Anime and Manga

The Influence of Tale Type 510B on Japanese Manga/Anime

Authored by: Bill Ellis

The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946156
eBook ISBN: 9781315670997
Adobe ISBN:


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Psychosexual development is a central topic in the folk and popular culture of childhood, and Freudian psychoanalysis has been used to discuss how fantasy stories express these conflicts, at times, explicitly. This chapter shows how ATU 510B (“Donkey Skin”), the tale of a young girl who finds she is desired by her father, has influenced recent Japanese manga and anime. Adapted faithfully in the anime series Grimm Masterpiece Theater (1988), the tale introduced themes that became common in the “magical girl” subgenre of manga/anime. These included the use of a secret identity of a young girl who is infatuated by an attractive older male, who resembles the girl’s father. In Cardcaptor Sakura (1996–2000), the romance is renounced but not denounced, while the conclusion of Sasami: Magical Girls Club (2006–2007) allows the relationship to continue. These adaptations challenge the notion that the story’s theme is unnatural and present young girls’ romantic fantasies about their fathers as a healthy part of psychosexual growth. It is healthier to domesticate such a feeling through fantasy than repress or feel guilt over it, these series suggest.

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