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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogThe Eight Most Incredible Magical Girl Transformations

The Eight Most Incredible Magical Girl Transformations

By Catarina Guedes-Almeida
March 25, 2022

Magical girl transformation sequences are a significant and sentimental part of the magical girl genre. Whether it’s for fighting bad guys, romancing a love interest, or simply for the sake of fashion, magical girl transformations are essential to expressing the genre’s charming vibe and will undoubtedly capture your heart. 

What is a Magical Girl Transformation? 

The magical girl (mahou shoujo) genre is well-known for its magical transformations that are often necessary to defeat the bad guy and save the world. These transformation sequences are a fundamental and sentimental aspect of the magical girl genre and are often beautifully represented in magical girl anime

The sequences usually include flowing colorful skirts, dancing to catchy upbeat music, or twirling in place as the clothes magically appear. And most importantly, a magical girl sequence can’t be complete without a final pose.

A tray of makeup products whose packaging is inspired by the catalysts of Sailor Moon's magical girl transformations, including her heart brooch and star brooch.
Another reason to love transformations is how they show power progression. Sailor Moon had several items that changed her transformation and power level. Image via Shutterstock

Why is a transformation sequence essential? First, it can be very difficult to fight off the bad guys in a Japanese school uniform, especially if you need to keep your identity a secret. 

Secondly, a magical girl transformation not only allows the character to show off their kawaii (cute) or cool personalities, but also grants them their full abilities and powers. 

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Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon is one of the most popular characters of all time and a great representation of the magical girl genre. On top of that, its transformation sequences are a textbook example that has influenced other magical girls. 

The Sailor Guardians use their transformation sequence to transform into their sailor outfits while calling out a special command along with holding a pen, wand, or brooch. 

The sequence itself has a colorful, sparkly backdrop filled with bubbles. Sailor Moon’s eyes, which shine through the shifting colors in the background, are iconic in this scene.

The Sailors, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, each have their own color scheme and iconic moments as well. Every Sailor Guardian has an elemental aspect, such as fire for Mars and lightning for Jupiter, which contributes to their incredible magical girl transformation sequences. The classic sailor guardian outfits were a great addition and a huge part of the Sailor Moon aesthetic.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica 

Cardboard cutouts of the main characters of Madoka Magica and Madoka Magica magia record after their magical girl transformations with their weapons.
This one makes it to the list because of the movie. But by the time you see the movie, you know the cuteness factor is just a trap! Image via Shutterstock

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is known for its unique take on the magical girl genre, and its transformations are no exception. Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rebellion, in particular, has a unique animation style and a fascinating transformation that hints at the show’s dark and sinister elements. 

The fashionably sweet outfits and cutesy poses are deceiving of Madoka Magica’s true story. With the flashing lights and iconic outfits, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is undoubtedly one of the best magical girl transformations. 

Pretty Cure

I think we all know that Pretty Cure (or PreCure) could have an entire list of its own with its many magical girls to choose from. In addition, the magical girl outfits in this show are some of the best within the genre. 

Specifically in Go! Princess Pretty Cure, Kirara Amanogawa’s star-inspired transition into Cure Twinkle, is stunning to watch. From the bright yellow princess dress to the headband that made her hairstyle extra cute, Cure Twinkle’s magical girl transformation certainly deserves its popularity. 

Another great example of Pretty Cure’s enjoyable transformations is Smile Pretty Cure! Hoshizora Miyuki’s Cure Happy. There is a blast of hot pink everywhere and the magical compact is used to change costumes and give her powers. 

Her magical transformation is super adorable along with her kawaii catchphrase: “Twinkling and shining, the light of the future! Cure Happy!”

