Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Magical Girls Are Uniquely Presented
By Gemma | 30 Jul 2018
One second, does this anime have 2 names? No, but as it's a long name -- you dont want to have to always be saying Puella Magi Madoka Magica -- most anime lovers shorten it to Madoka Magica (which it shall now be called). Puella Magi just stands for "magical girl" so to miss that bit off the title isn't much of a loss. The anime was released back in 2011 with the first ten episodes being aired between January and April of that year. There are also two movies which recap the 12 episodes, so if you wanted a compressed way of watching Madoka Magica this would be your best bet. A third film was released in 2013 and features an original story rather than a recap of the others. Various games for PSP, PS Vita, and mobile also have been released so the anime has spread widely over a short span. When this Madoka Magica released on Blu-ray each volume sold an amazing 50,000 copies, alongside a host of awards. Overall, this anime was very well received and is a rather large success due to its odd approach to magical girls.
So you would think if it's about magical girls it would be like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, right? But it isn't. This anime definitely differs from these, not only in its unique art style but also in how the girls are portrayed.
Set in a city known as Mitakihara in a middle school, our characters are Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki. They happen to encounter a talking cat -- I mean it's anime so this shouldnt surprise you. But this specific talking animal happens to offer you a wish, but in exchange, you also get given magical powers. Oh yes, you have to battle witches as well. Yes, this cute anime has our young characters fighting witches.
However, before they are able to accept this contract, with said strange talking cat, they come across 2 other students who try to stop them from singing the contract at all costs. If they were successful it would have been a very short anime, so you can guess if they succeeded or not. In order to aid them to come to a decision, and see the resposibilities of being a magical girl, an upper-class woman named Mami takes them witch hunting. Now Mami is a real badass, and I adore her. Unfortunately, she isnt in the anime for long which is a huge shame. Poor young Madoka sees what happens to Mami and realises that her life will be full of risk and dispair if she is to accept, but she also can't just ignore the fact that these witches do exsist and they threaten people on a regular basis. We find out fairly early on that the wishes made by magical girls are never straightforward, and usually always have a dark twist to them. On top of this that they give up their soul when they become a magical girl, it is turned into a gem that is used to store the magical girl's power. Unfortunately, these gems can become tainted and if that happens they turn into the very witches they fight so hard to destroy.
There's also parts thrown in about alternate timelines, people from the future, and did I mention that cute talking cat? Well, he's actually fairly evil, as he harvests emotions from the magical girls -- without telling them -- for his own cause. He makes out he is just trying to help them, but this is a magical girl anime after all, so it does have a relatively sweet and good ending which results in the witches never existing. There is such an extensive plot and you should experience it for yourself.
Normally this is the part I go over a few characters, usually the main ones, but this time I'll talk about our protagonist Madoka and the badass Mami. Even though she only in Madoka Magica for a short time, but in this time she brings so much context to the story that she is well worth a mention.
Madoka is a sweet and kind 14-year-old school girl, with nothing out of the ordinary. She is rather cute, if I may say so, and you can completely see the magical girl vibe going on. She defiently doesnt feel special or anything, which is why the magical girl offer seems so tempting. She would finally be different, and she wants to help people after witnessing what Mami does. Madoka goes through a lot of misfortune in her short life and also experiences a lot of gore and violence due to being a magical girl and fighting the witches. She still somehow manages to stay innocent through all of this. She wishes for nothing more than the witches to cease to exist, which is a huge wish and something no other magical girl has ever thought of. Once seeing the despair, and how the witches are made, it's the only wish she wants to make and is the best choice for her and everyone else.
Let me introduce you to Mami, she's a complete badass who adds so much context to the anime. She's older than the other magical girls and acts like an older sister. She is dressed more ladylike and refined and fights using muskets. She decides to take our two young girls under her wing, in order to show them how wonderful being a magical girl can be but also how terrible. With the hardships they will face, and by showing both the ups and the downs of accepting this offer it helps the two make up their minds. Mami even takes them on a witch hunt with her, to show what can happen and what they will fight. She really does take responsibility and looks after the girls, while also going above and beyond to take them under her wing. Without her, I believe the anime would of been very short with the girls unaware of what they were stepping into.
Now, of course, there are many more characters in the anime but as usual, I like to keep you wondering. Just make sure you load up the anime yourself to see everything with your own eyes and to see how the friendships, the hardships, and how the characters develop with each other.
Madoka Magica has a very unique style and is definitely an unusual one for a magical girl anime. It chooses the darker side of things and the more gory and violent approach to a typical magical girl anime. That doesn't make it bad, in fact, it makes it stand out in a league all of its own as something different -- different can be wonderful and in this case, it really is. It's a wonderful short anime with a compelling story, beautiful soundtrack, a wonderful cast, and an interesting art style. It's one that is hard to describe and while the witches can seem almost childlike in the art style, but definitely not unappealing, it actually brings a lot to the anime. Yes, this can put some people off because the artwork isn't to everyone's taste, but it really appealed to me.
I was pleasantly surprised by Madoka Magica and to have it go from a darker tone to a lighter happier tone at the end was just what I wanted and hoped for -- I wasn't disappointed in the least with this anime. I definitely think its one of those unusual animes that maybe you have glanced at, or heard in passing, and decided against so hopefully, this review makes you think otherwise. Give it a chance, I'm glad I did. I don't think you will be disappointed if you do too.