Magical Girls are a common trope in Japanese media. Characters who are magical girls uses magic to battle enemies. They are usually accompanied by a cute-looking animal or being who have given their magical powers.
A common feature of magical girls is the "transformation sequence", an animation sequence which shows the girls change their normal outfits to their magical girl clothes. Their magic can manifest in weapons not limited to just staves or through pure magic.
There is a male counterpart to this trope but this is not common.