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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 to 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.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • Devil Hunter Yohko was the second big Magical Girl Warrior series, with its eponymous heroine 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. It also deconstructs their general durability in combat; a normal human body simply cannot take that kind of punishment from combat, and one of the awful truths is that they're Liches in all but name.
  • 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.
  • Pretty much cemented by the enormous popularity of Sailor Moon, which introduced the Sentai elements to the genre.
  • Saint Seiya is a Magical Boy Warrior series in all but genre. Flashy transformations, Frilly Upgrades, and stylish combat are the name of the game. Some of its anime incarnations even had staff members that would go on to do animation and character design work for Pretty Cure, while people who worked on Pretty Cure and other similar works would end up bringing their work back to Saint Seiya, like the above-mentioned Yoshihiko Umakoshi.
  • Sarazanmai is a very unconventional take for boys: the powers help the main trio come of age, their enemies reflect their own insecurities, and they're working with a Mentor Mascot that is the prince of a magic kingdom, but their alternate forms are cartoony kappa.
  • Shamanic Princess: Tiara is what happens when you take a Cute Witch and make her a badass while bypassing the super hero element.
  • Parodied within the Shōjo demographic with Super Pig, which is about a girl who transforms into a super-powered... pig.
  • Sweet Valerian features three girls who transform into superpowered monster-fighting... bunny rabbits.
  • Symphogear goes further and crossbreeds The Power of Rock with Magitek. Net result? Powered armor that runs on singing. Instead of magic wands, primary cast is armed with rocket-powered fists, multitudes of swords, dual-wielded chainguns and more deadly implements as series goes on.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew mixed the idea with Catgirls and a pro-environmental theme.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wedding Peach and its anime follow the conventions of Sailor Moon.
  • Witchblade is a dark and not quite classical example but fits the bill across the board with the eponymous Witchblade and the Cloneblade bearers. Transforming female characters? Check. Battle costumes? Check. Superpowers? Check. Transformation Trinket? Oh boy check.
  • 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.
  • Yurara has elements of this - the titular Yurara is able to transform into a tall darkhaired beauty and battle evil spirits with powerful magic in order to send them to the afterlife.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Flower Fairy, 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.

    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.
  • 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 tham 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 who's 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Pecan Apple of Banzai Pecan, also doubling as a Henshin Hero.
  • Yunou of Crescent Pale Mist is a magician who uses a deadly and forbidden form of magic known as Pale Mist to battle the dangerous monsters and her former comrades as she seeks to put an end to the source of the Pale Mist that's seeping throughout the country of Gasyukal.
  • Leanna of Crystalline is a "Mage-Knight", meaning she's skilled with both magic and her sword.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce has Ruritia and the other Hikari Warriors, Magical Girls, high schoolers who, with the powers granted to them by the Rainbow Princess, transform to fight the Yami Clan. Three of them are inheritors of magical swords and all are comfortable melee combatants.
  • Mystica from Fading Hearts. Ryou meets her in the forest while he is fighting shadow monsters.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, Odin's daughter Ophelia can be very easily considered as the Fire Emblem take on this trope. She's very cute-looking (and bouncy), very flashy in battle, and very dedicated to her role as a Black Magician Girl and to protect her family and friends.
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna is a teen celebrity/Idol Singer who is tasked with saving the entire universe from the forces of Darkness as the Savior of Light.
  • How To Date A Magical Girl! has magical girls whose role are to banish evil, but it's downplayed; as evil occurs more rarely, they spend the majority of their time contributing to society instead.
  • This is the main premise of I=MGCM, a fanservicey game for PC and smartphone (there’s an official NSFW version for it). The game features twelve girls who are chosen to be magical girls by Kamisaman, a mysterious girl genius who appears to have invented Kamisaman System, and the player protagonist Tobio to fight human-devouring demons who have emerged on Earth and The Multiverse. Tobio interacts with the world through a Remote Body named Omnis, a Mentor Mascot who guides and scouts the new magical girl members.
  • Joan of Arc herself in Jeanne d'Arc, being a Lady of War who transforms into her armored form thanks to her magic armlet.

    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 the main character 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 off 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.

    Western Animation 

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