A Sailor Senshi
(セーラー戦士, Sērā Senshi
?) is a type of heroine from the metaseries known as Sailor Moon
. The name comes from sailor fuku, a type of school uniform, and senshi
, which can mean soldier or warrior. A fusion of English and Japanese, this term was originally applied by series creator Naoko Takeuchi and is commonly used by fans of both languages. The translation "Sailor Soldier" is also common, used not only by English-speaking fans but also appearing in the stage musicals. The live action series translates the word as "Guardian". The DiC dub of the anime used "Sailor Scout" for the majority of its run; other common titles include "Sailor Warriors," "Sailors," or simply "Senshi." Like most Japanese loanwords, the word Senshi is both the singular and plural form.
Sailor Senshi are classic magical girl heroines, having both civilian and magical identities—that is, the same character may exist as both Sailor Mercury (one of the Senshi) and as Ami Mizuno, the school girl. Each Senshi has a transformation sequence which grants her a uniform in her own theme colors and her own kind of elemental power; these powers come from an object called a "Sailor Crystal" which is said to be within each of them. Objects gained with their uniform, such as Sailor Moon's tiara, can also be used as weapons. According to Naoko Takeuchi, only females can be Sailor Senshi, although there is at least one male with a Sailor Crystal. This is Mamoru Chiba, who is the guardian over the planet Earth and gives himself the pseudonym "Tuxedo Mask." In the manga only, he has subtle powers of psychometry.
The most iconic and well-known Senshi is Sailor Moon herself, who leads the primary group of Senshi in defending the Earth (or the galaxy, if necessary) from otherworldly threats. Officially, there are ten people in this team: herself, Sailor Chibi Moon, and eight planetary Senshi named after the planets of the solar system, including Pluto but not Earth.
When referring to a group, the terms "Sailor Senshi" and "Sailor Team" are used with multiple meanings in the series itself. The former may be used to indicate the entire classification of heroines, but either may also mean the ten planetary Senshi, or the group of five comprising Sailor Moon and her four Guardian Senshi (see below) in particular. Usually the intended group may be discerned from context, but usage of this term can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the series.