Before the likes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica instilled dark elements into the ‘Mahou Shoujo‘ (magical girl) genre, there came an anime called Magical Princess Minky Momo. While presenting an overall cuteness factor that could account for 95% of the show, there lies that leftover 5% which can be linked to the notorious Japanese curse from the 80’s. Minky Momo ran from 1982 to 1983, spanning 63 episodes of mostly wholesome goodness. The show included the usual antics of a magical girl who would be able to transform and help the people of the Earth against wicked threats – a formula charming as taming wildlife for bloody battles.
Like any kids show, a large focus was on being able to make toy sales based on Minky’s adventures. Popy, toy sponsor of Minky merchandise, had to pull out after inadequate sales. This in turn forced Takeshi Shudo, writer of the show, to make a quick and important change to the show in retaliation to Popy’s decision. Shudo then decided to effectively kill off Minky by having her struck by a truck carrying toys – how ironic! This could be considered a metaphor in which Popy themselves killed Minky – rather ‘on the nose’ (or truck headlights) indeed. Now, this is where things get really freaky for anybody more inclined to be superstitious!
At the airing of the cursed episode 46 which includes Minky’s death, four earthquakes struck Japan in succession, all including the areas in which that episode was aired. Only to add more basis to this superstition, a 5th earthquake shook the Sea of Japan as the final episode aired. Minky Momo ended its original run in 1983, but returned in 1995 with a series of re-runs. When the final episode of the series aired again once more, a 6th earthquake touched down upon Japan! This event was known as the “Great Hanshin earthquake” and consisted of a magnitude of 6.9!!!
Ever since, one of Japan’s most notorious and large scale urban legends has found its place in the seemingly-innocent Minky Momo – proof that childishly cute motifs are profoundly creeply once blended into the macabre. After her grisly death in the anime, Minky’s spirit is freed and returns to Earth once again, thus allowing the show to continue its 63 episode span. Nevertheless, her death still proved to be a gruesome and abrupt stop to the happy-go-lucky mood of the show, predictably traumatizing many Japanese kids as an unexpectedly morbid twist!