Why Does Sailor Moon Use a Kaleidoscope in the Dream Arc?

Kaleidomoon Scope? Moon Kaleidoscope? Who knows!

Kaleidomoon Scope? Moon Kaleidoscope? Who knows!

… and why does it look nothing like a kaleidoscope??

After watching season after season and following Sailor Moon’s adventures from one story arc to the next, we cheered along as our sailor-suited hero fought the forces of evil with various sticks, rods, and… well, more rods. It’s a simple idea with an even simpler naming scheme, so I never really thought much of it.

Well, except for the naming travesty that is the Moon Stick, but let’s put that aside for a second.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at Sailor Moon’s fourth wand — and the first one belonging uniquely to Super Sailor Moon — the Kaleidomoon Scope. While it may seem to make little sense on the surface, once you peel back a few layers, the puzzle starts to come together.

Stick around, things are about to get colorful!

So, uh, what part do you look in?

So, uh, what part do you look in?

No matter what way you cut it, the Kaleidomoon Scope1 is just a weird item in the world of Sailor Moon. Not only does it not fit in with the other wands in terms of name or design, but the way she holds it always struck me as odd. If anything, she seems to wield it much less like a magical rod and more like a sword.

Thematically speaking, with the exception of the crescent moon on the hilt, the design seems less lunar-themed and more Pegasus-inspired with those wings coming off the side. It makes sense within the story when you consider that it was granted to Usagi by Pegasus, but you’d still think it’d be a bit more Moon-ly.2

So what’s going on with this magical item, and how does it fit in with the theme of the Sailor Moon SuperS/Dream story arc?

First off, let’s grapple with the question over what this thing actually is. Where does it get its name if it doesn’t even look like a kaleidoscope in the first place?

The manga kaleidoscopes

The manga kaleidoscopes

As many of you probably already know (and are yelling enthusiastically at your smartphone to tell me), things are a lot clearer in the manga because Pegasus actually turns kaleidoscopes — wheel kaleidoscopes,3 to be precise — that Mamoru bought for Usagi and ChibiUsa into their respective Moon Kaleidoscope and ChibiMoon Kaleidoscope.4

Unlike the anime, the bodies of the manga Kaleidoscopes appear to be translucent and shiny, implying that they could be wand kaleidoscopes — the types that are typically an acrylic cylinder, either filled with various materials or solid, that slides back and forth in front of the viewfinder.

What about the anime Kaleidomoon Scope then? That pink beast can’t possibly be inspired by a kaleidoscope, can it?

Well, in my pointless fruitful pursuit of learning all about the many different types of kaleidoscopes out there, it turns out there’s one that could fit the bill, at least as a point of inspiration: the marble kaleidoscope, which works by having a marble at the end of a tube that, when rotated, presents the viewer with various colors and designs.

Not unlike, you know, the red gem at the end of the anime Kaleidomoon Scope.

A marble kaleidoscope

A marble kaleidoscope

So with that all out of the way, I’d say that we pretty much covered every angle on how Super Sailor Moon‘s wand of choice could very well be a kaleidoscope. Or, if not, at the very least could be inspired by one.

But what about the question that started us down this rabbit hole in the first place? Regardless of whether or not Ms. Takeuchi and the anime staff were actually inspired by real world kaleidoscope designs when making the magical item, why did they choose that theme in the first place?

It’s quite simple, actually:

The concept of “mirrors” played a central role in the Dream arc, both as Dream Mirrors in the anime and the concept of the existence of a dark, parallel universe in the manga. Nehelenia also used mirrors to great effect in both the anime and manga, so it seems like the Dead Moon Circus at least got their theming done right.

Nehelenia had an interesting relationship with mirrors

Nehelenia had an interesting relationship with mirrors

And not being one to ruin a good thing, Sailor Moon plays right into this mirror theme with her Kaleidomoon Scope. After all, a kaleidoscope is by definition:5

an optical instrument in which bits of glass, held loosely at the end of a rotating tube, are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in two or more mirrors set at angles to each other

So when you look at it in that light, this weapon actually makes a lot of sense. It’s a magical item themed around an item that exists solely around the concept of using an array of mirrors to turn a static object into a dynamic, changing work of art.

