Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.
Hey, you! Yes, you right there! I know why you’re here. It’s because you’re looking for anime similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica. C’mon, you know I’m right. I can clearly see you craving for shows with dark, twisted, and oftentimes tragic plots.
An ordinary schoolgirl named Madoka Kaname is living life like any normal student would. However, mysterious things begin to happen—and Madoka is caught in the middle of it all. So, when the time comes for her to take action, a mystical creature named Kyuubey offers her something—a chance to grant any wish so long as she becomes a magical girl. Will she accept? Or will she decline the offer that seems to be too good to be true? It turns out that all magic comes at a price!
That’s what this show is all about. But you’re not here to talk about this show. You’re here to look for other shows similar to it. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you up any longer. Just proceed and see all the anime shows like it for yourself!
Ten Anime Similar to 'Puella Magi Madoka Magica'
- Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
- Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
- Gakkougurashi! (School-Live!)
- Selector Infected WIXOSS
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
1. 'Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru'
The Story: Yuuna Yuuki is an everyday hero. By being in the Hero Club at her school, she helps people with their needs and tries to bring happiness to everyone. But then, something happens—a mysterious message appears on her phone. It’s a distress message, and it talks about the the great danger that the world is about to face! Suddenly, play time is over for Yuuna. The world is seriously in peril and she has to become a real hero in order to save it.
The Similarity: So I heard you like magical girls? Well, here they are! These are exactly the magical girls you imagined, but with a twist—a dark twist! Of course, they’re here to save the world, but their circumstances are dire! Being a magical girl ain’t such a simple affair after all! You’ll find that out soon enough. Well, if you’ve already watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica, then you you'll probably be expecting the unexpected. This is a show that's full of twists, dark themes, and an engaging narrative.
2. 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'
The Story: 14-year-old Shinji Ikari suddenly alters his mundane way of life. In the flick of a mecha's finger, he becomes a person whose existence is tied with the fate of the world. With his undeniable compatibility with the Evangelion Unit-01, he must now battle with the monstrous Angels in order to secure a future for everyone in the world.
The Similarity: It’s clear as daylight how Neon Genesis Evangelion is a similar anime. This series is not what it seems to be. It starts out as a typical met show, but once the plot thickens, everything is deconstructed. The complexity of the plot and vague origins of the threat makes it feels like deep, dark forces are hiding just below the surface. If you like shows with post-apocalyptic themes, crazy psychological mishaps, and meaningful symbolic motifs, then this one is for you.
3. 'Mirai Nikki' ('Future Diary')
The Story: The God of Space and Time is slowly deteriorating, so it’s finally time to choose a worthy successor. And the method for choosing the new god is none other than the Future Diary Game! A few select individuals are chosen and given diaries that can predict the future. Their goal? It’s to kill one another using their unique future diaries and survive to see the light of the world from the throne of the God of Space and Time.
The Similarity: If you want more intensity, then Mirai Nikki is what you should be watching next! It’s dark, cruel, and intense. There’s no moment to rest here until the grand revelation. And that is why you should be both mentally and emotionally prepared before watching it. You'll likely be overwhelmed by the intense battles for survival and be stirred by the twisted psyche of the characters. If you like this anime, then check out this list of similar shows.
4. 'Shinsekai Yori' ('From the New World')
The Story: Hundreds of years into the future, the world is totally different from what we know now. Humans have come to possess supernatural powers, and the society has succumbed to a very peculiar and stern rule. Of course, no one even knows what the world used to be like anymore. This is the story of a couple of children who were born in such a dystopian world and who shall soon learn what their existence truly means.
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The Similarity: This is not your ordinary anime shows. Granted, it is extraordinary in ways you wouldn’t even imagine! This series tackles the meaning of life and the concept of reality. I'm warning you, scrutinizing these things can be quite scary. If you like deep and meaningful shows with lots of supernatural occurrences, then watch this as soon as possible.
The Story: This is the story about a group of children who get caught in a mess larger than even the universe itself. At first, everything was all fun and games. But when a gigantic robot actually shows up for all of them to control, things suddenly turn dark and grim. As big and as powerful as the robot called Zearth is, the children shall soon meet problems larger than they could hope to ever imagine.
The Similarity: Of course, who could ever forget this dark show? Innocent children and dark revelations? Oh, they just mix so well that everything becomes even more tragic. And did I mention that the fate of the world rests upon their shoulders? Trust me, only tragedy awaits! So, if you're into stoic and melancholic shows, then Bokurano is the anime that you should be adding to your watch list now.
