Eternal is the second of two recap movies which present a slightly different edit of the story of the original series. This movie covers episodes nine through twelve. Because I have already reviewed the original series Here, and Beginnings Here, I will only touch on the differences in this review. If you have already watched Beginnings, then you know how beautiful these recap movies are. Actually, there isn’t much to say really. If you watched Beginnings, then you know what to expect. And if you haven’t seen Beginnings, why the heck would you start with this movie? Go watch Beginnings!
It has been said many times that you can either watch the series, or the two recap movies, and you will pretty much get the same experience, with a similar overall running time. As for Beginnings, I disagree. You get a significant difference from the Original Series story with the Beginnings. However, Eternal seems to be practically identical in story to the original, and the only differences are in the supremely upgraded visuals.
Let’s break it down:
Animation: 9.5 Just like in Beginnings, this animation is beautiful. It’s worth a watch even if you have already seen the original series. Also, as I mentioned in my review of Beginnings, they have made a solid effort to de-sexualize the girls, removing all nudity, even in scenes such as the final meeting between Homura and Madoka after the latter makes her wish. In the original series this scene was awkward, with both girls completely nude, but with enough sparkles and glowing magical light effects to hide the details. In this movie, however, they are wearing brilliantly glowing white dresses in that scene. Kyoko’s and Homura’s transformation scenes both featured brief nudity in the original, but have been completely redone for the movie, significantly upgrading the effects and doing away with the nudity. It is simultaneously more tasteful, and more spectacular.
My only complaint was the bizarre inclusion of the original series opening credit sequence in the middle of this movie. It seems odd, and not just because it is in the middle of the movie. Those happy credit scenes, and music, were originally meant to mislead audiences about the dark nature of the series. To play it in the middle of the darkest part of the plot is jarring. A really bizarre choice on the part of the creators.
Sound: 10 Just like Beginnings, outstanding. Music is perhaps the best I have heard in anime. Voices, both English and Japanese deliver outstanding performances and you really believe the emotions.
Story: 9.0 I didn’t notice any significant deviations from the original series, which is both a strength and a weakness. I like that they were loyal to the original material, but a little something new to make watching the movie more worth the ticket price would have been appreciated.
Characters: 8.0 We’re down to just Kyoko, Madoka, and my favorite, Homura. All three really develop here, with Kyoko getting a heart, Madoka getting courage… and Homura gets Kansas? Actually, Homura gets screwed. As I like to point out, she is the only magical girl whose wish is never granted. In the end, (slight spoiler) Madoka saves herself, and Homura has been breaking herself for nothing.(end spoiler) But of course, that’s why we have a third movie, so Homura can have her just desserts.
Overall: 9.5. My recommendation: This is so faithful to the original, but with such incredibly upgraded visuals, that you should probably just watch the first eight episodes of the series, and then switch right to this movie. Don’t even bother with episodes 9 thru 12, just watch this instead!