"Burning Mandala" is a fire-based attack that was used by Sailor Mars. It appears in all versions of the original Sailor Moon series, though its exact name and appearance varies.
It was first performed while fighting Koan after she extinguishes her first ability with her dark fire while clashing their fire powers, Sailor Mars would first create a ring of fire then the rings turned into eight smaller rings of fire, which flew towards the enemy like fire hoops. This ability is used to extinguish Koan's dark fire which caught her tutu skirt on fire before she fled. In later seasons, she also uses this ability to weaken the Daimons before Sailor Moon deals her final blow.
Sailor Mars first performed this attack in Act 15 against Koan and her droids. The attack destroyed all the droids but Koan had moved out of the way, and her powers proved much more effective. The same attack was later used in Act 22 against Prince Demande and again in Act 25 against Death Phantom who had become one with Nemesis. She also used this attack twice in the 3rd season.
Sailor Mars rotates her left arm once in a clockwise direction, with fire gushing out of her hand. The fire condenses into 8 balls of fire around her, and Sailor Mars directs the balls at her enemy. The balls explode and cause great damage to the impact.
Sailor Mars also used this attack once in the live-action series, against Metalia Endymion. In this version, eight globes encircled her and a mandala appeared behind her, but instead of multiple rings of fire, the attack took the form of a large burst of flame. Almost defeated, Sailor Mars tries one last-ditch effort to defeat Metalia Endymion and stands up. She spreads her arms wide and yells "BURNING...!" as she draws her arms in front of herself and moves them in and out while drawing in several small mandalas that form a circle around her body. Once the circle is completed they transform in a bright burst of light into a massive traditional Vajrayana Buddhism mandala. Sailor Mars then crouches and releases a powerful wave of fire as she finishes her attack by yelling, "...MANDALA!"
Burning Mandala appeared for this first time in Sailor Moon - Gaiden Dark Kingdom Fukkatsu Hen where it was used against Jadeite.
This attack appeared in several video games:
- In Sailor Moon R for Super Famicom; it was powerful, and could easily destroy the enemies around it, however, it could be only used rarely.
- In Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Kurukkurin; the attack would be used to improve the player's game.
- In Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Kondo wa Puzzle de Oshiokiyo!; having the same use as in "Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Kurukkurin", the attack would be used to improve the game.
- In Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon S; Sailor Mars creates circles of fire that are sent towards the enemy.
- In Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story; Sailor Mars created a circle of fire that resulted in separating into eight fire rings that attacked the enemies.
- In the English manga (both Mixx/TokyoPop and Kodansha) and the Viz Media English dub, the attack retains its original name. In the DiC English dub of the anime, the attack was called by various names. The attack names were: Mars Celestial Fire Surround, Mars Fire Surround, Celestial Fire Surround, Mars Fire Ignite, and Mega Mars Fire Rings Flash.
- The word "Mandala" originated in Sanskrit. It has been used in many religions, the most notable are Hinduism and Buddhism. These religions and the word Mandala are used all throughout the world today but were said to have originated in Nepal, Tibet. and India before moving to China and elsewhere.
- The mandala is used in meditation. Before a person can reach enlightenment, they must pass through the outermost circle of the Mandala, purifying fire, the fire of wisdom. At the center is a symbol of the Buddha, surrounded by the eight corners of the Earth (West, Northwest, North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, and Southwest). Together the symbols make a lotus shape. The eight symbols that appear in the fire circles, before Sailor Mars shoots them at her enemy, are Buddhist symbols that stands for the eight corners of the world.
- The outer circle of the mandala is often explained as a ring of fire, depicted by stylized scrollwork meant to represent flames. It has also been explained as the periphery of the universe, or the outer wall of the profane world, beyond which lies chaos. To begin the mystical journey, one must leave samsara, the world of phenomena, and pass through this flaming barrier to enter the sacred enclosure of the mandala. According to some interpretations, its purpose is not to terrify the aspirant from entering, but rather to show that the flame of the wisdom contained within the mandala can burn away ignorance and error. By means of the symbolic fire, understanding supreme reality may be attained (source). This neatly ties in Burning Mandala to Rei’s character, as she often meditates before a fire to gain wisdom.
- A mandala is a geometric pattern that can symbolize the universe. Sailor Mars' mandala appears to be a traditional Vajrayana Buddhism mandala.
- This attack is used once in PGSM, the live-action series, appearing in Act 48. In this version, eight globes encircled Sailor Mars and a mandala appeared behind her, but instead of multiple rings of fire, the attack took the form of a large burst of flame.
- The rings that Mars attacks are shown as being either smooth or jagged. The smooth variation shows up more often.
- The way Sailor Mars in Sailor Moon Crystal did her first attack Akuryo Taisan was done in a similar pattern to Burning Mandala in act 3 against Jadeite.