Thanks to Facebook’s nifty little tool “On this Day”, I found out that yesterday two years ago (November 7, 2014), I declared my intention to write my undergraduate honours thesis on Magical Girl series. But would you believe that I almost did my thesis on creating a fun way to study Japanese using popular culture? I actually believed that my Japanese was good enough to do such a thing (>.<)
To be honest, the whole thing came about as a happy accident. Studio Trigger’s amazing series “Kill la Kill” was simulcasting on Crunchyroll at the time and I was in love. I normally don’t watch popular anime shows (a.k.a what the crowd is watching), but Kill la Kill was the exception. The Balls-to-the-Wall action, the strong and sexy heroines, and Mako-Flippin’-Mankanshoku kept me coming back for more each week. I felt so hollow when it finally ended.
Inspired by this masterpiece while singing “Don’t Lose Your Way” at the top of my lungs, the idea popped into my head – since academia doesn’t really talk about magical girls (let alone shoujo manga), wouldn’t it be fun, then, to write about magical girls? I could compare and contrast one created for girls (like Sailor Moon) and one created for a male/general otaku audience (Kill la Kill), studying the narrative and pointing out what’s encouraging about it. Sure, all potential supervisors might laugh me out of the office when I pitch it to them, but that didn’t matter. I wanted to give it a shot!
To my surprise, the supervisor I really wanted liked my idea – he agreed to pair with me.
Furthermore, my idea was selected for an undergraduate research award – one of two for my department. I got to present my work in March during Idea Fest, an event which champions the exchanging of ideas in an academic setting.
Little did I know that it was just the beginning of my journey with magical girls – and oh, what a journey it’s been. Between presenting at various anime conventions in the Pacific Northwest (mainly Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle) and being selected for more research awards, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’m living the dream with my research. My plans for next year look quite busy and I’m really pushing through with my thesis right now. I know that it can only go up from here.
You don’t believe me? Well, keep coming back to this site and I’ll prove it to you!