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    Default Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Hi all

    A while ago I heard good (well... sort of) things about an anime called Puri Puella Madoka Magica (or something ). The big problem was that it was apparently a Magical Girl version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which was my introduction to Mecha. I enjoyed NGE anyway, but this time I'd like to get associated with the genre before I watch the show attacking it.
    SO, what I'm asking is do you have any Magical Girl shows for someone starting out?

    Things I'm looking for:

    ~ Not too long. I don't want to have to sit through four hours to prepare for fourteen(?) episodes. Thirty episodes is a good upper limit.

    ~ Gives an indication of what to expect. I want to see what the general tropes, characters, plots, etc are. Things that will show up in PPMM are also a good idea.

    ~ Decent quality overall, with the plot, characters and powers having some thought put into them. An introduction that's not entertaining is worse than no introduction. I realise that asking for 'high cliche' and 'decent quality' might not be the easiest request, but 'Cliched' doesn't necessarily have mean bad. I hope.

    ~ No preteen fanservice. I'm hoping that things I've heard about this are mostly rumours and exaggerations, but to make things clear:no. Also, there's laws about this where I live.
    fanservice defined as deliberate scenes/angles to sexually emphasise a subject. Especially lingering or close shots

    ~ I'd prefer dubbed stuff, but I will watch subbed shows if I have to.

    Other stuff: I also have Princess Tutu on my things to watch, as it's said to have both light and dark times, fairytale themes and an interesting premise. I don't think it sounds like a 'typical' magical girl series, though. What do you have to say about it?

    I might do a let's watch of whatever I decide to start with, and maybe of PPMM as well. This isn't a promise as my computer's not at peak condition and I have a few life things I really should be doing, but I've been wanting to do a watch of something and this seems like a good oppurtunity to do so.

    Any comments or contributions are welcome and I thank you in advance. Also, first thread posted!
    Last edited by Durkoala; 2014-06-13 at 06:07 PM.
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    Cuteness and Magic and Phone Moogles, oh my! Let's Watch Card Captor Sakura!Sadly on a small hiatus.

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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Ok, it's a pity you put that episode cap on it.

    Sailor Moon is far longer in it's run (and has an upcoming reboot.) then 20 eps, but it pretty much literally invented the sub genera that Madoka Magica is a subversion of.

    Come to think of it, most of the better know magical girl shows are longer in there run time then 20 eps.

    Pretear and Tokeyo Mew Mew come to mind, but I'm not sure they fit your episode number cap either and even if they did I'm not sure there quite inside your other perimeters. Again, the show you really, really, REALLY want to watch is Sailor Moon. (Though the filler is skippable there's still too much for that 20 ep cap.)
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    20 episodes is a weird number when it comes to anime. Generally, they run 13 or 26 episodes, AFAIK, not counting longrunners like Sailor Moon.

    Besides Sailor Moon, another prolific entry to the genre is the Pretty Cure franchise, which like Super Sentai/Power Rangers, cycles through to new heroes after a season or two, so even though there's a lot of episodes, you can just pick one sub-series and watch that.

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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Card Captor Sakura is short (compared to Sailor Moon anyway) it is 3 seasons spread across 70 episodes. (Although you could get away with watching just the first two, which comes to only 40ish)

    You would want to avoid the dub for it though, as it's one of those unfortunate cases where it has been mutilated by being dubbed and I don't mean bad voice acting, I mean the series was chopped into pieces and the overal narrative was changed. (Think robotech, or the Dubed sailor moon)

    It's pretty good quality, and doesn't have any weird fan service in it.

    The basic premise is that Sakura accidentally opens a magic book in her basement and releases the Clow Cards (cards that each hold a magical creature). It's now her job to try and recapture each one, which is generally requires some problem solving to track down and outsmart/defeat the card. Once she's resealed the card she can use it. (Ex Jump allows her to jump, Fly lets her fly, Windy creates wind). The show often also follows Sakura through school on trips and things like that.

    It's more down to earth and less formulative than Sailor Moon. Sakura is mostly just a regular school girl who just happens to gain the ability to use magic thanks to the cards. There aren't any drawn out transformation scenes because there is no transforming involved.


    (Actually I'd recommend a lot of CLAMPS older work, Magic Knight Rayearth is pretty neat, and I guess toes the line as Magic Girl I've only read the Manga for that though so I can't talk about the anime if it has one).

