Creamy Mami, All Right In the End I Guess

A few months ago when I decided to write my mid-series thoughts on the 80s magical girl anime Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami, I expressed some dissatisfaction with the show. With a story centered around a young girl who gains the ability to transform into an older version of herself, and who becomes a beloved pop star as a result, the fault I found in Creamy Mami is that did not do enough to convey its main character Yuu as a normal girl. All of her friends around her age were boys somehow romantically linked to her, and she seemingly never had a normal environment such as as school setting which you could contrast with her adventures.

Shortly after I published that post, I went into the second half of Creamy Mami and lo and behold, the anime now featured her attending classes and talking to female classmates. Seeing as it’s highly unlikely that my thoughts somehow traveled back in time and influenced the production of Creamy Mami, I can only imagine that similar criticisms were brought up at the time, and that at the half-way point they decided to do something about it. At the same time, the show was also clearly successful enough to hit that 6-month mark and continue (and I know there are OVAs and such as well).

While they eventually resolved some of the issues with Creamy Mami, I have to say that it’s the kind of show where even though it gets better, it takes so long to do so that I can hardly expect anyone to stick around, even if it concludes well. Overall, it’s mostly a cute fluff kind of show, which can be nice, but you can also get cute fluff and some more substance from other shows.

Actually, if you want to know the best part about Creamy Mami, it’s probably the second ending theme, Love Sarigenaku. It’s catchy, and kind of a far cry from the rest of the songs in the show, in a good way.

Creamy Mami, All Alone

I’m a little less than halfway through 80s magical girl anime Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami, and though it’s fairly entertaining I haven’t really been feeling it. I’ll watch a couple episodes and then have no motivation to keep watching, unlike when I watch, say, Ojamajo Doremi where I almost have to stop myself from watching more. It’s not particularly boring or offensive or anything like that, so for a while I just wasn’t sure why Creamy Mami wasn’t quite gelling for me, but I’ve finally figured it out.

Morisawa Yuu, the girl who transforms into Creamy Mami, has no female friends around her own age.

Instead, you mostly see her interact with adults (some of whom she primarily talks to as Creamy Mami), a couple of male friends, and only rarely do you get a one-off female character the same age as Yuu. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, especially given that it is very possible for a girl to be friends with guys her own age, but in the show Yuu likes one of them, the other one likes her, and that one is the comic-relief fat kid. We never get to see Yuu interact with someone who can truly be considered her peer and equal, and I think it can be a problem, even if the show was intentionally designed that way. (Cardcaptor) Sakura has Tomoyo, Nagisa (Cure Black) has Honoka (Cure White) and her lacrosse team, and even Mitsuki (Full Moon o Sagashite), who also transforms into an older girl, can be seen interacting with her female classmates. All of them are better characters for it.

Without a female friend of the same age, Yuu kind of feels that she’s only there to transform into Creamy Mami, which she very well might be, but I think that she would have been fleshed out much better in a way that doesn’t run contrary to the overall feel of the anime if she had such a friend. I could possibly say that the show works as a somewhat minimalist anime, where only the bare essentials are needed to drive it forward, but even that could have benefited from a female friend for Yuu.

The Otaku Diaries and the Social Otaku

February’s Otaku Diaries entry over at Reverse Thieves explores otaku and socialization in all its forms, whether it be hanging with friends after school or work, or chatting with them online. It should be no surprise that the friends otaku tend to find online are fellow otaku; after all, you don’t “bump into” people on the internet, but rather typically seek out like-minded people, or at the very least ones who can understand your interests.

I still remember the first time I had access to real (non-AOL) internet. The first thing I did? Look for websites about my favorite video game, NiGHTS into dreams… I always figured that I was the one and only fan of SEGA’s greatest game, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out there was an entire online community devoted to NiGHTS. Of course I joined, and it provided me some great memories (as well as some drama, which was perhaps inevitable). Memories are mainly what they are though, as I don’t really keep up with anyone from that period in my internet life. Still, I remember the joy of being able to actually talk to fellow fans from all around the world and revel in our mutual love of purple flying jesters. It reminds me of when I first started using e-mail, when I was so excited to use it that every night I would write up a bunch of thoughts and send them to friends and acquaintances and classmates.

Some might argue that the fact that online friendships tend to start from just liking the same thing makes them particularly flimsy , while others might give the counterpoint that sharing that common ground can make online friends as close if not closer than “real world” friends, especially if those internet buddies are more comfortable opening themselves up through chatting than through speaking. Of course, the line blurs when online friends meet in real life, or close real life friends interact mainly online, and evidently blurring lines are getting more and more commonplace. Personally, I’ve met some of my closest friends from online, and I have friends dear to me that I’ve met in the real world too. At that point, the internet is mainly a tool and it’s up to the person how they use it, whether it becomes a way of connecting with others, or a method of disguise and insulation.

I’d like to make an aside at this point and clarify something I said in the Otaku Diaries response I made about relationships. There I said that sharing a hobby makes for a “weak and flimsy foundation” for a relationship, and some took it as me saying that finding someone because you both like anime is no good. What I really meant was that I think sharing a hobby makes for an excellent starting point, and even provides some mutual understanding, but that it cannot be the cornerstone of a relationship, which is instead built on trust and compassion for each other. I hope that clears everything up.

Now another interesting point that came up is the question of whether or not the participants had ever tried to bring others into anime, and the response was for the most part a resounding “yes.” This I think links directly into that desire of wanting people with whom you can share your hobby. What’s more intriguing, however, is a comment someone made.

Is it really right to assume that 75% of respondents actively trying to draw in new anime viewers is a good thing?

What we have here is the idea that bringing in new anime fans to the fold might be a mistake. Think about that: once upon a time everyone would have agreed that trying to draw in new anime viewers was a good thing, even if fans might not agree on who they thought was good to draw in. I think that the very idea that the desire to introduce others to anime might somehow  be detrimental to anime and its fandom speaks volumes about where we are at the moment, this state of being more widely accepted and yet still very much niche, even if it’s just one person’s opinion.

Is it really right to assume that 75% of respondents actively trying to draw in new anime viewers is a good thing?