A luminous body (LB) was produced by a pulsed electric discharge that initiated at the tip of the cathode and widely propagated on the surface of an electrolyte in the atmosphere. Entire images of the LB transition taken by a high-speed camera are visually demonstrated for the first time. It is indicated that the entire phenomenon of the LB transition can be classified into three sequential processes, regardless of the experimental conditions. It is estimated that the bright and octopus-like discharge, which may act as a source of high-energy ions and atoms, plays an essential role to make the mechanism of LB phenomena clear. Copyright © 2009 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.