We bring to you the ultimate watch list for Magical Girl Anime. If you are a veteran you must check for any anime you may have missed. If you are a beginner have your pick to jump into the genre.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is the epitome of magical girl anime. Over time, it has gained massive popularity all over the world, became a long-running series.
The protagonist Usagi Tsukino is given the power of Pretty Soldier to fight against the prevailing evil in the world. Meanwhile, other girls with similar powers join her and together they defend the earth.
The show also focuses on her journey of growing up into a mature young adult throughout the series.
This anime is just the thing to get into the magical girl anime. Ten-year-old Sakura Kinomoto accidentally releases the magical Clow Cards from a book in her basement.
These belong to Clow Creed, an ancient magician. Cerberus, the guardian of the cards explains that Sakura has magic as only a magical being could affect the cards.
Subsequently, he chooses her to collect the cards giving her the titular name. Her best friend Tomoyo later joins her in her adventures. Later Syaoran Li appears as the descendent of Clow Reed who is also collecting the cards till they reach a truce.
Well known as a franchise in itself, Pretty Cure has around eighteen anime series running still to date. The premise has a set of teenage girls bestowed with items that allow them to transform into legendary warriors known as Pretty Cure.
Naturally, they have fairies to accompany them while they fight with monsters created by evil forces to destroy Earth. All of the series progresses around similar lines with stronger opponents appearing over the course of time and the Pretty Cures gaining more magical items and new abilities.
Sometimes new allies also appear to help them in fighting the difficult opponents.
The anime revolves around Amu Hinamore who is a student of Seiyo Elementary. Her outer appearance is misjudged as “cool and spicy” when in reality she is a shy girl.
She finds it difficult to show her introverted side and wishes for the courage to be her “would be” self. Interestingly the next morning three eggs- blue, pink and green, appear in her bed. These eggs hatch into three fairy-like guardians called Shugo Charas.
They help her in discovering her true self so that she can fulfil her dreams. As the anime progresses various guardian characters appear along with X Eggs and X Characters.
This magical girl anime is mostly inspired by fairy tales and ballet. To begin with, it has the magical premise of a writer Drosselmeyer being able to bring his characters to life.
His final book The Prince and the Raven remained unfinished causing the two characters to remain caught in an eternal battle.
Afterwards, the story continues in the real world. Prince Siegfried seals the Raven by shattering his own heart, causing him to lose his memories.
Drosselmeyer as a ghost decides to give an ending to the story by using a duckling who is in love with the prince. Proceeding with this he gives her a pendant that can transform her into a human girl and then an expert ballerina.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
The show has nine-year-old Nanoha Takamachi rescuing an injured ferret. The ferret turns out to be a shapeshifting mage Yuno Scrya. 21 dangerous ancient artefacts called “Jewel Seeds” which have the power to turn living beings into monsters is being collected by Yuno.
Now that he is stuck in ferret form he has to rely on Nanoha to collect them. So he gives Nanoha “Raising Heart”- a magical wand and teaches her magic.
Fate Testarossa is the recurring rival who wants to collect the “Jewel Seeds” at the behest of her mother Precia. Various arcs focus on these two characters going against each other.
Doremi Harukaze is a third-grade elementary school student who lives an ordinary life. She comes across a magic shop Maho-Do whose owner Majo Rika is a witch.
Doremi accidentally discovers this secret causing Majo Rika to transform into a witch frog. Rika makes Doremi her apprentice granting her the ability to cast magic. Firstly, Doremi needs to pass nine witch tests to be able to become a full-fledged witch. Only then can she turn Rika back into her original form.
She also needs to keep her identity a secret from other humans. Her friends and sister join her as witch apprentices, running the Maho-Do and helping their friends and families with magic.
Tokyo Mew Mew
An accident during an endangered species exhibit attended by Ichigo Momomiya causes her to merge with a cat. Following this, she acts like a cat and talks in cat puns.
She comes to know that she was infused with the DNA of the Iriomote cat. Soon after gaining the ability to transform into a catgirl, she is told to defeat Chimera Animas.
Chimera Animas controlled by aliens- Quiche, Pie and Tart can turn animals into monsters. So these creatures need to be stopped.
Also, she needs to find the other Mew Mews who were present during the catastrophe. The series proceeds with the girls fighting against Chimera Animas.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The story revolves around a middle school girl named Madoka Kaname. She along with her best friend comes across Kyubey who is a magical creature.
He offers to grant Madoka any wish in turn of becoming a magical girl to fight witches. Homura Akemi, a mysterious magical girl attempts to stop her from making the deal.
Mami Tomoe, an upperclassman magical girl then convinces them to get on a witch hunt with her. Watching Mami get killed disturbs the girls.
On the whole, the elements of psychological thriller and dark fantasy may be a bit much for the light-hearted viewers.
Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch
This is a magical girl fantasy along with a fairy tale element. Lucia Nanami is the mermaid princess of the North Pacific Ocean who had saved a boy seven years before.
Nanami had fallen in love with the boy so she decides to go on land and search for him. Kaito Domoto, a teenage surfer is that guy from the past but he does not recognize her in her human form.
She wants him to recognize her without her having to tell him directly as she wants to save herself from a mermaid legend.
Additionally, must find the other six mermaid princesses along with their pearls to bring back Aqua Regina. This is the only way to fight the water demons who have invaded the sea world.
Searching For The Full Moon
Mitsuki Koyama dreams of becoming a singer to meet her first love, Eichi Sakurai.
She is unable to breathe well or sing loudly as she is afflicted with sarcoma- a tumour in her throat.
The tumour can be cured by surgery that can destroy her vocal cords. Takuto and Meroko are two shinigamis who visit her and unintentionally tells her that she has only one year left to live.
She decides to run away from her home along with Shinigamis to audition for a singing competition. She convinces Takuto to help her become a singer who then transforms her into a healthy sixteen-year-old girl.
Thereafter she meets the criteria to enter the competition to follow her dreams.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
This show is artistic in the way that it uses surrealism, allegory and symbolism.
The plot has a lot of scenes which is open to interpretation by viewers. A travelling prince gives an orphaned Utena Tenjou a rose engraved signet ring. The noble prince who promises to meet her again inspires her greatly.
She then decides to become a prince herself for which she enrols into the Ohtori Academy. There she gets in a duelling tournament with the Student Council whose members wear the same ring as her.
Victor of the duel gets engaged to Anthy Himemiya also known as the “Rose Bride.” The story continues with her participating in numerous duels to protect he fianceé.