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Magical Girl Warrior

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The intersection of Magical Girl with Super Heroine, and what happens when you combine Magic Knight with Frills of Justice.

The extended growth-to-maturity metaphor Magical Girl archetype can mean a variety of things; some do more than use their powers to improve or complicate their lives. Some go out and battle Dramatic Evil, usually with a lot of mystic power and weird outfits (usually a glammed-up Mini Dress Of Power) and called attacks, and very prone to Kicking Ass in All Her Finery.

The origins of this trope as a genre date to early manga, with Osamu Tezuka's Princess Knight generally regarded as the modern Trope Codifier of the genre's most basic defining trait: a cute and perky heroine defeating bad guys and engaging in magical adventures. Most series that followed it, however, focused on the magical part and avoided fighting, creating the more whimsical Cute Witch sister genre.

In the early '70s, however, Go Nagai created the groundbreaking Cutey Honey, and in doing so threw the Slice of Life plot of your typical Magical Girl series out the window. A parody of different Henshin Hero series note , this series codified many of the tropes associated with the Magical Girl Warrior genre to come: giving the heroine the ability to transform into a powerful alter ego activated with a magical phrase and/or a Transformation Trinket, an armory of weapons and abilities to use in battle, an evil organization to fight against, and a heroic introduction. In a notable example of an Unbuilt Trope, however, the show is about a Robot Girl, and all of her power relied on technology instead of magic.

The genre gained the remainder of its defining characteristics with Naoko Takeuchi's series Codename: Sailor V and its More Popular Spin Off/Sequel Sailor Moon, which took all these elements and blended them with classic Magical Girl tropes and some Sentai characteristics like a team of different heroines with balanced abilities and personalities. The result was a series simultaneously aimed toward and empowering girls with large amounts of character building and storyline that still gave focus to the battles and allowed for fanservice. A virtually-unheard-of combination at that time, the series quickly attracted a rabid fanbase with a ridiculously-wide demographic. While many early anime and manga of the genre which followed were accused of being (and often were, at the start) rip-offs of Sailor Moon trying to repeat its success by copying the formula, eventually they evolved into unique works and a novel hybrid genre.

The action-oriented Magical Girl Warriors have the extra bonus of being marketed to male demographics, so they can be very lucrative; in this case, they often resemble Distaff Counterparts of Japanese superheroes, particularly the male-dominated Sentai genre as well as other Henshin Hero characters. This contributed significantly to the associated franchises being exported to the West. Due to sharing many of the typical teenage-superhero tropes, these characters ended up being much more representative of the Magical Girl genre outside Japan, as opposed to, for example, Cute Witches.

Characters frequently appearing in this type of franchise include the Dark Magical Girl and The One Guy in the Improbably Female Cast, who is frequently a Magic Knight or Badass Bookworm himself.

See also Magical Girl Genre Deconstruction, which is usually aimed at this specific subgenre. See also Warrior Princess, which some Magical Girl princesses are from time to time.

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Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • In Flower Angel, starting in Season 2, Xia An'an and her friends form a team of magical girls who fight against the Dark Demon and his minions.
  • The heroines of Flowering Heart are young girls who have been given the ability to transform into adults with a variety of magical powers to collect hope energy in order to stop the Big Bad.
  • Tee Yang in Kung Fu Wa finds a kung fu master turned into a sock and by wearing him transforms into a magical martial artist to stop and seal evil spirits called Kwei.

