Otaku USA Magazine
Before I Become a Magical Girl, I Have Some Conditions

Popular magical girl Madoka Kaname

You ever just wish a compact would fall out of the sky and bonk you on the head so you could become a magical girl? Same. I left the target age of 14 in the dust long ago, but hey. Crazy things can happen. If Minky Momo and Creamy Mami can grow up when they transform, surely age isn’t all that much of a consideration when you go into the mahou shoujo lifestyle. But… there are others.

As much as I want to wear a cute dress and blow up entire city blocks with the power of love, I’ve seen enough anime to know what can happen. And if I were ever to have that kind of opportunity open to me, I’d have some conditions first. Like a lot of conditions.


I Need to Meet the Mascots

Nagisa, Mepple, Mipple, Honoka - Futari wa PreCure

In my experience, magical girl mascots are pretty cute and harmless. They’re like witches’ familiars: supernatural companion critters who offer assists. PreCure is absolutely full of them, each with their own weird verbal tics. Sailor Moon has her cats, and there’s a plethora of weirdly cute aliens filling out the ranks. But “cute” is not enough for me anymore. “Cute” means nothing.

Are these mascots actually friendly and helpful? Do they understand (or at least want to understand) basic human emotions? Do they eat entropy or not? The basics.


Let Me Inspect the Henshin Items

Henshin items

Every magical girl needs her cool brooch or ring or pen. Or tambourine. Or whatever, they gets pretty wild once marketing gets involved. I’m here for whatever. But I need to have a good long look at this thing first. And any weapons. Basically if it is unfamiliar magic tech, I want to pre-screen it.

My standards are pretty understandable, I think. No unreasonable body modifications. My definition of “unreasonable” includes (but is not limited to): putting my soul inside an egg, slowly killing me, slowly turning me into a giant floating cog monster… I’m sure there are others. Let me come back to this.


Is It Suffering? You Have to Tell Me If It’s Suffering

Mami and death

Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t actually go into every new encounter assuming it’s going to be horrific. I don’t think being a magical girl is going to be a walk in the park — usually there’s some sort of world-ending terror on the line. And maybe my boyfriend and I died tragically on the moon 1,000 years ago. But outside of that, I need transparency.

Mainly: does this operation directly benefit from or hinge on my unhappiness? I can get my butt kicked by a monster. But no being alien food, no being held to the whims of a crazy author… Again, I’ll add more later.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never gotten my magical girl compact — I sound pretty demanding. Would you be willing to endure suffering for magic powers?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.