[[caption-width-right:350:''[[TagLine She will not know yet if this encounter is a mere coincidence or a necessity.]] [[HopeBringer Which would be, an encounter that would change her destiny.]]''[[note]]From left to right: [[KnightInShiningArmor Sayaka Miki]], [[WildCard Homura Akemi]], [[AllLovingHero Madoka Kaname]] (with [[ManipulativeBastard Kyubey]] on her left arm), [[TeamMom Mami Tomoe]] and [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Kyoko Sakura]].[[/note]]]]
->''"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."''
-->-- '''Homura Akemi'''

Madoka Kaname is an OrdinaryMiddleSchoolStudent with a loving family and a close circle of friends. One day, an enigmatic girl named Homura Akemi [[NewTransferStudent transfers into her class]], setting off a chain of events that will completely change Madoka's life.

For you see, a horrible crisis is unfolding. The universe is running out of the energy it needs to sustain itself, and approaching [[ApocalypseHow heat death]]. To make matters worse, [[EldritchAbomination bizarre creatures called “witches”]] have been attacking Earth, killing innocent humans. As if that weren’t bad enough, it is said that the greatest and most powerful witch, [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Walpurgisnacht,]] will soon arrive and [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt destroy the world]]. It seems that only by destroying the witches can the universe be saved. But who can accomplish such a daunting task?

In the shadows of the city of Mitakihara, a war is being waged between the grotesque witches and the {{magical girl}}s who fight to limit their destructive influences. A small [[WeaselMascot cat-like creature]] called Kyubey appears before Madoka, and offers to [[MakeAWish grant a single wish]] in exchange for her services as a magical girl. It turns out that [[MentorMascot Kyubey]] has a plan to [[SaveTheWorld save the universe]] by destroying the witches, but the [[NonActionGuy little creature]] will need Madoka’s help -- and Kyubey sees great potential in her. The idealistic Madoka wants to accept the contract so she can help people in need, but Homura -- who reveals herself to be a DarkMagicalGirl -- seems determined to stop Madoka for unknown reasons.

Who is Homura, and what is her deal? Just what are the witches, and how do they relate to the energy crisis? What is Kyubey’s plan, and why does it require Madoka specifically? And what is Madoka’s destiny -- can she truly save the world and the universe? Or will she fall to despair?

One thing becomes clear early on, though; things are [[SurpriseCreepy not as they seem...]]

Bringing together an all-star staff, ''Puella Magi Madoka Magica'' has Creator/StudioShaft animating, Shaft's primary director [[Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei Akiyuki Shinbo]] directing, Music/YukiKajiura producing the music, {{Creator/Nitroplus}}'s Creator/GenUrobuchi writing and Creator/UmeAoki designing the characters for Shaft's first [[AnimeFirst original series in a decade]]. The show started airing in January as part of the Winter 2011 season, though it was put on a temporary hiatus [[TooSoon due to the Sendai earthquakes in Japan]]. [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-04-10/madoka-magica-anime-to-resume-on-april-21 The final two episodes were broadcast back-to-back on April 21st;]] the initial announcement was met with much rejoicing. [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-06-21/1-million-stream-free-madoka-magica-in-japan-taiwan When it was aired on Nico Nico Douga]], over one million people watched. Compare this to ''Manga/LuckyStar'''s similar stream, which had over ''half'' a million.

The series has been dubbed and released in the US by Aniplex USA and Manga Entertainment in the UK. The series was aired on Australian TV on Creator/{{ABC3}} starting on the 29th of June. The series can now be found by [[EagleLand US]] users on [[http://www.crunchyroll.com/puella-magi-madoka-magica Crunchyroll]], [[http://www.hulu.com/madoka-magica Hulu]], [[https://www.daisuki.net/movies/seriesdetail/k Daisuki]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5XBB1vj1xpjh3dlFM-4OyyTQJZErtyRe Daisuki's YouTube channel]] (all subbed), and dubbed on [[http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70302572 Netflix]].

In November 2011, a [[http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2011/11/07-1/madoka-magica-film-trilogy-confirmed-by-newtype theatrical film trilogy]] was announced. It is composed of the following:
#''Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings'': Part one of a CompilationMovie, released on October 6th, 2012.
#''Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Eternal'': Part two of the CompilationMovie, released on October 13, 2012.
#''[[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion]]'': Part three of the CompilationMovie, released on October 26, 2013. A true sequel to the anime, originally intended to be its second season. The movie also introduces a new magical girl, Nagisa Momoe, to the team.

In December 2015, [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-12-08/madoka-magica-concept-movie-will-be-core-of-new-project/.96224 a trailer]] for a new ''Puella'' "project" was released. Because of [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-10-16/new-madoka-magica-show-considered-after-3rd-film previous announcements]] that the studio was considering making a ''Rebellion'' sequel, this may be confirmation of such a sequel.

In October 2016, it was revealed that the anime will be crossing over with {{VideoGame/The Battle Cats}}, featuring characters from the anime as Cat units and enemies. It has not yet been revealed what content will land on Madoka Magica's side.

The anime has several spin-offs, such as manga and games, which can be found in detail on the [[Franchise/MadokaMagica franchise]] page.

Compare ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'', ''Manga/{{Narutaru}}'', ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'', ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'', and many other no-holds-barred {{Genre Deconstruction}}s. ''Madoka Magica'' has been perceived to be the [[FollowTheLeader primary inspiration]] for later shows like ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' (also written by Urobuchi), ''Anime/IlSolePenetraLeIllusioni'', and ''Anime/YukiYunaIsAHero'', though how much this is true is up for debate.

Contrast ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'', which serves as the show's most obvious antecedent; ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' and ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' which are examples of relatively adult and drama-laden treatment of the genre that are, however, played straight; and ''Anime/KillLaKill'' for a series that is arguably the antithesis to this show as well as ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'' for the comedic version of this show.

[[spoiler: For some of the [[WholePlotReference inspiration]] of the series, see ''{{Faust}}''.]]

'''NOTE:''' Please put tropes for ''[[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion Rebellion]]'' on its own pages.

[+ '''''LateArrivalSpoiler Warning:''''' ''Puella Magi Madoka Magica'' is one of the most popular anime franchises. As such, there are a great deal of spoilers. Most of them are marked, while others aren't. ''Avoiding these pages is highly suggested for those who have not seen the series.'' +]

!!This anime series provides examples of:

* PuellaMagiMadokaMagica/TropesAToF
* PuellaMagiMadokaMagica/TropesGToM
* PuellaMagiMadokaMagica/TropesNToS
* PuellaMagiMadokaMagica/TropesTToZ

->Don’t forget.
->Always, somewhere,
->Someone is fighting for you.
->As long as you remember her,
->{{You are not alone}}.