The identical heroines of the two Fairy Princess Minky Momo TV series (1982, 1991), easily the biggest non-Pierrot magical girl series of the 80s. Momo stands distinct from the Toei magical girls that preceded her: Toei’s magical girls (as noted yesterday) draw from European fantasy and are named with English syllabary (Sally, Meg, Lalabel, Chappy), while Minky Momo is a sugar-coated reimagining of the Japanese tale of Momotaro. Where Momotaro comes to earth from heaven and becomes the child of an earthly couple, so does Momo (with the land of dreams in the sky taking the place of heaven), and both embark on their adventures accompanied by a dog, bird and monkey. Throughout the 70s and early 80s, girls’ programming based on Western stories was immensely popular: the years before Minky Momo saw shoujo anime based on Louisa May Alcott, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Helen Keller, L.M Montgomery, Anne Frank and more. However, around 1980-1981 there was a small resurgence of Japanese-based science fiction and fantasy anime: the later chapters of Leiji Matsumoto’s nationalist epic Space Battleship Yamato were probably the most prominent, but Studio Pierrot’s Urusei Yatsura (Creamy Mami’s spiritual mother) also figures. One of the Doraemon films in 1981 was based on the Momotaro story as well. Minky Momo continues this theme. Following Momo, Pierrot’s magical girl series often had a more Japanese flavor (though this can probably also be attributed to the Urusei Yatsura influence)— in Magical Fairy Persia, for instance, the heroine is helped by a trio of kappa.
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