Thanks also for your comments on the theater atmosphere in general. One body pillow isn't too bad, especially for a movie like this (if this was a Ghibli film, I'd be a bit more worried, lol). Glad to hear it had a packed audience (or close to it) and some cosplayers show up. I'm glad that it sounds like you mostly liked the movie.
My feelings on the third Madoka Magica movie are similar to your own. My long review of it can be found here. More comments in spoiler space below.
Spoiler for Madoka Magica Movie 3 commentary:
I had somewhat mixed feelings on the two elements you brought up. While I kinda liked SHAFT's trippy visuals, it's possible that they went too far with it. I'm not sure if I brought this up in that lengthy review linked to above, but there were a couple times when it felt maybe too abstract or too surreal. Like, there were a couple times when I was watching symbolic poetry rather than something in an actual fictional universe. But then, almost the entire movie was in either Homura's dream world or Homukami's new universe, and I think both are meant to seem weird.
For pure entertainment value, I loved the movie. But at a... literature quality level, I guess you could say... I think the movie's quality depends a lot on what comes after it. Without a continuation, this is a pretty weak ending for the entire series, I think. With a continuation, though, I think this could be part of a greater masterpiece.
As for your comments on 2013 anime as a whole, I largely agree. The way I would describe 2013 in anime is that there's great depth, a lot of shows worth watching, a lot of shows that are entertaining and interesting, but there's nothing that impressed me to the extent that the original Madoka Magica TV series or Steins;Gate did. I very much loved Love Live!, and I do think it has very good writing, but I'm not sure I'd call it a masterpiece work (maybe a masterpiece of moe, though, lol).
Okay, going to expand a little on this quickly:
-For the most part, I felt the film was great. I'd credit most of that to the roller coaster of a storyline.
-While I generally consider myself a Shaft fan, I found some of the visual effects too abstract. That combined with some of the early music choices mean it took me a little longer to really get into the film than it should have.
-I mostly lean towards the toasting Urobuchi for having the guts to write in the big twist, but there's a side of me that thinks he went just a little far with it. (Collecting my thoughts on this was the main reason I didn't want to give much in the way of impressions last night.)
-As good as the film was, I found it I couldn't manage quite the level of enthusiasm I had for the original Madoka in both TV and movie forms. I've been having the same issue with Shaft's other big sequel this year: Monogatari's second season has had some of the franchise's best arcs, but I find I'm just not getting quite as into it as I did in 2009 and for the first sequel in 2012. Which is odd since I really got into some of the non-Shaft sequels this year - the Hanasaku Iroha movie felt all too short and the new Rozen Maiden felt like an excellent reinvention of the franchise.
Though to be honest, that kind of fits with how I've been feeling about most of the anime I watched this year. There's plenty of great shows and movies that I've loved, but very few we're I've felt "this is a candidate for best anime of 2013". In fact the only two that immediately stand out as such candidates for me are Shin Sekai Yori and Wolf Children. The former of which half aired in 2012 (in fact, since I do include incomplete shows in my best of lists, it made last year's list) and the latter of which is technically premiered last year even if I think of it as a 2013 film because it wasn't widely available to western fans until this year.
Madoka 3 report:
-I think I may need to digest the film when I'm not in exam mode. That was a lot to take in.
-While I didn't find the actual events of the film that complicated on the whole, the presentation was trippy enough (even by Madoka standards) that watching it felt like a bit of a mindscrew. It was like I could sense Shinbo and Urobuchi laughing clear across the Pacific.
-Body pillows spotted: one. And it was a Madoka one this time rather than being OreImo or Strike Witches related. I'm not sure if that makes it worse or not.
Crowd: If it wasn't sold out, it was close.
Cosplayers: We had a few, many whom I recognize from other conventions and in a couple cases other costumes.
-The screening included a pre-recorded message for overseas fans from Yuuki Aoi and the rest of the cast.
-As with many of the other Canadian and US screenings, they handed out autograph boards to the first people to show up - I got the Mami/Nagisa one. There was some speculation among attendees as to whether the Kyoko/Sayaka board actually exists... one guy (who I actually know from the Vancouver/Seattle con scene) offered to pay cash for one on the spot to complete his collection of the five and nobody seemed to have one.
So I guess tonight is Madoka night in Canada. Unlike the US schedule which is pretty scattershot, all the Canadian theatres screening Madoka 3 are screening tonight at 7:30 and at 12:55in the afternoon on the 15th - I'm doing the latter because I have an exam tomorrow morning.
Yeah, sequels are probably making it really hard for brand new shows to sell this Fall 2013 season.
As for Mirai, I've honestly almost forgotten about her initial klutziness. That hasn't come up much at all since Episode 1. I now like the female characters in KnK (I had liked Mitsuki for a long time) so there is still potential there for me to like the show.
By the way, I'm also watching White Album 2, but it's one of those shows that's "Excellent watch, but it doesn't leave me a lot to talk about". I just find it very solid with a nicely unpredictable love triangle. Of the three girls, I probably like Touma the best. Kuuderes aren't always my very favorite character in a show, but I almost always like them at least.
Finally, I hope you do well in your courses. If I don't see you much in mid-to-late November, at least I'll remain hopeful that you'll be here a fair bit around the holiday season. I hope it's a nice one for you and your girlfriend.
Mirai has been a little more open and relaxed the past couple weeks, whereas in the early parts she tended to come across as "all wound up inside". I actually liked the way she exuded tension - I think part of the reason why I liked her more than a lot of people is because I focused on that and sympathisized with her, as opposed to concentrating on her klutz qualities. But I'm glad to see her loosening up a bit too.
But for me, the more notable change in the past couple episodes is that the other two girls are getting their chance to "sparkle". I've enjoyed Mitsuki a lot in five and six, and I like that (unlike in some LNs) her and Mirai get along well. Ai... is basically a minimal screen-time cuteness - I mean, comic - relief character but she rather effective at it.
From the preorders I'm seeing sales probably aren't going to be great, though it looks like quite a few shows are in the same boat. A lot of the comments I've read credit that to this being a season of sequels to big sellers (Monogatari, Kuroko's Basketball, Infinite Stratos and Little Busters all come to mind).
Also, just as an FYI, I'm going to be winding down my PMs/VMs over the next couple days and just in general may not be around the board much until some time in early to mid December. One of my courses this semester is really hard and it's going to take a higher than usual level of concentration to get through it.
I agree that HSI3 was worse than KnK6. And yeah, Jiromaru's actions in that episode being worse than anything in KnK is a big part of the reason why.
The main reason I raised the comparison is that I haven't seen viewers so polarized over an anime episode since HSI3, which also happened to be a gag episode (so that fitted Obelisk's argument). It seems to be split almost straight down the middle between people who loved KnK6 and people who hated it, at least here on Anime Suki (I counted at least 6 or 7 different people on each "side").
Just so you know, I'm giving KnK at least one more episode. If I like 7, if I feel that it does a good job of handling the conflict between Mirai and Sakura, I'll probably stick with it and I might end up liking it overall.
One thing I will say is that, oddly enough, I do find myself liking Mirai a bit more. Ironically, I found her much cuter without her glasses than with them. There are also some elements to her personality that I find charming/amusing.