Okay, so for those of you who don't really watch anime, then this won't apply to you. But I'm sure pretty much all of you have heard about Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. Maybe some of you have even heard of Pretty cure?
But anyway, I'm making a MG manga of my own (it's like everytime you read my journal I'm doing something! HAHA!), and I was watching some of the other MG anime, and I found on EVERY SINGLE ONE, at least ONE of these sterotypes. So I'm writing this journal to rant, and to point stuff out!
**Note: There are tons of MG anime out there. Some are darker and scarier than others. This doesn't apply to ALL MG anime, it's just something I've noticed as I've been watching and I've been watching a LONG time.
Here we go!
EDIT: Just because I mention a certain show/manga does not mean by ANY means that I'm bashing it. Honestly, I love them all! I even like the fanimes on youtube! I only mention them for example's sake! SO please don't be offended C=
Also, just because I'm writing this doesn't mean that you have to listen to anything I'm saying. You can use all the sterotypes if you want. These are only some things that I've noticed, so that others can try to change them and hopefully make another legendary MG anime C=.
#1.) The Main character MUST be the prepy, happy-go-lucky one with blond hair and/or pigtails. She must be everyone's friend, cute, clumsy, and loud. How else will we hypnotize the crowd with her kawaii-desuness?????
Why this doesn't work: This image of the magical girl has been over-used so many times that it's become the norm, or standard for many mahokka; and now it's become a sterotype. This is the magical GIRL, not magical CLONE. Why can't she be short and emo with boyish purple hair? Why can't she be a race (no offense to anyone) other than Japanese? Why can't she be a blue alien from the plant of HappyLand and Sugar Attacks? Why can't she be anti-social? Girls come in every shape, way and form. The central idea of the MG is more often than not be some kind of role-model. So if every girl looks at a MG anime and sees this type of character, what are they going to think? "I have to look like that to be Magical!" "My character has to act like that to be magical!" etc. Not good, not good. Sterotypes leave no room for originality.
#2.) The team MUST be all female and transform into Super kawaii-desu, itty-bitty miniskirts, and have loads of panty-shots and fanservice. After all, we HAVE to impress the lolicons and fanboys, right?!
Why this doesn't work: Ignoring the sarcasm. You can make an all girl team work very well. Most people do. In fact, it might not even be able to be called an MG anime if it weren't for all the girls coming together with the power of friendship to kick bad-guy ass! BUUUUUT...I personally think, that MG animes shouldn't necessarily have to be completely Devoid of guys all the time. I'm not talking about the obnoxious magical boy who appears oh-so conveniently when the MG and all her teammates are on the brink of death. No, I mean have a guy as actually PART of the team. It would be wierd right? But maybe what the MG genre needs is a little change? Again, you can make an all-girl team work just fine. Just make sure the teammates aren't stereotyped either. Oh! And remember, the lolicons have a FIELD day with all girls teams.
#3.) The Magical Girl MUST have some kind of cute, adorable pet who is NOT from the world, and knows everything the magical girl must do to save the world beforehand. This way, the pet can help her when she's in a pinch, right???
Why it doesn't work: Now, I'm not telling you that ALL mascots are bad. In fact, the little rascals are usually very cute! But the whole pet thing has cliche and overused written all over it in permanent marker. What urks me personally about the whole pet thing is that the pet usually knows everything.
"What should I do to transform???"
"Say This This and This!"
"Where could the magical key of magnificent power be???"
"I don't know, but my senses which have never sensed the key's presence prior to this moment are suddenly tingling, and I can sense them in the caves of Wonderousland!!!"
What if the pet wasn't a pet, but a human, or an alien, or a plant? Maybe the pet is some kind of cell-phone? What if the pet was secretly the BAD guy? What if the "pet" was the MG girl's shadow come to life?!?!? I don't know! This is FANTASY! Last I checked, fantasy required IMAGINATION!
4.) The magical girl'd friends??? OH! OH! I know! Pick me! Pick! They act like thisandthisandthisandthisandthis...
Why it doesn't work: Okay, so the above was kind of vauge, but the point I was trying to make is that the character traits can be easily pinpointed and copied into another character, but I think all of you MG fans can guess what I'm talking about. Tell me if I'm wrong, but we all know what the typical MG teams consists of, whether the team has 1 member, or 12. There is the smart one, the tomboy, the one that's as equally annoying as the main character, the semi-emo one, the bitch, the enthusiast, the shy one, etc. I know of the MG I've watched, they all contain one or more of these sterotypical characters. Now, I have no problem with any of these characters, but there ARE other personalities than these.
