Anime Review: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

I'm going to try to get back into a rhythm of writing reviews. Now, if any of you have read my About page (hint: go read it...self-plug for the win!), you'll notice that I'm pretty fearful of approaching the magical girl genre of anime (mostly because of the judgment). However, I was repeatedly assured that this show takes a different approach and it's even directed by Shinbo, who gave us Bakemonogatari.

So what's the story? Basically, we follow Kaname Madoka, a fairly normal girl in a slightly futuristic society. She runs into a strange being known as Kyuubey, who offers her a contract: one wish in exchange for an eternity as a magical girl. Enter Akemi Homura, a mysterious transfer student who tries to stop Madoka from becoming a magical girl. From there, the story follows Madoka as she continues to learn the truth about being a magical girl as she tries to make her decision about whether she wishes to become one.

This story breaks out of the "transformations" and "magical wands" that are very typical of magical girl series, bringing out something so much darker. Every episode keeps you wanting to see the next and no one is who they seem to be. This show will seriously mess with your mind.

Story: 10/10

Most of the focus in the series falls on the five magical girls, Akemi Homura, Kaname Madoka, Tomoe Mami, Miki Sayaka, and Sakura Kyouko. Although Madoka is the focus of the series and we see quite a lot of character development on her end, each of the other magical girls has a detailed background for themselves (especially Homura). These characters all voiced brilliantly as well. Also, if you're the type of person who's a big fan of conserving weapons...don't freak out when the characters start tossing weapons away. Finally, we have the mysterious Kyuubey. Originally introduced as a sort of ally, the creator of the magical girls, Kyuubey remains as a mysterious presence throughout the entire series, with unknown intentions and allegiances (kill it with fire!).

Characters: 9/10

If you've seen Bakemonogatari, you won't be so surprised with the animation style of this show. I'd describe it as different, but not so much in a bad way. The opening and ending themes are definitely outstanding, and the soundtrack has plenty of tracks that are memorable. The music fits the mood very nicely, giving the show a mystical sort of feel.

Animation: 8/10

Music: 9/10

Long story short: this story twists the magical concept so much that you start to question whether it can really be put in the same group as the others. And if you're looking for tentacle rape, then I'm sorry, but you'll have to look elsewhere. This show is definitely one that shouldn't be judged so easily. I'm annoyed that I was so biased against it to begin with. Some may say it's too short, and I'm almost inclined to agree, but honestly, I think the length is just fine. I'd definitely recommend this show to just about anyone.

Final Score: 10/10

  • feal87

    Dec. 7, 2011, 2:36 p.m.

    Hey man, this review isn't good at all! Where are the praises to god Kyubey?! Where are the subliminal messages to strict a contract with me?! :|



    Dec. 7, 2011, 2:38 p.m.

    Kyubey isn't evil...he just shouldn't be trusted :3



    Dec. 7, 2011, 2:40 p.m.

    that's one way of putting it



    Dec. 7, 2011, 2:41 p.m.

    maybe you couldn't notice them because you're too superhuman for us


  • Yerocha

    Dec. 7, 2011, 5:16 p.m.

    I still stand by my oft-repeated statement that this show was stupid and among my most disliked series. I could go in great detail about why (lord knows I have already), but I think I can summarize with what lots of people have told me in response to my complaints: "But it's symbolic!" Kind of like how Gurren Lagann cared more about being cool than anything else, this show really only cares about symbolism and angst, which I don't care about at all. It puts so much time into looking nice that I couldn't bring myself to feel for anything in it. If not for the vocal fanbase, I'd have forgotten about it long ago.

    Well, at least you guys found a show you like. I'll stick with Nanoha and other things that aren't this.


  • tsurugiarashix

    Dec. 10, 2011, 8:28 p.m.

    It was a solid series. Had some weakness and minor storyline hiccups, but overall: solid. Still waiting on the official North American release to get my hands on to review ^_^



    Dec. 10, 2011, 11:34 p.m.

    look forward to seeing that


  • shinjunawa

    March 24, 2012, 9:06 a.m.

    wtf..i nvr watched other mahou shoujo anime other than this and this is the best anime story the story is better than harry potter (sorry jk rowling) but true episodes just just, regret not noticing this series earlier perhaps as u said...stereotyped mindset against magical girl genre

    when i took a glance at the drawings i said, " heh, another birth of lyrical nanoha.." and i laughed at the characters concepts without even watched it :( i laughed at the costumes they worn :'( and i begin to cry now.....


  • Mai

    April 5, 2012, 8:34 p.m.

    Another great series, at Otakon this year I am hoping to pick up one of the pendants.


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