In Memoriam: Queen Beryl, Master of Delegation
Queen Beryl has been the constant, malevolent face of the Dark Kingdom since episode 1. Authoritative, complex and oddly sexy in a weird sort of way, good ol’ Bezza was not only an excellent totem of hated for the viewer, she was also a target of pity. Let’s take a look at the seer whose motivation lay in bitter obsession.
I like Queen Beryl a lot. There’s something so comfortably, recognisably despicable about her from episode 1 that it’s easy to classify her in the tradition tropes we all have for “the bad guy.”
She’s passive for a long time, in that she delegated the tasks of energy-gathering and Sailor Moon-murdering to her subordinates. I imagine that it’s no accident that her subordinates were all male.
Seeing as the star of our show is a flawed, strong and lovable feminist icon, it’s interesting to see the flip-side of this image – a woman in charge. So in charge, in fact, that she barely raises a finger for most of the series.
Some of my favourite scenes of Queen Beryl are actually between her and the rather boring Jadeite. Early on the series, when Sailor Moon was by herself, the episodes focussed on perceived social issues of the time – over-demanding education, the driving out of small businesses by large corporations, unrealistic standards of beauty for girls. Queen Beryl’s always showed a naive and benign interest in Jadeite’s social issues of the week, and it always got a chuckle from me.
The series held off on showing Queen Beryl’s true colours until Jadeite started screwing up big, and it was a great move. Her slight threats grew in intensity, so that when she began throwing her weight around, promising Jadeite the Eternal Sleep, it was a nice development of her character.
Major props should be given to Beryl’s voice actress, Keiko Han. She hit perfectly the tones of rye amusement that could quickly turn vicious, and was genuinely scary when she got irate. Furthermore, the voice actress doubled-up parts – she also performed as Luna beautifully. Such was the difference in the roles that it’s really rather difficult to even tell their voices are the same.
Most of the time, anyway.
Beryl’s character nuances began in her relationship with Nephrite. This is more from my own interpretation, Queeny definitely felt more inclined to forgiveness as far as Nephrite was concerned. I get the impression that she rather liked Nephrite. As his insubordination grew, she seemed far more affronted than with Jadeite, perhaps because she actually liked Nephrite.
This was revealing for Beryl’s character – she did not take betrayal, and rejection, well. At all.
Big B’s biggest driving force came when it was revealed to her that Tuxedo Kamen was, in fact, Prince Endymion reincarnated from the distant past. Her behavior changed completely, from hard-arse company manager into something far more interesting. Her orders began to revolve around Endymion, rather than anything to do with reviving her great master.
Such was her protectiveness over Endymion that it caused her to straight-up murder Zoisite after he threatened his life.
Beryl’s obsession with Endymion was exceedingly interesting, especially when you consider that she was willing to have a brain-washed mindless Endymion as her love-slave rather than obtaining him willingly.
His love for Princess Serenity was such anathema to her ego, and her feelings, that her desire to see Sailor Moon dead was seemingly completely separate from her goal of reviving Queen Metalia. Indeed, by the final episodes, she doesn’t seem to give a damn about Metalia, being only concerned with destroying Serenity.
This bitter, strong hatred is, of course, the inverse of Princess Serenity, and yet both profess love for the same man. The parallels between the two intriguing. Beryl becomes the classic Jungian archetypes of The Shadow and The Animus, if you want to get all Psychoanalytical up in this bitch.
My point is that Beryl is a pitiable character. This is made even more explicit from her backstory, which doesn’t really appear in the series so much. She’s a victim, a normal, wise human possessed by Queen Metalia’s energy, her love turning into bitterness. You know, the classic laugh riot stuff.
Beryl’s personal connection to Sailor Moon, and her complex motivation, is so strong that enemies hereafter will always be chasing that dragon. She’s a compelling enemy, one that you can sit back and easily hate without much thought if you’d like, or one you can really consider if you took the time.
She also didn’t make any overt mistakes either. Nothing she did was arguably wrong – perhaps she should have killed Sailor Moon quickly instead of having brainwashed Endymion physically assault her for 10 minutes, but it was entirely in her character to wish to see her enemy of a thousand years suffer.
She also came the closest anyone has ever gotten to killing the Sailor Senshi, mainly because she actually managed it. That’s some nice work, Bezza.
Number of Episodes Survived: 46 (damn straight.)
Effort: A (She KILLED EVERYONE.)
Final Score: 5/5 (We love you Bezz, even if you are a murderous dick)