Magical Girl

52. Magic Girls, no matter how frilly their dresses, high their screams, or incompetent their sidekicks, will be treated as the credible and dire threats they are, and I will direct as many if not more resources to their destruction as I would for a more classical Hero.

Known as mahou shoujo ("magical girl") or just majokko ("witch-girl") in Japanese, Magical Girls are empowered by various means with fantastic powers that both assist and complicate their lives, but manage to persevere despite this.

No matter how hard this may be for the Western world to believe, Magical Girls have high crossover popularity in different demographics with some minor but appropriate design modifications and make up a sizable portion of both shojo and bishoujo fandom.

A Super Trope to:

Magical Girl Warriors arguably have the widest demographic appeal, and in the West are often synonymous with the idea of a Magical Girl.

History of the Genre

It may come as a surprise to learn that the entire Magical Girl genre is descended, effectively, from the American live-action Magical Girlfriend sitcom Bewitched. While two series claim the role of "first magical girl anime"—Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Mahotsukai Sally (Sally the Witch, 1966-1968) and Akatsuka Fujio's Himitsu No Akkochan (broadcast 1969, but its manga predates Mahotsukai Sally)—the creators of both credit Bewitched as a primary inspiration for their work. Yokoyama explicitly adapted its concept for a younger audience, while Akatsuka merely says he was "inspired" by it.

Another important early Magical Girl show was Majokko Meg-chan in 1974. This was the first show to be marketed to boys as well as girls, and featured a number of developments—it was the first Magical Girl show to...

Originally, all Magical Girl shows were produced by Toei Animation, so "Magical Girl" wasn't so much a genre as a Series Franchise. This lasted until Ashi Production's Magical Princess Minky Momo hit the airwaves in 1982, followed by Studio Pierrot's Magical Angel Creamy Mami in 1983 (the first Magic Idol Singer show). A one-shot OVA produced in 1987 featured a Bat Family Crossover between Studio Pierrot's four '80s Magical Girl shows (Magical Angel Creamy Mami, Persia, the Magic Fairy, Magical Star Magical Emi, and Magical Idol Pastel Yumi). This was the first instance of a magical girl team.

The Magical Girl Warrior subgenre, despite being the most well-known style of Magical Girl show in the west, didn't hit until Sailor Moon in 1992 (unless you count Cutey Honey, which wasn't aimed at girls but had a lot of influence on it, or Devil Hunter Yohko, which wasn't aimed at girls either). This was a essentially a combination of the earlier style shows with the Super Hero genre, particularly the Super Sentai formula. Sailor Moon was a huge hit, and, naturally, other shows were made in the same style. Some were even more divergent from the old-style shows. Many fans felt that shows such as Magic Knight Rayearth were still Magical Girl shows, despite all the dissimilarities from the previous generation (others disagree, and feel that Rayearth is Shoujo RPG World Fantasy instead).

The wave of shows made in Sailor Moon's wake eventually subsided, but the genre is far from dead. Contemporary examples include Ojamajo Doremi, the Pretty Cure franchise (aimed at both young girls and adult males), and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (more of an action series with magical girls). In 2011, Puella Magi Madoka Magica was released. Many consider it the equivalent of Neon Genesis Evangelion for the genre.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A girl who can use magic is not necessarily a Magical Girl in the sense of the trope or genre. A Magical Girlfriend, for example, usually does not fit into the same structure that defines a Magical Girl series.

Also see the Index of Magical Girl Tropes.

Not to be confused with John Popadiuk's Magic Girl pinball machine.

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Magical Girl Works

    Anime and Manga 

     Deconstructions, Dramas and parodies 

    Asian Animation 



    Tabletop Games 
  • Princess: The Hopeful is an attempt to create a Magical Girl series that's compatible with the New World of Darkness.
  • Magical Burst is a mahou shoujo game that takes primary inspiration from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Magical girls in this game are tasked with killing enough youma to collect 13 Oblivion Seeds so that they can make a wish. But as in Madoka, things are not always what they seem, and the Mentor Mascots known as tsukaima keep horrible secrets from the Magical Girls they give power to.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 


    Western Animation 

Magical Girl trope referred to in other works


    Anime and Manga 
  • Cutey Honey is a forerunner of Magical Girl Warrior version, which blended fanservice and fun battles in one tongue-in-cheek package. Fans are divided whether she counts as a true magical girl or a superhero.
    • New Cutey Honey is the sequel, set 100 years after the original.
    • Cutey Honey Flash is a straight magical girl variant.
      • Cutey Honey Tennyo Densetsu is set in 2005, and features a version of Cutey Honey who has time travelled from the 70s to battle Panther Claw in the new millenium.
      • Cutey Honey Seed is set in an Alternate Universe, where a Cutey Honey Otaku finds a beautiful alien girl who, like all members of her species, develops any power necessary to protect herself and others. After watching several episodes of Cutey Honey, she develops "super powers" just like the "real" Honey's, even going so far as to shout "Honey Flash!"
  • Yurara has elements of this, as the main character is able to transform and battle evil spirits with powerful magic.
  • The plot of one episode of They Are My Noble Masters is started when Ren discovers that Yume has written a story starring herself as a magical girl.
  • The main character in Otaku no Video is able to break into the anime industry with his magical girl series, Misty May.
  • Pokomi from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
  • In an episode of Best Student Council, one character is suspected of being a magical girl; both the Magical Girl Warrior and the Cute Witch (complete with Older Alter Ego) versions are brought up.
  • The same situation pops up in Love Hina, where Kaolla Su is compared to a Magical Girl because she eats a lot, talks to animals, and can change into an adult. Kentaro Sakata and one of Keitaro's highschool friends vainly struggle to convince the main characters that Kaolla was one.
  • The main character in Penguin Musume Heart is obsessed with Takenoko-chan, a magical catgirl who protects the "holy place" from the evil Bamboo King. There's apparently a sequel as well, Takenoko-chan R.
  • Angol Mois's true form in Keroro Gunsou seems to be a parody of the Magical Girl; she has the Stock Footage transformation and special-attack scenes, the costume, and a cute personality, but she's the Lord of Terror from the prophecies of Nostradamus who came to destroy the world with the "Lucifer Spear".
  • Dark Magician Girl in Yu-Gi-Oh! is largely based on this idea, with several of her summoning scenes looking similar to magical girl transformation sequences. Despite the name, she is not a Dark Magical Girl.
  • Behoimi in Pani Poni Dash!. She's not really a Magical Girl, but that doesn't stop her from playing the role. She even gets her own Image Song about her Magical Girl-ness.
  • Barajou no Kiss has Anise, who summons the magical members of her Unwanted Harem via magical cards.
  • Lampshaded : the DVD extras of Ah! My Goddess have a gag dub in which a student accuses Belldandy of being a Magical Girl. Belldandy insists that she is a Goddess, not a Magical Girl, and they then debate the crucial differences.
    • This was likely inspired by a situation in the manga when Sayoko witnessed Belldandy's powers and accused her of being a witch. Sayoko specifically referred to Magical Girl tropes, including the Idol Singer.
  • Parodied in Haruhi Suzumiya; the main characters create a movie in which the protagonist is a bunny girl-waitress from the future whose attacks include shooting laser beams, rifle bullets, and micro black holes (the last two novel-only) from her eyes.
  • Episode 7 of [Zoku] Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei focused on Art Shifts, with the title sequence and parts of the episode devoted to Kafuka, Chiri, and Meru as the magical girl team Model Warrior Lily Cure, and Nozomu Itoshiki as the Big Bad, The Teacher Of Despair. It even closes with an On the Next continuing the plot. This is a drastic change from the usual format of the show.
  • To Love-Ru combines this with an Expy. Kyoko Kirisaki from Black Cat is turned into Magical Flame Kyoko, a pyromaniac magical girl.
  • Raichou from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki claims to be a magical girl.
  • The Show Within a Show Puru Puru Pururin of the anime version of Welcome to the N.H.K.. Only a few snippets are shown, in which we see that Pururin is accompained by a number of animated household objects, including a vacuum cleaner upon which she flies, and that her trademark is to randomly append the word "Purin" to the end of sentences.
  • Parodied in episode 9 of Gag Manga Biyori.
  • Ninin Ga Shinobuden has a parody in the final episode with "Magical Nin-Nin Shinobu".
