the_sun_is_up: Twilight Sparkle reading a book. (mlp - happiness is a good book)
Recently I watched the first five episodes of Mai-Hime. Coincidentally, somebody on Tumblr asked me the other day whether or not I'd categorize Mai-Hime as a Magical Girl show, and since I was already planning to make a post on that exact subject, I guess I should go ahead and post it already.

Is Mai-Hime a Magical Girl anime?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

Evidence For
-It fits the bare minimum criteria I established at the start of this project: its protagonists are a) female and b) magic-users.
-It fits the second criteria I established later in the project: secrecy. The heroines must keep their powers and mission secret from the muggle masses.
-The girls' magic power is exclusive to females.
-In keeping with the Magic Warrior subgenre:
--The girls' main mission is to protect humanity by fighting monsters of the week (or at least that's what they're initially told).
--The girls' powers are limited.
--The heroine is a newcomer to magic, having spent her childhood as a clueless muggle.
-The girls use a Greyskull phrase to call out their Childs — in this case, simply shouting the Child's name.
-The girls each have a glowing mark on their bodies that signifies their special status. This isn't exclusively a MG trope, but it shows up enough that I think it warrants a mention. When the Inner Senshi were discovered in Sailor Moon, they each had their respective planetary signs show up on their foreheads, and the Tokyo Mew Mew girls each had a Mew Mark that indicated which animal they were fused with.
-I've heard that there are some characters who fit the Dark Magical Girl archetype, though I'll have to watch further to confirm that.

Evidence Against
-No transformation. This is a biggie, because a lynchpin of the genre is the dual identity, the switching back and forth between two personas which is signified by changing one's physical appearance. However Cardcaptor Sakura proved that you don't need to transform in order to be a Magical Girl, but Sakura did adhere to the following criteria which is...
-The girls' magic is not dependent on an object. The formula for Magic Warrior shows dictates that the heroine is unable to use magic until she is given a magical object which is the key to her power. Take that object away, and she goes back to being a powerless muggle. For most girls, this object is their transformation device. For Sakura, it's her bird-head wand. But the Mai-Hime girls don't have anything like this. They use magical weapons, but they weren't given them — instead they conjure them out of thin air at will. And when we see Mai discover her Hime powers in the first episode, her powers just awaken on their own; she doesn't require an outside party's help to unlock/bestow them.
--On the flip side, Mai does require an outsider's guidance to successfully unlock her full magical powers and summon her Child. And the girls' powers are tied to the Hime Star, so you could consider that to be their key object, although that's a pretty big stretch.
-No "In The Name Of The Moon" speech.
-No foofy outfits.
-No cutesy mascot mentor.
-No alias.
-No dual identities? The girls don't change their appearance/clothes/name when they use their powers, and so far I haven't seen much done with the dual identity theme that forms the core of the genre. However I guess you could argue that the Childs serve as the girls' alternate identity, and the Child-summoning stock footage does bear some resemblance to a transformation sequence, particularly Mai's which also features a shot of a sword plunging out of her chest à la Utena.

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

July 2013

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