July 16, 2016

Where do magical girls come from?

A surprising amount of the time they arise out of other series which are completely unrelated.

Triangle Heart was originally a series of computer games of the "seduction sim" genre. In the third game the main character was Kyouya Takamachi. Shirou, his father, was a ninja (or a bodyguard?) and trained Kyouya in the art. Then Dad was murdered, and Kyouya is thrown into a vicious battle, which includes a lot of amazing girls, which along the way Kyouya has the opportunity to seduce. (Ick.) His adopted sister Miyuki is one of them. (Double ick.)

Shirou's second wife was pregnant when he died, and the resulting kid sister is named Nanoha. (Ahem.) In the series she's 12 years old and doesn't really participate in the story.

Eventually this particular game was turned into a 3-episode OVA, and when it was released on DVD they tossed in an omake, in which Nanoha was presented as a magical girl. The character we know as Chrono Harlaown was the opponent and the character we know as Lindy Harlaown was presented as a pixy who accompanied Nanoha. It was only a couple of minutes long and it's obvious they did it as a lark.

Little did they know. It was released in 2003, and in 2004 they turned it into a 13-episode series which was, to be blunt, vastly more successful than Triangle Heart ever even hoped to be. Since then it has become a franchise, spawning three more TV series (one of which was 2 cours) and two movies, plus mangas and books and lots of collectibles, and so on. It looks like the franchise may have begun to peter out, however; Vivid wasn't released on BD, and that's never a good sign. Also, the third movie has stalled in production.

IMHO the second movie is the single best entry in the franchise and if you only watch one thing, that should be it.

So that's one example.

Soultaker is a horror series that came out in 2001. Our Hero was stabbed by his mother and buried alive, but gets dug up by a mysterious girl, and then it gets strange. The mystery girl is named Komugi and I don't really know a lot more than that.

What I do know is that they spun off Komugi into a 5-episode ecchi comedy called "Nurse Witch Komugi", back in 2002. I don't know how successful it was. I watched part of it and the only thing I really remember as being noteworthy was a character with blue hair who had a spectacular figure.

In 2016, for some unfathomable reason, someone decided to turn this into a 1-cour series which ran in the first season of this year. I didn't watch it, but the ANN description makes clear that she becomes a magical girl in it.

That's two.

Fate/Stay Night is a very successful franchise based on a completely ridiculous (IMHO) conceit, but that is true of a lot of shows. I never watched it. But at its core it was about the "Grail War" in which a bunch of random people are each assigned a mysterious familiar and have to fight it out to see who gets the Holy Grail and the right to make a wish. (Our Hero's familiar is a gorgeous blonde named Saber, and it turns out that she is actually the reincarnation of... King Arthur. Ick.)

It's a very successful franchise, with several TV series, various mangas and books, at least one movie, and lots of associated statuettes, posters, and lots of other goodies.

One of the competitors was a loli named Illya (and IIRC her familiar turned out to be Hercules), and someone had the bright idea to spin her off into a completely unrelated series where she was a magic girl. That ran in 2013 and the second sequel is running right now.

So... some magical girls, at least, come from existing series which have nothing at all to do with magical girls. And it occurred to me that it should be possible for us to nominate future candidates for this.

The rules are:

1. The character is a girl, ideally young but not necessarily so, and she doesn't have a spectacular figure (yet).
2. She isn't the main character of the series she's in. Ideally she's a minor character who doesn't make all that much of a difference.
3. The series she is in isn't about magic and she herself doesn't have any extraordinary powers.

So here are some candidates I thought of and rejected:

Vivio -- she's already a magical girl and she's part of a magical girl franchise already. Besides which, she already has her own series.
Haruka (Pokemon) -- She's too main a character and anyway she is also already a magical girl, in a franchise which effectively is about magic.
Mitsuko (Railgun) -- She's already a magical girl. (She's level 4 and her power is called "Aerohand".)
Kurumi (Musaigen no Phantom World) -- would be perfect except that she's already a magical girl in series about magic and she's a main a character.
Kuzuha (Hagure Yuusha) is already a magical girl, and a main character.
Natsuki (Keroro Gunsou) is too much a main character.

I do have a few possibilities but I'm not really happy with any of them.

Ursula Abramov (Mouretsu Pirates). She's the member of the yacht club with green hair that likes to wear monster costumes. My idea is that in the new version she gains monster powers when she does that, but we'd have to place the story somewhere (and somewhen) else. Uminoakehoshi just isn't the right place for it.

Karina Sakaguchi (Girls und Panzer). Karina is the driver for Team Rabbit. She's 16 but she's also scrawny, and I think she's make a great magical girl. But I have no idea what kind of scenario would result.

