The Top 10 Saddest Magical Girl Anime Of All Time, Ranked

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Every year, hundreds of new anime series appear and a host of eclectic storytelling genres cater to every interest imaginable. Some anime genres are slow to find their audience, but the heightened fantasy narratives of magical girl programs have been an anime staple for decades.



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Magical girl programming generally fits into the larger shojo and josei demographics, but these types of series are progressively subversive and unpredictable. In fact, some magical girl anime series, while filled with cute visuals and iconography, are emotional assaults that will leave audiences in tears.

ten Princess Tutu becomes a thoughtful exploration of humanity and grief

There is a beautiful story at the heart of princess tutubut it’s a tale that borrows so much from fairy tales and folklore that there’s naturally a darkness that is tied to its premise. princess tutu Cleverly avoids the magical girl paradigm by transforming a duck into a human girl, the legendary ballerina Princess Tutu.

Princess Tutu faces the great responsibility of healing a prince’s broken heart, but this trip also opens her eyes to the concessions she has already suffered. There is a melancholic tone that becomes more prominent as princess tutu continues, to its bittersweet conclusion.

9 Tokyo Mew Mew’s Magical Animal Hybrids Still Can’t Escape Life’s Burdens

One of the reasons why Tokyo Mew Mew can leave such an impression on its audience is because it dresses like an extremely large and playful property. Not only Tokyo Mew Mew embrace the flowery conventions of magical girl storytelling, but it combines them with anime’s obsession with anthropomorphic creatures.

The anime’s five gifted individuals transform into Mew Mews, magical versions of endangered animals. It’s easy to write Tokyo Mew Mew off as empty fanservice that lacks depth, but there is adult material that invades the narrative and highlights the darker side of this fantasy.

8 Nurse Angel Ririka SOS overwhelms a 10-year-old child with the fate of the planet

Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is a 35-episode magical girl anime series from the 1990s that teases colorful characters and a vibrant aesthetic, but there’s a very sinister energy that runs through the deceptive anime series.

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Ririka, Seiya and Kanon become the special individuals destined to become Nurse Angels and save the planet through the power of the Flower of Life. The Nurse Angels’ battle against the evil forces of Dark Joker begins in familiar territory, but Ririka is forced to make impossible decisions, and success in her mission requires a difficult sacrifice.

seven Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha pits two fantasy figures against each other

Magical Girl Lyric Nanoha is a 13-episode magical girl anime from the 2000s that initially resembles Sakura card sensor after young Nanoha Takamachi is tasked with collecting all the scattered Jewel Seeds. Nanoha’s mission intersects with another magical girl named Fate’s own mission.

The conflict that forms between Nanoha and Fate reaches some surprisingly dark places, but the anime also reveals a tragic story for Fate’s character that removes the fantasy element from this world. Magical Girl Nanoha technically ends with a positive ending, but it’s still steeped in punishment and consequences for its characters.

6 Uta-Kata examines a fractured family life with little hope for happiness

Uta Kata is another effective tightrope walk between magical girl elements and intense psychological melodrama. The themes present in Uta Kata feel even more relevant with the modern crop of subversive anime series out there, but it dates back to 2004.

Ichika Tachibana’s life changes forever after acquiring a magical amulet. However, these heightened theatrics are more of a filter to dig into heavy topics like sexual abuse and mental illness. Uta Kata faces these fears head-on, making for a powerful yet polarizing magical girl series.

5 Revolutionary Girl Utena Accepts Loss to Empower Her Amazing Characters

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a must-have magical girl series that uses the shojo genre to deliver important deconstructions of entrenched gender roles. Utena accepts the call to action and experiences tremendous powers, but she sees herself as a prince, and she uses this strength to save another prince rather than act as the damsel in distress.

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Revolutionary Girl Utena is uplifting and positive for young girls, but it’s a story that continually tests Utena’s strength. Utena experiences constant duels and witnesses endless tragedies. The anime’s edge isn’t as grim as other series, but the characters are still forced to grow up as orphans and come to terms with death.

4 The Magical Girl Raising Project Forces These Fantasy Characters To Fight To The End

One of the benefits of established genres like the magical girl is that they can be further deconstructed into more specific niches. There are a growing number of “game of death” anime series, and many also fall into the magical girl genre. Magical Girl Raising Project examines the concept that there can be too many magical girls in the wild and it is necessary for them to cull the herd.

These honorable personalities are forced to fight for their lives. There’s such a likelihood that all of the heroic magical girls will be dead by the end of the series that it’s a safer strategy to put down roots for the villainous characters calling the shots in this world.

3 The Magical Girl site features a world full of unrepentant monsters

Set in the same universe as Magical Girl Apocalypse, Magical Girl Site is an extended exercise in punishment that is one of the hardest watches to pass. The series’ magical protagonist, Aya, is perpetually abused and on the verge of giving up on life.

The girls’ magical powers become a lifeline for Aya, but these fantastical heights can’t compete with the overwhelming darkness that fills this world. Magical Girl Site is full of so many villainous authors that the series almost borders on parody. It’s no exaggeration to say that every character is either a vile aggressor or a helpless victim.

2 Wonder Egg Priority is a depressing rumination on guilt and pain

Wonder Egg Priority strays from the norm and doesn’t indulge in all of the visual tropes that come with other magical girl series. However, the anime is absolutely consumed by the same themes, and the series’ female characters struggle with new and incredible powers. Many battles in Wonder Egg Priority become metaphors for the personal problems that plague these characters.

Each character is vulnerable in a different way, and the main one, Ai Ohto, is still overcome with grief over the suicide of her best friend. Wonder Egg Priority is fearless when it comes to the material it unpacks, but also the heavy-handed way it dominates its cast of characters.

1 Puella Magi Madoka Magica Turns The Magical Girl Process Into A Time Bomb

A growing number of magical girl anime series are embracing the heartwarming staples of the genre, only to cut the rug from under audiences and leave them traumatized. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is undoubtedly the most successful in this transgressive exercise.

The series balances the fantastic empowerment of girls’ magical powers with interpersonal frailties. As a result, ascending to a magical girl is tantamount to a death sentence. Death and darkness are at the rendezvous in Madoka Magica. Yet the The series ends with a nihilistic message that reinforces the idea that a happy ending is impossible for these characters.

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