Documentation:Bibliography of Source Materials in Japanese Studies/Special topics/Magical Girls 魔法少女

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Bibliography of
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This open bibliography will provide an overview of foundational sources and tools in Japanese studies. It is currently being developed by students in ASIA 521A.
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Magical Girls (魔法少女、mahō shōjo) in Japanese popular texts have been around since the early 1950's and have only grown more popular as time progresses. Though commonly associated with the Shōjo genre, magical girls have expanded far beyond the sparkly rainbow dresses and girly love stories. With additions to the genre like the powerhouse heroine Sailor Moon 1991 - (美少女戦士セーラームーン, Bishōjo senshi sērā mūn) and the more serious and darker Puella Magi Madoka Magica 2011 - 2016 (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ, Mahō shōjo madoka magika) many scholars have become fascinated with how this image of a young girl with magical powers comes into play with the Shōjo and seemingly opposing genres like horror and Seinen.

Beginning with a personal fascination of mine, and an undergraduate paper turned potential masters thesis, I have been looking into the addition of the magical girl to Shonen genres as well and I have accumulated a general but solid list to at least start reading up on magical girls.

As this list is not comprehensive in any way I hope to add more as I find sources that apply to this field of research.

Magical Girl Specific Materials


  • Ishii Kenji 石井 研士. Mahō to henshin: “mahō shōjo” keiseiki ni okeru “mahō” 「魔法と変身: 「魔法少女」形成期における「魔法」 」. kokugakuin daigaku kiyō, vol. 56, 2018, pp. 29–55.

*available with Interlibrary loan

  • Sugawa Akiko 須川亜紀子. Shōjo to mahō: gāru hīrō wa ikani juyōsareta no ka「少女と魔法: ガールヒーローはいかに受容されたのか 」. Tokyo: NTT Shuppan, 2013. UBC Call Number: PN1992.8.A59 S93 2013


  • Hemmann, Kathryn. "Short Skirts, Superpowers, and the Evolution of the Beautiful Fighting Girl." Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2020.
  • Newsom, Victoria Anne. “Young Females as Super Heroes: Super Heroines in the Animated ‘Sailor Moon.’” Femspec, vol. 5, no. 2, 2004, pp. 57–81.
  • Saito, Kumiko. "Magic, Shōjo, and Metamorphosis: Magical Girl Anime and the Challenges of Changing Gender Identities in Japanese Society." The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 73, no. 1, 2014, pp. 143-164.
  • Russell, N'Donna R. Make-Up!: The Mythic Narrative and Transformation as a Mechanism for Personal and Spiritual Growth in Magical Girl (Mahō Shōjo) Anime, 2017.

Magical Girl Related Materials


  • Miyake Saiichiro 三宅 陽一郎. Mahō shōjo no animēshon no monogatari kōzō no shinka: robotto anime to hikakushita mahō shōjo anime no monogatari kōzō bunseki「魔法少女のアニメーションの物語構造の進化 : ロボットアニメと比較した魔法少女アニメの物語構造分析」. Kontentsu bunkashi gakkai, vol.10/11, 2017, pp. 77-100.

*Available via CiNii books, hard copy must request.

  • Murata Sayaka 村田沙耶香. Marunouchi mahō shōjo Mirakurīna「丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ 」. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 2020. UBC Call Number: PL873.U73 M37 2020
  • Shimizu Yoshio 志水義夫. Mahō shōjo madoka magika kōgiroku: media bungei eno shōtai 「魔法少女まどか☆マギカ講義録: メディア文藝への招待」. Tokyo: Shintensha, 2017.


