Magical Girl

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Mahou Shoujo)

"Magic Girls, no matter how frilly their dresses, high their screams, or incompetent their sidekicks, will be treated as the credible and dire threats they are, and I will direct as many, if not more resources to their destruction as I would for a more classical Hero."

Known as mahou shoujo (魔法少女, "magical girl") in Japanese, or simply majokko (魔女子, "witch girl"), Magical Girls are empowered by various means with fantastic powers that both assist and complicate their lives, but manage to persevere despite this.

Magical Girls have high crossover popularity in different demographics with some minor but appropriate design modifications, and make up a sizable portion of both Shojo and bishoujo fandom.

Sub Tropes:

Magical Girl Warriors arguably have the widest demographic appeal, and in the West are often synonymous with the idea of a Magical Girl.

History of the Genre

It may come as a surprise to learn that the entire Magical Girl genre is descended, effectively, from the American live-action series Bewitched. While two series claim the role of first magical girl anime—Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Mahotsukai Sally (Sally the Witch, 1966-1968) and Akatsuka Fujio's Himitsu no Akko-chan (broadcast 1969, but its manga predates Mahotsukai Sally) -- the creators of both credit Bewitched as a primary inspiration for their work. Yokoyama explicitly adapted its concept for a younger audience, while Akatsuka merely says he was "inspired" by it.

Another important early Magical Girl show was Majokko Meg-chan in 1974. This was the first show to be marketed to boys as well as girls, and featured a number of developments—it was the first Magical Girl show to...

Originally, all Magical Girl shows were produced by Toei Animation, so "Magical Girl" wasn't so much a genre as a Media Franchise. This lasted until Ashi Production's Magical Princess Minky Momo hit the airwaves in 1982 (also notable for being the first such show to feature talking animal sidekicks), followed by Studio Pierrot's Creamy Mami in 1983 (the first Magic Idol Singer show). A one-shot OVA produced in 1987 featured a Bat Family Crossover between Studio Pierrot's four 80s Magical Girl shows (Creamy Mami; Persia the Magic Fairy; Magical Star Magical Emi and Magical Idol Pastel Yumi) - this was the first instance of a magical girl team.

The Magical Girl Warrior subgenre, despite being the most well-known style of Magical Girl show in the west, didn't hit until Sailor Moon in 1992 (unless you count Cutey Honey, which wasn't aimed at girls but had a lot of influence on it, or Devil Hunter Yohko, which wasn't aimed at girls either). This was a essentially a combination of the earlier style shows with the Superhero genre, particularly the Super Sentai formula. Sailor Moon was a huge hit, and naturally other shows were made in the same style, and some were even more divergent from the old-style shows. Many fans felt that shows such as Magic Knight Rayearth were still Magical Girl shows, despite all the dissimilarities from the previous generation (others disagree, and feel that Rayearth is Shoujo RPG World Fantasy instead).

The wave of shows made in Sailor Moon's wake eventually subsided, but the genre is far from dead. Contemporary examples include Ojamajo Doremi, Pretty Cure (aimed at both young girls and adult males), and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (more of an action series with magical girls). In 2011 Puella Magi Madoka Magica was released, considered by many to be the genre's Neon Genesis Evangelion.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A girl who can use magic is not necessarily a Magical Girl in the sense of the trope or genre. A Magical Girlfriend, for example, usually does not fit into the same structure that defines a Magical Girl series.

Also see the Index of Magical Girl Tropes.

Examples of Magical Girl include:

Magical Girl Works

Anime and Manga

Eastern Animation

Tabletop Games

Magical World is what came out of this paradoxical perspective on magical girls. It puts them into a world of high stakes and dire consequences where, as in the real world, power can be used selfishly as surely as it can be used to help others. Some hate them, some worship them, some ignore them, and a few hunt them down. It is a place where magical girls and their youma foes are ubiquitous, and a world that truly both loves and hates them. Whatever you feel about magical girls, it can happen here.
Magical girls come in countless varieties; saccharine heroines, servants of darkness, hired killers, idol singers, vigilantes and more. They can save the world or bring it damnation. The choice is yours. Strap in, have your henshin wand handy, and get ready for a bumpy ride.

