There has been a lot of hype about Puella Magi Madoka Magica, if you haven’t heard of it… then I don’t really blame you. I can’t honestly say I read all that much and I stumble upon knowledge rather than discovering it more often than not. But in a few other blogs I have read they seem to adore Madoka Magica and there is a big push on the merchandise.
I rather adore anime, there is just something wonderful about it for me. I love liveaction, but anime has a bigger sense of the fantastical and fanatical about it that just cannot be achieved with live action. As an example you can watch the rather annoying way they try to make Honey-Sempai “anime size” in the live action of Ouran High School Host Club. *shudder*
Back to Madoka; I first got a glimpse of it by seeing an interesting link about this new anime coming out with an odd long title. I watched the trailer and after seeing the weird white cabbit thing I was enormously intrigued. I have an unhealthy adoration for Cabbits; I can’t play Pokemon without getting eevee and all its evolutions, I could watch Tenchi Muyo over and over just for Ri-oh-oki and Kyubee is no different. With a little enthusiasm I sent the same video to my housemate who shares a respect for anime but to my dismay she said it looked lame. I continued wondering about the dark graphics and the magical girl transformation. But I took heed of the advice, plus I had deadlines, hence why I was looking at anime trailers that day.
Four different anime series, 6 months, and three deadlines later I was still curious about the raved about Madoka Magica, now winner of four or so awards. I googled it and thought I would be appeased by reading the detailed synopsis, after seven episodes of storyline I thought I just as well watch the 12 episode series.
Madoka is the name of the main character. She is a naïve school girl set in the future of some point, presumably Japan. I say future, I know Japan is supposed to be rather advanced when it comes to technology, but if they had invented doors and desks with computers made from lasers and lights, and school desks that arranged themselves around students in a complex glass building I am pretty sure even I would have known.
One fine normal day in the middle of the night, Madoka and friend Sayuka are in a music store when a telepathic call for help is heard by them, leading them to an old mansion style staircase in the same futuristic CD store mall place. Crazy. They find the new transfer student at school trying to kill cute weird white cabbit, the latter being the one calling them. Homura, transfer student, seems agitated that Madoka is there and near the cabbit but being smoked by Sayuka the girls escape.
Only to wind up in a crazy labyrinth of doodles you regret colouring and a kaleidoscope of a trash bin. A random blond pig –tailed girl in the same school uniform as them appears and somehow summons guns and rifles and what-not shooting devices and takes out the worlds ugliest flower come slug come rotten chewed up wet paper-mache monster I have ever seen. She then takes the two girls to her house for cake to thank them for saving Kyubee (white cabbit).
Quick explanation, she says she is a magical girl after a contract with Kyubee, latter then says he wants Madoka and Sayuka to be magical girls too and to do this they need only ask him for one single wish. This one wish mind will cost them their soul and they will forever after have the duty to destroy ‘Witches.’
The ‘Witches’ are the ugly monsters I just described, something about a black soulless seed of despair hatches them and they create the freaky kaleidoscope barriers that hide them from humans. The magical girls duty is to destroy them, as when left, the witches are what cause people to commit suicide, murder and other bad things.
The other main plot point, which every magical girl anime has, is the transformation device. Madoka Magica’s is similar looking to a Faberge Egg, which turns into a ring when they don’t need it; well it would be difficult carrying around a little egg without losing it. But the secret behind the eggs is something that will make the chosen girls fearful and angry at Kyubee forever… But I won’t spoil that for you.
The blonde one, Mami, takes Madoka and Sayuka on a couple hunts for witches before they think of wishes to make contracts with Kyubee with. But Homura constantly tails them and impedes to Madoka that it is of the highest importance that she does not make the deal. Why? Why only Madoka? Homura is so against Madoka’s deal she threatens everyone else and even kills Kyubee a couple times.
Ok so that video is obviously edited… I still love it. Thank-you Hsiss.
So basically it is some twisted anime that really delves into the philosophy of the individual and the sacrifice of the few to benefit the greater number. It has a real soul searching element that will make you rethink your standards of wanting something so bad you would be willing to sell your soul, even in the purest of intention.
The style of art is in between my most hated and the style I like. There seem to be extra thick lines around the face, perhaps it is meant to be shadow but I just felt like rubbing it out each time. The eyes were also creepy as they seemed to be coloured with crayon. However, as the story went on it added to the charm of Madoka and her naïve ways. The art, although clean, was not always exactly the same measurement, but it echoed the confusion of the characters and how the mystery of Homura kept changing, you never really know what questions you should be asking of her until episode Nine. The heads seemed wide aswell compared to most anime, or perhaps they were wide in relation to everything else on screen, but it makes the older people and parental figures look the same age as the schoolgirls (Funny, that’s the same problem I have when drawing).
The only real criticism I have on the art, I know it sounded negative before but like I said the art suits the storyline, but the real niggly part was the feet. Madoka Magica has a bit of a foot fetish and in every episode there will be at least one close up of feet if not two but they always looked weird like the person was standing on their insteps and ankle has been broken.
Homura’s character is my favourite due to being one of the usual cast of temperaments in anime but it reverse. I want to explain this further, but she is as essential as Madoka to the plot. It would be like telling you that the transformation eggs were the ______ of the ____ ,without them ____ would ______ and be nothing but a Zombie until ___ ____ were ______ but if the eggs were to _____ the girls would ____, luckily though instead of death they just ____ into _____. Oh wait, that’s worse than death.
This anime is not for the faint hearted, it is dark and dismal and I am serious when I say it will make you rethink your values of friendship and of life. Even of vegetarianism. No really. But I don’t see any real flaws or reason not to watch it. If you like magical girls, if you like stories that don’t end with happy ever afters but are not so depressing it adds a burden to your heart, if you like strange white cabbits that are not good or bad, then give Madoka Magica a try. Although, it is not one I want for my DVD collection, I still really want Kyubee.
Watch it all in one sitting; it is only four hours, approximately. That is less time that two Harry Potter films or King Kong with two making-a-cup-of-tea breaks.
Saying that though you might want a break from the crazy barrier worlds for a couple days at a time, my motivation to sit through it was purely to write this review. Madoka Magika is good, but it isn’t anything worth selling your soul over. Long live Sailor Moon.