2:37 – Wiseman’s Evil Hand! Chibi-Usa Disappears
Alternative Title: We Need A Leash
First Aired: 5th February 1994
Esmeraude is eager to prove herself to her beloved Prince Dimande, and despite her misgivings, she goes to Wiseman for help. Cackling, he bestows upon her a tiara that enhances her powers by a couple of orders of magnitude… but also turns her into a fat ass dragon. While occupied with a dirty great flying lizard, the Sailor Senshi fail to notice that Chibi-Usa has stepped outside the safety of the Crystal Palace, and Wiseman finally seizes his long-awaited opportunity…
This episode is so-so. After the brilliant twists and confusing sexual awkwardness of the previous episode, this one is rather more dull, which is saying something considering they’re still in the bloody future.
There are a couple of moments of silliness that have have always bugged me (which we’ll get to), but I think the biggest offender here is Esmeraude: she’s been consistently disappointing, intensely annoying and criminally underutilised as a character, and her final hurrah is no exception. Even her hated Rubeus got far closer to defeating the Sailor Senshi then Esmeraude does.
Plus, that dragon just looks silly.
We open on Nemesis, the dark planet, in the Black Moon palace. It’s a rather eerie opening – I adore the colour palette they used for the Black Moon, blacks and greens and weird pink-purple-yellow bruises. Prince Dimande (douche) is ordering Saphir to turn the output of the Jakokusuishou (evil black crystal) to maximum. Hit the nitrogen!
It seems that Prince Dimande is fed up of being subtle and rapey, and has decided just to smash his way into 20th Century Tokyo. Once again, I ask, if you screw with the past are you not inevitably putting your own existence at risk? Or is the very fact that Dimande exists in the future evidence that his gambit in the past is doomed to failure?
My head hurts.
Saphir does his usual angsty little brother play, pointing out that whatever Dimande does it won’t make Neo Queen Serenity love him (you couldn’t have said this last episode, Saphir?).
Saphir then gets interesting, launching into a revealing (if telegraphed) diatribe on the true mission of the Black Moon, to avenge their ancestors who were forced off Earth for refusing to be cleansed by Neo Queen Serenity and the Ginzuishou.
It’s an interesting motivation: perhaps, even, it’s a moral quandary. Was Neo Queen Serenity refusing the right to agency and free will by forcing those rebels to undergo magical alteration?
Saphir finally oversteps the mark here. Man, I could have told him to use a little more diplomacy – he straight up insults his older brother. Dimande, of course, has an ego like a sheet of wet tissue, and actually attacks poor Saphir.
Once again, Dimande just looks like a fucking idiot with his floating hologram of Neo Queen Serenity. Seriously? This is his only motivation? Saphir is far and away the more interesting character, Dimande just wants to bone a queen-deity.
The Senshi are finally in the upper echelons of the Crystal Palace, and it’s about as moody, silent and unfurnished as the rest of Crystal Tokyo. Luna and Artemis are confused about how all this could have happened with the power of the Ginzuishou protecting the Earth.
It’s at this point that Chibi-Usa noticeably drops Luna-P with a guilty expression on her face. She probably flushed it down the toilet. Sailor Mercury looks rather adorable as she returns the ball back to Chibi-Usa. We really haven’t seen enough of the other Senshi’s reaction to being in the fucking future. I want Marty McFly faces.
As it happens, Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon haven’t returned from their misadventure in Prince Dimande’s rape dungeon (I just made myself puke in my mouth), but King Endymion begins manipulating some sort of console to search for them.
A small quibble, but this compute console is ridiculous. Just because your city is seemingly made out of beautiful crystal doesn’t mean you computer’s buttons need to be ugly chunky quartz things. It’s the worst keyboard I’ve ever seen. It’s SO 1970’s sci-fi.
On the other hand, I suppose you never need to worry about spilling your beer on delicate instruments.
Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon are, in fact, just returning. Why is Sailor Moon flinching? Who knows, she wasn’t hurt in the previous episode. It’s just to make her seem more of a victim I guess. We want bad-ass Sailor Moon, guys.
As the Sailor Senshi are having a tearful reunion (well, Sailor Moon is crying at the every least), King Endymion and Tuxedo Kamen share the most disturbing look I have ever seen between two people who are the same person. It both says “women are stupid” as well as “would it be so wrong to fuck myself?”
