Themes and Archetypes Magical girls are a genre of anime which feature young girls and teenage women being either granted magnificent powers or having them as inborn abilities. The magical girl genre relied has many different themes; some shows are strongly escapist and wish fulfilment focused but others delve into themes of responsibility, heroism, and the importance of family and friendships. There are several sub ‘types’ of magical girl, which can be roughly divided into the following: • Cute Witches and Magical Princesses (or Majokko) • Shapeshifting Magical Girls with Skills Simulation • Magical Warriors
Cute Witches Series about witches were at first the most iconic type of Magical Girl anime, often these series are specifically called ‘Majokko’ series meaning ‘Little Witch Girl’ series. These stories feature young mages either from another land visiting Earth, from Earth taking up the craft, or set entirely in magical kingdoms. They use their abilities to try and becomeSome examples:•Mahotsukai Sally (1966) better witches and to help•Hana no Mahotsukai Mary Bell (1992) their friends and family.•Akazukin Chacha (1991) Sometimes these witches are•Majokko Tickle (1978) also princesses, which leads•Ojamajo Doremi (1999) us into our next type of•Sugar Sugar Rune (2004) magical girls.
Princesses and Queen Quests Princesses are a common feature of magical girl series. A widespread theme is a protagonist from a magical kingdom who comes to Earth as part of her training to be Queen, or simply due to tradition, or to help the people of Earth. Another frequent plotline is instead to have a normal girl asked by a Prince or Princess of another world to help them become Queen or King by offering them magical abilities or to search for a special item they require.Some Examples: Though not every princess who comes to•Majokko Megu-chan (1974) Earth does this in order to become•Comet-san (1967) / Cosmic Baton Girl Queen this has become the standardComet-san (2001) plotline of this sort this magical girl•Hana no Ko no Lunlun (1979)•Magical Princess Minky Momo (1982) sub genre.•Hime-chan no Ribon (1990)From Parody:•Dai Mahou Touge (2002)
Skills Simulation and Person Imitation A big staple of the genre are heroines who can shapeshift. Many have the general ability to become older or more glamorous and to take on the abilities and appearance of a stereotypical job role – Police Woman, Air Hostess, Doctor or Nurse for example. Alternatively some magical girls gain the ability to mimic specific people and use this to disguise themselves as friends, family members. Often combine it with the above and find themselves copying the identities, and thus, the abilities of individuals inSome Examples: similar professions alreadyMain Premise: mentioned – with the added mistaken•Himitsu no Akko-chan (1962) identity potential.•Hime-chan no Ribon (1990) In some cases this was given as an extra•Magical Princess Minky Momo power to magical warriors in order to(1982) help them disguise themselves.Side Power:•Cutie Honey (1973)•Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
Magically Aided Idol Singers In many ways these particular magical girls are specialised versions of the shape shifting magical girls. Initially a pure wish fulfilment concept first appearing in the 1980s, these series generally feature young girls around the 8 to 12 age range. Through some application of magic, heavenly power, or alien/futuristic technology she gains the ability to disguise herself and become an idol singer or similar. Most frequently these characters become older looking in theSome Examples: process, whether they are naturally•Mahou no Tenshi Creamy talented singers or if that is part ofMami (1983) magic depends on the show.•Mahou no Suta Magical Emi(1985) Later examples would be blended•Full Moon no Sagashite together with the ‘Magical Warrior’(2002) genre to make magic using, bad guy•Mermaid Melody Pitchi Pitch fighting, superheroine musicians.Pitchi (2002)Oddly Similar Western
Magical Warriors Probably the most famous magical girl type in the west. Girls who transform into superheroines which fight evil forces with their magic powers to defend the planet. This genre has probably proven to be the one with the most mass market appeal, to the extent that it is the most parodied and referenced. Typically these series make use of stock footage attack sequences to make upSome Examples: their attack scenes – though some,•Cutie Honey (1973)•Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon (1992) such as the Pretty Cure franchise gets•Ai Tenshi Densetsu Wedding Peach more physical with it’s fight(1994) choreography.•Tokyo Mew Mew (2000)• The Pretty Cure Franchise (2004) This genre first appeared in non shoujoWestern Examples (Direct and (girls series) works in the 1970s, withIndirect): Cutie Honey, but first appeared in a•She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985) format actually aimed at girls in the•Princess Starla and the Jewel 1990s.Riders (1995)•W.I.T.C.H. (2001)•Winx Club (2004)
Deeper Meanings Whilst often dealing in wish fulfilment and escapist elements, like most fantasy, superhero and and sci-fi genres magical girl shows are often used to examine specific themes. As shows typically aimed at young women in their late childhood to early teens the trials and tribulations of puberty are often metaphorically, or even sometimes directly touched on – a prime example being Osamu Tezuka’s Marvellous Melmo. Romance, sexuality, death and other issues can be either lightly touched on or sometimes even directly presented – for example the relationship of Haruka (Sailor Uranus) , and Michiru (Sailor Neptune) in Sailor Moon. The importance of friendship, and discovering ones own identity are frequent topics that are looked at in shows such as Futari wa Pretty Cure and Shugo Chara.
