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Animating the SpiritedJourneys and Transformations$
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Tze-yue G. Hu, Masao Yokota, and Gyongyi Horvath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826268

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826268.001.0001

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Heaven and Earth

Heaven and Earth

Traditional Sources of the Dual Identities of Anime Heroines

(p.66) Heaven and Earth
Animating the Spirited

Raz Greenberg

University Press of Mississippi

One of the most famous archetypes of heroines in Japanese anime is that of the magical girl—a girl who holds the dual identity of both an earthly being (usually a regular schoolgirl) and a heavenly being (a super-powered girl, usually on a mission against sinister beings). While seemingly corresponding with the Western genre of superheroes, and knowingly drawing inspiration from American fantasy sitcoms of the 1960s such as "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie", the roots of the magical girl genre go deeper into traditional Japanese culture (for example, the Taketori monogatari and goddess of creation, Izanami). The author traces the divide between the earthly and heavenly identities of many anime heroines by examining the major common elements found in three film genres—adventure (Hayao Miyazaki's 1986 film "Castle in the Sky"), science fiction (Mamoru Oshii's 1995 film "Ghost in the Shell"), and historical drama (Satoshi Kon's 2001 film "Millennium Actress").

Keywords:   anime, magical girl heroine, goddess, Taketori monogatari, dual identities

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