[Xeby-chan] Mahou Shoujo Rant & Analysis

It’s me, Xeby-chan. Well here is one of my first editorial posts. As I said in a previous post, every week I will be doing a post that is different from Xebek’s episode posts. One of the things I’m going to do is to take an in depth look at certain genres. I said I would, but really I’m going to rant about mahou shoujo.

Mahou shoujo is my favorite genre, Xebek’s too. Although it is just really a preference in what I like to watch, really upon looking at the genre there are definitely things that set it apart from others. There are things that make this genre extremely unique and fun to watch, and really make it very interesting. Hence, I will occasionally do my weekly post just ranting and really examining different aspects of this genre and why I find it so enjoyable.

The point of this isn’t really to completely rant but to actually take a rather in depth look at what separates this genre from others. There are always differences in genres in anime and it can even be a touchy subject in how you categorize a show. If someone even mentions a genre to certain people they won’t even touch the show. Genres do a job in categorizing anime. After all if you say romance you know there has to be a love story, if you say comedy, then it is humor. However, so many of these genres are continually mixed. You will find a school romance comedy, mixing random events and situations for humor while having an overall focus of some romance. Yet with this mixing there can still be many differences. If you look at two shows categorized as school romance comedy they can be very similar or extremely different. However mahou shoujo is one genre that seems to stand out from this pattern.

Mahou shoujo is a very, very specific genre. If a show is mahou shoujo there is instantly a picture and idea of what the show will be about and it will generally be correct. That is the same to a degree in other genres, but not as much. It’s almost as if there are a particular set of things that will instantly classify a show as mahou shoujo, such as a transformation scene. If there is a transformation scene then, boom, its mahou shoujo, yet if there is a joke in an anime, it’s not necessarily pure humor, it can be humor and something else. Again there can be humor in mahou shoujo, but it’s as if mahou shoujo is a genre that also packages other genres that are always in it. There will generally be romance and light hearted comedy to it. Yet, again take romance and light hearted comedy by itself, and it can mean so many different things.

One of the other things about mahou shoujo that makes it very interesting is just people’s thoughts on the genre. It has a very intriguing aspect to it that almost makes it understandable at a higher level then it’s aimed at. The genre, really by definition, is aimed at young girls. However at a higher level there seem to be several aspects of the show that really make great episodes and shows with things such as character development and story flow. Things that are really not just aimed at young girls. It’s almost as if you can appreciate the show at a higher level and maturity that it’s supposedly aimed at. I know several people who love the genre, none of whom fall into the classification of who it’s aimed at. So, is the genre truly aimed at a target audience it more or less says it is, or is it just one of the target audiences?

People almost seem to love or hate the genre. It’s one of the few genres that people will seem to have a great disdain for without having really experienced it just form its definition. They have pre conceived notions of the show being nothing more than little girls in cute dresses doing girly things and waving pretty pink wands around. While that can be a more or less accurate description of many shows when actually watching the show it doesn’t necessarily mean things are bad. I have found way more people who dislike the genre while only being exposed to it very, very little then if actually looking at people who have seen more then one show all the way though.

The main thing about mahou shoujo that really seems to put it far apart from the other genres is WHY people like it. Even people who are harsher on anime then others generally seem to give mahou shoujo a break. The shows rarely reach an epic level other shows do in terms of comedy, drama, tragedy, or plot, yet are sometimes ranked up there as high as many of the shows that do. I think one of the things that contribute to this is that it’s kind of defined what the shows will be about, and because of that it’s not as if it’s downgraded for not living up to possibilities. It also almost seems to use its “target audience’ as a safety net. This was intended to be a fun and carefree anime, and the plot bits are all the more impressive when looking at the show from that angle.

Really, it’s hard to say what it is exactly about mahou shoujo that seems to set it apart a bit. There are many aspects about it and people’s expectations for the genre that really no other genre matches. It almost falls into a love or hate genre but from my experience there are way, way, way fewer people who dislike this genre then others. Even if they don’t love it, they understand it and generally I hear fewer bad reviews on mahou shoujo shows then any other, which by itself makes it very interesting. I love the genre, and will continue too.

Well, that’s it for now. As I said this isn’t really an editorial as some of the other posts are because this mahou shoujo category is effectively a branch of editorial posts about this one particular genre. Some things I will talk about in future posts are a look at the role transformation scenes have, and differences amongst this very similar genre.

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