ame: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
ear of S
uthor(s): Gen Urobuchi, Magica Quartet
rtist(s): Character design by Ume Aoki, Animation by studio SHAFT
enre(s): Mahou Shoujo, Dark Fantasy
oment of R
eviewing: End of the series
ormats: Film Series produced by Aniplex and Shaft
There are a few manga spin-offs but they aren't worth mentioning and I am only reviewing the 12 episode anime not the continuation of the series through the third film. At the time of this review the third film is not available for legal streaming.
An original work, by original I mean not based on a light novel a visual novel or manga like most anime series, Madoka Magica follows the stories of various magical girls who must * dramatic pause* fight witches to protect humanity! Simple enough … right? To be a bit more specific the plot is focused on three characters. Madoka Kaname who must choose to become or not become a magical girl. Homura Akemi who must stop Madoka, at all costs, from becoming a magical girl. And Kyubey the … umm cute little creature thing, typical of magical girl shows, who tempts Madoka into becoming a magical girl by offering to grant her a single wish. At this point you may or may not be wondering, but Bastian what’s the big deal with Madoka becoming a magical girl and why is this the central plot point! Well if you want to find out you should watch the anime! If this synopsis hasn’t exactly piqued your interest then just take my word for it, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is well worth your time at a modest 12 episode running length.
As stated above I believe this anime, for its running length, is well worth watching and giving up your valuable time for. My review will attempt to make that case without giving away any major spoilers.
The main selling point of this show is the plot, as it should be in any anime. Yes this is a show about magical girls but it is unlike any in the genre and is instead a deconstruction of the typical magical girl show. It takes ideas you are familiar with, if you have ever watched Sailor Moon for example, and presents them in a new way through a few crucial plot twists. This anime is dark it’s not all fun and games and cutesy being a magical girl. It deals with the psychological implications of these girls, all very young, quite literally fighting for their lives. It also deals with the bigger picture, why does Kyubey offer power and a wish to these girls to fight witches? The true motive behind Kyubey’s offerings is not what you expect. As for the pacing, it’s anything but slow as the plot doesn't pander in unnecessary side story or filler.
Every main character is given sufficient screen time to either become attached too or develop dislike towards. As stated previously, there is no unnecessary side story there are also no unnecessary side characters.
Artwork & Animation:
The animation in my opinion is pretty fantastic. If you don’t believe me or have only seen the character designs YouTube the first episode, it is available for legal streaming on Daisuki’s official channel, and watch the opening scene. The artwork & animation of the labyrinths, where the witches reside, is something else and entirely unique. As for the Moe character designs they offer a stark contrast to the show’s “deconstructed” plot line.
The music was composed by Yuki Kajiura, if you aren't familiar with her name she has composed tracks for other popular shows such as Sword Art Online and Fate/Zero. All the music fits basically perfectly for what it is asked to do which is set the mood. From the epic track played during the opening battle scene to the cute opening theme to the whimsical flute of the playful scene and finally the ominous piano track of Homura’s introduction as a character (all of this in just the first 10 minutes of the first episode). The music beautifully sets the mood and never overpowers the show itself.
I don’t want to say much about the ending since that would be betraying my original promise that this review would be without spoilers! It is damn good though albeit a tad confusing. There is a third film as well, as mentioned previously, which continues the story but the original anime ending is satisfactory and basically stand alone.
Contrary to my glowing review of this anime it is not without fault however, nothing is and expecting perfection is silly. Hopefully though I have, at the very least, caught your attention and or convinced you to check out one of my favorite series.
My first time reviewing anything really, feedback is welcome and appreciated.
By the way watch it in sub not dub.