jeudi 24 avril 2014
I'm not planning to write a comprehensive entry about the Magical girl
genre as many more documented bloggers already did it (see: here
for instance). Just a quick reminder though: Magical girls usually are young girls or teenagers who can transform (変身/'henshin') into a magical being and use magic powers or abilities.
- Some of Sailor Moon henshin brooches -
Most of the time, magical girls manga or anime are targeting a young audience, mostly girls who can relate to the young heroine, providing a wide range of merchandising and "goodies" little girls, or rather their parents can buy. Because magical girls often use compacts or special items to transform and always have a cute sidekick which would make a great plush...
Let's have fun and win love and make friends!
The first category of magical girls which appealed to me mostly when I was still a child (and still appeal to the childish part of my inner self), are what I would call the "carefree" magical girls. They might still fight evil forces but it's mostly for a "selfish" motive.
- Creamy Mami (1983), Full Moon wo Sagashite (2002), Ojamajo Doremi (1999), Sugar Sugar Rune (2004) -
In most of mahou shoujo manga which follow that plot line, the young heroine either want to become a successful idol (Creamy Mami), become a better witch or the witch queen (Ojamajo Doremi or Sugar Sugar Rune which is more mature than the earlier in many aspects though), win the heart or reach out to the one they love (Full moon wo sagashite or Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch). Most of the time, the main character is either very clumsy (MMPP) and clueless or a tomboy (Creamy or Chocolat) but pretty bubbly, positive and friendly.
Plotwise, the tension resides in the secret identity of the magical girl and the fact that the one they love often falls in love with their magical form while totally disregarding their "regular" form. In the end, there rarely are any surprise: the young heroine gets the boy and wins the crown or whatever she was after to begin with.
What is particularly appealing to me in this kind of "mahou shoujo substyle", is that being a magical girl might probably have been the dream of every little girl or teenager. Who never dreamed of having super powers which could allow you to turn your very average self into a wonderful perfect being? (if you say you never wished that, you're probably lying...)
Let's show everyone how powerful and able we are!
So let me tell you more about my absolute and unconditional love for Sailor Moon
. First published in 1992, I bet you know the story already, but if you don't go here
. I'm talking about the manga, not the anime, because I don't like what the original anime did with some characters. Especially Rei Hino / Sailor Mars who happens to be my favourite character, turning her into a kind of super hot-tempered, often ill manered girl, always yelling at Usagi for everything and nothing...
- Inner and Outer Senshis -
Well, to put it simply, Sailor Moon is basically a "sentai for girl". But what I love so much about this manga is that it shows how the characters evolve subtly through the years. At the begining of the manga, the main characters are all 14 while at the end they're 18. It teaches you that no matter how you are, you can still be powerful and achieve great things. You can be a teenage crybaby, clumsy and lazy like Usagi and still can grow into a beautiful lady on all levels. You can be very intelligent and reserved like Ami but still be a fierce fighter and do everything in your powers to help the ones you love and care about. You can be a hopeless romantic and enjoy baking cakes like Makoto, but still be one of the strongest and trustworthy senshi. You can be a very cold, distant and elegant girl like Rei and still learn to trust your friends and open to others. You can also be very careless, care only about boys, idols, sports and food like Minako but still be one of the most powerful and turstworthy sailor senshis.
Moreover, I like how the manga deals with gender roles (after all, even if Mamoru is always supportive and has healing powers, he still can do nothing without Usagi), all kinds of love (see here
) and genderbending. I think that if this franchise still appeals so much to mahou shoujo amateurs, it's because it contains meaningful messages. You can of course read it only as a good entertainment, well-built shoujou manga, but for me it contains more than just girls who transform into senshis and fight evil to save the planet.
It's cute and all, but then, something dreadful happens and then it becomes a CLAMP manga...
I reserved a special place for the 2 magical girls series studio CLAMP created. Because as my tongue in cheek title states it, CLAMP mangas are hard to categorize because they often share many aspects of various manga genres and often are some kind of "UFOs".
- Cardcaptor Sakura (1996), Magic Knight Rayhearth (1993) -
Magic Knight Rayearth starts like a rather traditional mahou shoujo manga: 3 schoolgirls visiting Tokyo Tower are suddenly transported into a magical world where they learn they're Magic Knights from the legend, they have elemental powers based on fire, wind and water and that they have to kill what they're told is an evil wizard who keeps the princess, ruler of the magic world captive. Pretty boring huh?! Well, don't forget it's a CLAMP manga, there's a twist somewhere. I don't want to spoil you though! So read it if you wish, it's very good in my opinion, despite the fact that it actually should have ended "badly" but due to the readers' disappointment at such a sad ending, CLAMP had to write a sequel which is far less interesting than the 1st arc of the manga in my opinion.
Cardcaptor Sakura is more like your traditional mahou shoujo. Sakura is cute, good at sports, very friendly and has a soft spot for her big brother's best friend. So she's a regular Japanese school girl, but she accidently discovers she has magic powers and blablabla. You probably know the story anyway! What's so interesting in this manga is not the magical girl aspect of it, well, in my opinion, it's how CLAMP manages to send powerful messages through an apparently very cute story. Cardcaptor Sakura teaches you that there are many different kinds of love and that age, gender, distance or cultural differences don't matter when it comes to love. (though the relationship between Lika and the head teacher of Sakura's division is a bit more problematic in a western point of view. Kaho x Eliol doesn't really count as Eliol voluntarily kept a very young appearance to be able to reach to Sakura).
Darker plots and parodies
Lately, the magical girl trend seems to have changed quite a lot since its origins. The plots are becoming more and more complex and often try to show the "darker" sides and reponsibilities being a magical girl implies. See Puella Magi Madoka Magica
for instance. Or even Shojo Kakumei Utena
. Both anime display violence, both psychological and physical and sometimes dwelve into the "horror" genre.
- Shojo Kakumei Utena (1996), Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011), Magical Witch Punie-chan (2002), Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (2010)
And the genre is even somtimes poking fun at its "clichés" like in Magical Witch Punie-chan
or in Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
. Both are aimed for an older target. Magical Witch Punie-chan
bends all of the mahou shoujo "clichés". Punie is sent to Earth to prove that she has all the qualities required to become the ruler of her home planet. Punie is a bubbly, cute and clueless young girl in appearance, but she can turn into a merciless and even cruel fighter if provoked. Her "cute" mascot is in fact trying to attempt at Punie's life every time he gets a chance and seems to display two polar opposite personnalities... Oh and Punie's incantation is "Lyrical tokarev, Kill them all!". How cute! Check it here
if you wish.
So, any thoughts? Agree or disagree?
What's your favourite magical girl manga and why?
Libellés : shoujo manga and magical girls
Je viens de lire tous tes posts et je trouve ton blog très intéressant. Merci pour ce moment de lecture. ♥
Est-ce que tu connais Princess Tutu ? Tu n'en parles pas dans ce post, et comme cet anime est un magical girl avec exclusivement de la musique de ballet et qui a entre autres pour sujet les contes de fées, je pense que ça te plairait si tu ne connais pas déjà.
Bonne journée ou bonne soirée !