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[Review] Puella Magi Madoka Magica

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  • [Review] Puella Magi Madoka Magica



    Year: 2011
    episodes: 12
    Genre: Magic Girl, Drama, Fantasy
    Studio: SHAFT
    Writer: Gen Urobuchi
    Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
    Music: Yuki Kajiura


    “What creates life is a wish”

    - Magia


    What would you wish for? Would that wish be for your personal gain or for the sake of others? Regardless, how far are you willing to go to make that wish come true? Enter the world of the Puella Magi, where all of your deepest desire comes true for a very dear price. At first you may think of this as a typical Mahou Shojou (Magic Girl) genre anime with annoying characters and a childish plot, but by the time you delve deeper, you will know it is beyond any conformity and norms of a typical magic girl show. This anime will show to us the monstrosity of human nature in a subtle and unexpected manner. A rare form of anime that will make you question yourself, others, and humanity as a whole.

    In the world where Madoka Kaname lives in, all is the right place and life is nothing but bliss. Until ‘that fateful day’, everything she holds on dear, everything she knows and everything she believes in, shall be put to the test. She encountered a weird creature aptly name Kyubey being chased down by some sort of assassin, asking for her help. As Madoka and her friend Sayaka chases after Kyubey and rescues it from the assassin, weird things happen all of a sudden and they find themselves in a den full of weird creatures. They are saved Mami, an ally of Kyubey and a Puella Magi. Much later, the assassin confronts them and she appears to be a Puella Magi herself. She warns Madoka not to make mistake of trusting Kyubey. She is determined to convince Madoka not to sign the contract that will grant her wish but will turn her into a Puella Magi, the ones who hunt the vile witches. What follows after that is an emotional tale of friendship, freedom, and the ambiguity of the human soul.


    Overview:



    One look at its attractive and colorful opening and one will be deceived into thinking this is another fancy magic girl show involving young girls who just reached puberty and everything will be smiles and rainbows. Well, unfortunately, everything beyond the opening (and the first 15 minutes of episode 1, at least) will be a rollercoaster of events that can either turn off or impress anime fans with its unique style and mature sequence treatment.

    Characters:



    The five heroines of the show are a mixed bag of uniqueness and are considerably round characters with totally different approach in different situations as each episode passes. At first we may think one of them is consistently rash but in the end we find out that she is just a disturbed character who is longing for acceptance. Delving further will just spoil everything so it’s best to just describe them as is.

    Madoka is your typical nice girl who is so selfless and is willing to make a stand for her friends despite the fact that she does not have the power to save anyone Sayaka is the energetic type who loves to go on adventures. She is Madoka’s best friend and despite the fact that she is very open to others, she is hiding a deep desire that she can’t even share with her. Her power involves swords and sword mastery. Mami is your lovable “sempai” character with an exuberant outlook on all situations. She showed Madoka and Sayaka what it’s like to be a Puella Magi. She summons cool artilleries in battle as her magic power. Kyoko is a mysterious girl who always pisses Sayaka off. Her power is more of a melee type, similar to Sayaka. Homura is an obnoxious girl who has the power to manipulate time. She is very cold and treats everyone badly but deep inside she is just concerned about them. Lastly, Kyubey, the furry bastard who is more then meets the eye. He serves as the catalyst that grants the girls their wishes in return for their service as a Puella Magi.


    Music:






    Definitely one of the most breathtaking soundtracks in recent memory, this show surely delivers and it delivers well. Yuki Kajiura, the person behind the musical score of the popular Xenosaga franchise and many amazing animes such as FATE/ZERO and Black Butler, did a beautiful job in creating amazing background music in every vital scene in the show.

    The opening theme may give a pleasant mood to the beggining of each episode, especially since it’s a light pop song about friendship sung by ClaRis. The ending theme, however is a huge transition from light to dark theme for it’s a very powerful performance by Kalafina singing a song about sacrifice and battle against all odds. This musical variety is rare in a 12 episode anime, kudos to the team who though of this brilliant music ensemble.

    Art and Animation:



    Definitely one of a kind when it comes to the art style, this anime showcases the far flung difference between the simple and the sublime. From the architecture down to the cursed zones, everything is painstakingly detailed. The gothic/baroque/medieval/whatever style that reminds you witches and evil spirits come to life in vibrant colors and amazing presentations. The enemies here are not your run-on-the-mill generic enemies that typical magic girl shows offer for these creatures called “witches” are a league of their own. They almost make you feel that you are watching a full blown psychological horror anime instead of a magic girl show.

    The only gripe within the show is that the character art is not supported by smooth animation and editing. Oftentimes you will see a quality drop in every single frame in one particular scene, deforming the characters even in unnecessary situations (There are some certain deformities that is vital in the scene, but those are very far apart). This is the problem in the broadcast version that is eventually fixed in the DVD and Blu-ray releases. Negativity aside, the character design is simple and somewhat lovable.

    Voice Acting:



    The cast makes the roles of each character memorable. From the soft and caring voice of Mami to the tiny yet malevolent voice of Kyubey, they all represent each character very well. Not a single line will be missed out for the seiyuus did a pretty good job in this show.