The 1960s - The Beginnings Which title was the ‘first’ magical girl series? This actually depends on how you look at it. Himitsu no Akko-chan (Secrets of Akko- chan) • created by Fujio Akatsuki • first debuted as a manga: 1962 (Ribon magazine) • first animated: 1969 • generally believed to be first magical girl manga Mahoutsukai Sally (Sally, the Witch) • written by Mitsuteru Yokoyama • first debuted as manga 1966 (Ribon magazine) as Mahotsukai Sunny • first animated: 1966 • generally believed to be first magical girl anime
The 1960s - Inspirations Akatsuki and Yokohama both cited the same source of inspiration for giving the initial idea for both Mahotsukai Sally and Himitsu no Akko-chan. That source? Sol Saks’ 1960s ‘fantastic sit-com’ Bewitched which originally ran on ABC in the USA from 1964-1972. The series became incredibly popular in Japan when it aired as Okusama wa Majo (My Wife is a Witch) especially with young girls. It was this that inspired both manga creators to pen their own versions but young girls themselves as the protagonists.
Bewitched Bewitched has a lot of themes that would appear in magical girl series, particularly those featuring cute witches. It is the story of Samantha Stephens newlywed housewife to Darrin Stephens who was secretly a witch. Though, in keeping with her husband’s wishes she tried not to use her magic she always ended up breaking that promise, especially when her troublesome mother Endora who deeply disapproved the marriage turned up. The themes of having to hide their magic abilities, trying to use magic to help others but screwing things up, and meddlesome magical relatives or associates are common tropes in witch themed magical girl series. The show would later go on to have a direct inspiration on series not aimed a young girls Okusama wa Maho Shoujo: Bewitched Agnes. About 26 year old magical girl who was married to a human but who began to consider having an affair with someone else.
Himitsu no Akko-chan (Secrets of Akko-chan) Atsuko "Akko-chan" Kagami is a girl who owns a mirror which holds special sentimental value to her. One day, it is accidentally broken and she decides to give it a burial rather than just discard it. Shortly afterwards, she is approached by a magical figure who is moved by her actions and replaces her mirror with a magical one. This mirror gives her the power to turn into anyone else and gain there abilities. Has been adapted several times as anime, and in live action: • Series: 1969 (eps 94), 1988 (eps 61), and 1998 (eps 44) • Movies based on said anime: Five between 1969 – 1973, and two in 1989 • Also set to receive a live action film in September 2012
Mahoutsukai Sally (Sally, the Witch) Originally named Sunny in the manga, our protagonists name was changed to prevent legal action from the Sony corporation under fears of sounding similar. Sally was the princess of the magical kingdom of Astoria who longed to come to Earth and make some friends. Whilst there she uses her magic to solve problems and help people out as well as to learn to be more proficient. Adapted as series twice and has one movie: • Series in 1966 (109 eps), and a sequel series in 1989 (88 eps) • Movie in 1990 associated with 1989 series
History and TimelineAkko-chan , and Sally introduced several of the genre tropes including the ‘princess of another kingdom’ character type, the trope of a human girl being gifted with a specific power – disguise, the ‘transformation trinket’ and the magical phrase to activate a magical girl’s powers.Both girls were around the 10-12 mark at both series were aimed at girls the same age or younger and by and large were coming of age stories.
