Maidens of doom.
A Mix Commune and Charm Pen-case from Splash Star.
Gotta clear some room on my harddrive, so it’s time to watch some shitty anime that’s been collecting dust in my to-watch folder.
Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream: a few assorted eps including the season finale.
I could describe PRAD as a Magic Idol Singer show except with ice skating and dancing instead of singing, but that would be quite deceitful of me because this is not a show about ice skating or magic or teenage girls — it’s a show about clothing and the sale thereof. Yes, PRAD is one of those “30-minute commercial masquerading as a tv show” deals that were so popular in the U.S. during the 80’s. Much is made of the girls’ outfits, with one’s skill at assembling fashionable ensembles being an important factor in one’s success as an ice skating idol, and the main trio of girls even compete in a big contest where the prize is (drumroll please) a pair of shoes. The show also features some award-winningly terrifying uncanny-valley CGI whenever the girls have a dance/skate number, which is frequently. Possibly this was done as a nod to the arcade games upon which the anime was based? Dear Japan: Stop basing your anime on pachinko and/or arcade games. STOP IT THIS INSTANT.
(click the link to read more about PRAD, Happy Seven, Gedou Otome Tai, Jewelpet, and Magical Canan)
Eas cosplays as Misty Honey from CH Flash and Non from Majokko Megu-chan.
Speaking of unfriendly purple hotties, Zakuro’s a prime example. She’s a teen model with a midriff top who doesn’t need friends. *hairflip* And one of her female teammates desperately wants to jump her.
The Rayearth girls are unusual for their genre because they actually wear armor. I guess most magical girls are made-of-iron as part of their superpowers, but I have to admire the Magic Knights’ practicality.
POP QUIZ: Name a bunch of narrative elements guaranteed to make pre-teen and teenage girls fork over all their money.
- pop stardom
- Sailor Moon
- foofy dresses
- shirtless surfer dudes
- forbidden romance
In 2003, Michiko Yokote and Pink Hanamori had the bright idea to mash all these things into one guaranteed-to-sell manga called Mermaid Melody. In fact, it’s possible they were a little too confident in the failproof nature of their brainchild, because they don’t seem to have put much effort into making it, y’know, not suck.
(click the link to read more about the suckage)
I agree that the manga sucked donkey balls (seriously, I loved the series in 2004 and now I realized it’s not as great as it seemed) but considering the manga ran for seven volumes, that is an indicator of how popular and successful it was during its serialization (or maybe it was because of contract reasons, but that’s beyond the point I’m making). Therefore I find your descriptions of the manga being a total flop an exaggeration. I think you should have at least mentioned its commercial successes (which I believe it mostly had to do with the anime because the company built a complete franchise off of it).
This is speaking very generally so I’ll be OT: while I do understand you primarily focus on storytelling elements, the magical girl genre and marketing practices are so intermingled that you can’t literally not bring the idea of franchising/consumerism with any magical girl series, especially ones where the target demographic are 8-12-year-old girls. Sure, it’s always been like that, and I won’t deny it. With that in mind some magical girl series are written solely for the purpose of marketing (i.e. Lilpri, Fashionable Witches Love and Berry) and to promote other parts of the franchise like toys, manga/anime adaptations (to support publishing companies and up-and-coming newcomer manga artists), and CDs. It builds up relationships with other companies that may contribute to future promotions, not to mention to bring in the lettuce.
We know that why people ask for shitty sequels is because if the first series sold well, they’ll produce a second one just to see how much money they can make… but the point I’m making is that these days these very practices are more explicit and obvious that you kiiiiiiiind of get the feeling that people aren’t as interested in creating magical girl works solely for the storytelling factor anymore.
ex. Ojamajo Doremi 16 recently had a marketing gimmick where if the sum of all book sales reached 50,000+ they were going to release a drama CD. Unlike some manga where the creator had total control over the characters and written development, writers might be forced to write half-assed stuff for the sake of gratuitous fan service even though they’ve successfully wrapped up all potential plot threads that made sense (ahem, Precure All Stars movies, anyone?).
Wait, when did I call MerMelo a flop? Okay I may have compared to the likes of the Coleman Francis oeuvre, but that was in terms of ineptitude, not financial success. I didn’t mention MerMelo’s popularity because I thought it was kind of obvious. I mean, just look at the premise: magic-mermaid-princess-idol-singer-Gackt-shirtless-surfer-beefcake. This shit was destined to make giant piles of yen regardless of how good or bad its quality was, and that’s kind of what pisses me off: the creators and the editors could have made this concept into something good, but they didn’t bother because hey, kids are stupid and they’ll read any old dreck, especially if you throw enough wish fulfillment tropes in there.
As for the aforementioned yen piles: According to my friendly Geocities source, MerMelo’s anime ratings put it in the same echelon as Tokyo Mew Mew, Onegai My Melody, and Shugo Chara — not as wildly popular as Toei’s behemoths, but still successful. Although weirdly enough, I’ve had trouble finding evidence of much merchandise for MerMelo. Usually you’d expect a property like this to be spewing plastic candy-colored junk all over the bedrooms of little girls and adult collectors, but my internet searches only turned up a measly handful of bling. Dunno what’s up with that.Source: magicalgirlproject