A Magical Girl is a force for good and light. But every bright light has a shadow. Every virtue has a Dark Side. The Dark Magical Girl is this for the Magical Girl. Every virtue that powers a Magical Girl is twisted to serve evil as the Dark Magical Girl.
Normal Magical Girls have a good relationship with their family members, they make friends at school—they may be a little dim, but that's okay, and this all translates into the magical ability to defend what they love from external threats.
A Dark Magical Girl doesn't have that. For her, Parental Abandonment is not funny or convenient. Her parents are absent at best and abusive at worst, and though she's smart, she can't understand why her life has turned out as it is. She doesn't have real friends or exploits past the academic (if she goes to school). This is because she either doesn't know how to communicate socially or she's already lost her friends and wants to avoid making new ones, the loss of which will just bring her further pain. If she seems outwardly creepy, it's another unfortunate reason people avoid her, which only leads to her being further perceived as evil or otherwise abnormal.
She often acts as The Dragon to the Big Bad, who she may crave approval from as a parental figure. Inevitably, the Dark Magical Girl will fight the Magical Girl, acting as her Evil Counterpart or Shadow Archetype, her motivation being acknowledgment from the Big Bad or jealousy of everything the heroine has that she does not.
She doesn't want the Magical Girl's pity, but the MG usually tries to reach out to her and gain her friendship regardless. A Magical Girl symbolizes the triumph of virtue, justice, and The Power of Love. A Dark Magical Girl asks if there is redemption and salvation for the cursed and lost. Magical Girl shows tend come down on the idealist side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. So, the DMG almost always gets converted to the good guys by the end. Once this happens, most Dark Magical Girls tend to be fiercely loyal to the Magical Girl heroine.
The abilities of the Dark Magical Girl are often polar opposites to the Magical Girl. She is also usually faster, smarter, and more ruthless than the MG, making her the primary obstacle to the MG's triumph. Younger Dark Magical Girls tend to be Little Miss Badasses, even if they are a Cute Witch. If she is a Magical Girl Warrior, she's frequently a Lady of War. One common way of signalling a Dark Magical Girl is that her outfit is usually slightly more fetishy and dark, which might explain why a Heel Face Turn doesn't always mean a switch in costume.
The Dark Magical Girl is usually considered to be a subtrope of Anti-Villain... unless the author thinks that Dark Is Not Evil. Not to be confused with the Black Magician Girl, and especially not the Dark Action Girl (who is quite different).
Anime and Manga
- Pictured above is Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, perhaps the quintessential example.
- Lutecia from Nanoha StrikerS fits the bill pretty well, too.
- Runessa is essentially this to Teana in StrikerS Sound Stage X. Granted, both of them are very liberal interpretations of MG and DMG characters but their dichotomy is nevertheless obvious.
- Einhart Stratos from ViVid seems to be an Older Alter Ego take on DMG.
- One of the first DMGs is Non, Meg's rival from Majokko Meg-chan.
- Pixy Misa from the Pretty Sammy series.
- Yugi from Tenchi in Tokyo, who is also the rare Big Bad version.
- Freesia Yagyuu from Jubei-chan season 2. She doubles as a Ninja.
- Hotaru Tomoe (Sailor Saturn) from Sailor Moon is subverted. At first, the Outer Soldiers treat her as a Dark Magical Girl because they believe her awakening as Sailor Saturn would bring about The End of the World as We Know It. This turns out to be somewhat true; though Saturn does have the power to initiate an apocalypse, she would never do so unless ordered to by her Queen; however, in the present day her reincarnation is possessed by The Dragon, whose goal is The End of the World as We Know It. The protagonists are understandably confused about Hotaru's motivations for much of the season.
- A closer example might actually be Uranus and Neptune. They're older and stronger than the other soldiers (except for Pluto) and have a very tenuous relation with them, often work against the inner Senshi for the same goal, and are much more cynical and much more prone to engage in questionable methods to bring them about (and they're not happy about using said methods either). They have trouble understanding The Power of Trust and The Power of Love, except toward each other. And even when they do come around and aknowledge Usagi's leadership, Haruka and Michiru tend to work as a duo rather than with the rest, to the point of killing Saturn and Pluto and become Fake Defectors in a desperate bid to get at Galaxia. Which actually fails, and gets them killed.
