For decades’ magical girls have been twirling around in their shiny dresses and kicking and fighting evil in the process. But for having such a long history with anime, most western people don’t watch magical girl shows. Instead, they would rather sleep on some mind-blowing magi girl shows that would have stolen a spot in their top ten anime list.
For what it’s worth, in honor of the genre, we are going to talk about some of the best magical girls and magical girl shows that this genre has offered us.
So, what is a magical girl? Magical girl or Mahou Shoujo is a specific genre of anime that portrays women with magical abilities as their lead characters and often these characters are seen portrayed as empowered female characters.
If I had to make it sound super simple and dumb at the same time, it’s all-girl Power Rangers. Now, put down those pitchforks, I know magical girls are more than what I just described, and to show that, here are the top 40 best magical girl shows.
1. Magical DoReMi / Ojamajo Doremi
Let’s start big and fresh with Magical DoReMi. Whenever we imagine magical girl shows, we seem to imagine girls with magical girl powers that beat up bad guys and save the day in the end. But the show serves a different taste of magical girl series that most people haven’t had a taste of it yet.
The magical show is very fun, light-hearted, and overall very wholesome. Don’t leave yet because there is a whole lot of action in here too. But every once in a while it’s kind of nice to take a fresh breather and see magical girls doing normal stuff and living their life.
Harukaze Doremi, our main character considers herself to be the unluckiest girl in the world. After seeing her parents constantly fighting, her sister bullying her, and her crush drooling over another girl, Doremi wished if only she had a magic wand she could change her life.
The jokes on her turns out she is horrible at being a magical girl too. Check out this anime as it is most definitely a must-watch magical girl show.
2. Yuki Yuna Is A Hero
One of the best shows I could suggest for people who want to get into the magical girl series. It is one of the classic magical girl TV shows with its out-of-the-ordinary characters.
The show portrays a magical girl to a new viewer as best as it can. Yuki Yuna is a beautiful aesthetic girl with a very dazzling imagination. In her daily life, she thinks she is a hero, and to prove her fact, she joins the middle school’s Hero Club. There she does her best to help others and make everyone smile. But one day, mysterious creatures called Vertexes began threatening the world, and our MC is summoned upon a strange phone app to save the world.
Now Yuki alongside her friends fights alien-like creatures to save the world from destruction. Maybe next time don’t click on strange apps on your phone.
3. Floral Magician Mary Bell
We dive into one of the OG magical girl series.
Floral Magician Mary Bell is a 90s magical girl show that was more of a musical rather than a typical magical girl show. It gave us the musical twist in anime that made this anime pretty memorable and nostalgic to all the magical girl fans.
4. Revolutionary Girl Utena
Sometimes we forget that magical girl shows strong women standing up for themselves and fighting evil. It could be called the dragon ball that was made targeting women.
Jokes aside, Revolutionary Girl Utena is filled with comedy, drama, fantasy, and a bit of mystery.
Tenjou Utena, an unlucky princess loses her parents in a tragic incident that led her to depression and sorrow. Seeing her sorrow, a traveling prince came to her aid and gave her a rose emblem ring. The prince promised her that as long as she held on to that ring, destiny would find them again.
Finding one last glimpse of hope, Utena held on to that ring and was inspired to become just like the prince. Years later, Utena joins the Ootori academy where she is forced to fight against other princes with similar magical rings.
What might be the mystery behind that ring? I guess that’s for you guys to find out.
5. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya
The Fate series never seems to disappoint me with their dive into almost every genre and with this one they dive into the magical girl genre with their world-class animation studio.
Two members of Mage’s Association Rin and Luvia are tasked with finding the legendary seven class cards that hold seven legendary heroic spirits. But as it seems, they just can not seem to get along with each other and end up forming a contract with Illyasviel and Miyu to help them get along and find the seven cards. Together, they go on a journey filled with action, comedy, and lots of Fate fantasy to entertain us along the way.
6. Sasami: Magical Girls Club
What would happen if you had superpowers but could not tell anyone that you had powers as a kid? A little kid would faint trying to keep a secret like that and knowing that they were different than everyone else.
The same story goes on with Sasami. At a very young age, she discovered that she had magical girl powers. But her parents made her promise not to use her powers or to use them in front of anyone. Everything changed as she transferred to her new school.
