This is my first time being moved by what essentially is a mahou shoujo anime which shows that anything can happen in life. Anyway being concious of the massive amount of review before me given in tribute to what I consider to be the best of the spring season I will write this review as unique as I can.
First off I will start with the animtion which I fiund unique and refreshing. It is a I admit not the best but rather one I enjoyed. The shading and colour having a special place which I will put in my brain to remeber. This is actually what made me keep watching after the the slow paced start and the seemingly endless unexplained mysterys, up till the next ep I thought it would have continued like this as a very average and cliche mahou shoujo anime but soon my false accussition was shattered without mercy and a hook thrown from the screen of my laptop to my eyes. I was instantly compelled to continue this series down its continuous winding path. If this was a path then Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica whould have started off as a main road which then goes into a side road gradually getting narrower and more dark until suddenly you diverge into another main road with a taste of a good stretch with you car suffering many minor scratches. thos scrathes represent the bittersweet feelings that you are left with as the series enters it's final moments. However you are led to believe the world became better even if the sacrifice did not completly erase sufferinf/despair, you know it was for a good cause. I would consider this to be a candidate for a legend but it will be the majority's sa which will count I hope that many of you will try this and not be put off by the start.
I've read many people praising this show for its adult perspective on the magical girls genre. But I just couldn't get into it. Didn't like the pacing of the episodes, too much talking (and walking) - not enough showing, and while the characters asked adult-like questions (although, never asked for Kuybey to explain the contract in full) they were cute magical girls so I couldn't suspend my disbelief that they would ask such questions. It was like the concepts were 3D, but the characters were still 2D (no pun intended). I also never really cared for any of the characters, which I think is necessary to enjoy this show. How they show Madoka's family life in the first episode, to make her relate-able, was necessary but felt kind of forced. It adds to her story, but doesn't really make me care what happens to her.
Maybe it's because it's a magical girl show, and I didn't think Tweeny Witches was that great either. Both series have similar animation, so maybe I'm biased. My partner immediately compared it to Sailor Moon, but I've never seen Sailor Moon so I can only take her word on it. I wanted to like Madoka, but I found shows like Xxxholic and Shakugan no Shana more entertaining from the first episode.
A big problem for me was the lack of humor. For a show that was based on the concept of balance, I found it overly dramatic, and took itself way too seriously. Just a little bit of humor here and there would have made it SO much more watchable, but serious introspection and consequences can only take a show so far for me, and it became depressing in episodes 7 and 8 (just as I was starting to care for Sayaka). I did find their idea for the greatest source of energy in the universe pretty funny, although I probably wasn't meant to.
Episode 10 (showing the adventures of Homura) was good. More-show-less-tell. But having seen Serial Experiments Lain, I found the final episode predictable. In some ways Madoka may be this generation's Lain, except Lain kept its concepts mysterious and open to interpretation, while it felt like Madoka spoon-fed them to me. I'll concede Madoka looked fantastic, and it's only 12 episodes so I don't feel too bad about watching all of it, but I feel I wasn't its intended audience so I can't recommend it.
This is not a child’s magical girl show like Sailor Moon. It is extremely dark and asked questions that may just make you feel very small in the world. Seriously, this show depressed me slightly with its sort of morbid idea of what a magical girl does. We follow a young girl who is given a rather rare chance to make one wish come true but in doing so, she must become a magical girl and fight evil known as witches. A no brainier right? Who wouldn’t want to be a hero and get their wish granted at the same time? But like all good things in real life, there is a price that has to be paid. Sadly, to tell you would ruin the whole mystery behind the show and so it leaves me at a loss, how do you review a show that you can say very little about without spoiling anything?
I will try to do as best I can without losing the mystery. We will start out speaking about the characters. Madoka Kaname is well… she was boring to me at first. A girl who was the typical cute and moe anime girl who had nothing bad going for her. Hell, at times I even thought this show was going to just be about how even more perfect she could become but I was soon mistaken as not only the story went down a dark path but also the imagery. She and her friend soon find themselves following magical girl after magical girl and their own takes on what it means to be a hero as well as what they wished for. Her friend had already picked her wish, so what would a girl who is so happy want? That was what kept me going, wanting to know more and more about what was going on. After a bit, it felt like they were just pulling me around.