"Magical World is a game setting for Thrash about Magical Girls in a Sailor Moon meets Aberrant meets Kingdom Come world with a dark, sinister flavor. In this world, magical girls fight to keep supernatural evil from this world while fighting at the same time to regain the love of a world that now fears and despises them, bring love back to a grey world, and all this while trying hard to keep their sanity.
"A world-wide magical girl demographic explosion caused an imminent conflict between all the young do-gooders, causing the world to view them almost as much of a threat as help. This short guide explores the Film Noir-esque point of view of those men and women devoted to keep the magical threat in check. These so-called magical girl hunters have as many motivations as there are hunters and as little help as their ingenuity and all the firepower they can get."

Video Games

Web Original

Web Comics

  • Angel Moxie is both a parody and an homage of the genre. It is about Junior High student Alex (a fairly standard magical girl) and her two friends (each of whom have super powers but otherwise don't have many magical girl characteristics) as they fight off Lord Yzin and his servants. It can be found here.
  • The Adventures Of Sailor Ranko, a Fuku Fic webcomic. Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo are sent away from their home by their parents in another attempt to get the pair to confess their feelings for each other and pressure them to marry. Ranma's female alter ego (known as Ranko) meets up with the Sailor Senshi and they discover she (Ranko) is the reincarnation of Sailor Sun, a long lost Sailor Senshi. Ranma now has a triple life, one, as male Ranma trying to avoid the troubles he left behind in Nerima, two, as female Ranko who was accidentally enrolled at the same high school by her well meaning and totally oblivious-to-the-truth mother, and three, her role as Sailor Sun working with the Sailor Senshi fighting for love and justice. A Dead Fic, unfortunately.
  • Evil Diva, a webcomic about a devil girl who can't help doing good deeds for others.
  • Cardcaptor Torika, a sequel to the Cardcaptor Sakura series featuring Sakura's daughter.
  • Mechagical Girl Lisa A.N.T. parodies the genre with a Fan Girl who becomes a (sorta) magical girl... and proceeds to apply large amounts of Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • To Prevent World Peace features a world where magical girls have been active since WWI. Cue Alternate History. The story follows a magical girl who believes she must become a Necessarily Evil in order to stop other girls from going too far.
  • Hi To Tsuki No Hoshi No Tama has Magical Girl with a hint of Mon.
  • Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy, a somewhat violent parody of the genre's conventions - the heroine is somewhat chubby, has an alien disguised as a star-nosed mole for a Mentor Mascot, and is often severely injured in battle (luckily, she is a Human Alien with the ability to regenerate her body parts).
  • Magical Boys!, another parody of the genre - the main character is a boy who is given magical girl powers (although he retains his gender) to battle against Dark Magical Girls who want to kill retired magical girls. As the story progresses, more magical boys are revealed.
  • Also parodied in Mahou Shounen Fight.