7. Magical Girl Raising Project
Magical Girl Raising Project is a rather twisted take on the magical girl genre and we do see this happening from time to time.
It’s not something new but I feel like this anime has done a tremendous job of showing what a magical girl death game would look like.
Koyuki, our MC receives magic powers only to discover that she has to compete against all the other girls to keep her powers. But tragedy struck when magical girls started reducing and more twisted rules started being added to the game.
It seems to be a rather weird trend to try to mix and match every genre with the magical girl genre nowadays. At least this genre won’t give you nightmares at night.
LoliRock brings you the story of Iris, a very enthusiastic teen girl with a majestic voice and an unwavering desire to help those in need. She joins a band called LoliRock and together they find a common destiny as magical princesses in this case to battle for justice.
9. Wish Upon the Pleiades
Have you ever felt attracted to the mysteries of space? Our protagonist, Subaru is a girl that has a dream to travel into space and discover the mysteries of the night sky.
Luckily for the sake of the plot, one day she gets summoned by an alien blob to help it find its spaceship. She and her friends get to join together with their newly discovered space magical girl powers to help that small blob fix its ship but they are not the only ones looking for that ship it seems.
10. Black Rock Shooter
This series is one of those edgy shows that sways a bit too much on action, rather than magic aspects.
Mato Kurenai and Yomi Takanashi bump into each other during their first day of junior high. Trying to befriend each other Takanashi notices a bluebird on Mato’s phone. This struck a conversation between them and they become friends.
But in an alternate universe, the young girl exists as a parallel being where Mato is Black Rock Shooter and Yomi is Dead Master.
11. Magical Girl Ore
If you are looking for a bunch of laughs mixed with a hint of magic and action then the ecchi harem anime Magical Girl Ore is the show for you.
Saki Uno is a very average girl that struggles to pay her bills. But one night a shady character tries to enter her house. Forced to invite that person, she discovers that the shady character is her magical girl mother’s partner and right now she has been selected to be the next magic girl.
The twist is she transforms into a muscle man in a dress instead of a sparkling magical girl.
12. Senki Zesshou Symphogear (Symphogear)
The anime is based on girls fighting alien creatures called Noise. It’s based on how music has the power to defeat noise and give us a beautiful world.
Tsubasa and Kanade are an idol cute couple that protects the world from noise but one-day tragedy struck when Kanade had to sacrifice herself to save Tsubasa. Now with Tsubasa’s re-awakened powers, how will she defend humanity?
13. Uta Kata
Summer is a time that’s supposed to be filled with memories and spending time with friends at the beach. But it seems to be different in the case of Ichika.
While cleaning an unusual building Ichika noticed an unfamiliar girl in the place of her reflection. If that’s not spooky enough she, later on, meets that girl. That’s when the powers of 12 Djinn are blessed upon Ichika and she is now responsible for protecting the world.
14. Magic User’s Club
It seems that the aliens have finally been defeated, and the bell has been transformed into a huge cherry magic tree.
But now, the magic User’s Club needs to find a new solution to the giant cherry tree in the middle of Tokyo. Who could have done such a thing? Find out where this mystery leads our magical girls this time.
It’s one of the best 90s anime with lots of comedy and romance to keep viewers entertained.
15. Tokyo Mew Mew
Classic magical girl shows where a cat girl named Ichigo is injected with an unknown substance that later on turned her into a catgirl with magical powers. Using those powers, she saves her love interest, and now both research the secrets of this unknown power to save the world from aliens.
16. Cute High Earth Defence Club Love!
We have all heard of and seen magical girls but what about magical boys? Why should girls get all the fun? Cute High Earth Defence Club Love! Is a show that is based on goofy guys that are lazy and want to do nothing but relax.
But destiny has given them magical powers and now has tasked them with saving the world. The show is a unique twist on the traditional magical girl genre.
17. Magical Princess Minky Momo / Mahou no Princess Minky Momo / Magical Girl GiGi
The anime series follows the life of princess Momo of Fenarinarsa. The show is very unique for its time with an amazing storyline. It shows us how even the princess gets her hand dirty sometimes and saves the day. Now, Momo wishes to bring happiness to her kingdom and return to earth.