- Chibiusa achieved Dark Magical Girl status temporarily in Sailor Moon R, as she is brainwashed by Wiseman, who corrupts her with dark magic and cruel words, making her believe that she is responsible for her grim future and that no one loves her. As a result, she becomes Black Lady, an older version of herself, with longer hair and a very revealing outfit, and becomes a servant of Wiseman due to her bitterness and pain upon the cruel past that she genuinely believes she had. In the manga, she even brainwashes and seduces her father, though. in the anime, she actively hates both parents and tries to kill them (Usagi does have a vision of Black Lady and Tuxedo Kamen kissing, but it's a part of Wiseman's attempted brainwashing of her. Which doesn't work, by the way.) She returns to her younger and happier original self after a while, however: either by witnessing Pluto's Heroic Sacrifice (manga) or after a pep talk from her parents (anime).
- Dark Sailor Mercury (aka "Darkury") from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is not just an ordinary Dark Magical Girl, but a former regular Magical Girl corrupted and co-opted by the bad guys. It takes Moon MORE than a mere "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight to bring her back to the side of good.
- The manga version of Sailor Galaxia is what happens when a Dark Magical Girl grows up and comes into full power before meeting her good counterpart. As you can guess, her mental state is not pretty.
- Dark, from D.N.Angel is a male example.
- Dark Nana (Jamanana) from Seven of Seven is another good example. She is Nana's dark side/true self, born from her despair over Yoichi and left unnoticed, jealous of all the fun the others had. She has proven to be much, much stronger than the other Nanas, able to hypnotize people easily, teleport, fly with ease, fire energy blasts, and basically be a badaxe. In the end, she just needed a hug.
- Nova from Magic Knight Rayearth has some of the elements of the DMG, but not quite.
- The "Tasogare no Miko" (Priestesses of the Twilight) in Asagiri no Miko.
- To an extent, Valkyrie Ghost in UFO Princess Valkyrie.
- Takako, aka Fenrir the Princess of Disaster, in Prétear, who is also the Big Bad. And Himeno's stepsister Mawata, while under her influence.
- Mikoto Minagi from My-HiME is truly innocent, sweet, and loving toward everyone she knows—but becomes a holy terror in the defense/service of the brother whom she has been seeking through the entire series, and who turns out to be the biggest Big Bad in the entire show. True to the form of the trope, Mikoto's convinced to do a Heel Face Turn via The Power of Love from Mai, and then she frees her brother from his inner darkness by smashing his pendant with her sword.
- Also from My-HiME is Nao Yuuki, who travels the path she took because her father was killed and her mother was seriously injured by robbers. Unlike Mikoto, she doesn't get converted over as easily. Making Nao even more tragic, she was beginning to really warm to the group before Natsuki was tricked into attacking her. It's hard not to feel sorry for her when she leaves, screaming revenge and clutching what's left of her right eye, once you realize it.
- Nina (among others) from Mai-Otome. Tomoe is a notable aversion; she's simply pure evil.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has the dark magical woman, Sara, who, in a slight subversion of this trope, turns out to be The Man Behind the Man herself, rather than the other way around.
- Pretty Cure has used this trope multiple times. Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash* Star gives us the Kiryuu sisters, Michiru and Kaoru, Fresh Pretty Cure has Setsuna Higashi, alias Eas (until she became Cure Passion), Heartcatch Pretty Cure features the aptly-named Dark Pretty Cure, and Suite Pretty Cure has Siren (until she became Cure Beat).
- Rue, aka Princess Kraehe, from Princess Tutu.
- Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z has both Princess Morbucks and Sedusa, the evil super-powered alter-egos of more sympathetic, troubled girls, Himeko and Annie.
- The English dub of Tokyo Mew Mew made Renee (Zakuro) out to be a former Dark Magical Girl, or at least pretending to be one; this has caused some confusion, but that's nothing Mew.
- Retasu sort of starts out as a DMG—her fear of her own powers made her unusually strong, and she nearly defeated Ichigo and Minto after they discovered that she is a Mew Mew. Of course, she loses this coolness upon joining the team...
- Suigintou of Rozen Maiden is developed into this role in the sequels.
- Miyu of the Vampire Princess Miyu TV series starts out as largely this archetype—a reserved, lonely girl whose only companions are her Team Pet, Shiina, and her battle partner, Larva. However, she's a very atypical case, as she's the main character, and begins to grow out of it due to discovering friends, rather than being lured out of it by the magical girl. Her rival, Reiha, is a more straight example.
- Lucy from Elfen Lied is a personification of this concept, although she may be quite a bit darker and more brutal than most.
- Rubi Toujou from Rosario + Vampire starts off as this archetype, but since she's in an Unwanted Harem show, her move to the side of good is a bit different. Later on, she's the one who saves Tsukune from himself.