6. 'Gakkougurashi!' ('School-Live!')
The Story: Yuki Takeya is a girl who’s living a life full of excitement and sweetness in Megurigaoka Private High School. She wakes up every day bursting with delight and goes on to study gleefully and mingle happily with her friends. Unbeknownst to her, what she thinks is a beautiful life is actually a nightmare. The things she experiences are not actually happening in reality.
The Similarity: Did I just hear you say that Gakkougurashi is cute and adorable? Well, you’re right and I agree with you on that. But once the story sets in, the cruel reality sets in! Everything starts out cuddly and fluffy, but everything is not what it seems. Behind the innocent mask hides a horrible truth. Don't worry though, the series still as adorable as a marshmallow. But with the dark truth lying just beneath, it might just leave an unsettling impression on you.
The Story: Ever since he gained the mysterious power of possessing other people for five seconds, Yuu Otosaka started to carve a perfect life for himself. He surely is not above abusing his power as he is determined to use it for his own gain. Surprisingly, there’s actually more to his power than he initially thought. As he is forced by another power user to enroll in a special school for people like him, he gets to the bottom of everything and learns the truth about the power that manifests only within his generation.
The Similarity: I would say Charlotte is less serious than Puella Magi Madoka Magika. The series is still tragic and carries a lot of emotional weight. Nothing is certainly going to end as planned, but perhaps there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. That is, if the tunnel ever ends. With thrilling abilities and a plot that thickens to a dusky mush, this show will surely leave you in a daze. If you like this anime, then check out this list of similar recommendations.
8. 'Selector Infected WIXOSS'
The Story: Ruuko Kominato is a girl who doesn’t really have a wish that she wants to be granted. Despite this, she was still dragged into a mystical card game where desires can be granted at the end. She has become a Selector, and her mission is to fight others using the person trapped in her LRIG. And while the winner shall take it all, the losers shall suffer miserable lives after defeat.
The Similarity: Magical girls, wishes and desires, grave consequences—all of that is here! These three key elements make things a whole lot darker. You thought granting wishes was as simple as waving a wand? Nope! You’re horribly wrong! Just like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this show will expose the horrible truth concerning wishes and desires. Now, be careful what you wish for.
The Story: Three friends are suddenly in deep trouble after accidentally inventing a phenomenal device. The device is none other than the Phone Microwave. At first, its only function was to turn bananas into green ooze. But then it began performing a different function—sending messages into the past! With the power to alter the future by sending messages to the past, what on Earth could possibly go wrong?
The Similarity: I have to keep quiet on the plot so as not to spoil anything. This is one of the best written narratives in a long time. The series has jolly beginnings followed by gloomy endings! Did I just spoil something? Well, just watch it now and see for yourself.
10. 'Higurashi no Naku Koro ni' ('When They Cry')
The Story: Somewhere in the world, there exists a village that seems so tranquil and peaceful that it’s almost unreal. This is the village of Hinamizawa, and it’s a village that is not really what it seems to be on the outside. Bizarre mysteries, horrors, and cruelties—these are just some of the things that the village is trying to hide deep within its shadows.
The Similarity: Yeah, its another show where cute characters go around spreading optimism and positivity everywhere. Wrong! Believe me, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is not what it looks like. Beneath those cute faces are demons! Cute as they may be, only brutality and cruelty are what they’re capable of. If you love watching cute characters go on bloody rampages or just enjoy watching a crazy plot, then this show is a must-watch for you!
Laura on September 25, 2018:
Well, I agree with Yuuki Yuuna Wa Yuusha De Aru and Selector Infected WIXOSS, but the rest is nonsense. A plot twist is not what it takes to make one anime seem similar to another. It doesn't work like that.
- Mahou Shoujo Site
- Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku
are similar to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica because they both have a dark setting.
One could also count Chocolate No Mahou to that list. It may not have magical girls in it but a witch selling magical chocolate.
Pardona on January 14, 2018:
Started Gakkougurashi! from this, and can attest to it being incredible and that probably anyone who loved Madoka will love this as well. The one difference I'll point out is that whereas Madoka starts out 'fluffy' and then becomes horrifying later on, with its fluffiness gone, Gakkou stays both fluffy and hitting like a truck throughout. The juxtaposition can sometimes hit pretty hard.
JoseARV on June 24, 2017:
Nice list! Watched some of them already, and indeed, I enjoyed them like I enjoyed Madoka. Still, there's a big absent from that list, that is very similar to Madoka: Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku