Body acceptance and body diversity has been highly discussed in the internet, especially in regards to TV shows and film castings. Animation is no different. The "magical girl" genre (think Sailor Moon, Escaflowne) seems to always surround the lives of already conventionally beautiful girls and women as they find their secret powers, transforming into one powerful, beautiful, and magical being. Though the genre suffers from a lack of both racial and body diversity, I am still drawn to it: These girls save worlds, make friends, find lovers. These girls struggle with school work, with friendship, with parents, with peers and with their body image. These girls become women.
One of the little projects I am working on is monster girl- a magical girl that doesn't transform into a more skinny, more white, more beautiful version of herself, but instead transforms into the monster she feels like inside. How many teenagers do you know feel inadequate, like little unwanted and ineffectual monsters - inexperienced and awkward in the social, political, sexual, economic ladders of human life.
The "magical girl" genre is a good answer to this inadequacy, by cladding it in fantasy.The magical girls don't graduate to the adult world (bills, job, rent) when they find their powerful selves but instead are in between childhood and adulthood: protecting the world from evil with all their good, despite just having learned it.
Building a moral compass. Accepting one's special strengths. Finding hope in your friends (because adults are seriously no help.) The genre provides a safe space for fantasy and growth- if done right of course!