    Overall:



    Anime of the year 2011, no doubt; a show that will prove that there is still hope for anime. Despite the growing pains of raining clichés and rampant standardizing, it dared to be different and came out glorious. The plot maybe hard to shallow for some, but once given consideration, they will see there is much to love here. One of Shaft’s finest; one of anime’s most memorable.


    Art:

    Animation:

    Sound and Music:

    Story:

    Characters:

    Fun factor:



    Alupihan reviews ™All rights reserved 2012
    Last edited by Alupihan; 07-05-2013, 06:48 AM. Reason: correction on the musical director


    “As if you were on fire from within. The moon lives in the lining of your skin."
    - Pablo Neruda


  • #2
    This one definitely exceeded my expectations. It's frustrating in a way. I'm just about to give up on the entire magical girl / high school genre and then this turns up. Now I've got to keep on checking out shows I would otherwise ignore just in case they're another undiscovered diamond The ending song is definitely superb and the series doesn't so much defy cliche as pull out cliche's fingernails before getting medieval on its ass. The whole antagonist / protagonist dynamic is handled with a complexity other shows could learn much from, it's dark without being shallow. Even the underlying rationale driving things caught me off guard with its logic.
    "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery."

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    • #3
      The only downside of this show is too few episodes... I was hoping a better character development but most characters were dead in first eight episodes (and most are dead for silly reason).

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      • #4
        As Karis Fra Mauro said, when I knew it was about magical girls I had my doubts but the adult point is great and the music is completely awesome. It's a great anime.
        [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_293080_1467446443955_602[/ATTACH]

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        • #5
          Ahh, that was an excellent review.

          I don't believe that I can improve upon what has been already said about the anime other than to simply say that personally I absolutely loved the series. Perfect fitting OST, brilliant believable characters, just the right pacing and a wide variety of great animation styles to keep it interesting as well as what Karis mentioned, the fact that it's an incredibly original series even though it's based on an old genre.

          Actually that anime series was my first choice if I were to write a review but it has become such a famously brilliant anime which made the idea of reviewing it incredibly daunting for me... Anyway, great job and +rep.

          Learn lots. Don't judge. Laugh for no reason. Be nice. Seek happiness.

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          • #6
            Puella Mahou Shoujo Madoka with its undeniable Homura x Madoka pairing makes it a must watch series

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            • #7
              I actually think it is Madoka x Homura pairing...

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              • #8
                I've heard there's going to be a second season, which wouldn't surprise me at all and should please those looking for more episodes. Personally I'm a bit concerned since messing with perfection is surely an invitation to disappointment. There's probably more manga or light novel or whatnot too It's fair to point out characters perish for stupid reasons, but isn't that just how it is in the real world? Another thought on the animation though. The first time I saw the witch space (I forget the technical name but those who've seen it know what I'm talking about) it looked like a Monty Python cartoon if they had actual resources to splash around. Completely mind blowing.
                "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Karis Fra Mauro View Post
                  I've heard there's going to be a second season, which wouldn't surprise me at all and should please those looking for more episodes. Personally I'm a bit concerned since messing with perfection is surely an invitation to disappointment. There's probably more manga or light novel or whatnot too It's fair to point out characters perish for stupid reasons, but isn't that just how it is in the real world? Another thought on the animation though. The first time I saw the witch space (I forget the technical name but those who've seen it know what I'm talking about) it looked like a Monty Python cartoon if they had actual resources to splash around. Completely mind blowing.
                  Nope, it would be a three parts film instead a second season; the first two parts of film would retell the story, and the third part is new one.

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                  • #10
                    thanks for your review man now i feel bad i thought it was going to be Magical Girl Pretty Sammy all over again. I will definetly check it out thnx..............
                    $$$THUG LIFE$$$

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                    • #11
                      This anime is definitely worth watching. It is a good story with a lot of surprises.

                      If I am not mistaken, there will be a visual novel based on this story by NitroPlus also.

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                      • #12
                        fantastic review.
                        But at the part "Yuki Kajiura, the man behind the musical score of the popular Xenosaga franchise and many amazing animes such as FATE/ZERO and Black Butler", i thought Yuki was a woman, unless you were being artistic about it...

                        as for the 3 part movie: Movie retellings seem to be a trend nowadays.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sithstormjedi View Post
                          fantastic review.
                          But at the part "Yuki Kajiura, the man behind the musical score of the popular Xenosaga franchise and many amazing animes such as FATE/ZERO and Black Butler", i thought Yuki was a woman, unless you were being artistic about it...

                          as for the 3 part movie: Movie retellings seem to be a trend nowadays.
                          oh fuck...I screw up on that part. Sorry.


                          “As if you were on fire from within. The moon lives in the lining of your skin."
                          - Pablo Neruda

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The anime try to break old classic Magical girls style. But I thing it just show the same main idea through Postmodernism.

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                            • #15
                              I associated postmodernism with nihilistic tendencies myself, something not consistent with the admittedly dark yet ultimately redemptive nature of Madoka. It certainly does represent an updated departure from the genre however.
                              "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery."

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