History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 15

Haven’t done one of these for a while. This is yet another video from SourcererZZ’s well-made series on the history of magical girl anime. His presentation remains impressively disinterested and scholarly, though his thick accent also remains hard to understand, so I recommend turning on the closed captions, which, though somewhat messed up, are nonetheless helpful.

He goes here through the years 2007 and 2008, discussing series such as Kamichama Karin and Shugo Chara! (which I’ve discussed at length). I hesitated to post this, mostly because he also discusses Moetan, a grossly mishandled educational series that’s sort of like Dora the Explorer … for perverts. But as I said, SourcererZZ is professional in his presentation, so I decided to share anyway.

Although he for the most part simply summarizes the series he discusses, at the beginning of this video, he talks about how Getsumen to Heiki Mina, which had its origin as a fictitious anime referenced in the television drama Densha Otoko, which you may know better under the title of Train Man. Basically, it’s a case of a fake series being made real, somewhat like Kujibiki Unbalance.

‘Shugo Chara!’

Surprisingly sophisticated but unfortunately creepy.

Shugo Chara!, written and illustrated by Peach-Pit. Translated by Satsuki Yamashita. 12 vols. Kodansha Comics (New York): 2013 (2006). Rated T (ages 13+).

Shugo Chara!Shugo Chara! Doki, and Shugo Chara! Party!, directed by Kinji Yasuta. Satelight and TV Tokyo, 2007-2010. 127 episodes of 25 minutes (approx. 53 hours). Not rated. Available on Crunchyroll.

The Background

In the midst of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Kunihiko Ikuhara’s magnum opus, there are a number of screwball gag episodes dedicated to the side character Nanami, a spoiled rich girl who laughs inappropriately, a requisite character in shoujo anime. In one of the most fascinating of these gag episodes, Nanami awakens one morning to find an Easter egg in her bed. Convinced that she must have laid it, she first tries, from embarrassment, to hide its existence, but on account of some misunderstood conversations, she eventually comes to the conclusion that egg-laying is normal for girls. In keeping with the coming-of-age theme of magical girl shows in general and Utena in particular, the egg becomes over the course of the episode a multivalent symbol by turns representing puberty, menstruation, childbirth, and child-rearing.

This one-off episode apparently became the inspiration for another whole magical girl franchise, Shugo Chara!, by Banri Sendo and Shibuko Ebara, the two-woman manga-ka team known collectively as Peach-Pit. They got their start with works aimed primarily at a male audience: the little-known harem comedy Prism Palette, the raunchy magical girlfriend series DearS (which is sort of like Chobits with more bondage), and an action series called Zombie-Loan. In the U.S., probably their most famous title is Rozen Maiden, an unusually classy harem series that’s something like a cross between Pinocchio and Highlander with a veneer of Gothic horror. It’s spawned Internet memes and a modest cult following.

The History

Shugo Chara! was Peach-Pit’s 2006 foray into shoujo manga, appearing in Nakayoshi, a magazine aimed primarily at girls aged nine to fifteen. This same magazine has hosted such titles as Sailor Moon, Sugar Sugar Rune, Saint Tail, and various adaptations of the Pretty Cure franchise. So it’s a magical girl powerhouse. Continue reading “‘Shugo Chara!’”