Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: It's going to be one of those shows, isn't it?

It's been a while since I've done a anime hasn't it? Digimon Marathon aside, the only other animes I've done here are The Unicron Trilogy during the Transformers Marathon (Armada, Energon and Cybertron) and K-On... which I will get back to... should get back to... maybe....hopefully... So, Magical Girls. It's pretty much self explanatory, girls, normally teenagers, are given magical powers to stop some sort of force of evil. Think of Sailor Moon as an example. That's pretty much all the explanation that needs to be said, now to look at the series that turns it into something dark and depressing: Puella Magi Madoka Magica, commonly referred to as just Madoka Magica.

It's hard to talk about a story like this without giving away any spoilers, due to how small the season is, 12 episodes. Not because it was canned, by all accounts, the story wrapped itself up nicely. The spoiler free version: Witches are on the loose, killing humans without leaving a trace or an explanation. A creature called Kyubey is making "contracts" with teenage girls, granting them a single wish in exchange for the power to defeat witches. Sounds like a win win doesn't it? Well... let's just say that if you didn't like the D-Reaper arc from Digimon Tamers because it was dark, then you won't like Madoka Magica. The series only goes for 12 episodes, but I genuinely don't recall a time when the main characters were genuinely happy, enjoying life.
No joke, just a close up of the detail

The characters themselves are all really depressing as well. Four of the five due to the weight of the situation, the fifth being for the same reasons as God Help the Outcasts is one of the most depressing songs in Hunchback of Notre-dame, its that one glimmer of hope in a story, a situation you know is only going to get worse. I genuinely feel sorry for these characters, especially because of the outcome of their situation. And then of course, there's Kyubey. Unlike the rest of the Internet, I'm not going to spoil why, all I will say is that you will hate this character, not because it's a bad character (I'm not sure what gender it is because they say male, but I think it has a female voice, and there's no discussion of it being trans), but because its a creepy character. The language, the voice and when it gets to the plot twist, lets just say you'll believe it. Don't be fooled by its cute looks. Kyubey's about as cute as a swarm of Scraplets are to an Autobot. Hell, the Scraplets cuter than the fox...thing..., at least I haven't seen a Scraplet eating its own dead body... I swear that last part makes more sense in context...
No, this isn't fan art, these are actually in the show

I do have to admit, the art style does look nice. It doesn't look as clean as some other anime I've seen, but the Witches and the Witches Labyrinths  can be compared to a Salvador Dali painting, they're very surreal, insane if you would, which does make for a nice contrast to the real world in the show. They're insane, pure chaos, which makes the surreal fights look even more impressive. The instrumental music is a bit forgetful, but the J-pop music, at least on the surface, does fit what's happening on screen. I haven't translated the songs so I could be horribly wrong, but at the same time, I don't want to (Curse you Lucky Stars).
"Well scrap"

I'm not going to spoil anymore, as revealing any more would be in major spoiler territory, just due to how many episodes there are. When you have 12 episodes to tell a story, every episode needs to count. If you're wanting something to depress you, then you may "enjoy" this as it tackles the themes quite well. If you're looking for something cheerful, then you're not going to find it here, but instead in next week's main review. The order of next week is like this: E3 news wishlist on Sunday, E3 coverage Monday-Wednesday and then the main review of the week which I'll reveal in the final E3 summary. Thankfully I'm on holidays now so I can actually do something like this, see you on Sunday for it. Now if you excuse me, I have a pink mare to speak to about getting these characters to smile.

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