Disney's Star Darlings, Lolirock and Magical Girls in General

Thursday, September 10, 2015
If you follow me over on Tumblr you probably have noted that my blog is full of a mesh of different things ranging from writing tools and hacks to animes that I obsess over- yeah that is normal.

Ever since D23, the Disney-centric convention held last month, I have been keeping a good eye on a new series by the house of mouse known as Disney's Star Darlings. A new series that I have heard a bit about well before it really came into light.  As about a week the web-site launched and with it a array of images.

Here are a few:

I quickly found myself very attracted to the art-style that has a good defined edge of both fantasy and science fiction and is able to keep the girls look ruffly like normal young teenagers with sparkling accents of light that makes them seem otherworldly. I love how striking the coloring is with the use of darker colored backgrounds. 

It was a very quick reblog. :)

Shortly after sharing these images and a few others I found a ask in my inbox in regards to Star Darlings being a lot like Lolirock.

To be very honest it was something that had never occurred to me and even took me back some.  I had done some research on Star Darlings for a article I had penned about it before hand, but I had not stacked it up against any other series. At most I coined it as another magical girl series due to the presents of magical powers. 

But there are tons of magical girl series.

Perhaps I am getting slightly ahead of myself as I have yet to write about Lolirock and with the series yet to have a official English release there might be some not really sure of the series.

Lolirock is a French magical girl series from Marathon Media, a company famous for works such as Totally Spies and Martin Mystery, that debuted almost a year ago come November. Headed by writer Madelllaine Paxton who worked on Disney series such as Kim Possible and Lilo and Stitch, the story follows three teenage girls that lead lives as both teenage girls in a popular band, but magical princess on a quest.

The series follows Iris, a normal teenage girl gifted with a beautiful voice- that sometimes causes weird things to happen when she sings- like most other magical girls, her life is very normal and simplistic before fate takes over. After learning of auditions for a new girl group known as Lolirock, and ultimately having her chance go off course thanks to weird occurrences thanks to her voice, Iris finds her world turned upside down. Between being attacked and finding escape on the back of a pegasus was not a weird enough way to find one's self, Iris is faced with the revelation of her true self. The long-lost princess of a world known as Ephedia that has been taken over by Grmarr.

It is both that of her duty as a princess and destiny to one day save her kingdom. But to do that she must master her magic, good thing she has back-up and aid with her fellow band-mates; Taila and Auriana, two other princess that have been seeking her out for some time.

Together the girls works towards their goal of being able to save Ephedia by gaining the Oracle Gems in acts of righting injustices they encounter and lead rather ordinary lives on Earth as teenagers in a popular band.

Bar the first episode that severs as the pilot and establishes not only the characters and what the over-lapping story-line is for the series. Most of the series features both sides of the girl's lives as magical warrior princess and normal girls- often the sides collide. Currently the first season is still airing and has yet to be completed, but we have seen some really good story-lines, character development, and world building with good story-telling and heart.

Iris is a good protagonist that has her share of downright awkward moments and a very strong sense of justice- at the same time she is a fifteen-year-old girl. Arianna is full of life and energy and has the most fun with Earth culture, despite being a bubbly and airhead by nature she is capable of pulling it together when needed. Yet out of all of the girls I have to say that Talia is the most well-defined of the group simply as we have gotten to see some of her past and how that had lead her to become the strong, focused and serious girl she is.

There is still quite a bit of fleshing out needed, and even aspects that need to be explored, and they more likely than not will be. But Lolirock feels more like a traditional magical girl series simply on terms of how the story-lines are presented and how it is approached. The girls of Lolirock do very much so have two sides to them; their musical and everyday personas and that of their true magical girl princess sides. We get to see them face off against their advisories as they work to reclaim what is theirs and have that slice-of-life side with things that viewers deal with.

There are a few different series that I would compare it to ranging from Show By Rock!!, Tokyo Mew Mew (lesser, but more with how things are switched off and on magical girl wise), Jem and the Holograms, Equestria Girls and Sailor Moon. Naturally any and every magical girl series, more so series where the girls use their powers to fight, are always compared to Sailor Moon- and they will always be. Yet it not Usagi herself that I am stacking completely, but rather the Sailor Starlights and their dueling roles as performers and senshi on a mission.