    Edit: I should also add that CCS is apparently along with Sailor Moon considered to be a really big influence on the Genre, so it's probably a good introduction to it. If nothing else you should watch the first season of Sailor Moon too, you don't need to watch all of it cause each season was pretty neatly contained if I remember correctly for Sailor Moon.
    Last edited by cobaltstarfire; 2014-06-12 at 06:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Quote Originally Posted by cobaltstarfire View Post
    (Actually I'd recommend a lot of CLAMPS older work, Magic Knight Rayearth is pretty neat, and I guess toes the line as Magic Girl I've only read the Manga for that though so I can't talk about the anime if it has one).
    Rayearth has an anime. If Hulu is available in your area, it has 49 episodes... each available in sub or dub.

    Also on Hulu: Prétear, Pretty Cure.
    Last edited by Mando Knight; 2014-06-12 at 06:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Quote Originally Posted by cobaltstarfire View Post
    (Actually I'd recommend a lot of CLAMPS older work, Magic Knight Rayearth is pretty neat, and I guess toes the line as Magic Girl I've only read the Manga for that though so I can't talk about the anime if it has one)
    The MKR anime is pretty good. I quite liked Season 2, and it's quite different from the manga. It happens to be my own introduction to anime in general and not a bad one. S1 is pretty much the same as in the manga tho, and I find it not as amazing. But the plot is clever enough at times and the characters are quite believably motivated and likable and the animation is fairly good. Overall, I could certainly recommend it as a whole. 49 episodes tho, but that's two seasons; each season falls in the 20ish episode mark.

    And yeah, CCS is fairly enjoyable as well. I think it's a good idea to give them both a go. Tho yeah, definitely subbed. Dub voice acting was even worse back then than it is nowadays, and then there's the unfortunate case of CCS mutilation. Tho I'll say this: the opening and the ending song of Season 2 MKR are excellent in the dub (Sandy Fox has a nice voice). That's about it far as I'm concerned tho.
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    Besides Sailor Moon, another prolific entry to the genre is the Pretty Cure franchise, which like Super Sentai/Power Rangers, cycles through to new heroes after a season or two, so even though there's a lot of episodes, you can just pick one sub-series and watch that.
    Precure sometimes leans into self-parody though, so it might not be the best first choice. Well, depending on which one you watch. It also tends to have unusually physical fight scenes for the genre - the first season shared a director with Dragonball Z.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2014-06-12 at 07:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Twelve episodes is exactly the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a.k.a. What Would Happen if James Cameron Made a Magical Girl Show.
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Twelve episodes is exactly the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a.k.a. What Would Happen if James Cameron Made a Magical Girl Show.
    Um, something about that AKA makes me think it might not be suitable for an indroduction to the sub genera.

    Maybe watch the first two seasons of Cardcaptor Sakura and watch the first Story Arc of Sailor Moon? It's not the single most satisfiying ending note but that's largely cause the characters are still growing cause it was the first big story arc of many. And by the time both are over you'll have the gist of what Madoka is Deconstructing and Subverting the entire time.
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Twelve episodes is exactly the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a.k.a. What Would Happen if James Cameron Made a Magical Girl Show.
    Nanoha starts to lose its genre trappings a few episodes in, though, in favor of becoming an extended reference to Super Robot Wars. It's a seinen show (i.e. aimed at adult men) where most magical girls are shojo (aimed at young girls).

    Granted, Madoka is also aimed mostly at the seinen demographic, and Precure is aimed at both. But it's still a pretty bad choice of introduction, especially if you're not familiar with mecha anime either.

    EDIT: Might be worth taking a look at TVTropes's breakdown and history of the genre.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2014-06-12 at 07:28 PM.

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    Madoka is aimed at that demographic, but it's doing so cause unlike the others, it a deliberate subversion and deconstruction of the sub genera, and not one played for humor.

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    When you get right down too it, Madoka is a tradgey at it'ls core. It's a beutifully done one, but it's still a tradgedy.

    This is one of the few series that plays out this way were I'm ok with it playing out as it did and I don't feel like it was just the author being darker and edgy and subversive and grim for no reason other then to do it cause they can and it sells and get's better reveiws form critics most of the time. That I feel there was genuien need for it to be this way narritively.
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Please note that there is not really a "typical" magical girl show. There's a lot of different magical girl shows and each has their own angles/distinctions. Unless we're taking about genre-definiting programs, like Sailor Moon or Precure, you aren't likely to get much of a "generic" title unless you search for something that is distinctly dull and generic.

    Magic Knight Rayearth is a pretty good show, although it does run long and walk into the fantasy genre as well.

    I have heard good things about Princess Tutu, but haven't seen it myself.

    If you're looking at Sailor Moon, then you can watch it online for free through official channels. Note that these are subtitles, not dubbed in English.

