Why I Love Magical Girls Shows (OR Nostalgia For Digital Boy)

Card Captor Sakura cute

She asked me why~ I'm just a magical girly guy~

Most of the guys my age probably, like anyone else, had their early childhood steeped in Disney movies, then moved on to whatever action show was popular (Power Rangers?), and soon found themselves with Dragon Ball Z and other like shows. (We are just a couple years too young for Ninja Turtles.) However, as a young child, I always hated most of the Disney movies (and I still do). There are some I’ve come to appreciate (Aladdin, for instance) but I didn’t like them as a child (with the exception, apparently, of The Lion King, probably just for Timoun and Pumba) and I’ve been told that it was for the simple reason that I didn’t like ‘bad guys.’

While I assure you that my mom owned EVERY Disney movie, I could only tolerate a handful for that very reason, and instead, I grew up on Winnie the Pooh. Winnie the Pooh is the original slice-of-life comedy: It’s a show about a bunch of anthropomorphic animals in a 100 acre wood doing just shy of absolutely fucking nothing. The show had no villains – sure, Rabbit had sand in his vagina, and Tigger, while a kook, was everyone’s favorite irregardless, but there was no real conflict in Winnie the Pooh, and especially none that couldn’t be solved in an ultimately comedic way.

Now, it gets confusing to me when I think about the fact that the shows I liked after that were such as Beast Wars and Power Rangers, but I think there’s an important distinction here – the villains were never actually threatening in these shows, and they were often just as lovable as the good guys. I know I owned a plush toy of Lord Zedd from Power Rangers, and I flat-out own ALL of the original Beast Wars toys. What is important here is not just that I didn’t like ‘bad guys’, but more that I didn’t like conflict – I just wanted shows to be fun and cool and never threatening. That’s why my next hobby was Jurassic Park, because the dinosaurs were badass, and after that, I was into fucking Godzilla.

When I was about 7 years old, two very important anime were getting huge in America – Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon. Now, I’d venture to say that most of the boys my age were more into DBZ – I know Funeral was (though he’s a little older) and from what I recall it was just more of a dude thing all-around. This was especially true about 2 years later when the initial craze of Pokemon was mostly worn down, and DBZ was just getting into it’s biggest arcs (Cell and Majin Buu). However, I never really cared much for DBZ – I rode the Pokemon wave long after people started picking on me for it. I was obsessed with Pokemon for 4 straight years, mingling it in with a love for Nintendo in general. I didn’t loose interest in Pokemon because it stopped being cool for people ym age to like it, I got out of it simply because it wasn’t really on TV anymore and the new games and trading cards were getting worse (I never liked Ruby/Sapphire much).

Where it all began~

Where it all began~

Pokemon is another show with no villain (does Team Rocket honestly count?) and no threat. It was just a cute, fun show full of cool monsters, and it had a lot of great merchandise made for it. There was just one show years later that would turn my perception of conflict on it’s head and rock my world.

That show, my friends, was Ninja Scroll. I saw it at the tender age of 10 years old and it blew my mind – this was probably the most awesome thing ever. There was a super-cool main character and he was totally indestructible against hordes of enemies – this is what I now wanted out of a show. And mind you, I didn’t know about anime yet, but back then we even had shows like Samurai Jack (which references Ninja Scroll in one episode actually!) and even the Powerpuff Girls. (Now we’re getting closer to magical girls!) (It’s kind of funny that I was willing to watch the Powerpuff Girls as a kid, because I HATED girls. I was afraid of anything involving girls until I got into anime at about 12, and it’s still not like I talked to them or anything)

It was shortly after I saw Ninja Scroll that Adult Swim started, and we had shows like Cowboy Bebop and Yu Yu Hakusho, which you might not compare, but I liked for their unstoppably badass protagonists (yeah, Dike Spies, but Vicious was also awesome enough to balance that.) Even in this part of my life, though, I still refused to acknowledge dark and gritty shows. Funeral, having been a big Spawn fan, was always trying to get into darker stuff like BioHunter or the like, and I refused to partake. Part of it was that I didn’t want to watch anything with nudity (felt bad about it) and part of it was a fear of the dark. At this point, I STILL would not even watch violent live-action movies out of fear (except for Kill Bill, which I loved for this same following reason)– you can say that in spite of liking action shows, I wasn’t really a fan of violence so much as a fan of the kind of badasses who create it. (Hence my favorites being things like Rurouni Kenshin, Inuyasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo, and Trigun)

I think a large part of why I loved Nanoha A's was that it had no dislikable characters!

I think a large part of why I loved Nanoha A's was that it had no dislikable characters!

Interestingly, I unknowingly had my first run-in with a magical girl series in my first 2 years of anime watching – Tokyo Mew Mew. My cousin owned the first manga volume and had brought it to my house once, and this was when I had pretty much JUST found out about the existence of manga. I was totally confused when I tried to read it, but I remember thinking it wasn’t bad. THE SEEDS WERE SOWN THEN, PERHAPS?!

