This was a show that took a while for me to watch. After finishing Little Busters, I decided to finally give this show a go. Today, we dive back into the world of magical girls and into the world of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
The Story: We all wish for things in this world. A new car, a loved one’s health, the chance to go to a festival. We all wish for material possessions or happiness sometimes. But have you ever wished for something so badly that you would risk your life in exchange for it to come true? And what would you do if you had that chance?
Madoka Magica follows the story of Madoka Kaname, a 8th grader living in the not-so-distant future, who is approached by a strange creature called Kyubey, who offers her the chance to grant her one wish if she becomes a magical girl.
You’ll hear these phrases a lot when talking about this show, but Madoka Magica is dark, depressing, and, to some extent, horrifying. Magical girl shows, I’ve found, tend to be more light-hearted. Characters might still die and shows can be serious, but it rarely takes itself too seriously. Madoka Magica changes all that. Its take on the magical girl archetype is unorthodox, but absolutely brilliant. It smoothly throws a change of tone on you about a quarter of the way through as it reveals the sinister truth behind the magical girls, then leaves you to wade through the twisted halls of its plot for the rest of the show. Madoka Magica has a central conflict that isn’t referred to much; in every episode, there might be a scene or to referring to how Madoka is trying to decide if she wants to become a magical girl, but most of the show doesn’t follow that, yet there is somehow direction. Halfway through, they add an overarching conflict, which sadly doesn’t play out much because it’s introduced too late and hardly mentioned until the very end.
The only flaw in Madoka Magica‘s is that it’s only 12 episodes long. While the story was solid, twelve episodes affected Madoka Magica’s characters.
The Characters: Surprisingly, I didn’t actually like many of the characters in Madoka Magica, though each main character was pretty complex. When Madoka Magica changes its tone around and we discover the truth about the magical girls, each character reacts differently; each gets some form of development. For some reason, however, while the story was immersive, it can be hard to get attached to these characters because not much else besides the whole magical girl plot twist defines them.
Madoka Kaname: I really want to say something good about Madoka. I really do. But when the main character hardly does anything in her own show other than cry and whine, it’s hard to find the positive traits. Madoka is not a great main character, instead acting more like Eren Jaegar from Attack on Titan. She’s clearly the most important character, yet hardly does anything.
Sayaka Miki: To contrast Madoka, we have Sayaka, easily a better character in almost every way. Sayaka is more complex, with better development. She begins the tone change a quarter of the way through the show. Despite getting less screen time, I got far more attached to Sayaka than Madoka and the other characters.
Homura Akemi: Homura’s a character whose story is not fully realized until the end of the anime, which, by that point, is a bit too late. Homura acts as this mysterious character for the majority of the story, with some peculiar fascination with Madoka, yet you don’t understand why until the conclusion. As a result, it’s hard to say how good of a character Homura was. She”s certainly unpredictable, and she did receive a stellar backstory, but it’s hard to say if it was adequate.
Kyubey: The mysterious Kyubey is the driving force behind most of the show. It is the reason magical girls exist at all. However, there’s not much to say about Kyubey. It’s incapable of feeling emotion and thus not capable of any development. Kyubey exists more as a plot device than anything else.
Final Verdict: Madoka Magica is a pretty famous show, and I can see why. It has one of the greatest stories I’ve seen in an anime. While the characters are not as developed as they could’ve been, the storytelling more than compensates. Madoka Magica is certainly an interesting anime to look into. If you like magical girl shows or grim stories, this is a must-see. Even if you don’t like magical girls, I would recommend this show; it certainly lives up to its hype.
Final Grade: B+