So an anime buddy dropped by between a trip to California and a trip to Toronto last night. Seeing as how he was fine with "sleeping on the plane", we watched: Hataraku Maou-sama 1-2, Death Billiards, Little Witch Academia, Namiuchigawa no Muromi-san 1, Evangelion 3.33, Aku no Hana 1-2, Suisei no Gargantia 1-2, and Wolf Children. Oh, and then we reviewed my Sakuracon photos and talked camera gear until 4AM. I feel accomplished, even though we didn't get to Red Data Girl 3-4 as I'd intended (watched them when I finally got up today).
So I did some digging on the Puella Magi wiki and apparently there's quite a lot of minor changes to scenes between the first movie and TV series, just not the kind of things that are going to be that noticeable if (like me) you last saw the TV series two years ago. There does seem to be a consensus that the movie(s) has some significantly improved backgrounds in some scenes.
I saw Part II at the same theatre, and as with Part I the screening sold out. No dakimakura this time, but there were more cosplayers including a few I recognized from local cons.
As for the movie itself:
-no major cuts from what I can see
-many minor tweaks, though less changes than in part I (according to the wiki)
-While I felt that Part I dragged a bit at times just because it never gave the audience a breather like the TV episodes did, Part II's pacing was spot on and I felt the last four episodes benefitted immensely from being consumed in a single 1 hour, 50 minute sitting.
Though I still do wonder what was up with the dual OPs (both movie and TV OPs were featured).
Also picked up a 1/8 scale Matsuri Shihou figure from a nearby anime shop - my brother phoned me up to say he'd wanted to get it for me as a birthday present but it wasn't on sale last time he was there, so I should go buy it if it was on sale and he'd pay me back later.
I'm somewhat amused by the fact my Yuki Nagato as catgirl is still the only figure in my collection that doesn't have a significant amount of pink clothing (the other five: Matsuri Shihou, limited edition Mai Kawasumi in pink version of the Kanon uniform, Nadeko in her iconic outfit from Bakemonogatari 9/10 (the non-swimsuit one…), and Hanekawa and Hitagi in uniform).
Yeah, for something like Madoka, I think that English subs with the original Japanese audio works best. I'm relieved it wasn't English dubs with English subs as that's just awkward - I tried that once or twice, and I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time comparing the dialogue spoken to the sub dialogue.
Good point on the heavy nature of the material. Combine that with how there's few comic relief moments here (Hitomi acting silly a few times is about all you see of that), and I can see how it would feel like a lot to take in for just one sitting.
On the whole, it sounds like it was a big success, and that's great to hear. It couldn't happen to a better anime either, imo.
I might have more to write later, but I'll leave it at that for now.
1) Two people out of those at the theatre. Just surprised since there were maybe three hundred people at the theatre compared to 5100 attendees at Anime Revolution 2012, where I never saw any outside of the dealer's area. I did see a couple outside the dealer's area at Sakuracon in Seattle but that's the Pacific Northwest "regional" con with 21K+ attendee event (For reference, Fanime in San Jose (21K) and Anime Expo in Los Angeles (49K) also attract fans from Vancouver but those people are even more hardcore than I am.).
(BTW, my guess is Vancouver could have hit 8K attendees at it's major con by now were it not for the various organizational issues that have plagued our "scene" since Anime Evolution 2010, which got 6150. Other cons on the west coast have grown significantly in that time.)
3) I don't think I'd cite the lack of action specifically, rather that Madoka is generally a pretty heavy series that was originally designed to be consumed in short bursts - as opposed to packing eight episodes of events into 2 hours, 10 minutes .
4) The theatre I went two was 3124 seats across ten screens, so I'd guess the seating capacity to be about 300 people. And the theatre was actually turning people away too (I'm hoping the one cosplayer I mentioned got in, as from what I recall she tires out easily even when she isn't sick - not the kind of person you want to show up for nothing). Not sure what the turnout was like at the other three theatres showing it.
5) Japanese audio with English subs. Like I said, Aniplex gets it.
1. You said two people bought body pillows. Do you mean that two people from your group bought body pillows, or all you saw buy body pillows was two people period (out of everybody at the movie theater). It's not necessarily a big difference, but if it's the latter, I definitely agree with you. I view that as "Well, that's good. It's only two people out of the most hardcore anime fans in all of British Columbia!".
2. I'm glad to hear that the movie had minimal cuts.
3. I'm not sure what the cutoff point for Madoka's first movie is, but I know that if you were marathoning the first five episodes of Madoka Magica, they're rather dialogue-heavy with only minimal bits of standout action (this is especially true if Madoka's 1st episode dream is cut down on). On essentially a "second viewing", I would think it might seem long-winded, yeah.
4. Glad to hear it sold out. Roughly how many people in total were at the theater?
5. You said it had subs. Was it in Japanese audio with English subs, or did it have both English dub and English subs?
Anyway, glad you enjoyed it! I look forward to hearing back from you on it.
So I attended Madoka Magica's one night, four theatre stint in Vancouver on the 14th:
-Our theatre sold out at least 90 minutes prior to showtime, so I'm glad I preordered. My guess is the location my club went to would probably the busiest of the four but it's hard to tell.
-Two people brought body pillows, neither Madoka related. I suppose the glass half full view is it was only two.
-Movie was 2 hours, 10 minutes and covered episodes 1-8.
What I liked:
-Madoka on the big screen. I got what I came for.
-Use of surround sound when Madoka is searching for the source of Kyuubey's (telepathic) voice.
-Minimal cuts: They cut Madoka's deam at the beginning (despite it being referenced later) and Mami's backstory, and I'm wondering if the latter will be merged into Homura's backstory in Part II. Everything else was minor streamlining.
-Shown with subs, which is not the case at all anime movies I've been too. Aniplex gets it!
What I didn't like:
-I recall thinking that there was at least one "lost in translation" moment at a critical moment with the subs, though I can't quite recall what I thought the error was.
-Pacing: While I'm glad they kept almost everything, it did feel a bit... long-winded? Odd, since the movie itself wasn't that long.
-The minor changes - ie. Remixes in the soundtrack, etc. None of them were bad, but in many cases the originals feel more "iconic".
As for the before/after party - food options near the theatre were very limited but the company was great. My girlfriend and many of my anime club buddies were present, I also ran into one of my favourite cosplay models (who sounded like she was losing her voice…) and a Japanese exchange student who liked a lot of the stuff I did (Bakemonogatari, Hanasaku Iroha and Kotoura-san in addition to Madoka).