10 Books/Manga Like Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is a shojo series that focuses on magical teenagers fighting off the forces of evil. It’s written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi and has spawned two anime adaptations and several films. For some, this was their gateway into the world of anime and manga.
The series has a female-dominant cast, but they all share quirks and struggles that everyone can relate to. From its astonishing artwork to its remarkable storytelling, Sailor Moon is a classic in the anime and manga industry.
If you’re in the mood for more action, fantasy, and comedy books/manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Sailor Moon. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Magica Quartet
Similarities – Action & Themes
The Puella Magi Madoka Magica manga is intruiging. Unlike most anime that act as adaptations for the manga, the Madoka Magica manga was released after the anime concluded. Although many adore the anime, the manga’s interpretation of its events far exceeds the anime by a large milestone.
The story’s pretty much the same as the anime. It follows Madoka and her friend Sayaka meeting with a bizarre cat-like deity named Kyubey. It offers Madoka and Sayaka a chance to become magical girls and a wish. Madoka and Sayaka accept Kyubey’s offer, but little do they know of the consequences of their decision.
Like Sailor Moon, the Madoka Magica manga has a mesmerizing art style. From the ways our characters react to specific situations to the designs given to their witch-like enemies, everything feels sharper and more magical. Despite having subtle additions to its plot and art style, the core Madoka Magica experience remains unchanged in the manga. If you haven’t watched or read Madoka Magica, do yourself a favor, and read it.
Magic Knight Rayearth – CLAMP
Similarities – Magical Girls
Before Kobato, Cardcaptor Sakura, and xxxHolic, CLAMP made Magic Knight Rayearth. For their first work, CLAMP deserves a pat on the back with this one. It has an entertaining plot riddled with twists that will keep you guessing and well-rounded characters that will you develop strong feelings toward. The manga’s artwork is jaw-dropping in comparison to Takeuchi’s sketches in Sailor Moon.
In it, we follow three high school girls named Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu. They get pulled into another world and meet a handsome gentleman named Guru Clef. He tells the girls that they’re destined to become Princess Emeraude’s Magic Knights who will save the magical land of Cephiro from doom. Although Umi and Fuu would rather go home, Clef says they must complete their mission first.
Magic Knight Rayearth offers a compelling storyline about inner strength, family, and friendship, Like Usagi and the other Sailor Scouts, Umi, Fuu, and Hikaru have never met before. They’ll learn to appreciate the other’s company over time, though. With its fantastic art quality, gripping narrative, and memorable cast, you’ll be wishing you’d read Magic Knight Rayearth sooner.
Shugo Chara! – Peach-Pit
Similarities – Supernatural, Romance, Shoujo
Shugo Chara follows Amu, a girl who can’t seem to make one friend. One day, she wakes up and spots three Heart Eggs in her bed. Inside each egg is a Guardian that represents the people’s self-desires. They help Amu overcome her internal issues. Before she could walk away peacefully, a council group gives Amu a mission.
They order her to locate X Eggs (corrupted Heart Eggs). During Amu’s journey, she’ll discover the harsh reality involving the X Eggs, Guardians, and the organization behind it all. Despite having many harmonious story beats, Shugo Chara isn’t afraid to dabble into dark material like Sailor Moon. Many people will relate to the human-themed trials Amu must overcome in the story.
She’ll struggle to befriend people and believe in herself. The story spends a great deal of time developing Amu into a confident and heroic female protagonist. Despite having faults, she’ll always leave an impact on everyone she meets. Amu’s adversaries are as likable as herself. While they’ll act silly occasionally, they have admirable reasons for having evil intentions. The friendships formed in the story could’ve been handled a bit better, but from a romance standpoint, Shugo Chara hits a home run!
Cardcaptor Sakura – CLAMP
Similarities – Magical Girls, Fetch Quest, Romance
If both mangas were humans, Cardcaptor Sakura would be Sailor Moon’s sister series. Like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura touches upon romance, adventure, and friendship. It has a female-dominant cast, but fans will adore the roles the male characters assume. Both series have dark and spooky moments, but it isn’t as bad as you’d think.
These mangas contain a vast amount of slice-of-life and comedy segments. For those who liked following Usagi and her friend’s grounded shenanigans, you’ll find yourself pleased with the amusing scenarios Sakura and her friends get into. From participating in marathon races to performing in theatrical plays, Sakura gets several opportunities to live a normal life.
However, many people will adore the series’s plot-driven segments. This is where Cardcaptor Sakura shines the most. From Sakura’s several bouts with the Clow Card monsters to her battling her dormant feelings for Syaoran, CLAMP knows how to deliver stellar drama on par with Takeuchi’s writing for Sailor Moon. Furthermore, Sakura and Usagi both embark on missions where they have to gather specific things to maintain peace. Give this manga a shot if you love magical girl-themed manga.
Yu-Gi-Oh! – Kazuki Takahashi
Similarities – Good Vs. Evil
Before Yu-Gi-Oh! became one of the best trading card games of all time, it was a manga written by the late Kazuki Takahashi. It harbors excellent characters, well-crafted story arcs, and heavy themes. In it, we follow Yugi Muto, a boy with a fascination for Duel Monsters. One day, Yugi hears that a proficient duelist named Seto Kaiba robbed his grandfather of his Blue-Eyes White Dragon monster card.
Yugi visits Kaiba and challenges him to a duel. With the unstoppable Exodia card and the spirit that lies in his Millennium Puzzle, Yugi defeats Kaiba. News spreads about Yugi’s victory and many merciless people grow interested in him. To protect those he cares about, Yugi will embark on several adventures to put more cynical evildoers in their place.
