Why Magical Girl anime is difficult to market in the US

The Magical Girl genre has long since become one of the many staples associated with anime, so much so that it is frequently parodied by not only other anime, but Western cartoons as well. Despite this, very few magical girl series have made their way into the mainstream. It’s certainly not because the industry has been churning out less magical girl anime, but rather that Western publishers seem reluctant to localize most of it.

This is a problem that has been perpetuated not only in anime, but in the animation industry in general for many years. Shows with a male demographic will almost always receive preference over those geared toward girls. The few that are made with a female demographic in mind tend to go to great lengths to appeal to a male audience as well, such as changing the title to focus less on the female lead (i.e. changing miraculous ladybug for The Adventures of Miraculous Ladybug and Cat Noir) or elevate a male character to a supporting lead position.

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One of the best known anime that takes the above practice seriously is Cardcaptor Sakura. When it was first released in English in the West, its title was changed to card catchers. This name change accomplished two things: it put less emphasis on the female lead, and it gave more prominence to a male character. In the original series, Sakura is the only character to be given the title “Cardcaptor”. In Nelvana’s English dub, it is not only Sakura who is given this title, but also Syaoran (renamed Lee in the dub).

Lee also transitions from supporting character to co-star status, again to appeal to the male demographic. His romance with Sakura is completely scrapped, and all the episodes that focused on the more mundane aspects of the series were removed entirely in favor of more action-based storylines. In short, Nelvana transformed this classic shoujo anime into a shounen series with a female lead.

Every few years, popular children’s anime aimed at boys will get a new iteration with an entirely new cast. Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh Y beyblades are some of the most popular that come to mind. Many of these have found their way to broadcast networks in the west; in fact, the latest iteration of beyblades is currently airing on Disney XD. The same treatment has been given to many popular children’s anime aimed at girls, ranging from magical girl anime to idol anime. However, most of these long-running franchises never made it to Western television.

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It would be understandable if such programs weren’t successful, but many of them have proven popular enough to keep running for several decades. A good example is nice cure, a long-running magical girl anime that has been around for over 20 years. It is one of Toei Animation’s most popular properties, rivaling even sailor moon in terms of cultural impact in their country of origin. Despite its huge success, only two of the series within this storied franchise have been selected for English localization.

the original series, futari wa pretty cure, was picked up by several companies including Funimation, 4Kids, and YTV. Only YTV has broadcast the show on television, but because it is a Canadian broadcast channel, this means futari wa pretty cure it was never shown in the United States. However, it is still available to stream on Prime Video and Hulu.

Doki Doki Pretty Cure was picked up by Hasbro and dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment. It was renamed to slightly more aggressive. brightness force and is currently available to stream on Netflix. Like most early 2000s children’s anime, the story was heavily cut and edited to remove any explicit references to Japanese culture, as well as material considered too “mature” for its intended audience, such as references to the death. As I write these lines, this was the last nice cure anime will be officially dubbed in English. While Crunchyroll has started streaming the most recent entries in the franchise, no other company has attempted to dub it or market it to a Western audience.

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While shoujo anime hasn’t had as much trouble finding an audience in the west, you’d be hard-pressed to find such shows airing on network television. Toonami has aired a few female-led shows in the past, but none were explicitly made with a female audience in mind. After the success of sailor moon4Kids made some attempts to tap into the magical girl market by picking up Tokyo Mew Meweither Mew Mew Power as it is known in the West.

He found some level of success, but not to the same degree as sailor moon. Another attempt was made with another Toei Animation property, ojamajo doremiwhich predictably received a new Westernized name: magic doremi. It proved even less successful and suffered from consistently low ratings. 4Kids never finished airing the entire series, with the last 25 episodes going directly to the network’s website. 4Kids also won the rights to futari wa pretty curebut never released any episodes before another distributor eventually took over the series.

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The failure of said anime can be attributed to a number of things, none of which can be attributed to the shows themselves, but to poor management on the part of the companies that distribute them. magic doremi it aired at 7:30 a.m., too early in the morning for most kids to want to tune in on a Saturday.

card catchers received a strong reaction from fans of the source material. When Pioneer obtained the rights to distribute the original series on home video, completely unedited and uncut in the original Japanese dub, the secondary DVDs outsold the dub-only DVDs by over 10,000 units. Similarly, many of a long time nice cure fans responded negatively to Hasbro’s decisions to edit and westernize the English dub for brightness force — a practice that is no longer considered acceptable today. Even the English dubs from people like beyblades keep the original Japanese names and references intact.

It really is a shame that more companies are not willing to put more time and interest into anime aimed at girls. If they just put the same amount of effort into marketing programs as they do with Bakugan either Pokemon, there is a definite success. There is a plethora of magical girls and shoujo anime that will never be exported as a result. For now, fans of magical girls will have to content themselves with streaming the latest version of nice cure Subtitled

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