The 1970s – First Shifts Darker The next magical girls to appear were those of the 1970s, still shows generally aimed at young girls but now featuring a wider range of ages. It was in the 1970s that we saw some bigger changes including the introduction of: • Older protagonists • Somewhat darker themes • Rival magical girls • Trials of suitability for becoming Queens • Examples aimed at audiences other than young girls • Fanservice!
Fushigi na Merumo (Marvellous Melmo) Osamu “God of Manga” Tezuka’s magical girl series. Like Mahotsukai Sally before it the title of the show, and main character, had to be changed for rights reasons on development of the anime – Maama became Melmo, derived from the word “metamorphose”. Melmo is the eldest of three children, but at age nine her mother dies in a car accident. In heaven, God offers to grant her one wish – this wish leads to the creation of Melmo’s bottle of age changing candies which her mother delivers to her as a ghost. Blue candies turn her into an adult, red ones return her to childhood or can turn her into a baby. If she eats both at once she regresses to a fetus and then can shapeshift into animal form. She can also feed them to others. The show was intended as sex education, as well as entertainment and touched on issues such as puberty and childcare. As Melmo’s clothing doesn’t shapeshif it was one of the first shows to make wide use of panty shots! Reportedly hated by Japanese parents for raising uncomfortable questions. • Manga (1970) • TV anime (1971, 26 episodes)
Cutie Honey Created by creator-powerhouse Go Nagai, though this anime series was intended for male audiences, it had a massive impact on the genre and needs mentioning in the main time line because of it. Honey Kisaragi thinks she is a normal girl until her scientist father is murdered by the Panther Claw group. It is then she finds out she is actually a specially designed self aware gynoid who the villains want to extract her – till now unknown to her – ability to create matter from the air. Honey Kisaragi’s true form has always been designed to be that of the warrior of love – Cutie Honey! Who she transforms into with the phraseVersions: – “Honey Flash!”.•Cutie Honey (TV anime, 1973, 25 Though aimed at boys and young men Honey’seps) assertive mischievous heroine was very popular• Several Cutie Honey Manga with girls this popularised several tropes which•Shin Cutie Honey (OVA ,8 eps, would later become magical girl staples.1994) • Cutie Honey was the first magical girl warrior• Cutie Honey Flash (TV anime,1997, 39 eps) • Nekkid! transformation sequences• Cutie Honey (Live Action Movie, • Introduction of speeches, transformation2004) phrases, and attacks – popular boys shows• Re: Cutie Honey (OVA, 2004, 3 staples to the genreeps)• Cutie Honey the Live (TV show,
Majokko Megu-chan (Meg the Witch Girl) 15 year old Meg is one of two candidates to be crowned Queen of a magical land of witches, she has an rival in the more adept Non. She is sent to Earth as part of her trials and is adapted by Mami Kanzaki, a former witch who has taken residence on Earth. Mammi uses a memory spell to integrate Meg into her family. Meg is unfamiliar with the concept of families as her home realm does not have them, the series would examine both the good and bad side of family live and society in general – themes such as domestic violence, suicide and extramarital affairs. Important in many ways as it introduced: • A ‘dark magical girl’ rival • The Queen Quest/Contest element • Sharing staff with Cutey Honey it also had some racy elements. Has been adapted several times as anime, and in live action: TV anime (1974, 72 episodes) • Manga created by Tomo Inoue and Akio Narita
The 1980s – The Studio Pierrot Era The up until the 1980s the only animation studio producing magical girl anime was TOEI Animation. This was changed with the introduction of the wildly popular Magical Princess Minky Momo animated by Ashi Productions. However, though that company would later become Production Reed and known for it’s magical girl shows the 1980s were dominated by one production house: Studio Pierrot. Studio Pierrot shaped the magical girl scene for the entire decade and introduced certain tropes that are still with us today: • The magical idol singer genre • Multiple magical girls – abliet not yet as teams – meeting one another • Marketing really picked up… hey it’s the ’80s!