Western Animation

Magical Girl trope referred to in other works

Anime and Manga

  • Cutey Honey is a forerunner of Magical Girl Warrior version, which blended Fan Service and fun battles in one tongue-in-cheek package. Fans are divided whether she counts as a true magical girl or a superhero.
    • New Cutey Honey is the sequel, set 100 years after the original.
    • Cutey Honey Flash is a straight magical girl variant.
      • Cutey Honey Tennyo Densetsu is set in 2005, and features a version of Cutey Honey who has time travelled from the 70s to battle Panther Claw in the new millenium.
      • Cutey Honey Seed is set in an Alternate Universe, where a Cutey Honey Otaku finds a beautiful alien girl who, like all members of her species, develops any power necessary to protect herself and others. After watching several episodes of Cutey Honey, she develops "super powers" just like the "real" Honey's, even going so far as to shout "Honey Flash!"
  • Yurara No Tsuki has elements of this, as the main character is able to transform and battle evil spirits with powerful magic.
  • The plot of one episode of They Are My Noble Masters is started when Ren discovers that Yume has written a story starring herself as a magical girl.
  • The main character in Otaku no Video is able to break into the anime industry with his magical girl series, Misty May.
  • Pokomi from Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo
  • In an episode of Best Student Council, one character is suspected of being a magical girl; both the Magical Girl Warrior and the Cute Witch (complete with Older Alter Ego) versions are brought up.
  • The same situation pops up in Love Hina, where Kaolla Su is compared to a Magical Girl because she eats a lot, talks to animals, and can change into an adult. Kentaro Sakata and one of Keitaro's highschool friends vainly struggle to convince the main characters that Kaolla was one.
  • The main character in Penguin Musume Heart is obsessed with Takenoko-chan, a magical catgirl who protects the "holy place" from the evil Bamboo King. There's apparently a sequel as well, Takenoko-chan R.
  • Angol Moa's true form in Keroro Gunsou seems to be a parody of the Magical Girl; she has the Stock Footage transformation and special-attack scenes, the costume, and a cute personality, but she's the Lord of Terror from the prophecies of Nostradamus who came to destroy the world with the "Lucifer Spear".
  • Dark Magician Girl in Yu-Gi-Oh!! is largely based on this idea, with several of her summoning scenes looking similar to magical girl transformation sequences. Despite the name, she is not a Dark Magical Girl.
  • Behoimi in Pani Poni Dash! She's not really a Magical Girl, but that doesn't stop her from playing the role. She even gets her own Image Song about her Magical Girl-ness.
  • Barajou no Kiss has Anise, who summons the magical members of her Unwanted Harem via magical cards.
  • In several episodes of Popotan, Mii decides to cosplay as Magical Girl Lilo and spread happiness to those who believe that she is a real magical girl.
  • Lampshaded: the DVD extras of Ah! My Goddess have a gag dub in which a student accuses Belldandy of being a Magical Girl. Belldandy insists that she is a Goddess, not a Magical Girl, and they then debate the crucial differences.
    • This was likely inspired by a situation in the manga when Sayoko witnessed Belldandy's powers and accused her of being a witch. Sayoko specifically referred to Magical Girl tropes, including the Idol Singer.
  • Parodied in Suzumiya Haruhi; the main characters create a movie in which the protagonist is a bunny girl-waitress from the future whose attacks include shooting laser beams, rifle bullets, and micro black holes (the last two novel-only) from her eyes.
  • Episode 7 of [Zoku] Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei focused on Art Shifts, with the title sequence and parts of the episode devoted to Kafuka, Chiri, and Meru as the magical girl team Model Warrior Lily Cure, and Nozomu Itoshiki as the Big Bad, The Teacher Of Despair. It even closes with an "On the Next..." continuing the plot. This is a drastic change from the usual format of the show.
  • To LOVE-Ru combines this with an Expy. Kyoko Kirisaki from Black Cat is turned into Magical Flame Kyoko, a pyromaniac magical girl.
  • Raichou from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki claims to be a magical girl.
  • The Show Within a Show Puru Puru Pururin of the anime version of Welcome to The NHK. Only a few snippets are shown, in which we see that Pururin is accompained by a number of animated household objects, including a vacuum cleaner upon which she flies, and that her trademark is to randomly append the word "Purin" to the end of sentences.
  • Parodied in episode 9 of Gag Manga Biyori.
  • Ninin ga Shinobuden has a parody in the final episode with "Magical Nin-Nin Shinobu".
  • In Kannagi, after viewing a magical girl on TV, Nagi immediately buys a toy wand and modifies it into an impurity-vanquishing spiritual weapon to compensate for her lack of power. Then she gets really into it and starts doing poses. It looks goofy on an ancient goddess, but Nagi's clearly enjoying herself.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has the Show Within a Show, "Mahou Shoujo Biblion". The show's resident Cosplay Otaku Girl/Playful Hacker/Meta Guy cosplays as a character from the show. Said girl eventually gets a Magical Girl staff as her artifact. It gives her super hacking powers.
    • Asakara, on witnessing Negi's powers for the first time, theorizes that he is a magical girl (boy version).
  • Galaxy Angel has an episode where they are told NOT to use a Lost Technology wand, as it has been known to start wars.
  • From the same TV season, episode eight of H2O: Footprints in the Sand had an extended sequence revolving around Otoha as a magical girl. That was probably the least odd thing in that episode.
  • Ayumi Kinoshita, a bespectacled Ill Girl from Hell Teacher Nube, learns from her teacher how to project her astral body as a physical presence, just so she can attend school with her friends. In the process, she learns to transform it into any shape she wishes... including an indestructible Magical Girl when said friends are kidnapped.
  • The OVA of School Days features a parody on the Magical Girl genre, with several female cast members as magical girls.
  • Shuichi of Midori Days is a doll otaku, who always carries around a doll of the fictional magical girl Ultra-Marin.
  • The Show Within a Show "Ai no Senshi Sweetie Millie" from Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!
  • One of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's Parallel Works, Kiyal's Magical Time, mixes this with Humongous Mecha.
  • One of the Omake of Black Lagoon makes Revy a Magical Girl, giving her a cheerful, Moe Moe facade and even More Dakka.
  • Takuto from Star Driver could be considered a magical boy, due to his Galactic Pretty Boy form.
  • Amuri in Star Ocean features elements of the Magical Girl Warrior subtrope.
  • Kaze no Stigma had a one-shot antagonist which is somewhere blurred between the lines of a Magical Girl played straight or deconstructed, but she doesn't have enough screen time for it to matter.
  • Parodied in the 21st episode of the second season of School Rumble, where Mai Otsuka becomes a magical girl.
  • Nanaka 6/17 has Magical Domiko, a Show Within a Show that 6-year-old Nanaka likes.
  • Kilala of Kilala Princess
  • Parodied in Bleach with Charlotte Cuuhlhourne who tries very, very hard to be one of these and fails spectacularly.
  • Key of Key the Metal Idol becomes more of a Magical Girl as the series progresses, though this used primarily to deconstruct the trope as Key's transformations into her more human form show just how harrowing the powers of a magical girl can be in unwitting (read Naive) hands.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira's second episode, Rika Furude and Satoko Houjou become magical girls in order to battle the evil magic-using generals of the secret magic society, Tokyo Magika (Takano, Teppei, Okonogi and Nomura) and their Ritual Tool Devils with the help of the Rika Cheering Brigade (Keiichi, Rena, Mion, Shion, & Irie) as well as Hanyuu.
  • Show Within a Show Majokko Mirakurun in Yuru-Yuri.

