Minky Momo aka Gigi

Magical Princess Minky Momo is a Japanese TV Series produced by Ashi that belongs to the popular genre of the Magical Girls. A few episodes of the series were released as an animated feature film on VHS in the USA as The Magical Princess Gigi. The story is that of pink-haired little girl named Minky Momo (Gigi internationally), the daughter of the King and Queen of the magical land of Fenarinarasa. They send her to earth as the baby of a couple of earthlings. Her mission is to bring back the capacity of dreaming to humans, who have lost hope in their future.

Snow White references

To help her, she has animal companions and a magic wand that enables her to transform into an adult. Every time she brings joy to someone, a magic crown glows in Fenarinarsa. As she gets close to her aim, she loses her magical powers in episode 45 and dies in episode 46. A new baby is then, sent to earth by the King and the rest of the series is the dream of that baby. Four episodes after that directly reference Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Episode 50 entitled Beware of Apples, aired February 24, 1983, episode 55 entitled Love (Love), Apple Again, aired March 31, 1983, episode 61 entitled Love (Love) Apple Forever aired May 12, 1983 and episode 62 entitled Looming Shadow aired May 19, 1983. The latter is a reference to the show’s theme song “Love Love Minky Momo”.

On top of that, a Japanese LP of the soundtrack comes out in 1982 entitled “Some Day My Prince Will Come” (VICL-23060), another direct reference to the Disney tale. One of the tracks is called “Some Day My Prince Will…”.

Someday My Prince Will Come album

Beware of Apples

In that episode, the King tells the story of Gigi who follows a butterfly that she found in her garden. Her earth parents tell her about a deserted magic forest, not unlike Snow White’s forest in the film. Gigi goes there with her animal friends and is attacked by three giant men led by Gorus, sent by the evil Queen. Four dwarfs rescue her. The main henchman contacts the Queen through her modern electronic magic mirror that tell her that she is fairer than Gigi. She then tells him to let Gigi go. Meanwhile the dwarfs tell her about the Queen killing Snow White by crushing her with a giant apple. Three of the dwarfs decided to leave the forest after the tragic event. Gigi transforms into Snow White to help the dwarfs avenge themselves against the Queen. They storm her castle and Snow White almost gets crushed by a giant apple. The Queen accidently bites in it and turns ugly. She escapes and vows to return. The butterfly turns out to be Snow White and she returns to live with the dwarfs.

If the design of the characters is of course different enough to fit the series’ style, the inspiration of the Walt Disney feature is quite obvious. Some of the dwarfs have a color pattern reminiscent of Doc and Dopey. Even more obvious is the choice of design for Snow White. Apart from Gigi’s trademark pink hair, the character could hardly get closer to the Disney version. Same gown, same bow tie in her hair and on her shoes.

Love (Love), Apple Again

The previous episode must have been popular: five weeks later, another Snow White episode was produced. In this one, the evil Queen parades around town in her Rolls and has a party organized in a hotel during which all the food served is apple-based… The Queen’s henchmen decide to ruin the party and print posters claiming that the Queen is a poisoner. Gigi and her pets walk into an empty party room and take pity on her, now that everyone hates her. They rescue her from an accident and bring her back home. The Queen admits that she is full of love for humanity and Gigi decides to transform into Snow White again to help people realize it. She offers the Queen’s apples in the street. To cope with demand, the Queen and her huntsmen decide to grow apples.

Love (Love) Apple Forever

The Queen returns in episodes 61 where her apples are poisoned by an evil character, the black cloud. The Queen cries over her business failing and sees Snow White in her dreams blaming her. Gigi transforms again into Snow White to give her confidence. But the Black Cloud sets the trees on fire.

Looming Shadow

Gigi’s earth parents get bitten by animals and act bizarre subsequently. During the night, the black cloud looms over the house and the animals, under his influence, attack Gigi and her pets. Her parents turn into stone. As Gigi escapes, the black cloud attacks and turns several of her friends into stone, including the Evil Queen.

In this episode, Gigi does not transform into Snow White, but an evil character resembling Disney’s old hag makes an appearance. Ironically, she fights against the evil Queen.

Production information

Series title: Mahou no Princess Minky Momo
Directors: Kunihiko Yuyama (50, 55, 61), & Mitsuo Kusakabe (62)

Gigi-Minky Momo: Mami Koyama
Snow White: Mami Koyama
Evil Queen: Toshijka Sawada
Dwarf 1: Ikuya Sawaki
Dwarf 2: Hideki Fukushi
Dwarf 3: Minoru Inaba
Dwarf 4: Masahiro Koyanaki
Main henchman: Masayuki Katô
King of Fenarinarsa: Hiroshi Masuoka
Queen of Fenarinarsa: Emiko Tsukada
Papa: Rokurô Naya
Mama: Mika Doi
Sindbook: Isamu Tanonaka
Pipiru: Yûko Mita
Kajira: Shigeru Chiba
Mocha: Reiko Kitou
Old Hag (62): Reiko Suzuki
Cybele: Runa Akiyama