- Yuko Amasawa from Dennou Coil is a dark technological girl (though, with the way technology gets treated in the series, it could just as well be magic). Other than the fact that she is the closest thing the series has to a recurring Big Bad (she's more like a master-less Enigmatic Minion), she fits the trope to a T.
- Saint Tail's mother in the manga Kaitou Saint Tail was a Dark Magical Girl named "Saint Lucifer" long before Meimi was born. Convinced to Heel Face Turn by Saint Tail's father, they settled down together. (In the anime, she was always good, though more morally grey than Meimi.)
- Crona the Witch Sword User from Soul Eater. His/Her mother, Medusa the Witch, "trained" Crona by forcing Crona to beat his/her pet rabbit to death, and locked Crona in a closet until s/he agreed to do so. Then they ate the rabbit. S/he also has the Black Blood taint and the demonic sword, Ragnarok.
- Even more so as of Chapter 96, where s/he may have graduated to Big Bad Friend.
- Naha Midori from Telepathy Shoujo Ran, who was Genre Savvy enough to do an immediate Heel Face Turn. She then goes on to get practically adopted into Ran's Family, and spends the rest of the series living the good life. Ohara Momoko is a dark magical girl who grows up without going through the face turn, and is miserable because of it.
- Izayoi Aki from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's when she first appeared, having been alienated from other people due to her fearsome Psychic Powers. When Yusei met her, she was quite unstable, having developed a destructive Split Personality (the Black Rose Witch) out of anger and guilt, and was hostile towards him for bearing the mark she believed was responsible for her suffering (actually the sign she was a chosen one). As with most examples of this trope, she joined the heroes after being defeated by the main character - in this case, it took two Duels and some help from her parents, who truly regretted neglecting her, for Yusei to get through to her. However, after the Dark Signers were defeated, she took the opportunity to live a normal life, without causing pain to others, something that she couldn't do before.
- There's a possible secondary one: Carly Nagisa, during her stint as a Dark Signer.
- Utau Hoshina from Shugo Chara is an example played straight. Though whenever Ikuto stops by, she goes from a serious and brooding dark magical girl to lovelorn and cutesy. After both of her Charas leave her, she gets some Epiphany Therapy and turns to the side of good.
- The titular character in Hell Girl, Enma Ai.
- Kuesu from Omamori Himari, who is also a Black Magician Girl.
- Yukina from Girls Bravo is an extremely rare Big Bad example.
- Except for the male thing, Gaara from Naruto.
- If the flashbacks are to be believed, Hinata could have been this if not Naruto's influence on her.
- Nami in Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo. Her powers are tech-based, but she fits perfectly character-wise.
- Mahou Sensei Negima has quite a lot of girls that qualify. First, Evangeline McDowell, then, Chao Lingshen, and now, Fate Averruncus' accomplices (especially Shiori and Homura).
- Yue Ayase is an interesting case who teeters back and forth on the edge of averting this trope for most of the series. Most of her "dark" traits are most apparent near the beginning of the series when her primary character attributes (apart from being Nodoka's best friend) involved being a slightly chilly Brilliant but Lazy serial snarker. In fact, Yue barely averts what could have been a Start of Darkness when her feelings for Negi led to her thinking that she had betrayed Nodoka in a moment of weakness; rather than face her best friend, she chose to run away, and were it not for Nodoka's timely intervention, poor Yue could have sunken to the emotional depths required for DMGs. Regardless, she doesn't unlock her magical abilities until a fair way into the series: by that point, she's warmed up to the rest of the group, effectively ditching the most negative DMG traits she had around the same time she became a mage. At this point, it's hard to say for certain whether Yue is a recovering DMG or just an unusually cynical/snarky Magical Girl.
- As the story progressed, we have the Rainyday twins. Zazie is a standard version, while "Poyo" has touches of Dark Action Girl.
- Pretty brutal and tragic version: Rosine from Berserk. Schierke also counts, but she's somewhat luckier as she joins Guts's True Companions group.
- The real Saji Genpou in Ikki Tousen Great Guardians, and Ten'i in Dragon Destiny.
- Mio from Zettai Karen Children, who's almost an Expy of Fate.
- Darry plays one in "Kiyals Magical Time, Three Minutes After", of TTGL Parallel Works 2
- Dead Master, in the OAV of Black★Rock Shooter.
- Explored and extensively Deconstructed Trope in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, to the point that it could be argued to apply to every magical girl in the show except Madoka. The magical girls of that world are dark because the nice ones either die earlier or learn the truth about what they are and join the ranks of the DMG. Until Madoka ascends to godhood and rewrites the world, giving them much more peaceful deaths.
