In June of 2016, I posted a list of my top ten magical girls. Little did I know at the time that later on in the year, I’d be introduced to at least sixteen new magical girls – and that’s just from one show.
With some truly great new magical girls introduced, my top ten magical girl list has changed. Same rules apply as the first time around – only one magical girl per franchise.
Well, with the changes made to the list, I figured I’d start with some honourable mentions. These characters did make the list previously, but it’s just that new magical girls came along who made a greater impression on me.
Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura), Jiyu Nanohana (Jubei-chan: The Ninja Girl), Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury (Sailor Moon)
Number Ten: Sailor Saturn
Before on this list, I had Sailor Mercury. However, after having seen season three of Sailor Moon Crystal, a new magical girl appeared who I came to like more than Sailor Mercury.
That is Sailor Saturn. Her awakening is said to be the catalyst for the destruction of the world. Her destructive powers are something that the Sailor Soldiers fear, so they try to prevent her awakening. However, Sailor Saturn awakens regardless and we witness her incredible power.
Whilst destruction is one facet of her power, it is necessary for another: rebirth.
I also like Sailor Saturn’s human form: the frail girl called Hotaru Tomoe. Hotaru develops a great relationship with Chibiusa, something I felt was fairly well explored in Sailor Moon Crystal Season III.
Number Nine: Illyasviel von Einzbern
At number nine is the lead character of Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA – a magical girl spin-off of the Fate franchise. It takes Illya a little while to adjust to her role as a magical girl, but once she does we get some truly spectacular moments.
Most noteworthy is whenever she ‘Installs’ a Class Card – this is a technique that effectively allows her to become a Heroic Spirit. This means that Illya is capable of pulling off some of the most impressive attacks from the Fate universe.
Also worthy of mention here is Miyu Edelfelt, who fights alongside Illya – well, apart from that time she was kidnapped… Suppose I can’t forget about Kuro, either.
Number Eight: Nanoha Takamachi
The White Devil herself, Nanoha possesses incredible destructive power. One of her signature techniques, Stardust Breaker, might just be amongst one of the most powerful spells within her franchise.
Not even hiding can save you from the White Devil’s wrath, as Quattro discovered the hard way during the events of StrikerS. Walls are meaningless to Nanoha, particularly when you’re causing grief to her loved ones.
Nanoha gets along with her allies most of the time, but on one occasion Teana tried to pull off a very risky stunt – Nanoha hospitalised her for that.
Of course, you can’t mention Nanoha without mentioning Fate as well – the two met shortly after Nanoha became a magical girl and after a conflict in which Nanoha befriended Fate, the two now share a close relationship.
Nanoha went on to adopt a girl called Vivio, and Vivio refers to both Nanoha and Fate as her mamas – that’s the kind of relationship they have. It is a beautiful thing.
Number Seven: Yuna Yuki
She is a hero, and member of the Hero Club. She ends up being granted the ability to transform into a magical girl to fight creatures known as Vertex in order to protect the world, alongside the other members of the Hero Club.
The trials that Yuna and the other Hero Club members have to overcome aren’t just limited to the Vertex invasions – there’s a price to pay for using the super form known as ‘mankai’. Despite how things turn out, Yuna remains determined to push on ahead and even serves as inspiration for her fellow Hero Club members.
And, as tends to be the case with a number of magical girls, she has a very close relationship with Mimori Togo – a Hero Club member who is wheelchair bound. That doesn’t hold her back from fighting the Vertex, though.
Number Six: Cure Moonlight
Out of the entire PreCure franchise, if I had to pick a favourite Cure, then it would be Yuri Tsukikage – Cure Moonlight – every time.
She begins the series without her powers, having lost them at the hands of Dark PreCure. However, she is eventually able to go back to being Cure Moonlight in order to fight alongside Cure Blossom, Cure Marine and Cure Sunshine.
