I decided I should at least mention one of the first Japanese media I was exposed to, and truly the first one I loved.
Allow me to talk about
Cardcaptor Sakura is a manga and anime created by CLAMP, animated by Madhouse. The manga ran from 1996 to 2000, and the anime from 1998 to 2000.
This is the story of a young girl by name of Sakura Kinomoto, who finds a magic book in her father's library. Within is contianed a deck of cards and, after fiddling with it, she accidentally uses the magic within them and scatters them around her city.
Once released, and at a loss of what happened, a small teddy-bear-esque creature emerges from the book, introduces himself as Kerberos, the guardian of the book, and explains to her that her actions released Clow Cards, powerful semi-independent magical beings, into the world, and she must collect them to avoid a great catastrophe.
|Terrifying guardian, that Kerberos. Nicknamed Kero because his cute appearance doesn't fit the imposing name.|
To be able to capture the cards, however, Sakura must use a special magic staf that Kero teaches her how to summon. With it, she can use the magic of any cards she has already captured, such as the card she accidentally used to release the others: Windy.
From that point on, the show has the structure of Sakura living her life, stumbling upon another card, and her struggles to capture it without being found out by anyone else.
Over the course of the story, Sakura's best friend, Tomoyo Daidouji, finds out about her abilities and mission, and volunteers to record it for posterity, make her outfits for each card she has to capture and develop a choreography for her to perform every time she summons her staff.
|Some of the outfits. There is almost one per episode of the anime!|
I want to recommend this because of several reasons, chiefly among them how much of a role model Sakura can be. She's a hard working student, helps at home, is responsible for her actions and is a very good and faithful friend.
The story is simple enough, though it does have some twists when it nears the end of the first season that are sure to keep you on your toes!
The artstyle is cute, the characters are relatable, the character interactions are believable, the action scenes are well done, and in general this is a show that I can't recommend enough.
There is one problematic issue with a relationship between a student and a teacher that is dealt with in a more tasteful way in the manga than in the anime, but other than that little point, this story is spotless.
If you like Magical Girl shows, give this one a try!
For the almost-archetypical Magical Girl show, give Sailor Moon a try. For a deconstruction of the genre, there is the VERY dark Sailor Nothing, and for an examination of the genre there's Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I hope you enjoy it, and that you have a fantastic week!
See you next time, and keep on dreaming!