Sally the Witch (魔法使いサリー Mahōtsukai Sarī?), is the first magical girl manga and anime in Japan (although not including transformations, such as Sailor Moon), and was of the first such anime series produced. The series was originally black and white when it began production, but later started producing episodes in color.
The first manga series was drawn by Mitsuteru Yokoyama in 1966, and was, according to Yokoyama, inspired by the American sitcom, Bewitched (known in Japan as Oku-sama wa Majo, or "The Missus is a Witch"). The anime series was produced and aired from 1966 to 1968 in Japan by Toei Animation. Unlike Yokoyama's Tetsujin 28-go, the series never received a U.S. broadcast, but was aired in Italy (Sally la Maga), French-speaking Canada (Minifée), Poland (Sally Czarodziejka - polish version was based on Italian version) and South America (Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, as La princesa Sally).
A second Mahōtsukai Sally anime, also made by Toei, aired for 88 episodes on Japanese TV from 1989 to 1991, and also was released in French (Sally la Petite Sorcière), Italian (Un regno magico per Sally), Polish (Sally Czarodziejka), Spanish (Sally la Brujita) and Russian (Ведьма Салли). The 1989 series is a sequel to the original, in which an older Sally returns to the human world, reunites with her old friends, and embarks on a new round of magical adventures.
Notable features this anime established in the mahō shōjo genre:
- The heroine must keep the secret of her magic. If she reveals the secret, she will be punished.
- When heroine uses magic, she needs her magical phrase and an enchanted object like a baton (Sally's magical phrase is "Mahariku Maharita Yanbarayan," a phrase with as much meaning as "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (from Disney's Cinderella)
- A magical servant follows a heroine in a mundane world.
- Two sub-heroines of tomboy and girly girl are established as the heroine's sidekicks.
These features still influence the magical girl genre in today's anime.
Sally is the princess of the "witch world", Astoria, who longs to visit the mortal realm - presumably to make friends her own age. One day, Sally teleports to the "mid world" (Earth), where she uses her magic to fend off a couple of burglars menacing two young schoolgirls. Immediately befriended by her new acquaintances - tomboyish Yoshiko Hanamura (known affectionately as "Yotchan") and girly Sumire Kasugano - Sally decides to stay on indefinitely, leading to various kinds of shōjo mischief in the best Japanese tradition. As with Samantha Stevens in Bewitched, Sally tries to keep her supernatural abilities secret, assuming the role of a human child.
The final episode
In the final episode, Sally's grandma informs her she must return to the Magic Kingdom. Before leaving, Sally tries to tell her friends about her origins but no one will believe her. Then her elementary school catches on fire, and Sally uses her magic to put out the fire. Her powers thus exposed, Sally's time to leave has finally come. She waves farewell to her friends, and returns to the Magic Kingdom. The 2nd series ended with the movie/TV special "Sally the Witch: Mother's Love is Eternal", in which Sally becomes queen of the witch world, but worries about leaving her friends behind. As with most Japanese cartoons of the period, Mahōtsukai Sally's main strength lays in its strong characterizations and detailed continuity. The basic storyline would be incorporated into many later Mahō Shōjo programs, particularly the concept of a magical princess relocating to the human world (as in Mahō Tsukai Chappy, 1972, and Majokko Megu-chan, 1974).
Names are in Western order, with the family name after the given name.
- Sally Yumeno (夢野サリー Yumeno Sarī?) – The main character of the series. Sally is the daughter of the Witch-King, and therefore princess of the Witch-World. Yumeno means "in a dream" in Japanese.
- Yoshiko Hanamura (花村よし子 Hanamura Yoshiko?) – one of Sally's best friends in the mortal realm. A stereotypical animated tomboy, Yoshiko is probably the first of her kind to appear in a magic-girl anime. Sally usually refers to her as "Yotchan".
- Sumire Kasugano (春日野すみれ Kasugano Sumire?) – another of Sally's human friends. Sumire is the archetype "girlie" girl so common in Japanese animation today; probably the inspiration for the dozens of cutesy side-kicks that would follow.
- Kabu (カブ?) - Sally's magical, shape-changing assistant. Assuming the form of a five year old boy, Kabu poses as Sally's younger brother.
- The Hanamura Triplets: Tonkichi (花村トン吉 Hanamura Tonkichi?), Chinpei (花村チン平 Hanamura Chinpei?), and Kanta (花村カン太 Hanamura Kanta?) – Yoshiko's kid brothers, typically incorrigible Japanese boys adept at landing themselves in trouble.
- Poron (ポロン?) – A little witch girl who appears in the later part of series. Saucy, selfish and rather lovable, she frequently casts spells she can't reverse, such as shrinking herself down to mouse-size, then being unable to "grow up".
- Daimaō (大魔王 Witch-king?) – Sally's grandfather, the ruler of the Witch-World. A pompous blowhard who dislikes humanity on principle, he nonetheless has a good heart where his daughter is concerned (a quality shared with Endora from Bewitched).
The first 17 episodes of the original 1960s TV series were filmed in black and white, and the remainder of the series was filmed in color, making it one of the earliest color anime. Both black-and-white and color versions exist of the opening animation sequence.
A movie/TV special was made called "Sally the Witch: Mother's Love is Eternal", which served as the finale to the 2nd series.
- Mitsuteru Yokoyama originally intended to name the main character "Sunny". But in order to avoid being sued by the car manufacturing company Nissan, he changed his witch's name to Sally.
- Sally appears in the Giant Robo OAV as Shockwave Alberto's daughter. However in this series, her name is Sunny, the name Yokoyama originally intended to call her.
- The opening of the original series features a cat-and-mouse chase inspired by Tom and Jerry. But in this, it's the mouse who loses, as Sally uses her magic to get rid of it (including turning a hairbrush into a cat to chase the mouse).
- The French language dub of the first TV series (Minifée) used the same familiar theme-song melody as the original Japanese theme (sung by The Three Graces), as the Latin American dub as well.