Puella Magi Madoka Magica Review

by Chad

Hearing news that Yuki Kajiura and her Kalafina is behind the music of yet another new anime, I just had to see it. Their masterpiece from Kara No Kyoukai still give me the goosebumps, after all. Going over some reviews, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, also called Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika, definitely screams the genre Magical Girl niched for kiddie girls – though most people who have seen it say otherwise. So should we waste our time on this one?

Please do read further. :)

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I’m no fan of magical girls, but still I decided to give it a shot. The introduction was an eye-catcher it seems, as it contradicted what I was initially expecting – instead of a girly intro with cuddly pets and blooming flowers, there was this dark setting somewhat similar to Shakugan No Shana in fuzetsu mode, and a dark-haired girl fighting a weird thing in the sky that kept throwing concrete at her. Kalafina’s ‘Magia’ would be playing all the while in the background.

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The usual home and school setting would follow to introduce the main character, Madoka Kaname, who dreamt the scene earlier on. It appears that the the dark-haired girl who was fighting inside her dream was about to join her class as an exchange student named Akemi Homura. This baffled her as Akemi kept staring at her in a very strange manner while at class.

The series does have its many teeny girly-talk scenes, as the protagonist is a high schooler with dreams, after all – and this is a mahou shoujo anime. Ironically though, such scenes would serve as a crucial catalyst for the story’s development to its dark,  gloomy and obscure state later on.

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Synopsis from Wikipedia:

There exist strange creatures who have the power to grant one wish to a chosen girl. However, in exchange, that girl must then become a Puella Magi, a girl with magical powers, and fight against witches, evil creatures born from darkness and are responsible for murders and suicides.

In the city of Mitakihara, a schoolgirl named Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki are approached by a familiar named Kyubey, who offers to grant them each one wish in return for making them Puella Magi. Another Puella Magi named Homura Akemi tries to prevent Madoka from making such a deal, while Kyubey urges Madoka by telling her she will become the most powerful Puella Magi.

Unlike the glamorous notions of becoming a magical girl, the Puella Magi find themselves dealing with death, isolation, the value of their wishes, and existential crises. Madoka, following her Puella Magi friends, soon sees the darker side of being a Puella Magi, and despite knowing the truth of the existence of the Puella Magi, still questions if she should become a Puella Magi too.

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What’s pretty unique in this anime is when our heroes charge to the barriers of witches. After entering the magical door, their surroundings would become obscure and filled with bizarre images and beings – a maze of the uncanny. They would have to go pass through the maze to meet the witch and defeat it.

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Honestly, the first time I saw the first witch boss, I was like “What the hell is that!?” A gooey swamp head of roses with a butterfly wing and furniture attached to it? At least that’s what I think. It’s very outlandish! And the feeling was fresh too, so I somehow was able to enjoy it’s weirdness.

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The main setting would be finding and hunting down the witches and their Grief Seeds, entering their barriers, going through the maze, then battling and defeating the witch. So besides from the boring real world, we will often find ourselves in the mysterious barriers of the witches.

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Actually, I just finished watching the 3rd episode and was about to sleep, but this certain scene really urged me to blog this anime – despite that I still have many other anime lined up:

It is revealed that the Puella Magi Mami was suffering from what the Puella Magi life brought for her – “she’s just being cool by pushing herself too hard, even when she’s afraid of having a hard time she can’t talk to anyone, and all she can do is cry by herself.” This is when our protagonist Madoka decides to always be by Mami’s side when she becomes a Puella Magi. This gave Mami hope to have another chance to happiness at life. But then

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So yeah, after that scene of enlightenment and emotional build-up, Mami’s head gets decapitated by the witch they tried to hunt next. Is this sick or what!? I was already envisioning various routes on how the story would go, like how Mami and Kyubey were the bad guys after all and that Homura was actually the co-heroine. Then THIS happens.

This anime aired between January 7-April 21, 2011, so it’s preety much fresh from the oven.

I think I can endure more of the magical girly moments of this anime in exchange for the dark and morbid content that has yet to be uncovered. This is definitely a must-watch!

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