Minky Momo Animated by Ashi Productions, and the first magical girl not animated by TOEI. This anime is could be called the epitome of the ‘magical princess’ mahou shoujo show. Momo is the princess of the Fenarinarsa the land of fairy tales, which resides in the sky, she is sent down to Earth on a mission – to reconnect the Fenarinarsa to human hearts as her homeworld is in peril, it’s residents are disappearing. She has the power to transform into and adult and gain any skill set for example, policeFenariarsa Momo:• Magical Princess Minky Momo officer, master thief or similar. In many ways(1982, TV anime, 63 episodes) this followed earlier examples lead, but then• Long Goodbye: Creamy Mami vs went darker towards the end of the series.Minky Momo Gekijou no Daikessen It was later reinterpreted in the early nineties(1985, Short OVA) where another Momo comes from a different• La Ronde in my Dream (1985, OVA)• Hitomi no Seiza SONG Special kingdom in the sea Marinerursa and has more(1987, OVA) varied transformation powers not justMarinerursa Momo: becoming an older version of herself. The two• Magical Princess Minky Momo: Momo’s later meet, and the first Momo evenHold on to Your Dreams (1991, 65 crossed over with another magical girl from aepisodes) different studio, Creamy Mami which leads us• The Bridge Over Dreams (1993, to…OVA)• The Station of Your Memories(1994, OVA)
The Studio Pierrot Girls Maho no Tenshi Creamy Mami / Magical Angel Creamy Mami (1983, 52 episodes) Yu Morisawa has a huge crush on her slightly older childhood friend Toshio. Unfortunately he sees her more like a little sister. One day she encounters an alien spacecraft and helps out its pilot. In return he gives her two alien kittens, and a limited time only gift – the power to age to sixteen at will and back again but only for a year. Yu finds herself scouted by a talent agency and picks the stage name Creamy, the name of her parent’s creperie. Mahou no Yosei Persia / Magical Fairy Persia (1984, 48 episodes) Persia is a young girl who grew up amongst the animals of the Serengeti running free in the wild. She is found by Japanese benefactors and sent to Japan to live a normal life, however mid flight she is transported to the land of “Lovely Dream” which is in peril. To save it she is given the power to transform into an older version of herself in any profession to collect love energy. Mahou no Star Magical Emi (1985, 38 episodes) Mai Kazuki desperately wants to perform in her grandparents’ stage magician troupe Magic Carat. However she hasn’t quite mastered her skills yet. One day she is approached by a mirror sprite named Topo who gives her the ability to not only become older, but in that form to perform real magic. She uses this ability to save Magic Carat’s reputation when a show almost goes wrong. She then becomes a star attraction.
The Studio Pierrot Girls Mahou no Idol Pastel Yumi / Magical Idol Pastel Yumi (1986, 25 episodes) Yumi Hanazono is a budding artist, it is her best subject in school at which she’s otherwise not very proficient. During a flower festival she saves a dandelion from destruction, to her surprise the flower spirit comes to her with a magical gift. A magical wand and locket that she can use to draw in the air and create anything she wishes. Yumi doesn’t have the best situation at home, her mother is an alcoholic and her parents argue. Mami, Emi, Persia: Charming Young Girl Magic Trio (1986, OVA) The three girls get stuck in their older forms and have to undo this. Witch Girl Club Quartet – Alien X from the A Zone (1987, OVA) Yuu, Persia, Mai and Yumi fight an alien on the moon that has been stealing womens youthful beauty. The ones who have alter egos transform and Yumi draws them some powered armor. Mahou no Stage Fancy Lala / Magical Stage Fancy Lala (1988, OVA. 1998, TV Anime, 26 episodes) A sort of marriage of the concepts of Pastel Yumi and Creamy Mami, Miho Shinohara receives two stuffed dragons as a gift from an unknown source. They empower her with the ability to bring her art into existence with a magic pen, and a spell to age herself up. She then finds herself scouted by a talent agency. The original OVA is very different, a magical girl Cinderella story. Miho does not become an idol here, but instead gains the ability to become older and wins a contest by bringing her clothing designs into reality to wear.
