Certainly an anime you wouldn’t expect.
Post by: Ryen
Certainly an anime you wouldn’t expect.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (which I will refer to as just Madoka Magica for the rest of this review) is a very unique anime because it is a prime example of experimentation within anime. If you don’t know anything about the creators of this show, they’re very well known for creating dark, mysterious and often violent anime. At first glance, this show looks like a slice of life magical girl anime probably with some comedy and or fanservice along the way, it’s not, but, I will explain further after the spoiler disclaimer. I wholeheartedly recommend this anime for those people who are intrigued with a deep story-line, amazing characters and each of their own developments, a well done soundtrack and some action. Also, this review only covers the main anime and not the movies or specials since I have not watched them, but I plan to do so very soon. I’ll let you know now rather than later, this review contains ALL the spoilers, so if you don’t want to know and rather experience it yourself, I don’t recommend reading forward from this paragraph.
Madoka Magica starts off with the main character, Madoka in a dream where another girl seems to be fighting something off which you later find out. There’s a weird looking white cat that seems like he came from space and has red eyes named Kyuubey and tells her that she can change this future and help the girl in distress out, if, she makes a contract with the cat and becomes a magical girl. That’s pretty much the basis of all this. As a reward for making a contract, the person is granted 1 wish, no matter how impossible it is, it shall be done. As a magical girl, you have to fight Witches, no, not the green halloween witches that want to give you a poisoned apple. These Witches are beings created from negative feelings which manifest into abstract physical and ethereal creatures. Those are the things that magical girls have to fight in order to keep the world “safe” in a way and that’s the price they pay for becoming magical girls and getting their wish. These Witches also drop things called “Grief Seeds” which are pretty much seeds from where the Witches are born from, magical girls can use the Grief Seeds to clean their magical “gem” which holds all the power and soul. Something that they don’t directly tell you about these wishes is that depending on how large the scale of the wish and what type of wish, are the powers that the magical girls get as well as how powerful they are. I’ll write more about that later on. Afterwards, Madoka wakes up as if nothing happened, only to find Kyuubey and realizing her dream wasn’t just a dream. So, she goes to school with her friend Sayaka and Hitome (Hitomi is not that important to the storyline so I probably won’t mention her in the future) only to find a new transfer student coming in today while they’re in class, this new transfer student is called Homura and she plays a vital part in the main storyline later on. Later, they find an upperclassman named Mami who turns out to be a magical girl and teaches Sayaka and Madoka the ropes of being a magical girl.
This is where I’m going to pick up the pace of telling you about the story, I will not write about everything that happens, only main/important pieces of information that you’ll want to know. In the second episode, Mami is taking Madoka and Sayaka on more Witch hunts and in this episode you, Mami teaches Madoka and Sayaka more about Witches, wishes, magical girls and almost everything there is to know about them. You also start to see more of Homura showing up to what feels like spying on Mami, Madoka and Sayaka after each Witch hunt, the girls, especially Sayaka become very annoyed with that. Later on, Madoka and Sayaka find a Grief Seed while walking back from school, with Mami not being with them at the time, Madoka goes off to find Mami while Sayaka goes inside the portal where the Grief Side is being held at. When Mami and Madoka get to the portal and start going inside, Homura shows up to take care of the Witch instead, Mami insists not to get in the way and wraps her Homura up with her magic and leaves her trapped. When Mami starts fighting the Witch, she starts showing off her moves and skills like it’s just another day, when she performs her final move “Tiro Finale” and thinks she killed the Witch, it comes out with a new form and catches Mami with her guard down, then the Witch proceeds to kill and eat Mami. Homura then finishes the Witch off and end the fight. Both Madoka and Sayaka are very forlorn that their best friend Mami died. Next episode, Madoka starts getting closer to Homura because Mami is no longer alive and that’s the only other experienced magical girl that she knows. Homura warns Madoka that under no circumstances may she make a contract with Kyuubey because she explains that all magical girls give up their life once they make a wish and their final fate that lies them is death. Madoka becomes wary of this fact and tries to not be influenced by Kyuubey’s orders. Afterwards, Madoka follows Hitomi because she’s going to a “gathering” The people at the gathering start filling buckets of water and putting harmful chemicals in the water so they can kill themselves, they became possesed by Witches, Madoka then throws away the water to save her friend and the people who are pretty much zombies now start moving towards her as if to hurt her. Madoka runs and hides in a closet, only to be found with the Witch which traps her in a water world. Just as soon as Madoka is about to accept her fate, Sayaka comes in and helps her and defeats the Witch. Sayaka made the contract with Kyuubey in return for fixing the hands of the boy she loved. Towards the end of the episode, we see another unnamed girl looking at the city where Madoka, Sayaka and Homura reside in, this girl is talking to Kyuubey which tells her that that area which used to be territory of Mami, is now Sayaka’s territory and then the unnamed girl decides to try to take Sayaka out.
