I didn’t dare touch this show before since it looked too…cute for my taste – mainly because the protagonist was in pink – but my curiosity got the better of me so I picked it up anyway. And, WHAT THE HELL, MAN! I don’t regret watching this friggin’! Awesome! Show! It’s true what they say: don’t judge the book by its cover. This has got to be the greatest mind fuck of a show I’ve ever watched in quite some time. Sorry for the F word. It’s just that it’s the perfect word to describe how I feel. This is going to be a long review, so brace yourselves.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is about Madoka Kaname – an ordinary 8th grader who has the untapped potential to become the most powerful mahou shoujo (magical girl) in the world. Set in a world where witches cause mayhem and deaths throughout the city, it is the mahou shoujo’s task to defeat these witches and take their Grief Seeds. These Grief Seeds are in turn used by the mahou shoujo to purify their Soul Gems (there’s a twist to these Soul Gems, which I won’t tell. It would take out the fun). Madoka Kaname meets Kyubey (or more appropriately saves), the being to whom a girl has to make a contract in order to become a mahou shoujo in exchange of a single wish. Kyubey’s arrival not only ushers her meeting with other mahou shoujos, it was also going to change her life forever. Really. Forever. That was not just for rhetorical purposes.
Now that’s over and done with, here are five reasons why you’ll love Madoka Magica:
1. Beautiful OP and ED. You can’t go wrong with an opening song sung by ClariS (‘Irony’ from OreImo, remember?) and an ending theme by Kalafina (‘Lacrimosa’ from Kuroshitsuji, remember that as well?). Seriously. The ending song gives me goose bumps. It’s wonderful. Plus, the background music’s top-notch. It’s psychedelic. Magical. I can’t explain it, really. You have to hear it to know what I mean.
2. Sick animation. The girls don’t look like your usual stuff but you’ll come to like the art as the show went on. But what’ll really get you would be the animation every time they go through a Witch’s barrier. It’s like being thrown into a Picasso painting. Or being in an LSD trip – not that I’ve taken LSD, or any drugs for that matter. It’s colorful yet it’s dark. It overwhelms your vision. Scary. Kowai.
3. Sicker story. How can a show with magical girls for protagonists produce a really sick story? Well, that’s where Madoka Magica will prove you wrong. Absolutely wrong. Juxtapose the cuteness of the characters to the darkness they have succumbed themselves into and you would get a contrast so stark it blows your mind away. I won’t delve into this ‘cause it will definitely have spoilers and I know you don’t want that as much as I don’t. Yes, this show is dark. It’s like throwing you into an endless vat of despair where you can never climb out of forever.
4. Nice characterization. Each character is unique with their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their own paths. Upon learning the truth on the price of being a mahou shoujo (I won’t tell), the bonds that form between the girls bring out the sides that we do not see. Also, the twists within these characters make everything more amazing.
5. Free philosophy lessons. Kyubey is an entity from a world inhabited by creatures who have no concept of emotions whatsoever. They do not understand despair, sadness, death, etc. the way humans do. As a result, he does not comprehend why the girls react in this or that way whenever something happens or when someone dies. Every time he argues with the girls, it makes you question your ethical and moral beliefs. It’s like Kyubey was arguing with the viewer themselves.
Since I’m so excitedly hyper, our Character Focus would be…everyone! *evil laugh*
1. Madoka Kaname. Our main protagonist and your typical 8th grader from a well-off family. Friendly and cheerful, she thinks of herself as good-for-nothing, weak girl which results to her having low self-esteem. No offense to Madoka fans but, I kind of got annoyed with her at first since all she did was cry and all that (but that’s just me being a bitch). However, her great sacrifice by the end – and when I say great, I do mean GREAT – proved her to be quite the strong individual. I mean, come on, it’s not that easy to take on such a wish.
2. Sayaka Miki. Madoka’s classmate and best friend – well, or so I thought but apparently, Madoka doesn’t think so (LOL). Shows just have to have one psychologically unstable character and for Madoka Magica, it’s her. She’s really protective of Madoka but when she became a mahou shoujo, she eventually began to…lose her way. She’s headstrong and noble – too noble, in fact, that it became the foreshadowing of her own demise. It’s sad, really. I can’t say anything more. *tear drop*
3. Mami Tomoe. Now this girl, is badass. She’s one of the veteran masou shoujos and she’s the one who showed Madoka and Sayaka how magical girls work. She’s so good it gives me goose bumps. She’s sort of like the Mugi-figure in the group and was exceptionally happy when she learned that she wouldn’t be alone anymore.
4. Homura Akemi. She’d probably be the character here with the most complex personality considering her, uhm, circumstances. I cannot divulge this since it is classified information. From the very start, she’s been against Madoka entering into a contract with Kyubey but of course, they do not know why. It was only during the end of the show that the truth behind her mysterious aura was revealed. Akemi may appear cool and heartless but in truth, her only concern is Madoka’s welfare.
5. Kyouko Sakura. Quite a bitch during their first meeting, Kyouko immediately waged war upon Sayaka when she took over the city (pardon the vagueness – again, classified information). Talented and powerful, she became quite an important ally later on in the show. Despite their initial battles, Kyouko forms a bond of friendship with Sayaka and the other girls.
You think I’m done? No, I’m not! MWARHARHAR! Nah, I’m kidding. I just wanted to say that this show is really great. It’s one of the most engaging shows I’ve watched so far. No dull moments – every possible emotion, every possible outcome you can think about, packed into 12-episodes of adrenaline rush. Imagine having someone dying already in, what? The 2nd or 3rd episode? And just when you thought everything’s going to be a-okay, she suddenly, ACTUALLY, dies. After you finish it, you’ll be amazed on how much they managed to stuff into 12 episodes. It’s guaranteed catharsis, really.