The recent Madoka Magika (a hyped-to-the-moon series) is nothing but the latest title in a rather old trope. The mother of all evils is Alien Nine; probably the oldest non-hentai, non-comedy anime which bases all its appeal on torturing little children. Sounds sadistic but it works. The problem with this anime as well as most others that use the trope is that it ends up being 99% shock effect and nothing else to remember it about. I mean, seriously, would you even care to remember it if it wasn’t for that twisted thing that happened to the poor aliens and the way the girls reacted to it? Ok, one would say that for once it was scary for little kids to experience such a thing and most viewers are not accustomed to expect gore and terror in a show about little girls. That makes it memorable, but hardly quality material.
So what is the story again? It’s about three elementary girls who wear aliens as hats and who are commissioned from their teachers to protect their city from aliens. Oddly enough, their equipment is quite casual as it is just fishing nets and roller skates. Watching them going to battle makes you think they are off to chase butterflies in some park. And truly, for most of the show you think it is nothing but a silly story around kids. And here is where the shock factor comes in to kick you in the nuts. The aliens are not so silly and their teachers are not so honest and the girls are not blockheads enough not to be scared with all that.
The problem is, the anime does not cover the whole story and thus you need to read the last volume in the manga version. That is what simply ruins the good mark in the story section, although to be honest it is not exactly an awesome scenario to begin with. The basic plot twist is as old as Neon Genesis, albeit with elementary girls instead of teenagers. The directing is also not given to charismatic hands; it is basically a collaboration of some nobody who only directs hentai and Irie Yasuhiro, the one who also directed FMA Brotherhood. Although the second one sounds promising, his roster is not that great and his teamwork with the other hentai dude shows badly in this anime.
The characters go unnoticed as they usually do because of the shock effect which completely overshadows them. They are just not important before the events they experience, which again ruins the mark in the character section. Other than that, you can imagine them as a far meeker, far more crybaby, and far more messed up in the head version of the Powerpuff Girls cast. Sounds like they deserve a good pat on the back just for that but as I said the incomplete story ruins their developments and possible catharsis, plus it’s the dreadful revelation that gets all the glory and not the girls who passively react to that.
The production values are the usual treatment studio J.C. Staff does to most of its works; poor overall with lots of lolis to fool the ignorant. The art is minimalistic and personally I say it’s ugly, as the characters look way too cartoony and the production values are not high enough to make up for that with fluent enough animation or frenetic action. The music themes are nothing to remember but do manage to make you think it really is a silly show, and take you by surprise later on.
So, is it a good show? Because of being left incomplete, I say it loses a lot of novelty. Plus, as usual the shock factor seems to overshadow the characters, which counts as a no-no to me. Plus, Madoka Magika looks better…
Battle Royale 2
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika