6 Magical Boys
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Magical girls date back nearly 50 years but another group of transforming, magic-wielding, mascot-having characters are joining their female predecessors in the spotlight. MAGICAL BOYS. Sure, if we squint hard enough, Sentai heroes are a kind of magical boy and classic magical girls like Sailor Moon owe some credit to the motorcycle riding live-action heroes before her. But it seems like it's all coming back around in anime, and now boys are taking up a corner in the wand-wielding world. Here's a few series defined by their inclusion of magical boys, boys that transform into magical girls, and girls that transform into magical boys!
Magical Girl Ore Magical Girl Ore is the most current example of playing with the magical girl genre in unexpected ways. The series stars aspiring idols who after signing a contract with a yakuza-type mascot and declaring their previously unspoken love, are able to transform into buff muscle men. The story uses gender-swapping to play with romantic expectations. So while Saki Uno is in love with her best friend Sakuyo's brother Mohiro, Sakuyo herself is in love with Saki and Mohiro is attracted to Saki's male form. The usual love triangle featuring hidden identities takes on a whole new, fresh angle.
Cute High Earth Defense Club series Another comedy, Cute High Earth Defense Club sounded to silly to last but here it is this season with a new handful of transforming boys facing off against aliens with the assistance of a talking animal. The original season featured a pink wombat and a whole lot of guys in onsens before expanding into a second season and OVA finale. This season replaces the wombat with a yellow otter and a whole new costume theme based on "knights." If the first season's characters didn't endear you to the show, give Cute High Earth Defense Club HAPPY KISS! a try.
D.N.Angel I feel like 'magic thieves' was definitely a thing once upon a time. Kamikaze Kaitō Jeanne, Saint Tail, and the booberific Mouse television series all fell somewhat in line with this theme. D.N.Angel is no exception. It stars a teen guy named Daisuke that is by all accounts average except his family comes from a long line of master thieves. On his 14th birthday, he gains the ability to transform into the thief Dark Mousy whenever he thinks about the girl he has a crush on, Risa. This creates a love quadrangle as Risa is a twin and while she rejected Daisuke, she falls in love with his alter-ego Dark. Risa's sister Riku, on the other hand, harbors feelings for Daisuke.
Is This a Zombie? Can I explain this series succinctly in a single column? Let's try. High school guy Ayumu is murdered (oh no) but then is resurrected (oh yay!) by a necromancer (oh no!) and now lives as a zombie (technically) and is immortal (small yay?). That's not the end of it though. Zombie Ayumu also absorbs magical powers (what) from Magical Garment Girl Haruna and becomes the owner of a sentient magical chainsaw (WHAT) that lets him transform to fight Megalo (sans -box), school uniform wearing monsters. When he's not fighting, he shares a home with his necromancer, former magical girl Haruna, a vampire ninja (...right), and another vampire ninja (his bethrothed??).
Saint Seiya I probably have to make a case for including Saint Seiya on this list, but it really makes sense when you think about it. A totally normal orphan boy awakens a latent power he didn't know he had to transform into a zodiac-themed knight with the help of magic Cloth. Soon he finds there are even more orphans with their own Cloths all aiming to garner attention from Athena. Of course, there's the shōnen style tournament, rivals, power ups, you name it. Saint Seiya is iconic and spurred plenty of sequels and spin-offs including the current Saint Seiya: Saintia Shō manga and anime starring a female Saint.
Saint Beast Zero relation to Saint Seiya despite the name similarity, Saint Beast can be folded into an art style that was pretty popular in the late 90s and early 00s within girl-targeted anime and manga. It can be seen in early CLAMP stuff and I'd consider Final Fantasy VIII's Squall a poster boy for it. These are tall, lanky dudes with their chests exposed. You'd be shocked to know it's a spin-off of Angel Tales, an anime about dead pets coming back to life as cute girls. Saint Beast was originally imagined as a yaoi take on the premise but it's just as weird. Four angels, dubbed Saint Beasts, are given magical items to descend to Earth to fight two fallen angels that want to turn Earth into Hell, recover missing guardian angels, and investigate a vengeful animal spirit. Maybe they make out too, can't confirm that part.
The new poll: Which Isekai World Would You Like to Live in Permanently?
The old poll: Who is your favorite cat boy?
- Kyou Souma (Fruits Basket)
- Felix Argyle (Re:Zero)
- Baron Humbert von Gikkingen (The Cat Returns)
- Nyanta (Log Horizon)
- Schrödinger (Hellsing Ultimate)
- Ikuto Tsukiyomi (Shugo Chara!)
- Kuro (Servamp)
- Cat Noir (Miraculous Ladybug)
- Cheshire Cat (Pandora Hearts)
- Nyanko-sensei (Natsume Yuujinchou)
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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