open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The earliest prototype was Go Nagai's Cutey Honey franchise, which slowly mutated and grew to have an unexpected female fanbase whenever the Fanservice level fluctuated heavily.
- Pretty much cemented by the enormous popularity of Sailor Moon, which introduced the Sentai elements to the genre.
- The most popular show of this type in Japan is Futari wa Pretty Cure and its sequels/spin-offs. Taken to extremes in HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, where the battles looks like something straight out of Saint Seiya (character designer Yoshihiko Umakoshi went on to work on Saint Seiya Omega).
- Parodied in the seinen series Pretty Sammy, a Spinoff of Tenchi Muyo!
- Parodied within the shojo demographic with Ai to Yuuki no Pig Girl Tonde Buurin, which is about a girl who transforms into a super-powered....pig.
- Parodied and Gender Flipped in Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena particularly embodies the "growing up as a struggle" metaphor, with the added bonus of Gnostic metaphor thrown in for good measure. This was emphasized way more in the anime than in the manga, however.
- Lyrical Nanoha started as a standard Magical Girl Warrior anime but quickly found its true calling as Seinen Military Science-Fiction, of all things. By the time of third season, StrikerS, the entire cast are Space Police enlistees, making them magical girl soldiers, or, more accurately, living equivalents of tanks and jet fighters. Not that this prevents Nanoha from using her magical abilities to befriend the living hell out of people.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is a cross of this and Magic Idol Singer.
- Senki Zesshou Symphogear goes further and crossbreeds The Power of Rock with Magitek. Net result? Powered armor that runs on singing.
- Corpse Princess is a rather dark variant—the magical girls are undead corpses who must kill 108 other corpses in order to get into Heaven. Or so they're told. Actually they become unkillable monsters and are bound in a coffin for eternity. Also, they use guns.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: The Show Within a Show Magical Girl Biblion is a parody of this, complete with in-universe Rule 34 doujinshi that typically follows these character types. Since Chisame cosplays the characters featured there, her Pactio Card turned her into one with a cyberspace theme.
- Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome
- Devil Hunter Yohko's eponymous heroine is just as adept at martial arts as she is with her sword and magic. She isn't afraid to get physical if that's what it takes to get the job done.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: A darker take. Teenage girls are recruited to combat Eldritch Abominations known as "witches", and use anything from bombs to swords to ribbons to accomplish this. Because of the nature of the contract every magical girl makes and how magic generally works, every magical girl is doomed to ultimately become a witch. If they don't die horribly first.
- Kamichama Karin
- Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, which is often considered a forerunner to Lyrical Nanoha.
- Sweet Valerian features three girls who transform into superpowered monster-fighting...bunny rabbits.
- Kämpfer adds a Gender Bender twist — main character Natsuru turns into a girl whenever he transforms and the Kampfer don't defend anything, they engage other magical girls in gladiatorial combat.
- Magic Knight Rayearth crosses this with Swords And Sorcery and the Super Robot Genre.
- Invoked in Mao-chan, where Earth is being invaded by aliens so cute that fighting them is viewed as bullying, forcing the heads of Japan's defense forces to have their cute granddaughters fight the aliens.
- Makeruna Makendo adds a kendo theme.
- Hyper Speed GranDoll is a very close follower of Sailor Moon with a sci-fi feel.
- Dream Hunter Rem is one of the earliest examples.
- Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel
- Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, part of the Nasuverse.
- Magical Canan uses this term to describe their magical girls (mahou senshi).
- Fushigiboshi No Futagohime starts off as a Cute Witch series before becoming this.
- Towa Kamo Shirenai: Himiko and Kosumo, the latter via organ donation.
- Umi Monogatari takes this type of show and tweaks it; among other things, the revelation of what the Big Bad really is allows for a conclusion that's more true-to-life than most shows of this genre.
- Every single woman in Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere; however, how much "mage" or "warrior" there is depends on the person and their abilities.
- The Shinobi in Senran Kagura take pride as ninja warriors, but with all the Costume Porn, (Which is susceptible to Clothing Damage) the Gainaxing, attack name screaming and the TransformationSequences, they're really more Magical Girl than warrior. (Although most of them are badasses in their own right.)
- Il Sole penetra le Illusioni is a darker take on the genre. The main girls' powers are tarot-themed.
