Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Anime Review

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Cosplay

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The crowning jewel of winter 2011. I still have some other winter stuff to review (yay for slacking off?), namely Yumekui Merry and Freezing, but a friend told me to do this one. So why the hell not. I’m not entirely sure I can do this series justice (especially without presenting spoilers), but we’ll see how it goes.

The Basics of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Anime

Episodes: 12

Genre: Shoujo, Psychological, Thriller

Aired: January 7, 2011 to April 22, 2011

Directed by: Akiyuki Shinobu

Producers: Aniplex, Shaft, Nitroplus

Opening Theme: Connect by ClarisClosing

Theme: Magia by Kalafina

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Anime Review

The Story of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Anime

Madoka Kaname is your typical middle school girl, the sort who spends time with her best friend (Sayaka Miki) and just does her best to enjoy life. Really, enjoying life is a lot easier when you’re the bright, love-the-world type that Madoka is…the one who wants everyone to be happy. So, you know, the main protagonist of every magical girl series since the birth of the magical girl genre.

Then everything changes. One night she dreams about an Epic Battle against Something Dark and Evil, named Queen Bery—wait, wrong series. Well, she has the dream (sans Queen Beryl), and the next thing you know she’s stumbling into some Dark and Evil Place that looks like this:

There she meets the typical soon-to-be friend who is awesome and badass and wields a seriously sweet rifle (actually about sixty of them, but who’s counting?), as well as the Animal Companion. Except instead of being your usual nice, somewhat sarcastic and witty animal companion (i.e. Luna, Kero-chan, Mipple and Mepple), it’s something called Kyubey who is infinitely creepy and also never stops smiling, no matter how much shit goes down. And shit does go down.

This is not your grandmother’s magical girl series.
The Characters: Honestly, the characters in this anime are nothing to write home about. They’re your typical archetypes, and if I felt like it I could probably line each of the magical girls up with one of the Sailor Scouts, but I’m lazy and just don’t want to. Or…okay, I guess I shouldn’t say they’re 100% typical, but they’re certainly nothing spectacular. …And I just realized I’m letting the views of other bloggers cloud my vision, because you know what?

I really loved the cast of Madoka. Even if I didn’t like each character as an individual (my apologies to Sayaka fans, but I really did not like her), I liked how they were presented and how they worked together and how you got to see different responses from them in the –censored for terrible episode ten spoilers— and whatnot.

Take Madoka. Sure, for most of the series she might seem sort of weak, because she’s all bright and bubbly happiness. Then you get to later in the series and you get to see just how strong that little girl really is.
Take Mami. …Actually, don’t take Mami, because I can’t express what was best about her without some serious spoilers. (Let’s just say she made magical girl history in episode three.)

Take Kyouko. Your typical magical girl is sweet, or at least a nice person in general (unless they’re Sailor Uranus or Neptune, in which case they have to make sure you’re they princess before they’ll be nice to you), and they’re certainly not going to steal anything. Tell that to Kyouko. She’s out for herself. She doesn’t care about you, or your shit, at least not at first. You have to earn this girl’s respect before she’s going to give a shit about your trouble.

I can’t delve into anything else without spoilers (seriously, the best parts of this series all involve spoilers), but trust me. There’s a reason my friends and I are doing a Madoka cosplay group.

The Unexpected

All right. When I was looking at the winter anime preview, I saw the images for Madoka and was like, “Right, another magical girl series, looks pretty average, I don’t need to bother” because, well, they were advertising with stuff that looked like this:

Had absolutely no plans to watch it. Then some other blogger (I forget whom, or I would give credit), after the first episode aired, slapped a bunch of screenshots on their blog that just made me more or less go HOLY SHIT. So I grabbed the episode and gave it my full attention and this is more-or-less what happened as I watched…

Episode 1: That…was unexpected. This is magical girls, right?

Episode 2: Hang on, they’re positive? I mean it looks like magical girls, and it sort of…has a companion like magical girls, and…okay, I guess it’s magical girls. Not really sure what’s going on here though.

Episode 3: HOLY SONUVABITCH! What just happened on my computer screen?

It basically kept up like that, and here’s my description of the Unexpected in this anime, with one sentence: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is what would happen if you told Tim Burton to create a magical girl anime.

Conclusion

So the question is (hang on, wherein this review has it sounded like there’s a question?), should you watch this anime? The clear-cut answer here, is, OF COURSE, YOU SHOULD WATCH MADOKA. I have told this to every last one of my friends unless of course, they were already watching it, in which case I just kind of grinned and then fangirled with them because heavy fangirling is required where it comes to Madoka.

One great thing about this anime before I do a final note: In the blogosphere, between everyone, I think we had most options figured out, and we had worked out a lot of what was going to happen just through theories before it ever did happen. (Most of episode ten, for example, and by the way, episode ten was fucking amazing.) Still, when it came on-screen? It was still as powerful as all hell. And not a lot of things can pull that off.

So I guess…if you like magical girl anime, watch Madoka. If you liked Death Note, watch Madoka. If you like Haruhi Suzumiya, watch Madoka (I say this based mostly on a certain sentence in Madoka and anyone who knows which sentence I mean gets a cookie). If you like…uhm…anime…watch Madoka. I seriously cannot come up with a legitimate reason to not watch Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.

My rating

10/10

I don’t owe you any explanation; I’ll just say it was perfection. It really was. The ending, depending on what they had done with it, could have royally destroyed everything that had been built up and turned it to shit, but you know what? It didn’t. It succeeded, it was triumphant, it was crowned royalty, and now you really need to GO WATCH IT.

Reviewed by Arianna sterling

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