Monday, December 30, 2013

Villainy's Victors- The Wiseman

Note: In the interests of getting more content on the blog, I have decided to devote a whole post to each character on my list of the Top 100 Villains. This should give me more time to reflect on each post before I send it out and now, without further ado---

90) The Wiseman from Sailor Moon-

Now, I maintain that Sailor Moon, like many cartoons I enjoyed as a child is best enjoyed from a distance behind a thick veil of nostalgia. The power of memory lets you forget about the dubious animation quality, the truly painful voice acting, and quite frankly silly plots. Nine time out of ten, the show relies on Sailor Moon engaging in a normal activity that, by complete coincidence, turns out to secretly be an evil plot. (Beauty contest? Evil scheme. Cruise ship vacation? Evil scheme. I swear I remember in one episode a snack stand at the mall turned out to be a front for the latest group of villains).

So I can be forgiven if the my pick for number 90 on this list, Wiseman would probably seem silly to an adult eye. But in my defense, this character offered something we hadn't seen on the show before. Though there were many villains on Sailor Moon, some epic and others kind of pathetic, the Wiseman was the first Sailor Moon villain who was actively unnerving.

The Wiseman offered something I really hadn't seen in a villain before that point. Physically, he was unprepossessing, a short somewhat gnarled figure whose features were obscured by shadow and by the robe he always wore. The Wisman's main goal was the complete and total destruction of everything that existed, thereby, returning everything to a formless void.

Now, I was no stranger to villains whose plan was to destroy the universe. However, most of the time those villains a) had a plan in which destroying the universe would actually benefit them (i.e. being the God of the next universe) or b) were such megalomaniacs that I legitimately thought it never occurred to them that destroying the universe would be bad for them too.

Wiseman, on the other hand, was the first villain I had ever encountered who seemed to genuinely believed that nothing was, in the grand scheme of things, superior to something. A pure nihilist, it genuinely didn't matter that he would also cease to exist when and if he succeeded. Furthermore, he could be extremely persuasive in gathering converts cause thanks to his ability to literally rewrite peoples memories until they to believed that life was horrible and meaningless. To a kid like me, he was genuinely terrifying and the impression he made never really left. Thus, he will always remain one of my favorite villains even if the show he appeared on hasn't aged well at all.

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