The Sailor Starlights
is a group of three fictional characters introduced in the final story arc of the Sailor Moon
metaseries. In the manga, they were relatively minor characters, many of which appeared toward the end of the series to represent the vast number of Sailor Senshi spread out across the galaxy. In the anime, however, they were given a major role, sometimes even acting as protagonists. They first appear in Act 43 of the manga and Episode 173 of the anime.
The group itself is composed of Sailor Star Fighter
, Sailor Star Healer
and Sailor Star Maker
; when in civilian form they go by the pseudonyms Kou Seiya
, Kou Yaten
, and Kou Taiki
respectively. They come from the fictional planet Kinmoku, which has been destroyed, and disguise themselves as male pop stars (The Three Lights
) in order to hide their true identities as they search for their lost princess, Kakyuu. It is unknown whether they have civilian identities on their own world or what they might be called there.
Their exact relationship to each other is unknown; according to the manga they aren't siblings. The three share one name, Kou, which is always second when their full names are given. Because this is the location of the given name in Japanese order, it is usually assumed that they have different family names but one given name. "Kou" translates to "light," among other things, making the name "Three Lights" a pun. In the English manga, "Kou" was translated to "Lights" and was used as their shared family name.
Series creator Naoko Takeuchi has expressed surprise at Toei Animation's decision to make the Starlights lead characters, but she was even more shocked by their treatment of the Starlights' gender. Originally, they were women who merely disguise themselves as men on Earth. In the anime, they physically become men, and change back to females only when transforming into their Senshi forms. Takeuchi was annoyed at the change and said that it contradicted her intention that all Sailor Soldiers be female. The change was directly overseen by director Takuya Igarashi. Takeuchi originally designed the trio without their ponytails, but the ponytails were added after it was explained to her that short-haired dolls were difficult to make. They also took on larger roles than Takeuchi had originally intended.
The name "Three Lights" is taken from the Shinto concept of san hikari
(literally "three lights"). These three lights are the sun, moon, and stars, each with a specific color and properties. The roses worn by the Three Lights while in concert correspond to these three colors: the sun is red (Seiya's rose), the moon is white (Taiki's rose), and the stars are yellow (Yaten's rose). The characters' titles as Senshi (Maker, Healer, and Fighter) may also be connected to the Hindu Trimurti
: the creator, the preserver, and the destroyer.