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Reviews Comments: An unusual and brilliant juggernaut of a love story Puella Magi Madoka Magica whole series review by porschelemans

An unusual and brilliant juggernaut of a love story which avoids overcomplication without patronising the viewer; Madoka Magica is a 12 episode Japanese arthouse science fiction series based loosely in the magical girl warrior genre. That sound offputting? Maybe you should at least read the rest of this review before you say you're so certain about that.

Open mindedness is important going into Madoka, as some people may find aspects of its style threatening to their own personal insecurities. Clear mindedness is also necessary, as one who knows nothing about what they are getting into may well enjoy the show far more.

Praise is due for Studio Shaft's experimental use of animation, although it may prove too intense for casual viewers to keep up at times. Different animation styles are shifted, blended, and juxtaposed against each other in a manner which compliments the story perfectly, and few other works have exploited animation as fully as a medium. However, the way in which the characters are animated can prove distracting in later episodes unless one watches the series through in one sitting.

Madoka stands out as being more accessible than comparable anime to non fans; it is almost devoid of the industry's self referentialism which has plagued so many recent anime, instead referencing classical literature and mythology. However, some of the earlier episodes, especially the first one, are not particularly entertaining on initial viewing, and may put off some viewers from watching further. Indeed, Madoka's story is like an avalanche, with a pebble of a first episode sliding down the slope and picking up other debris until eventually the entire mountainside collapses from the force of the final three.

The quality of character development varies from character to character, but generally the calls as to which characters get more or less development are perfectly made, with only Kyoko feeling slightly underdeveloped. Also, Homura is badass. Really, really, absurdly badass.

The attention to detail in the writing and direction is utterly exquisite, with great care paid towards seemingly insignificant parts of the show, which can often reveal more about the larger plot than might at first meet the eye.

All in all, this series is thoroughly worth watching, even for non-anime fans. A masterpiece.


  • porschelemans
  • 7th Jan 14
New and improved.
  • porschelemans
  • 8th Jan 14
Fixed a grammatical error.
  • porschelemans
  • 10th Jan 14
  • mahounekoshoujo
  • 14th Jan 14
While I do like Madoka Magica for being a magical girl, I must say that this anime has the same concepts as other magical girls. Just because it is "dark" and "tear jerking" (as a great mass of people say), I can disagree with some of the things you have placed in your review. Now, I'm not saying you're wrong or right. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. In no way is Mahou Shoujo a masterpiece (to me at least). The intelligence portion of it isn't that intelligent. I feel as if it constantly failed to explain many things and concepts used throughout the show. How it manages to do that is by saying, "Oh, well to make this thought-provoking, let's add a pile of sad things that look like it makes sense. Wait! The audience should be exposed to symbolism. That will definitely raise this show to a higher level." I think Madoka is just as "deep" as other anime are willing to go. Sailor Moon was much more entertaining for me than Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and I looked a both shows with a general view. As for Homura being the greatest fictional character, I disagree. Her attitudes and reason for pursuing Madoka's happiness is not explained anywhere in the show. She basically says, "You're the only one I care about." Not much reason is given there. 12 episodes and grief, mixed with little girls fighting evil and sacrificing themselves, is not character development. I have may other things to say but I will not continue them all.
  • porschelemans
  • 15th Jan 14
From reading the other reviews on this site, and from what you have just said, I think one thing can be established. This is more a show for people unfamiliar with the Magical Girl genre than a show for Magical Girl fans. Maybe it doesn't actually do anything new or revolutionary, I wouldn't know, I've never seen any other Magical Girl shows for reference, but it does what it does in a highly enjoyable manner.

My review was targeted at a general audience, as my writing should have made clear, and I tried my best to give a general impression of the show, without giving too much away.

Now, I must pick apart your comment, because I'm an arsehole. You seem to be quoting me as saying that Puella Magi Madoka Magica is "dark", which I never said, because it isn't. While it has dark elements, these are balanced out with other elements which are light, at most making the work bittersweet. That is why I said that the series is "as heart warming as it is tear jerking". As for why I said it was tearjerking, well... It had the honour of being only the third work of art in history to make me cry, after 'Plainsong' by The Cure, which once sent me into tears upon hearing it after 50 hours without sleep, and that time my Mum got to the end of Winnie the Pooh when I was 4 and I wanted the story to go on. Puella Magi Madoka Magica therefore passes my test of being tear jerking.

Strangely, the things that you feel aren't that intelligent about it are exactly the things which I feel are intelligent about it. You may remember me saying that the show does not patronise the viewer, and that is where the intelligence (and the symbolism) comes in. Madoka Magica valiantly remembers the importance of Show, Don't Tell, leaving the telling to the basic linear narrative that carries the story forward, while showing subtle symbolism and other ambiguous or subtle elements that allow the audience to interpret the story in their own way, giving the series a more personal emotional impact to most viewers, and making the series more memorable to the majority of viewers as they ruminate in their over these elements. It also makes the show an awful lot more enjoyable to rewatch.

As for the issue of Homura, the first thing that I have to say is that she is a badass. A complete and utter badass. I like badasses, and so do a lot of other people. The second thing which I will have to say is that I feel you are incorrect in saying that not much reason is given for Homura's motives. Seriously. They're pretty well explained in Episode 11. She's clinging onto one thing in the hope of not falling into despair, and becomes obsessed with that thing as a result. That tends to happen to people in real life.

