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The Enduring History of Magical Girls


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7jaws7



Joined: 17 Aug 2013
Posts: 682
Location: New York State
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:14 am Reply with quote
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As much as other series had touched on these themes, it was the 2011 series Puella Magi Madoka Magica that truly solidified it. The series' first three episodes appear as a typical magical girl show before the story slowly spirals into its ‘hidden’ dark and violent tale, all the while maintaining its cute aesthetics.


The series' "Mami-ing" point, as the 10th anniversary livestage cast so eloquently put it Wink
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LoriasGS



Joined: 24 Jan 2015
Posts: 78
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:48 am Reply with quote
I remember Cardcaptor Sakura was one of the first anime I got into when I was younger. I liked Pokemon and Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh and DBZ etc and but for some reason Cardcaptors just really stuck out to me I remember I kept renting the movie from blockbusters almost every time my family went there.

I still enjoy all the other series but it's maybe the only anime that I love as a child and enjoy even more as an adult it's one of my top 5 favourite anime.

It was my introduction to the magical girl genre and still my favourite.
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 8:48 am Reply with quote
This is a very interesting article. But there one very important thing missing.
How can the authors write about the history of magical girls and not have a single line about probably the most influential magical girl series of the early 21 century, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

Nanoha is the first real dark magical girl series and aimed to a different audience than the usual children, Shoujo and Shonen audience. Some previous series have elements that attract young adult male audiences but Nanoha was made for them. Nanoha opened the dark magical girl door to older male audience with an unprecedented amount of violence and darker themes. Some previous series had some darker parts but not near the scale of Nanoha
Without Nanoha we would not have Madoka Magica, Magical Girl Raising Project and Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka.

Quote:
Madoka Magica was one of the first times that the fragility of the human behind the magical girl was so exposed.

That was already done buy Nanoha. Family problems, abuse, torture, brutality and violence, Nanoha had that years before Madoka. Gen Urobuchi already talked how Nanoha was one of the influences of the Madoka series.
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Whitestrider





PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 11:22 am Reply with quote
The evolution of magical girls is really interesting: they started as girls who used their powers often to solve everyday problems, then using them to become Idols (like in Creamy Mami), and then to fight against the forces of Evil (like in Sailor Moon and many other series after this). Also the magical girls genre was so popular in the west it influenced works like W.I.T.C.H, Winx Club, Miraculous Ladybug...and they're still going strong!
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NickPG



Joined: 29 Oct 2017
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:53 pm Reply with quote
No mention of 'Bewitched' as an influence?
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zrdb



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
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Location: Who-me? Am I supposed to be somewhere?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 6:33 pm Reply with quote
Why no mention of my favorite series Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu (Magical Girl Squad Alice)? When Media Blasters licensed and released it they gave it the super dumb name Tweeny Witches. I mean witches and warlocks plus a dark theme, it's one series that's really under rated and unappreciated.
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Villain-chan



Joined: 18 May 2020
Posts: 114
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:02 pm Reply with quote
Jonny Mendes wrote:
This is a very interesting article. But there one very important thing missing.
How can the authors write about the history of magical girls and not have a single line about probably the most influential magical girl series of the early 21 century, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

Nanoha is the first real dark magical girl series and aimed to a different audience than the usual children, Shoujo and Shonen audience. Some previous series have elements that attract young adult male audiences but Nanoha was made for them. Nanoha opened the dark magical girl door to older male audience with an unprecedented amount of violence and darker themes. Some previous series had some darker parts but not near the scale of Nanoha
Without Nanoha we would not have Madoka Magica, Magical Girl Raising Project and Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka.

Quote:
Madoka Magica was one of the first times that the fragility of the human behind the magical girl was so exposed.

That was already done buy Nanoha. Family problems, abuse, torture, brutality and violence, Nanoha had that years before Madoka. Gen Urobuchi already talked how Nanoha was one of the influences of the Madoka series.
I saw the Nanoha series (1st two seasons and have the 3rd on hold but we'll come back to that for the reason why). Even in their very own anime, they are not referred to as Magical Girls. I forget what exactly they're referred too but one of the chars simply refuses to be called a Magical Girl and from there the moniker was dropped and instead either nothing was mentioned or whatever they are called in their series. FF to S3 of Nanoha and the genre sure as hell ain't magical girl, its Military which i ahve it on hold at around ep 6. Military fyi, is one of my LEAST fav genre and tech the past 2 seasons b4 it already had military elements to it. So yeah, I will say Nanoha is NOT a Magical girl anime esp when in lore/world itself says they rn't. So if this is why Nanoha wasn't mentioned, I honestly can't blame them given the sitch with Nanoha. Btw, Nanoha is competently average and underwhelming. And while the torture and abuse is mentioned, we don't see much of it so while am not saying it doesn't have it, it certainly wasn't that dark esp when compared to any other anime out there with real dark elements that show said dark elements and a good bit at that.

Now, all that said, I actually DO like Nanoha, but just like and only the 1st two seasons, can't say for the 3rd season just yet but the change to Military genre really soured me and don't like/care for it atm...
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Yttrbio
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Joined: 09 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 11:24 pm Reply with quote
Zombie movies are zombie movies, even if the characters never use the word "zombie." If your genre definition of "Magical Girl" doesn't include Nanoha, it doesn't include Madoka.
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PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 12:17 am Reply with quote
It should be noted that Bewitched was a huge influence on Sally the Witch.
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:44 am Reply with quote
The best Magical Girl shows deal with this dynamic:

You feel imperfect. You get powers as a catalyst for personal growth. Often in the story the character is tested by the end, often without powers, if they have improved. Or the powers that give them the ability to change do not apply to the end-show crisis.

