Sailor Moon Crystal 23 – Covert Maneuvers -Wiseman
External and internal Mind Control is in play in a major way in the latest installment of Sailor Moon Crystal. Covert Maneuvers is not only an apt description of what Wiseman has been doing to Prince Demande and the Black Moon all along, but it also reflects something deeper that has been going on in the Silver Millennium family. While Demande and Saphir have been overcome by Wiseman’s power, much of their personality seems to be intact- almost to the point of Demande seeming unaffected. Chibi-Usagi’s manner and appearance differs though in that she seems to be in full control of herself, but with a change in mindset. The brothers are under the sway of Wiseman’s power while the princess believes in him and what he represents.
I won’t suggest just yet that Wiseman (or Phantom) did something to Chibi-Usagi centuries ago that caused her growth to stop or that this was all a part of his plan the whole time, but the dialogue form King Enymion in Act 21 concerning the insane ruler, Phantom (who must be Wiseman, right?) is possibly open enough for it to turn out that he somehow cursed Chibi-Usagi. Whether he would have cursed her so that he could hurt Usagi in a personal way or so that he could hold the key to unlock Chibi-Usagi’s awakening as a bargaining chit to make a move against Neo Queen Serenity is unclear, but I can easily see either or both as his motivation.
The truth is often shaded by our experiences and Chibi-Usagi’s extended childhood and the woes she encountered never fully prepared her to deal with the likes of Wiseman, She is brave despite herself and certainly willful, but one with the mind of a child, no matter how precocious cannot be expected to have a fighting chance against one who uses the truth, with omissions, to make them see the world really is how they perceive it to be in with their limited scope. A conviction is a firmly held belief. Belief is a personal truth. We know the dangers of fanaticism and radicalized belief systems in our world and we get to see Chibi-Usa as that radicalized youth. She even changes her name as so many young men and women have when leaving behind an oppressive home and joining with a force larger than themselves to fight against the world that rejected and marginalized them.
Chibi-Usagi is convinced that all the pain that she suffered in unending prepubescence wherein she only knew love from her father and longing to be like her mother despite the vast chasm between them as people was a sign that she didn’t truly belong to the Silver Millennium. Crystal Tokyo was a prison for her. She couldn’t escape it and live her own life. She was ensnared by her rank and an impossible legacy she couldn’t possible carry on because she lacked something fundamental.
When Wiseman told Chibi-Usa he needed her and he gave her a place where she belonged, everything changed. It was as if she had been returned home, she had been released from the curse on her like a fairytale princess by embracing the Darkness and rejecting her false home and past. She is even willing to destroy the Earth and Neo Queen Serenity because she has her love, the only one who ever truly cared for and loved her. What proof is there that she belongs with the Darkness? Her awakening and growth make her into a woman and a s a woman she is ready to take her place at the head of a monarchy, just like her fraudulent mother.
Act 23 earns a 4 out of 5 for packing an emotional wallop with a wide variety of ordinance that each serves to characterize the people we’re watching without slowing down the plot for a second. To go by the modern vernacular, one might say: feels + action = WIN.