Love Makes the (Anime) World Go Round
As a final homage to the season of love, we recognize the contribution of the women (well actually, they’re still girls) who have showed us otaku how the value of love could win over anything and make life a little brighter.
They fought over the silliest and the meanest of villains whose sole purpose of living seems to be to terrorize the loving citizens of this earth.
This is but a small tribute to the Magical Girls (mahou shoujo), a group of anime protagonists born (or created) to shower this place with love and affection. Without them, this world would be in total chaos.
When the world was introduced to Bewitched, a TV show that aired in the 60’s, one man was inspired enough to create an anime version of a good witch. She was named Sally and thus her adventures began. She flew over the city on her flying broom and straight into the birth of a new anime genre.
Mahou Tsukai Sally debuted in 1966 and started the idea of having a girl with magical powers which she uses only for the well-being of everyone around her. Sally, a princess of the “witch world” wanted to go to the mortal realm (that’s Earth) and make friends with kids her age. When she used her magic to throw off a couple of burglars pestering two schoolgirls, she was able to gain the two girl’s friendship.
When she uses her magic, she has a magical phrase (“Mahariku Maharita Yanparayan”) coupled with an enchanted object.
However, she must keep her big secret otherwise she could get punished.
This trend in the magical girl genre was used for decades. And in the 70’s, a new trend was added to make the magical girl protagonists more interesting. Cutey Honey was the first to make the heroine capable of transforming into a different persona.
By crying “Honey Flash”, Honey was able to transform into a sword-wielding, red-haired fighter. She plans to avenge her father’s death at the hands of the Panther Claw using her ability to transform into various personae. She could turn into a biker named “Hurricane Honey,” a fashion model, a reporter and a singer, each with an accompanying name.
This was the final trend that completed the magical girl. In the decades that followed, the same formula was used for the magical genre. The determining factor in making a successful magical genre series became the story and the twists thrown in.
However, in the 90’s a new brand of magical girl was introduced. It possessed the same formula as all the others that came before it, but with a completely different twist – and a more serious one.
Sailormoon blew animedom by storm when it introduced not just one but several magical girl protagonists. And with its predecessors focusing on a more personal story, Sailormoon focused on more serious topics such as world destruction. The heroines were also placed in more challenging and life-threatening situations.
Then before the end of the millennium, a new magical girl was introduced. Filled with more sugary sweetness than anyone can handle, Card Captor Sakura had the magic and the seriousness of the magical girls that came before it. This time, the heroine was placed in the position of finding the magical Clow Cards that could prove fatal to the world.
For decades these magical girl frontrunners have been seen as classics, putting the concept of girls in anime a notch higher.
A good question now would be: What anime title would be next in the line of these four magical girl giants?
Further information on the genre available here:
What about the other magical genre?
If there is such a thing as Magical Girl, could there also be a Magical Boy?
Yes, there is. The Magical Boy genre is most likely to be recognized as the counterpart of the Magical Girl. Basically, a boy transforms into another persona to do his mission. This is most notable in DNAngel and in research has proven to be the one anime that exemplifies the Magical Boy genre. In fact, it could probably be the only anime to fall on the said genre.
For other anime, the term magical boy signifies the male character that uses magic and comes together with the magical girl. For instance, Tuxedo Mask of Sailormoon and Syaoran Li of Card Captor Sakura are magical boys. Literally, they use magic and fight alongside the heroine.