The Paradoxical “Magical Girl” : Female Empowerment in Magical Girl Anime

Anime (アニメ) is the Japanese short hand word for animation (アニメーションanimēshon). It is one of Japan's most influential exports, with the anime industry worth over 18 billion-dollars (The Association of Japanese Animations) The market reach is massive on a national scale, and notable on a global scale. As a form of mass media, it reinforces and perpetuates the social norms and ideologies of its native environment and is therefore worthy of critical analysis, especially pertinent as it is increasingly consumed abroad. This thesis aims to investigate representations of gender within magical girl anime (魔法少女 mahō shōjo), a subgenre of shōjo1 ('girl's anime'), in which young heroines harness magical powers to fight evil and save the world. Magical girl anime could be a highly positive influence on young women that emphasizes the importance of taking control of one's destiny and overcoming obstacles. However, the reoccurring themes such as eroticism, costuming, and self-sacrifice resultantly send mixed signals. I argue that the inclusion of these tropes, which appeal to the male gaze and adult viewership, within this empowerment fantasy subgenre reflects a negotiation of gender roles reflective of changing Japanese hegemonic femininity.

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Author Information
Nicole Ann Chan, New York University Shanghai, China

Paper Information Conference: MediAsia2018
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies, Gender and Communication

Added on Friday, July 27th, 2018
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Posted by amp21