- Vividred Operation: Technically, the heroines are empowered by technology, rather than magic, but they otherwise fit this trope point for point. It certainly helps that their technology is advanced to the point that it may as well be magic anyway.
- Kill la Kill is the team behind Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's take on the genre. It borrows a bit from Cutey Honey, including the fanservicey outfit and having the death of the main character's father as a starting point for their mission.
- It's particularly heavy on the "Warrior" part, as there are very few blaster- or wand-type weapons (the most powerful weapons being melee-based, like the Scissor Blades), and beauty is MOST DEFINITELY tarnished, as the main character (as well as several others) is realistically beaten bloody and bruised during some fights.
- Tokyo Mew Mew mixed the idea with Catgirls and a pro-environmental theme.
- Shamanic Princess: Tiara is what happens when you take a Cute Witch and make her a Badass while bypassing the super hero element.
- Yuki Yuna Is a Hero has four (later five) middle-school girls fighting monsters bent on destroying the local World Tree. It later reveals itself to be much darker than originally suggested.
- Mei Company focuses on magical girls who retired and opened a cleaning service, while the current generation of magical girls battle the forces of evil in the background.
- Dai Mahou Touge is a parody. The Magical Girl in question (who is a Villain Protagonist, taking after her evil queen of a mother) is vulnerable to getting her magic suppressed, which sounds quite inconvenient until you realize she also happens to be a master of unarmed combat specializing in crippling submission wrestling techniques. Her magical incantation is "Lyrical Tokarev, kill them all!".
- Possibly originated with Shazam superheroine Mary Marvel in 1942.
- W.I.T.C.H. was inspired by these kind of stories.
- Wonder Woman has resembled this at times, with her magic origins, Transformation Sequence, and such. Most especially in the early Silver Age, when she was depicted having adventures as Wonder Girl, just as Superman was once Superboy. Later, a separate Wonder Girl character, Donna Troy, was introduced.
- Zatanna, especially in later years.
- The title character of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, as DC Nation demonstrates.
- Zodiac Starforce is an American take on a Magical Girl team. Artist Paulina Gauncheau is a huge fan of the genre (and especially Sailor Moon), and it shows.
- High School Girls RPG has the Magical Girl extension, allowing you to play just that type of character.
- Princess: The Hopeful, a New World of Darkness fan supplement, adds magical girls to the mix. No Princess is going to last too long without being able to survive a fight, but the Calling of Champion has an extra dose, as their purpose is literally to fight evil. There is also extra emphasis of this style in the Courts of Swords (as heroic larger-than-life figures), Storms (as an Ax-Crazy version), and Hearts (with an emphasis on noble traditions, which includes warrior traditions).
- 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.
- The Princess Race in Bleak World is all about this. They are an alien race of Princesses who's home world was destroyed by The Darkness. They now protect the Milky Way Galaxy with a giant force field made of hope, and fight back Brainwashed and Crazy dark princesses who are in service to the darkness.
- Pathfinder: Regardless of how well they'll ultimately fit, the Magical Child archetype for the Vigilante class is explicitly meant to cover the Magical Girl trope (the switch between the public and secret identities becomes a Transformation Sequence that is much faster, but also flashier and louder, for instance), and being in a system like Pathfinder it'd be hard to avoid fights being a fairly large part of their repertoire. Regardless of how the archetype will turn out, it is of course possible to build towards this trope with the right other magic-using classes.
- Mystica from Fading Hearts. Ryou meets her in the forest while he is fighting shadow monsters.
- Nearly everyone in Touhou. The only characters who don't have some sort of magical combat ability (e.g., Akyu and Rinnosuke) only appear in the Expanded Universe or one-off games (e.g., Rika and Rikako). Deliberately invoked by Marisa, who uses a Flying Broomstick (even though she, like everyone in Gensokyo, can fly unaided) and always wears a comically-large witch hat because that's what Cute Witches are supposed to do, which doesn't detract at all from her passion for huge explosions.
- El Goonish Shive: In the later comics, Elliot gains a superheroine spell after already having the ability to shapeshift into virtually any conceivable female human form including transformation of clothes. The spell comes with three "secret identities" that shift the user's personality somewhat to help with staying under the radar.
