Magical Girls, Girls, Girls
The primary intent of this website is to review the various Magical Girls in all of the anime that I have seen; most of these anime are not currently available in the US market. I eventually hope to arrive at a consistent definition of what exactly a Magical Girl is and is not, and to nail down the relationship between Magical Girls and Magical Girl Anime.
As is customary, I begin by defining my terms:
1. Anime: cartoons developed for the Japanese market. The cultural nature of art makes the works of any society distinctive to that society, and it is that cultural foundation, not any particular drawing style, that defines anime. Note1
2. Genre: an artistic category characterized by a particular style, form, or content. Anime itself is not a genre, as there is no particular style, form, or content common to all anime, but distinct from cartoons of other cultures. Notable genres within anime include:
a. shoujo - for girls. Technically, this term refers to a marketing demographic and has nothing to do with genre; however, common usage holds that the body of shows written for girls has some kind of unifying content. Other marketing demographics include: shounen (for boys), seinen (for men), and josei (for women).
b. bishoujo anime - an anime about a beautiful girl being beautiful, or a bevy of same. (Usually seinen.)
c. moe anime - an anime about a cute girl being cute, or about several cute girls being cute. (Usually shounen.)
d. bishounen anime - an anime about a pretty boy being pretty, or several such (e.g, boys who would look better in a dress than the girls do). (Usually shoujo.)
e. sports anime - anime about characters engaged in a formal competition with rules and organization.
f. shounen fight - Anime derived from the fighting fantasies of adolescent boys. Characters in shounen fight dramas often have super-human toughness and whoopass abilities. They may be either male or female. They are often unsocialized at the start of the story, but typically acquire comrades within a few episodes.
g. gag anime - comedic anime in which the humor consistently interrupts the flow of the story, sometimes seeming like the story teller is being heckled by the animators.
h. Hentai. Adult Content. 18+.
i. mahou kanojo - (Magical Girlfriend) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_girlfriend
j. mahou shoujo - (Magical Girl) an anime about a magical girl being magical, or a team of such. The stereotypical mahou shoujo anime is a coming of age drama, in which a girl learns about a “woman’s power”. (Traditionally, mahou shoujo anime have been considered to be part of shoujo anime, and so traditionalists will reject the notion of bishoujo or moe anime being included in this category.) (Magical Girls occur in examples from most anime genres -- they are not confined to mahou shoujo anime.)
k. Henshin Heroine - a Magical Girl who uses her power in an intentionally heroic manner.
l. Magical Comrade - I’m inventing this term; it refers to anime in which the (non-magical) main character has a close (but non-romantic) relationship with a magical being, or a group of such.
m. Salaryman - an anime about working; typically involves lots of office politics.
3. Meme: a particular cultural element that is pervasive and mimicked. Examples of Magical Girl memes:
a. Henshin: A rapid transformation process to a more powerful state, acquiring distinctive clothes and accessories.
b. Familiar: a subordinate advisor, typically cute and fluffy and suitable for plush toy marketing.
c. Trigger: a device that initiates the activation of magical power.
d. Invocation: A ritual chant. In some cases, the Magical Girl delivers an invocation as a formal challenge preceding battle. Other Magical Girls use an Invocation as part of their Henshin, or to call forth major magical effects.
e. Kokoro - mind, heart, spirit; dreams, ideals. Kokoro is at the core of any mahou shoujo story. A character without kokoro is completely heartless, entirely lacking in compassion or ideals.
f. Liminality - the condition of being in transition between mutually exclusive states.
4. Magic: As others have said, the difference between magic and technology is that technology is used by a society, and magic is used by an individual. For an ability to be considered magical, it must be considered impossible (or effectively so) by the society in which the Magical Girl operates. In a society dominated by sorcerers, sorcery is essentially a technology. [In the Japanese wikipedia, this same point is made by contrasting High Fantasy (the setting is a magical world) with Low Fantasy (the setting is the normal world into which magic intrudes); mahou shoujo anime are typically Low Fantasy.] Technology beyond what local society can comprehend or utilize is essentially magical.
Another characteristic of magic is the occult nature of magical lore; if the power isn't secretive in
some way, it probably isn't magical.
5. Girl: not yet a woman, but becoming one. An anime that lacks a strong liminality theme is unlikely to be mahou shoujo, although many anime that are not mahou shoujo have a strong liminality theme.
6. Spoilers - I don’t know what these are. Which is to say, I know the term, but I can’t tell what is and what isn’t one. Therefore this site offers no protection against spoilers whatsoever, anywhere.
If you want to watch your anime without preconceptions or foreknowledge, this isn’t the place to get your information.
7. Nudity - several images on this site include depictions of nudity in the form of cartoon drawings of women or girls and perhaps even a guy. So far as I know, none depict sex, or nudity in sexual situations, or primary sexual characteristics. If cartoon nudity offends you or the standards of the community in which you live, do not proceed to The Listings.
The Listings-(this is where all the stuff is):
The Image Archive (stuff I’ve snapped):
Alien X From Outer Space
Arcade Gamer Fubuki/
Cosmic Baton Girl Comet/
Daa Daa Daa/
Dr Slump ep1/
G-On Riders DVD2/
Himitsu no Akko-chan 69/
Himitsu no Akko-chan 88/
Himitsu no Akko-chan 98/
I’m Gonna be an Angel/
I’m Gonna be an Angel, the Ending/
Kirameki Project 2/
Little Witch Chappy/
Little Witch Chikuru/
Little Witch Megu/
Little Witch Sally/
Sasami/ Magical Project S/
Tico and Friends/
Magipoka episodes 9-16/
Mao-chan episode 21/
Miracle Girl Limit/
Mirumo de Pon/
Mysterious Thief StTail/
Nurse Witch Komugi-chan/
Pretear1/New Legend of Snow White
Princess Knight/Ribon no Kishi
Sasuga no Sarutobi/
Space Pirate Mito season 2/
Super Pig Tonde Buurin/
Useless Witch DoReMi Dokaan/
Vampire Princess Miyu TV episode 15/
The Chart shows various anime by category vs year; the categories are:
Alien - the Magical Girl has power due to her origins, and is alien to the normal world.
Gifted - the Magical Girl is an ordinary girl granted magical power to use as she sees fit.
Lovely Warrior - the Magical Girl has a destiny of combat; typically, she has been given her power for that purpose.
Angel of Mercy - the Magical Girl is peaceful and benevolent, committed to helping others.
Super-heroine - the Magical Girl is widely known in her professional identity, and is considered a tactical element by the local government.
Magical Idol - the Magical Girl is extremely popular.
Magical Comrade - the protagonist of the story is not magical, but is closely involved with beings that are.
Kaitou.- the Magical Girl is a thief.
These categories are mine; they are not standard as far I know, although I derived them from the Wikipedia entry on Magical Girls.
Anime News Network
Chronological List of Television Anime
The shoujo anime list:
Someone else’s view of Magical Girls:
Someone else’s review site:
Contact: Find me at rec.arts.anime.misc on Usenet
or through Google Groups.