I should point out that there has been no interaction between Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa since the former realised she was her mother. Also, it seems that no one has chosen to enlighten Chibi-Usa on this fact either. Politely ignoring it is the Japanese way to deal with drama.
Finally Sailor Moon is ready to meet her future self, or what’s left of her. It must be super weird to look upon your future self. I wish they would have explored this moment for Sailor Moon a little more. Would be so interesting to see her processing the thought that she would reach such a level of divinity.
Chibi-Usa runs up to the crystal, telling her mother that she’s brought the Senshi of the past to help her… but she doesn’t sound overly confident, just desperate. It’s really moving to see this poor kid crying over her mother.
It’s even more disturbing when King Endymion admits that he doesn’t even know if Neo Queen Serenity is even alive in there. You’re such a strong pillar of support, dude. He also reveals that shortly before the Black Moon invasion, the Ginzuishou went missing, hence the success of their attack.
CHIBI-USA LOOKS SUPER GUILTY GUYS. She totally flushed it down the toilet. Yep, Chibi-Usa totally caused her mother to get crystallised.
Sailor Moon prepares to try awakening Neo Queen Serenity with her Ginzuishou, and everyone feels that the best way to support her is to say her name over and over again like under-functioning automatons. They do this thing a lot.
So the Ginziushou totally works and we can all go home, yeah?
Chibi-Usa looks devastated and runs off. Sailor Moon is all ready to go and run after her, which is totally what she should have done. Tuxedo Kamen, being the domineering patriarchal “I know best” douche, stops her.
Dude, that’s your daughter. You should TOTALLY go look after her. This is such an annoying moment, compunded by the fact that Tuxedo Kamen outright says “Let’s leave her alone for now. She should be safe inside the Crystal Palace,” which cuts to Chibi-Usa walking right out the fucking Crystal Palace.
It’s like they wanted to give me a rage-aneurysm.
You dummy. You complete dummy. You even pick a run-down park that’s obviously been featured in CSI as a place where a murdered child was dumped to go and sulk.
Forgive me, all my sympathy for Chibi-Usa and appreciation of pathos suddenly evaporated in an instant thanks to a moment of schlocky writing. At least these scenes look wonderful, perfectly matching the loneliness and guilt.
And, of course, the inevitable happens. Wiseman’s evil chuckle is the first thing we hear of his arrival. It’s perfect, too. He’s so intensely malevolent, so creepy, so alien. A great bad guy, completely at odds with, say, Esmeraude.
Wiseman starts spouting nonsense about the stars and fate and stuff, and Chibi-Usa legs it, but it’s too late: Wiseman has her, and shit’s about to get reeeeal creepy. In a good way, for once.
“I see it. The terror lurking in your heart. Abandoned in a corner of your mind, wrapped up in a veil of oblivion, you memory of the Ginzuishou…”
What a great line. This is the true brilliance of Wiseman as an enemy – he attacks minds, rather then bodies. The best enemies in fiction are the insidious manipulators rather then the overt muscle.
Chibi-Usa finally begins to remember the memories that she has apparently repressed. Her envy for her mother’s natural grace (not so natural, as it happens), her desire to be as noble and beloved as her. It’s a really interesting inferiority complex, actually, that fear of never escaping the shadow cast by one’s parents.
We also see Chibi-Usa smashing a vase, and some nameless whiny attendant castigating her, saying that she’ll never grow up to be like her mother, hence her decision to try and use the Ginzuishou…
To think, if this stupid random attendant had just chosen to not psychologically scar her own princess further by playing on her one deepest fear, this could all have been avoided.
I don’t know why the Ginzuishou is on display. Why isn’t it with Neo Queen Serenity at all times? She knows how bloody important it is. It’s just like Usagi to leave the ultimate power in the universe just lying around for some kid to grab it.
And grab it Chibi-Usa does. but not for long. It vanishes in her hands, which is precisely the moment that the Black Moon attacked, making Chibi-Usa directly responsible for the thing she feared the most – the incapacitation of her mother.
Oh also we get a shot of King Endymion being frightened of how bright his computer monitor is, and him shielding himself with his cloak. What a douche.
So yeah, it’s pretty easy for Wiseman to manipulate Chibi-Usa by fracturing her mind. This is horrid stuff – it’s like the episode earlier on this series with the Droid Giwaku, but instead of Sailor Mercury being bombarded with illusions, it’s a scared 7 year old girl. That’s messed up.
