Cherry trees bloom en masse in early spring, usually in the month of April, but the white-to-coral petals shed and rot very quickly and the peak bloom is only a week or two. There is a celebration called hanami associated with the peak bloom, which often entails picnics and drinking with old friends under the cherry trees. Sakura season is thus a highly visible sign of spring, the beauty of nature, renewal of life, and first love Since the meanings are highly romantic, the sakura motif is especially common in media aimed to the shoujo audience.
It's also a parody of the Magical Girl genre. Deconstructive Parody : Dai Mahou Touge.
The series is a parody of magical princess shows and often uses the juxtaposition of cute characters with brutal violence for humor.
Affectionately parodied in Demashita!
Powerpuff Girls Z. This manga takes that notion and runs with it, but with Illya as the heroine. The series started out as an example of parody, but eventually started shifting to a straighter example by 3rei!.
The Nasuverse loves to play around with this. Arcueid has 3 different magical girl alter-egos, Caren has one, and both Hisui and Kohaku have one. All are jokes. Saber Lily could be considered to be one as well, but Saber's powers are already kinda magical-girl-ish to begin with.
Jungle de Ikou! Kamichama Karin started out as a one-shot parody of the genre, but was popular enough to become a series in its own right. The anime is less so.
Magical Play. It's an affectionate parody of the genre, especially the warrior variety. Magical Girl Apocalypse gives a horror example of the genre, with the Magical Girls as the monsters. They are Humanoid Abominations with the ability to raise any person they kill as a zombie, who unleash a Zombie Apocalypse upon the city.
Mahou Shoujo Ore is a Super Gender-Bender manga with a twist: it's the heroine that turns into a magical boy.
In Mahou Shoujo Pretty Bell , the magic rod that is supposed to select the next schoolgirl to take up the fight instead chooses a year-old bodybuilder.
He's quite willing to take up the mantle, which is a bit of a problem for the demons used to fighting little girls It's even more brutal than Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In a world where Magical Girls and the monsters they fight are common knowledge, the protagonist is a Shell-Shocked Veteran , and there's a bustling Black Market of otherworldly artifacts and weapons.
And the government keep asking her to join their special operations team to deal with the terrorists armed with otherworldly weapons. Mahou X Shounen X Days!!!!! Despite being lumped in the "parody" section, it's probably the straightest take on a Magical Boy series there is.
Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World is a lot harder when the school is completely trashed by the midpoint and the people you're trying to save the world from are other magical girls with their own ideas about what "saving the world" means, and The Power of Love can just as easily mean "obsession" as a healthy two-way relationship.
Also, if magic exists in the world, the military will take an interest, which eventually leads to magical girls becoming the spearhead of the world's militaries in Otome.
Majokko Tsukune-chan is a surreal parody of the Cute Witch genre. Menhera Chan is a Darker and Edgier Reconstruction with older, troubled girls transforming using box cutters and pills to fight demons seeking to harvest energy from humans.
Notable for inspiring a Japanese alternative fashion called Yamikawaii. Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is about a ten-year old girl named Ririka who must protect Earth from aliens who want to turn it to ruins like they did their home planet Queen Earth.
The manga and anime have rather different plots.
It gained a Periphery Demographic from fans who enjoyed its darker approach to magical girls than many other series at the time, but the older fanbase is the reason the show was cut short the toys weren't selling.
For the more mature audience, there is Papillon Rose , an ecchi parody which is part Magical Girl and part adult entertainment. The Pretty Sammy series which itself is a gentle parody of Sailor Moon. Princess Tutu took the Utena crowd back deeper into Magical Girl territory, though it is still unique.
The Garuda for Season 2.