Ferocious 5 sheds light on a whole universe of pop and geek culture connections with bite-size lists. Explore topics, properties, fandoms you never knew existed in this article series on Bunkazilla.
Girls worldwide have been catered for in animation since the very early days of Disney princesses and stop-motion TV adaptations of fairy tales. Magical girl shows have a special place in the hearts of 80s kids who grew up with She-Ra, Jem and the Holograms, and other magical pastel-coloured fantasies – especially in Japan which has a very dedicated fanbase, franchise lines and specific production studios focussing on such shows since the 60s. However, UK viewers did not get much after Jem and the Holograms aired in the late 80s. Girls’ shows after that period were rarely broadcast via terrestrial TV, relegated to very early hours or expensive cable channels, appeared in titles shared with boys or given non-magical lifestyle cartoons (Beverly Hills Teens, anyone?). Luckily, the internet has allowed new viewers to catch up on these types of shows that were ignored by many broadcasters back in the day. Here are some magical series available for everyone to enjoy, especially in the UK.
Bee and Puppycat
Bee, a reluctant hero, becomes entangled in the adventures of Puppycat – a puppy (…or is he a cat? – as they travel between reality and the void of Fishbowl Space. The show is an American/South Korean/Japanese animated web series created by Natasha Allegri, character designer and storyboard artist for Adventure Time.
Originally streaming in the US via VRV.co, and now available to UK viewers on YouTube (thanks Frederator!), Bee and Puppycat is a huge love letter to soft stationery designs, extreme social awkwardness, zero-hour contracts and angry cute things.
The episodes are short and sweet, and float about – they often do not provide conclusions you would expect, which makes for a trippy ride. A bit scary in a few places so maybe don’t let very young kids watch it unsupervised, but no more than in an episode of Adventure Time, and I can assure you there’s more goop on-screen than gore.
Randomly, Puppycat is voiced by a Vocaloid program, so we can only understand with subtitles provided. Whether Bee hears exactly what Puppycat is saying, I am unsure. But Puppycat is very funny and clearly the mascot we need, to help us all see out 2020.
Watch Bee and Puppycat 2013 Pilot episodes 1+2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOG_UtLxh58
Watch Bee and Puppycat 2018 Season 1 episodes 1-10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dop4MTlf_zc
Season 2 will be shown on Netflix in 2021!
Glitter Force/Glitter Force: Doki Doki
Glitter Force (a Western adaptation of the series Smile PreCure!) is an anime television series by Toei Animation, and the ninth instalment in Izumi Todo’s “Pretty Cure” metaseries. The follow-up on Netflix, which can be watched on it’s own, Glitter Force: Doki Doki (Doki Doki! PreCure / “Heart-Pounding! Pretty Cure”), is the tenth instalment.
Both Glitter Force and Glitter Force: Doki Doki feature different yet relatable schoolgirl archetypes; they are granted special items that allow them to transform into legendary warriors known as the Pretty Cure to do super-good-stuff in this world, as well as fighting villains who wish to steal negative energy from us puny humans. Mini music video dance sequences promote the shows’ songs; pop band Blush, a Hong Kong-based Asian girl group, sing the songs from the English dub.
The Glitter Force trademark moved to Toei in June and this is reflected in the Doki Doki dub, which, though perhaps the script is less edited, is also less funny, and spliced together very harshly. The first season is recommended for both kids and adults because the scriptwriters clearly had a lot of fun with it – the second season, however, may be more accessible to younger viewers.
Glitter Force is available to stream on Netflix UK: https://www.netflix.com/title/80057968
Glitter Force: Doki Doki is available to stream on Netflix UK: https://www.netflix.com/title/80175619
Glitter Force promo music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydpToY_NSig
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Five seasons, all killer no filler. A completely different envisioning of the beloved 80s She-Ra franchise and characters, and it absolutely works. Ignore the braying keyboard warriors who berate new adaptations – there’s room for all iterations of being. Especially in the land of Etheria.
She-Ra leads a rebellion to free Etheria from the Horde, who are hell-bent on taking over planets and enslaving everyone within them. She-Ra battles personal demons and best frenemies as well as befriending other princesses to help preserve their homeland. The character development is immense, the conclusion is outstanding. A witty script with at least one laugh out loud moment in each of the 52 episodes, and hugely heartfelt moments. A massive rollercoaster watch and comes highly recommended.
The original series of Filmations’ She-Ra was on Netflix once, as was Sunbow’s Jem and the Holograms, but alas not streaming currently. When they come back (if they come back!), do give those classics a shot. But until then, you absolutely must watch Dreamworks’ She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
All five series of She-Ra and the Princess of Power is available to stream via Netflix UK: https://www.netflix.com/title/80179762
It’s an actual magical miracle – CLAMP’s global smash Cardcaptor Sakura is available to view on Channel 4 (via their E4 app) dubbed in full, after a slightly ropey (yet prevalent) UK presence in the 2000s.
Sakura is a ten-year-old girl, who discovers a book of Clow Cards hidden in her dad’s bookshelves. Being nosey, she sets the magical cards loose by accident, so now she must catch them all again and stop them from causing mayhem throughout the world! She is helped out by best friend Tomoyo, who discovers her magical secret immediately, and Kerberos, the tiny, salty guardian of the cards, who both try to help her… even though they are both a bit useless!
Airing first on Children’s ITV in the year 2000 as a chopped-up shadow of its former self, “Card Captors”, Cardcaptor Sakura got UK PAL VHS releases, issues of the comic via Tokyopop in UK comic shops, some DVDs, then nothing… until October 2019, when All The Anime delivered us this gift! Extremely cute and stylish, the show is one of the last completely hand-drawn, cel-animated magical girl shows made. Recommended.
Cardcaptor Sakura season 1 is available to UK viewers to stream via E4: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/cardcaptor-sakura
Flowering Heart is a South Korean magical girl anime series created by Iconix Entertainment in association with EBS and Mimiworld in 2016. A completely surprise arrival on Netflix, it is available both with the original Korean dub and subtitles, or English dub.
Sunny-dispositioned character, Jin Ari, is 12 and loves art, beauty, fashion and good vibes. Jin’s best friends, the feisty, tomboyish Sunwoo Min and sweet, decorous U Suha, form a school group to devise ways to help people out from their worries and woes… by using magical powers to transform them into professional adults to do so!
Animated by Sunrise Japan, which kicks the whole “what is anime?” question out the door because it just doesn’t matter anymore, does it! Flowering Heart is very gentle, feelgood TV, great for younger viewers especially, and as an early introduction to the Korean language for them too.
Flowering Heart season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix UK: https://www.netflix.com/title/81099997
That’s our list for now! Hope you enjoyed reading this edition of Ferocious 5. Let us know your thoughts and share with us any magical girl shows available to stream in the UK that you think deserve a viewing.
Until next time… stomp on monsters of culture, stomp on!