As evil as she tries to sound, Sailor Moon just can’t quite get there, although the other Senshi are more then intimidating. It’s all playing on her guilt, and yeah, I totally get this. How do you utterly warp a kids’ mind? This is a convincing method, Wiseman.
Not that I’m advocating Dark Magic to shatter the mind of children or anything. Feel free to try if you have those sort of powers though.
In the depths of her despair, as Chibi-Usa is screaming that it wasn’t her fault, Wiseman offers a consolatory hand.
“That’s right, Rabbit. It wasn’t your fault. And you must assert your innocence by force!“, which makes no sense whatsoever, but is still a hilariously evil line anyway.
Chibi-Usa, with her crippling fear of abandonment and deep repressed guilt, not only for getting her mother attacked, but of also resenting her mother’s success, leads her in her confusion to see Wiseman as her only comrade. It’s actually a character development that’s been building the entire series, with foreshadowing all the way through.
Aside from the episode of Mercury’s ego being attacked, we also saw her mistrust and loneliness in her dreams, as well as her utter horror at being the cause of other people’s pain. We’ve even seen her desire to be stronger, more powerful, so as to never be emotionally harmed again. I know many people dislike Chibi-Usa, but she’s an excellently built character.
The Jakokusuishou seems happy too, it’s pulsating like wild in response of Wiseman’s success.
Saphir isn’t too happy about this. He sees the Jakokusuishou as a dangerous bomb that Dimande underestimates. He discusses Wiseman’s motivations once more with Esmeraude. It’s mostly the case that those who can see an upcoming catastrophe will inevitably be destroyed by it in fiction like this. G’uck, Saphir.
Esmeraude laughs at this – no one trusts Wiseman, but she trusts Dimande to have seen right through him…. despite the fact that all Dimande has ever done is to completely nod his head vacantly at everything the old man says.
When Saphir’s giant hologram face turns up to check up on Saphir, Esmeraude flirtingly suggests that they don’t need to use the Jakokusuishou at all, that she’ll take care of their little Senshi problem right here and now.
Dimande shows complete confidence in her by leaving in the middle of a sentence without a word. It would actually pretty funny if it weren’t all so pathetic for Esmeraude.
She finally loses it, screaming wildly that she will be the one who wins Dimande’s heart, and that she’ll be the one to use Wiseman before he can use her.
You’ve just said that you’ll never trust Wiseman. Such is Esmeraude’s shortsighted hubris and complete lack of wits that she immediately does about the stupidest thing you could possibly do.
I suppose this is her “bubble, bubble, toil and trouble” moment. At least it fits her shoddy character.
In a thoroughly miserable-looking Crystal Tokyo (it’s a fantastic landscape) is Wiseman’s hole. He lives in a gross-looking crystal, and this is where Esmeraude has come to make her deal with the devil.
If only she had ever read, I dunno, any fucking book ever, she would realise what’s about to happen. But then again, if she was smart, she could not be Esmeraude.
After calling out to him, all Esmeraude hears is insane creepy giggling. What the hell, guys? This is so eerie. Great moment in the episode, seeing a “powerful” bad guy like Esmeraude ignorant and seemingly a little unnerved by an unseen presence.
Wiseman suddenly arrives as if he’s just been caught having a poo, but comes out with what sounds like bullshit, until you realise he’s pretty much telling Esmeraude what he’s about to do with her, trusting to the fact that she’s a fucking moron.
“The dead say, ‘Anger comes from within and gives you strength, a double-edged sword that bewitches what you hear and what you think.'”
Esmeraude interprets this as Wiseman telling her that she’s imagining things, ignoring the key points of “DEAD” and “DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD” and “BEWITCHED.” Wiseman was spot on.
As green with envy as her own hair, Esmeraude demands help (part of her “using him” strategy?) and Wiseman can’t believe his luck. He gives her a silent long stare, which is especially creepy since he doesn’t usually have any eyes to speak of, and plays his manipulation gambit again.
This time, he says, he sees the future Queen Esmeraude. That’s literally all his has to say to completely have Esmeraude on his fishing line. You have to appreciate his efficient at least.
Esmeraude is so obsessed with the word “QUEEN,” that she doesn’t hesitate when Wiseman shoves a dodgy looking tiara in her hands. It’s repellent.
