The Magical Girl’s Guide to Books, Anime, and Graphic Novels

This is a post about the power of friendship . . . magical girl friendship.

All three of these anime titles feature coming of age stories with a sprinkling of magic and science fiction on top.  Like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . but with superpowers.


Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal

It is a huge shock when Usagi Tsukino discovers that she is Sailor Moon, a magical warrior sent from the distant past to defend earth. Luckily she is about to find the rest of the Sailor Guardians to help her fight the forces of evil.

Sailor moon was a huge hit in America in the 1990s, but fans of the original will need to adjust their expectations for this reboot. All five of the original Sailor Scouts have joined up by episode eight (it took up to thirty-three in the original series).  This rapid pacing means that the series is missing character development and a number of subplots (including a few romantic relationships), but the tighter storyline also brings the viewer’s focus to the fantastical science fiction elements of the Sailor Moon Universe.


Cardcaptor Sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura

When Sakura Kinomoto opens a book containing dozens of magical Clow Cards they escape the house and scatter around her hometown. She must reclaim them before they cause too much trouble! Can she learn how to wield her new magic before mischievous card sprits destroy her town?


The show is fantasy and magic heavy but also oddly practical. Sakura doesn’t have a magical transformation scene and instead has to get changed before fighting each card. Her best friend designs her costumes in return for getting to record her adventures.  This girl group is small but mighty!



Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica

Madoka Kaname has to decide whether she wants to become a magical girl and help fight off the witches plaguing her city. It is a lot of responsibility and a little scary. If she joins up she gets a wish and magic powers, but Madoka wants to know more before she signs up. Where do the witches come from? What happens when a magical girl is defeated?


The series starts out light, and then turns around and punches you in the gut with startling depth and intensity. The action the sequences where the girls are sucked into a witch’s trap are both beautiful and horrifying and the relationships between the characters are meticulously developed.


Want More Magical Girl Stories?

More Magical Girl Stories

More Fantasy:

More Science Fiction:


-Jennifer Billingsley, currently listening to Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage and reading She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Law and Disorder by Charles Soule