2:38 – The Birth of Black Lady, the Queen of Darkness
Alternative Title: You’re Going to Catch a Cold
First Aired: 12th February 1994
The Senshi have finally realised that Chibi-Usa has gone missing. As the Sailor Senshi prepare to go out to look for her, they’re contacted by Sailor Pluto, who informs them that Chibi-Usa seems to have gone back to the past via the Space-Time Corridor. Confused, the team head back home, only to find a brainwashed and mutilated Chibi-Usa, now styling herself as Black Lady, ready to attack her friends. Even worse, Dimande has come to the 20th Century himself, and has begun to open his own Black gate…
It’s at this point in the series that an interesting shift occurs with Chibi-Usa. They’ve been building towards her transformation into Black Lady for actually a rather long while, playing on her brittleness, her fear of abandonment, and her over-arching guilt and fear.
That being said, they creep me out in two distinctive ways in this episode. First of all, the physical transformation is overtly sexualised. We’ll get back to that later. Secondly, they continue a rather worrying Elektra Complex within Chibi-Usa. I won’t say that this isn’t extremely interesting, but perhaps it is a little weird.
All in all, however, I enjoy this episode a lot for the plot development, the tragedy that befalls Usagi on a personal level, and the continuing brilliance of Wiseman’s performance.
We begin in Crystal Tokyo. The Sailor Senshi are running throughout the Crystal Palace looking for Chibi-Usa, patently under the impression that she would never do something so stupid as to leave the confines of the palace barrier.
The girls pause to think what might have happened to Chibi-Usa, but where normally there would be comforting confident words from one or more of the Senshi, it’s quite interesting to see them all at a lost for something to say.
You guys should really have stapled a GPS beacon into her skull like I suggested.
Wiseman, meanwhile, is continuing in the same vein as last episode as far as Chibi-Usa goes, attacking her mind with illusions that bring to life her worst fears, destroying some memories and enhancing the significance of others out of context.
It’s some very clever manipulation on his part, actually. Perhaps her acceptance is a little quick, but hey, these episodes aren’t that long.
Wiseman’s focus is to force Chibi-Usa to “recall you mean spirited mother and cruel father“. Incompetent and dysfunctional they may be, but that seems a little harsh.
We get a memory of Chibi-Usa when she was very small, walking with Serenity and Endymion out in the rain. It’s a rather adorable sight, actually, until you realise that the parents are dragging what must be the most expensive clothes in the world along a wet and muddy ground nonchalantly.
Ugh, the 1%, am I right?
Chibi-Usa goes to chase a froggy and trips. It’s hilarious. She face-plants hard.
Rather then stop to help their crying child up, Neo Queen Serenity merely looks down with distaste at her kid and rather meanly tells her to stop crying and get up by herself.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Endymion’s “Get up on your own” is SUPER cold. This is new levels of dickishness, ever for Mamoru. Wiseman must be laughing his tits off at how easy this all is.
So Wiseman makes the fairly compelling case that Chibi-Usa’s parents never loved her. Just to really ram it home, we get his patented trick of making you loved ones look like psychopath’s about to murder your ass.
Seriously, really solid shot here. Very unnerving, very effective. Reminds me, once again, of the episode where it was Sailor Mercury being manipulated by a Droid along these very lines.
How about another memory, just to make sure this kid is fucked up for life?
Chibi-Usa is still very small, overlooking Crystal Tokyo while miserable. It’s a beautiful shot.
She’s approached by the Senshi of the future! I suppose they just go about their entire lives transformed in Crystal Tokyo. I can’t imagine how bad their uniforms must smell though.
Apparently, it’s Chibi-Usa’s birthday, and no one gives a shit. Well you’re only the sodding princess of the Earth, it’s not like you never wanted for clothes or food. THE 1%, GUYS.
I should say that they’ve succeeded in making all the Senshi seem older by throwing them through a fuzzy filter and applying a bit of lipstick. A simple trick but it works – these guys do look older. A very cool moment!
While the Senshi don’t seem to know about it being her birthday, Serenity and Endymion are apparently also away on a business trip, leaving Chibi-Usa as one sad little panda.
As Chibi-Usa breaks down in tears, Sailor Mars begins to suggest doing something about her birthday, but she’s quickly stifled by a rather severe looking Sailor Jupiter.
