More Twisted & Deceptive Series Await You
Puella Magi Madoka Magica was a breakout hit to fans of the Magical Girl sub-genre, as it took the beloved formula and deconstructed it into a horrifying, psychological work. This anime follows Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki meeting a mysterious cat-like organism named Kyubey. As a mysterious girl named Homura Akemi hunts them, Kyubey offers Sayaka and Madoka a contract to become magical girls themselves.
This deal also comes with one a free wish that Kyubey will grant to them if they chose to accept. As expected, they accept Kyubey’s offer and become magical girls. Unbeknownst to both girls, this deal will lead them down a darker path than they initially expected.
If you’re having trouble finding anime similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, fear not! We’ve discovered 10 alternate shows that’ll give you a similar experience as Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
For your reading pleasure, we have included the similarities they all share. Additionally, for each anime we’ve reviewed, we’ve included a link that allows you to view our full thoughts about the series to see if it’s worth your time.
So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet the appetite when you’ve finished streaming Puella Magi Madoka Magica!
Higurashi When They Cry
Similarities – Mystery & Violence
Higurashi When They Cry is a ferocious anime that keeps its audience guessing with its unique plot structure, horrifying and grotesque visuals, and gloomy atmosphere. Like Madoka Magica, it’ll leave you speechless with the circumstances it chooses to place its characters in.
Higurashi When They Cry tells the story of Keiichi Maebara, a boy who’s just moved into this new village. While everything from its kind-hearted residents and the warm atmosphere appears fine on the surface, Keiichi discovers that this village’s rooted in controversy and chaos.
Like Madoka and her friends, Keiichi’s life takes a turn for the worse when he decides to befriend individuals he’s never met before. There is also a layer of mystery in both series that slowly unravels over time. Although Higurashi When They Cry’s action scenes are more brutal, it features some fights that serve as spectacles.
Similarities – Adorable Characters In A Harsh World
At first glance, School-Live looks identical to Madoka Magica in style. School-Live features an all-female cast that has similar personalities to Madoka and her friends. Both series even have an animal mascot and a pink-haired female protagonist.
Although one series delves into the idea of magic while the other highlights the living dead, both series place their characters in situations where all hope is lost. School-Live’s action scenes are beyond subpar and will excite anyone that enjoys incredible horror flicks like Dawn of the Dead or Zombieland.
Both series also deliver enough drama and suspense to keep fans engaged. Misleading viewers is the “play of the game” for both series, as there’s enough material to keep fans speculating about what will happen next. If you’re looking for another series that places fluffy and cutesy characters in a harsh and cruel world, School-Live’s worth a watch.
Yuki Yuna Is A Hero
Similarities – Darker Take On Magical Girls
The Yuki Yuna is a hero anime received some hateful remarks when it was first released. This has to do with how closely it resembled Madoka Magica regarding its plot, characters, and overall themes. It not only borrows the twisted magical girl formula, but the overall tone feels nearly identical to what you’d expect from Madoka Magica.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero is about Yuna and her friends becoming magical girls in hopes of protecting their planet from supernatural foes called Vertexes. Unfortunately, Yuna and her friends will learn about the drawbacks of becoming heroes first-hand.
Despite appearing like a Madoka Magica copycat, Yuki Yuna is a Hero is more lighthearted and has a happier ending, unlike the former. The enemies Yuna and her friends fight in the anime also have different characteristics compared to the witches Madoka fights.
More importantly, Yuna starts off befriending other magical girls sooner than Madoka. Despite having several differences, Yuki Yuna is a Hero is another twisted magical girl, all fans of the magical girl sub-genre should watch.
Made In Abyss
Similarities – Mystery & Mood
Made In Abyss is a whimsical fantasy adventure anime filled with dark and depressing undertones. While the different landscapes are home to many cuddly creatures and breathtaking forested areas, it only appears that way on the surface.
Like Madoka Magica, Made In Abyss is a series that grows darker as the characters get closer to their goal. The Abyss feels like an environment brought to life with how much the mood changes. Furthermore, the characters are fleshed out in both series and harbor secrets that’ll intrigue fans.
Made In Abyss follows Riko and Reg’s journey down a vast abyss. Their mission is to uncover the mystery around Reg’s robot-like appearance and the whereabouts of Riko’s mother. During their journey, they’ll encounter wildlife and powerful enemies aiming to halt their progress.
Similarities – Redefined Magical Girls In Anime
In some regards, Princess Tutu redefined the magical girl genre before Madoka Magica was conceived. Despite telling a fantastical tale about a cutesy magical girl fighting off villains to save the day, it opts to tell an in-depth and darker story.
Princess Tutu is a magical girl interpretation of the classic Ugly Duckling folk tale. It follows a duck named Ahiru, who magically becomes a human girl thanks to the powers of a mysterious individual named Drosselmeyer. Not only that but Drosselmeyer also grants Ahiru the power to turn into a magical ballet dancer named Princess Tutu.
In order to collect many lost shards of a prince’s heart, Ahiru must embark on a quest to relieve people’s sorrowful hearts through dancing. However, it’ll be no easy feat as fate will try its best to foil Princess Tutu’s wishes.
