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 is about girls with magical powers fighting evil forces and saving the world through colorful, exciting transformation sequences and girl power. One famous example is Sailor Moon. She gains powers from a magical brooch given to her by a talking black cat named Luna. She 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 undergoes a genetic transformation on his 14th birthday, turning 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 passionate, 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.
Some magical boys may not have the typical cute appearance but still possess magical powers. These magical boys are hidden within the shounen (young male) genre. They have the power to fight villains and protect the world, even without the traditional transformation or alter ego.
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 the fire element and ice.
Another character in the series is Eijiro Kirishima. He can harden and sharpen his body, granting him arm shields to defend against attacks. Unlike Todoroki, Kirishima has no alter ego or a transformation sequence.
However, he still displays his magical powers and fights against villains, which sets him apart as a unique magical boy. Including hero costumes, popular for cosplay events and Halloween in Japan, adds an extra layer of fun.
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.
Natsuki possesses an ability known as “Return by Death.” With this power, he strives to protect his friends and his beloved, Emilia. His ability keeps him from revealing his power to others, unintentionally giving him a secret identity he struggles with.
Bungou Stray Dogs can also be claimed to have magical boys within itself. While saving Detective Osamu Daizai from drowning, Atsushi Nakajima makes a surprising discovery. He possesses a hidden ability that allows him to transform into a white tiger, but only under the moonlight. He is then recruited by Daizai into a detective agency, where he meets others with their own supernatural powers.
In that world, he utilizes his ability to combat the Mafia and their illicit activities in the Black Market. His transformation is distinctive, as he acquires fangs, tiger-like eyes, and tiger limbs. With his magical powers and mindset, he’s undoubtedly a magical boy.
Magical boys can be found in various genres and anime. However, they all share a common characteristic – they possess magic! 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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