I was going to make something up for days 1 and 2 but then I got busy so here's the first topic on schedule anyway, hahaha—
"Why magical girls?" for lassarina
So, magical girls were sort of a formative experience for me—I happened to be about nine when the original dubbed versions of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura ("Cardcaptors") were airing, which was just about perfect.
There was something that really reeled me in there, particularly about Sailor Moon. I think it's maybe several things:
- A variety of cool girl characters to identify with.
- Girl friendships!!! Fire-forged girl friendships!!!
- Themes of overcoming adversity and growing up (while still being yourself)—e.g., Usagi grows out of crying at the drop of a hat and tripping over herself, but retains (and strengthens) her best qualities in the process of magical girling.
- There's a sort of inherent optimism in most magical girl shows, and I am a dyed-in-the-wool optimist.
- There's nothing I like better than a good redemption arc, and magical girl villains tend to get them relatively frequently. The first episodes of Sailor Moon that I watched included one, actually, which maybe was what made an impression on me.
- There is something really fun to me about the idea kicking ass in a cute outfit.
- Also about the ability to become your coolest, most powerful self on command. HECK YEAH
It's sort of a very specific flavor of a girls' coming of age story. The forces of darkness are often metaphorical, on some level—materialized negative emotions, selfishness, despair. It also provides a framing device for dealing with real unhappiness—loss, hardship, loneliness, conflict, uncertainty—in a fantastical context. Yuri Tsukikage finds a way through her grief, Rue finds freedom from her abusive father-figure, Eas fights a literal manifestation of her guilt over past misdeeds, Amu Hinamori gains confidence in being her genuine self.
There's also a couple themes that I guess show up more in the stuff that I watched from college on—the idea of magical girl as a beacon of hope (Princess Tutu, Madoka Magica, AKB0048) and magical girl as healer and inspirer (Princess Tutu, Shugo Chara, Heartcatch Pretty Cure), which both really appeal to me from a narrative perspective. I guess part of that is maybe related to why I like to do creative things—because things like music and literature have helped me and inspired me so much, I want to do the same for others with the things I work on.
So, naturally, it worked its way into one of my origfic projects. It happened that a bunch of independent story threads managed to coalesce together into something coherent finally, and a couple of them happened to be magical girl-related ideas. And I figured... "eh, why not just keep those elements in, it's not going to be the weirdest thing on the YA shelves if I finish it and manage to sell it." And the one thing I did learn for sure from my high school creative writing class is that you might as well write what you love and have fun writing.