So that in nearly seven-hundred words is Lolirock in a nut-shell. :) He.

Back to Star Darlings...

As of now there really is not a lot that is public knowledge despite being in the works for about four years now. As I mentioned, the web-site only very recently opened and the first two books launching the series are coming out this coming Tuesday (September fifteenth) both as physical and e-book releases.
The official summary is that of the following: 

Welcome to Starling Academy. Twelve very special students have been selected from this year’s class to reclaim the wish energy that powers their beloved planet, Starland. The Star Darlings, as they are known, take classes where they learn how to grant the wishes made on birthday candles,shooting stars, dandelions, wishbones, and coins tossed into fountains, just to name a few. Their top-secret mission will take them to Wishworld (known in some places as Earth). There they will have to find the Wisher and figure out how to grant the wish before time runs out and they are stuck on Wishworld forever.

 Since I wrote my response to the ask about Star Darlings and Lolirock I have read the excerpts of the first two books and the bios of five of the six girls that are live online. There is a level of magical girl present (how much is still up in the air as the sample is only twenty-seven pages long), but also science fiction elements meshed in to craft a new world that the Star Darlings call home.

The first five girls; Sage, Scarlet, Leona, Libby and Vega are still very entry-level as they are just starting out on what seems like adventures that will challenge and change them. As of now they are not very dynamic, but this is now before we get to see their paths appear. Never does someone right from the start appear as this well-rounded and highly developed character, it takes time and whatever life tosses them for them to become that way.

And from the sounds of it they have a lot ridding on them to help try and keep their world's energy supply from weakening or completely vanishing, what one it is remains to be seen. Even though they probably will have comfits with the Wishers they meet, it feels more it is going to be character verse society. Even if you really think about reality, the world around us, things have become more cynical and concepts of wishing and other things that are lighter and more heart-felt have become easier to discard. Art and life mirror one another and this might be a brilliant case of such.

With the first of twelve books released in one year's time (beyond impressive and completely makes me feel like a slacker writer..thanks.) a lot is coming in terms of story and characters that will lead to growth. It will be interesting.

Right now I cannot say if the series is going to be like, if it will be good or something that we discard.  There is no point in trying to compare it to something when you have no idea what it will or could become. The only thing I can say with conviction is that it will not be like Madoka Magica, because this has a lighter tone. Even though it does faintly remind me of a series known as Angel's Friends I am not comparing the two without knowledge. And with that it is the extent to comparisons for the time being. We will talk next week after it is released and on my Kindle.

 I know that many have been comparing the two series side-by-side not only on premise, but also that of art-style. To some extend they do look alike, a fact none too shocking as you remember both groups are teenage girls about the same age. Even though the Star Darlings are not human, much like Monster High they have human-like bodies. This could be counted on by the fact a new line of dolls is coming out any time now at Justice. 

If you really wanted to be nitpicking you could even compare them to the likes of other series. But here is the thing, for the most part most series have ruffly that of the same style with alterations for that specific story. I could toss up a image of Equestira Girls beside these two and there would be things in common. When you are dealing with human characters, or even human-like ones, they are for the most part going to look the same as they are going to have things in common regardless. 

You need a mouth to speak and eat and eyes to see, right?

 I do realize and acknowledge that I am indeed going lightly on Star Darling. But there is no point in me making reservations about something I know very little about. It makes as much logic for me to look at the fall anime list and point to a title and call it trash when all I see is a promo image and short summary. I am not willing to do that. If I was willing to jump the gun on some series I would have missed out on some great ones that I love dearly.

And that I would regret.


shipyourself said...

well i believe that Disney star darlings copied lolirock they are similar i agree lolirock came out in 2014 and Disney star darlings came out in 2015 so if one did copy the other it had to be Disney star darlings.

Anonymous said...

Would people stop saying that disney star darlings copied another show? I am kinda sick of it. The producers,animators and other people working on disney star darlings had worked really hard and this is how people appreciate their work by saying they copied some other show!

Even if they did copy, stop judging them. They did work hard on the it. Besides,it isn't easy making this characters or writing those books. I really hate it when people accuse them of copying others when u have no proof. So if u really thinkthey copied another show, show me some real evidence.

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