[The Magical Girlfriend] is the genre of adolescent male wish fulfillment…
It struck me as a sort of wrong statement. I mean, look over the reviews we had discussing this. I don’t want to call the female protagonists willfull. That, to me, implies that there is something wrong with them wanting their own way. However each of of them will have their own way and are at time perfectly willing to embarrass their beloveds while doing so. 1
Which is, I would think, closer to a positive female role model. Think of all those female characters back in the day who passively gave up their hopes and dreams the moment the “right” man came into their lives. While what they wanted might have changed, they remain more independently minded that the wilting maids of yore.
In fact, were I feeling like pointing to an “adolescent male wish fulfillment” sort of fantasy, I’d go directly to the Harem sub-genre (I would not pass Go, and would not collect $200). A slew of girls madly in love with one guy? Who wouldn’t love that? Hell, I’m an adult and that seems pretty damn swell to me.
Of course, I’m a very juvenile adult, but that is merely a technicality and should not be used to discount my point.
Many magical girlfriends are considered by both fans and critics of the genre to be idealizations of woman-kind…
Ideal women have absolute dedication to whatever work they do and for whomever they have great affection, although depending on the character’s actual talents this can make for anything from ‘quite capable’ to ‘well-meaning klutz’. They usually have calm, gentle and demure personalities. They generally suppress selfish desires in favor of desiring good for others.
Ideal women are always naive or innocent, sometimes explained by the girlfriends origins which do not allow for much experience with mainstream life… Ideal women are emotionally insightful, seeing the good in others when most wouldn’t and forgiving their shortcomings
Ideal women are examples of moe girls in anime. As such, ideal girlfriends are not overly independent. They are proper Japanese women typically will not initiate romantic action themselves except in a delicate or indirect manner.
Which, needless to say, explains the whole “adolescent male wish fulfillment” right there, doesn’t it?
So. If we were to consider Wikipedia’s take on Magical Girlfriends accurate, what would that make my choices for this series? Surely none of them could be considered “ideal”, at least in the defined terms. What would we call them, then?
Every single one of these stories, which I more or less praise without too many reservations, would be considered works that poke fun at the whole Magical Girlfriend sub-genre.
I don’t quite agree with this (surprise!). Mainly because I don’t think the Magical Girlfriend sub-genre is purely a Japanese phenomenon. I think if you look at the big picture, you’ll see it’s all a magical woman entering a mundane man’s life and the changes that such an occurrence causes. That in one you have an “ideal” woman and in another you don’t should never come into deciding these things. You wouldn’t slap every vampire or werewolf story with a Horror label, would you? Of course not.
Right or wrong, the Magical Girlfriend sub-genre has been running through speculative fiction for quite some time, and will, no doubt, continue unabated. It’s something I do enjoy a great deal.
Adolescent wish fantasy or not.
1 On reflection, this comment may well slander Jennifer… but let’s ignore that a moment and press on, shall we?
Assuming you read this footnote, of course…