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Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, or just Madoka Magica, is one of the most memorable – if somewhat controversial – anime to come out in recent years. Billed as a deconstruction of the mahou shoujo ("magical girl") genre, this anime has a deceptively stereotypical premise: A cute middle-school girl named Madoka Kaname lives an ordinary, charmed life, until she meets a strange, cat-rabbit creature named Kyuubey. Kyuubey offers to grant her a wish, in exchange for becoming a Magical Girl, whose job is to battle evil creatures called Witches.
Of course, being an innocent, kindhearted and idealistic person, Madoka accepts the offer. But, as the series progresses, it becomes apparent that she – as well as a handful of other girls – has set herself down on a path of no return for a terrible price.
If this premise appeals to you in one way or another, these other series might just grab you too:
Similar Anime to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica / Similar Anime to Puella Magi Madoka Magica
1. Bokurano (Ours)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 2007 – Sept 2007
Like Madoka Magica, Bokurano starts off light and sweet, before descending into much darker territory. It's a story about 15 children – 8 boys and 7 girls – who meet an eccentric programmer named Kokopelli during summer camp. Kokopelli tells them about a game he's working on, where the objective is to defeat aliens using a giant robot.
Now, there's nothing weird about that– except Kokopelli wanted the children to sign a contract before playing the "game". (Sounds like a professional tournament, no?) Fourteen of them signed, and after a moment, they wake up on an unfamiliar shore, wondering if everything up to that point was a dream. And, as you might expect, everything goes downhill from there. Hmmm, I wonder what happened to that lone kid who didn't sign…
With a premise that's basically Madoka Magica-meets-Evangelion-meets-Now-and-Then-Here-and-There, you'd want to protect every ounce of happiness you have while watching this one.
2. Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Day Break Illusion)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 2013 – Sept 2013
If you're looking for an anime with the same basic premise as Madoka Magica, check out this one. The story revolves around Akari Taiyo, a skilled fortune teller who gets attacked by monsters and unleashes her tarot card powers as a result.
This reveals her as an Elemental Tarot wielder – one of twenty-two bloodlines tasked to defend the Earth against Diabolos Tarot cards, which eat human souls and spawn monsters known as Daemonia. However, being both a "savior and executioner", Taiyo gradually realizes that her powers aren't what they're cracked up to be.
Though your mileage may vary on whether it's as good as Madoka Magica, Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou is still worth a look for its interesting premise.
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Sept 2004 – Mar 31 2005
At first, Mai-HiME seems to have an all-too familiar storyline: An ordinary girl (Mai Tokiha) transfers to a new school (Fuuka Gakuen), and discovers that she has supernatural powers (the ability to summon mecha-like creatures called CHILD) which make her special (a HiME).
As the HiMEs get caught in a struggle between two powerful organizations, however, and secrets about the HiMEs eventually come to light, the story takes on a grimmer atmosphere reminiscent of Madoka Magica.
To be fair, Mai-HiME came before Madoka Magica, so it's possible that the former inspired the latter, to some extent. Still, if you appreciate a well-written story, gorgeous animation, and tons of fanservice, you won't need to look further than this one.
(Side note: The anime and manga follow different continuities, so if you want to experience Mai-HiME to the fullest, you should check out both. )
Any Animes Like Puella Magi Madoka Magica / Any Animes Like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica ?
4. Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: Apr 1997 – Dec 1997
If you loved Madoka Magica's more mature take on the magical girl genre, you'll enjoy Utena. In fact, you might even end up liking this one more than Madoka Magica.
For one, it's hard to summarize Utena's without spoiling the juicy parts of the plot. All you need to know is that this anime is chockfull of subversions of anime tropes, as well as media tropes in general.
For example, where else can you see a girl who, after meeting a prince, decides to become a prince herself? Where else can you find a story about two women falling in love, complete with commentaries on Jungian and Freudian philosophies? Where else… Oh never mind.
Anyway, regardless of your overall preferences in anime, there's bound to be something in Utena that'll grab you and never let you go.
5. Selector Infected WIXOSS
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 2014 – Jun 2014
Can't get enough of the "cute magical girl fights to have her wish granted, at the cost of her soul" plot? If yes, then WIXOSS (pronounced as "we cross") might be right up your alley.
Granted, Ruko Kominato isn't a magical girl, strictly speaking. Instead, she's a Selector: a girl with the ability to hear the voices of LRIG cards, which are used in a game called WIXOSS. Whoever wins these games can have a wish granted, but as you can imagine, there's more to this whole setup than meets the eye.
"Selector infected WIXOSS" PV
6. Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Sep 2012 – Mar 2013
Madoka Magica and Shinsekai Yori have a good number of similarities. Both lull you into a false sense of security with cute character designs and settings. Both are about children who wield considerable powers. Both have a somewhat dark view of the world (though Shinsekai Yori cranks up the "humans are bastards" trope to a whole new level). Both involve some sort of apocalypse – and that's all we have to say about that without spoiling major plot points.
From The New World Trailer
Since it came out, Madoka Magica has inspired several spin-offs. Among these are a film trilogy (Beginnings, Eternal and Rebellion, the last of which is a sequel to the original anime), video games (PMMM Portable, PMMM Online), and possibly newer series (like Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou above). Currently, Studio Shaft is working on the second season, as well as a host of films for the series.
Do you know of other anime comparable to Madoka Magica that haven't been mentioned here? Feel free to have your say in the comments section below!