The List
Top 5 Magical Girl Series

by Jacki Jing & Lynzee Loveridge,

Hey Everyone! It's Jacki Jing with Anime News Network! Who were your fictional heroes growing up? When I was a kid, the options were more limited when it came to TV and movie superheroes. I was running around with a towel cape pretending to be Batman or, once the X-Men cartoon premiered, I alternated between Rogue, Storm, or Jubilee. Fictional heroes are important! They give us early examples of what to aspire to and urge us to be the best versions of ourselves. It just so happens that the best version of myself includes a transformation sequence! Pluto Planet Power Make up!

Magical girls! They're like their own brand of superheroes with extra sparkle thrown in for good measure. They come in every color of the rainbow and each one is on a personal mission to right wrongs and triumph over evil, and that means you!

#5 Precure
Pretty Cure started as a two-girl duo when it launched in 2004, but has since expanded into a huge franchise with each series focusing on its own unique group of magical girls. One of the most recent seasons, Hugtto! Precure, stands out thanks to its focus on the themes of growing up and forging your own family. Main character Hana is a new transfer student who finds herself raising a mysterious baby called “Hug-tan”. Hana finds power in her desire to protect the infant from foes from the future and is soon joined by her new friends and fellow PreCures. The series was directed Junichi Sato, a magical girl series veteran.

#4 Card Captor Sakura
This classic series appeared on television in the states right around the same time as the Pokémon trading card game boom (holographic Charizard 4lyfe). This led to some, let's say “unique,” adaptation choices for American TV but that's not enough to keep a good magical girl down. Sakura is a reluctant magical girl who just wants to make pancakes for her brother's cute friend and avoid ghosts at all costs – unfortunately for her she opened the wrong magical book and has to round up a bunch of mischievous magical cards. She's joined by the best magical mascot, hands down, the snack-happy Kero-chan. Also, if her buddy Tomoya wants to make some extra cash on the side, I need a dress for next year's Anime Awards.

#3 Symphogear
It's time to take the future into our fists! The Symphogear series opened up a new approach to magical girls and expanded the genre's appeal to a broader audience. The story follows Hibiki, a girl once saved by a pair of magical girls only to take up the mantle herself. She and her group of heroes use the power of music to protect the innocent against Noise, a threatening alien race. The Symphogear look like mecha armor and each girl has her own signature weapon and fighting style. If attacks like “MEGA DETH PARTY” sound cool to you, you'll wanna check out Symphogear.

#2 Madoka Magica
Madoka Magica changed the game so much that there have been countless attempts to replicate the “dark magical girl” series since. Shaft and series writer Gen Urobuchi turned the genre on its head by reexamining the burdens placed on our young girl heroes. Combined with the stunning labyrinth designs of Gekidan Inu Curry, Madoka Magica is a feast for the eyes even while it tears your heart out. The story follows ordinary girl Madoka whose life changes after she meets the standoffish transfer student Homura and a magical creature named Kyube. Kyube wants to make a contract with Madoka that will turn her into a magical girl in exchange for granting her wish. Her foes are “Witches,” catalysts for despair. Homura is resolute that Madoka shouldn't sign the deal. Let's just say I've never looked at a friendly mascot the same way again.

#1 Sailor Moon
The inimitable magical girl, Sailor Moon laid the groundwork for every group of girl heroes that came after her. Usagi is well on her way to being queen of Crystal Tokyo now but when the series debuted in the 90s it was a phenomenon. It was the first time where most of the main characters were girls! If you wanted to pick a favorite, there were five to choose from who were all distinct and cool! Tall girls like Sailor Jupiter could judo-flip a bad guy and make cookies for her friends. Sailor Moon was inspiring to a whole generation that might not be anime fans today without her.


Last week we asked you what anime you thought would be awesome as a live-action TV show or movie. You guys had some pretty interesting picks!

  1. Black Lagoon
  2. Monster
  3. Vinland Saga
  4. Psycho-Pass
  5. Yuri!!! on Ice!

This week we want to know your favorite magical girl series, whether it's full of grit or sparkles. Let us know in the poll and comments!

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