Let’s even go to my next obsession, video games! I’m 13-14 now! I never liked First Person Shooters and other action games because they were too dark. I remember taking a chance with The Chrnoicles of Riddick and hating it for that very reason. My favorites always ranged from lighthearted action-platformers like Ratchet and Clank to JRPGs like Tales of Symphonia. The only FPS to win my heart was Halo 2, and even then I almost never played the Arbiter levels, favoring the Master Chief levels that always took place in the light areas.

…We then fall off the map a little. For the two years that I went through my hyper-depressed adolescence, my personality greatly changed, and I mostly forgot what it was like before I became the person that has grown into what I am now. Remembering these things from my childhood is almost like studying someone who isn’t even myself, and yet I can use that person to explain my current state of mind….

When I got back into anime, I was mostly watching moe shows, but I also was willing to watch darker and more violent things than I ever had before. In addition, I had absolutely no qualms about adult content anymore. But there were still remnants from the past – I actually put off watching Black Lagoon for the longest time, because I thought it was going to be a ‘gritty’ show, and I didn’t want to see that. I think I still have some resistance against shows that go out of their way to be gritty! That seems to be a big part of why I still can’t bring myself to watch Speed Grapher, not that I wouldn’t be able to handle it (I don’t even get phased by Tokyo Akazukin at this point), but that I just resist that sense of grittiness.

A post on Kirumin Zoo is planned for the near future~!

A post on Kirumin Zoo is planned for the near future~!

Which is where (finally) Mahou Shoujo comes in. If you had told me at any point in my life before being a hardcore otaku that I would like something called ‘magical girl’ I would have laughed my ass off at you. Even when I got into anime, I had a hard time believing that I would actually enjoy shows like Princess Tutu and Card Captors Sakura (especially since I’d remembered seeing Cardcaptors as a kid and how quintessentially GIRLY it was!!!) However, I think I realized that this genre had a chance with me when I saw Shugo Chara and totally loved it – there was something there that seemed like this was the kind of genre I would like.

And now, as I’ve gotten more used to the genre, I’ve found myself enjoying some magical girl shows quite a bit. And what I feel strikingly from it is that it reminds me of the shows I loved when I was a little kid.

Now, you might be thinking that I would love slice-of-life or moe anime for the same reason, but that’s not really the case. My love for moe shows is always somewhat tainted by the sexuality of the characters and, of course, my sexual feelings for them in return. As for slice-of-life, or even comedy, while I love the sense of peace and lack of conflict, I think that my love is more defined by liking to see the characters or see the world they live in, or for comedy, liking the jokes.

For magical girl shows, I may love the characters, but not in the same way. I think magical girls are cute, but it’s (usually) less in the ‘I want to have sex with her’ way, and more in the ‘KAWAII! OMOCHIKAERI!!!’ way. I don’t get into them for the moe or for the great writing or whatever, it’s just because I want to enjoy a show that is fun, and where things look cute and cool, and where I don’t really feel threatened by villains or emotions. I can watch peacefully and just… enjoy!

25 thoughts on “Why I Love Magical Girls Shows (OR Nostalgia For Digital Boy)

  1. I still have a strong hope that I will wake up one day and find out that I am a magical girl. That, or that I wake up and find out that Pokemon are real. Some combo of the two would be equally badass.

    When I first read ‘Tokyo Akazukin’, I was confused because you were saying it was violent… and then I realized I was just mixing it up with Akazukin Cha Cha. =P

    • VERY DANGEROUS MIXUP. ‘Akazukin’ is in a lot of anime titles, so I can see it getting confusing, too.

      Anyway, if I woke up a magical girl and had a Pokemon I literally would just die, probably. I can’t really put hte happiness into words, because it is so completely overwhelming. It would be like… my entire existence as it is in the way it wishes to be.

      • Actually, waking up as a Power Ranger would also be pretty awesome as well.

        One time, I was in an airport, and someone’s phone went off because it got a text message… and it was the message tone for the communicators from the first season of Power Rangers. I wanted them to be my bestest friend ever.

        • Jesus, there’s no way I’d remember the message tone @_@ I was 4 years old when Power Rangers was on TV. However, I do of course know the opening theme, and I will NEVER forget my favorite song from the cassette I owned from the show – WHITE RANGER TIGER POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!


          • I have the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers theme song on my ipod. I also have the extended movie version, and the remix.

            Man, I need the whole soundtrack – that electric guitar action is pretty fucking awesome.

            I was five when it first came out. My friends and I all loved it. But I always wanted to be the Blue Ranger when we played Power Rangers because blue was my favorite color. Years later, my friends and I re-watched the movie and were startled to realize much of the cast was attractive, including the Blue Ranger, even though he was supposed to be the computer geek.

            • One of the dudes from JAM Project has an album of heavy metal covers, mostly of anime songs, but he also did the American Power Rangers opening, and it’s quite glorious.

              Oh, and also my favorite color was always blue BECAUSE of the blue ranger. He was always my favorite because I identified with him, since I wore glasses and was intelligent~

  2. I see your amorous advances are still as rampant as ever. Delicious post is delicious.

    I really saw this coming. Trust me, digiboy, I really do. You’re the one who’s been saying that slice-of-life really is enjoyable regardless of any other factor of the show (you’ve been bullying me for that~). That being said, I think you already know the enigma of mixing slice-of-life and the magical girl, in which the result is not always expected. I have a different kind of perception for this, but I’ll just keep it to the fact that this may be the cause of your love for the genre.

