Fanart Friday returns, but we know not to be super-embarrassing about how awesome you are when we introduce you to friends. Last week, we celebrated two and a half years of Fanart Friday with our Spring Recap, but this week we're back to fresh material with a look at the "Magical Girlfriend/Magical Boyfriend"-type character!
I'm not even kidding when I say this installment is the perfect companion to Plain as Folk Edition--usually a generic protagonist ends up being the love interest to someone much, much more interesting--and usually that person isn't entirely human. (Just to clarify, actual magic isn't a necessity this time around.) From aliens to robots to gods and goddesses, these men and women are often too good to be true, which is why I have no freakin' clue why they always go for the most boring man or woman on Earth. Whatever--let's get started!
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Despite seeing this trope for years, the first time I became acutely aware of it was in Chobits, where (of course) all-too-average college student Hideki finds the perfect girl... who just so happens to be a super-advanced robot with the mentality of a child. Smooth, dude. Real smooth.
Of course, this can also be played with. In The Legend of Korra, Mako is a very capable character, but he just so happens to be romancing main character Korra, "the bridge between our world and the spirit world, the Avatar." He may be special, but she's much more special.
It can even be handled in a more low-key format, like the economics-focused Spice and Wolf. Holo is a harvest spirit, and you have no idea how much faster problems would be resolved in Spice and Wolf if she was more liberal with her ability to transform into a minivan-sized wolf.
Really, the purest example of (and one of the first, if not the first) "magical girlfriend" is Belldandy from Ah my Goddess, who gives meaning to boring Keiichi's life. Lady, you're a goddess. Go for the Chris Hemsworth type, not the Michael Cera type.
by 宮居 千
Holy crap, was Arcueid always this, uh... (think of a good way to put it) um... (still thinking) er... (LOADING 87%) breastastic (nailed it)? Because this is not how I remember her from Tsukihime. Anyways, if I remember right, Arcueid is some kind of vampire princess, and has a reappearing castle much like Dracula's own Castlevania.
It's not always female characters who get put in this role, either--sometimes the guy is so fabulously awesome that he completely overshadows the female characters, even in relatively set-in-reality titles. In Engaged to the Unidentified, Hakuya is shy, but kind. Cool and aloof, but he never goes too far. It's almost like he's the lead in a shoujo series, honestly.
Maybe it's just the recent high off of Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster, or it's these ginormous ad banners that have Tidus and Yuna staring soulfully into my eyes all day (the real reason is that a reader requested them), but this is that rare case where both halves of the relationship are pretty "magical" and "exotic" to each other. Tidus is from a far-off, long-gone land and is a happy-go-lucky dipshit who openly questions Yevon's teachings (read: magical-world equivalent of a "bad boy," I guess). Yuna is the magical-world equivalent of Mandy Moore's character in A Walk to Remember, only she summons gigantic dragons. They're perfect for each other.
I'm gonna avoid my usual Negima jokes about shotas (for once) to say that Negi Springfield is one of the most hilarious(ly illegal) magical boyfriends. Half the hijinx he gets into can easily be handwaved by "he's just a kid, he doesn't know any better!" and you can add to the fact that he has like twenty possible love/crush interests to cycle through as the story demands.
Much as I enjoy Howl's Moving Castle, it's very hard to watch it in Japanese, because Christian Bale plays Howl in the English dub. But it's also difficult to watch it in English, because I keep hoping he'll do the Bat-voice. THIS ISN'T A CARRRRRRR
I didn't get far enough into Guilty Crown to find out exactly what makes Inori so magical, but maybe I should give it another shot. I dunno, despite the jaw-dropping animation, the show just didn't have anything to really keep me hooked.
Eureka Seven's Eureka, on the other hand, is an alien, so her weird inhumanness is considered cute and exotic. I guess. I dunno, I never found Spock particularly attractive, but different strokes for different folks. Also, I do love how Eureka Seven's mechs are called LFOs, because New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, etc.
Quite literally the definition of a "magical girlfriend," Witch Craft Works' Kagari is a hell of a lot cooler than her beau, and the rest of the school knows it. I did kind of hope that Kagari would set her more aggressive fangirls on fire in the first episode...
Fate's Saber is so badass that I have no problem with saying she wears the pants in whatever relationship she's in. Fun CR office fact: there's a hobo Saber figure that was once on Bjaker's desk, then Danika borrowed her for a little while, and now it's busy fighting an Earth Defense Force ant on the balcony stairwell. Who knows where she'll end up next?
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION!
To Love-Ru straddles many lines--are they demons? Are they aliens? I HAVE NO IDEA because I haven't watched or read very much of the series. I was just kind of disappointed in Kentaro Yabuki, because I was hoping for something closer to Black Cat.
Technically all of Fruits Basket's Sohma family could fit here in some way, shape, or form, but for the sake of theming, Kyo and Yuki Sohma are the best representatives. Their "perfect-ness" really plays well off of Tohru's incredible normalcy.
Adventure Time's Finn is kind of a badass, but he's pretty normal compared to a lot of the Princesses, especially the Flame Princess, whom he had a brief thing with.
"Magical" significant others often have some kind of special power (like magic, or alien abilities, etc.) to set them apart from their "normal" partners, but it's hard to get more special than a girl who is for all intents and purposes GOD. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya really plays with this, showing how important it is to keep someone happy when they just may or may not be able to turn off reality at will.
So despite the recommendation of Joseph Luster, I have never actually been able to get past the drool thing in Mysterious Girlfriend X. Mikoto spices up Tsubaki's life, and then introduces saliva to his balanced diet. 'Kay.
Really though, it's not always sappiness and romance with the "perfect" partner. Sometimes they're downright violent, like the titular Club-to-Death Angel Dokuro-chan!
Or that violence can be taken to incredible, incredible extremes, like Kaede Lucy does in Elfen Lied!
Y'know, it's not that I dislike this trope--I really liked Ano Natsu de Matteru/Waiting in the Summer. Ichika's an alien (they reveal this pretty early on), but is it just Taraku Uon's thing to envision all aliens as sexy redheads?
Mass Effect gave you a variety of character "types" to romance--Garrus is the best friend/battle buddy, Tali is the little sister type for all you pedos, Ashley is the terrifying ex-girlfriend who you totally shouldn't hook up with again, and Liara is the ethereal, magical alien girlfriend. I honestly never made a go for her--it'd be like hooking up with Commander Data. Eesh.
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everybody--who are your favorite "magical" love interests? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
As I say every week, your work is always welcome on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on APRIL 4th, we're dipping into the sequel well and looking at SEQUELS AND FOLLOW-UP SERIES! Look at it this way: Sailor Moon R counts since it's a sequel to Sailor Moon, but the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal doesn't. This theme was suggested by our very own Vegetable Support Manager, Bjaker! I'm really hoping I can find that song about sequels from Muppets Most Wanted...
-Then, on APRIL 11th, we take another fan-requested theme--this time, bastet666's request for an ANIMAL EARS theme! From Outlaw Star's Aisha ClanClan to half the cast of Loveless, who are your favorite animal-eared characters?
-On APRIL 18th, we return to our semi-regular voice actors theme with a recent favorite--AYA HIRANO!
Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by again next week!