Madoka ends with Madoka affirming the genre in its final moments (TV version). She has been through a lot.

Perhaps my favorite scenes in Heartcatch were when Tsubomi is directly forced to not only overcome herself without help, but then helps out the person she idolizes from going over the edge, becoming an equal.

As to the Nanoha franchise I consider it an action show first, and visually a magical girl show. Its more of a Symphogear with a different visual coat. There's not much of a character journey related to the powers. I would never leave Nanoha off the list as it is a well put together show. I recall dipping into the genre with Nanoha, but the more experienced I became in the genre the less I considered Nanoha a flagship of the genre.

Nanoha, simply put, is bait to try and lure males back to the genre. I recall an article on Oguie Complex (I haven't read the place in a long time) titled "Willingly Poached" where he describes a subset of shows that dress up as other genres. With all the lasers and military core of Nanoha that develops, I would agree. Its a bait and switch the audience is willing to participate on.

Problem is, in Japan the label of Magical Girl will extend to anyone with magical powers. I once saw a list that had Slayers on it. Which I love it as a franchise, but I don't consider it approximate to Fun Fun Pharmacy at all.

So yeah I won't deny Nanoha the label, but then I look at the other shows like Magical Girl Site that came in the post-Madoka age and there's a clear half a genre I do not care for. I'll take Futagohime over some Fate-style battle royale to the death.
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Siegel Clyne



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:57 am Reply with quote
Magical girls in general, and Sailor Moon in particular, inspired Star Guardian in the hugely popular multiplayer online game League of Legends (2009), developed and published by American video game developer Riot Games.

(China's Tencent bought a majority stake in Riot Games in 2011, and acquired the rest of the company in 2015.)

Likewise, the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale - directed by the late Kinji Fukasaku, with a screenplay by Fukasaku's son Kenta Fukasaku, and based on the 1999 novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami - inspired Irish game director Brendan Greene, aka PlayerUnknown, a former modder, to create PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG (2016), for the South Korean video game company Bluehole, previously best known for developing the MMORPG Tera (2011).

PUBG launched the battle royale movement in gaming, which includes titles like Fortnite (2017), developed by American video game company Epic Games, developer of the very popular Unreal game engine; and Apex Legends (2019), developed by American video game developers Respawn Entertainment and Panic Button Games, and published by American video game company Electronic Arts.


Last edited by Siegel Clyne on Sat Jun 05, 2021 6:21 am; edited 2 times in total
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 6:14 am Reply with quote
Villain-chan wrote:
I saw the Nanoha series (1st two seasons and have the 3rd on hold but we'll come back to that for the reason why). Even in their very own anime, they are not referred to as Magical Girls. I forget what exactly they're referred too but one of the chars simply refuses to be called a Magical Girl and from there the moniker was dropped and instead either nothing was mentioned or whatever they are called in their series. FF to S3 of Nanoha and the genre sure as hell ain't magical girl, its Military which i ahve it on hold at around ep 6. Military fyi, is one of my LEAST fav genre and tech the past 2 seasons b4 it already had military elements to it. So yeah, I will say Nanoha is NOT a Magical girl anime esp when in lore/world itself says they rn't. So if this is why Nanoha wasn't mentioned, I honestly can't blame them given the sitch with Nanoha. Btw, Nanoha is competently average and underwhelming. And while the torture and abuse is mentioned, we don't see much of it so while am not saying it doesn't have it, it certainly wasn't that dark esp when compared to any other anime out there with real dark elements that show said dark elements and a good bit at that.

The word you are looking for is "mage". That's what Fate Testarrossa call herself.

That been said, Nanoha is by definition a magical girl series. Even the Japanese title is
Mahou Shoujo Ririkaru Nanoha.
That is true mostly for the first 2 seasons. The other seasons are science fiction, action and very little magic so you can say that seasons are not really Mahou Shoujo.

But in the first 2 season you have magic, transformations and magical staffs.
Like in Madoka they are looking for objects that in this case are called "Jewel Seeds", they have a animal sidekick (a talking ferret) and also the rival turned best friend. You can see from where Gen Urobuchi got some ideas for Madoka.
And the level of violence and dark themes are allot higher then other magical girl series. So you can see how important Nanoha is for the modern dark Mahou Shoujo series.

That kind of plot (less the animal sidekick) is also been somewhat reused in the most famous dark Magical Girl series of today, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya .
And in the last releases of the series the level of violence and darkness already surpassed Madoka by miles. Illya is a real Type Moon Fate style Magical Girl.
Prisma Illya plot is already in the levels of Fate/Zero violence and darkness.
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lucio542



Joined: 11 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:23 am Reply with quote
^ As the guy said above,its impossible to not mention nanoha when it comes to mahou shoujo, its a series so important that still has animes till this day.
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Swissman



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:55 am Reply with quote
Nice that Minky Momo's importance in the MG genre has been explained, but for an article about the history of Magical Girls in Anime I miss the mentioning of Studio Pierrot's 80s shows such as Creamy Mami, Pelsha, Magical Emi and Pastel Yumi. They were all quite successful in in Japan, especially Creamy Mami, and had many fans overseas like in Italy.
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Whitestrider





PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:07 am Reply with quote
Swissman wrote:
Nice that Minky Momo's importance in the MG genre has been explained, but for an article about the history of Magical Girls in Anime I miss the mentioning of Studio Pierrot's 80s shows such as Creamy Mami, Pelsha, Magical Emi and Pastel Yumi. They were all quite successful in in Japan, especially Creamy Mami, and had many fans overseas like in Italy.


Creamy Mami was so popular in Japan it got a new manga in recent times...
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