the_sun_is_up: Agatha from Claymore walking magnificently, with the text "I should have known each dress you own is a loaded gun." (claymore - the ultimate femme fatale)
[personal profile] the_sun_is_up
This week on the Magical Girl Project, let's give some relevance to all that timeslot data and talk about the practice of aiming Magical Girl shows at an adult male demographic.

For the first few years of the genre, Magical Girl shows were predictably enough made for little girls. However, this trend was first disrupted in 1973 when Go Nagai premiered his landmark anime series Cutey Honey. It was the first shonen anime to feature a female protagonist, the first superheroine anime, and the first Magical Girl anime to be specifically aimed at an adult male demographic, as evidenced by the high levels of fanservice, violence, and bawdy humor. A year later, Majokko Meg-chan mixed up the traditional Cute Witch formula by adding tons of fanservice and a coquettish fille-fatale heroine, and I strongly suspect that was a case of following Cutey Honey's example.

However, Cutey Honey's lasting influence on the genre would take a while to materialize, because for the rest of the 70s and most of the 80s, Magical Girl shows continued to be made almost entirely for girls. The only exceptions were a couple of OVAs: Dream Hunter Rem, the hentai-turned-ecchi series that premiered in 1985, and Devil Hunter Yohko, which premiered in 1990.

The mid-90s saw a relative boom in male-aimed MG shows, possibly spurred by Sailor Moon's revitalization of the genre. Hyper Speed Grandoll (97) in particular borrowed the plot of Sailor Moon wholesale and tailored it to appeal to a more boob-interested audience. Meanwhile, Galaxy Fraulein Yuna (95), Makeruna Makendo (95), and Jewel BEM Hunter Lime (96) offered MG anime adaptations of video games, Shamanic Princess (96) delved into cosmic horror territory, and shows like Megami Paradise (95) and Jungle De Ikou (97) relied on non-stop fanservice to sell themselves. However during this period, male-aimed MG shows were exclusively OVAs. The only possible exception I've found is the Pretty Sammy series, whose target audience has been tricky for me to pin down, especially since it's a spin-off of a harem show and aired in a slot usually given to shonen series like Slayers. Overall though, broadcast TV was reserved for the girl-aimed stuff while male-aimed shows were restricted to brief direct-to-video runs.

The turning point came with the premiere of Cardcaptor Sakura in 1998. Conventional wisdom states that while CCS was by no means the first girl-aimed MG show to attract a sizeable periphery demographic of male viewers, it was the first time that the anime industry noticed this demographic and realized that they could make a fat pile of cash off it. This marked the point at which male-aimed MG shows started consistently making it to broadcast TV, coinciding with the rise of moe. The trend of moe-flavored Magical Girl shows started with Risky Safety in 1999, A Little Snow Fairy Sugar in 2001, and Mao-chan in 2002, but the boom really hit in 2004 and 2005, during which a whopping 13 male-aimed Magical Girl shows aired on broadcast TV (opposite 9 girl-aimed shows), at least 10 of which could be categorized as moe or moe-influenced. The most notable of these was, of course, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

Nanoha was a landmark because it was the first time someone made a successful cash-cow franchise out of a male-aimed Magical Girl show. Previously, franchises were the domain of girl-aimed shows like Toei's trifecta (Sailor Moon, Doremi, and Precure), Cardcaptor Sakura, and remake-happy oldies like Sally, Akko, and Minky Momo, while male-aimed shows tended to have single-season runs, if they even made it to broadcast TV at all. Even the influential Cutey Honey franchise only got one broadcast season, spending the rest of its existence in OVAs, manga, and the live-action adaptation. By contrast, Nanoha got three broadcast seasons for a total of 52 episodes, plus two feature films, a video game, several manga series, and the usual parade of merchandise. As far as I can tell, Nanoha remains the most popular male-aimed MG franchise and the strongest support for the argument that male-aimed MG shows can be financially successful.

After the boom years, the number of male-aimed MG shows airing on broadcast TV has leveled off, but such shows still make up a fair portion of new MG shows, as you can see from this exciting graph:



During the past three years, the percentages have stayed quite consistent, with roughly a third of broadcast MG shows being aimed at a male demographic.

One recent sign of how much times have changed was Moetan (07), the first blatantly lolicon-themed MG show. You know how there's that slice of the Cardcaptor Sakura audience who watched the show mainly because they wanted to nail the 9-year-old heroine? Yeah, somebody made an anime specifically for that demographic. The last few years have also given us shows like Magical Pokaan (06) and Milky Holmes (10), which are 4-girl moe slice-of-life shows like Lucky Star or K-ON, but with Magical Girls as their theme. On the flip side, we also get shows like Uta Kata (04) and Madoka Magica (11) which go for the dark angsty sad-girl-in-snow side of moe. Mixed in with these are the old-fashioned jiggle shows that sell themselves more on T&A and less on moe cuteness, such as Papillon Rose (06), Getsumen to Heiki Miina (07), Twin Angel: Unicorn Farts (11), and of course that horrifying monstrosity known as Ultimate Girls (05).

At any rate, male-aimed MG shows have finally cemented their place as a consistent staple of the genre, as evidenced with this coming year's line-up which thus far promises a new Black Rock Shooter broadcast anime and a second season of Milky Holmes.

Date: 2012-01-14 03:13 pm (UTC)
branewurms: (Default)
From: [personal profile] branewurms
Hold up, there is an anime title that actually contains the phrase "Unicorn Farts"?

Profile

the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
Sing me a bawdy song, make me merry

July 2013

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910 111213
14151617181920
2122 2324252627
28293031   

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2014 01:03 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios