Challenging the genre
With the popularity of magical girls becoming evident in the 90s, anime that challenged the genre were bound to make an appearance. Many may not see it this way, but Cardcaptor Sakura (1998) by CLAMP, the next most popular magical girl anime outside of Japan, did just that. For one thing, Sakura did not have any flashy transformations, but was instead given different outfits by her best friend, Tomoyo, who would also record Sakura’s battles. Tomoyo’s obsession could be seen as similar to what fans tend to do to magical girls. What’s more (spoiler alert for those who never watched this!), Sakura never really had a nemesis as all the challenges she faced was meant for her own growth to become stronger in her own way.
As the genre began to slow down in recent years with only the usual familiar magical girl shows and two or more titles to keep fans abated, Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011) took the genre and pretty much deconstructed everything we knew and loved about the genre. Magical girls saving the world? Check. Cool transformations and powers? Check. Emotionally tortured by the true horror of what being a magical girl entails? Yikes. Many call it the Neon Genesis Evangelion to the magical girl genre, as it challenged viewers to truly consider what it takes to be a saviour. And magical girls are not an exception to the burdens of great powers means great responsibilities. And thanks to Madoka Magica, magical girls were in the spotlight once more.
Yes, throughout the years, magical girls have greatly evolved since its inception in the 1960s, and there are so many out there that I would have missed out a few good titles that were a landmark to the genre. If so, do share with me what you think! Which magical girl anime do you think made a significant impact on the genre? Or more importantly, to you?
You might also like to read: