The History of Magical Girls


Well-Known Member
This isn't so much a story idea as a proposed background that could be plugged into some story. Despite the references to Love Hina and Omamori Himari, they do not have to be included in said story.

The origin of the group of people known as magical girls stems from the peculiar thaumic geography of the archipelago known as Japan. Situated on a region where numerous ley-lines intersect with each other in close proximity, the islands are capable of supporting a much higher density of magical creatures than any other area in the world. As humans came to settle the islands, they came into conflict with many of these creatures, some of them because they considered the human settlers to be a food source, and some simply because there was a finite amount of land and resources available and they didn't feel like sharing.

Conflicts between the humans and so-called monsters were generally resolved by massive loss of life among the humans until the 9th Century, when a priestess whose name has been lost to history (But is known poetically as Sakura-hime for the large number of cherry trees that grew in the region in which she lived) discovered how to modify a variety of purification rituals to be able to harm the monsters more effectively than crushing them through sheer weight of numbers. Aided by a local samurai, she was able to rid the entire valley in which they lived of monsters. Sakura-hime was the first example of what is now known as a magical girl.

After securing the valley from monster attacks, Sakura-hime married her companion and trained her daughters and various other girls in the art of fighting monsters. These girls then went out to protect other areas from monster attacks. Once the rulers of these other lands realized that the talent for these monster-hunting techniques could be passed down to later generations, they started rewarding the monster hunters by offering them marriages to their trusted retainers and younger sons, thus ensuring that their lands would produce more monster-hunters to continue protecting the area.

This potential for upward mobility inspired a great many girls to seek out a career in monster hunting. Like the countless young men in western tales that went out on adventure in the hopes of winning a knighthood through some act of valor and thus being able to court a lady or princess, these girls went out hunting monsters in the hopes of winning acclaim and rising from being just another peasant to being the wife of a samurai or lesser daimyo. Those monster-hunters who were uninterested in marriage were often retained by the local lord as a samurai in their own right. Not all of these girls followed the practices invented by Sakura-hime - some tried to invent their own. A great many of these died when their experiments proved ineffective, but those who succeeded started new lines of monster hunters.

While many of the lords hoped that these matches would produce magic-wielding samurai, this was not to be. The time and effort required to learn swordsmanship and magic was such that one could master one or the other, but not both. As the men were needed to fill the daimyos' armies, this resulted the sons being trained to be samurai by their fathers, while the daughters were trained to be monster hunters by their mothers. There were some exceptions - men learning magic and women learning the blade (One daughter of the Aoyama clan who insisted on trying to master both ended up developing a way to perform the rituals used by her family through swordsmanship and thus created the art of Shinmei Ryu), but the general rule was that magic was the province of women, which in turn lead to the coining of the term 'magical girl'.

As the feudal era progressed and more and more areas became relatively secure against monsters, the daimyos thought to use the magical girls to further their own power. At first it was simply a matter of offering the services of their magical girls to their neighbors who didn't have any in exchange for various concessions, but then they came up with the idea of using them as weapons of war. The use of magical girls to supplement the military might of their overlords continued until the 16th century, when every single magical girl aligned with the Azai and Asakura clans were killed by the forces of Nobunaga Oda at the battle of Anegawa. This left the Omi province almost totally defenseless against monster attacks, which resulted in the region being devastated in the years to follow (History would blame the damage on Nobunaga's armies as he continued his campaigns in the Omi province, cementing his reputation as a butcher, despite his being only indirectly responsible).

After Nobunaga's death in 1582, those magical girls who had survived the war came to the conclusion that they had failed in their duty to protect the people against monsters because they were too busy fighting each other. They then forged a pact that they would only fight against monsters, not other men, so that their powers would not be so misused again in the future.

The Meiji Restoration of the 19th Century brought the end of the samurai, and with it the livelihood of most magical girls, who by long tradition had been considered part of the samurai class. Unwilling to form into an army under the Emperor like many of the samurai did for fear of being used in ways that would violate the pact that had been sworn in the Sengoku era, they managed to negotiate a deal with the Meiji government in which they would be paid for the monsters they hunted.

This caused a split in the magical girls. Some turned their traditional calling into a part-time career while they sought other jobs that brought a more regular income to put food on the table when there were no monsters to be hunted. The others went out of their way to destroy any monster they could find in order to bring the bounties in. The scoured the islands looking for monsters, driving many of them near extinction. Some of the monsters treated in this way, such as the Mizuchi, had not posed a threat to humans for centuries, but they were exterminated anyway. By the time of the Great Depression, the active magical girls were running out of monsters to hunt, as those they hadn't killed had gone into hiding, while the passive ones ended up going so passive that few could tell that they were anything other than what they seemed to be in their day job.

When the Second World War broke out, most of the magical girls, both active and passive, refused to fight on the grounds that the pact held that their first and foremost duty was to protect Japan from magical threats, not to serve the military. This actually allowed the Allies to win the war. Once they realized that Japan's magical forces would only respond to direct magical attacks, they pared their own magical forces in the Pacific theater to a skeleton crew and sent the rest to the European theater to confront the mages of the Thule Society fighting for Germany. This turned the war in the Pacific into a purely military exercise.

By the time the war ended, many of the hiding places the monsters had been using had been flattened by bombers who had overshot their target cities and ended up carpet bombing random parts of the landscape. With virtually no monster sightings, much less attacks, the Showa government ended the monster bounty system. With no more way of gaining income from monster hunting and no apparent need to hunt anymore, the active magical girls went passive, and the passive ones left the field entirely. Their descendants, who grew up without ever seeing any of the creatures they were supposed to be sworn to fight against, dismissed the stories as fable and didn't even bother to tell their own children about it.

Three generations have passed since the end of the monster purges. The monsters are slowly rebuilding their numbers. Yet their enemies are now almost gone. Many of the newest generation of the magical girl families have never even met any of their ancestors who last fought to protect Japan against such creatures, much less been trained to do so themselves. And the system that brought about the rise of the original magical girl families has long since been dismantled. How will they respond when they are needed once again?


KING (In Land of Blind)
Staff member
Eh... I dunno, I feel like, you're trying to mix a few things up, but rather than blending into a solid concrete you can use for new-age sculpture, it's a lumpy mass with incoherent properties.

I don't like the "Japan is super-special" thing when, in the same breath, you're also trying to make the "magical girl" thing a social normality. I mean, just leaving aside the weird "Japanese supremacy" thing. Are you trying to make it normal or unusual? Either go whole-hog and make the whole world that way, like Strike Witches, or try to make it a tool of powerful agendas, like Madoka.

Ah, and as a rule, I don't like this, "everything is different because magic was demonstrably real, but actually history happened the exact same way"; as a rule, this is bad fanfiction, where Naruto is like a Space Wizard, but he still does the bell test and the Wave Mission goes down the same way until the fic peters out as the author loses interest. If you're gonna do it, go whole hog. If magic is real, and that matters to civilization, then change civilization and slap unrecognizable magitech empires on the world-map that diverged from history during the bronze age.

If you want to something to force a martial arts / magic dichotomy, then... I would say, there's something intrinsic to magic that means, the better you get at punching contests, the worse you get at using magic. Call it purity, or innocence, if you want to go the magical girl route; you can only use BEAMS that don't actually hurt people, because the more blood you've soaked your hands in, the weaker your magic gets. Or the way that top-flight martial artists try to get into the opponent's head to out-think them means that you can't force the ego-image called "magic" onto the world; so there's a trade-off between tactical acumin and magical power. "Don't think, feel"; well, that says something about the intelligence of most magical girls, though?

More than anything else, though, you're making "magical girls" a sociopolitical phenomenon without actually giving it a grand edifice of backstory.

A "magical girl" is a special existence chosen as the main character. Maybe the one that made that choice was a mascot character like a Space Otter, but in the end, it only becomes about BEAMS from season two; the first season is about the girl being a good person that somehow "deserves" specialness. She solves the mascot character's problems, like he dropped his bag of Space Clams and now they're growing everywhere like zebra mussels, and she's gotta gather them up with some kinda whale-song-magic because Space is an Ocean. Anyway in season three she's fighting literal Space Whales, but in season one, she's just really happy to be "special". That's like a rule.

This just doesn't feel like magic girls, it feels like lukewarm magitech.


Well-Known Member
Some magical girls though, are pretty freaked out when they are given the task of say, saving the world, or their local town, from the beasts conjured up by the Space Clams. In fact, the first generations of magical girls were such kind of people, preferring their mundane lives over the prospect of a grand adventure of romance, action, and the occasional free candy. So the Space Otter sometimes had to hound the chosen girl (or girls if they are a group) to do the job, or their world would be destroyed, and in worst cases, they do not get their free candy. Soon, the chosen girl gets used to the job, but there will be the occasional Ten Minute retirement, when the chosen girl will angst about the difficulty of her job, and the fact that doing it prevents her from hanging out with her muggle friends or causes her to miss her favorite TV program about bishounen with yaoi subtext. Still she will return to the job, and all will be right with the world again.

These traits have been seen through countless generations of magical girls, though there are some exceptions over the years, when the chosen girl actively wants the grand life of adventure as a magical girl.


Well-Known Member
A couple of issues here...

First thing, switch Samurai to noble families. The military clans that became the samurai didn't exsist until late in the Heian era (late 11th, early 12th century). Later on, they probably would marry into samurai families. But, the distinction does need to be made.

As for why its mainly either/or for Magical girls or warriors. Have the training be mutually exclusive. Your either "magical" and train extensively in magic with little training in anything else. Or your a warrior, who trains his body to the point that he doesn't have the time to learn magic. Granted, there are people who can train in both..."magicals" who train in the warrior arts and vice versa, but those tend to be the brilliant exceptions.

Actually, because of the Love Hina reference...this seems more like an AU for Negima.

Altered Nova

Well-Known Member
Can you really consider them magical girls when technically anyone with the proper training can use magic? I mean you mentioned that men can learn it do but don't typically do so because of societal pressures, and also that Germany and the Allies also had mages. This is coming across to me more as an explanation for "girls who can use magic better than most people because their families trained and studied it for centuries" rather than the "magical princess or special girl with a pure heart given magic by cute animal" that is typical for the genre.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this feels less Magical Girl and more Shoujo Fantasy.


Well-Known Member
I'm also opposed to the idea that magical girls cannot be warriors; that wasn't true when Sailor Moon did it, it wasn't true when Yohko introduced the idea of devil-hunting clans, and it's especially not true since the 2000s now that we have Nanoha and especially Pretty Cure doing as much kung-fu as they do stock footage attacks.
create an entire alternate world in which magical girls and the warrior elite would be rulers of society!
civilization as we know it would be butterflied away!
most important changed is the religious one: religions would worship magical girls as an embodiment of the divine.
it would be obvious that some people are better/more important/favored then others which would also strangle the development of human rights as we know them. Just from this two changes alone you get an entirely different world !
This universe has something similar
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