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Liberation with Moon Gorgeous Meditation

Super Sailor Moon faces the camera with the moon kaleidoscope held out horizontally.

Right now I’m reading through the beautiful Eternal Edition of the Sailor Moon manga. I’m nearly finished with the Dream Arc and this is where Super Sailor Moon uses the attack Moon Gorgeous Meditation. It occurred to me that “meditation” was a rather odd attack name. Sure, it’s not as out there as Star Gentle Uterus, but meditation generally involves sitting still and calming your mind. That’s not exactly what I would call “attack mode.”

Sailor Moon’s attacks generally involve light, like Moon Princess Halation, the heart as in Moon Spiral Heart Attack and Rainbow Moon Heartache or healing as in Moon Healing Escalation. I was thinking it’s possible that meditation belonged in the healing category since meditation is often used to decrease stress and anxiety. Meditation has a long history so I decided to investigate a bit further–and what I found was surprising!

The earliest records we have of meditation are from India and date around 1500 BCE. From 600 BCE onwards, meditation was happening among Taoists in China and Buddhists in Japan. In the West, forms of mediation, such as prayer, were performed through the Middle Ages. However, the West became much more interested in mediation with the publication of The Tibetan Book of the Dead in 1927. The English title isn’t an exact translation of the original, Bardo Thödol. It literally translates to Liberation in the Intermediate State Through Hearing. In other words, liberation through meditation. Liberation you say? Sounds very Sailor Moon to me! In fact, the word for “liberation” also connotes words such as “awakening,” “enlightenment,” and even “extinction of illusion.” Meditation sounds like the perfect attack against the Dead Moon who utilize illusions and nightmares to inflect their damage. But that’s not all!

Credit: missdream.org

The goal of the Bardo Thödol is to guide the practitioner through death and rebirth. It describes various intermediate states such as the moment before death, spiritual visions, the moment before rebirth as well as waking consciousness, meditation, and dreams. Jackpot!

In this context, it’s absolutely clear why Naoko Takeuchi choose “meditation” as an attack name during the Dream Arc, or SuperS. With a villain that attacks with nightmares, Sailor Moon’s Moon Gorgeous Meditation cuts through the noise and provides clarity and liberation.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Anonymoon September 6, 2022, 05:01

    Interesting interpretation. Sometimes the attack names seem so random I’m not sure if they’re supposed to mean anything at all or are just meant to sound cool to the Japanese audience. Now try tackling “Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss”, lol.

    Have you seen the newly unearthed pilot (actually “proof of concept”) video for the horrible Toon Makers live action/animation hybrid? I’d like to see what you think of that thing vs the (admittedly butchered) DiC dub that we ended up with. I swear, the Toon Makers video just checks off every cliche in the book and really goes to show you what people in the entertainment industry thought of young/teenage girls back in the day. Bad flashbacks, lol. I’m glad we’ve made some progress over the years.

    • Anne LaRose October 2, 2022, 09:50

      It’s funny you should mention that attack! I think it’s really interesting that Naoko used the word “therapy.” Obviously it goes with the healing theme, but I wonder if she had more of an interest in various forms of healing.

      I did see the full Toon Makers pilot! That was wild! We’ve had so many bits and pieces of it released over the years, it was really nice to see all the pieces put together. Ultimately I’m glad they just went with dubbing the anime, the toon maker show just seemed like it was reinventing the wheel.

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