The 1990s – Warrior Girls and the Anglosphere The 1990s saw several significant events for the genre. The focus of the genre arguably shifted and the image of the magical girl, as superheroine style warriors really came to the forefront. The 1990s saw: • Warrior style magical girls becoming the iconic ‘default’ – at least to the west • Magical girls becoming introduced to the Anglosphere – mostly in the form of Sailor Moon , and Cardcaptor Sakura . • This had a knock on effect of popularising shojo manga in general in the English speaking world. • Episode counts sky rocketing – 80 plus episodes was always the
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon) The one everyone knows! Sailor Moon is the story of lazy, crybaby, 14 year old Usagi Tsukino (a.k.a “Serena”) who rescues a cat from being bullied by some neighbourhood rascals. This cat – Luna – approaches her that night to tell her she is destined to be Sailor Moon – a heroine and protector of the long dead moon kingdom. She is also told she must gather the other members of the Sailor Soldiers (“Sailor Scouts”) – later renamed Sailor Guardians – and find the missing Moon Princess and Mysterious Silver Crystal (“Emporium Silver Crystal”) lest it falls in to the hands of the nefarious Dark Kingdom (“The Negaverse”). This series was instrumental in many ways: • It was the first to really hit big in the Angelosphere, albeit through a less than stellar dub - and was a major player in popularising shoujo manga in the west. • In it’s homeland Japan, it was the first proper ‘sentai magical girl team’. There had been team ups before, but these were one off OVAs and this was the first show to have a band of similarly uniformed colour coded magical girls as a focus. • It re-popularised the ‘warrior style’ magical girl – a superheroine who uses magic to fight.
Ai Tenshi Densetsu Wedding Peach (The Legendary Love Angel Wedding Peach) The one everyone seems to hate (but not me). Wedding Peach was co-created by Sukehiro Tomita, the a lead writer on Sailor Moon’s first three seasons and Nao Yazawa the manga artist who developed his concept for release in Ciao magzine. Follows the story of Momoko Hanazaki and her friends Yuri Tanima, and Hinagiku Tamano as well at the aloof Scarlett Ohara who transform into the Love Angels: Wedding Peach, Angel Lily, Angel Daisy, and Angel Salvia. The fight against the Devils who have come to Earth to attempt to eradicate all love. The are aided by the handsome angel Sir Limone. • Manga by story and art by Nao Yazawa original concept by Sukehiro Tomita (1994-1996, 6 Volumes) • Anime (1995-1996, 51 episodes and 2 omake) aired on TV Tokyo, Sukehiro Tomita one for the main writers • OVAs Ai Tenshi Densetsu Wedding Peach DX (1996, 4 episodes) • Wedding Peach Young Love manga aimed at a younger audience (2004, apparently ongoing)
CardCaptor Sakura The other one everyone knows! Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP is the story of Sakura Kinomoto a young girl who is tasked with collecting the magical spirts of the tarot inspired Clow Cards and returning them to Card form with the magic she is only just learning how to use. It bridges the gap between a cute witch and warrior series by having a wide array of magic fight scenes but balancing them with the fact that a lot of Sakura’s magic is not exclusive to fighting – many of the cards preset Sakura with puzzles rather than fights. CCS is mildy a Magical Girl deconstruction as there is no transformation sequence for Sakura herself – her costumes are all hand made by her best friend (who has a huge crush on her) Tomoyo Daidouji. Sakura was also a return to the more tomboyish and sporty heroine like Akko-chan. Probably the second most well known magical girl show in the west, also like Sailor Moon received a dub that was heavily edited. • One of CLAMP’s semnial works and did a lot to get their names well known to western fans and improved their popularity in Japan. • Manga ran in Nakayoshi (1996-2000, 12 Volumes) • Anime (70 episodes, 1998-2000)
Ojamajo Doremi(Bothersome Witch Doremi / Magical DoReMi) This is the story of Doremi Harukaze. She really wishes she could be a witch to use magic to fix all her problems. One day she encounters a strange shop who’s owner seems very strange. Doremi quickly identifies the woman, Majo Rika, as a witch - which curses the old lady to turn into a frog! In order to lift the curse Majo Rika offers to train Doremi as a witch herself, the only problem is Doremi is a poor student at magic. Over the course of the series more and more apprentice witches become part of the group including her adopted daughter from Witch World. The title comes from portmanteau of the words “ojama” (bothersome) and “majo” (witch) becoming “ojamajo” which is what Majo Rika often accuses her charges – especially Doremi – of being. The is series was massively successful in Japan, it wasn’t based on a pre- existing manga manga mean TOEI had control over the series direction. • Ojamajo Doremi (1999, 51 episodes) • Ojamajo Doremi # (2000, 49 episodes) • Motto Ojamajo Doremi (2001, 50 episodes) • Ojamajo Doremi Dokaa~n (2002, 51 episodes) • Ojamajo Doremi Na-i-sho (2004, OVA, 13 episodes)
