Mahou Shoujo, or Magical Girl anime, is a staple of J-pop culture recognized by tropes like young teenage girls, kawaii outfits, and amazing powers to transform and save the world. Magical girl anime has created role models for young girls and fictional icons loved by adult anime fans. Today, we’ll pick out some of the best magical girl anime series, from the classics to new takes on the genre.
Cardcaptor Sakura revolves around Sakura Kinomoto, a ten-year-old girl. She unwittingly sets free the mystical cards in the book “The Clow.” These cards were created by the sorcerer Clow Reed. Alongside their release, Keroberos (Kero), the Beast of the Seal, awakens. He assigns Sakura the mission of locating and recovering all the lost Cards. The goal is to prevent them from wreaking havoc on the world.
Along with her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji and with Kero-chan’s guidance, Sakura learns to balance her new secret mission with her everyday life as she steps into the magical adventure of Cardcaptor Sakura.
Sakura gets the best of both worlds as both a magical girl and a pre-teen girl. She’s an upbeat and pure-hearted girl with magical abilities and is surrounded by supportive people on her magical journey. She even has a lovely romantic relationship with the main male character, Syaoran.
Even better, there is hardly any magical girl with an impressive battle costume collection like Cardcaptor Sakura does, keeping us all excited about what she will wear every episode. This CLAMP anime and manga really was full of style.
Suppose you are new to the magical girl anime genre. In that case, Cardcaptor Sakura is a classic that will make you fall in love with its magical vibe: classical elements, fascinating costumes, and endearing romances.
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This Nakayoshi manga-turned-anime revolves around the quest to destroy evil while protecting the Earth and the Universe of the Sailor Scouts. The main protagonist – Usagi Tsukino – has a fateful encounter with the cat Luna. From this, she becomes Sailor Moon – a pretty warrior with a mission to protect the Earth against evil.
Throughout her journey, she meets and makes friends with other warriors: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus, and the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. The group also discovers their true identities as they fight to save the planet from destruction.
Sailor Moon is not the first magical girl anime, but it is the most influential, even in the Western world. The protagonist, Usagi, is highly relatable as a clumsy crybaby. She faces typical challenges such as school, love, and friendships. Along the way, she discovers her inner strength to fight for justice in this magical adventure.
Sailor Moon also defines the entire genre with its epic magical girl transformations, gorgeous battle outfits, and beautiful makeup. Plus, Sailor Moon’s iconic powerful transformation items, like the magical brooches and wands, have set the standard for other magical girls to have a kind of weapon with them.
On top of that, the Sailor Scouts are a perfect role model for young girls as they represent female empowerment, femininity, and badassery at the same time. No wonder many people consider this anime one of the top shojo anime (young girls’ anime) of all time
Get ready for an exciting adventure with Kaname Madoka, the story’s main character! Her life takes a thrilling turn when she saves a cute creature named Kyubey from another planet. Brace yourself for an epic journey full of surprises and magical encounters!
This story revolves around a group of junior high school girls. Kyubey offers to fulfill their wishes, and in exchange, they would become magical girls and fight witches. Unfortunately, everything is not as it seems because wishes come at a price.
In contrast to its cute character design and familiar premise, Madoka Magica tells a brutal story. It features exciting plot twists, tension, and drama in every episode, keeping viewers on edge all the time. Each magical girl’s wish is worth trading their own life for. They need to gain strength to overcome every hardship that comes their way.
If you’ve outgrown typical magical girl tropes, Madoka Magica’s mature and darker themes will undoubtedly reignite your interest. You can still find everyday things related to magical girls – frilly costumes, magnificent transformations, and impressive fights. Still, other than that, almost every magical girl cliché is broken down in this game-changer series.
Madoka Magica is not your typical cutesy magical girl series. Prepare for unexpected twists and turns, along with heartwarming and heartbreaking moments!
Inspired to become a noble prince, Utena Tenjou, dressed in a schoolboy uniform, attends the prestigious Ohtori Academy. There, she becomes entangled in a strange tournament. The tournament involves mysterious members of the Student Council. They are all rivals competing in duels to possess the “Rose Bride” – Anthy Himemiya.
You see, Anthy gives her “master” the power to revolutionize the world. Utena participates in the duels to live up to her ideal as a prince, stand up for people in need, and save Anthy from a cruel fate.
Generally, the series challenges stereotypes in magical girl anime with its unique plot and character development. It features Utena’s transformation and an animal sidekick but breaks conventions. The series’ central theme is the revolutionary romantic relationship between Utena and Anthy. It reshaped the magical girl genre and fairy tale anime in the 1990s!
Eventually, Utena proved that being a magical girl is not just about aesthetics, cute uniforms, and happy endings with a prince charming. To emphasize, it is a classic and influential anime series that delves into profound themes like gender norms and sexuality, offering deep interpretations for anime fans to enjoy!
Amu Hinamori is considered to be a “cool and spicy” girl by her classmates. But in reality, she’s shy and introverted. One morning, she finds three eggs under her pillow, which claims to be her “Shugo Chara” or her would-be selves.
With their help, Amu can express herself, but it also causes her to connect with a group of students in her school known as the Guardians. Their mission is to protect other children’s eggs from being turned into X-eggs by an evil organization known as Easter.
Shugo Chara! is definitely a breath of fresh air in the magical girl anime world. It has the genre’s traditional lovely outfits, transformation sequences, and bad guys. However, it will still give you the best magical girl anime experience with its genius plot and unique concepts. It even has a couple of magical boy characters!
This anime will give you a good laugh but also delivers a positive message that most of us can relate to: be confident in your true self and never lose sight of your dreams.
If you are an anime fan, at least one of these phenomenal magical girl anime above probably already has a place in your heart!
What other magical girl anime do you think deserves to be on this list too? Share with us your top favorite in the comments below!
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