Anime is such a vast medium that transcends all ages and all races with a wide variety of genres for just about any type of fan. If you’re into horror or sci-fi, we’ve got titles for that! If you love action with a little bit of comedy, romance, or ecchi, then there’s titles for that as well! These days anime is always changing as more and more elements from western influences, are being incorporated into many new titles that are being released. When it comes to anime as a whole, one particular genre has continued to stand the test of time. Although the demographic is originally created and intended for females, there are a few titles that are starting to crossover with both the male and female demographic (i.e. Magical Girl Ore). The subgenre that we’re talking about, is Magical Girls.
To discover how far this genre of anime has come, you’d have to go back to the early 1950’s of Japan through that manga known as Princess Knight which was released in 1953. Of course a little later in the 60’s there was Sally the Witch which was a manga that got adapted into an anime, but here’s the fun fact about that; Sally the Witch was inspired by the Japanese dub of Bewitched (which came out around that decade in the U.S.) Fast forward towards the 80’s after the women’s movement in Japan a decade before (and the Equal Opportunities Act in 1985), the magical girl genre of anime appeared to be on the path of a resurgence thanks to the prominence of women during that time. By the time the 90’s rolled around the magical girl genre made a full revitalization through the one and only Sailor Moon, which is viewed as a pioneering title for all of the other magical girl titles that came out in the early-to-late 2000’s.
It wasn’t until a little after 2003 that the magical girl genre of anime, was geared towards both male and female audiences. Titles like Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Magical Girl Rising Project began taking on a darker and more serious approach as opposed to the childish plots found in older titles. Aside from magical girl titles becoming more popular (some of which getting re-dubs and reboots), there are a few magical “boy” titles where the main protagonist gains magical girl powers, and depending on the series said male character ends up cross-dressing as a magical girl. Titles like this would include Shugo Chara, Is This a Zombie?, and Magical Girl Ore.
It’s not just in Japan that the magical girl genre has made a home in the anime medium, but in western animated media, the ‘magical girl’ concept and elements (via transformation) can be found in various series such as The Winx Club and Miraculous. The genre as a whole has been getting a lot of traction since 2010, and with anime always changing and creators coming up with new ideas, the magical girl genre will continue to have that classic concept that fans know and love, with a more modern twist full of action and enhanced plots.
On that note, that will do it for our brief history of magical girls in anime and manga, but not to worry – there’s more filler posts to come!
Until next time! 😉