    Now, I’ve got this really bad urge to ask you if you liked A Certain Magical Index…

  3. If there’s any one reason I got into anime, it’s that anime is loaded with serious conflict. Good guys can lose and bad guys aren’t one-dimensional personifications of evil. Then again, I’m a plot man. If the good guys always win and the bad guys have nothing interesting to add to the show other than evil cackling, it’s hard to work past the episodic structure.

    • And mind you, I can do conflict now – I pretty much do a little of everything now, LOL. But I like to be able to chill a lot – maybe I just can’t relate to a character who has to struggle as much because my life has been so easy?

  4. I remember the exact moment I went off Disney movies. I was six, and Lion King had just came out on VHS. Anime, I think the first thing I saw was… Eva. Either that hedgehog episode where nothing happens or the really bad one inside a volcano. The I watched Akira. After that it all sort of blurs together.

    I remember watching Power Rangers, but it… frustrated me. I knew there was supposed to be some kind of on-going plot, but I never seemed to be able to watch it on a regular basis. Actually, that seems to be a common theme of my childhood; frustrated by shows I saw irregularly and out of order :(

    The Odyssey, that was another one that intrigued me. And Ulysses 31, and Defenders of the Earth. TMNT, obv. Pirates of Dark Water, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Conan, He-Man. Holy shit, it needs to be the Eighties again right fucking now.

    Dammit digiboy, I’m going to need to buy a third HDD once I’m done with this >:(

    I hate you so much right now.

  5. In my the deepest, darkest corner of my heart, I dislike conflict. I want the characters to live life the way I would like to live my own: conflict-free. Therefore I totally see where you’re coming from..

  6. Your brief biography of fandom is notably missing any reference to Sailor Moon. When I was growing up, I think that was the great dilemma of the blossoming male anime fan: Either you fronted (“Yeah, I watch it, but it’s totally just for the chicks– I ain’t no fairy”), or you openly enjoyed a show for girls and faced the consequences. It’s not so different from today, actually.

    • I knew someone would bring this up, so I was waiting.

      As I said up above, I HATED girls as a kid. Like, I wanted nothing to do with females until I was at least 12 or 13 and got into anime. And then at 14 I finally caved into my hormones. It wasn’t until high school until I started talking to girls of my own volition, and not until about 2 years ago that it stopped being awkward, lol.

      Sailor Moon was entirely part of the ‘EWWWW GIRLS!’ camp for me. Honestly, though, I think that’s because I never had much of a chance to watch it. When Sailor Moon aired on Cartoon Network (because in my childhood, there was CN and NOTHING ELSE WAS MANLY ENOUGH) it was in a time slot where the ending theme would literally be playing every day right when I got home from school. I only think I saw more than one scene of the show like 2 or 3 times, and through veiled eyes that refused to acknowledge it.

      My only memory of Sailor Moon is those credits and the song that played, and how my mom would take the line ‘she is the one names Sailor Moon!’ and twist it into ‘you want to kiss that Sailor Moon!’ to make fun of my brother and I. Incidentally, I’m now curious as to whether he managed to see more of the show than I did.

      All of that makes it once again perplexing as to why I liked The Powerpuff Girls, but I honestly think it might have just been because it was a CN production and in my eyes, CN could do no wrong.

      • :/

        Now you see, I’m almost the complete opposite. As far back as I can remember I’ve had lots of female friends. I think I’m actually more comfortable around girls; they don’t… feel as threatening to me (oh boy, Freud would have a field day).

        If this inspires you to jealousy, I hope you will be mollified somewhat by the fact that all this really amounts to is that I get put into the friends zone before I even meet the girl >:(

        • Hehe, I’m not jealous. I don’t really get friend zoned by girls, I jump right into ‘creepy guy we don’t want too much to do with.’ I only ever met one girl who seemed to be totally accepting of my weirdness, and I never got friendzoned, but it was my senior year and I was a junior and I never took the chance. I was too cowardly – if I had only read Onani Master Kurosawa before I graduated, I might have asked her out. I REALLY wanted to, but I kept finding ways to avoid it.

          • OMK never ceases to surprise me. I mean, just the thought of it. The concept. It’s a story about masturbation. More than that, it is a deep and moving piece of literature… about masturbation.


            • Hehe, and that’s the thing – a story about masturbation SHOULD really be deep and moving when you think about how much there is to it, we just don’t make it that way.

  7. This post reminds me of a “condensed autobiography” I wrote on my site a few years back detailing exactly how I became the anime fan I am today XD Pokemon was the major door-opener for me, as was Cardcaptor Sakura. I didn’t have cable for many years so I missed out on all the Adult Swim and CN anime when they were in their peak. I relied a lot on borrowing recorded anime from friends. Despite that, I still managed to watch many series during my high school years before I finally got into fansubs.

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