No beating around the bush: witches are cool as fuck. Whether it’s the traditional depiction of ancient, potion-brewing hags or the more modernized interpretations, I simply love that stuff. Fortunately, it seems that a lot of anime fans (and creators) agree with me here. Since there is so much choice, I went about and compiled some recommendations for anime that’ll satisfy your magical needs.
As always, feel free to share your own recommendations and I’ll check them out. Yes, I know about Little Witch Academia. I am working on it.
Maria the Virgin Witch
Hidden away in a forest in rural France, Maria the Witch makes her living selling medicine to local villagers. She’s a humble, young woman with a crush on a local boy, but her peaceful life is soon threatened by the ravages of the Hundred Years’ War. Deciding that enough is enough, Maria begins to personally sabotage the war, breaking every rule of the paranormal world in the process. Various higher powers begin to get involved in a bid to stop the strong-willed witch, often with little success.
Maria the Virgin Witch is a fascinating take on medieval fantasy, mixed in with various historically-accurate touches. It has action & romance aplenty, with a fascinating character at its core.
Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu
Young Arusu is obsessed with magic and witches, but is stuck living in our normal, boring world. Until she one day falls off a building and is whisked away to a fantastical world full of magical creatures. A world wherein witches rule society and Arusu could become one of them. However, she is cursed for her rebellious actions and forced to go all over the world to capture every kind of magical creature within it. Like Pokémon, but with a Soul Eater-like aesthetic and a deeper story.
Belladonna of Sadness
An arthouse tragedy about a young, French woman whose life is ruined the local baron. Left violated, destitute, and hated by her own husband, the woman is left with nothing but the aid of an enigmatic being. It offers her power and prosperity, but such pacts rarely come without a high price. Belladonna of Sadness is a fascinating movie with beautiful visuals, though some would rightly criticize it for an over-reliance on still-image panning shots with narration.
Kuromajo-san ga Tooru!!
Also known as “Here Comes the Black Witch“, this anime follows the exploits lively high schooler Chiyoko Kurotori. Her interest in the occult one day leads to her accidentally summoning the black witch Gyubid, who can’t return to her world unless she teaches Chiyoko how to be a witch like her. Kuromajo-san ga Tooru!! is a breezy comedy anime with a story full of magical accidents and supernatural encounters. It’s only 7 minutes per episode, but it feels like you get a lot more out of it than this runtime implies.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
To complete her training as a witch, Kiki has moved to a beautiful city by the sea to start practicing her craft independently. She had big dreams about how she’d make it all work, but the realities (and expenses) of living on your own in a strange new place quickly overwhelm her. This beloved Ghibli classic offers a whimsical adventure for younger viewers, while also being relatable to young adults that are themselves struggling to find their place in the world.
During a family get-together, the members of the Ushiromiya household are all trapped inside their family estate on the island of Rokkenjima. Soon people begin to turn up dead, butchered in macabre and often inexplicable ways. This is eventually revealed to all be the work of the Golden Witch Beatrice, but the fiery intellectual Battler Ushiromiya rejects such supernatural nonsense. Thus he is locked in a cycle where the slaughter repeats over and over again, until Battler’s reasoning can disprove Beatrice’s witchcraft.
With a gaudy aesthetic and dense mysteries, Umineko feels like a combination of Higurashi and Ace Attorney. Purists who prefer the source material will be in for quite a ride, as the original visual novel has well over a hundred hours of content, not counting supplementary materials. Have fun!
An artsy and musical ONA series about a witch that runs a wish-granting shop in Harajuku, Tokyo. She helps her clients realize their innermost desires by taking them on magical trips through their psyche. Artiswitch feels like a series of cool music videos tied together with an overarching plot, and I mean that as a compliment. The fashion and aesthetics of this series are brilliant, and Nina makes for an interesting protagonist through which to experience it all.
Honoka Takamiya used to be a normal teenager, until one day a collapsing tower threatens to suddenly end his life. He is saved by the beautiful Ayaka Kagari, who reveals that she is a witch charged with his protection. Unbeknownst to Honoka, he has powers that will be pivotal in deciding a conflict between the different faction of witches. Evil witches are not his only problem, though, as Honoka must also deal with the scorn from his jealous peers. How dare a dolt like him claim Princess Kagari for his own?!
Witchcraft Works is an action anime with a healthy dose of romance. What sets it apart for me—and which has had me following the manga since 2014—is the bizarre world this is all set in. The series is full of weird characters with even weirders powers, and strange, magical creatures lurking on the side-lines of modern society. The anime is good, but you’ll have to dip into the manga eventually to carry on the story.
Similar to Kiki, Makoto Kowata is a young witch looking to finish her education by studying in a new environment. She moves in with her non-magical relatives in Hirosaki, who aren’t always prepared for the supernatural occurrences that housing a witch will invite. It’s a very relaxing show with plenty of natural beauty to enjoy and a low-stakes plot about casually studying witchcraft.