The 2000 & 2010s – Today’s Magical Girls The magical girls of the new millennium have largely extrapolated on the examples set by shows like Sailor Moon in the nineties with a focus on magical warriors, and the production style of Ojamajo Doremi in terms of preference for animation studios preferring to control the storylines and other elements themselves rather than adapt from a manga authors idea. What the last decade has provided more examples of is shows which have a smattering of magical girl elements but then a more convoluted or darker plot, for example Princess Tutu, though many series that fall into this category are technically not
Princess Tutu Long ago a writer, named Drosselmeyer, lived in Gold Crown Town he wrote a story – the story of a Prince who fought a demonic Raven, the Raven escaped the world of fiction and and to seal the Raven away the Prince was forced to sacrifice his own heart by shattering it. Enter Ahiru (meaning duck, she’s named Duck in the dub) a clumsy student at Gold Grown Town’s ballet academy. Ahiru has a huge crush on the local ballet prodigy the aloof and icy Mytho. When Mytho is threatened the ghost of Drosselmeyer offers to allow Ahiru to help and gives her the power to transform into Princess Tutu – an expert ballerina who can resolve conflict with her dancing. However, it then transpires that Mytho is the Prince of the story and the reason for his icy demeanour is his lack of a heart. If Princess Tutu can find all his heart shards he will be returned to a fully emotive person, but the shards have become lodged in other peoples hearts and Tutu must find and dance with them to remove them. Not only that but Ahiru is not merely named after a duck… she is one, not a girl at all, and has been given human form for this purpose. Ahiru has been told she will never be able to win Mytho’s love, but she decides to help him anyway. The local town is a strange one, full of talking animals, and is inspired by fairytales and by the architecture of towns in real life Bavaria.
The Pretty Cure FranchiseStarting with 2004’s Futari wa Pretty Cure (“Together We’re Pretty Cure”) and often called simply PreCure for short show has become the primary ‘Magical Warrior’ type magical girl of this era’s anime scene. Initially followed up by a sequel series Futari wa Pretty Cure: Max Heart in 2005 the show was later cemented as a franchise with most new series following a new group of girls with different power sources and reasons for becoming heroines each time, somewhat like Super Sentai or Power Rangers. There have also been “All Stars” crossover movies.
Shugo Chara! (My Guardian Characters) So one day this girl wakes up and she’s laid three eggs… ..okay not exactly, Amu Hinamori is considered the ‘cool and spicy’ badass of her primary school. She’s reserved, has a rock chick look, and rumours abound about her fighting prowess. Unfortunately, no of this true, Amu actually is a very sweet girl who is bad with words – something her school mates take as aloofness. Amu hates this, and one day wishes she could be the person she really wants to be. In come those aforementioned eggs, which appear in her bed the morning after and eventually hatch into chibis called ‘shugo chara’ or ‘guardian characters’. Amu is then recruited onto the student council who all are character bearers too. They are fighting against an evil organisation called Easter.• Shugo Chara! (2006) and ShugoChara! Encore (2010) manga Amu has managed to activate the powers of the• Shugo Chara! (2006, 51 eps) Humpty Lock and transform into Amulet• Shugo Chara!! Doki – (2008, 51 eps) Heart and, and later Amulet Spade and• Shugo Chara! Party (Comprises: Amulet Clover and fight against Easter whoShugo Chara!!! Dokki Doki anime, and have been looking for the legendary ‘heartsShugo Chara Pucchi Puchi! shorts) egg’ the Embryo by destroying children’s(2009, 25 eps) dreams.• Shugo Chara Chan yonkoma (2008)
Parodies and Outside ExamplesThough ‘core’ magical girl shows are aimed at a young and typically female audience there have been examples of magical girl shows aimed at other audiences.Many of these are parodies, though some are serious or semi-serious examples. Also, there are inevitably examples that are intended for, shall we say, ‘mature viewing’.
