Though the genre is often defined by clichés, these episodes prove that magical girl anime have more to offer.
A random girl with magical powers is a common theme in anime, and it’s not hard to see why. The essence of magical girl anime is the depiction of seemingly regular schoolgirls juggling their daily duties at school and antics with friends with the impending end of the world as they know it..
This doesn’t mean that all of these shows are the same, just because they are in the magical girl genre. Some of the best shows in the genre take these notions a step further, defy expectations, and create some of the most compelling stories in the genre.
Mark Sammut’s most recent update was on November 23, 2021. There have been magical girls for decades, and there is no sign that they will go away any time soon. Even though Mahou Shoujo has produced many popular episodes, it is still considered a niche genre, similar to Mecha. Those who are new to the vast world of magical girls may be unsure of where to begin, given the wide range of tones, demographics, and ideas represented in the genre. A few more of the top magical girl anime series have been included to this list to make things easier for you.
1. Yuki Yuna Is A Hero
This is the show’s third season, and it has shown to be rather resilient. Yuki Yuna is often compared to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, another magical girl series, but Puella Magi is a darker series. The Hero Club of a high school is tasked with guarding the world from evil in a fantasy world populated by deities.
As the anime spends much time delving into the personal lives of the titular heroines, Yuki Yuna’s characters stand out as the show’s most compelling feature. It makes them relatable or at least likable, making it simple to connect with them.
2. Is This A Zombie?
Is This Person a Zombie? This is a magical girl anime in the strictest sense of the term, as it features transformations, danger, and a plethora of ribbons. However, this show is primarily a comedy, one that parodies the genre while still giving the majority of the thrills associated with the Mahou Shoujo anime style.
Through a sequence of strange events, Ayumu Aikawa dies and assumes the role of a magical girl. Because Is This a Zombie? he’s also armed with a chainsaw. has a lighthearted attitude toward life. Is This a Zombie? is one of the funniest anime comedy and the best magical girl series. works nicely as an introduction to both genres.
3. Pretty Cure
It’s no wonder that the Pretty Cure series is so huge in Japan. As of Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure, the show’s 18th season, which includes the franchise’s 16th generation of magical girls, it made its debut in 2004 with a 49-episode series.
The structure of this anime resembles that of the Power Rangers franchise in that it is geared toward children. In spite of this, the series is remarkably consistent, with lovable characters and great humor, as well as a variety of different themes. Although it is generally lighthearted and endearing, the series does not shy away from exploring darker themes.
4. Princess Tutu
Princess Tutu is a well-written fairy tale with a twist that became a cult classic in the early 2000s. Ahiru, a duck, changes into a girl who can assume the shape of the mythical Princess Tutu in the anime. In order to save a prince, Ahiru must embark on a quest that proves to be far more difficult than it appears.
Surreal images, profound themes of identity and free will, and unusual ballet technique make Princess Tutu a really one-of-a-kind event. Princess Tutu’s great tale and characters more than make up for the show’s occasional animation faults.
5. Magical DoReMi
It’s not uncommon for anime viewers to associate the term “magical girls” with a group of three superpowered high school students, and Magical DoReMi certainly fits that definition. While exploring the imaginary village of Misora, third grader Doremi Harukaze discovers the magical store Mahodo. Upon learning that Majo Rika, the house’s owner, is a witch frog, Doremi becomes her apprentice in order to assist Majo in resuming her human form.
Doremi’s best friends, who also happen to be witch apprentices, serve as her companions. In order to free Majo Rika from her curse, the trio must first pass nine separate challenges. A witch apprentice, as well as numerous other threats, await the trio as they fight to save the world.
6. Shugo Chara!
With her signature pink hair and punk-rock attitude, Amu Hinamori of Shugo Chara! is instantly identifiable. What her peers see as a “cool and spicy” appearance masks her true nature, which is one of introversion. With the help of three eggs, she hatches Ran, Miki, and Su, who help her obtain the self-confidence she needs to fulfill her popular persona. Amu’s role as a Guardian allows her to ask Ran, Miki, and Su for assistance in discovering her actual nature.
Aside from Amu, the anime also features other Guardians, each with their own unique powers. While Shugo Chara! has its own distinct blend of action, its greatest power resides in its story of realizing one’s own identity.
