Wands, Sparkles, and Cute Companions, Oh My!
Spencer’s Top 4 Magical Girl Anime
As a writer whose stories are of the magical realism and magical girl genres, this blog was a long time coming. I know, you may be asking yourself, “Why did you choose to write’Top 4′ instead of ‘Top 5’, Spencer?” Well, in the interest of transparency, I meant to write a Top 5 blog until I realized I couldn’t. (＃＞＜) Despite being a fan of Cutie Honey and Madoka Magica, I couldn’t include those in this list because I’m only familiar with Cutie Honey as a film (Koda Kumi singing the theme song was utter perfection!) and Madoka Magica as a manga.
While I can’t proclaim to be a magical girl expert (with the exception of the magical girls I’ve written!), I’m a big fan of the genre. So, without further ado, I present to you my top four magical girl animes that have molded me into the magical person I am today. (*¯︶¯*)
Tsukino Usagi is a 14-year-old girl in junior high. She’s ditzy, whiny, and a crybaby. She often flunks her tests, and she is always scolded by her family. However after a bad day, Usagi is surprised to encounter a black cat that can talk! The cat, Luna, grants Usagi the power to transform into Sailor Moon, a fighter who is to save the world against the Dark Kingdom and its evil ruler, Queen Beryl.
Of course, Usagi can’t do it alone, and there are others who will help her on the way…
Version watched: English & Japanese
To me and many others, Sailor Moon is the quintessential magical girl anime. Although I’ve watched it in both English and Japanese, I have to admit that I really enjoy the original (terrible) English dub. Because it aired as part of the Toonami block on Cartoon Network, the original dub of Sailor Moon was readily available to a wide demographic of people. Because of that, I find Serena’s (Usagi) mildly annoying ditzy voice to be incredibly nostalgic. I recently tried watching the Sailor Moon dub on Hulu but I just couldn’t enjoy it because it wasn’t what I was used to. T^T
Of course, this is just a reflection of my personal experience and feelings, and although the new dub isn’t my cup of tea, Sailor Moon will always be a big part of my life. Featuring a cast of strong, relatable females with themes like love, friendship, and female empowerment, there’s something about Sailor Moon that resonates with young girls and stays with them throughout their lives.
… And, besides, who hasn’t painted their nails red and stood in their backyard trying to transform. Am right, guys? °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°
I would recommend this to literally everyone. If you love strong female protagonists who fight evil by moonlight, this anime is for you.
Sakura Kinomoto is your garden-variety ten-year-old fourth grader, until one day, she stumbles upon a mysterious book containing a set of cards. Unfortunately, she has little time to divine what the cards mean because she accidentally stirs up a magical gust of wind and unintentionally scatters the cards all over the world. Suddenly awakened from the book, the Beast of the Seal, Keroberos (nicknamed Kero-chan), tells Sakura that she has released the mystical Clow Cards created by the sorcerer Clow Reed. The Cards are no ordinary playthings. Each of them possesses incredible powers, and because they like acting independently, Clow sealed all the Cards within a book. Now that the Cards are set free, they pose a grave danger upon the world, and it is up to Sakura to prevent the Cards from causing a catastrophe!
Appointing Sakura the title of “the Cardcaptor” and granting her the Sealed Key, Keroberos tasks her with finding and recapturing all the Cards. Alongside her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji, and with Kero-chan’s guidance, Sakura must learn to balance her new secret duty with the everyday troubles of a young girl involving love, family, and school, all while she takes flight on her magical adventures as Sakura the Cardcaptor.
Version watched: English
Cardcaptor Sakura is what I consider to be one of my “coming-of-age” anime that would later have an influence on things I liked as an adult. Although I can’t claim to be a Cardcaptor expert, I really enjoyed the series as a teenager and have long held an appreciation for it. A sequel to the series began running in January 2018, and while I haven’t watched it yet it is definitely in my queue!
I would recommend this to… everyone, especially fans of Sailor Moon. If you can, drop everything and watch it right now.
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom of fairy tales called “Märchenland,” where many fairy tale characters live together in joy. Suddenly, the evil emperor Pierrot made an invasion on Märchenland, sealing its Queen in the process. To revive the Queen, the symbol of happiness called Cure Decor, “the Queen’s scattered power of light of happiness,” is required. To collect the Cure Decor, a fairy named Candy searches for the Pretty Cures on Earth. There, Candy meets a girl, who decides to collect the Cure Decor. Now, will the world earn a “happy ending”?
Version watched: English
Also known as “Smile Pretty Cure”, Glitter Force originally ran from 2012-2013 and can currently be found on Netflix. I know there are some mixed feelings about the dubbed version of this series, but I quite enjoyed it for its sparkle (lol) and cute characters, not to mention the strong theme of friendship. Because this series is on Netflix Kid’s, my daughter found it on her own and it was something that we were able to enjoy together, which I think makes it even more special.
I would recommend this to parents with children who enjoy fun, energetic anime. (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ (For comparison, my daughter also loves Yokai Watch, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon!)
Once there was a lonely boy named Tasuke Shichiri who recieves a gift from his traveling father : a ring-like crystal called the Shinterin. To Tasuke’s surprise, a girl emerges from the Shinterin:Shaorin, the spirit of the moon who becomes Tasuke’s guardian angel.
Version Watched: Japanese
Mamotte Shugogetten! ran from 1998 – 1999, with a total of twenty-two episodes. In fact, the series is so old that when I was looking for a graphic to include in this blog I couldn’t find any high-quality images! (*ﾉ∀`*)
Digressing, I was originally introduced to this series through an AOL mailing list. (Did I just date myself by saying that? Lol Oops!) While I didn’t finish the series, what I did watch left an impression on me. (Not to mention, it’s been 20 years since the series debuted and I still find myself humming its theme song, Saa! by Surface, every once in awhile.)
While the artwork may not be appealing to fans of modern anime, the storyline is interesting and I would recommend this to fans of Love Hina.
Did I mention any of your favorite magical girl anime? If I missed any that you would recommend, please drop a comment below!