Parodies The magical girl genre is very open to both affectionate and more critical parody. Most of these appear in other anime in some form, usually in ones aimed at older audiences, but there are western examples. Western examples tend to specifically parody Sailor Moon, it being the most popular example in the west – an example of with would be the Megas XLR episode “Ultra Chicks”. Some of these parodies are simply one episode nods, others are the basis for whole series. Some of these parody series are semi-serious or at least still have a honest core plot of there own which could qualify themselves as full examples; other shows are just out and out silly gag shows. There has also been a show still aimed at the same core demographic as magical girls, young girl, but that is which is a definite parody: Tonde Buurin.
Parodies – Some Examples Moldiver (1993, OVA, 6 episodes) Genius inventor Hiroshi Ozora just invented the Mol Unit, a tool than can generate pocket dimension around the user than can make them invulnerable and give them any appearance they desire. He uses it to become a hero as the Superman like Captain Tokyo. Until his sister finds it, and redesigns the look to one more magical girl in nature. This screws with the Mol Unit meaning they never know which look they are going to get. A comedy action series that sends up superhero tropes and magical girl elements. Dai Mahou Touge / Magical Witch Punie-chan (1 manga volume, 2002. OVA, 2006, 8 episodes) Punie Takanara is the princess of Magical Land, a kingdom in the sky. She is sent to Earth to train as Queen for a year as per tradition like many magical princesses before… except, she’s evil, will break bones with her wrestling moves and her magical spell is “Lyrical Tokarev, KILL THEM ALL!” Ai to Yuuki no Pig Girl Tonde Buurin / Super Pig (3 manga volumes, 1994. TV anime, 1994, 51 episodes) Karin Kokubu is a underperforming clumsy girl. She ‘rescues’ small pig she finds one day. He turns out to be the prince of the pig planet Ringo. He offers to fulfil her desire to be a heroine and gives her a transformation device that turns her into his worlds ideal heroine… a caped pig! If she can collect 108 pearls from doing good deeds she’ll be able to turn into a prettier heroine. However if anyone finds out she’ll be stuck as a pig forever!
Non-Anime Examples There have been examples outside of Japan that aren’t parodies but that play with the same or similar tropes as magical girl shows. Many that have come along in later years have been directly inspired by the magical girl genre, some could argue there is synchronicity to this. After all, the first Japanese examples were inspired by Bewitched so arguably things have come full circle. However, there have been odd cases of shows sharing very similar magical girl themes and tropes but that date from a time too early before the raise of magical girl shows in the west to in all likelyhood be direct inspirations. However, they are very similar and worthy of looking at in that vein.
Some Non Anime Examples She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985, 93 episodes) I don’t need to summarise this one, I can just play the helpfully descriptive intro! The show, like it’s literal brother show He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was animated by Filmation and was created to promote Mattel’s “Princess of Power” toys, themselves a spin off of the “Masters of the Universe” toyline. The show, like many ’80s kids shows, was hokey and dumb but was charming in it’s own way and gave little girls a heroine to look up too. Jem / Jem and the Holograms (1985, 65 episodes) Jerrica Benton inherits a record label and an orphanage from her late father. Unfortunately her father left half of his record label to Eric Raymond who wants to oust her and has just signed the bullying band “The Misfits”. Jerrica then receives Synergy, a powerful computer which can make lifelike holograms. Jerrica uses Synergy to transform into Jem and best the Misfits. Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders / Starla & the Jewel Riders (1995, 65 episodes) Gwenevere (or Starla, internationally and therefore over here) is a princess of Avalon of Arthurian myth. She is on the mission to rescue her mentor Merlin from banishment. She fights her evil aunt – Lady Kale - who wanted to take over the kingdom. Gwen/Starla and her friends must collect the seven crown jewels of Avalon to restore stability to this magical land and stop Lady Kale from getting them.