I understand that if the show is not to your tastes, then it is not to your tastes and you're free to feel that way, but if you're going to comment on a review, at least try to make your comments somewhat relevant to the review in question. I only have 400 words to fit this review into, so I have to be concise, but I'd rather people didn't just make assumptions as to how I feel about something when I haven't said anything on the matter.

I have of course been assuming that you're not just a failed troll, as it would be rude to those who merely appear to be failed trolls to treat them as if they are failed trolls (and it's a lot more fun to feed those who are); but if you are a failed troll, may I please lend you some advice?

Firstly, drop the terrible grammar. Using paragraphs and cohesive sentences will do you a world of good in getting your message across, and is likely to result in others interpreting your ramblings not as those of a failed troll, but those of a respectable individual. This will result in others being far less likely to disregard your posts, and you will most likely get far more responses as a result.

Secondly, ponies and angry rednecks. A winning combination.

  • mahounekoshoujo
  • 17th Jan 14
I am not a troller. I like Madoka Magica but I have some serious issues with it's praise and success. I think people are reading into it too much. For Homura, I have two questions: If she's from the future, then why is Madoka the center of her universe? How is it that her past (madoka's) relevant to Homura? I thought Madoka wasn't going to have the strenght to become a god until Homura kept looping through time. Aren't her classmates capable of becoming magical girls themselves? Shouldn't she be concerned with them too. Or is it just that Madoka was her friend and she mattered to her? I watched the episodes but didn't catch some of the things they listed. Also, I'm a writer/artist and my grammar is a little off but I've got a good sense of what's right and wrong concerning that matter. To me, Homura is cool. Characters like that are likeable. I agree with you. I just need to get some things verified since I didn't catch some of the details in the show. I guess I'm jealous of this show and angry with it. I write quite a bit and to hear that this show beat me to the concept of dark magical girls is frustrating. I've been working on it for years but then Madoka shows up. All my hard work went to waste. It's a good story but you wouldn't care maybe. Back to what I was saying. I think I'll watch it again to see if I can get a better understanding of it. I don't mean to offend anyone, just my personal experiences have gotten in the way of me appreciating this mahou shoujo. If you read my other comments, you'll probably see where I'm coming form, maybe not. I guess I did that out of anger. But I still feel that way a bit.
  • TomWithNoNumbers
  • 17th Jan 14
So we've already spoiled a lot (I consider everything about these series a spoiler) but here's a SPOILER WARNING for people reading.

I might have misunderstood you, and if I have please forgive me, but basically this is how it works. Homura was a unconfident transfer student who ended up at Madoka's school and hanging around Madoka. They ended up having adventures together and become friends, Homura as someone who confidence didn't come to easy, getting caught up in her enthusiasm and good nature. Then it all goes horribly wrong and Homura is present to see just how messed up the situation gets and uses up her wish to ask to be able to reverse this and save Madoka. She gets the ability to rewind time as until she manages to save her.

At first Homura tries to be nice and fix everything in a normal way, but everytime the problems too great and something goes wrong. As she's forced to repeatedly watch her friends die around her again and again she begins to lose hope and withdraw into herself. She doesn't have the strength left to be nice, she doesn't have the strength left to care about the other people around her, or even about herself. The only thing that's keeping her going is her care for Madoka, and it's the only thing stopping her from becoming a witch.

So it wasn't that Madoka was powerful. It was because she was important enough to Homura as a person that Homura was willing to put herself through a hell and do whatever it took to save her, and then as a piece of irony every time she tried she just made the situation worse.
  • mahounekoshoujo
  • 17th Jan 14
I forgive you. I wasn't making myself clear and tried to hide how I really felt about this show. I do think it is trying hard but I like it at the same time- a hate and love thing. I get it now. So Homura's future is intertwined with that of Madoka's and what is making Madoka stronger is Homura's affection. I got it now. Thanks and I'm sure you didn't mean to. I try not to get on people's bad sides. It's just as a writer, an artist, that I can't accept that madoka is popular now when I've been working on something similar for years prior to that show. Sighs...Well thank you for clarifying that and hopefully I'll be able to write better next time I comment on a review. maybe I'll get to work with the creators of this show someday. My story is similar to how Homura struggled to save Madoka and she eventually made the right choice. I should watch this again to see what made that part of it good.
  • mahounekoshoujo
  • 17th Jan 14
I didn't intend on bringing my personal life into the conversation.
  • porschelemans
  • 24th Feb 14
Betterified version.
  • ElectricNova
  • 5th Apr 14
"the self referentialism that has plagued anime"

Oh you fantastic gentleman and scholar
  • porschelemans
  • 6th Apr 14
Updated this review to be a bit less hyperbolic.
  • ElectricNova
  • 7th Apr 14
Art house is not how I'd describe it.
  • porschelemans
  • 7th Apr 14
How would you describe it then?
  • porschelemans
  • 7th Apr 14
Looking at wikipedia, if one exchanges film for television series, the first paragraph of their article on arthouse film prety much describes Madoka.

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