Blog Spotlight: Deus Ex Magical Girl

Saturday , 10, June 2017 13 Comments

Watch the blogger rip this series a new one.

It’s not every day you find a geek culture blog with unique insights into a given genre. While any blogger should be commended for having a go at it in the first place, some blogs stand head and shoulders above the rest.

One of those blogs is Deus Ex Magical Girl, a blog on the “magical girl” genre of anime. It is packed with top-notch analysis that nonetheless respects the genre as it is, not as the blogger wishes it was.

Magical girls are a well-known element of the anime landscape; most people see them as the transforming superheroines popularized by the series Sailor Moon in the 90s. However, before that series,* the typical magical girl was a witch who was trying to prove herself in the ordinary world, using her magic to help her get by; keep in mind that the genre as a whole was inspired by the American TV series Bewitched.

The Deus Ex Magical Girl blog goes in depth with the series it analyzes, teasing out major themes in what appear to be saccharine children’s entertainment. For example, take a look at this review of Shugo Chara — it’s a thing of beauty and the very post that made me see that this blogger knew his stuff. However, that is not the only good content he has; he also does a masterful job pointing out major problems with another series called Cardcaptor Sakura — according to him, the show is popular with lolicons even though it has no sexualized content.

Not content to criticize from the sidelines, the blogger has also written a magical girl novel called Jake and the Dynamo, which can be read here as of this posting. I haven’t read past the first chapter since it’s not my cup of tea, but I’m sure someone else might like it.

All in all, this site is a keeper. Go take a look today — you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.

* Yes, I know about Cutey Honey, though I haven’t seen it.

13 Comments
  • Anthony says:

    Interestingly, your “proto magical girl” type fits Kiki of “Kiki’s Delivery Service” perfectly. I never really thought of the movie that way before.

    Huh.

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      Actually, I believe recalling that style of magical girl was the movie’s aim (though I haven’t seen it.)

    • Nathan says:

      The cute witch is an older version of the magical girl that now goes unnoticed compared to the pretty warrior archetype of Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure, and Nanoha. Kiki does fit this older mode but without the dress-up expected of a magical girl.

    • The “cute witch,” which is the original magical girl type, is still around, though it has been largely supplanted by the magical girl warrior.

      Whether Sailor Moon or Cutie Honey is the first magical girl warrior depends on whom you ask. Cutie Honey was something of an aberration, and wasn’t recognized as a magical girl series until later, though it had an immediate influence on the genre (mostly in its use of nudity during transformation). Sailor Moon draws on it heavily and is unambiguously a magical girl series, but also does a genre-mashup with the popular superhero team shows, such as what in the West became Power Rangers. Sailor Moon was so hugely influential that a lot of viewers now don’t even recognize that it was a mashup.

  • […] Today on the Castalia House blog, I spotlight Deus Ex Magical Girl, an anime blog focused on the magical girl genre. That blog is worth looking at juse for the takedown of Cardcaptor Sakura, though it has other excellent content as well. […]

  • Nathan says:

    Cardcaptor Sakura started out being popular in a “daughter/sister I’ll never have” way. Like other aspects of moe, this ideal relationship–not the show–got sexualized pretty quickly. (Miyazaki would express his frustration with how this tendency, among many comments condemning the otaku-ization of anime.).

    It doesn’t help that the CCS manga is written by a quartet of proto-fujoshi who never pass up a chance to make a relationship that thumbs its nose at conventional mores. (But that is a rant for another time and another blog.)

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      I have noticed that CLAMP tends toward weirdness. However, they never seem to do it in a heavy-handed SJW way.

      • Nathan says:

        We can disagree about the heavy-handed, as every one of CLAMP’s works showcases at least one pair of lovers reaching across at least one social barrier. They just do it with a subtlety not seen in many contemporary works. The characters and entertainment are placed before the message, although CLAMP will still make sure to get their…stuff…in.

    • Proto-fujoshi? I think CLAMP went full fujoshi with Legal Drug.

      Most of their series are, in terms of imagery, pretty tame, but they proved with Chobits that they could crank up the raunch when they feel like it. That series is the reason somebody needs to invent brain bleach.

  • Mr Tines says:

    That Cardcaptor Sakura has (in common with many other CLAMP titles) a lot of potentially questionable relationships was noted and lampooned long ago at http://tsunamichannel.sakura.ne.jp/index.php?date=2003-05-05 where it is characterised as “the H-est anime available in the US”.

  • Thanks for taking a look at my humble blog (and humble novel). You have just quadrupled my traffic.

  • […] was kind enough to point out that deus ex magical girl has been featured on the Hugo-nominated Castalia House Blog, which is the official organ of an indie publishing house that has become an eclectic haven for […]

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