Remember the last time an ambitious green-haired woman was given a magical object as a gift this series? More foreshadowing there.
She slams that spiky thing onto her head so fast, only pausing to splurt out, “I don’t want you to think I can be lured to take the bait so easily, but if it’s to win Prince Dimande’s heart, I would make a deal with even the Devil himself.”
Goddamn, Esmeraude. You goddamn idiot. I really wish they had given her even a small amount of wit. Just a little. She’s the most pathetic antagonist in Sailor Moon. Ever.
Esmeraude has one moment of revelry of being all-powerful and queenly (I still don’t think Dimande is going to fancy you, dude) before…
…Wiseman’s voice turns much less subservient, and dark mist spills from Esmeraude’s body. TOO BAD EZZY, YOU A DRAGON NOW.
This thing looks… well, I say this with exquisite sensitivity, in the full understanding that you won’t hold this against me, but she looks retarded.
Esmeraude-Dragon has such a fat ass that it doesn’t look like she should be able to fly at all. She’s not intimidating, she looks like an end level boss from 1985’s Space Harrier.
We have no idea what the Senshi have been up to, it’s been ages since we’ve even seen them, but apparently they’re being attacked by Pete’s Dragon from King Endymion’s uncomfortable-looking console.
A few Deus Ex Machina clicks later, Endymion shows that the Dragon is a projection of the ugly tiara perched atop its head. Bad fashion = magical enslavement. You’d do well to remember that.
Sailor Jupiter cheerfully suggests that they all go outside to draw the dragon’s attacks away from the palace. This is a brilliant idea.
Before he leaves, Tuxedo Kamen asks his own future self to look after their daughter. Neither of them realise that they’ve already done the equivalent parenting no-no as a drunk dad throwing fireworks at his kids and telling them to “have fun somewhere else because you’re you’re throwing off the taste of this whiskey.”
This fight blows. It’s mostly just still frames of Esmeraude-Dragon attacking stuff. Very uninteresting.
Meanwhile, King Endymion is asking his comatose wife for help because she’s clearly the problem solver in this family, when Luna-P rolls in, and King Endymion realises that he’s the world’s worst father.
Sailor Jupiter, meanwhile, takes down the entire goddamn dragon with a single Sparkling Wide Pressure. That’s my Senshi!
Sailor Moon, meanwhile, does the second most annoying thing in the episode for me – they have her run up to the grounded dragon, cheering its defeat like an idiot. She seems to run about half a mile in 2 seconds just to reach it.
Of course it’s still alive. Jesus, the writers slacked off. Sailor Moon may be ditzy, but she’s not an idiot like this.
her having to be rescued by Tuxedo Kamen once again is just adding insult to injury. Way to adhere to gender roles, guys.
The Senshi regroup, this time actually remembering what Endymion said about the tiara being the SOURCE OF ALL ITS POWER, and Tuxedo Kamen throws a rose into the thing.
Sailor Moon finishing it off with a Moon Princess Halation is just as unsatisfying as everything else with this dragon, but there’s one last surprise in store: a form of Esmeraude, still wearing that god-awful tiara, floats down.
Sailor Moon realises that she’s just killed Esmeraude before we get a lovely shot of a screaming Esmeraude falling into an inescapable abyss of death. Well wasn’t that all worth it?
Dimande’s reaction to her death? “Oh well.”
Wiseman, meanwhile, doesn’t seem that bothered at Esmeraude’s death either. In a moment of monologuing that to me seems a little obvious for the usually-subtle Wiseman, he reveals that his goal is not the victory of the Black Moon clan at all.
He even promises to sacrifice Saphir and Dimande for a greater purpose, and this is the most threatening this guy has ever been. He is thus finally revealed as this season’s Big Bad, and it’s a great little scene, no matter how obvious it is.
The screen fades out, with that disturbing distorted laughter from before.
A brilliant end to half of a good episode. The dumb moments from Chibi-Usa and Sailor Moon I might be able to overlook, but there’s no excuse for a boring final battle from a main antagonist. That dragon fight is reprehensibly dull.
Episode Score: 2/5 (Great scene with Chibi-Usa getting manipulated, great ending, everything else is pretty bad.”
Monster Score: 1/5 (Are you kidding?)
Esmeraude’s IQ: Hovering around 60, or “Forrest Gump” level