(Trauma warning: psychological child abuse)
(Hotaru’s dead goldfish on the floor)
Hotaru (very young): Who did this to my goldfish?
(Pan up to her crying face, a shadow looms over her)
Kaironite: Oh, my, you’re saying strange things.
Kaironite looms over her, arms crossed, expression stern
“This is something you did yourself. Please hurry and clean it up.”
Probably one of the darkest bits of S. The way Hotaru was treated, especially by Kaori, was just horrible. A girl that young having pets die and friends get hurt, and then just told that it was her fault and rather than comforted she was scorned and deliberately exploited by her caretakers- Kaori’s words here are just such passive agressive psychological abuse, designed to make a tiny girl feel scared and hate herself and doubt her sanity, when what she was specifically crying out for was help.
The anime copped out a bit by making Tomoe possessed (and Kaori is of course an alllieeen so she doesn’t count…) but Hotaru’s struggle has a very real parallel to children being hurt by the people who are supposed to protect them- and taught to blame themselves for what happens to them. As a result, these children can be said to become “damaged” in some way- but what is needed is to recognize these children for the wonderful people they are, regardless of their background and what their parents “made” them into (taken very literally in the manga with Tomoe giving Hotaru android parts) or where they came from- what is needed in unconditional love, support, understanding and seeing the child for who she is without judging- even if said child can be destructive-never give up on her and remember you do not have the right to punish her for being victimized- and you can eventually help her. I think that’s what Chibiusa gave Hotaru and a big part of what their story is about.