12 Days three: Haruka’s Fiery Struggle

For day three let’s talk about Sailor Moon Crystal. The second series aired this year. It’s been a very long time since I watched an anime week to week, but I did with this one. The story arc covered by the second series was always one of my favorites. I loved Haruka, even in high school. So everything from the news of which arc they were covering to that crazy ED about Haruka and Michiru got me hyped up.

Once again, notice the middle card is duplicated, just so you can see how everything connects to everything else. This is the deck Aleister Crowley designed and Frieda Harris painted. It’s almost as famous as the Rider-Waite, and it’s called the Thoth deck. You’ll notice Crowley helpfully appends summary words to the bottoms of the minor cards. I honestly suspect that’s one reason this deck gets used publicly so often, it has a memory charm printed right there!

10 Wands “Oppression”

Something blocks Haruka’s Will, her mission in the world, her creative side. Tens are all earthbound, and fire should be anything but. Bringing them together causes problems, and in this case the problem is that what she came to earth to do isn’t what Usagi wants her to do.

XIII Death

Nice and ominous. In this case it’s appropriate: what Haruka has come back to Earth to do is kill Sailor Saturn. Sailor Saturn is also the embodiment of death. So here we’ve got both her goal and her target. As you’ve heard in tons of movies, Death doesn’t necessarily mean, well, death. It can mean change, so on. Notice how the skeletal figure dances, a little like Kali is said to dance. So, in the kind of polyvalent meaning we like around here, Death is also pointing to the destruction of Haruka’s mission. She has to let go of the past to go into the future. And she already died once.

5 Wands “Strife”

We got two wands and they’re both bad. Fives are all related to war, combat, and other fun and angry things. For one’s Will and energy to manifest in the realm of war, you would be in, or seeking to cause, strife. The wand itself, in the card, could be used as a hammer to kill someone. I mean, look at it. Haruka certainly came girded for war, but I think this means something else. The next card is necessary to make sense of it, though.

IX Hermit

The hermit is exactly who you think it is, the old person who has studied all their lives and who may be convinced to help. Gandalf is the Hermit, at least in The Hobbit. In the sequence we’ve got here, though, this card mirrors Death. Those two cards flank the central card, Strife. So I assume it must be a person, too. It’s still Sailor Saturn. She’s death when she’s a scout, but when she’s just Hotaru she’s an accidentally immortal young woman with magical powers, too much knowledge, and a case of isolation like you can’t imagine. So the problem Haruka is running into is that the person she’s here to kill is two different things — the duality throws her into confusion and strife. But then again, Sailor Moon has always been about duality.

7 Swords “Futility”

Haruka’s mission itself isn’t totally futile: she helps the inner senshi grow and learn about their powers, and she helps them directly more and more as time goes on. But her original goal is futile. Not only does Usagi forbid her to kill Hotaru, she can’t anyway. Swords are all mental, and Haruka has a great big sword she uses to hack things up. In the end, though, that’s all useless. She has to use other things — interestingly, we didn’t get any cups here, and it’s a cup — the Grail — that saves the day here. When Haruka gives in to her feelings, rather than focusing on all these thoughts that have convinced her she has to murder a child, things get better. Because that’s basically what Sailor Moon is about — flowing like water. The moon controls the tides, after all.

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