Mahō Shōjo Madoka★Magica (魔法少女まどか★マギカ)
Beloved family, good friends, laughter and tears – these things make up the ordinary life of Kaname Madoka, a second year student of Mitakihara City Middle School. One night, Madoka dreams of a mysterious dark haired girl struggling against a terrible evil; the next morning she discovers that the girl, Akemi Homura, has transferred into her class. This encounter will lead to an incident which will alter Madoka’s fate forever.
Genre: Fantasy, Psychological, Thriller, Tragedy, Magic, School Life
Status: Currently airing, planned for 12 episodes.
Directed by Shinbou Akiyuki, produced by Aniplex, Shaft and Nitroplus. Written by Urobuchi Gen with original character design by Aoki Ume and music by Kajiura Yuki.
Rated PG13 (bloodless violence)
arawr: Okay, I actually looked up the rating and some sites said R17 and others PG13. This isn’t a kid’s show but I don’t think it’s that adult either, so I chose the lower boundary.
I started watching Madoka Magica under the (very) insistent recommendation of my brother – who I had strongly suspected to have gone mentally deranged back home while I was away – I mean, he was telling me to go watch a mahou shoujo anime. There was no way I was gonna watch some sort of PreCure show – then he started going on about what it really was about. I would say he glorified it a little too much since it didn’t meet the sort of earth shattering impact I thought it would – but, despite all that I do believe that Madoka Magica is worth the watch for the Winter 2011 anime lineup.
I’ll try not to spoil anything here, but the main concept is that there is an incubator (in this case, an animal looking thing called Kyuubey) who would grant the wish of a young girl in exchange for her to turn into a mahou shoujo and defeat witches. Once the contract is formed, said girl gets her fancy costume and super powers to fight the evil witches.
Madoka Magica basically utilises the normal mahou shoujo theme – cute girls transforming into characters with super powers that somehow or rather always involve a change of clothes. It’s usually aimed at little kids, but please don’t go watching this with your 8 year old niece. Madoka Magica only utilises the concept of a girl having record-holding speed in a brand-new, complete, head-to-toe makeover. The development of the story, however, is based on the more realistic consequences in the highly unlikely event that this were to happen.
The main genre focus here I would say is psychological and tragedy. The decisions that the green and inexperienced characters make are extremely middle school and teenage – their development, however, is seen to progress rapidly due to the consequences of all the actions they observe. It’s an extremely harsh (and some may argue, extreme) dose of reality with the sort of power they automatically receive upon turning into a mahou shoujo. The first couple of episodes seem innocent enough to warrant the usual ‘happily ever after’ – but one event was all it took to really twist everything and trigger the internal, psychological conflict within the characters.
Putting the depressing story aside, the main reason my brother managed to pull me into watching it was when he mentioned that it was created by the same producers of Bakemonogatari – there was no reason to not watch it by that point. You can definitely see the graphic and abstract influences in the art and animation. If you really enjoyed the sort of atmosphere that was enhanced by the graphics, the angles and just the animation itself in general that you experienced with Bakemonogatari, then Madoka Magica should definitely not be missed out on.
I do find the producers a bit sick though – if you look at the promotional posters they’re all pink and fluffy like the typical mahou shoujo story. If you watch it without any prior knowledge or warning you might go all “Dude what the f*** is wrong with your head?!” and I personally, strongly believe that your reaction is highly justifiable.
Now we come to the music.
It is – just, amazing. The background music (BGM) flawlessly complements the atmosphere generated in each scene – another common feature shared with Bakemonogatari. I don’t really know how else to describe it except that the BGM seems as much a part of the story as the background, the animation and the characters itself. It feel like it gives that much of an effect.
The OP (Connect by ClariS) is one of my favourite songs right now. You should go ahead and listen to it, particularly if you enjoyed OreImo’s opening, Irony, since it’s by the same middle-school (yes, I shit you not they are in middle school) duo. The ED (Magia by Kalafina) really suits the overall dark theme of the anime, and it really links up well with how every episode ends since so far they all seem to end with this ominous air. Which is then enhanced by the ominous ED. These producers are ominously cunning geniuses I tell you.
I stumble across some comments here and there about how extremely horrible some find Madoka Magica and how it’s not worth the watch. I’m not sure if it’s because of the whole screwed up mahou shoujo concept or if they just found it plain bad – but whatever it is, I have to disagree. I wouldn’t put Madoka Magica into the category of ‘an enjoyable watch’ or somewhere along those lines, but there’s just something about the mystery surrounding everything that keeps me at the edge of my seat – which is why I post this, hoping it will Amp out to the rest of you =D