    Pretty Cure/Precure is a pretty good introduction to the whole magical girl genre. The first season or two is dubbed, although anything beyond that will be in (unofficial) subtitles. You could watch the first season, taking note that most anime these days is much better voice acted than that. The big problem is that all Precure titles are pretty much 52 episodes per season or so.

    I've heard good things about Cardcaptor Sakura, although I haven't seen it myself. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is perhaps about as much a subversion to magical girls as Madoka is, and has about as many mecha themes and its own distinct elements that don't make it representative. (Note: most magical girls shows don't involve "Friendshipping" opponents like that.)
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    <shrugs> I mean, Madoka was my first mahou shoujo show, and I don't feel as though I missed out on anything. I'm also in agreement with Terra when she says that it's not really a deconstruction, but that involves spoilery details.

    Princess Tutu should be fine; from what I hear, dark themes are not alien to mahou shoujo shows in the slightest.
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Sailor Moon (specifically the original english dub/edit) starts off with an entire kingdom at war and murdered, so no, it's not all that uncommon.

    And I agree that it would probably be better to just watch Madoka as its own show, rather than needing to compare it to other magical girl shows. It's basically only magical girl by definition, as the main point of the show is really something considerably different.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metahuman1 View Post
    Madoka is aimed at that demographic, but it's doing so cause unlike the others, it a deliberate subversion and deconstruction of the sub genera, and not one played for humor.
    I don't really watch any magical girl shows (does chaos;Head count?), but I enjoyed Puella Magi Madoka Magica immensely.

    If you want a strong grounding in the genre, it's probably not the show you want, but it's definitely worth recommending in any case.

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    What about the sasami ones from tenchi muyo? Iirc, they're:
    Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy
    Magical Project S
    Sasami: Magical Girls Club*

    Although I watched the last one, I don't remember what was in it. Which is not a good sign.
    One always wonders if a hole in your memory is because you forgot or because you drank brain bleach. It's probably not fanservicey though given the rating.

    There's also ojamajo doremi. Which has more slice of life elements.

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    I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with starting with PMMM. But then, that's what I did, so I'm biased. I also think that "deconstruction", i.e., being aware of what you are doing, is not a reason to avoid a show, or to place it outside the genre it's "deconstructing". In fact, if a show isn't at least a little self-aware, it'll probably be just plain boring.

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    It's not that you can't, it's that you don't really get the full deal.

    It's akin to reading Watchmen with out having ever read any super hero comics before. It's still really solidly done all around, but you'll have a better apprecition if you know something about super hero comics and have read some.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metahuman1 View Post
    It's not that you can't, it's that you don't really get the full deal.

    It's akin to reading Watchmen with out having ever read any super hero comics before. It's still really solidly done all around, but you'll have a better apprecition if you know something about super hero comics and have read some.
    The nice thing about watching a show critically is I can learn a lot about the genre by extrapolating from what the deconstruction/subversion is attempting to deconstruct/subvert. Beyond that, it's all references, and the same problem would apply coming at the genre from any other direction.

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    I would recommend Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. It's pretty good, with three seasons. There is only one fanservice scene I can remember in the first season, although it's pretty short and you can skip it. Other than that, it's pretty good show with decent action.

    As the series moves on, it starts to get away the magical girl genre, until later works (manga) don't even have magical girl in the title anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    And I agree that it would probably be better to just watch Madoka as its own show, rather than needing to compare it to other magical girl shows. It's basically only magical girl by definition, as the main point of the show is really something considerably different.
    I think I'd dispute this. The core point of Madoka the Series is that a heroine who has enough compassion can literally change reality itself by the power of love. The whole point of the show was Homura giving Madoka the metaphysical strength she needed to undo the Bad World and make the status quo something far closer to a typical mahou shoujo world.

    Basically, it's a story about Love literally saving the world.
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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Well, as Homura can attest,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonexx View Post
    I would recommend Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. It's pretty good, with three seasons. There is only one fanservice scene I can remember in the first season, although it's pretty short and you can skip it. Other than that, it's pretty good show with decent action.

    As the series moves on, it starts to get away the magical girl genre, until later works (manga) don't even have magical girl in the title anymore.
    You're forgetting the transformation sequences. If not for those I'd have recommended it myself, but they are sadly blatant, even if they become much less prolific starting with A's.
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    I assumed transformation sequences like that were pretty common across the genre. I might be remembering wrong though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonexx View Post
    I assumed transformation sequences like that were pretty common across the genre. I might be remembering wrong though.
    Older shows tend to have more Gaussian blur and heroines who have at least reached puberty. Although I don't know if that makes it better or worse now that I think about it.

