Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Shaft/Aniplex)
Seasons: 1 (12 episodes) Original Run: January 7th, 2011 – April 22nd, 2011
I think everyone understands the classic magical girl tropes (and if not go read my Sailor Moon Review kupo!) that have solidified the importance of the genre as much as giant mecha and Harem classics. Now what if you took those tried and true ideas, and flipped them on their head. Madoka Magica takes a mostly innocent genre and warps it into something almost unrecognizable, but to amazing results.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica follows the story of Madoka Kaname, a fourteen year old school girl who leads a normal happy life with her friends until the day a new transfer student, Homura Akemi approaches her with a cryptic message “stay who you are.” And with that Madoka’s life is changed forever. Shortly after Homura’s arrival a mysterious creature known as Kyubey informs Madoka that he can grant her any wish, in exchange she fights elusive evil beings known as Witches with the magic he provides.
What sets this show apart from other shows of the genre is the grim presentation of becoming a magical girl. In most instances the choice is simple and immediate, become a magical girl to save your friends, save the world. What Madoka Magica does is it adds consequences to those choices. What do you wish for? Is that wish worth a lifetime of fighting things that could easily kill you. There are a lot of morality issues that come into it especially after a certain event early on. The girls in the show are not your typical magical girl fodder either, their lives are complicated and the intense change into something that is hardly recognizable as a human.
The intense drama and tragic story that is woven into the twelve episode series is masterfully done. Each character manages to find a place in your heart as their fight becomes more and more desperate. Kyubey’s manipulation is immense and once his final master plan is revealed it’ll leave you shocked to the core.
Now onto the animation, this was a bit of a treat for the eyes as the normal animation is traded in for a mixed media style within the witches’ lair that is filled paper cut out monsters and curtains made of filmed cloth. Adding a surreal other worldly almost drug induced mesh of objects and splashes of color. What is left is a sense of terror and dread as these young girls are put in frightening situations all for the sake of thier single wish being granted.
I guess what I want to get around to kupo, is that Madoka magica is a great anime that heavily focuses on human drama in a supernatural situation. The girls are all interesting and identifiable but their struggles are real and their pain is palpable as they are pushed to the very limits of their short lives. Easily the best anime I could recommend if you’re into human drama, and defiantly something I suggest checking out when it releases early next year by Aniplex USA.
I rate Puella Magi Madoka Magica 5/5 Kupo!