Her story and development is tied to Dark PreCure and the enemy that the HeartCatch Cures haves, and is arguably one of the best plots in the entire franchise. Yuri’s history isn’t exactly a happy one, but she is able to move on with the help of her fellow Cures.
Number Five: Ryuko Matoi
Whilst Ryuko isn’t a conventional magical girl, she gets a transformation sequence and that’s enough to qualify her for this list.
At the beginning of Kill la Kill, Ryuko is searching for the killer of her father. Her journey takes her to Honnouji Academy, where she clashes with the head of the student council, Satsuki Kiryuin.
Ryuko’s transformation comes from donning the Kamui Senketsu – a sentient sailor uniform. Senketsu’s transformation leaves Ryuko wearing a skimpy outfit, but once she overcomes the embarrassment she begins to develop several new ways in which she can utilise Senketsu. Actually, there’s a reason for her development, but that’s explored later on in Kill la Kill.
Number Four: Ripple
One of sixteen girls from Magical Girl Raising Project, Ripple is one of the few who actually believes a magical girl should be a force for good. She even admits to admiring Snow White, who strives to be the ideal magical girl.
Ripple’s power allows her to never miss with any thrown weapon, and as you can imagine, she does use shuriken. However, her ability extends to any other thrown object as well, which makes her a force to be reckoned with in combat.
Whilst Ripple can be quite reserved, she actually shares a close relationship with another magical girl, Top Speed. It is for Top Speed’s sake that Ripple strives to bring a close to the survival game, even if it means becoming a murderer.
By the end of the series, Ripple possesses some physical reminders of the survival game and even trains another magical girl who desire to become stronger.
Number Three: Papika
Honestly, both Papika and Cocona (heck, even Yayaka) could take this spot – Cocona’s development is just one of the many great things about FLIP FLAPPERS.
As for Papika, well, she’s just a lovable bundle of energy. Sure, her recklessness can get both herself and Cocona into trouble on occasion, but that’s just part of going on adventures.
Papika makes it clear very early on that she loves Cocona, and it is pretty much the love between the pair that gives them the power to transform into the magical girls Pure Blade and Pure Barrier. Cocona does experience some doubts about the the love she has for Papika, whereas Papika couldn’t ever be more certain of her love.
Papika is a whole lot of fun to watch, and it’s easy to see why Cocona developed the feelings she did for her.
Number Two: Homura Akemi
Homura has experienced a lot of tragedy, all whilst on a quest to prevent her beloved from succumbing to a terrible fate. She just continues to push on, not ever caring about who she alienates just as long as that one person can be saved.
Homura’s powers as a magical girl are what allows her to do that, though there’s consequences for using them too much.
As far as powers go, Homura’s unique abilities as a magical girl might just be my favourite. Interestingly enough, she has to supplement said powers with conventional weaponry, but that doesn’t stop her from being one of the most efficient witch killers.
Then there’s the events of Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion… some pretty spectacular stuff goes down in that film.
Number One: Hibiki Tachibana
Retaining her number one spot is the lead protagonist of my all-time favourite anime series, Symphogear. The whole concept of Symphogear is one that I absolutely adore – it’s effectively girls fighting monsters called Noise with the power of music.
Each Symphogear user has her own unique songs to activate her armour, and Hibiki’s “Genkai Toppa G-Beat” is right up there as one of my favourites.
Hibiki might not be the brightest character and air-headed at times, but when she has something to protect she will fight her hardest to protect that thing. When it comes to combat, Hibiki very much relies on her fists. She’ll even punch through mountains if it’s required to save one, as we saw with K2 in the first episode of Symphogear GX.
There we have, that’s my updated list of top ten magical girls, featuring a couple of new additions from 2016. It’ll be interesting to see if 2017 can change this list in anyway – the new Nanoha film might shake things up. As to whether I’ll actually be able to watch it in 2017 or not… well, I don’t know at the moment. I’ll just have to wait and see.