    Comic Books 
  • The title character of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, as DC Nation demonstrates. Interestingly, most of the comic runs after the first maxi-series go out of their way to avoid the concepts, such as the original ongoing being a horror title and the most recent miniseries being a political thriller.
  • Possibly originated with Shazam! superheroine Mary Marvel in 1942.
  • The Enchantress (not the one from Marvel comics) can be considered a prototype - the heroine, June, goes to a party in a haunted castle, stumbles into a secret chamber, and is given a transformation word by a mysterious being, which transforms her into a blonde witch so she can battle a Monster of the Week.
  • W.I.T.C.H. was inspired by these kinds of stories. A group of teenage girls are granted the ability to transform into superpowered versions of themselves called the Guardians of the Veil and are tasked to protect the universe. Unlike what the series name suggests, they are not technically witches; that's simply an acronym made from the first letters of their names.
  • 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.
    • The promotional comic Wonder Woman and the Star Riders for the TV show that never came to be showed a version of Wondy that took this concept and ran with it. She was dressed in more frills than normal and lead a group of girls in similar but different colored get-ups who rode winged horses and used magical crystals.
  • 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.
  • Goddess is this kind of story, with its heroine being one of the divine spirits of the planets, appointed to defend it from evildoers. And it was written by Garth Ennis, of all people.
  • Goodbye, Battle Princess Peony is a somewhat gothic take on the trope, with Peony and the other Battle Princesses being magical girls in all but name.

    Fan Works 

  • The Effigies series by Sarah Raughley is a Western take on the concept, inspired by a mix of Sailor Moon and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Asha of The Licanius Trilogy plays this straight by the end, albeit of the sword-and-armour variety of warrior rather than just plain spells.
  • In Princess Holy Aura, five magically super-powered teenage girls battle Lovecraftian monsters and still have to go to high school.

    Live-Action TV 

  • The Sequinox girls are all magical girls chosen by Gaea to defend the Earth from the invading Stars.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth: creating a Magical Girl Warrior is part and parcel of this system. The first worldbook for the system was a licensed Sailor Moon RPG.
  • The Princess Race in Bleak World is all about this. They are an alien race of Princesses whose homeworld 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.
  • In GURPS Wizards, one of the worked examples of the superhero-mage template is an Ordinary High-School Student with a magical sceptre (the Sun Wand) which transforms her into Bright Sun Angel, who fights evil with the assistance of her talking cat.
  • High School Girls RPG has the Magical Girl extension, allowing you to play just that type of character.
  • 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.
    • The third-party feat Incredible Hidden Power allows a kineticist the identity-changing abilities of the Magical Child, allowing a heroine to switch from an ordinary girl into a mystical elemental heroine.
  • 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 an extra emphasis on 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.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • The heroines of At Arm's Length are basically magic-powered superheroes, though they're a couple centuries older than most examples.
  • Apricot Cookie(s)!: Fighting shadowy enemies as a magical girl is something nearly every youth in Japan experiences. The only exceptions to the rule are non-virgins, who immediately become Office Ladies when they lose their virginity, boys, who get a deck of magical cards to fight with instead, and Apricot, who mysteriously can't transform at all...but only because she was born with Dark Magical Girl powers she hates.
  • 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). Daisy, one of the protagonists and a Condemned Contestant on the titular game show, is suggested to have been a former member turned supervillain, and a squad of Galaxy Girl Scouts out to kill her and whoever stands in their way form the opposition for the second episode. It doesn't end well for them.
  • Magical Boy: A more Coming of Age take, as main character Max is a trans boy from a family that transfers powers to genetic females only. While the experience starts out giving him major dysphoria, the powers learn to adapt to his identity as he comes into his own.
  • Magical Girl Neil: The only child of a woman descended from a long line of magical girls gets stuck with the job despite being a boy.
  • 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.
  • Emi Arai, the deuteragonist of Metacarpolis, is a former Magical Girl Warrior who became a Magic 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.
  • Misfits Of Avalon is a European take on the genre; the heroines' powers derive from Celtic mythology, their costumes are based on Catholic schoolgirls instead 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.
  • 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.
  • Shattered Starlight is about a former magical girl struggling to hold down a job and trying to get her life together a decade after the breakup of her team.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sweet Dreams follows a trio of magical girls fighting the physical manifestations of people's nightmares, which take the form of goopy purple monsters. Some of them are much larger and more dangerous than others, even to an experienced adult magical girl.

    Web Original 
  • The AO3 series Stellar Ranger Dark Star features a few combat-oriented magical girls on the team.
  • Tokyo Magic Star combines this trope with Magic Idol Singer.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Magic Warrior, Bishoujo Senshi, Pretty Warrior Magical Girl