    But seriously, I think the best thing to do is forget about the length restriction and watch Cardcaptor Sakura. Madoka draws a lot of specific references from there, particularly for the title character.
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    Okay look, if you want to watch a Magical Girl show for the purposes of grounding you against what PPMM is deconstructing, then you have to watch a Magical Girl show targeted towards GIRLS, not a Magical Girl show targetted towards OLD MEN and full of fanservice and shonen beat-em-ups and crap. When dealing with anime genres, you have to be careful of pitfalls like that.

    So, watch Card Captor Sakura. This is a Magical Girl show FOR GIRLS. If you're pressed for time, watch around 5-8 eps and you'll pretty much get the idea.
    You could also watch Sailor Moon, but it's longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MLai View Post
    Okay look, if you want to watch a Magical Girl show for the purposes of grounding you against what PPMM is deconstructing, then you have to watch a Magical Girl show targeted towards GIRLS, not a Magical Girl show targetted towards OLD MEN and full of fanservice and shonen beat-em-ups and crap. When dealing with anime genres, you have to be careful of pitfalls like that.

    So, watch Card Captor Sakura. This is a Magical Girl show FOR GIRLS. If you're pressed for time, watch around 5-8 eps and you'll pretty much get the idea.
    You could also watch Sailor Moon, but it's longer.
    Well it's an Urobuchi series. Some shounen beat-'em-up is going to be appropriate preparation.

    Which reminds me, a season of Pretty Cure might be worth a look. Both it and Madoka are written by people who never outgrew Kamen Rider.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    <shrugs> I mean, Madoka was my first mahou shoujo show, and I don't feel as though I missed out on anything. I'm also in agreement with Terra when she says that it's not really a deconstruction, but that involves spoilery details.
    Yeah, this was more or less my experience, other than a few half-remembered Sailor Moon episodes from rainy beach-trip days as a kid.

    Also, once you've seen PMMM, why not watch Steins;Gate?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Well it's an Urobuchi series. Some shounen beat-'em-up is going to be appropriate preparation.

    Which reminds me, a season of Pretty Cure might be worth a look. Both it and Madoka are written by people who never outgrew Kamen Rider.
    I'd second CCS, mostly because it's still a really good example of what Madoka is supposed to be subverting.

    If you want an Urobuchi series full of beat-em-up stuff then he's doing Kamen Rider right now. Looking at what he can do after Madoka with three times as many episodes has been ...interesting... to say the least. If nothing else, it's obvious to say he doesn't screw around unless he needs to. Pacing wise by episode 20 he's at where most shows take til 40 to arrive at now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    You're forgetting the transformation sequences. If not for those I'd have recommended it myself, but they are sadly blatant, even if they become much less prolific starting with A's.
    There actually isn't a transformation sequence in the first season after about episode 5. Then in A's there's two per character for the whole season, and one per character in StrikerS.

    They are blatant, but do remember that it was the first non-pornographic series Studio Seven Arcs ever did, and old habits are hard to break.


    (Really though, Nanoha becomes less and less of a magical girl show each season, and StrikerS is straight up military sci-fi with a plot that wouldn't have been far out of place in Ghost in the Shell: SAC)

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Closet_Skeleton's Avatar

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    Default Re: Recommend a first Magical Girl Show?

    Princess Tutu is good, I actually like it more than Madoka but I can't say for certain that it's 'better'. It isn't that dark, less characters die than in Sailor Moon (which actually has a high body count it just doesn't stick) and its a lot more in the formula of a regular show than Madoka is while being shorter than the 50 episode norm for kid's shows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
    Precure sometimes leans into self-parody though, so it might not be the best first choice.
    Precure is no more self-parody than Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon were, despite them in theory being too early in the genre to have anything to parody they were pretty tongue in cheek a lot of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Twelve episodes is exactly the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a.k.a. What Would Happen if James Cameron Made a Magical Girl Show.
    Nanoha isn't the worst show for loli fanservice but its still a loli fanservice show, mainly in that first season a lot of people would suggest is best skipped.

    Quote Originally Posted by MLai View Post
    So, watch Card Captor Sakura. This is a Magical Girl show FOR GIRLS. If you're pressed for time, watch around 5-8 eps and you'll pretty much get the idea.
    You could also watch Sailor Moon, but it's longer.
    Pretty Cure is for girls too. Can't actually find out what time of day Princess Tutu was broadcast at, only that it had scheduling issues which imply it had problems and wasn't mainstream.
    Last edited by Closet_Skeleton; 2014-06-13 at 04:41 AM.
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