Look, we all know what’s going on here, but let’s feign ignorance for now yes? Let’s keep it at everyone is a dick to Chibi-Usa, most of all Sailor Jupiter for wanting to keep a little girl in tears.
Apparently this is the last straw for little Chibi-Usa’s brain. With Wiseman yelling “NO ONE LOVES YOU” like the backing vocals to a Linkin Park song, the Jakokusuishou finally does its work. Chibi-Usa falls into complete dispair.
It’s actually rather horrible. Chibi-Usa looks fucking insane as Wiseman convinces her to take revenge upon an uncaring world by destroying it with darkness.
And worse is to come. Chibi-Usa goes probably the most worrying transformation ever in the history of anything, and I’m including that bit from Akira where Tetsuo turns into a giant evolving bio-baby.
Yeah… the show takes pains to focus on a little 7-year-old girl’s bum and bosom developing. I really don’t want to discuss this much more, only to say WTF?
Did not need to be done. Disturbing.
Oh well, at least Black Lady looks pretty awesome with her clothes on. She looks like an inverted evil Usagi, actually. I really like the way they’re going with the story here. Perhaps they under-use Black Lady as a credible threat later on, but the idea that your kid has been stolen from you, horribly mentally tortured into hating you, and is prepared to kill you, is a great escalation.
Wiseman, understandably chuffed by this massive win, immediately shows Black Lady off to Dimande. He’s understandably confused at how the Rabbit could have been turned into an agent for the Black Moon.
Dimande looks, in fact, a little overwhelmed by all this. Wiseman has suddenly turned up with a powerful new ally out of nowhere, announces that he’s going back to the 20th Century with her to destroy Tokyo and leaves again. I thought you were supposed to be in charge, buddy?
Saphir arrives just in time to warn Dimande against Wiseman, pointing out that Esmeraude died because she was used by the creepy old cloaked pervert, but being the dumbass that he is, he continues to place stock in Wiseman.
Dimande choses not to kick his little brother’s ass today, but… well… he rather lovingly brushes aside some hair on Saphir’s face, whose reaction is clearly… more then brotherly?
Am I mad? Am I the only one who sees that Saphir totally wants to bang his older brother? It says something about this show in particular, and anime in general, that it’s totally possible.
If so… bravo, I guess? There’s totally fanfiction of these two out there I’m assuming.
Over with the Senshi, Sailor Pluto has appeared in a ghostly form to inform them that Chibi-Usa has used the Space-Time Gate to return to the 20th Century, as well as Dimande. I should say that I feel that the Senshi don’t really have much to do here -it’s all the machinations of the enemy, they seem to cut back to them only for exposition on how they return home.
Pluto says “Small Lady did not seem to be herself,” which is the understatement of the goddamn millennium. I can only assume that Pluto did not actually see Black Lady, otherwise I would think that she’s being obtuse on purpose.
After achieving absolutely nothing in the future, the Senshi head back through the Space-Time Door. Good job, guys.
This journey is much briefer than the one they took to get here – the Senshi aren’t even holding hands this time, they’re just flying straight through. Makes the last trip seem ridiculously complicated in comparison.
As they travel through time, we get a voice over of Tuxedo Kamen asking questions to Pluto, of when they become king and queen of the Earth, what the calamity that befell Earth was, and what the lottery numbers for Saturday night will be.
Despite the fact that they clearly know everything that’s every going to happen to them anyway, Pluto refuses. At this point I don’t think it matters.
Back in the past, it’s rather sweet to see Sailor Moon holding Luna-P. They haven’t spent any time at all, really, on Sailor Moon’s emotional response to realising that she has a daughter, so it’s nice to see a suggestion that she is, in fact, distraught over her disappearance.
Just as the Senshi resolve to protect this familiar and loved world they’ve returned to, we cut to Black Lady and Dimande, all ready to mess it up big time.
Dimande uses an earring to plant a black crystal, and Black Lady, evidently massively powerful now thanks to the influence of the Jakokusuishou, quickly enlarges it with Dark Power. This is very similar to one of Esmeraude‘s Dark Henges, but the difference, of course, is that this one is actually successful.
The Senshi have no time to rest, and begin to run over to the newly-forming Black gate, but they are rudely interrupted by the appearance of…
Black Lady, Queen of Darkness, naturally. This should be good.
No one recognises her at first (she really looks pretty awesome in her pseudo-goth gear. Very mid-90s), until Luna-P begins to react to her presence.
