Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, also known as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, or very simply referred to in this post as Madoka Magica, has been on my mind for a while. I remember first hearing about the show back in 2011, but that was during my anime hiatus, so I didn’t pay much mind to it. Recently I’ve seen some buzz about it around the internet and I finally decided to check it out. And wow, it did not disappoint. I finished the series in just 2 days, and am desperate for me. Currently am saving the films for one special binge session! This review is as spoiler-free as possible!
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Story & Characters
In a not so distant future we’re introduced to a sweet middle schooler named Madoka. Just like every anime main character in a high school drama, she’s pretty ordinary, wanting to get through life without causing anyone too much trouble. Everything changes with the arrival of Homura Akemi, a transfer student, and a strange fluffy creature called Kyuubey. Madoka and her friend Sayaka’s view of their world is completely changed. Kyuubey tells the girls that there are ‘witches’ in our world, they create despair and if they get strong enough can cause major disasters. Kyuubey gives Sayaka and Madoka an offer they may not be able to refuse – become magical girls and battle the witches, and any desire they have can be granted.
Besides the fantastic art, the symbolism and fantastic storyline, what Madoka Magica does best is: it creates truly loveable characters. And I don’t say this lightly. I can count on one hand shows where I’ve truly loved and cared about every single character, and I can proudly say that Madoka Magica is one of them. I don’t have a ‘best girl’ because every one of these 5 girls is like my little sister. To give an example of why this is, lets take a quick look at Naruto. I couldn’t finish this series because I genuinely couldn’t stand many of the characters, in particular Sakura and Ino. This was because I couldn’t understand how immature they were. Obviously, they were immature characters because they’re like 12-14 years old! The same age as the Madoka Magica characters. But Naruto failed to show audiences this ‘childish immaturity’, it failed to show these child characters, as just that, children. Madoka Magica succeeds in creating characters, that as a 22 year old viewer, I understand why they do stupid things, when they get frustrated at silly parts of their lives, I can see all the crazy hormonal crap of becoming a teenager. And I can relate to them, and I can care about these characters.
The story of Madoka Magica does have a few twists and turns. For me, and some other viewers, we saw them a mile away, and for others it was not so obvious. It’s interesting in that for Madoka Magica, I felt that even though I knew what was going to happen, this never ruined the show for me. Rather it cemented my position as looking at these girls as younger sisters. As me, as a big sister, with all my life experience I could see how they would be tricked or how they would be hurt by their own actions. My already emotional connection with these characters became bitter sweet as I realised I couldn’t protect them.
I will say that the pacing of this show is quite slow, for those who are tentative about trying it out, I’d recommend watching up to (and including) episode 3. If you’re still not sold, then it’s not the show for you. Overall, I really loved this show. I’m so excited for my upcoming trip to Japan so I can buy all the Madoka Magica merchandise. I highly recommend every anime fan to give this show a shot. It has something for everyone. 10/10