Anime is sometimes… unbelievable.
A character transformation is a chance for the animators to really go to town. Expect long – LONG – transform sequences, with dancing, sparkles, funky music, and instant new hairstyles. Same with powered-up attacks, and their names.
It’s nice that the ‘big bad’ waits and attacks after the heroine’s finished transforming. In the time it takes to recite the whole thing, you could get at least one strike in…
The long-winded attack sequence is such a trademark of magical girl anime that J-idols started parodying it. Check out this song from The World Standard: Ultra Miracle-cle Final Ultimate Choco Beam.
Catchy, huh? It inspired us to write about our favourite magical anime girl transformations.
Sailor Moon – Starlight Honeymoon Double Therapy Kiss
You’ll know this attack if you’re a fan of the Sailor Moon musicals or original manga. It’s performed by Eternal Sailor Moon and Eternal Chibi Sailor Moon together.
You also know it’s bad when you have to use double therapy. We’ve seen some clips of Sailor Moon attacks, and it’s not so much a ‘kiss’ as ‘getting a smackdown from pink lightning’.
The original ‘Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss’ is Eternal Sailor Moon’s ultimate power. All the Super Sailor Senshi lend Usagi their powers for it to work. You’d think it might be more effective for everyone to attack at the same time, but no.
Kill La Kill – Senketsu Kisaragi
Technically, Kill La Kill’s outfits aren’t ‘transformations’. More like ‘making a new costume out of your own blood’. Surprised there isn’t a ‘Senketsu Anaemia’ in there somewhere.
One of the most powerful costumes is Senketsu Kisaragi, the ultimate version of Ryuuko’s Senketsu uniform. It looks a bit… Dragonball. Which is super cool.
(*cough* it’s a homage, not a ripoff… *cough*)
Senketsu Kisaragi is far from the most… armoured… battle costume. But everyone else had to get naked for it, so Ryuko’s at least wearing something.
Shugo Chara!! Doki – Pretty Transforming Heroine Magical Choco-tan Dream
Choco tells you she’s transforming… after her costume change. Isn’t that helpful?
The ‘heroine’ outfit’s a bit confusing. It’s got cat ears and a tail. And the giant question mark from the Mystery Egg she transformed with. Maybe Choco-tan didn’t know what a ‘pretty transforming heroine’ should look like. (Image credit)
Her attack name’s even better. ‘Cat’s Ear Supersonic Wave! Pretty Transforming Heroine Magical Choco-tan Dream Special’. Complete with text on screen that’s a little fast to read. Even Miki pops up afterwards and says “That name was too long…”
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS – Adult Mode
Puberty sucks. Characters in the Nanoha StrikerS series can instantly grow up, whenever they want.
It’s more like ‘late teens mode’ than ‘adult mode’. Interestingly, Nanoha herself doesn’t use it. Vivio – the lead in ViVid – does, and it weirds Fate out when she’s not expecting it. (Image credit)
The near-instant change to adulthood involves… a small stuffed bunny. The most crazy powerful, creepy-eyed stuffed bunny you’ve ever seen.
You can tell the Nanoha anime isn’t true to life. And we’re not even talking about the magic and the unbelievable costumes. If it was real ‘adult mode’, you’d see the characters doing laundry and making their own lunch.
Pretty Cure – Felice Fun Fun Flowerle
In PuriCure, we’ve moved on from magic wands to magic touchscreens. Yet another way to shift more kawaii anime goods to kids. No aspiring heroine is too young for a smartphone. Wonder how much mobile data a transformation uses…
A swish of the stylus, and Kotoha (Ha-chan) uses the Linkle Smartbook to turn floral. Like the extreme cute, millennial version of Poison Ivy. (Image credit)
Just like Vivio, Ha-chan grows up a bit to use this power. And mysteriously ends up with way more hair. I guess everyone looks better online than they do in real life.
Card Captor Sakura – turning Clow Cards into Sakura Cards
Most magical girls transform themselves and not other things. Sakura’s either smart or a wimp, depending on how you look at it.
If you’re wondering what Sakura Cards are, they were changed to Star Cards in the English dub. The cards transform when Sakura uses the Star Sealing Wand. And there’s a different animation for every single one.
It’s cool that each transformation’s unique. But by that point in the manga/anime, isn’t Sakura powerful enough to transform them all at once?
No. There’d be no story if she could do that. So the Sakura Cards are changed one by one, episode by episode.
There are some YouTube clips of this happening. Part 1 is 5 minutes long.
Revolutionary Girl Utena – Utena becomes a car
This one’s from the ‘Adolescence of Utena’ movie in 1999.
Getting trapped in a car wash when you’re trying to hug your beloved is super inconvenient. Utena didn’t let it get to her. If you can’t beat them, go for the extra hot wax and wheel rinse.
Utena emerges from the spinning brushes as a squeaky clean pink roadster. Is it a metaphor for empowerment and the road to adulthood? It’s a serious contender for the most WTF moment in anime history.
What would you change?
We know we’ve had to miss a lot out. Tweet us your picks for best magical girls and their magical henshin scenes. If you’ve got GIFs or YouTube clips for us, even better.