More Non Anime Examples W.I.T.C.H. (2001, Comic, Ongoing. 2004, TV Animated Series, 52 episodes) Based on an Italian comic book, and animated as an Italy-France- USA co-production by Disney Europe. This the story of five girls who discover they are “The Guardians of the Veil” the barrier between our world and that of Metamoor a magical place ruled by the tyrannical Prince Phobos. The girls gain the powers of air, earth, fire, water and quintessence to fight against Phobos and attempt to restore the true ruler of Metamoor to the throne. Winx Club (2004, 104 episodes – but ongoing) Another Italian series. Winx Club follows the story of Bloom, a girl who believes herself to be ordinary until she meets and be- friends Stella Princess of the magical Solaria dimenison. When she realises Bloom is also magical Stella convinces her to attend the magical fairy school of Alfea. A sort of marriage between magical girl show and Harry Potter fantasy. Penny Crayon (1990, 12 episodes) A BBC series from the early nineties that though unlikely to be directly inspired by magical girls has certain traits she shares with them. With the voice talents of Su Pollard. Penny Crayon is a girl who has a magical set of crayons and pencils, like in Pastel Yumi and later Fancy Lala her drawings are able to come to life though she needs no incantation for this. Her drawings have a tendency to cause trouble. She is followed around by her rather adoring friend Dennis/
Examples Aimed At Other AudiencesThough core magical girls shows are aimed at a young female audience, there are examples that aren’t necessarily parodies that are aimed at older or male audiences.These tend to be either darker in nature, more action based, or are ‘for mature audiences only’.
Some Examples Lingerie Senshi Papillion Rose (2003, OVA. 2006, TV Anime, 6 episodes) An adult magical girl show in that sense of the word adult. Both the OVA and the TV series have somewhat different plots – focusing on Tsubomi / Papillion Rose. The raunchier OVA features mainly Tsubomi, a gentleman’s club waitress who transforms into Papillion Rose to fight an evil dominatrix elf who works for a tyrannical Queen. The tamer but still fanservicey TV show has a wider cast, and they all fight a group of STD spreading transvesties. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (Several Series: 52 episodes) Nanoha Takamachi meets the mage-turned-ferret Yuuno Scaria who tasks her with the collection of 21 ‘Jewel Seeds’. To do this she must become a magical girl. Eventually she becomes a very competent magical warrior and one who lover her work. Actually aimed at adult male fans Nanoha possibly has more nods to mecha shows – in particular the Gundam franchise. Nanoha hangs lampshades on some of the genre’s sillier aspects. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011, 12 episodes) The core concept of the show is very much one that is fairly standard magical girl fair – Madoka Kaname is a 14 year old girl who encounters a strange creature called Kyuubei. He offers to grant her greatest wish if she will agree to fight witches. The show then turns out be a dark psychological deconstruction of the genre.
And FinallyReferences:• Magical Girl Genre List: http://www.angelfire.com/moon/sailormoon19/MagicalGirlGenre.html• Wikipedia: http://www.wikipedia.org/• Bewitched @ Harpies Bizarre: http://www.harpiesbizarre.com/• Momo-Yome (Nao Yazawa the Wedding Peach manga-ka’s site): http://www.geocities.jp/yazawanet/momo/english.htm• The Ultimate Cutey Honey Resource: http://tuchr.tripod.com/home.html
And FinallyReferences:• BIA, la sfida della magia @ Toonshill (Italian Majokko Megu-chan Site): http://www.toonshill.it/cartoni_animati/cartoni_70/bia/index.html• The Mike Toole Show, Wake Me Up Before You Shoujo: http://www.animenewsnetwork.co.uk/the-mike-toole-show/2012-06-17