Is Sailor Mercury an obsolete character?

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Mar 27, 2020
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#1
Many fans will draw parallels between her and Neptune both having water powers. While it's true Mercury also has control over ice and is more fresh water rather than Neptune's sea water, why does she have to share a power and no one else (other than Neptune)? Just Mars gets fire, just Jupiter gets lightning, just Venus gets light/metal/whatever she has, just Saturn gets death, just Uranus gets that weird air/earth combination, just Pluto gets time. It doesn't help that the outers are stronger anyway, further weakening her claim over water.

Sure, Mercury is smart, but so is Pluto. With Mercury's water powers already being covered by Neptune and her intelligence by Pluto, what purpose does she have? There's no other exact replica of this scenario. Jupiter and Uranus are both the muscle, but Jupiter has lightning powers whereas Uranus has no such thing. In turn, Uranus has air/earth powers to make up for it.

In the anime, in the beginning, she was the moral centre of the group to an extent, but that stopped when Usagi became the closest thing to purity incarnate the SM universe has. She doesn't even have her own colour! Uranus takes blue as well. Moon and Chibi Moon have pink (mother-daughter, makes sense), Mars red, Venus orange, you get the gist. It's kinda sad to see her role devolve as time goes on. I have nothing against her, just want to see your thoughts.
 
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Maraviollantes

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Jan 3, 2006
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Embelyon
shoujocity.com
#4
Sure, Mercury is smart, but so is Pluto. With Mercury's water powers already being covered by Neptune and her intelligence by Pluto, what purpose does she have?
Apart from Pluto studying at a university, I don't remember her being depicted as particularly smart or intelligent. More like, estranged and mysterious? Sailor Mercury used her gadgets and intelligence to analyze enemies and find their weak spots. Also played chess to defeat an enemy. Pluto didn't use her brain for anything like that. Mercury is the only team member with distinct "smart" personality.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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#7
While it's true Mercury also has control over ice and is more fresh water rather than Neptune's sea water, why does she have to share a power and no one else (other than Neptune)? Just Mars gets fire, just Jupiter gets lightning, just Venus gets light/metal/whatever she has, just Saturn gets death, just Uranus gets that weird air/earth combination, just Pluto gets time. It doesn't help that the outers are stronger anyway, further weakening her claim over water.
3 characters also are air or wind related. :setsuna: has that mist thing she needs to conjure up before she concentrates it into a mini planetary ball as well as her Chronus Typhoon. :mako: has both Flower Hurricane (PGSM, manga and Crystal) and Coconut Cyclone (based on the first opening of S that never made it into production) and :haruka: powers represented by the sky for both wind and comets/meteors.
 
Jun 30, 2010
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#12
Even though I disagree with the OP, I do see their point.

Sailor Mercury does serve a critical role early on in the series. She is both "the brain" and "the heart" and some continuities like PGSM show that the strain of trying to be the glue means they're the most dangerous when compromised. When done well, this archetype creates compelling characters. The heroic genius who genuinely cares and deals with insecurities (as anime Mercury and PGSM Mercury do) not by being a jerk but by being kind, smart, and facing fears would be memorable and lovable.

Unfortunately, the anime, upon giving character development to Sailor Moon, decided to make her the heart. It also stopped having plots which required Mercury to use her brain, relying more on broad comedy during regular fights. In fact, I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but this seems to be something that happened during the Ikahura directed episodes, especially as he started making the series more his own thing after R.

I'd argue that problem extends over the Inners as a whole, though, and is not exclusive to Sailor Mercury at all. It's not really Sailor Mercury is an obsolete character; it's that the narrative both became too crowded to keep all of the characters relevant and centered on Sailor Moon to the detriment of everyone else. When S came, it was all about the Outers, even in the Inner-focused episodes, and later Chibi Moon and Hotaru. In Super S it was all about Chibi Moon and Pegasus. After the 6 episode arc of the Nehellenia arc (which did balance its characters very well), it was all about the Starlights. You can't keep a core group of characters, add more characters, and expect everyone to be developed enough while using a formula.

That being said, while Sailor Mercury is underutilized, she is far from obsolete for the following reasons:
  1. As the OP mentioned, Mercury's power is typically over ice, freshwater, and mist/snow. Although water is definitely her domain, her specialty is more "cold" than liquid. In many elemental systems, ice is treated separately from water. For instance, if you were to attack a metal monster with ice, it would do normal, if not reduced damage, but if you attack it with a deluge (Neptune's power set) it will do aggravated damage. The thinking is that metal can be sustained short-term in extreme elements, but bathe it in seawater and it will rust and corrode. I also vaguely remember something about how while Mercury can control water, Neptune can only attack with the force of water, but I can't remember how reliable that is.
  2. Sailor Mercury isn't just smart. She's the strategist. Sailor Pluto may have a large base of knowledge and is definitely both wise and intelligent in her own right, and Sailor Neptune is also highly intelligent, but neither of them show the quickness and adaptability that Sailor Mercury showed in earlier episodes. For instance, Sailor Neptune would use her mirror to reveal a weakness and have the others blast it. Sailor Mercury would not just use her computer to analyze the enemy, she would also use her brain and powers to trick the enemy - even when she didn't have any offensive capabilities of her own. In her debut, she used the reflection of the monitors to misdirect the Youma, and she is capable of putting together a plan of attack.
  3. Mercury's signature color has been consistently blue, and is easily deduced from her uniform. Unlike some of the other characters, her signature color has never been in doubt.
  4. Mercury is far from the only character to share space in terms of powersets. Jupiter and Uranus share a wind element, even though it was flattened to lightning for Jupiter in the anime. Saturn and Pluto, despite having different domains, both are in that weird Dark/Gravity valley (made all the more apparent in the close of Infinity, where Saturn and Pluto both worked to seal Pharaoh 90 away). Yet those characters clearly contrast with each other as well. Mercury could have easily been used to contrast against Neptune, but no one ever took the time to do so directly. (There's a wonderful indirect comparison in the Nehellenia arc, but that's as close as you get).
Basically, the character is fine. She just needs more opportunities to showcase her traits more.
 