Comic Books

  • Comic book Superheroine Mary Marvel, who first appeared in 1942, possessed several similar characteristics to the Magical Girl Warrior sub-type: skimpy costume, magical Transformation Sequence into a super-powered form, a Destiny, and (if you stretch it to include Tawky Tawny) a Talking Animal friend.
  • The Enchantress created by DC Comics in 1966, comes very close to being a proto-Magical Girl Warrior. Young woman June Moone goes with her slightly older boyfried to an alledgedly haunted castle for a party. Turns out that there are actual spooks. June stumbles into a secret chamber, where a mysterious being tells her she is The Chosen One and gives her a transformation word. June says it and gets magical powers, an appearance makeover (blonde to dark red), a miniskirted costume, and a kickin' witch hat. The Enchantress then battles a Monster of the Week and evacuates the civilians before the castle collapses. June reappears with a weak excuse and her boyfriend expresses an interest in her alter ego. There were two more stories where Enchantress fought random menaces, but the writers didn't have a good story arc beyond that, so she went into obscurity for years, including a phase as a Dark Magical Girl.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld combines Magical Girl with Changeling Fantasy and High Fantasy.
  • Queen Bee[context?]
  • The Gen 13 miniseries Magical Drama Queen Roxy, which reinvents Freefall as a Magical Girl, is a parody of the genre. Turned out to be All Just a Dream.

Fan Works

Live-Action TV


Video Games

Platinum: Magical Girl Pretty Luna... transform!

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Other Media

  • The German audio drama series Bibi Blocksberg is about a 13 year old witch living in a small German town and going to school with other regular kids. The series started in 1980, long before anime shows or manga became popular in Germany.
  • The German book series Lilly The Witch is about a girl named Lilly who finds a magical book which turns her into a witch, as well as a Mentor Mascot in the form of a little green dragon named Hector, and who has many adventures all over the world. The books have been made into an animated series on CBBC, as well as an animated movie.
  • Milky Way and The Galaxy Girls.
  1. Kyon's little sister from the original