Both shows are "Magical Girl" anime that explore darker themes than other shoujo, such as death, responsibility, violence and divinity, alongside the usual friendship and occasional romance. While Sailor Moon is a light-hearted villian of the week show that gradually gets darker with every season, Madoka Magica is a twist on the genre that takes shows such as Sailor Moon and skips the filler and goes straight for the dark stuff. Both Madoka and Usagi serve as the watchers self-insert into their worlds, although Usagi presents much more personality and relatability than Madoka does. These series have great supporting casts that steal the show. If you liked Madoka Magica and you want to know the influences on the show, if you wanted more romance (either straight or yuri), and to basically enjoy a classic anime to lighten the mood, Sailor Moon is a great choice. And if you liked Sailor Moon and want to watch an anime that emulates later episodes, if you need action instead of romance, and a more macabre version of your favorite group of heroines, Madoka Magica is the one for you. read more
When I watched Sailor Moon S, I was reminded much of Revolutionary Girl Utena (though if memory serves me correctly, Sailor Moon S came around before Utena). There are several aspects of this particular season which simply scream Utena.
First of all, Sailor Moon S is darker than the previous two seasons, and the Death Busters seem much more evil than the Black Moon Clan and the Dark Kingdom, primarily because the Death Busters seek to destroy the universe instead of conquer it. The darker mood of it all strongly mirrors the dark and somewhat mysterious mood that surrounds Utena (especially in later seasons of Utena).
Likewise, both series feature very mysterious characters. The three new sailor senshi which come about in this season are very hard to figure out - Are they truly good or bad? Very much like the Utena characters, which are simply gray instead of black or white. Several members of the Death Busters and two of the new sailor senshi are only seen in shadow form before they are seen clearly, much like the shadow girls in Utena.
And, last but not least, roses are featured as a strong point in both of these stories. I don't find it surprising that Sailor Moon S and Utena were directed by the same man. read more
Both series star magical girls who save people's pure selves, which are tainted with by some evil force, by using their powers. Both series also have a very shoujo animated feel with a lot of romance and comedy, too!