Princess Tutu is a series that touches upon sensitive topics. Like Madoka Magica, it revels in making its characters experience the horrors of others’ pain and misery. Its characters also have unique powers not seen before in the genre during their run time. If you’re looking for another magical girl anime that redefined magical girls in its own way, watch Princess Tutu.
Similarities – Warped World & View of Human Nature
Shinsekai Yori isn’t a dark magical girl series like Madoka Magica. But it does feature characters living in a world aiming to deceive them around every corner. It’s also a series that gradually reveals more menacing details surrounding its cast and universe.
Shinsekai Yori takes place in a utopia-like setting and follows Saki Watanabe, who finally awakened her psychic powers and can now reunite with her beloved friends because of it. While all seems well, Saki starts feeling uneasy about the world around her.
She starts questioning the fate of those who can’t or may never awaken their dormant abilities. Likewise, Saki and her friends undergo a spiritual journey to fulfill their roles in this utopian society while discovering what shocking truths led to its comeuppance.
Shinsekai Yori maintains a disquieting atmosphere throughout most of its runtime. It delivers plenty of plot twists that’ll keep viewers shocked and engaged. Friendship is a theme that binds Madoka Magica and Shinsekai Yori, as you’ll receive many emotional scenes involving Saki, her friends, and other civilians.
Hunter X Hunter (2011)
Similarities – Action & Suspense
Grand in adventure and storytelling, Hunter X Hunter has much to offer Madoka Magica fans. It doesn’t follow a female protagonist or contain any supernatural elements in the vein of Madoka Magica.
However, Hunter X Hunter does offer Madoka fans a wonderful world filled with mystery, suspense, and intense action scenes. Gon Freecss is also a child protagonist with a big heart. Like Madoka, Gon will do anything it takes to protect his friends from harm. The series also contains more lighthearted moments than Madoka Magica but does contain scenes that may be too brutal for the faint of heart.
Hunter X Hunter follows the adventures of Gon Freecss, a boy who wants to become a professional hunter and meet his father, who had left him behind for a similar goal. While Gon has fought off large mythical beasts in his homeland, he’ll later learn that life outside will deliver harsher challenges for him to overcome.
Similarities – Themes & Emotional Soundtrack
Erased is another series that feels far from the course with Madoka Magica, but contains similar life messages. It also tackles concepts regarding time travel. Both series have a story arc centered around using time travel to save someone’s life.
Furthermore, Erased delves into real-world human issues like Madoka Magica regarding heartbreak, loss, and hopelessness. It tackles these themes by highlighting characters undergoing predicaments concerning homelessness and child abuse.
Madoka Magica fans will also be delighted to hear that its signature composer Yuki Kajiura produced the soundtrack for Erased. Likewise, the music in Erased helps create this sense of mystery and peculiarity found in Kajiura’s compositions for Madoka Magica. During Erased, viewers will experience plenty of mystery and emotional scenes that will both invigorate and break their hearts.
The Promised Neverland
Similarities – Dark Fantasy
Although its second season left a sour taste in fans’ mouths, The Promised Neverland offered up a creative world to speculate about during its release. Furthermore, it follows a childlike cast that, like Madoka and friends, are equipped with hope and skills.
The Promised Neverland isn’t known for its action scenes, though. This anime leans toward psychological warfare and using one’s plans to triumph over gargantuan and deadly enemies. Despite that, The Promised Neverland has enough fantastical elements to stand toe to toe with series like Madoka Magica.
This anime follows three orphans named Emma, Ray, and Norman, who live amongst other children inside the Grace Field House. As you’d expect, they participate in activities most children would involve themselves in, like taking tests, playing hide and seek, and others.
Their biggest dream is to one day leave the orphanage by get adopted by a loving family. However, Emma and Norman decide to depart from the Grace Field House one night to meet up with one of their friends whose about to get adopted. Unfortunately, they’d later regret their decision when they stumble upon their friend’s corpse and encounter ferocious demonic creatures.
The Promised Neverland and Madoka Magica are series that masterfully work bubbly characters into a store rich in darkness. If you’re looking for another anime where children must utilize their brains to survive then check out The Promised Neverland.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Similarities – Deconstructed Their Respective Genres
Despite its futuristic and post-apocalyptic setting, Neon Genesis Evangelion tackles many of the same themes as Madoka Magica. Themes like responsibility, self-affirmation, and perseverance are a few topics both anime tackle.
Strangely, both Neon Genesis Evangelion and Madoka Magica serve as deconstructions for their respective genres. Madoka tackles the dark sides of becoming a magical girl, while Neon Genesis Evangelion’s changed the way people viewed piloting mechs and kaiju.
Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place in a war between humans and supernatural entities called Angels. Gendo Ikari commands the military agency charged with creating large machines called Evangelions meant to take down the Angels.
He forces his son Shinji to pilot his best Evangelion, but there’s a problem. Shinji’s a weak-minded and nervous individual who doesn’t have a bright relationship with his father. Having to set aside his familial qualms, Shinji must save the world from the Angel threat.
So there we have it, our 10 anime/TV show alternatives to watch when you’ve caught up with Puella Magi Madoka Magica!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!