The year was 1983 and Studio Pierrot had just released a new magical girl anime. However this was not like Sally the Witch, Cutey Honey, Meg, etc. This was a new kind of magical girl anime. Creamy Mami essentially started the sub-genre of the magical idol singer. Many shows throughout the years owe their existence to Creamy Mami, least of which the 4 more magical girl shows created by Studio Pierrot (Persia, Emi, Yumi, Lala). Although only the last of those is a true magical idol singer anime. It’s a very pleasant and usually much more relaxed type of show than the typical magical girl anime, although that’s not to say they can’t be very dramatic themselves. I also have to wonder if even series like Pretty Rhythm and Aikatsu! might owe their existence at least in part to Creamy Mami and the earlier magical idol singers show. Although they aren’t the same, Aikatsu! isn’t magical at all, they have obvious similarities.
Creamy Mami itself was a good show, essentially its only problem is its length I find. Going on for 52 episodes they even have an amnesia/reset button happen right in the middle to keep the show going for longer. But the characters were good.It even includes one of my favorite characters of all time, Snake Joe, the sleazy paparazzi trying to get the big scoop on Creamy Mami. You see characters like this everywhere but no one’s as good as Snake Joe. The reason being that Joe himself has a big character arc in the show and has real development and changes. He’s not just some silly one-note antagonist. Of course the music is important to mention as well, Mami initially only sings one song in her performances (the opening theme song) but she eventually gets more. Luckily it’s a catchy song but it still gets tiresome when that’s all she sings for a while. Mami also becomes famous right from the beginning. She’s an instant star which kind of takes away part of what could make the show more interesting in my opinion. Fancy Lala later fixes all the problems Creamy Mami had but I’ll talk about that later.
Normally when I see magical idol anime brought up the one that gets mentioned the most is Full Moon wo Sagashite. For good reason too as it’s an excellent series and probably the most dramatic and intense magical girl idol singer you’ll see. With good romance to boot. It seems to most typically be called the best magical girl idol singer and while I disagree with that it’s certainly great and I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s main problem is similar to Creamy Mami, it’s just longer than it needs to be.
There are some shows that combine the idol singer/musical aspect with other types of magical girl. Like Mermaid Melody, Lilpri and garbage like Symphogear sort of as well. And then of course there are shows that will have one character or so be an idol singer but not all of them will use magic to do anything with that, there career will be completely separate from the fact that they can use magic. Onpu from Ojamajo Doremi is one of those who does use her magic to help her career while Makoto/Cure Sword from Doki Doki Precure does not.
When it does come to the best magical idol singer anime my vote goes straight to Fancy Lala. At 26 episodes it’s half the length of Creamy Mami and Full Moon and fixes all the pacing problems they had. Fancy Lala is sort of like a remake of Creamy Mami, they share the same basic premise but go different directions in most ways too. Miho (the real identity of Lala) is simply a fantastic and very human main character as well. All the characters in Lala feel very human and real as opposed to the much more cartoony characters of Creamy Mami (that was more the style at the time so I’m not really knocking it). Lala as well is not instantly famous, she really has to work at it so the show does a good job of showing how this girl comes into her new career and passion. The magic and fantasy aspects of the show are handled very well, some might find that it ends too sudden or anti-climactically but I find it to be a good lesson on how everyone needs to grow up and be yourself one day. Well… if you haven’t seen the show you don’t really know what I’m talking about but I wouldn’t want to spoil it either. Fancy Lala is an interesting show with a lot of heart and a perfect length.
The magical idol singer is like the ultimate in wish fulfillment for little girls and it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular and why shows like Pripara exist as well. I hardly see anyone talk about any of these aside from Full Moon which is a real shame but whatcha gonna do, many remain without a complete set of subs as well. If you feel like getting more into the magical girl super-genre I recommend trying some idol shows too, not everything needs to be a fight to save the world or collecting a bunch of cards or something like that. Sometimes it’s alright to sit back and watch a concert or two.