Why Do I Love Hotaru?
I know it's a little strange that I included all this on this site, but I felt that it wouldn't be complete without my reason for having such a fondness for Hotaru.
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is a series that has touched many lives over the 20 years of its existence, even moving into the realm of becoming a classic. Like any well-beloved series, it has a variety of characters that speak to different people. Personally, there isn't a single character I dislike; every single one has traits that I like. But one in particular resounds on a personal level with me, unlike any other fictional character.
Even on its own, disregarding her Sailor Senshi identity, Hotaru's backstory is a tragic one. The manga I find does an incredible job of delving into the pain she suffers and her own self-loathing, utterly alone as she struggles within a body breaking under the stress of two beings in turmoil within her. While in the anime her father's humanity remains even under the possession of Germatoid, it's sadly a different story in the manga; she suffers abuse from both him and Kaorinite. To make matters worse, the two identities inside her are both unenviable ones; the most direct servant to a formless being from another dimension intent on making the Earth its new home, and the most feared of Sailor Senshi, said to only awaken when the end comes for a planet. Between her poor physical condition and blackouts where one of the other identities takes control and lashes out (this appears to be mostly Mistress 9; I say "one of" because in the anime she also attacks Daimons, which seems counter-intuitive to being Mistress 9, and the very notable scene in episode 119 where her identity as Sailor Saturn is confirmed), she lead a lonely life without friends. It was through being shown unconditional love and kindness, meeting Chibiusa, that she grew to discover the sheer strength and will that was within her all along. She ultimately chose to sacrifice her life, to destroy Mistress 9 and save the world and Chibiusa. Sailor Saturn in the end also helped her achieve this; as it turned out she wasn't just an agent of planetary destruction, but instead brought that power and destruction to pave the way to saving it.
Hotaru's will and strength in the face of having nothing left to lose are the qualities about her that I admire most. The lesson of being stronger than you believe you are is also one that resonates with me deeply; like Hotaru, I also struggle with poor physical health. For two decades now, I've lived with debilitating weakness, fatigue, and pain that still remains without explanation. Hotaru's character, and how she was ultimately able to start over living a much happier and healthier life, has been immensely influential on me. Showing my passion for her character through creating and dressing up in cosplay, and collecting merchandise and especially artwork actually used in the anime's production, has also been indescribably therapeutic. For this she'll always hold a special place in my heart, that will never completely die.