Magical girl anime has been around for nearly as long as anime in general. From Sally the Witch and Himitsu no Akko-chan to this year’s RWBY: Ice Queendom, there are tons of series riffing on the popular genre. And if the new take on Rooster Teeth’s CG series has caught your eye, you may find yourself wanting more.
We’re always here to encourage more people to watch more magical girl anime, so allow us to assist. Here’s a quick rundown of shows that’ll scratch some of those same itches.
Love magical girl anime loosely inspired by fairy tales and set at a school? We’ve got you covered. Akazukin Chacha is a lot cuter and sillier than RWBY in any of its forms, but it hits a few of the same touchstones. Our heroine is a perky Red Riding Hood analog with surprising magical skills, for one thing. But Chacha tends to muck up her spells in very punny ways.
Incidentally, the manga and anime iterations of this series don’t have a lot in common ’til you get to the last season. To jump on the popularity of Sailor Moon, this series added a magical girl form for Chacha, simply named “Magical Princess.” But the bulk of the series it cute school antics with wizards, werewolves, and mermaids.
Phantom Thief Jeanne
It’s hardly a spoiler these days to say that RWBY plays with some pretty high stakes. Like, gods and demons and stuff. And if those are the kind of odds you like to see played with in your magical girl anime… May I gently recommend Phantom Thief Jeanne? This series by Arina Tanemura revolves around the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, now working as a magical girl art thief to keep God from dying. No pressure.
There’s also romance, double-crossing, and a lot of surprises in store. Nothing is as it seems in this series, and it will throw you for a loop several times before you reach the end. If you’re a fan of Tanemura’s other work, like Searching for the Full Moon and The Gentlemen’s Alliance, that’s all the more reason to give this one a go.
Smile Pretty Cure
Released on Netflix as Glitter Force, Smile Pretty Cure is much lighter in tone than RWBY. But it’s got those same fairy tale nods, albeit in the technicolor PreCure style we all love. Our heroines fight fairy tale inspired monsters to protect the magical world of Märchenland from being doomed to an unhappy ending.
While it’s much more kid-oriented than RWBY, Smile Pretty Cure still has an impressive mix of anime references that long-time fans will enjoy—including a giant robot tribute episode sporting key animation by Masami Obari.
In the mood for more high-level magic? Meet these anime characters with Doctor Strange-like powers.