The imagery is slightly troubling, sometimes rather clean and perfect and then other times it looks like puppetry. I’m not saying it’s bad, far from it in fact. The artwork is stunning but there are times like for the witches where the characters feel like they are paper puppets moving. Anything in the witch’s world is also this sort of puppet style with odd squiggles and designs drawn on them. The colors normally look like they are dark and settle. When you are outside the witch’s world, the show actually feels very minimalist and clean lined. It’s very futuristic with bright, almost blinding, lights and pastel colors. Surprisingly for Shinbo’s work, there is not all that much of the little girl naked images that we know from him so that was a bit of a plus for me. There was some but not much.
The dub voices are another matter though. Many of the voices just feel they don’t work. Madoka’s was just annoying at times because of her sweet and innocent voice that was so high pitched. Some of the other voices seemed a little to childish but then again, they are middle school so I guess it’s alright. In the end, the sounds were what brought everything all together.
Story: I really love magical girl anime, its one of my favourite genres, so I thought I'd absolutely LOVE this anime- I had always wanted a more mature mahou shoujo to watch, then Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika came along. But I finally got round to watching it, and my hopes were simply too high.
The story wasn't AWFUL- it just failed to fully attract and maintain my attention, with the exception of about 5 scattered episodes. The story in the first 7 or 8 episodes wasn't really about Madoka at all- it was about her friend Sayaka who becomes a Puella Magi, only for it to all go wrong. Whilst this was interesting in the last few episodes of Sayaka's story, I was getting a little frustrated. Madoka just sat there idely every episode, watching her friends fighting, watching them grow depressed and suicidal, and she just...sat there. It made her, as the protagonist, in Tim Rice-Oxley's words, ''completely fucking boring''.
However episode 10 was a big improvement. The last 3 episodes focussed on Homura instead, another Puella Magi and her relation to Madoka. But, once again, Madoka was still not even a magical girl. She was sitting there, being told she had all this potential and she was still just SITTING there, weeping all the time. Then the last episode came- and it was...weird. The last few episodes had upped my rating of this show barely to four stars, then the last episode appeared and back down to 3 stars it goes, I just found the ending...odd. It was an acquired taste. Someone is erased from everyones memories, and one girl who has known her A MONTH remembers her- but oh no, her own mother and father don't! I just find that...too unbelievable. Homura's affection for Madoka what she gathered up within just a month? How can you grow so incredibly all-loving of a person in just a mere month? It was too short a timeframe for it to be even mildly believable for me.
Animation: At first I thought the animation of characters could look rather plain and perhaps tacky- but I gradually warmed up to it, the characters just naturally do seem rather plain to the eye. The character designs weren't particularly inspiring- the typical colour coordination, pink-haired protagonist and the darker character wearing black. But the witches made up for it, the animation during battles and of the other realms was amazing, bright and lively.
Sound: It set the mood well when the characters were depressed. There was a lot of silence without music too. But none of the music really reached out to me and grabbed me, without a few rare exceptions.
Characters: Meh. The protagonist did absolutely nothing for about 11 episodes out of twelve. Literally every single character except for Homura was barely developed, or their past wasn't brought up, except for maybe Sayaka. Other characters such as Mami or the red-haired Puella Magi seemed just to be there to demonstrate how many different coloured magical girls they could have.
Kyubey really irritated me. I've never been a huge fan of the magical girl familiars, but Kyubey was plain detestable. His species' inability to have emotion could make him very frustrating to watch, and all he ever did was try to CONSTANTLY turn Madoka into a Puella Magi for his own personal gain. If her friend had died? ''Oh care not Madoka, if you become a Puella Magi...'' If she was worried about witches taking over? ''Madoka, you'll be strong if you become a Pueklla Magi...'' If shes eating some canned brocolli and watching Doctor Who? ''Madoka, come become a Puella Magi...'' he just pushed it too hard.
Overall: Meh. It IS darker than other magical girl shows, but I wouldn't say that makes it any better. I am very relieved it was only 12 episodes long. Its definitely different from other mahou shoujo's and is worth a watch even if you don't like the genre...but its a acquired taste. And I think perhaps slightly overrated.