Black Lady is rather happy to see her old omnipotent ball back again – she calls it her one true friend. Gosh, you’re a moody kid, aren’t you?
Luna-P suddenly turning evil is such a great moment, especially with the “sad music” they introduced this season. it’s weirdly poignant.
And of course, Sailor Moon realises who she is. Again, I would have liked to see the parents of Chibi-Usa explore this emotionally torturous situation, but there really isn’t any time before Black Lady attacks with Luna-P as an umbrella.
Her attacks are powerful… but they look a little rubbish. It is nasty to see Sailor Moon being blasted back, when she’s obviously so helpless and reluctant to fight. It works well.
Black Lady sounds absolutely nuts yelling about how alone she is, and how much she hates everyone. See, this bit isn’t so convincing. She sounds psychotic, rather than brainwashed.
Black Lady looks even better when she gets physical, real menacing. I like her colours, stands starkly against those of the Sailor Senshi.
Black Lady shoots spines to trap Sailor Moon on the floor, and really looks like she’s going in for the kill. It’s actually a very threatening moment.
Of course, she’s saved by Tuxedo Kamen, who knocks the Luna-P umbrella out of Black Lady’s hands. A little boring as a means of escape I think you’ll agree. Would much rather prefer Sailor Moon roll up her metaphorical sleeves and got the job done herself.
Black Lady continues to sounds like a lunatic, with “so, you all intend to gang up against me?” Well, you were trying to kill all of them. Her internal logic is all over the place.
It’s quite funny seeing Black Lady throw Luna-P at Tuxedo Kamen’s head. Wish it would have hit though.
Sailor Moon finally remembers that she can actually do something about this, and whips out the old Ginzuishou, ready to expunge all the Dark Power from Chibi-Usa’s mind.
So, will Black Lady get refreshed? Well as a matter of fact, it sort of works.
Black Lady recalls the memory of her on her birthday alone as a kid, but this time she remembers the truth – it was all a rouse so that all the Senshi and her parents could throw her a birthday party. A really boring party by the looks of it.
Wiseman has apparently done a really crappy job for brainwashing to be this easily overwritten.
And Black Lady turns back into Chibi-Usa! For a couple of seconds, but…
TOO BAD. Wiseman’s here. His old “you’re a poor little rabbit starved for love” isn’t the most cheerful of hellos, but he manages to convince Black Lady that the birthday memory was fabricated by her desire for a happy childhood.
Again, I really enjoy the manipulations of Wiseman. Who’s to say what is true memory and false memory? I wish that it wasn’t so easy to Refresh Black Lady here, it takes the danger presented by her away, but it’s still interesting to see the back and forth.
It would have been much better to save this cleansing moment until the final episode, though.
By the way, this is all happening mid-refreshment for Black Lady, so she’s apparently just standing around completely nude in the middle of a park in front of her parents. Bit odd, that.
Seriously, very odd.
Another dose of Jakokusuishou is enough for Black Lady to get her clothes (and evilness) back, and we get a final pledge to destroy, you know, everything.
She also reveals the stakes for the final few episodes – the crystal continuing to grow in Tokyo will soon be large enough to open a Black Gate, allowing the Jakokusuishou to fire all its energy into Tokyo, thus obliterating the past.
All this alongside a ridiculous shot of Dimande standing atop a lamp post. He looks like an idiot.
Black Lady buggers off. I don’t know why, I guess he realised the episode time limit was up.
Finally, we get to see the impact all of this has had on Sailor Moon. The episode ends with her and Tuxedo Kamen looking a bit worried.
Well, that was a far cry from the emotional torment she went through after they lost Mamoru in season one… Let’s hope there’s more pathos next time.
I like parts of this episode. The Sailor Senshi I feel are almost inconsequential here. I like Black Lady’s arrival (although the pointed nudity and unnecessary focus on her body creeps me out), but wish she had remained threatening the entire way through.
There’s just something a little unsatisfying about this episode, although I freely admit that this is because it’s setting up the final 3 episodes. The next episode, for instance, is bloody awesome, and I love the two-part finale with aplomb.
Episode Score: 3/5 (Needed more juice)
Monster Score: 4/5 (Black Lady was almost perfect, save for the fact that she was briefly saved by the Ginzuishou)
Amount of Time Black Lady Spent Naked In Front of All Her Friends and Her Parents: Like 3 hours