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Manga and anime historians regard the Princess Knight manga, released in 1953, as a prototype for the magical girl genre. Himitsu no Akko-chan, serialized in 1962 in Ribon, is regarded as the earliest magical girl manga. The Japanese dub versions of the American film Mary Poppins and TV series Bewitched became popular among Japanese girls in the 1960s and inspired Mitsuteru Yokoyama to create Sally the Witch, which was serialized in Ribon from 1966 to 1967. Sally was adapted into an anime in 1966 which is regarded by historians as the first magical girl anime. The Sailor Moon manga and anime are considered to have revitalized the genre in the 1990s and paved the way for later successful titles. Another notable example is Cardcaptor Sakura, with its manga and subsequent animated series being highly popular in and outside Japan.
After 2003, magical girl anime marketed to male audiences such as Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha became a prolific trend alongside the traditional female-oriented works.[examples needed] The magical girl genre earned renewed popularity in the 2010s with the advent of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, whose mature themes and darker approach to the genre earned acclaim from viewers and critics outside the genre's target audience.
After 2010, there was a notable increase in series portraying "magical boys" in protagonist roles instead of the traditional supporting roles. Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! is a 2015 television magical boy anime series created by Kurari Umatani and produced by Diomedéa, which parodies tropes and cliches common to magical girl anime. In Is This a Zombie?, a zombie is resurrected by a necromancer after being killed by a serial killer, inadvertently gains "magical girl" powers, and is forced to become a "magical boy" (and thereby crossdress) in the process.
In 2014, LoliRock debuted as a French anime-influenced animation series of the genre, and contains numerous references to Japanese magical girl franchises. Miraculous Ladybug, another French series, blends magical girl conventions with modern superhero action and adventure storytelling.
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