  • Akgün, Buket. "Mythology Moe-ified: Classical Witches, Warriors, and Monsters in Japanese Manga." Journal of Graphic Novels & Comics, vol. 11, no. 3, 2020, pp. 271-284.
  • Greenwood, Forrest. "The Girl at the End of Time: Temporality, (P)remediation, and Narrative Freedom in Puella Magi Madoka Magica." Mechademia, vol. 10, 2015, pp. 195-207.
  • Lunning, Frenchy. “Under the Ruffles: Shōjo and the Morphology of Power.” Mechademia, vol. 6, 2011, pp. 3–19.  
  • Ogi, Fusami, et al. "Beyond Borders: Shōjo Manga and Gender." U.S.-Japan Women's Journal, vol. 54, 2018, pp. 75-97.
  • Puglia, Francesca. "Faith and Spirituality in Naoko Takeuchi's Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn." Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, vol. 4 no. 1, 2019, pp. 100-119.

Magical Girl Basics List

Reader beware - There are hundreds of magical girl texts both online and in hard copy available in Japanese and English (usually both), however a lot of those found on the internet in particular can be deceiving and rather NSFW (not safe for work/ 18+) especially dōjinshi (同人誌) texts. Please be aware that some of the magical girl manga or anime online are in fact pornography (see: Hentai for extensive explanation). I will not be posting or recommending any texts that belong to this aforementioned category.

If some of the manga or anime have an adaption in the alternate format but I only list one, it is because I believe one is superior to the other in some way (but know that this is my opinion). List is alphabetical and not in order of best to worst.

All texts are available in English and Japanese unless otherwise mentioned.


  • Cardcaptor Sakura カードキャプターさくら (Kādokyaputā Sakura), CLAMP, 1996 - 2000. (Spin offs in anime form until 2014)
  • Fate/ Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ (Feito Kareido Rainā Purizuma Iriya), Hiroyama Hiroshi, Kadokawa Shoten, 2007 -2008, 2009 - 2012, 2012 - present.
  • Magical Girl Apocalypse 魔法少女・オブ・ジ・エンド (Mahō Shōjo obu ji enddo), Satō Kentarō , Akita Shoten, 2012 - 2017.
  • Pretty Cure プリキュア (Purikyua) Franchise, manga based of orignal anime by Kamikita Futago (or Kamikita Twins), 2004 - present.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ (Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika), Hōbunsha, 2011 - 2017 (there are currently 11 manga spin offs based on or related to the original anime).
  • Ran and The Grey World 乱と灰色の世界 (Ran to haiiro no sekai) Irie Aki, 2008 - 2015. Full series now available in English as of 2020.
  • Sailor Moon 美少女戦士セーラームーン (Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn), Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha, 1991 - 1997.
  • The Secrets of Akko-chan ひみつのアッコちゃん (Himitsu no Akko chan), Akatsuka Fujio, Shueisha, 1962 - 1965 (arguably the pioneer of magical girl media!)
  • Shugo Chara! しゅごキャラ (Shugo Kyara), Peach-Pit, Kodansha, 2005 - 2010.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew 東京ミュウミュウ (Tōkyō Myū Myū), Yoshida Reiko and Ikumi Mia, Kodansha, 2000- 2003. (2 manga spinoffs 2003- 2004 and 2019-present)


  • Fate/ Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ (Feito Kareido Rainā Purizuma Iriya), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. (Two related films released 2019 and 2021)
  • Kill la Kill キルラキル (Kiru ra kiru), Imaishi Hiroyuki and Nakashima Kazuki, 2013 - 2014.
  • Pretty Cure プリキュア (Purikyua) Franchise, Originally ふたりはプリキュア (Futari wa PuriKyua), Tōdō Izumi, 2004 - present. (2022 scheduled) There are also many Pretty Cure films.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ (Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika), Shinbo Akiyuki, Iwakami Atsuhiro, Urobuchi Gen, Aoki Ume, 2011 (Magia Record 2020 based on video game of the same name that is based on the original series).
  • Sailor Moon 美少女戦士セーラームーン (Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn), 1992 -1997 and 2014 -2016. (Currently a new movie in the works for 2021)
  • The Secrets of Akko-chan ひみつのアッコちゃん (Himitsu no Akko chan), Ikeda Hiroshi, Toei Animation, 1969 - 1970
  • Tokyo Mew Mew 東京ミュウミュウ (Tōkyō Myū Myū) 2002 - 2003. (new anime scheduled for 2022)