Complex: A Diagnosis of Chibi-Usagi- Sailor Moon Crystal 23 -MS 21

In this Moon Speak, Sono and Ammit look at the latest Sailor Moon Crystal through the lens of an armchair psychoanalysis of a Small Lady whose life dramatically changed when her mother’s past caught up to her. To put it simply: why did Chibi-Usagi go bad?

This episode we forgo our usual structure of breaking down Crystal into two linear blocks of discussion we call the Meat and Veggies and the Frills


Scenario One: It’s All Greek to Me

Is Chibi-Usagi dealing with an Electra complex? Did Chibi-Usagi see her mother emasculated and transfer her feelings towards Mamoru who has taken possession of the Moon Rod and whose power began to display as Usagi’s was fading?

Background on Electra and the Electra Complex

Carl Gustav Jung, not Sigmund Freud coined the phrase “Electra Complex.” Freud apparently rejected the term because it didn’t fully describe for girls what he had come to understand as the Oedipus Complex in boys. As far as I can tell, the conflict was in accurately relating the terms to the myths from which they were derived. Oedipus accidentally killed his father and married his mother; Electra didn’t do the opposite. Freud was comfortable adding negative, or female in front of Oedipus when talking about the development stage in girls. Jung used Electra as an identifier specific to girls and women, for reasons I cannot discern; perhaps to eliminate possible confusion and increase clarity. Electra in mythology conspired with her brother to kill their mother and stepfather who had killed their father. The key for both psychoanalysts seems to be the killing of the same-sex parent.

Freud, who was a senior colleague of Jung in the field of psychoanalysis, developed the Oedipus complex concept as a model to explain psychosexual development and maturation in boys. The idea is that boys know Mother as their world because Father is off doing other stuff and only comes around for a bit every day. The child feels possessive of Mother and sees Father as a rival for affection, thus he wants to kill Father so he can possess Mother. Frued works in body (genital) awareness too as well as the child seeing sex and gender differences and the child recognizing that the segregation of himself from the parental bed when Father comes to be with Mother might have something to do with distinct anatomy and that is where the sex (as in the act) sort of comes in. It isn’t truly incestuous desire the child has for Mother, it is more about attention and affection. The boy and Mather being similarly distinct from Mother sets up competition in the child’s mind where she can only have one male in her life and he wants to be it, because he can’t yet understand that isn’t true. The child identifies and assimilates traits to become like Father for protection from the big guy and possibly to become even more irresistible to Mother.

The model basically flips for girls, but Freud and Jung both spoke of the girl’s distress to some degree at realizing she has no penis. She then realizes that she and Mother share this lack of a penis, which Father possesses and so she sees herself as in competition with Mother and takes the same steps to replace Mother for Father’s love and affection.

In the end though, the Electral/Oedipal complex is actually not about sexual desire, but about maturation and learning to integrate in to society by accepting and choosing to live by its norms. According to Freud and Jung, Moral growth is seen as the result of healthily navigating psychosexual development. Men and Women who don’t have adequate guidance as their bodies grow and develop physically are seen to be moral outliers who rely on sexuality through vanity, charm and seduction to cope with their damaged and incomplete psyches or else become weak and diminutive adults unable to function in society.


Breaking Phall-icies

I hate the idea of swords as phallic symbols and penises as instruments of power, so I don’t mean that literally, but I want to draw on the somewhat crude psychological or psychosexual constructs I just introduced for the purposes of this discussion.

Sailor Moon has been talked up to her by King Enymion, who says she is just like her, so when she sees Sailor Moon as powerless, and beyond help, she wants to save herself and King Endymion. When she embraces Darkness, she becomes a physically mature woman and a Queen who naturally pairs with a King. She already has a King on hand who she has loved for years. She speaks of King Endymion as a possession and attacks Usagi as part of a plan to secure him.

Love Without Bounds

What might happen to a maladaptive person, a child who grew up and was stuck in this weird place of wanting to possess their opposite sex parent through replacing their same sex parent? I don’t want to look into real case studies, but it certainly seems like Takeuchi explores that possibility here.

Scenario Two: She’s Totally Rad

Can Chibi-Usagi joining Black Moon be liked to a Western Youth joining Al Queda or ISIS?


A common factor among radicalized youths popularized in the media is that they often express feelings of not belonging to Western Society. Whether they were treated poorly and then attached themselves to an ideology or were born into a belief system and then marginalized because of that they have reacted to their woes by turning against their birthplace. This has parallels to Small Lady’s experience.

Chibi-Usagi felt she didn’t belong and Wiseman offered her a place to be. She joined him and flourished… literally. Her centuries of stunted growth and undeveloped power ended when she left Silver Millennium and joined Wiseman’s side as the Queen of Darkness. She felt oppressed by her stature in Silver Millennium despite her actual station and when Neo Queen Serenity ejected her form the Crystal palace, it confirmed deep seeded suspicions that she had never really belonged to Neo Queen Serenity anyway. She had felt like an outsider and then was made one.

A World Worth Fighting For

Her time in the foreign place called her home brought her much pain, but a glimmer of hope as well. The one aspect of the world that wasn’t cruel, that accepted her was King Endymion and with him brought near to here she doesn’t care what happens to anyone else who was part of the society that so mistreated her. Her World, is Endymion and she’ll do what she must to secure it.


Ammit’s Favorite Line

“He rebelled against Wiseman and then attempted to escape. He deserved it.”

-Black Lady shrugging her shoulders and basically not giving a glass bead about Wiseman executing Rubeus in response to Saphir and Demande inquiring after their ally.

Sono’s Favorite Line

“I guess this means I’m no longer qualified to enter the palace. I knew I never belonged here.”

-Black Lady when was ejected form the Crystal Palace.

If you’d like to comment on our thoughts, or ask any questions, you may send correspondence to  our inbox or we can be reached individually @sonoyourface and @trialofheroes on Twitter. We hope you enjoyed the show and thank you for listening.

The opening for this episode was performed by Josh Aggarado whose work can be found on Youtube and his site, please check out all the other cool music there.

The awesome closing was adapted and performed by 18moptop who does lots of English language anime covers

Check out text reviews every Monday after Crystal airs and hear new Moon Speak the Monday after that. That’s four Sailor Monday every MONTH!

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