Translator, artist, and podcaster Ayumi Shinozaki hosts the Sparkleside Chats with Magical Girl Ayu podcast, where she talks about Japan’s magical girl genre, its influence on pop culture worldwide, and traces the genre’s history and conventions to its earliest source of inspiration. Whether you’re a magical girl fan or new to the party, her informative and engaging podcast is a must hear.
Japan’s magical girl genre, known as majokko (little witch in Japanese) until the ’80s, contains a vast archive of popular series and influences. The genre usually involves a young heroine who can transform into an alter ego with extraordinary abilities. Sally the Witch (1966), the first magical girl anime, has led to a plethora of series about girls who use their magic powers to help others and fight evil forces. But before Sally the Witch, Osamu Tezuka’s manga Princess Knight (1953) is considered the spark for the idea of a magical girl. Sailor Moon, one of the most well-known and internationally-acclaimed anime, has influenced creators from Western animation to webcomics.
The first few episodes of Ayumi’s podcast goes back to the origins of the magical girl genre. As a long-time magical girl fan myself, I’ve learned so much about the genre’s history from the podcast, even its original influence from Western films and TV shows like I Married A Witch. I haven’t even heard about some of the anime mentioned and discussed.
Ayumi also talks with creators of magical girl webcomics, fan works, and magical girl-inspired content. Some of those featured creators include Kata Kane (creator of the webcomic Altar Girl) and Renie Jesanis (creator of the webcomic Kate Blast!). Plus, Ayumi does watch-along commentaries of magical girl anime like Blue Reflection Ray and Fairy Ranmaru. If you’ve always wanted to get into magical girl anime but don’t know where to start with its history or what to watch, I highly recommend this podcast.
Ayumi currently lives in Japan. She’s open to art commissions. You can listen to Sparkleside Chats with Magical Girl Ayu on available platforms here.
If you’re interested in other magical girl podcasts, check out Victoria L. Johnson’s Sailor Moon Fan Club Podcast. For more podcast recommendations, check out this tag. For other recommended media, browse through this tag.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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