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Kanzeon Bosatsu
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 2
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Added 11/19/2009
Updated 8/15/2014
Episode: Gensomaden 26: Calling – No One Hears Your Cry, cut 12. A shot of a massive statue of the Buddha dissolves into this intense tilted portrait of Kanzeon Bosatsu aka Kannon Bodhisattva aka Guan Yin the Enlightened One, usually known simply as the Merciful Goddess. In Asian mythology she is a figure who mediates between the patriarchal world of Buddhism and the more gender-inclusive world of the Shinto kamis.

According to legend, the mortal Guan Yin was a Chinese girl who chose to enter a Buddhist temple rather than be subject to an arranged marriage. The male-dominant world of the temple meant that she was subject to outrageously degrading tasks, which friendly animals (a la Cinderella) helped her complete. When she was finally executed for her refusal to submit to womanly role models, she was offered immediate release from her existence, but as she was entering Nirvana, she heard the other souls in the world, still earth-bound, call out in pain. Hearing their cry (her name is often interpreted as “She Who Hears the World Cry”) she turned and voluntarily chose to remain part of existence until suffering was no more. The title of the episode obviously plays on this part of Guan Yin’s legend: her appearance at this point (just before the title card) gives the lie to its seeming nihilism.

The Merciful Goddess has been one of my favorite deities for many years, the more so as I credit her with so many seemingly miraculous auction wins and unexpected acquisitions, and so it is itself a cause for rejoicing to add this fine image of her to my gallery. The genga, a beautifully detailed image, is featured above, with an evocative rough genga given in the thumbnail.

Trivia Fact: Misa Watanabe, the seiyuu for the Merciful Goddess in the Gensomaden story arc, is also an experienced junior animator who has drawn inbetweeners for Fullmetal Alchemist and Ouran High School Host Club. She also dubbed the voices of Miranda Hobbes and Bree Van De Kamp in the Japanese versions of “Sex and the City” and “Desperate Housewives.”


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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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