- Homura Akemi, the in-house poster girl for this trope, is a subversion. She was Good All Along, opposing Kyuubey (a.k.a. Incubator, arguably the Big Bad of the series) and doing everything for the sake of Madoka . She did, however, Invoked Trope this trope for the sake of not getting too close to, and thus hurting, Madoka - that, and after failing so many times, she's quite the Broken Bird.
- Kyouko is a straighter example.
- Also applies to the Spin Offs. In Oriko Magica, Oriko is a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Villain Protagonist example, Kirika is her Psycho Supporter, and Yuma doesn't fit the trope but even she had Abusive Parents. In Kazumi Magica, it's increasingly implied that the Pleiades Saints are all DMGs of some sort, and Kazumi may have been one before her Identity Amnesia.
- Prisma Ilya, the Magical Girl Spin-Off version of the horrifying and adorable Ilya, gains a rival and subsequent ally in Kuro, a dark-skinned duplicate of herself with more attitude and fewer morals. Oh, and any pain inflicted on Ilya is also transferred to Kuro, making for some hilarious self-inflicted punishment.
- Sigil from Hyper Speed GranDoll is a textbook example. Even before getting converted to the good side by the heroine's friendship, she's a pretty honorable girl who's only on the villains' side because she's in love with the Big Bad. She also has quite a bit of Les Yay with the heroine and even Takes The Bullet for her.
- Morgan Le-Fay from the Ah! My Goddess Movie.
- Princess Luna from Peter Pan no Bouken.
- Esperanza from Orphen. She's beautiful, silent, a talented magic user and swordswoman, and with one single goal: to fulfill a dangerous Deal with the Devil, alongside her father, so she can save her little sister Lycoris's life. For that, she won't hesitate to damn herself and whoever crosses her path.
- Azalie is this too, and arguably even more so. As a Teen Genius, she became obsessed with becoming a powerful sorceress due to having the man she loved, Childman, reject her love declaration. Said obsession became madness, and the horrible results had her becoming Bloody August, the Big Bad dragon of first season. She's not evil, but is incredibly broken and embittered due to the consequences of turning into a dragon, and midway through the first season she starts to plan her Revenge on those who wronged her... and specially Childman.
- Though her skills are based on Psychic Powers, Lina from Cyborg 009 fits in perfectly personality wise. She's a kind and quiet girl, thoughtful and softspoken... and one of the most powerful members of a certain Quirky Miniboss Squad.
- The first Cardcaptor Sakura gives us Mahoudoushi/The Enchantress, the Big Bad. The contrast with her and Sakura, the Magical Girl, is revealed over the course of the movie. Mahoudoushi is a lonely Hot Witch who practised Black Magic, and she turned sour after her lover and mentor Clow sealed her away. After fighting the Magical Girl and losing, she has a Heel Face Turn, and manages to finally pass on in peace.
Live Action TV
- Power Rangers usually prefers the Dark Action Girl route, but Marah & Kapri from Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Lothor's bumbling nieces, are more DMG-ish. They don't really want to be evil; they just want to be normal teenage girls, valued by their uncle ("By marriage", as Lothor points out.). He finally leaves them to be destroyed in the Grand Finale, but Cam, Lothor's biological nephew, reluctantly decides to save them "because they're family". In the Reunion Show, they pretended to rejoin Lothor, but actually worked behind the scenes to free Cam's father, Kanoi...who then went on to save Cam, Hunter, and Blake...who then went on to save the Dino Thunder Power Trio from being wiped out by Ninja Storm's Three Amigos.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith, in season 3, is the dark alternative to Buffy.
- Rose in Legend of Dragoon fits this trope perfectly
- Averted and subverted in turns in the Fate/stay night visual novel. Rin initially seems a good candidate for the role: an orphan raised to obsess over her family's sorcerous legacy, who candidly admits (to the reader) that her entire school life is a crafted facade of vanity with little real emotional investment. However, she ends up becoming a more or less loyal and dependable ally of the protagonist, Shiro, in all major branches of the story. No, it's her separated-in-childhood sister Sakura (?), sweet, nurturing, and devotedly in love with Shiro (?), who in one scenario, snaps after all the Break the Cutie piled on her for years and becomes an unstoppably deadly force of darkness who supplants the would-be Big Bad that corrupted her. Remember, Beware the Nice Ones.
