Kill la Kill
Technically Kill La Kill isn’t a magical girl series, however, it does feature some elements from the genre. The series debuted in fall 0f 2013 and was produced by Studio Trigger. Ryuuko Matoi is a young girl seeking revenge for her father’s murder. Armed with half of a scissor blade she battles the student council at Honnouji Academy. Kill La Kill is most notable for its fanservice, displayed during the character’s transformation.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
A middle school girl named Madoka Kaname meets a transfer student named Homura. Elsewhere, a war between creatures called “witches” and magical girls. A cat-like creature named Kyubey offers Madoka a chance to save the world but things aren’t as they seem. Magical girl series are generally happy affairs will young girls and bright colors. Puella Magi Madoka Magica takes the magical girl series and twists it into a dark tale, focusing on topics like hope, despair, and entropy. The magical girls are put through psychological trauma. Puella Magi is considered to be in the deconstructive sub-genre of the Magical Girl Warrior genre.
Pretty Cure is one of the longest-running magical girl series with over 600 episodes. Considered within the Action Hero sub-genre of the Magical Girl Warrior genre, Pretty Cure emphasizes action. Aimed at teenage and adult males, Pretty Cure features fanservice and focuses on the “power of friendship.” Toei Animation has produced a season since 2004, with the latest series premiering during the summer of 2020.
Also within the Magical Girl Warrior genre, Cardcaptor Sakura is a neo-classical sub-genre. An old school magical girl comes of age in the modern age. One of the most famous Magical Girl series, Cardcaptor Sakura was created and written by CLAMP. Following a young girl named Sakura Kinomoto, who releases the tarot-like cards with magical powers. She is tasked with recovering those cards with the aid of her friends Tomoyo and Kerberos.
If there’s a pioneer for the Magical Girl genre, Sailor Moon is it. Beginning as a manga series in the early 1990s, Sailor Moon follows the life of clumsy, whiny school girl Usagi Tsukino. When she learns that she was the Reincarnation of an “ancient lunar warrior from the Moon Kingdom,” Usagi is tasked with saving the Earth. Usagi is joined by her mentor, Luna, and fellow Sailor scouts, Sailor Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. Sailor Moon remains one of the most popular anime and manga series, as well as being one of the series that started America’s love of anime.