This Troper (C Charmander K) could go on about a number of different anime series and franchises for hours and hours upon end. But if there's one single anime that's captivated me the first episode in and refused to let me go for even a second, it's the 2011 surprise-hit Puella Magi Madoka Magica. This show has nearly everything I love about anime in it in spades: it's cute, horrific, terrifying, action-packed, funny (but only very sparingly), dramatic, tragic, unusual and artistic. The characters all take different Magical Girl character archetypes and deconstruct them, among other things. The action scenes are amazingly fantastic, and the animation is beautiful, with gorgeously-designed characters and mass amounts of Scenery Porn. The series has beautifully moving and unique music (what else do you expect from Yuki Kajiura?) that is utilized to its greatest effect in every single scene. And don't get me started on plot; Gen Urobuchi and Akiyuki Shinbo have created a magnificent tale blending Magical Girl, Horror, Drama, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction in the most poetic and moving way possible. Each episode gets progressively better and better than the last, and it won't let up for even a split-second. Each single plot twist is unique and unexpected, including, but not limited to Mami's death, the revelation of Puella Magi being first-form Witches, Sayaka's transformation into a Witch, Kyouko sacrificing herself to save Sayaka from a Fate Worse than Death, and the entirety of episode 10. It is the one anime series that I universally reccomend. It is one of the greatest ever created, and Shaft's grandest work of all time.
Seconded so hard. I only bothered to check it out because Yuki Kajiura was doing the music, but the minute I tuned in and saw... well, just saw it all, I was entranced. This was a Magical Girl anime? Even with the initially cliche characters, they all develop amazingly - from seeing an energetic tomboy grow into a broken downyandere, a Jerk AssDark Action Girl showing her Hidden Heart of Gold, and the one you don't see until late in the series and definitely don't expect: A ridiculously Moe, AdorkableIll Girl growing into the strongest, stoic-est magical girl in the entire series. While people tend to hate Madoka, I find her to be the most realistic character to ever grace the genre: You're fourteen years old, fighting things your brain can barely comprehend, and you're seeing your friends get killed brutally, so what are you logically going to do? Cry and panic. The interactions between everyone is just perfect, from fighting to just playful conversation. And then there's everyone's favourite, Kyubey. He's so much fun to hate. I never watched Sailor Moon as a kid but I did watch Mew Mew Power, and seeing those tropes I loved as an eleven-year-old get mutilated like this is kind of exciting. But my favourite thing has to be showing others the series, especially the Wham Episodes. I absolutely can't wait for it to be licensed.
(C Charmander K) Agreed so damn hard. This is one of the few anime series that would connect excellently with a North American audience. Everyone knows of the Magical Girl genre over here due to shows such as Card Captor Sakura, Tokyo Mew Mew and Sailor Moon, and people are also very familiar with psychological suspense stories such as Ghost in the Shell, Inception and LOST. Putting these two genres together may seem like an unusual approach, but the right use of advertisement and word-of-mouth could prove to make this series a huge success here in the US of A. Are you listening, [adult swim]?!!
Fourthed, this is one of the greatest shows and most emotionally involved shows I've seen for a long while. When I first started watching this, I just expected a magical girl show with the trippy animation that shaft is renowned for. Despite my Shaft-fangirlness, I was not expecting much from Madoka Magica. Then episode three rolled around, despite the fact that I kind of called something was going to happen to Mami I was never expecting THAT to happen. Afterwards every plot twist from that show was like a punch to the gut, a beautiful but soul wrenching punch to the gut. When watching that season I would always watch Madoka the instant it came out, then watch Wandering Boy afterwards to preserve my sanity. Something this show loved to screw with. Coupled with the fantastic art-design, and animation (Which shaft deserves a metal for making every witch design unique and intriguing), there's the fact that I didn't hate a single character in this show. Which is odd because my usual nitpicky self always finds somebody to hate. Admittedly, Madoka was a bit boring, but it was made up for 1000x over in the ending. This needs to get dubbed soon, because I need to show this to all my friends.
This Troper has clinical depression. Very often in my life, I've sunken so deep into despair that I've thought about suicide. Madoka Magica came along during a time of great changes in my life, when it seemed like everything I knew was falling apart. During that time, I watched this series, fell in love with it after a day and a half, and prayed that when the final episode aired, it wouldn't blow it in the home stretch with a Gainax Ending. Far from it, Madoka had one of the most perfect endings I've ever seen in fiction, and it pulled me out of the depressive fit I had been having for the last few months. I cried like a baby, and it was a good cry. To me, Madoka is perhaps the ultimate expression of hope triumphing over despair; if these characters, after so much tragedy and pain and heartbreak, can manage to have a happy ending, even if it's bittersweet, then I can too. I've never been so moved by the message of You Are Not Alone in my life. I could go on and on about how much I love the characters, the art style, the music (God, the music!), the plot twists, etc., but what makes Madoka truly special is how it inspired hope in me in one of my darkest hours.
Can this troper hug you for putting it so perfectly? Everything I was about to say, said perfectly.
"It inspired hope in me in one of my darkest hours." This Troper (ryanson209) would like to applaud you and hug you and agree with every word you've written