An official Tokyo 2020 Olympics featuring characters from Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure, Dragonball, Naruto, and more, all cheering on Japan.
Pretty Cure is a staple, not just of the magical girl genre, but of Japanese anime in general. The huge amount of seasons means there are plenty of transformations in PreCure. Image via Shutterstock

Tokyo Mew Mew 

From the early 2000s, Tokyo Mew Mew has both adorable and unique transformation sequences. One such example is Minto Aizawa who transforms into Mew Mew Mint. There are no clothes ripping in this elegant transformation. 

Her transformation scene involves graceful, memorized dance steps, a tribute to her joint animal D.N.A., the blue lorikeet, and her background as a ballet dancer. Plus, in the backdrop before she begins her change, strands of DNA fuse, showing her magical powers starting to appear. 

Tokyo Mew Mew is getting a new reboot titled Tokyo Mew Mew New, planned for July 2022. I wonder if they’ll keep the same transformation sequence or make a new one, equally as gorgeous. 

Yuki Yuna is a Hero

A more recent magical girl entry, Yuki Yuna is a Hero, has many entertaining magical girl transformation sequences. The characters express their kawaii personalities, especially Inubouzaki Itsuki, even while gearing up for battle. 

As members of the Hero Club, these middle schoolers strive to be an everyday hero, performing small tasks to help others. However, when they are summoned to help protect the world from creatures called Vertex, they use a phone app to transform and gain their magical powers. 

So, each transformation scene starts by clicking the app along with a burst of light and colors. Even better, each outfit incorporates nature in the form of flowers. 

Magical girl transformations certainly know how to make the cutest costumes to match your teammates, from Inubozaki Fu’s braided hair with flowers on the end to Yuki Yuna’s flower-inspired hair tie.

Figures of Sailor Moon characters after their magical girl transformations sitting on a black next to Cardcaptor Sakura figures on a shelf.
Actually, a good magical girl anime will find ways to tie their team together with some kind of theme. Sailor Moon’s is the sailor suit, with colors and accessories setting them apart. Image via Shutterstock

Saint Tail

Many magical girl stories on this list, like Saint Tail and Sailor Moon, were first published in Nakayoshi Manga. Middle school girl by day, a mysterious thief by night, Meimi Haneoka is the modern-day Robin Hood who steals things to return them to their rightful owner. Saint Tail isn’t just a sweet cat and mouse game; its magical girl transformation is also quite romantic. 

Cherry blossoms (sakura) fall as wind goes through her hair. A black top hat with a pink bow appears which represents her powers as she uses magic tricks to thwart the bad guys. 

The whole transformation is bright and colorful with streamers bursting from the hat. Finally, the last ending pose features flowers and the city skyline in the background, evoking a romantic mysterious atmosphere.

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch 

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is another nostalgic early 2000’s magical girl manga and anime. The seven kingdoms’ mermaid princesses each have their own unique, magical pearls that they use to transform from their mermaid forms to their human forms, which happens to be singing teen idols. 

In fact, they sing in order to protect the sea from water demons. During their transformation, the pearls morph into their iconic microphones. With stars in the background, the entire transformation sequence is flamboyant, glittering, and colorful.

A shelf of figures for the anime Love Live, an anime about high school girls who are in a pop music group.
It may seem strange to have an anime about singing, but Japan has plenty of anime singers, including magical girl singers. Image via Shutterstock

Kamichama Karin

Kamichama Karin is about a seventh grade girl named Karin who finds out that she can transform into a goddess. A ring that once belonged to her mother bestows the power of God on her.  Her magical transformation is granted by the same ring. 

She changes into a wonderfully kawaii pink dress with frills and a huge bow at the back! It has a real princess vibe. Moreover, the transformation really focuses on creating a god-like, extraterrestrial atmosphere complete with dazzling lights and rainbow colors.

Magical girls aren’t the only ones in the genre that have amazing transformations. Check out these classic magical boy anime, as well as ‘hidden’ magical boys within the shounen (young men’s) genre.

Were there any magical girl transformations we missed? What’s your favorite magical girl transformation? Let us know in the comments!

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