Both manga center around young heroes protecting their world from endless destruction. They go about this task in different ways. Yugi uses Duel Monsters to defeat enemies while Usagi and her friends utilize their own supernatural powers to get the job done. However, both series contain lighthearted segments that give fans breathing room from their intense storylines and dramatic bits. Despite their multitude of differences, Yu-Gi-Oh and Sailor Moon are retro series that are worth a read.
Phantom Thief Jeanne – Arina Tanemura
Similarities – Drama, Action, Fantasy
Our tale revolves around a young gymnast named Marin who has a secret identity. At night, she’s the crafty phantom thief Kaitou Jeanne who loves stealing paintings due to them harboring evil demons. She doesn’t want them to escape their imprisonment, so she adores sealing them away with her companion Finn Fish.
However, the demons are the least of Marin’s worries. A new phantom thief arrives and challenges Marin leading to many amusing and dramatic scenarios. Their relationship starts off as a rivalry but offers similarities with Usagi and Tuxedo Mask’s relationship. Both mangas contain well-drawn characters, environments, and action set pieces. For those craving another good vs evil-themed manga with cutesy artwork and fun characters, check out Phantom Thief Jeanne.
Please Save My Earth – Saki Hiwatari
Similarities – Themes & Fantasy
Please Save My Earth is another tale about love, friendship, and loss. It’s another work that follows a female lead with supernatural powers. In Please Save My Earth, we examine seven students trying to retain their memories of the past by utilizing the moon’s mystical dream-like powers. Our protagonist, Alice, must hurry and face the grave errors of her past to save her friend from self-destruction.
She’ll do so by telepathically linking up with a group of alien scientists studying the Earth. Only then can Alice move forward and live a fulfilling life. Powers are used differently in both works. Where Usagi and her friends use their magic to defend earth, the magic in Please Save My Earth is used to study humanity and the planet itself.
Please Save My Earth also explores deep and personal subjects surrounding its characters’ unfilled desires. Many characters will struggle to overcome relatable hurdles involving rejection and loss. Furthermore, Please Save My Earth feels more character-driven and lacks Sailor Moon’s enticing action set pieces. If you’re okay with a story with deeper subjects and less violence, check this out.
Mysterious Play – Yuu Watase
Similarities – Characters & Fantasy
Mysterious Play is a great manga with Chinese influences. The characters are well-rounded and get roped into many comedic situations. The romance is on par with the romantic elements you’d find in Sailor Moon’s storytelling. It’s also not afraid to set up dark and mature obstacles to help its cast grow over time. It’s an impressive work with enough drama, plot twists, and intensity to keep you engaged.
At a library, our protagonists Miaka and Yui get sucked into a mysterious book. In its world, they meet Tamahome but Yui gets sent back to the real world and leaves Miaka behind. Forced to become a priestess, Miaka must tackle numerous trials if she hopes to reunite with Yui. Miaka demonstrates similar personality traits to Usagi. She’s a whiny teenager but becomes more mature over time.
Our characters receive great backstories that’ll help readers empathize with them in the present. The artwork isn’t as great as what you’d find in Sailor Moon, but it gets the job done. If you’re okay with a manga with subpar art quality and incredible storytelling, give Mysterious Play a shot after Sailor Moon.
Suicide Girl – Atsushi Nakayama
Similarities – Action, Magical Girls
Suicide Girl is an ongoing action-oriented horror manga written and illustrated by Atsushi Nakayama. In it, our protagonist Kirari’s running late to her meeting with Rushio, the admin for the Suicide Cafe website. Kirari partakes in her suicidal companions’ routine but wakes up to learn that everyone’s not dead. She rushes home to end her life but realizes she can’t.
Rushio appears, informing Kirari that she’s been chosen to save people from ending their lives by becoming a magical girl of salvation deemed Suicide Girl. Therefore, we examine Kirari on her mission to protect people from ending themselves. This manga offers a parodic take on magical girls but offers a strong female cast on par with Usagi’s group.
It explores themes like love, friendship, and self-discovery but feels more horrid. Nakayama’s art style feels more exaggerated, which brings out our character’s personalities more. It feels like a modernized version of Go Nagai’s work in Devilman. The demons in Suicide Girl also look appealing and varied. For those who want a modern and gritty take on magical girls, this is the series for you.
W.I.T.C.H. – Haruko Iika
Similarities – Fantasy
W.I.T.C.H. is the shortest manga on this list. You can finish it within the span of a day as it only has 8 total chapters. It takes place in a universe with two separate worlds. One is home to humans while the other houses spirits and mystical creatures. A veil was set between the worlds to prevent humans and creatures from interacting.
Our protagonist, Will, airs from the human world and gets chosen to be the leader of the new Guardians of Kandrakar. The Kandraker consists of a council of spirits who watch over both worlds and need a leader to strengthen the veil. Anyway, Will receives a crystal and learns that her classmates will act as her guardians. They’ll possess powers aligning with natural elements.
After forming the group “W.I.T.C.H.,” Will and the others must protect their world from an unruly prince’s dastardly plans. This is another work that tackles love, friendship, personal growth, and teamwork. W.I.T.C.H. feels more serious and has a stronger emphasis on adventure and action elements than Sailor Moon. The world feels more imaginative and semi-realistic with Haruko Iika’s straightforward yet stylized artistry. If you crave a manga with depth and refinement, this is worth your time.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with Sailor Moon.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!