A kaleidoscope uses mirrors to create beauty. In that respect, there’s really no better item that Usagi could use to fight off Nehelenia and her minions, in my opinion.

Sooo... What's going on with ChibiMoon's shoulder pads here?

Sooo… What’s going on with ChibiMoon’s shoulder pads here?

To be totally honest, I’ve never really been a fan of the Kaleidomoon Scope. The design just seemed so different from the rest, and the way she used it just didn’t seem to have that same Sailor Moon feel that the earlier story arcs established.

However, looking at it in this new light, I kind of like it a lot more now, or at least can appreciate how it juxtaposes with the Dead Moon Circus.

So what’s your take on all this? As far as I can tell, there’s never been any official word on why a kaleidoscope was used, so I’d love to hear any other ideas that might explain it away. Also, while you’re at it, let me know down below what your favorite wand is!

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  1. Which is also also referred to as the Moon Kaleidoscope, but for the sake of consistency, I’m sticking with one name throughout
  2. That’s a word now, I swear.
  3.  See Types of Kaleidoscopes
  4.  See Act 39 of the manga
  5.  See Kaleidoscope (Dictionary.com)

11 thoughts on “Why Does Sailor Moon Use a Kaleidoscope in the Dream Arc?

  1. “As many of you probably already know (and are yelling enthusiastically at your smartphone to tell me), things are a lot clearer in the manga because Pegasus actually turns kaleidoscopes — wheel kaleidoscopes, to be precise — that Mamoru bought for Usagi and ChibiUsa into their respective Moon Kaleidoscope and ChibiMoon Kaleidoscope.”

    I’ve never felt so called out in my life.

  2. I personally love the Moon Kaleidoscope. It’s not my favorite wand/sceptre, but I think it’s mainly because Moon Gorgeous Meditation is Sailor Moon’s most entertaining animated attack.

    Something about Moon Gorgeous Meditation looks so perfectly satisfying to watch every time. I love the way Chibiusa summons Pegasus to charge Sailor Moon’s power (giving Chibiusa something important to do and making her upgraded powers make sense). And I love the poses Sailor Moon does and how we see her charge up her attack before delivering the final blow. Then the kaleidoscope effects and the mirror fragments! It’s one of the only attacks that never gets old to me.

    I think that the weaponry peaked with the moon kaleidoscope since the Eternal Tiare is heavy and tacky with way too much detail (to match the over-the-top Eternal Sailor Moon outfit) and the attack is a lot of twirling and feathers which feels less exciting.

  3. The Moon Kaleidoscope (oh look, an alternative name!) is actually my favourite weapon! It reminds me of sword, too. But I like the design, maybe because it´s more simple? And I like the way the colours are balanced (no red in this one).
    It gives SM a more “soldier” vibe, since she points it directly at the enemy.

    …Well, I just like it. And I´m looking forward to seeing it in Crystal, maybe we´ll have the chance to get a more affordable proplica!
    Also, the resemblance with marble kaleidoscope is interesting, I didn´t know that type before.

  4. This ‘wand’ is my third favorite of her’s, my most is the Crescent Moon Wand, I absolutely hate the last one on both anime and manga, the rest are okay, I also really hate the lip rods of the Outers.

    I love SM’s brooches too, my top four are

    Her first, the Crystal Star and her last (especially the manga version), then Cosmos’s ,lol, yep. XD

  5. I never really thought about this, but it’s totally spot on! Also, a lot of her powers deal with light, so I’m guessing there’s a connection there in how light is reflected off of mirrors.

    • I kinda feel bad now for all the years I’ve been bashing the kaleidoscope, when actually it seems like there was a lot of thought put into it!
      (I’m not really sure what it was, but I just never really liked it until now)

  6. Have you done an article yet on old school Sailor Moon theories? This reminded me of the theory that the dream arc was all a dream and I’m I’d love to know about what else the fanbase of yore thought up.

  7. One question I would be interested in having answered: is Moon Gorgeous Meditation more powerful than Rainbow Moon Heartache?

    I always guessed the grail gave Sailor Moon slightly more power than her crisis compact from Pegasus ( but not by much) solely on the evidence that her ribbons in super form were slightly longer in S than in SuperS. What do you think?

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