Umino

Lumen Cinereum
Jun 6, 2006
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#13
Because Pluto is smart and Neptune uses water attacks, therefore Mercury is obsolete/redundant.

But Moon and Venus who are 99% the same person? Nope, they're not redundant at all!
Usagi isn’t nearly as horny or athletic as Minako. Also Minako is definitely smarter since she’s bilingual and Usagi can barely read kanji.
 

sapphire91

Aurorae Lunares
Jul 6, 2018
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#15
Which continunity we are talking about? I don't see her really sharing powers, especially in the manga. Mercury uses analysis, mist, ice and water. Neptune uses ocean waves basically and her talisman. Pluto is smart, but she has never been the brain of the team like Mercury. She is my least favorite, but calling her obsolete? In the 90s anime it was Neptune that was kind of obsolete and Minako was turned into Usagi 2.0, in Crystal it is Rei sadly that rarely shows at all... In the manga there is little room for them, but once you read the whole thing you see each one of them has her moments to shine. 90s anime was good in building them all as characters, but it eventually shafted the inners, all but Moon to focus on other stuff and what they do was doing wgat has been done. The live action really focused on characters and as much as I find everything else about it a bit corny and unbalanced, the characters were done so well and felt so real and human. Mercury is not obsolete. But then there was no Neptune. Still having power over water in her different forms from ice to mist and oceans are two different things.

As for Minako and Usagi - this is the 90s issue. In the manga they are alike but to a much lesser extent.
 
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chaosghost12

Lapis Lunaris
Oct 4, 2017
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#16
I think Ami is fine. In the later parts of the series, yea, they maybe didn't use her tech as much but I feel like she was doing just as well as any of the other scouts in situations that called for action. Neptune, while having water attacks, I feel like Ami could also use hers in different form, such as ice, vapor, etc. Well that and Neptune doesn't have gadgets that can see through the void of space and time, like wow man, Ami be havin next level tech over here.
 

SailorSpySedna

Lumen Cinereum
May 18, 2016
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#17
I highly doubt Mercury was obsolete in any versions, if there was any character who was obsolete in the manga it would be Neptune since she barely got anything to do in there sans maybe the Dream arc, and she was just Uranus/Haruka's accessory there and in the original anime, in my eyes it would sadly be Pluto and Saturn as they barely got any screentime/usage, like seriously, in Stars, if they could find time to give the Inners a few more episodes, they couldn't have found time to have a few episodes for Pluto or Saturn, to explain where the latter was from episode 172 to 196?

But Moon and Venus who are 99% the same person? Nope, they're not redundant at all!
I always saw Minako/Venus as a more serious person than Usagi, with her serious and goofy sides balancing her personality.
 

Neo King Rose

Usagi's Rose
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Sep 13, 2008
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#18
no she is the brains of the outfit, some of her abilities are defensive in nature, she can point out an enemy's weakness and find hidden doorways to a youma's lair using her computer and can disorient an enemy with her mist a better distraction than cape boy if you ask me, she is most certainly not useless nore obsolete

and who was it that stopped the multiplying balloon enemies in SuperS the other's attacks just multiplied them Ami's water is what stopped them long enough for Usagi/chibiusa to use their attack/summon pegasus

at least she doesn't have to show up stop everything with a flower random speech and disappear like a certain masked guy in a tux who's name I won't mention

btw I'm talking in terms of 90s anime cause that's my expertise
 
Jul 5, 2009
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#19
no she is the brains of the outfit, some of her abilities are defensive in nature, she can point out an enemy's weakness and find hidden doorways to a youma's lair using her computer and can disorient an enemy with her mist a better distraction than cape boy if you ask me, she is most certainly not useless nore obsolete
At least its not the usual 'Whose the weakest sailor?' thread. :rolleye:


at least she doesn't have to show up stop everything with a flower random speech and disappear like a certain masked guy in a tux who's name I won't mention
That time she beat ::tuxspeedmask:. :siren::wtf:XD:rofl:XD:wtf::siren:
 

Slowpokeking

Luna Crescens
Apr 1, 2020
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#20
I highly doubt Mercury was obsolete in any versions, if there was any character who was obsolete in the manga it would be Neptune since she barely got anything to do in there sans maybe the Dream arc, and she was just Uranus/Haruka's accessory there and in the original anime, in my eyes it would sadly be Pluto and Saturn as they barely got any screentime/usage, like seriously, in Stars, if they could find time to give the Inners a few more episodes, they couldn't have found time to have a few episodes for Pluto or Saturn, to explain where the latter was from episode 172 to 196?



I always saw Minako/Venus as a more serious person than Usagi, with her serious and goofy sides balancing her personality.
Neptune/Michiru is very resilient and reasonable in the old anime. Just that she was always with Haruka and lack of the other "weak" characterization. So ppl just ignore that.