Back to Reviews

Reviews Comments: A Deconstruction Devoid of Substance Puella Magi Madoka Magica whole series review by Immortalbear

Why I don\'t like Madoka is that it is smug compared to its source material. In many ways I feel it is what like Black Butler is to Shonen or Mazes and Monsters was to Dungeons and Dragons. In other words, it has the barest understanding of its genre that instead of being a deconstruction, it’s a caricature. It misses the points that make the genre special.

Relationships are the cornerstone of magical girls, and that\'s where this series seriously fumbles. For example, Madoka and Sayaka’s relationship should be the cornerstone of the plot, since these two have known each since they were kids therefore emotional consequences occur when one is harmed. Instead Madoka drops out of Sayaka’s arc past episode 4 and Madoka\'s role as foil is replaced with Kyoko, even though they have little cause to like each other or care about each other\'s well-being. In the span of four episodes Kyoko tries to kill Sayaka, then strangle her, before killing herself in despair for not saving Sayaka when she becomes a monster all while the latter degrades her for being a criminal. Why? Because the middle aged writer clearly knows how girls value relationships, just like he knows about girls secret desire to be groped by naked versions of themselves.

Same goes for Madoka and Homura. The entirety of Homura\'s relationship is expressing what a tragic martyr she is for Madoka\'s love. Eye roll. There is no substance here, no development of conflict and the fact all Madoka does is whine whenever Homura tells her to obey shows that Madoka is spineless. Spineless and inattentive, I can\'t help but feel when Madoka was made God at the end of series, the writer was making fun of the concept.

Kyubey is one of the most annoying villains in anime because he is unnecessary. His plan is stupid and inconsistent with his characterization. Beyond that he is a distracting hate sink that alleviates the girls of their responsibility when deconstructions are supposed to be about the character’s actions and consequences.

If the anime wanted be a deconstruction it shouldn’t have tried to pander yuri pairing merchandise and should have focused on how relationships impacted Madoka negatively. How Sayaka’s love for Kyosuke diminished Madoka’s desire for attention, how Kyoko’s expectations diminished her self-esteem, how Homura’s protectionism made Madoka doubt her judgement. Instead it’s just a show where little girls die and the show expects you to cry over it. Boo hoo.

Comments

  • Hylarn
  • 6th Feb 17
Who\'s Subaru?

Also, I have to note that your review does nothing to support the title. Which seems like it\'s trying to be offensive?
  • MFM
  • 6th Feb 17
tbh it sounds like Madoka was sold to you in a very specific framework, and when it didn't fit in that framework, you criticize it for failing to do that instead of taking the series at face value.

Which would suck if the series was sold to you as something it wasn't, but none of that would really be the series's fault either.
  • Immortalbear
  • 6th Feb 17
"Who's Subaru?" A stupid mix up on my end, I wrote Subaru instead of Sayaka. I apologize, I rewrote and spellchecked and yet I still made a stupid error like that.

What I dislike is that people tout this as the best modern mahou shojo series because its all action and drama, without that icky fluff like character development or interaction. In other words they like this series because its nothing like mahou shojo which pretty much throws the entire genre under the bus.

Mahou shojos are great because the main focus is on character relationships, Over the course of the series the girl's argue and clash with each other, but in time they come to value each other because of their differences of opinions. Those moments of fluff make dramatic scenes hold weight because the viewer fully understands what they lose if a situation goes bad. In the 2nd Cardcaptor movie, nearly everyone Sakura cares about disappears and the viewer feels the emotional consequences of losing them.

If you read my Digimon Savers review, you'll know I hate forced relationships. When characters don't have any structure or foundation of relationship to build off of yet are portrayed as friends or possibly lovers. Madoka is nothing but forced relationships with the exception of Madoka and Sayaka which I said before, is wasted. Mami is a plot device, killed off in two points of the show with barely any build up of her character. Yet the anime tells me to feel sad. Kyoko and Sayaka don't like each other yet are forced together repeatedly. Yet the anime tells me to feel mourn about the decay of relationship that is non-existent. Madoka used to be BF Fs with Homura but the latter controls and pushes her around. Yet the anime tells me to grieve, even though their relationship weakened Madoka as a person. An anime shouldn't tell the audience how to feel, rather they should feel because they can associate with the characters. This isn't possible because none of these relationships feel natural.

Madoka isn't entirely bad but very rushed with bad direction. Mahou shojo are about female empowerment, yet the protagonist mostly cowers in Homura's shadow until she suddenly gets power to resolve the plot, which is supplied by, you guessed it, Homura. Madoka's loss of friendships is supposed to be tragic but lack weight because there isn't enough time to focus on them. I dislike Madoka because it shows that Gen Urubochi watched a Mahou Shojo episode and concluded it was just girls fighting monsters alongside a cute animal mascot. He either didn't understand or didn't respect the substance of the genre.
  • Reymma
  • 7th Feb 17
Madoka is not a deconstruction of the genre in the way that say Comicbook/Watchmen is, rather it uses deconstruction as part of taking a different approach to the genre. Sayaka\'s arc is a deconstruction of heroism, found in some form in everything Urobuchi does. Homura\'s arc is more a Cosmic Horror Story with a hope/despair angle as the heroine keeps fighting but makes things worse each time. The most important deconstructive element for the genre is Kyubey: he is logical extension of the thinking \"what would be the moral outlook of a being who recruited teenage girls to fight monsters without so much as notifying their parents?\" You are right that focused deconstructions place responsibility on the characters and not an external villain, but Kyubey\'s role shows that that is not what Urobuchi was going for.

The relationships are done minimally, and it bothered me too. Madoka is a passive point-of-view and Homura is one-note. However the pathos come more from realising that the cast are representative of a system that covers everyone in that world. It\'s close to cyberpunk, using characters as stand-ins for a social dimension. It\'s also Urobuchi\'s style, where characters matter but only in the way of thinking they represent.

(Also, that Homura weakened Madoka and kept her ignorant is a big part of the tragedy; you\'re supposed to grieve for that as much as for their loss.)

If you want a magical girls show (kind of) that focuses on relationships and growing up with a dark and deconstructive bend, Revolutionary Girl Utena might suit.

In order to post comments, you need to

Get Known
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/review_comments.php?id=16657