
I think that’s the key to their ultimate defeat, and interestingly, that provides us with the one thing their part was lacking: common ground.
Rei and Michiru, Minako and Pluto. They’re about how those two Senshi are different but using their similarities as the foundation to explore those differences. With Ami and Haruka, there’s none of that (a large part of the reason why I think their part went first, and was in a completely separate episode). Ami and Haruka HAVE no similarities. They’re complete opposites, their part seems to say.
But after all of that, after running through Nehellenia’s maze and gathering data and defeating her, both Senshi believe it’s over. They’re both completely at the mercy of their own naivety.
Haruka, for all her bluster and her talk about making the hard choices, can be extremely naive. That’s part of what I find so interesting about her, because she tries so hard to be one way, yet it’s so against her nature. You need look no further than her agreement with Michiru about leaving each other behind. Michiru made damned sure Haruka swore she wouldn’t risk herself for Michiru, and when Haruka swore it, she meant it. Yet when Michiru has been lying about it the whole time and had no intention of doing that herself, Haruka is COMPLETELY SHOCKED BY THIS.
And Ami, she got so wrapped up in the puzzle, she was sure that once she’d solved it, they’d be able to go their own way. That’s the way these things work. You solve the riddle and the enemy lets you move on a ways. That’s how these things are DONE.
So it’s quite a shock to them both when Nehellenia says “YEAH, NO” and sneaks up behind and captures them anyway.
Rei and Michiru's makes me laugh really it's so perfect for them. They don't get defeated and they don't get surprised, THEY JUST FUCKING DO THEMSELVES IN.
Rei and Michiru are their own worst enemies, their part tells us. There’s NOBODY who will defeat them like they will defeat themselves. Rei and Michiru will burn out, they will use up every last scrap of power they have to overcome their enemies. It may kill them in the process, BUT FUCK YOU I KILLED ME, YOU DID NOT DO IT.
Rei and Michiru’s part was about perception: theirs on the world, the world on them, and them on themselves. In the end though, none of that matters. These two ladies live — and as we see, die — on their own terms.
Then Minako and Pluto, and theirs is notably the most violent. So much of Minako and Pluto’s part is different. From the moment we begin witth hem, we see they can’t win. They’re outmatched and on the run immediately. Where the others had only one enemy each, Minako and Pluto have hundreds. They don’t have a win condition, they merely have survival.
That right there speaks volumes about both of them.
Pluto can never win. Pluto, able to see all of time, can never see an end for herself. She continues, forever, at least in some fashion.
And Minako knows that she can’t win either. Evil doesn’t stop. Evil NEVER stops. Every enemy has another string of enemies behind it, ready to take its shot, ready to try to be the one that ends them forever. That’s such a crucial part of Minako’s personality. She lives every moment so fully because she knows too well that the next moment may never come.
So Minako and Pluto here, they don’t look to win, they only look to survive to fight another day. Which they do, and then some. Defying expectations is pretty awesome, too, and they enjoy that.
But in the end, it’s not enough.
In Minako and Pluto’s part, I feel the threat of inevitability that they both recognize so well. They can fight and struggle against it, but they’re never, ever free from it, and when they least expect it, it will claim them.