- She's not magical, per se, but Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops has a notable case in that the Magical Girl and the Dark Magical Girl are originally presented as twin sisters - the Magical Girl is devoted to her sister and talks about her a lot, while the Dark Magical Girl stalks around alone trying to read people's minds. It turns out that...well, both 'sisters' join forces with the hero to destroy the Big Bad at the end - and give a prophecy together.
- Marisa Kirisame from Touhou games dresses vaguely like a Cute Witch, brews potions like a witch, and definitely tries to invoke the image—because that is what she think witches should dress and act like and, in Touhou, that can matter a lot. She was originally a servant of the "evil" spirit Mima but, as Defeat Means Friendship, she has been a long-running protagonist since. Despite living by herself in the Forest (of Magic), she's no antisocial wallflower and is probably one of the most outgoing characters in the series.
- Alice Margatroid also shows some shades of this trope but she is more of a Marionette Master archetype and her darker tendencies tend to be exaggerated by the Fandom. Also, she's a youkai so that has to count for something. Depending on the level of Retcon (or if your name is Fuantei), she may also come with "parental issues."
- Mokou is an odd example in that she has all the earmarks of this trope, but her image is overshadowed by her on-off rivalry with Kaguya and her interaction with Keine. And she wears suspenders and red poofy pants.
- Ariel Val'Sarghess. A heroic example (kinda), but she still qualifies.
- Megatokyo's Tohya Miho: we've seen her flip a van with one hand, jump three or four blocks whilst carrying Kimiko, and walk nonchalantly on telegraph wires, and the held-back tears give it away when Kimiko tells her that the lack of emotional connection to others necessarily means the lack of what it is to be alive.
- In the Mechagical Girl Lisa A.N.T., the character Pink Flash is quite a subversion: she is a mercenary who willfully works for evil alien invaders (as opposed to Lisa, who works for other evil alien invaders because she's too gullible), but she is anything but dark.
- Angel Moxie, itself a pastiche of Magical Girl and Anime tropes, had the character of Tristan fill in the role of the Dark Magical Girl. She even worked for the villain near the start, but she quickly changed sides after being betrayed.
- Bell from Bleedman's Powerpuff Girls Massive Multiplayer Crossover.
- While Homestuck doesn't really have a standard magical girl trope, Grimdark Rose Lalonde certainly fits the Dark Magical Girl bill.
- In To Prevent World Peace, the main character (a villain) takes down dark magical girls in order to make the nice ones stronger.
- Sailor Nothing explores the trope through the eyes of the main character, Himei. Being a heroic example of this trope doesn't comfort her much, though.
- Soyburger Patricia of the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions sort of falls into this trope.
- Tami from the web novel Dimension Heroes is brainwashed into working for the evil Dark Lady Scortana, resulting in a radical change both in personality and wardrobe.
- Sailor H of Magical Girl Hunters is more of a case of a sociopath Magical Girl (as many magical girls in the series are), but her origin involves a combination of a literally rabid Mentor Mascot and the rest of her team being slaughtered before her. The fact that her sailor outfit is made out of black vinyl and rubber and she wields a whip gives her an honorary status if nothing else.
- MSF High Forum: Kiana. Her rival, however, is a straight-Magical girl, who's Wrong Genre Savvy. Said rival, however, is a One-Scene Wonder.
- WITCH features an interesting variation. The Dark Magical Girl Elyon Brown, alias Princess Elyon from Meridian, fights the heroines because she hates them personally due to a misunderstanding aided by some manipulation—but aside from that, she's a very sweet and naive person, so much so that the heroines have to pull punches against her...especially one of them, Cornelia Hale, who is Elyon's long-time friend. Good thing the misunderstandings are more or less cleared and they became friends again.
- Charmcaster from Ben 10, the antithesis to Magical Girl Gwen. In the third series, Ben 10 Ultimate Alien, it turns out that her whole motive for being evil is to gain enough power to free her home dimension from a tyrannical being that killed her parents and left her lonely and bitter. She ends up gaining the typical Magical Girl-Dark Magical Girl bond with Gwen as well.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: a young (if immortal) winged unicorn with magical powers, Luna is the herald of Night, and is therefore forever alone (because ponies are diurnal). Due to a combination of some unknown magical force and her own loneliness and jealousy, she turns to evil, gets a Plot-Relevant Age-Up and green eyes, dons a gothy, slightly bondagey outfit, and is promptly sealed away for a thousand years. When she escapes, she uses her powers to fight the even younger Magical Girl sent unwittingly to redeem her, who defeats her with The Power of Friendship and reunites her with her sister.