How much does the Galaxy Cauldron from Sailor Moon resemble the recently imaged supermassive black hole?

An image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Messier 87 Galaxy

Earlier this week Nasa released the first ever image of a black hole. I’m referring to it as an image and not a photograph due to the technique used. For more on the specifics check out this special mini episode of The Reality Check featuring Exposing Pseudoastronomy’s Stuart Robbins. This is an image of the supermassive black hole which is located at the centre of the Messier 87 galaxy which is about 55 million light year away. This of course makes one immediately think of Sailor Moon! The final conflict between Sailor Moon and Galaxia takes place at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. In this case it’s at the Galaxy Cauldron, the birthplace of all of the Milky Way’s heavenly bodies. What, if any, basis does this location have in reality? Most, possibly all, galaxies have a supermassive black hole at the centre and so the imaged black hole in Messier 87 is likely quite similar to the one in the Milky Way.

Sagittarius Zero Star

The Stars arc of the manga mentions a number of times that the location in the centre of the galaxy where Galaxia finds what she is looking for and ultimately where Sailor Moon follows, is Sagittarius Zero Star. This is a fictional place however it is mentioned that it is located within Sagittarius Alpha Star. This is based on a real astronomical area which, in the real world like in the manga, is located at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, our galaxy. The actual of the area is “Sagittarius A*“, pronounced “Sagittarius A Star”, which is quite close in spelling to the fictional “Sagittarius Alpha Star”. No Galaxy Cauldron or Galaxia’s castle exists at Sagittarius A* which describes the entire supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy!

So what, if anything, is the black hole meant to be? Is all of Sagittarius Alpha Star the supermassive black hole in Sailor Moon? It isn’t really clear. As Sagittarius Zero Star is located at the centre of Sagittarius Alpha Star it seems like this itself isn’t in the black hole. One can wonder how much of this area Naoko Takeuchi chose to base on black holes.

Sailor Moon enters the Galaxy Cauldron

One feature of a black hole is the loss of any information which enters it. This doesn’t mean that a book entering a black hole comes out empty, but rather than any information, such the way matter is arranged or a signal that enters it, would be lost. What does eventually escape a black hole is known as Hawking Radiation and this does not preserve the information of what originally went into the black hole. When entering Sagittarius Alpha Star, traveling to meet Sailor Galaxia, Sailor Moon travels down the River of Forgetfulness where Sailor Lethe causes her to lose her memory. It may be a bit of a stretch but there’s a comparison to be made here. The information in a person’s mind is lost when entering a black hole and that is manifested as a magical process in which memory is lost. The counterpart to Sailor Lethe is Sailor Mnemosyne and the River of Memory. I can’t say I can think of a black hole equivalent to this!

Further there’s the idea that nothing escapes the event horizon of a black hole. When Sailor Moon enters the Galaxy Cauldron there is an expectation that she could not come out or remain intact. Guardian Cosmo mentions that she is powerful to maintain her appearance inside the Cauldron. Is this a reference to things being stuck in a black hole or the loss of information? Clearly we have things in Sailor Moon which do actually get preserved after entering the black hole and subsequently escape it, but this is presented as being exceptional. This is a magical series where hard rules are often broken. How many times has the Silver Crystal been used and not resulted in Sailor Moon’s death or had her somehow cheat that rule after all?

Galaxy Cauldron

Besides this the Galaxy Cauldron exhibits a number of properties which don’t really fit with black holes or more specifically the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. It is said to be the birthplace of all heavenly bodies in the Milky Way. This would include all stars, planets and moons. Pretty much anything which has a Sailor Guardian! This isn’t really how the galaxy works to be sure. Solar systems, with their stars, planets, moons and other celestial bodies, are formed as matter from dust and gasses groups together thanks to gravity in the vastness of space. This does not require a black hole and quite to the contrary, if any of this matter does go into a black hole, it generally doesn’t come out. A star which explodes certainly can eventually be reformed as new stars, planets and such, but a black hole is not included in this life cycle. This also plays around Sailor Crystals which go in and out of the Galaxy Cauldron. This behaviour certainly makes sense as an in universe explanation of things but it doesn’t fit with how black holes work. A supermassive black hole will grow in mass and size as other stars and celestial bodies enter them, but this is a one way trip.

Considering that the Milky Way is only one of the countless galaxies in our Universe, what happens in other galaxies? Does the Messier 87 galaxy, along with its supermassive black hole, also contain a Galaxy Cauldron which is the birthplace of all heavenly bodies in that galaxy? Does every celestial body have a Sailor Guardian? Would Galaxia and Chaos have moved on to another galaxy when they were done with the Milky Way or are the distances between galaxies too vast to bridge? When two galaxies collide, as happens frequently in the cosmos, do the various Sailor Guardians from those galaxies fight each other? Does everyone else also look like a human for some reason? These questions almost certainly don’t have answers!