18. Winx Club
A modernized twist on the All-Female Super Teams where we see teenage girl characters dealing with teenage problems but at the end, Roxy, Tecna, Selina, and the rest of the magic girls come together and solve the problem together. It is a mixture of drama and romance. A pretty good storyline but some might get a bit bored as there aren’t that many good fights here.
19. Star vs. The Forces of Evil
The story follows the very enthusiastic, fun-loving magical teen princess, the star Butterfly. After fighting a few otherworldly monsters, she is sent to the Diaz family on planet earth. Now, with Diaz’s skinny boy by her side, both of them start a new adventure to battle evil villains.
20. Mahou no Star Magical Emi
Wise people have always told us that if you dream of something, chase after it. That is the story of Kozuki Mai, who aspires to be a magician and perform to bring joy to the world. But when a ball of light struck her, something changed in her. Now she is a magical girl that fights evil for justice.
21. Kill la Kill
There are so many reasons that the cringe anime, Kill La Kill, would deserve a higher spot on this list. After the murder of her father, Ryuko received the murder weapon. It was a half-scissor blade. Now her rage knows no bounds as she joins Honnouji Academy to sniff out her father’s murderer.
But fate probably didn’t want her to take easy revenge. Instead, fate made her climb up the hierarchy of power just to get some information on her dad.
A dramafest shoujo that mainly focuses on attracting the female audience mostly.
Pretear is a show that can be called anime taking a swing at making Disney’s Cinderella. It’s not a full copy of Cinderella but it has a similar setting. The magic show consists of how Himeno, our main protagonist, deals with her everyday bullying and crime fighting to save the world.
23. Magical Girl Friendship Squad
A female-driven anime that turns its magical girl format upside down, making it a very unique comedy series. Magical Girl Friendship Squad is a new western take on the fantasy genre. It might not be your traditional magical girl show but it’s worth watching.
24. Magic Knight Rayearth
You know what? The 90s have given us some jaw-dropping anime and Magic Knight Rayearth is one of those Isekai anime with OP MC.
Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are our three musketeers that were known to each other until one day all three of them were summoned by a princess in another world to fight for its safety and to protect its people. Now the three of them have become magic knights and embarked on a journey to destroy the evil from that world.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a Netflix special fantasy animation that has a lot of similarities with the magical girl genre. The series tells us the story of an orphan named Adora. One day she discovers a magical sword while running from the evil Horde.
With that magical sword, she can transform into a magical princess that fights for the hope of a better world. The tv show has a really good story and the animation quality is out of this world.
26. Glitter Force
The tv series has 2 seasons it is the English dub of Smile Pretty Cure, which makes it part of the Pretty Cure franchise. The show has a very basic plot and does not move from the traditional magical girl definition.
It’s about five girls who one day discover their superpowers and come forward to create a squad named Glitter Force that defends earth from evil fairy-tale villains.
27. Shugo Chara!
I don’t know why but the magical girl tv show always uses a shy clumsy girl as their main protagonist. Shugo Chara is a show about Amu who has difficulties making friends.
Wanting to show the world who she is, Amu makes a wish and ends up with three different eggs. Each egg with a different magical guardian, Amu has now become a magical girl and is slowly uncovering the mysteries of her eggs.
28. Is This A Zombie?
One of the funniest fantasy anime out there and people are sleeping on this show. It consists of a guy named Ayumu, who tragically died while investigating a suspicious house. hoping to wake up in heaven, instead, Ayumu wakes up in a strange house next to an armored girl, claiming to be a necromancer.
I know it is a lot to take in but right now Ayumu is an immortal zombie and the viewers are going to get an exclusive seat to how a zombie spends his daily life.
29. Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch
One of the best magical girl anime that is very underrated. It follows the life of Lucia that saved a boy who fell overboard on a ship. To save his life she gave him her precious pearl. But as she is the mermaid princess, she now has to travel to the human world to retrieve her precious pearl or the kingdom will face destruction by evil forces.
The story of thirteen girls, each with the ability to materialize different elements. They can also summon metallic guardians to aid them in their needs.
Each magical girl with a different personality and background, they have to decide who they truly care about and why they fight.
The anime has some really good action scenes for a magical girl anime and I would suggest you guys give this one a try.
31. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha / Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
An ordinary girl Nanoha was living an average life. One day she came across an injured ferret. She nursed that ferret and cured it. But as the story unfolds to us, that ferret transforms himself into a human. The ferret was Yuuno Surya, a mage from another world who was collecting 21 jewel seeds.
He sees Nanoha’s golden heart and gave her magical girl powers. Now Nanoha is tasked with helping Yuuno find these jewels and sending him to his world.
32. Sugar Sugar Rune
A fantasy anime that focuses on two witches that have been selected to become the next queen of witches. Now, these two must prove who’s better by going to the human world and collecting the hearts of humans. Whoever has the most heart by the end will be selected as the next queen of a witch.
The plot of this show is unique. But despite having such an interesting plot, the show is very underrated even today.
33. Searching For The Full Moon (Full Moon wo Sagashite)
Searching For The Full Moon is less like a magical girl anime and more like a story of a girl chasing her dreams. The story focuses on Mitsuki, who made a promise to her friend Eichi that one day her songs will reach him.
But fate had to interfere with her dreams as she had only one year to live because of an incurable disease. Right when everyone would have given up hope, Mitsuki became even more determined about reaching her goals before she died. That’s when a magical power emerged from her.
34. Princess Tutu
Princess Tutu is japan’s way of trying to merge a fairy tale with a magical girl concept. A duck magically transformed into a human girl and then charms the prince into marrying her. Well, the show is kind of like that except adding n evil raven that is a threat to the prince’s heart. Now Ahiru, our protagonist has taken it upon herself to cure the prince with her newly found magical girl powers.
35. Lan Mo de Hua (Lan Mo’s Flower)
Lan Mo is someone’s ideal girl with her eccentric personality and her top tomboyish anime character. But with the magical hair, she found in a mysterious trinket shop, she may be able to become everyone’s idol now.
The Chinese anime is about how Lan Mo uses her magical powers to transform herself into a beautiful and feminine young lady to confess to her childhood crush. But what she doesn’t know is that with every blessing comes a lot of drama.
The tv series is less of a magical girl series and more of a romance/drama.
36. Pretty Cure / Futari Wa Precure
Pretty cure was never anyone’s first choice of a magical girl tv show, but it was very underrated and only the true fans of magical girls knew about this.
The show follows the story of Nagisa and Honoka. Both are very different from each other as one excels in brains while the other is brawn. As mismatched as it may sound, these two girls lived double lives as the emissaries of light.
They were called Cure Black and Cure White, names that would get canceled today. But overall, the show was good.
37. Cardcaptor Sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura was one of the most nostalgic anime that aired in the late 90s. It became one of the iconic anime that we remember when we talk about 90s magical girl anime
. The show was about Sakura, an ordinary girl, who one day stumbled upon a mysterious book of cards. After meddling with it, she accidentally releases the mystical beasts. Now as a newly appointed Cardcaptor, Sakura hunts down these cards to seal them once more.
38. Sailor Moon Crystal
How can we write a list about magical girls and not include the famous all-female super team from Sailor Moon? The anime show has been one of the OG and is often reminded as one of the greatest shows that blessed our childhood. In my opinion, the show is a definite watch just out of curiosity of why it’s so popular.
Usagi was an average girl that was a bit clumsier than others. But all this changed when she came across a black cat with a crescent moon mark on its head. She was chosen to become a sailor moon. With her newly gained power, she is now tasked with finding a rare crystal and we the viewers join in for the adventure that is about to come.
39. Little Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia is the newest addition to the magical girl genre and this show is a definite banger. The fantasy anime has comedy, drama, suspense, and unique characters that make the show different than other magical girl shows.
We follow the story from the wanna-be witch Akko’s point of view as she starts her journey in Luna Nova Magical Academy. She struggles with magic control but her dedication never goes down no matter how many times she goofs around. A must-watch show.
40. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Finally, I saved the best for last. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is probably the most popular, most hyped show, and for a good reason too. The story is just so well written that it just makes the viewers stuck to their chairs.
The magical show has a huge rating of 8.36 and is ranked 90 in popularity on myanimelist. It is a story of hope, despair, and most importantly friendship. So, if that doesn’t convince you to try this magical girl series, I don’t know what will.