In companion to my recent blog featuring a Death Battle between two of the most famous magical girls of all time, and since it’s my birthday and my favorite genre is Magical Girls, I decided release a list of my top 10 Magical Girl series. It’s also because I don’t have much time because I away from my home for a few weeks, and this is super easy. Seriously if you want just ask and I can do a bottom 10 for this. This list can also serve as a list of MG series to try if you want an access point to the genre. Note this is only including the 40 MG Series I have seen entirely or in large part. (If one of my skype friends sees this and the subsequent blog before I get back, please mention it to the others thanks.)
10: Tokyo Mew Mew
Let’s start with this cute series. Tokyo Mew Mew features a bunch of cute animal-girl hybrids that fend off alien invaders while also working at a café and has absolutely no plot twists whatsoever. The series is absolutely adorable, and has a great fun quirky sense of humor, though the villains for the most part in the anime leave a lot to be desired. They are somewhat more threatening in the manga. It’s also got an environmentalist theme, though it’s really not emphasized that much.
9: Shamanic Princess
The Proto-Madoka, this series was the cool darker psychological Magical Girl series before it was cool. It also has absolutely amazing philosophical and symbolic integration, with the main focus being Gnosticism, and the necessity of opposites like good and evil to each other. It’s a bit on the older side, and it can be kinda confusing and hard to penetrate but through it’s arcane-ness it can be rewarding once one grasps it’s central concepts.
8: Star versus the Forces of Evil
This western magical girl series serves as their sally the witch, in fact sharing many plot elements in common. I can credit it that, even in the highly diverse MG series, it’s innovative and interestingly different. The main characters are much deeper then their initial simplicity and it has great stand-alone episodes. I will say a lot of the episodes so far don’t connect to the central plot, and it kinda slows down for bits when there isn’t competent villain to fight, but the ending to the latest season really ramped it up and can’t wait for upcoming next season.
7: Futari wa Pretty Cure
Pretty Cure is an absolute JUGGERNAUT to try and tackle with 14 series to its name currently. I have seen only 2, both recommended. Futari wa Pretty Cure was the very first Pretty Cure Series and while it feels different to later seasons, I see the definite seeds of what it will become. Honoka and Nagisa are both great main character and greyshippign (Cure Black x Cure White) is incredibly common. The villain group is goofy but threatening enough to still work as villains and it’s worldbuilding while slow, is mysterious to really grasp the adult fan audience.
6: Puella Magi Madoka Magicka
Shamanic Princess Mark 2, now new and improved! We come to our first member of the holy trinity of MG Series and while Madoka is divisive, I personally loved it. And while I personally blame Madoka for the fact that all magical girl series coming out these days are either dark or pretty cure, I also thank it profusely for critics finally taking our genre seriously. Madoka has an absolutely amazing visual design, incredible subtlety in its writing, and an ability to be darker without wallowing in pretentiousness like certain series, Madoka is really only held back in my opinion by some of the cosmology being a bit unwieldy and it’s characters being kind of just archetypes propped up by pretty visual imagery and subtler writing.
5: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
Speaking of divisive MG Series, the ultimate love it or hate it series, Panty and Stocking is insanely-stylized, taking heavy inspiration from western styles of animation. How much you like this series is almost entirely decided by what you think of it’s humor and I thought it was hilarious since the first time I saw it. Panty and Stocking is something I can put on anytime for a good laugh, though it surprised me near the end by the amount of pathos it could actually put out. Now where’s season 2?!
4: Heartcatch Pretty Cure
The other Pretty Cure series I saw, Pretty Cure is the most famous Pretty Cure series and the one ranked number 1 by most fans. It’s just got everything. It’s got absolutely amazing action sequences, even better than normal Pretty Cure Fair, it’s got great comedy, amazing plot, fun likeable characters, teh epic yuri girls…..it also has Cure Moonlight and Dark Pretty Cure, one of the greatest Magical Girl rivalries ever made, I’ve seen it compared to the rivalry of Goku and Vegeta. So yeah….great MG Series and lot of fans think it’s best Pretty Cure
3: Magic Knight Rayearth
Have I mentioned I REALLY like Clamp? Their artwork is so gorgeous, emotions displayed so beautifully on the page. And they conjured such strong mood and atmospheres, it’s a cascade of emotions. It has characters that are immediately different in feel to any other MG I had seen before, yet immediately distinctive, and a plot that is both elegant in simplicity and intriguing in complexity. Also it has Mecha which are also ancient spirit gods.
2: Cardcaptor Sakura
I can’t believe Clamp topped themselves. But after MKR they went on to release CCS and my god I LOVE this series. It’s another one of the Holy Trinity of MG series with Madoka. Cardcaptor Sakura’s heroine is both crazy heroic and crazy cute at once, and makes you want to read just for her but she is surrounded by one of the greatest side-casts ever, which are archetypical enough to be immediately entertaining and deep enough to feel like real people. CCS is widely praised by people who don’t even watch MG just for being immediately entertaining by it’s Pokemon-esque premise, and it’s loveable cast and heartwarming tone. Cardcaptor Sakura has become my philosophy, my ethos on how to live my life.
And of course….number 1 is…..
Of course, that famous MG Series that spawned the meme “But is it better then Crossprayers?” to ask if any anime can ever be better than this amazing anime. This series is amazing because it features such things as characters, who almost have traits. It has a plot too! And that plot has like…twists which totally are emotionally investing and make sense. It also has art…..yep, it has visual aesthetics in it. Sometimes even auditory sounds too! And the colors are pretty too…..
Look 1 was obvious so I wanted to do SOMETHING to make it entertaining for you guys.
1: Sailor Moon
Yeah raise your hand if you didn’t see this coming. Put those hands down you liars. My favorite series and the third member of the Magical Girl Holy Trinity with Cardcaptor Sakura and Madoka. If Cardcaptor Sakura became my philosophy, Sailor Moon practically became my religion. It encompassed the whole world and expanded it. The character of Sailor Moon forever changed me, and she is surrounded by a cast of characters so great that they each could be the star of their own MG series. In fact, the characters and the plots of SM serve as the inspiration for so much of what came after it, it’s widely acknowledged archetypes in the MG community. Its heroes are all uniquely noble and it’s villains are eldritch abominations done so perfectly it made me want to design my own. The plot is classic and iconic and yet still surprises me 20 years ago with its authenticity. And Naoko’s drawings are so gorgeous, the whole thing drawn like a prophetic dream.
I read, and re-read this series often because it never fails to again shape my views on things. I would recommend the SM Manga to literally everyone, if only because of the selfish desire of mine for it to come up in conversation to discuss it more. It gives a new perspective on anything it is compared to, and somehow magically enriches it. You can somehow crossover anything with SM and it doesn’t feel unnatural.
So yeah if you want to comment feel free to mention if you would want a bottom 5 or 10 if you like.