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Magical Princess Minky Momo (original title 魔法のプリンセス ミンキー モモ) is a Shojo anime that aired from 1982 and a classic example of Magical Girl story. It is known as Gigi in France and Italy (and also in the English-speaking world due to one of the OVA sequels being dubbed into English with the heroine renamed Gigi; however, the original TV series was never released in English). This was also the first magical series not made by Toei Animation, which had heretofore virtually owned the genre (unless one counts Majokko Tickle which was made by Toei's main company and not Toei Animation).
The magical land of Fenarinarsa is where the characters of humanity's fairy tales dwell. But as humans lose touch with their dreams, it is in danger of disappearing. To prevent that, the king and queen send their daughter Momo to Earth, and task her with reviving the hopes and dreams of mankind.
Momo manifests on Earth as the daughter of a young childless couple, and brings along her dog Sindbook, her monkey Mocha and her bird Pipi. Although a pre-teen, she has the power to transform into a 20-year-old version of herself, complete with whichever skill set and outfit are appropriate for the situation at hand (nurse, police officer, etc).
Every time Momo succeeds in bringing happiness to a given person, a new jewel appears in the Fenarinarsa crown. Once the crown has 12 jewels, Fenarinarsa will return to Earth's surface.
An OVA sequel, La Ronde in My Dream, was made in 1985 and released, dubbed in English, in the United States and the U.K. a few years later, under the title Magical Princess Gigi (also known as Gigi and the Fountain of Youth in the U.K.). A follow-up series was made in 1991, Magical Princess Minky Momo: Embracing the Dream (魔法のプリンセス ミンキー モモ: 夢を抱きしめて), with the title character being reincarnated into a new person.
- Alternate Continuity: Subverted in the second series, when the two Momos finally meet.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the second series, Minky Momo II's task of keeping fairy tale creatures from dying fails and they must depart from Earth. However, Momo II decides to stay with her Earth family, believing that dreams are never truly lost.
- Canine Companion: Sindbook.
- Captain Ersatz: Chibiusa of Sailor Moon has some suspicious similarities to Momo.
- Cute Witch
- Disney Death: Infamously, Momo I ends up getting run over and killed by an out-of-control truck. However, she then gets reincarnated as her Earth family's real daughter. Parodied in the first episode of Excel Saga.
- In a strange Call Back, episode 62 of the second series has Minky Momo II meeting Minky Momo I when the latter rescues the former from being hit by a truck.
- Downer Ending: The original series. Momo I fails at bringing Fenarinarsa back, ultimately losing her powers and her life.
- Dropped a Bridge on Her: Minky Momo I.
- Ear Worm: The original TV series theme song, "Love, Love, Minky Momo", sung by Momo's first voice actress, Mami Koyama.
- Fan Service with a Smile: Several of 20-year-old Momo's outfits. As a flight attendant, she's a Sexy Stewardess; as a nurse, she's a Hospital Hottie.
- Also, the nude transformation sequence in the original 1982 series. While not explicit or frontal, one can still briefly glimpse Momo's 20-year-old alter ego's nude rear end. Certainly no big deal in Japan, but not surprisingly, the English dub of the 1985 La Ronde OVA shortens this sequence to remove the rear-end shot.
- Gotta Catch Em All
- Homage: To the Japanese legend of Momotaro.
- Magical Girl: The whole point of the series.
- Magical Land: Fenarinarsa.
- Megumi Hayashibara: She played Momo II in the second series.
- Muggle Foster Parents: Though in Momo's case, she's aware all along who her real parents are, and why she's in a foster family. Her foster parents, however, have been magicked to think that she's always been their daughter.
- Rose-Haired Girl: Momo was the first pink-haired Magical Girl.
- Transformation Sequence: Whenever Momo turns into her 20-year-old self.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Momo's real parents.