Can we take a moment to talk about this frame? Not the animation — which unfortunately reached its apogee of hilariousness right at that exact moment — I mean the image itself. Though I despair of Crystal’s Shitennou developing personalities, Queen Beryl continues to surprise me. She doubts. She speculates. And she shows up on the battlefield and bears Zoisite away in her arms.
Indeed, it’s her relationship to the Four — epitomized in this frame — that’s been, for me at least, the most interesting aspect of Crystal’s take on the Dark Kingdom. While heavily influenced by the manga (with perhaps a whiff of PGSM), there’s an innocence to Beryl’s interactions with the Shitennou that seems new. If I were to find a word to describe her manner toward them, it would be… maternal. They’re like a brood to her. She scolds them, she orders them about, but she does so without malice. She expects great things of them, as any mother would of her sons. And they — or at least Zoisite — defend her without hesitation.
And then we get this remarkable frame of Beryl carrying Zoisite into a hole in the sky. The image is dripping with allusion: the maternal figure cradling a young man’s limp body; the sky opening above them into what would seem like heaven. This is a dark Pietà, no mistake, and Beryl is its Madonna.
Yes! It is fascinating to me how Beryl is so different in each medium, and the biggest difference is in how she treats her Shitennou. Manga Beryl did not seem to care one way or the other about them, classic anime Beryl was ready to kill them at the slightest infraction. PGSM Beryl had different rules for each of them, giving more leeway to the ones who worked better without oversight, but also quick to punish with pain.
This is something we’ve never seen before. A Beryl who cares about her Shitennou. Who actually fights to protect them. Whose response to failure is the chiding of a student who messed up instead of a soldier who deserves punishment.