Alice is a preteen girl who believes in magic, much to the dismay of her parents and peers. But when she finds herself transported into a dreamlike world filled with magic, forest sprites, and witches, she finds out that magic is sometimes not all it’s cracked up to be. The witches of this world must capture forest sprites for use in casting their spells, and magical hierarchy dictates that those at the bottom must compete to get to the top. Dream or not, Alice must use her positive attitude to show these witches that magic should be used to spread happiness, first and foremost!
Both of the anime feature a young girl being dumped into a magical realm full ot bizarre creatures. Both girls search for an item given to them by their parents, an item with great power in the magical realm. Along the way, they make friends and learn about the power within themselves.
The responsible orphan Sophie led a relatively normal life, safe within the walls of the hat shop in which she works; for outside, it is rumored, the evil wizard Howl roams the land in his mobile black castle. After a chance and mystical encounter, poor Sophie finds herself transformed by a spell which makes her appear to be an old woman, and thus embarks on an adventure to find Howl’s castle and put an end to her curse. A mystical world of talking flames, sentient scarecrows and magic aplenty awaits those who seek the legendary Howl...
I think Howl and Arusu would appeal to the same audience. Their settings feel very similar, (a magical but still fairly mechanically advanced civilization), as does the atmosphere and a couple of the characters. Both ooze charm.
On a day like any other, average middle-school-student Yurie Hitotsubashi got the surprise of a lifetime – she became a goddess! Unfortunately, even with her newfound powers, Yurie still can’t manage to find the courage to confess to Kenji, her crush. With Yurie’s fame comes others’ fortune; Matsuri, caretaker of the local shrine, names Yurie the shrine’s new goddess and becomes her manager – for yen and glory! Along with Yurie’s faithful best friend Mitsue, the trio set forth on an adventure to find out what it really means to become a goddess.
Kamichu! and Mahou Shoujotai Arusu are refreshing takes on the "young girl randomly gets magical powers" cliche. Both are really beautiful (the character designs for the magical creatures/spirits are especially charming), and manage to be "family friendly" while still having a huge appeal to an older periphery demographic.
In the war against neighboring countries, the Grand Duke’s warriors use dragon-like beasts called Touda as weapons. Touda are admired across the nation and villages take great pride in breeding them. Erin lives in one such village with her mother, Soyon, who is the best beastinarian in the country. However, life in the village is not so straightforward: Soyon is also an Ariyo, a woman of the Mist People - a race that is feared by humans for its mystical abilities. So that she and Erin can stay in the village, Soyon must flawlessly fulfill her duty capturing and disciplining the Touda; but while Erin wants nothing more than to become a beastinarian, she also feels sorry for the Touda and recognizes that there’s far more to them than meets the eye. Can Erin ever become an ordinary beastinarian when her deepest instincts tell her there is a better way to interact with the Touda?
Kemono no Souja Erin and Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu are prime examples of childrens' shows that understand that children are not stupid, and don't need their plots dumbed-down. Because of this, they are free to deliver stunning and uplifting adventure/fantasy epics that are safe (yet still immensely enjoyable) for all ages, a mixture that very few series are able to acheive.
Animation is gorgeous (even Erin's obvious cost-cutting doesn't diminish it's visual impact), and both have spunky and dynamic lead characters. The pacing is vastly different (Erin's meandering pace is rather at odds with Arusu's constant plot twists and progression), but I HIGHLY recommend each.
Nanoha used to be a normal grade school student until one day she found a ferret in the woods -- but he's no ordinary ferret! His name is Yuuno, he hails from another world, and he needs Nanoha’s help to complete his mission: to capture the Jewel Seeds (mysterious stones that imbue their wielder with great power) that fell to Earth. Along with Yuuno, Nanoha must now collect the Seeds and protect her world, but she isn’t alone. A rival is also trying to collect the Seeds for an unknown purpose, and only Nanoha has the power to stop her…
This series involves both magic and friendship between girls. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has all that, plus several seasons that lengthen the story considerably. Like Tweeny Witches, it'll capture your heart with its relationships and character development!