  • In Kannagi, after viewing a magical girl on TV, Nagi immediately buys a toy wand and modifies it into an impurity-vanquishing spiritual weapon to compensate for her lack of power. Then she gets really into it and starts doing poses. It looks goofy on an ancient goddess, but Nagi's clearly enjoying herself.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has the Show Within a Show, "Mahou Shoujo Biblion". The show's resident Cosplay Otaku Girl/Playful Hacker/Meta Guy cosplays as a character from the show. Said girl eventually gets a Magical Girl staff as her artifact. It gives her super hacking powers.
    • Asakara, on witnessing Negi's powers for the first time, theorizes that he is a magical girl (boy version).
  • Galaxy Angel has an episode where they are told NOT to use a lost technology wand, as it has been known to start wars.
  • From the same TV season, episode eight of H2O: Footprints in the Sand had an extended sequence revolving around Otoha as a magical girl. That was probably the least odd thing in that episode.
  • Ayumi Kinoshita, a bespectacled Ill Girl from Hell Teacher Nube, learns from her teacher how to project her astral body as a physical presence, just so she can attend school with her friends. In the process, she learns to transform it into any shape she wishes... including an indestructible Magical Girl when said friends are kidnapped.
  • The OVA of School Days features a parody on the Magical Girl genre, with several female cast members as magical girls.
  • Shuichi of Midori Days is a doll otaku, who always carries around a doll of the fictional magical girl Ultra-Marin.
  • The Show Within a Show "Ai no Senshi Sweetie Millie" from Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!
  • One of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's Parallel Works, Kiyal's Magical Time, mixes this with Humongous Mecha.
  • One of the Omake of Black Lagoon makes Revy a Magical Girl, giving her a cheerful, Moe Moe facade and More Dakka.
  • Takuto from Star Driver could be considered a magical boy, due to his Galactic Pretty Boy form.
  • Amuri in Star Ocean features elements of the Magical Girl Warrior subtrope.
  • Kaze no Stigma had a one-shot antagonist which is somewhere blurred between the lines of a Magical Girl played straight or deconstructed, but she doesn't have enough screen time for it to matter.
  • Parodied in the 21st episode of the second season of School Rumble, where Mai Otsuka becomes a magical girl.
  • Nanaka 6/17 has Magical Domiko, a Show Within a Show that 6-year-old Nanaka likes.
  • Kilala of Kilala Princess.
  • Parodied in Bleach with Charlotte Cuuhlhourne who tries very, very hard to be one of these and fails spectacularly.
  • Key of Key the Metal Idol becomes more of a Magical Girl as the series progresses, though this used primarily to deconstruct the trope as Key's transformations into her more human form show just how harrowing the powers of a magical girl can be in unwitting (read Naive) hands.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira's second episode, Ayakashisenshi-hen, Rika Furude and Satoko Houjou become magical girls in order to battle the evil magic-using generals of the secret magic society, Tokyo Magika (Takano, Teppei, Okonogi & Nomura) and their Ritual Tool Devils with the help of the Rika Cheering Brigade (Keiichi, Rena, Mion, Shion, & Irie) as well as Hanyuu.
  • Show Within a Show Majokko Mirakurun in Yuru-Yuri.
  • The Haiyore! Nyarko-san short story "How to Defeat a Kind Enemy" (adapted as an OVA and released with the Season 1 boxset) has Nyarko undergo Training from Hell to become a Magical Girl after being inspired by a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Pretty Cure. What makes this really unusual is, she's already a Henshin Hero (in the Kamen Rider mold); in fact, her first transformation is a combined Shout-Out to Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Kamen Rider Kuuga.

    Comic Books 


    Live Action TV 


    Video Games 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

  • The German audio drama series Bibi Blocksberg is about a 13 year old witch living in a small German town and going to school with other regular kids. The series started in 1980, long before anime shows or manga became popular in Germany.
  • The German book series Lilly The Witch is about a girl named Lilly who finds a magical book which turns her into a witch, as well as a Mentor Mascot in the form of a little green dragon named Hector, and who has many adventures all over the world. The books have been made into an animated series on CBBC, as well as an animated movie.
  • Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls.
  • The interactive novel Magical Girl Academy.

Alternative Title(s):

Mahou Shoujo, Majokko, Magic Girl