Rize Tedeza (Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?). This would be great, except that it would be even better if it wasn't "magical girl" and instead was "Girl with gun". Mild-mannered coffee server by day, top bracket glamorous spy by night, Rize serves the forces of light by hunting down and neutralizing bad guys! Or something like that.

Saya (Dagashi Kashi) is another borderline case. I think she might be too old for it to really work. (She's the same age as Karina but a lot more mature physically, so the effect would be different.) The show she's in is a comedy and I think her magical-girl spinoff would have to be a comedy, too, and that's a problem. Generally comedies about magical girls don't really work IMHO.

None of these are really very good nominations, and it's a bit surprising I can't come up with anything better.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 05:41 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 1132 words, total size 7 kb.

1 Pixy might have to revoke your otaku card for leaving out Pretty Sammy.


Posted by: J Greely at July 16, 2016 06:29 PM (ZlYZd)


Pixy might have to revoke your otaku card for leaving out Pretty Sammy.

Even better, he has screen grabs of Phantasmoon.

Posted by: cxt217 at July 16, 2016 06:40 PM (PKWQj)

3 You're right; I should have remembered that one.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 16, 2016 06:48 PM (+rSRq)


Nurse Witch Komugi (The spin-off of The Soul Taker.) actually is not very ecchi, even by the standards of the day.  Komugi is a magical girl, though of the more useless variety.  I rather enjoyed it, in no small part because of how it plays with the magical girl concept.

And regarding Fate/Stay Night - in the Nasuverse, King 'Arthur' was a young girl who was perceived by her subjects as a male by Merlin's magic and her own upbringing.

Posted by: cxt217 at July 16, 2016 07:02 PM (PKWQj)

5 I Nominate Saten Ruiko from Railgun? Other than level upper (a mild handwave), she was not science or magically inclined, but she has the right character.

2nd nomination: Aoi Futaba - Cat Planet Cuties. Her character development is the focus. Get her away from the other,stronger female characters.

Posted by: topmaker at July 16, 2016 07:06 PM (6stZH)

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 16, 2016 09:24 PM (Hdexn)

7 I think Melwyn's a better choice from Cat Planet Cuties. She got her own spin-off novel series, some sort of action/spy story where her ears and tail are holographically hidden so she can live as a human schoolgirl.

And then there's perhaps the oddest example, where the main character of a very popular series became a magical schoolgirl with a talking cellphone charm: Gakuen Kino.


Posted by: J Greely at July 17, 2016 05:39 AM (ZlYZd)

8 I may have underestimated the Nanoha Franchise's staying power. ANN says there's a new show coming called "Vivid Strike" which features Vivio, Rio, Einhart, Corona, Nove, and several other characters from Nanoha Vivid.

And Vivid Translations says that Crunchyroll says that there's a second season of Vivid coming next year.

Of course, this could be another reference to "Vivid Strike", but there's plenty of material remaining in the Vivid manga, more than enough to cover at least one more cour.

Vivid ended with chapter 30, just after the Corona-v-Einhart match. Chapter 61 would be a great stopping point for a second cour, right after the Vivio-v-Einhart match.

Well, I can dream, can't I?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 17, 2016 02:35 PM (+rSRq)


Actually, there is no definite evidence that the two titles mentioned (One in ANN, one in Crunchyroll.) are the same thing.  Given the difference between expected release dates, they probably are not.

Also note the following addenda to the ANN article:

"While some of the character names and cast from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid television anime are the same in ViVid Strike!, the show's announcement did not specifically state that the work is a new entry in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise."

Posted by: cxt217 at July 17, 2016 02:45 PM (PKWQj)

10 The girl who rescues the hero in Soultaker is Maya Misaki, who appears as the queen of Vaccine World who gives Komugi her powers in Nurse Witch Komugi. Komugi is a mutant nurse who works for the Hospital and defects when she falls in love with the hero. She can use her hair as a weapon.

Fate/Stay Night was originally intended to be an otome game with a female protagonist and a bishounen King Arthur as her familiar. The creators later genderswapped it. Look-a-likes of Saber are also supposed to be the historical Mordred and Nero, who show up in later games. The combatants aren't really random, they're supposed to be powerful magi from established families who summon the familiars. (The MC is an exception.) The F/SN Illya is actually one of the most powerful magi and has an important role in the Heaven's Feel arc.

It seems none of the examples exactly fit the Nanoha model, since they have powers and fairly large roles. Sasami in Tenchi Muyo! is one of the most powerful in the series. School Days had an OVA where the little sister of one of the heroines becomes Magical Heart Kokoro-chan, but that was a one-shot.

Some possibilities: Noucome's Furano Yukihira and Oregairu's Komachi Hikigaya, the little sister of the anti-social MC.

Posted by: muon at July 18, 2016 05:15 AM (IUHrD)

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