Summary: There exist familiars who have the power to grant one wish to a chosen girl. However, in return that girl must then become a magical girl and fight against witches, evil creatures born from curses that are responsible for murders and suicides. A schoolgirl named Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki are approached by a familiar named Kyubey and a magical girl named Mami Tomoe with offers of becoming magical girls. Another mysterious magical girl named Homura Akemi tries to prevent Madoka from agreeing to the contract.
“Remember this… and take it to heart: kindness sometimes leads to even greater tragedy.”
- Other names: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika, Magical Girl Madoka Magica
- Studio: Shaft
- Genre: Dark fantasy, horror, magical girl
- Episodes: 12
- Status: completed
“It’s not what you thought it would be,” said friends who recommended this show to me. In 2011, Madoka Magica was advertised as a “high school girl show” before its release. But after 3 or 4 episodes, it turned out to be something completely opposite. Madoka Majica took Japan by storm that year. Of course, if you watch the show much later (like me), there is less of the surprise factor since you know what to expect. Still, Madoka Magica with its amazing plot and art is so mind-blowing that I hope to share some of my thoughts here. (Side note: There’s no spoiler in this review. However, I do talk about the central themes that are revealed later in the show. If you want to enjoy the anime WITHOUT any source of expectations or preconceived opinions about the, I suggest skipping this review and going straight to the show. And come back to read later! (´∀｀•) )
Justice and power
Justice and power are among the most important themes in Madoka Magica. But why choose high school girls genre to illustrate these heavy topics? The answer I came up with is that high school girls are naïve. In order to carry out justice, often it requires power. Magical girls, or any kind of warriors, need their superpowers or secret weapons. But no one ever questions where those powers come from.
“I don’t need anyone’s thanks. I’ll be the only magical girl around who doesn’t use her magic for herself.”
In the anime, Madoka and her best friend Sayaka are led to join the magical world and learn about the job of a magical girl. Is the pride in protecting humankind worth the danger? Are they really protecting humankind? Where does their power come from? The story will slowly reveal its dark secret of the magical world, and you won’t be able to stop binging it (as long as you have the patient to finish episode 3).
“A person becomes naïve if they’re too kind. Careless if they’re too bold. And no matter how hard you try to protect others, there’s no gratitude. Those who can’t comprehend such things aren’t fit to be Magical Girls.”
Part of Madoka Magica’s success, I believe, lies in character development: not just the protagonist Madoka Kaname, but many other side characters that create a dynamic fantasy world. Every magical girl has her own story that resonates with the audience. There is one character, though, who is totally different from the rest: Kyubey. He is the connection between the normal and magical worlds. His role in the story is to explain the rules and contracts that bind magical girls. Why make such a powerful character look like a cute pet? Initially, he reminds me a lot of Lunar, the black cat in Sailor Moon: he is the one who guides Usagi through her journey as a warrior. But as we already know, Madoka Magica is so not Sailor Moon. And Kyubey is one of the most interesting characters in the show that you can’t ignore.
I was deeply impressed with Madoka Magica’s art style: not the high school girls, but the Witch Labyrinths whenever the fighting happens. It is absolutely mesmerizing!
Hope you enjoy! xD