The Black Dream Hole

Besides this reference to the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, we also have a black hole featured in the movie Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. This black hole has only some similarities to real black holes. It is black! That’s a similarity! Things get absorbed by it and seemingly can’t escape it, though again Sailor Moon goes in and is able to get out, by destroying it, but again she’s full of magic and such. The way in which it is very unlike a real black hole is its enormous size! A black hole with the mass of the entire Earth would have a radius of less than a centimetre. As the Black Dream Hole is attempting to absorb the Earth its size grows and grows to a size which is suggested to be even bigger than the planet. This is a pretty standard way to misinterpret a black hole as it is hard to conceive of something being massive, in this case the mass of the Earth, but not being large. Since Naoko Takeuchi didn’t write the SuperS film, we can’t really expect any consistency here with what we see in the manga.

Sailor Moon enters the Black Dream Hole

I hope you’ve enjoyed this random musing about black holes. Do you think any parallels were actually intended by the author, or am I just grasping at passing similarities?

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 is now available to pre-order on DVD and Blu-Ray from Amazon

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Blu-Ray set box art

Following last week’s news about Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on June 18th fans can now pre-order the set from Amazon. This includes the less expensive DVD version, selling for just $28.26, as well as the standard Blu-Ray version, which is selling for $61.12 and the Limited Edition Blu-Ray which is $71.73. This is slightly less expensive than pre-ordering from RightStuf, which currently costs $71.99, though users ordering from RightStuf will be able to get the exclusive coin. If you pre-order from Amazon using the links below, or any other Amazon links such as the ones on the left sidebar on the main page, this will support this site.

This set includes episodes 167 to 183. This includes the short six episode Nehelenia arc, which is a sort of bridge between the SuperS season and Sailor Stars, and the introduction of the Sailor Starlights and their alternate identities, the Three Lights! The set will end with the introduction of the mysterious Chibi Chibi! These will be available for the first time with English audio, featuring Viz’s new English dub of the series, as well as Japanese audio with English subtitles. We never got a straight answer as to why Sailor Stars wasn’t originally dubbed but some fans believe that it was because the content would have been considered inappropriate for some viewers. If that was ever true it seems like this is no longer the case!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - The Sailor Starlights

Do you ship Seiya and Usagi? Will you be getting this release? I’m certainly looking forward to watching it in English for the first time. Though I’ve imported the Japanese DVDs and laserdiscs of Sailor Stars over the years the copies I’ve watched the most were VHS fan subs and a bootleg DVD, both of which used the VKLL subtitle scripts.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Chibi Chibi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Taiki, Seiya and Yaten - The Three Lights

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars volume 1 is coming to home video June 18th

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Blu-Ray contents

We were promised Sailor Stars in the Spring and Viz Media delivered with less than a week to spare! June 18th, a whole 3 days before the first day of summer, Sailor Moon Sailor Stars volume 1 will be released DVD and Blu-Ray! This will include episodes 167 to 183 which will be available with English dialogue for the first time ever! Sailor Stars was never released along with the original dub and now that we’ve gotten all of the movies and specials with Viz’s new Sailor Moon dub, Sailor Stars is the only thing left!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars pre-order coin

The set is available to pre-order from RightStuf. This will include a special collectible coin, as has been the case with releases in the past.

Sailor Moon StarS vol. 1

RightStuf is doing a very bizarre thing and naming it “Sailor Moon StarS” in their item description. I had never seen this term before but it was mentioned by @fredjfrancis on Twitter that this was the naming convention previously used by Tokypop with their original release of the manga. Having originally read the manga in French I had no need for Tokyopop’s release so this wasn’t something I’d ever noticed. I can only imagine that this is meant to match somewhat with how SuperS was written for the previous season, but this StarS naming convention is not one based on anything done in Japan. Sailor Moon S is pronounced as “Sailor Moon Super” when spoken during the commercial bumpers. Sailor Moon SuperS is pronounced as “Sailor Moon Supers” (Su-pa-su) when pronounced, though in my brain I always read it as “Super Ess”. The last S in Stars, however, is never capitalized in any Japanese sources.

Tokyopop Sailor Moon Stars vol. 1 Sailor Moon Manga - Stars

This started with Tokyopop’s manga release but in this case the final three volumes, rebranded as Stars 1, 2 and 3, did not have those titles in Japan. The manga compilations were simply volumes 16, 17 and 18, as no separate titles were ever used for the manga covers. Individual chapters were titled Stars 1, 2 and so forth, following with the naming conventions from the Infinity and Dream arcs, these are written in Japanese Katakana characters and not in English, as we saw with SuperS in the anime.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars vol. 1 Laserdisc

The Anime series was not even called Sailor Moon Stars. It was called Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. There are different ways to write this out! In Japan the series is generally written as one word “Sailormoon”. This fifth season title was usually written in Katakana but when it was written in English it was usually spelled as “Sailormoon Sailorstars”. No specific emphasis on the final S was ever made as can be seen from the laserdisc and DVD box art. I tend to spell it “Sailor Moon Sailor Stars” on this site as all four of those are separate words in English. Viz is doing the same, although the word “Sailor” is written in a much smaller font size than “Stars”, as was the case with graphics used for the sub on Hulu, which may lead to some confusion.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars vol. 1 DVD

Calling it “StarS” is an odd and awkward choice on RightStuf’s part which seems to be a mistake. Perhaps this will be corrected in time! Regardless, I’m looking forward to finally watching Sailor Stars in English. Do you plan on picking this one up?

Continue reading