How Did the Black Moon’s Droids Get Their Names? (Part 1)
That’s right, it’s that time again where we get to look at the hidden meanings behind the names of the various youma of the Dark Kingdom, Ail and An’s Cardians, and other various naming mysteries in the Sailor Moon universe. While many of the names are just simple puns related to a trait of the particular droid, compared to the youma it looks like the production staff dug deep to find some really interesting references this time around. So, let’s take a look!
To be completely honest, I have mixed feelings about the droids. When compared to the their predecessors, the Dark Kingdom’s youma had a lot more variety. Each of the Four Kings used their youma in different ways, and I kinda wish that there was more of a distinction between how the droids were used as the Black Moon arc progressed.
That’s not to say that they were entirely uninteresting. Quite the opposite! One thing that I really liked about the Sailor Moon R anime was the fact that it felt like more time was spent showcasing how the villains were taking energy and showing the droids in their pre-transformed (pre-battle?) forms, even giving some of them civilian names.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the obvious fact that the droids were completely different in the original manga and in Sailor Moon Crystal, all sharing the same appearance, having no individual names, and serving more as generic foot soldiers for the Black Moon clan. Since the anime had a lot more time to fill, they obviously needed more interesting “monsters of the day,” and that’s definitely something I enjoyed about the Sailor Moon anime over the manga.
Enough rambling! Let’s take a look at where all these droids get their names!
- Atsugessho: Fitting to her theme of running a cosmetics shop, her name is a play on the term for “heavy makeup,” 厚化粧 (atsugeshou). While this is sometimes used negatively, such as when referring to a person who is using way too much makeup to cover up features they don’t like, it also is used in cases like kabuki, period dramas, ballet, and more.
- Nipasu: Once again reaching out into more obscure roots, I have to give it to the Sailor Moon production team for this one. The name comes from niphas,1 a Greek word for snow-storm.
- Incidentally, the name for the ice cream shop that Nipasu works at, “Bob-Floy,” may be related to an ice cream bar known as “BOB,”2 produced by Kanebou from 1979. I’m not sure what Floy could be in reference to, though.
- Dumbull: While it’s widely speculated that her name is in reference to a dumbbell (and hence the common spelling of “Dumble”), I think it’s more likely that the name is a combination of Dump Matsumoto3 and Bull Nakano4 – two popular Japanese female wrestlers in the late 80s and early 90s.
- Furaiki: Her name is a combination of the elements that define her character – wind (風; fuu) and lightning (雷; rai). The last part of her name comes from 鬼 (oni; ki), the kanji for devil/monster/demon.
- Jaamanen: The source of her name is a bit strange to me. All Japanese sources say that this comes from a Japanese entertainment industry term for a manager (like an actress’ agent); i.e., ジャーマネ (jaamane) which is マネジャー (manejaa; manager) swapped around. The tentative name in the original design documents was Jaamane5 , and the “n” at the end was added later.
- Avogadora: As you could reasonably guess, her name is a play on “avocado,” which shows in her design. As for why there’s a “g” and not a “c” here in avogado, it turns out that this is a semi-common mispronunciation of the word in Japanese,6 and indeed, even the original design documents refer to her inspiration as an “avogado.”7
- Akumuda: Finally, a droid with a straight forward name! Akumu (悪夢)8 means “nightmare” in Japanese and da is the informal conjugation of the copula desu, meaning “to be / it is.”9 So, “a nightmare.”
- Jaakokku: The name literally means “evil black” (邪黒; jakoku) and could be considered as a standalone name, but the name is more directly taken from Jaakokku’s original form: the Evil Black Crystal (邪黒水晶; jakokusiushou).
Due to the sheer number of droids involved, I’ve decided to cut this post up into two parts. However, part 2 will be up shortly with more interesting (and some very unexpected!) names and origins. See ya next time!
- See the definition of niphas ↩
- See BOB by Kanebou ↩
- See Dump Matsumoto (Wikipedia) ↩
- See Bull Nakano (Wikipedia) ↩
- See the design documents for Jamane ↩
- See a write-up on Japanese mispronunciations ↩
- See the design documents for Avogadora ↩
- See 悪夢 (Jisho.org) ↩
- See Copula (Linguistics) (Wikipedia) ↩