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Magical Girls, Sailor Moon & Bewitched

Infodump, because I'm not sure what to do with all of this. Info gathered from Google, and people on my DW circle.

I looked up an article in the AnimaniA 3/2000, which cited "Sally the Witch" as the first magical girl. Sailor Moon is presented as a relatively recent example of the genre, and not as the source of it (-> "Minky Momo", "Creamy Mami" and others during the majoko boom in the 80s). Sailor Moon is only credited with introducing a team of magical girls instead of a single heroine. It was also one of the first series to have protagonists older than 12.
(Ein Hauch von Magie… - Magical Girls im Anime by Stefanie Holzer in AnimaniA 3/2000, pages 12 - 19)
No mention of Bewitched.


According to the magical girl article, the genre has the following markers:
- heroine is ages 10 - 12
- heroine was either born in a magical realm she had to leave or a Chosen One born in our world
- heroine owns magical object that helps her use her magic
- heroine transforms, often into a teenager or young woman
- heroine owns a mascot (talking animal, preferably)
- heroine can die over the course of the story, but she generally will get better.
Apparently that's all supposed to be some sort of metaphor for growing up and a coming of age story. Or something.
Now, I think you can make a case for "Sally the Witch" being inspired by "Bewitched", but I'm not sure if the classical magical girl elements are that inspired by the series. I haven't seen an episode in close to twenty years, but I seem to remember a heroine that was closer to MILF than tween.


The first magical girl anime, Sally the Witch, was influenced by Bewitched, yes. But Sally the Witch was not the first magical girl series. That was Secret Akko-chan or something like that. And as for the henshin sequence, that was probably introduced by Cutie Honey because I don't think the first two had those but I'm not sure. Cutie Honey, at least, introduced the idea of the henshin sequence involving the girls getting naked though because I recall that being scandalous at the time it came out.

--Anenko 15:34, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

I've heard about Bewitched being the origin too. It was certainly insanely popular in Japan at one time. Sailor Moon is notable because it was the unholy love child of magical girl series and sentai series, not because it introduced the magical girl concept. Bewitched isn't about a teenage girl, but I can see the connection: talking animals (Nick at Nite once ran a Betwitched marathon of just the talking animals episodes!), silly transformations, cutesy gestures that trigger spells, having to keep a guy in the dark about what's going on, etc. Plus it has a very domestic focus, which is common in a lot of magical girl stuff. I don't know if anyone has reputable citations for it being the inspiration though. Franzeska 21:32, 24 May 2011 (UTC)