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Magic, Shōjo, and Metamorphosis 151These two programs, as well as many of their successors, adapt ideological models ofgender from prewar and postwar periods, a rather conservative approach against thepotentially subversive symbolism of magic in the era of the women’s liberation movement.The meaning of magic encompasses contesting ideas of what women can andshould do, which are split between the adolescent freedom from social restrictions andthe compulsory path leading to female domestic work and community service. The keycomponent of the genre is the transience of life as a magical girl, which endorses thepremise that the magical power is condoned as far as it is merely an interim period forenjoying shōjo-ness before undertaking female duties. The almost total absence of theheroine’s serious pursuit of romance or any self-awareness of sexuality further strengthensthe idea that being a magical girl is a temporary phase of gender vacuum. These earlymagical girl programs embody antagonisms between traditional gender expectations andemerging concepts of women’s power. But unlike American counterparts in which powerand femininity were negotiated through female adulthood, the magical girl programsstrictly relegated contexts of power into the unique status of shōjo stamped with anexpiration date, thereby maintaining the traditional meaning of marriage unchanged.NEW SHŌJO CULTURE AND AESTHETICS OF ANIME VIEWING:THE 1980S EMERGENCE OF OTAKUIn the 1970s, following the success of Sally and Akko-chan, Tōei continued toproduce magical girl anime with partial adjustments and improvements, ranging frommelodramatic romance to action comedy, with the heroines using magic, physicalstrength, or technological extrasensory power, but the genre overall declined steadily.Contrary to Tōei’s relatively ascetic portrayals of girls’ romance and sexuality, however,most successful magical girl anime from the 1970s emerged from test productions invitinga wider range of viewers to this feminine genre, including Mysterious Merumo (FushiginaMerumo, 1971–72), Cutey Honey (Kyūtī Hanī, 1973–74), and Meg the Witch(Majokko Megu-chan, 1974–75). Regardless of the content or intent, they all shared incommon the almost aggressive visual portrayal of the female body, often laboriouslyinvested in animation of female flesh and its instant metamorphosis into a seductiveadult body. Although Susan Napier (2005, 73–74) rightly discusses Cutey Honey as pornographicanime, it is also important to note that Honey and its successors like Meg wereoriginally intended for mostly preteen girls. These three series extrapolated the magicalgirl genre toward a form of visual pleasure centered on the heroine’s erotic charm andsexual empowerment amplified by the use of magic.The magical girl genre’s downfall in the 1970s was not the sole reason for its shifttoward sexually provocative visuals that invite male and older female viewers. Apartfrom the anime industry, comics for girls, known as shōjo manga, became increasinglypopular and original, stimulated by the emergence of new narrative techniques and innovativestorylines. Some of these sprouting manga quickly turned into the most populartelevision animation, including Candy Candy (1976–79), Aim for Ace! (Ēsu o nerae!,1973–74, 1978–79), and Here Comes Haikara-san (Haikara-san ga tōru, 1978–79).These embodied the first media-crossing outburst of shōjo manga for young womenwritten by young women, through which girls pursued the new “self” within personal

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