Did Doctor Who’s season 10 premiere draw inspiration from Sailor Moon?

Mamoru from Sailor Moon and Heather from Doctor Who obsessed with mirrors with a star in one eye

A number of similarities occur between a recent episode of Doctor Who and a story arc in Sailor Moon Sailor Stars! More specifically both stories revolve around obsessions with gazing at mirrors which actually house some sort of monster by people with a yellow reflecting star in one eye. The episode of Doctor Who in question is the season premiere of season 10, The Pilot, which aired this past weekend. In this episode a character, Heather, has a defect in her eye which causes it to have a yellow shine in it. The Doctor’s new companion Bill refers to it as a star and the episode’s original title was “A Star In Her Eye”. In the episode Heather is obsessed with staring at her reflection in a puddle as she gazes at it and invites Bill to do so too. Ultimately the reflection is actually an alien which sucks her into the mirror and then attacks others through reflections. Sound familiar?

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 01 - Heather looking at her reflection

I was struck by a surprising similarity to a few episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. In the first 6 episodes of this season, with the similarities more specifically being during episodes 167 through 169, there was a brief story arc where Mamoru got a shooting star in his eye which was actually a piece of mirror from space. This caused him, and a number of other people, to become obsessed with mirrors gazing at them day and night. The bit of star in their eye caused a yellow shimmer which looks just like that seen in Heather’s eye in Doctor Who. Ultimately Nehelenia was in the mirror, as the shooting star was actually a bit of the Mirror of Dreams which had been confining her and the reflection pulls Mamoru in just like we’d seen in Doctor Who.

Sailor Moon SailorStars episode 168 - Mamoru and Nehelenia

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 01 - Heather's alien hijacked reflection

Coincidence? I like to joke about these similarities being intended but I’m not convinced anything more than coincidence is really necessary at this point given the countless hours of TV produced every week. It is possible that Steven Moffat, who wrote the episode, had seen the episodes of Sailor Moon in which this took place and used it more for a visual inspiration. The specific story details beyond the superficial don’t really add up.

Sailor Moon SailorStars episode 169 - Usagi's classmate gazing at a mirror

Looking for more of a Doctor Who/Sailor Moon link? Sailor Iron Mouse, also appearing in Sailor Stars, travels around in a phone booth. Doctor Who travels around in a TARDIS which is disguised as a Police Box which is a specialized kind of phone booth/panic room that a person can use to call the police. This is similar to Bill and Ted’s phone booth which was itself likely inspired by Doctor Who. Whether Sailor Iron Mouse’s phone booth was directly inspired by the TARDIS or through the intermediate of Bill and Ted’s phone booth isn’t something I can definitively determine. Regardless it’s nice to see Doctor Who finally has a Bill in their phone booth. Let’s get a Ted in there too!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 175 - Sailor Iron Mouse and her phone booth

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 168 and 169 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Sailor Saturn gives Hotaru her memories

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars were added to Hulu and Neon Alley this morning. This week we get episodes 168 and 169, which takes us half way through this 6 episode mini arc which starts off the season. Sailor Saturn finally returns and then the town is enthralled with mirrors for mysterious reasons.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Hotaru Tomoe

Episode 168, Saturn Awakens: the Ten Sailor Guardians Unite, gives us more Sailor Saturn than we’d previously seen in the entire series! We had only seen here briefly at the end of Sailor Moon S before she was turned into a baby. She has been growing at an astonishing rate and seems to be developing the language skills to go with it. Judging by what is happening with Usagi and Mamoru it doesn’t look like much time has passed at all since the last episode, so there’s really no implication that Hotaru could have possibly learned all of these things at a normal rate. She is speaking easily, referring to her three parents as Haruka Papa, Michiru Mama and Setsuna Mama. At night Hotaru is visited by the ghost of Sailor Saturn who gives her the memories she had lost. This insinuates that her functional memories returned as she aged but her specific memories of her life are unlocked all at once from her alter ego. She remembers many things including her relationship with Chibiusa. How sweet! It would be a shame if Chibiusa would leave and never return in a few episodes. Another thing she sees is a memory of Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, who are now her parents, trying to kill her. She doesn’t struggle with this at all. She also has no bad feeling when seeing her loving father who is still very much alive and was recently separated from her. So Hotaru transforms into Sailor Saturn. We need a monster so this week we still have these Nehelenia glass monsters. Sailor Moon powers up into Eternal Sailor Moon and uses an attack which resembles, but is not named, Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss. This is done with her new weapon the Eternal Tiare. This doesn’t last long.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Eternal Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Usagi's classmate stuck looking at her mirror

Episode 169, The Cursed Mirror: Mamoru Caught in a Nightmare, is all about teenagers being addicted to looking at themselves in the mirror! Replace the mirrors with cell phones and you’d have a scathing commentary on 2015 society! This one reminds me a bit of episode 5, Scent of a Monster: Chanela Will Steal Your Love, where students were infatuated with these Chanela pets. This time a lot of people, including Mamoru, are almost hypnotized by mirrors. The girls first notice this in their school but then Usagi notices this at Mamoru’s place. When she goes to see him she sees a suspicious boy looking for him. This is the one and only anime appearance by Ittou Asanuma, who we’ve seen in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. Inside Mamoru can’t stop starring at mirrors and he even buys a ton of them. Since we need an action beat we once again face off again the Nehelenia mirror monsters! Not compelling at all! It turns out Nehelenia is the one in the mirror and she manages to somehow pull Mamoru into it! To be continued…

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Mamoru loves mirrors

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Ittou Asanuma

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Nehelenia steal Mamoru

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Mamoru has a thing in his eye

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Hotaru remembers her friend Chibiusa