- Last Res0rt includes a faction known as the Galaxy Girl Scouts, which seem to be a cross between the sailor senshi and the Green Lantern Corps (i.e., alien girls in whatever the alien version of "schoolgirl" happens to be).
- The eponymous Agents of the Realm fight less with magic and more with BFSs, giant hammers, glaive or bow and arrows. The bleeds are hard to beat otherwise.
- Princess Chroma: A parody of the genre in which the magical girl is most definitely the hands-on type. She prefers fighting giant monsters with a mace over resorting to spells, despite magic being the more effective, easier way to end a fight.
- Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki is an Affectionate Parody of the genre with a Norse Mythology theme. It also is a Gender Bender series, like the Kämpfer example above.
- Misfits Of Avalon is an American take on the genre; the heroines' powers derive from Celtic mythology, their costumes are based off Catholic schoolgirls insted of Japanese ones, their Mentor Mascot is a large wolfhound rather than a cute little cat and there is much less focus on prettiness and feminity.
- Magick Chicks: Teenage witch Melissa Helrune, the daughter of a former Magical Girl Warrior and her former Evil Overlord archnemesis, ends up literally torn between the good and evil sides of her heritage.
- Magical Girl Neal: the only child of a woman descended from a long line of magical girls gets stuck with the job despite being a boy.
- Emi Arai, the deuteragonist of Metacarpolis, is a former Magical Girl Warrior who became a Magical Idol Singer after her team defeated their big bad and eventually burned out when she got tired of being Not Allowed to Grow Up. She moved to the titular City of Adventure because the Weirdness Censor there allows her to live a quiet life off her residuals and a job as a cleaning service maid.
- Sleepless Domain: a nameless city is defended by Magical Girls from the monsters that stalk it during the night. The girls earn fame, fortune and the admiration of their city, but this is war... and war has casualties.
- Fey of the Whateley Universe, who has an ancient Faerie riding along in her head, an ability to summon armor magically, and a magical battle in Boston in which she and The Necromancer spent most of the fight trying to intimidate each other by calling their attacks.
- The AO3 series Stellar Ranger Dark Star features a few combat-oriented magical girls on the team.
- Saga Of Soul is a rationalist take on the premise.
- The Spirit Guard in Magical Girl Policy.
- SCP 2006-j, which is apparently a female Eldritch Abomination from another dimension. Who is a magical girl. Yes. A magical tentacle monster.
- One could call every female character in RWBY this, if you count using Dust powered weaponry as magic. The one who fits the archetype the best is Weiss Schnee, who has a frilly outfit, the ability to make glyphs that alter gravity and a rapier loaded with Dust capsules that she can use to enhance her attacks or as projectiles. Ironically she behaves more like a Dark Magical Girl at first.
- Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders
- Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic: Tenko and her friends (even though the rest of her teammates are guys).
- She-Ra: Princess of Power is an early one, and many fans argue that her brother, He-Man, is a gender-inverted example.
- Winx Club is an academy of these.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic slips into Magical Filly Warrior Ponies territory when fighting the major villains, but otherwise is strictly Slice of Life with magical talking ponies.
- Steven Universe has the Crystal Gems, an unaging species separate from humans who often fight various monsters to protect them. Steven's mother was one before she "gave up her physical form" to bring him into existence. The series' creator has stated that, while they look like human women, they are actually neither male nor female, Steven being the exception because he's a Half-Human Hybrid.
- LoliRock is a combination of this and Magic Idol Singer.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil is about Star Butterfly, a Girly Bruiser princess from the magical kingdom of Mewni who is exiled to Earth until she gets a better handle on the powers granted by the magic wand she was gifted on her fourteenth birthday.
- Miraculous Ladybug: Content a magical girl, Ladybug, but also a magical boy, Chat noir.
- Witch is about a group of teenage girls who transform into superpowered versions of themselves called the Guardians of the Veil and are tasked to protect the universe. Unlike the series name suggests they are not witches; those are simply the first letters of their names.
- Gender Inverted in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In Underfist, Irwin gains dark mumpire powers, with his appearance and the overall execution of the concept being a lot like a Magical Boy combined with your typical superhero. He uses these powers to save Halloween in the special. Had a Spin-Off been made, the trope would have probably been played a bit straighter.