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What superheroes are for boys, Magical Girls or Mahou Shoujo are for little girls. All around the world girls grow up watching anime heroines living normal lives during the day and fighting evil at night. Who wouldn't want to be a Magical Girl at least for one day? Their daily lives are filled with adventures, good friends and amazing outfits. They also show that girls in anime don't have to be helpless and lost - they can be strong and fight for what they believe in.
We have come up with a personal Top 10 list of Magical Girl (Mahou Shoujo) anime. No matter if you are already a fan of this genre or just getting started, these shows are sure to entertain you. Let's go!
10. Happy Seven
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2005 - December 2005
First up on our list is Happy Seven, a Mahou Shoujo anime set in a school environment. Protagonist Amano Sakogami is the typical unlucky girl that cannot get her life together. The "Better Fortune Research Organization", a club at her school, seems to be just perfect for her. But soon Amano has to realize that this club is just a cover for a group of seven girls who hold the power of the seven Lucky Gods.
What is great about this show is it introduces a bit of Japanese mythology to international viewers. Depicting the seven Gods of Fortune as school girls is a fun twist. Also, the comedy of this show is actually funny and not as cheap or cheesy as the jokes of other shows. Definitely check Happy Seven out!
9. Cardcaptor Sakura
- Episodes: 70
- Aired: April 1998 - March 2000
Cardcaptor Sakura feels like a time machine back into your childhood. This anime shows the story of Kinomoto Sakura who sets out on a journey as a magical girl to collect the cards of the winds she has scattered by accident. But she is not alone on her quest since her friend Tomoyo is always by her side.
Cardcaptor Sakura has one of the cutest sidekicks imaginable: Keroberos. This orange creature with tiny wings on its back is the guardian of the book that holds the cards of the winds. But be warned, Cardcaptor Sakura is aimed at a rather young audience so only give it a try if you're ready to laugh at cheesy jokes and the struggles of elementary school life.
8. Futari wa Precure (Pretty Cure)
- Episodes: 49
- Aired: February 2004 - January 2005
Classmates Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro are best friends despite their differences. But their friendship is being tested starting from the day two mythical creatures step into their lives. Mipple and Mepple might look like cute animals, but they are actually residents of the Garden of Light. With their help the two girls gain magical powers to become magical girls and fight against the Darkness that threatens Mipple's and Mepple's home.
It's nice to see an anime from time to time that focuses on one friendship. Most of the time you either have a romantic relationship that's in the center or a rather big group of friends. Here, we just have two girls growing up and going on magical adventures together. Pretty Cure shows how opposites attract and how much the two girls can achieve when they work together.
7. Princess Tutu
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: August 2002 - May 2003
This one is for all the fairy tale lovers out there. Our heroine is called Ahiru and has the ability to transform into a ballet dancer. With her dance she can calm people's hearts and with this ability she goes on an adventure to save her prince. Can she get her "happily ever after"?
The story might sound a little bit trashy and too cute, but since Princess Tutu is inspired by old fairy tales you can read a lot more into the story than just Ahiru's adventure. In a real fairy tale, our heroine encounters many struggles on her adventure as a magical girl and has to improve herself constantly. If you either enjoy watching characters struggle with fate or dancing ballerinas then you should give Princess Tutu a try.
6. Kamichama Karin (God Karin)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 - September 2007
Karin's story is one of those that make you appreciate what you have: her parents died, her remaining relatives don't appreciate her and she performs poorly in school. Her life changes when she realizes that she's not a normal school girl after all, but a goddess. Using a ring that her parents have left her behind she can transform into her goddess form and fight against evil.
It's not like Kamichama Karin does anything outstandingly different from other Magical Girl anime, but it has a nostalgic and innocent feel to it. Karin is a cute and happy-go-lucky girl without getting too annoying. And compared to other magical girl anime, there is a consecutive story line from the first until the last episode.
5. Shugo Chara!
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: October 2007 - September 2008
Heroine Amu Hinamori doesn't know what she wants to be once she grows up. She pretends to be a cool and sophisticated girl, but in reality she doesn't know who she really is. This changes on the day she receives three colorful eggs with three Shugo Charas inside of them. They each represent a different personality of hers and with their help Amu is able to transform into a Magical Girl and protect the unborn dreams of children.
The concept of this anime is truly heart-warming. It teleports you back to your own childhood and makes you remember all the dreams you had for your future self. Of course we also have some romance in here. We have the prince-like Tadase and the mysterious Ikuto, both showing a little bit more than casual interest in Amu. Who will she choose?
4. Ojamajo Doremi (Magical DoReMi)
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: February 1999 - January 2000
Ojamajo Doremi is another childhood classic. It follows Doremi and her friends Hazuki and Aiko on their journey to becoming witches. Their adventure starts on the day they find a mysterious house in their neighborhood, together with a witch and her fairy living inside. The three friends become her students and try to solve problems with their new powers.
One of the strengths of this show is the fact that you can start and stop watching it as you please. Even though there is a main story line, it's easy to get back into this magical girl anime after taking a break. Ojamajo Doremi is perfect if you want to watch one or two quick episodes to brighten up your day.
3. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon)
- Episodes: 46
- Aired: March 1992 - February 1993
This magical girl anime list just wouldn't be complete without Sailor Moon. The story of Tsukino Usagi has influenced girls all over the world. She is an ordinary student during the day, but in the night she transforms into a magical girl or heronine named Sailor Moon. Usagi then goes on adventures together with the other Sailor Soldiers.
But why should you watch Sailor Moon even today? Of course there is a certain nostalgic feel to it, but more importantly this anime is timeless. The scenes that entertained you as a child are still able to make you laugh now. The characters are lovable and watching their friendship grow is still heart-warming.
2. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 –April 2011
Next up is a show that has shocked many viewers. Puella Magi Madoka Magica might look like an ordinary Magical Girl anime, but consider yourself warned: this show is not for little kids.
The story of Madoka and her friends will show you the dark side of being a Magical Girl. It is filled with loneliness, danger and fear. Until the very last episode Madoka tries to find out the right thing to do and how far she is ready to go to protect those important to her. This show will give you goosebumps and take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Watch at your own risk!
1. Kore wa Zombie desuka? (Is this a zombie?)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 - March 2011
Our top and final recommendation might is also the biggest exception to Magical Girl anime. It's an Ecchi and Harem anime that turns the term "Magical Girl" upside down. Our protagonist Aikawa Ayumu is - like the title might suggest - in fact a Zombie. Not only that, but he also gains the abilities of a Magical Girl and is forced to fight as one.
This recommendation is perfect if you want a show that doesn't take Magical Girl anime too serious. I mean, seeing a high school boy transform and fighting in a pink dress just cannot be seen as a serious representation of this genre. Yet, this is the special charm of Kore wa Zombie desuka. It will make you laugh with every new scene and show you a new side of Magical Girl anime.
One of our strongest recommendations!
Some people might think that Magical Girl anime just consist of girls getting dressed up and fighting cute-looking monsters. Hopefully I could show you how diverse Magical Girl anime can be and that there is much more to them than playing dress-up. The heroines are actually good role models for girls since they are powerful, passionate and take matters into their own hands.
Which one is your favorite Magical Girl anime? Comment down below!