Every anime fan knows about magical girls, but did you know that magical boys and magical boy anime also exist? While there are magical boys that follow the magical girl genre tropes, there are also mysterious yet cute magical boys that deviate from the usual kira-kira (sparkly look キラキラ) we know.
Magical girl anime are all about girls with magical powers fighting evil forces and saving the world through colorful, exciting transformation sequences and girl power. One popular example is Sailor Moon. She gains powers from a magical brooch given to her by a talking black cat named Luna and transitions from junior high school girl Usagi Tsukino to her magical girl outfit-wearing alter ego Sailor Moon. But what about magical boys?
Some of the most well-known magical boy anime characters include the loveable quintet from Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!, known as Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu Love! In Japanese. All five magical boys include Yumoto Hakone, En Yufuin, Atsushi Kinugawa, Io Naruko, Ryuu Zaou, and of course, not to mention the pink wombat who appeared and gave them their magic powers.
Despite being male characters, they embody the magical girl genre from the transformation sequence into color-coordinated costumes to fighting the green hedgehog creature Zundar from conquering Earth.
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Another famous magical boy anime called D.N. Angel follows Daisuke Niwa who, on his 14th birthday, undergoes a genetic transformation that turns him into a crime fighting, phantom thief called Dark Mousy. In a romantic twist, he only transforms into his alter ego when thinking about his crush, Risa Harada, and vice versa. A charming, mystical fantasy that portrays a dynamic, unrequited love and a compelling love triangle between Risa, Daisuke, and his alter ego, Dark.
Other notable magical boys include the charming catboy, Ikuto Tsukiyomi from Shugo Chara!, sweet Henri Wakamiya from Precure, and Chrono Harlaown from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. We also can’t leave out the magical boy love interests: Syaoran from Cardcaptor Sakura or Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.
There are also other male anime characters that you wouldn’t consider to be a part of the magical boy genre, but still retain some of the genre’s aspects.
There are magical boys that don’t usually share the kawaii appearance of the usual magical boys, but they are still boys with magical powers! These magical boys are hidden within the shounen (young male) genre. Despite these magical boys deviating from the classic transformation sequence or alter ego, these male characters possess powers needed to fight bad guys and protect the world.
One such example is My Hero Academia. My Hero Academia is one of the most popular anime and manga in recent years. In a world where everyone (well, almost everyone) is born with superpowers called Quirks, there are plenty of boys with somewhat magical powers. Shouto Todoroki for instance has a Half-Cold Half-Hot Quirk, giving him powers that control both the fire element and ice.
Another character, Eijiro Kirishima, has the ability to harden and sharpen his body which allows him to shield against attacks with his arms. Despite the lack of an alter ego and transformation sequence, Todoroki and Kirishima’s magical powers and ability to fight villains earns them the title of magical boys, albeit unique ones. The addition of hero costumes (which are very popular for cosplay events or Halloween in Japan) is the cherry on top.
Another example is Subaru Natsuki from Re: Zero − Starting Life in Another World. Natsuki, a hikikomori (shut-in) withdrawn from society, is suddenly summoned to a mystical, fantasy-like world. He realizes that he now has the power to turn back time after he dies.
With his ability, which he calls “Return by Death”, Natsuki aims to protect his friends and the one he loves, Emilia, from magical beasts. While it is not exactly an alter ego, Natsuki’s ability keeps him from telling others his power which unintentionally gives him a secret identity he struggles with.
Bungou Stray Dogs can also be claimed to have a magical boy within itself. While saving Detective Osamu Daizai from drowning, Atsushi Nakajima discovers that he has a secret ability that transforms him into a white tiger in the moonlight. He is then recruited by Daizai into a detective agency where he meets others with their own supernatural powers.
There, he uses his ability to fight the Mafia and their seedy actions within the Black Market. While this is a more unique transformation as he develops fangs, tiger-like eyes, and tiger limbs, with his magical abilities and vigilante mentality, he could definitely be considered a magical boy.
As you can see, magical boys can range from many genres and anime, yet they all have the similar characteristic of –well, being magical! And they deserve some recognition in comparison to magical girls. They are, after all, saving the world while looking their best!
What are some of your favorite magical boy anime and characters? Please let us know your favorites in the comments!
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