Since lately I have lost my anime spirit, I decided to check anime planet to see the anime I've been wanting to watch. Thus, Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica (or just Madoka Magica) was one of the choices. Now, needless to say, the Magical Girl genre is in fact ovverated and can get cliche with it's basic story. Girl meets weird thing, weird thing turns girl into either a superhero with either the most kinky or Halloween-costume-like costume and must fight bad guys alongside other Magical girls. Well, I had heard that Madoka Magica was exactly all that, except it had twists and turns like no other Magical Girl anime. Do I agree? Let's find out in this review of Madoka Magica!
Madoka Magica is originally a 12 episode long anime produced by Shaft and Aniplex back in January 2011 and later spawning multiple mangas, a novel, a game, and three movies (I haven't watched them yet but it's basically a redone version of the series as a movie except for the third which is all-original).
This anime is rated TV-14 for it's use of bad language and gore and even some scary imagery.
At first you would think Madoka Magica is your basic Magical Girl story like I said. Even the first few seconds of the first episode says, "Oh hell no, you've been lied to!" because it is nearly NOTHING like any other Magical Girl series. It starts off with a young girl named Madoka Kaname who has a nightmare about another girl named Homura Akemi fighting a weird creature as Madoka watches her suffer. The next morning along wth her friend Saiyaka Miki meet Homura Akemi who is a transfer student at their school and she is a Magical Girl assigned to find witches for a weird creature named Kyubey. Kyubey meets the two girls and wants them to make contracts with him to become Magical Girls and make one wish. Slowly they succumb to this fate and make the contract, but this Magical Girl "dream job" is a lot more darker and twisted than anyone would think...
The most surprising is how slow it takes for the two main characters to actually become Magical Girls and how slow yet fast paced the show itself is for being only 12 episodes. Like MCA, Madoka Magica has to rush for the 12 ep budget but the story is a lot more explained than MCA.
Overall, I would say the story is full of amazing and captivating twists and turn leading you to a bitter end.
The character in Madoka Magica are just downright awesome. Madoka, Saiyaka, Mami, Kyoko, and Homura all make for Magical Girls with different but stunning personalities tied together for many situatuions. Kyubey is a very hard character to decipher. In the beginning, Kyubey is an alien creature just wanting help to defeat these witches and evil forces. But then, you realize his real plan and suddenly Kyubey is not a villain or even good guy (but I can't spoil too much for you like I've already have) so it makes everything confusing.
The side characters don't have too much of an importance except for Madoka's mom, Kyosuke, and Hitomi but they still have decent development.
I love the characters, just that there's not many side characters with importance.
Madoka Magica's soundtrack consist of rock and orchestra, but there's not much too choose from. In all 12 episodes, I've only heard like 4 recognizeable songs. The opening, one choir song, a bell-like song, and the ending. That was pretty much it, you can't really make too much of a sountrack out of four songs. But those four songs were pure perfection, helping enlighten the suspense, joy, action and just maybe a little fun.
Even if there were less than 4 songs recognizeable in the anime, the music is too beautiful to be overlooked. Just wish they made more
Ok, like MCA, this is Shaft but more artisitc. You still see those weird neck turns, far away animation where you can't barely see the character talking or even in general and the akward standing positions. But as for everything else, it doubled compared to my opinion on MCA's animation. The character designs were very unique, the backgrounds were awesome, the witches were ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR AND MUCH MORE UNIQUE and the fightning sequences carried out vibrantly and it was just kickass!
I think Shaft used up most of their budget on this show because the animation for Madoka Magica was plain KICKASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Two words. Must Watch. Seriously, this new take on the Magical Girl genre is plain awesome and unforgettable. It may be short but in the future you'll look at it again and say, "Anime was awesome back then, especially you Madoka Magica, wish they had more anime like that.
*Kyubey appears* Would you like to make a contract with me on that? I can make that wish come true. Would you give up your soul for that and become a Magical Girl?
*punches Kyubey in the guts* Heck no!
Anyway, just go and watch, you absolutely won'tt regret it!
(If there any questions or corrections about this review or Mekaku City Actors, contact me! ;D)