Man, I love clickbait titles. I feel like I should just make a text file full of a bunch of clickbait titles since I’m usually against actually using them and that’d at least let me still enjoy them. Today’s topic, like a lot of topics for my editorials, comes from something someone asked me about a year ago and that I decided “Why not talk about it?” after I realized my initial answer to the question could have included a show I completely forgot about and elaborating on something as simple as a pitch for something that will probably never exist is fun. So, allow me to answer the question Anime Corps’ own editor asked me a year ago, “Is it possible to have a magical girl show without yuri undertones, if so what?”
I’m going to assume that most of the people here understand the question and if not, Google is your friend. Moving on, yuri in magical girl shows wasn’t something that I normally noticed to be so prevalent in the genre. It was usually just something I accepted, but after I got asked the question above, I realised why it’s such a common trend. Meaningful romantic sub-plots cannot happen between a dynamic character and a static character, or at least has yet to be done. The safest bet for you to create a romantic sub-plot that your audience to care about is to make between two main characters. It’s why Madoka Magica had the romance between Kyouko and Sayaka, why Fate/kalied liner Prisma Illya makes you consistently wonder if what you’re watching is legal, and in shows like Nichijou I wouldn’t be surprised if fewer people cared about the Misato and Sasahara character relationship than the one between Mio and Sasahara.
Romantic sub-plots have a habit of making themselves into every close to every single anime to the point where I can’t name any off of the top of my head that don’t have one. So, putting two and two together, if a ridiculously large amount of anime have romantic sub-plots in them, the safest way to make your sub-plot matter is to make it between main characters, and your entire main cast is females, yuri undertones is the safest way to go. If you want a magical girl anime with romance of any kind in it, most of the time it will have yuri undertones. Now, before we dive into the show that I completely forgot about when I first answered this question, let’s dive into my initial answer a bit.
My first answer to the question at hand was that making a magical girl show without yuri undertones was far from impossible, but that if you wanted one without yuri undertones, you had two options. One, make a show without any romance at all, or two, make a show where the main character was romantically interested in a static male character. The first obviously sounded better, since having a main character latched to a static character would likely only weaken it (if you’re able to pull it off, though, I commend you), and could be done in various ways. In particular, the way I mentioned off the top of my head was having a show that focused on either one or a small group of magical girls fighting for something morally wrong and having them deal with it despite being incredibly flawed people. The more I thought about it, the more I realised how hard that particular idea would be just to write let alone actually make work as an anime, but it still seemed cool at the moment and I would still watch it if it became a thing. It’d be really interesting to see more magical girl shows that focused on the inner destruction of a young girl fighting because she has to, and following a rhythm like that while purely focusing on the despair that all of the girls slowly fall into with no romantic sub-plot to make the characters feel less alone would be amazing.
Now onto the show I totally forgot existed for the longest amount of time, likely a guilty pleasure of mine that I enjoyed way more than I should have, Shugo Chara. This massive 102 episode series is, at least to me, the best example of a magical girl show without yuri undertones. Never mind that it’s a PG show or that it could be argued that the show wasn’t exactly a magical girl show, because at least to me it was. All of the main and most powerful or important main protagonists were female and the focus was on a magical girl, so to me it’s a magical girl show. What made this show work as a magical girl show without yuri undertones was that the main female character has to romantic interests, one on one of the main male villains and another on one of the main protagonists and magical boy. I would honestly be surprised if throughout the entire thing anyone found a moment of yuri being implied and I honestly think that was one of the best ways to do it while still keeping the usual magical girl formula. However, this question is very interesting and while this is my opinion on the matter, I would love to hear what everyone else thinks about this.
Slightly late post because I like sleeping too much. My original plan this morning was to wake up, take care of my dogs, then sit down and write this post so it would be out on time, but instead after taking care of my dogs I lied back down and went to sleep. Anyways, thank you all so much for reading and as always if you’d like to see what I’m up to while I’m not doing my part for this blog feel free to follow me on Twitter! I’ll be back next Friday!
The featured image for this post was drawn by pixiv artist のう.