What if there was a school where young ladies could learn how to become amazing young ladies? This idea is thoroughly explored in My-HiME. Girls with the capacity to manifest photons are at the center of the plot at Fuka Academy for an unknown reason. After discovering she is a HiME, protagonist Mai Tokiha forms an emotional attachment with the mecha known as Child. To defend the world from Orphans, creatures with skills comparable to those of the HiME children, Mai, along with 11 others, are tasked.
The many facets of each character’s characteristics can be traced back to My-HiME. Mai’s motivation to defend her world is influenced by the intentions of other HiMEs that appear around her. Ultimately, the fate of Mai and the other HiMEs is intertwined with their very being.
8. Searching For The Full Moon
Searching For The Full Moon is a clear take on the magical girl trope, unlike other series. Mitsuki Koyama, the 12-year-old protagonist, aspires to be a singer. The cancer that she has now makes her aspiration of being a writer difficult. It’s even worse for Mitsuki when two Shinigami inform her she only has a year to live.
A pact is struck between the two Shinigami after seeing her desires. An agreement to die peacefully after one year allows her to become a 16-year-old idol hopeful. Her audience is enthralled as the Fullmoon, Mitsuki’s character. As the story unfolds, fans will be glued to their screens until the bittersweet conclusion.
9. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
A ferret rescue by elementary schoolgirl Nanoha Takamichi thrusts her into the mysterious and magical underworld. Yuno Scrya, an archaeologist-mage from the parallel universe of Midchilda, is revealed to be this ferret. Yuno enlists Nanoha’s assistance in locating 21 Jewel Seeds that, if they come into touch with their hosts, will transform them into monsters.
Cardcaptor Sakura and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha share certain similarities, however the latter’s story is completely different. As the novel progresses, it takes on a darker tone, with plot twists and darker characters.
10. Cardcaptor Sakura
It is Sakura Kinomoto’s unintentional release of strong magical cards in Cardcaptor Sakura that captivates viewers. Sakura offers to help him find the lost cards when Kero (Cerberus), the cutesy card guardian, gives him a stern talking to.
For her part, Sakura is always on the lookout for strange occurrences that might be connected to one of the various Clow Cards. Sakura uses a variety of sealing magics to retrieve fresh Clow Cards with the help of her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji and her archrival Syaoran Li. This can include asking them to protect her from the threat of other violent Cards.
11. Revolutionary Girl Utena
An orphaned teenager, Utena Tenjou, aspires to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a prince through the exploits of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Her ability to wield a sword and her tenacity lead her to a world of deadly swordfights and adversaries. Anthy Himemiya, the “Rose Bride,” is on a quest to gain her hand in marriage, and she’s going to do anything to get her.
Criticism of Utena’s exploration of many tropes is commendable, as is the case with other distinctive magical girl anime of the time. The anime is notably well-known for its deconstruction of the prince fairytale genre and even for its unique treatment of gay themes and feminism.
12. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
In order to save the planet, what would someone be willing to give up? Fans of the magical girl genre will find a familiar premise in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In middle school, Madoka Kaname and her friends enter into a magical contract to gain supernatural powers. Their job is to find and kill the Witches in order to preserve the world. However, there is more to the story than meets the eye.
Madoka Magica was hailed as a groundbreaking magical girl anime because it defied the conventions of the genre. In particular, Madoka Magica focuses on the perils and sacrifices magical girls must make in order to get the powers they desire. As the show progresses, viewers will discover that it is a far more heartbreaking tale than they first thought.
13. Magic Knight Rayearth
Knight of Magic Rayearth begins as any other magical girl anime would, but with a few notable differences. An other universe impacted by one’s will is woven into the lives of three eighth-grade pals, Hikaru, Umi and Fuu. Princess Emeraude, the Pillar and keeper of Cephiro, is in danger from the evil Zagato, and the creature Mokona appeals to them for assistance.
The Rune-Gods are mecha piloted by the three thanks to Mokona’s assistance, which allows them to use unique element-based magic to awaken the Rune-Gods and save Cephiro and the universe. Rayearth’s unique blend of magical girl and mecha features sets it apart from the rest of the crowd.
14. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is likely to be given credit for popularizing the idea of a supernatural girl in a sailor outfit. Schoolgirl Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon, while her classmates take on the identities of several planet-based Sailor Soldiers. In order to safeguard the Silver Crystal, Usagi and the Sailor Soldiers take on a variety of interstellar enemies.
Sailor Moon, one of the most successful magical girl animes of all time, has defined many of the genre’s conventions. Sailor Moon not only set the standard for adorable outfits, but also for amazing transformation scenes.