Next episode, Sayaka reveals her true intentions on why she became a magical girl which were to fix the hands of the boy she loved. Afterwards, the unnamed girl, who reveals herself as Kyouko tries to start a fight with Sayaka and just about Sayaka is about to be killed by Kyoukou, Kyuubey suggests Madoka make a contract to save her friend, right after that, Homura ends up saving Sayaka but ends up ultimately losing and retreating. Kyuubey also reveals Sayaka’s powers, since she made a wish to heal someone, she heals herself many times faster than a normal magical girl. Afterwards, Sayaka decides to get stronger to defeat Kyouko if she ever tries to fight her again. Later on, Sayaka and Kyouko do meet up to finish it once and for all. Right before the fight starts though, Madoka grabs Sayaka’s gem and throws it away so she wouldn’t transform, Kyuubey then reveals that magical girls’ life forms are stored in those gems and Sayaka goes limp and pretty much becomes a physical shell, Homura saves her gem and brings i back, bringing Sayaka back to life, only to infuriate everyone there because Kyuubey did not explain that their souls would be stored in those compact gems, since Kyuubey does not feel emotions, he does not understand the value of life of the emotions of others. Sayaka then starts to consider herself abnormal, non-human and a monster which begins her deterioration. Then Sayaka starts fighting more and more Familiars, which are Witches pets or the forms before Witches which don’t drop Grief Seeds, and her gem starts becoming more and more tainted. Her mental sanity also starts deteriorating, knowing that she can heal faster, Sayaka starts fighting more recklessly and getting hurt in order to defeat Familiars and Witches. Even when she gets a Grief Seed, she doesn’t clean her gem which also helps in restoring her powers, making this a grave mistake for her. Then, once her gem starts becoming black and Sayaka starts being weakened, Homura tries to give her a Grief Seed to clean her gem but Sayaka refuses because she doesn’t want help from the person she hates. When Madoka is unsure of what to do with Sayaka and talks to Kyuubey about what she should do, Kyuubey suggests her becoming a magical girl and Homura stops Kyuubey by shooting him only to have him come back almost immediately. After a couple nights, Sayaka’s deterioration reaches her limit and her gem becomes a Grief Seed and sucks her in and she essentially becomes a Witch. That is another fate that lies for all magical girls, they all become Witches at one point. Both Kyouko and Madoka try to save her by Kyouko fighting Sayaka’s Witch and Madoka by trying to get her to reason, but to no avail. At the end, Homura shows up and saves Madoka, but Kyouko sacrifices herself in order to destroy Sayaka’s Witch. So now, Kyouko and Sayaka are dead and in a better place. After that, Madoka falls into more despair and doesn’t know what to do but stay with Homura at most times.
At this point, Homura is now planning how she’s going to fight Walpurgis Night, one of the strongest Witches of all time, before that though, we get a look on Homura’s past and her reason. It is then revealed that Homura is not from that current timeline. The show gives us a glimpse of Homura’s timeline, it shows us Homura with twin pigtails and red glasses, in this timeline, Madoka became a magical girl almost as soon as she knew about it with Mami and Sayaka leaving Homura to be normal, like if she was in Madoka’s shoes from the timeline we saw throughout the show Then, Walpurgis show’s up in that timeline and kills Mami and Madoka is left alone to fight, leading to her unfortunate death and then becoming a Witch herself, which turns out to be even worse than Walpurgis. Then, Homura wishes to be able to go back in time and re-do her meeting with Madoka. Homura tries many many times to make a perfect future where Madoka keeps on living and also tries to stop Madoka from becoming a magical girl. After many tries and different ways on going about it, Homura decided to become cold and uncaring for anyone but Madoka, she tries anything and everything to stop Madoka from becoming a magical girl and take on Walpurgis herself, even if it meant the death of Kyouko, Sayaka and Mami. In the end, that is what happened, but, Homura was not strong enough to defeat Walpurgis even with all the preparations and time leaps and gets wrecked to the point of almost defeat, until Madoka shows up to become a magical girl and her wish was to stop the Witches even before they were born from past, present and future times. This wish pretty much made her a god and was so powerful, that it destroyed Walpurgis and stopped all the magical girls from becoming Witches in the process. With this, she created a whole new world, but the negative reaction from that wish was a Witch so powerful that it destroyed universes, Madoka ended up taking it down and was rid from people’s memories, rid from the physical realm and created a whole new world for everyone. When Homura woke up, she was in a world where Mami and Kyouko were still alive, but Sayaka’s fate remained the same. Madoka never existed in that realm. Only Homura knows of Madoka and Madoka’s brother. In this new realm that Madoka created, it is said that Magical girls have a better relationship with Kyuubey and don’t meet such a horrible fate, although, there are still curses of mankind that are in a different form, instead of Witches, there are Wraiths and Homura is the strongest magical girl fighting them for the sake of Madoka.
Final verdict: I love this show! Especially after re-watching it while I was writing this, it felt good to re-watch it from Homura’s perspective! I recommend this anime to the fullest extent and this is going very high in my top anime list. There were a few things that could’ve been fixed/tweaked within the show, but, no anime is without it’s faults. One thing that had me very dissapointed was the fact that Madoka was only a magical girl for only 5 minutes within the timeline we saw and I wanted to see more Madoka killing Witches, but I guess for the sake of plot, they made it that way. I loved the way they approached this anime as a happy and cute girl anime and it had a way darker development, this is what I meant when I said that the creators took a very risky approach but executed it perfectly! Thanks all for reading, this is by far, the longest review I’ve written and there will be more to come!
Post by: Ryen