The characters in MG anime can have these traits, but the problem is that the creators make these character traits really obvious and easy to pinpoint, all the more making them easy to spot and tire of quickly. The idea is to make loveable characters that you can fall in love with, and make the characters seem real. So what better way than to base their personalities off of real people? Like your friends or siblings or even a famous person that you like. How about the crazy aunt who asks you questions and already knows the answer? Or the two sided girl who seems friendly outside, but is secretly very competitive and jealous of the main character? How about the one that has absolutely no tolerance for failure? Maybe even a GAL (gyaru) character, or a yankee, or maybe even a ganguro???
Study people that you are close to and try to incorporate their personality into that of your character. Even if the trait seems boring, a large array of traits make the characters dynamic. I have yet to see a magical girl anime (That's not dark or scary, not that I've watched any of those besides maybe madoka magica) that doesn't have a main character with a sailor moon personality: Clumsy, high-pitched, fights for her friends, lazy, and all together an attempt at a kawaii-desu main character. So, please, for the sake of the future generations, please mix up your characters and give more girls a character to relate to. (I mean the older fangirls of the series. Younger fans don't really understand the purpose of personalities. They just watch for the pretty colors and sparkles.)
EDIT 12/1/12: I'm adding more! YAY!
The villains must either be OLD oba-sans with creepy magic powers, or Dudes! And the enemy ALWAYS has to be an adult! No kids! No teens! The villains must have a group of SUB-villains that kiss the big villains ass and are willing to die for the Boss at the drop of a hat. Eventually, ALL the villains will have to die! WE TAKE NO PRISONERS IN THE MAGICAL WORLD!!! >=C
Why this doesn't work: Ever since Sailor Moon came out with the 4 kings of heaven and the demons and minons they had (which were all FEMALE), there has been a bit of a "formula" for creating the bad guy team.
It goes something like this chain: Overlord baddie> Leader Baddie> Leader's Pawns baddie > Minions of Minions Pawns baddie
For example in Tokyo Mew Mew it's: Deep Blue, The Aliens, and then the Chimeras.
For example in Sailor Moons it's: Queen Metalia, Queen Beryl, The Shitennou, and the youma/monsters/minions of the Shitennou.
Okay, so OBVIOUSLY, there is no force without a leader, so none of the "formula's" are bad per se. It's just that they keep getting USED. It's the same with Most of the MG I've watched other than Pretear and Madoka Magica. SPOILER:In Pretear, there was only one "villain." She was a woman, and yes, just like most of the women villains in MG she was turned into a "good person" at the end of the fight between the Heroine and the baddie. In Madoka Magica, the world was being run by a mass of evil witches. They had no leader. They were like deadly germs or something; Always making more of themselves and causing lots of sinister problems on Earth.
But anyway, I kind of find it humorous how the sub-baddies working for the leader baddie are all usually very loyal, never disrespect their commander, go out and die and then just get replaced by the next in line. And then the leader baddie spits on their graves. How rude! You'd think you'd have a bit more respect for someone whose throwing themselves in the front lines on behalf of YOUR lazy ass!
*clears throat* But anyway, what if there was an instance when the leader baddie became the sub-baddie of the sub-baddies? What if the sub-baddies had a revolution and totally turned on their leader? What if something happened amongst the baddies and they all split up, and went to torment the magical girls for their own personal reasons? How cool would THAT be? Like one minute you're fighting the baddie that's trying to destroy all human life, when suddenly the baddies that USED to be working with THAT baddie, jump out of nowhere and start attacking the magical girl, JUST because they want them dead and they see their death as the only way to..ehm...complete? Their plans. It would be like a never-ending struggle for the MG, and plus, it would give more depth to the villain, rather than just making them to be the main baddies Bitch.
The library session ends soon, and I'm nowhere near done, but here's some final pointers. Pity I didn't get to point of the stereotypes of the characters in the all female team, the sterotype of the villains, blah blah. Here. I leave you with this...
No matter what you do, your MG is bound to be compared to Sailor Moon, but for God's sakes, don't add fuel to fire with sterotypes!!!
#1.) Every single Magical Girl anime with three or more girls transforming and kicking bad-guy ass, is AUTOMATICALLY a Sailor Moon Copy by default. Don't try to deny it! Just admit you copied already!!!
Why this doesn't work: I don't care how original and wonderful your story is. Every single anime/manga is always compared to another anime/manga. (ex. bleach vs. Naruto and Sailor Moon vs. every single MG anime on Earth.) But since this is about MG, then anything and everything is compared to Sailor Moon! It's so ANNOYING! Look, people, I understand that Sailor Moon was a huge hit and all, but that was over 20 years ago. Can we please move on?!?! And it's not entirely Sailor Moon's fault that everything is compared to her. If you look at a lot of the MG anime, they're pretty uniform in the way they create and advance their stories. All MG are different. I don't need anyone comparing SM to the Winx Club/W.I.T.C.H/every season of Pretty Cure ever made/Pretear/etc. stop. Really. Just stop.
I'll edit this later.