For an entire generation of kids in the 90s and early 00s, magical girl anime and manga were a dominant force. From series like Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura to Pretty Sammy (Magical Project S in the West), teenage girls and their magical transformations were on TVs and in manga everywhere!
The golden era of magical girls may have long since passed, but there’s no shortage of new manga stepping up to deliver fresh stories with a healthy dose of nostalgia.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we explore the 5 Best Modern Magical Girl Manga!
5. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka★Magica)
- Authors: Magica Quartet (Story), Hanokage (Art)
- Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy, School Life, Sci-fi, Seinen
- Volumes: 3 (Complete)
- Published: December 2014 — December 2015
Starting our list today is arguably one of the best-known series for modern magical girls. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka★Magica) takes the happy-fluffy vibes of the 90’s magical girls and locks them away in a dark, depressing place.
Everything about Puella Magi Madoka★Magica is designed as a warped, twisted version of Sailor Moon and its ilk, right down to Kyubey, the innocent-looking critter that grants wishes and creates magical girls. The interwoven story of Madoka and her classmates veers into a psychological sci-fi affair that’ll stick with you long after the final pages.
Magica Quartet has created a huge universe of interconnected stories between anime, manga, and video games, with twelve official spin-off manga and several direct adaptations.
Puella Magi Madoka★Magica is the 3-volume adaptation of the anime, while Majuu Hen (Wraith Arc) is a direct sequel series between the Madoka Magica and Rebellion movies. A “what-if”-styled series, Homura’s Revenge, explores an alternate ending to the original series, while the Puella Magi Oriko Magica series is an alternate-timeline entry that fits between the fourth and fifth anime films.
In a different vein, Puella Magi Tart Magica: The Legend of Jeanne d’Arc is a fictional retelling of Jeanne d’Arc’s life reimagined as a magical girl. Puella Magi Suzune Magica and Puella Magi Kazumi Magica are both standalone series with entirely new casts of magical girls and evil witches.
If you enjoy the dark world of magical girls in the Puella Magi universe, there’s plenty for you to read!
4. Majo Kaitou Lips (Stellar Witch LIP☆S)
- Authors: Kagami Hana (Story), Ichi Kotoko (Art)
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, School Life, Shoujo
- Volumes: 5 (Complete)
- Published: June 2020–March 2022
The starry-titled Majo Kaitou Lips (Stellar Witch LIP☆S) is a light-hearted magical girl comedy that leans heavily into the classic feel. High-schooler Miku Hoshino is heartbroken when she misses out on seeing her favorite idol group perform—so naturally, she seeks the help of a witch…and turns into a magical witch herself!
Now Miku has to keep her identity hidden at school, while meeting new comrades, encountering villains, and falling hopelessly in love with pretty boys! A definite calling card to Saint Tail and Sailor Moon (with some timey-wimey elements to boot), Stellar Witch LIP☆S is a huge injection of nostalgia mixed with a modern art style!
All five volumes are available digitally via Kodansha.
3. Mahou Shoujo Tokushuusen Asuka (Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka)
- Authors: Fukami Makoto (Story), Tokiya Seigo (Art)
- Genres: Action, Drama, Ecchi, Fantasy, School Life, Sci-Fi, Seinen
- Volumes: 14 (Complete)
- Published: December 2017–May 2022
Having just wrapped up its fourteenth and final volume in English, Mahou Shoujo Tokushuusen Asuka (Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka) is a surprisingly long series that fuses magical girls with military girls!
Three years after the Earth was ravaged by the Disas—otherworldly monsters that take the shape of stuffed animals—the magical girls who defended the world are called to battle once again. In between fighting to protect the Earth, these magical girls will need to overcome their individual trauma and their own interpersonal issues to become a unified fighting force.
If you ever wanted your magical girl story to have guns, boobs, and blood, you’ll be in good hands with Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka.
2. Machigatta ko wo Maho Shoujo ni shite shimatta (Machimaho - I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl!)
- Authors: Souryuu
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, Seinen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 10+
- Published: October 2018–present
Like nothing you’ve read before, Machigatta ko wo Maho Shoujo ni shite shimatta (Machimaho - I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl!) is a hilarious and ecchi magical girl comedy starring a violent, delinquent main character.
Majiba Kayo smokes, swears, and promptly beats the stuffing out of the magical critter Myu on their first meeting. Things are off to a swell start for this magical girl as she throws down against all manner of humans and monsters standing in her way! Kayo stands up to all her problems in a rough-and-tumble way, but she’s got plenty of emotional depth hidden beneath her scary persona.
The imagery in the first volume alone—a magical girl half-naked with a cigarette hanging from her lips—is fantastically unique. If you don’t mind the artist cramming a panty-shot into basically every other page, you’ll find an incredibly amusing anti-hero magical girl story like no other in Machimaho - I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl!
1. Kabushiki Gaisha MagiLumiere (MagiLumiere Co. Ltd.)
- Authors: Iwata Sekka (Story), Aoki Yuu (Art)
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: Streaming digitally on Manga Plus
- Published: February 2022–present
Hot off the (digital) press comes a modern magical girl story that fuses gorgeous shounen designs with adult women getting their chance to be heroines!
Kabushiki Gaisha MagiLumiere (MagiLumiere Co. Ltd.) describes a world where magical girls are hired out by firms, and where monster attacks are basically another part of daily life. Similar to Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia), being a magical girl is a dream job, but not something everyone can aspire to do.
Enter college-aged Kana Sakuragi, forever helpful, but unlucky in finding a job. Her fortunes change when a chance encounter with the MagiLumiere Company sees her starting work with a group of powerful magical girls! The colorful crew of MagiLumiere is full of eccentrics, and Kana is still just a rookie…but her enthusiasm and energy will help get the job done!
MagiLumiere Co. Ltd. is currently streaming digitally via Manga Plus (Shonen Jump App).
These are just five of the many marvelous modern magical girl manga out there! Whether you’re looking for something nostalgia-filled or an edgier take on your childhood favorites, there are plenty of magical girl manga out there to choose from.
Are you interested in any of these titles? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!