If you've ever caught an episode of Sailor Moon, you know what to expect from the magical girl anime sub-genre: sparkling transformations, gloriously named attacks, and short skirted, easily recognizable costumes adorned with colorful bows. Magical Girl Ore, a new anime series airing this spring, absolutely and hilariously skewers all of your expectations and then chews them up and spits them out.
Magical Girl Ore (or "Magical Girl Me") introduces us to young Saki Uno, who dreams of being an idol. Unfortunately, she's not a very good performer, although she and her BFF singing partner Sakuyo Mikage certainly give it their all. One day, everything changes---as it usually does in anime---when Saki discovers that her mother is a magical, well, mom. But over the years the magical girl life has caught up with her and her aching back, so she's ready to pass the mantle on to her daughter.
And this is where things start to get weird.
Her mother's magical sidekick, Kokoro-chan, isn't a cute creature with wings or a slightly snarky black cat, but a yakuza with a bit of a dirty mouth and a penchant for violence. When overly muscular teddy bears (stay with me here) kidnap the object of Saki's affections, it's time to transform and save him. But it doesn't go the way Saki thinks, and the sparkles and glitter reveal a very tall, very buff... dude. In a very skimpy outfit.
Magical Girl Ore's golden staff, his weapon of choice, isn't used for complicated, spinning magical attacks, but to simply bash in the heads of a multitude of baddies. Blood flies everywhere in this show, much to Saki's dismay and Kokoro-chan's delight.
Things get even more complicated somehow when Saki's BFF reveals that she has a crush on Saki. Forget any subtext or subtle hints of something beyond friendship between these magical girls; Sakuyo is clear in her feelings and transforms into a quite handsome man herself (himself?) to come to Saki's rescue.
In fact, there's nothing subtle at all about Magical Girl Ore, and that's its real magic. From classics like Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura to more recent series like Pretty Cure, it's easy to pick out the elements of the sub-genre that this new series is poking fun at. The show isn't even afraid to break the fourth wall, promising the ubiquitous vacation and hot springs episodes no magical girl series would be complete without.
Magical Girl Ore is airing simultaneously this spring on Tuesdays on Crunchyroll in Japan and in the U.S.
And if you're intrigued by the magical guy idea, but maybe with a little less craziness, be sure to pick up the miniseries Power Up. The short comic book series by Kate Leth features another unconventional magical team on a mission to stop the bad guys. Power Up isn't a parody like Magical Girl Ore, but instead shows the reader you don't have to look like the typical superhero or magical girl to save the day.
Who's your favorite magical girl (or magical guy)? Tell us in the comments.
Images: Crunchyroll / Pierott and Scholastic
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