Madoka Magica - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating
This thread is to be used for discussing the entire episodes of Madoka Magica ... your thoughts about the show, overall impressions, expectations and hopes about the DVD only footage etc.
A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
And so on.
The poll represents your total series rating. In other words, how you would rate all the episodes combined (1-10)? If you'd rather rate the whole series by technical/artistic merits, you can do so. An example:
Animation Quality: 1-10
Voice Actors: 1-10
Emotional Involvement: 1-10
Average = Total Series Rating
Or a combination of the two. Or your general gut feeling.
Feel free to discuss and more importantly, have fun :)
I penned this essay around the time episode 10 aired. After the last two episodes aired, what I wrote still holds true.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica has been a hell of a rollercoaster ride for me. I get off one coaster, one licensed by my favorite characters but built by a third party, only to get onto a completely new coaster. But riding the first coaster, in a way, prepared me for this one. Where am I going with this? (Aside from a shaky metaphor.) Taktuboya and Gen Urobuchi aren't all that different.
(Quell your anger, you know who you are. Treating TK like Voldemort solves nothing. Take a deep breath and resume reading in a calm state of mind.)
Both writers took something people knew and cared deeply for (K-ON!, magical girls) and revealed that beneath the light on the surface was a layer of darknesss. But beneath that darkness, I think, is another layer of light. Like an Oreo done in reverse. Everyone may want to pry open the light and devour the darkness in media all at once, but too much darkness makes you sick, and eating a whole tub of it without spreading it on something light and having the textured, crunchy determination of light to balance out the darkness on both sides makes it lose something. The point of this paragraph is that I need to come up with better metaphors.
You may say you can't write heartwarming stories, Urobuchi, but there's still that core of goodness that can't be broken. All those witches, who became magical girls? Given the magical girls we have seen - Sayaka, Homura, Kyoko - they're still good people at heart. Their wishes were all for the sake of someone else. A world filled with that many altruistic people can't suffer for too long. In the end, people still lent their hands and their hearts to help. And when their determination becomes strong enough, like with Kyoko, that goodness shines through like Kanata's trumpet playing "Amazing Grace". It shakes the battlefield with the message that "hope is still here. Hope is always still here. One person can make a difference." It can only be a small, local difference, such as Azusa channeling her passion into working at a music store, but that difference can blossom out into something much larger. Madoka's single act of kindness in the first timeline ensured she'd be saved, and that she'd have someone trying to save her, in all others.
The ability to warm peoples' hearts has always been in you.
I've been getting increasingly less subtle in the past few months with my comparisons to Kamen Rider Ryuki. As an old hand in the toku fandom, I know that Yasuko Kobayashi is similarly genre-breaking. But what was the series she wrote after Ryuki? Den-O. It follows up on many of the same themes. Wishes. Mono no aware. The bonds of friendship. But it's also unforgivingly silly, slapstick and proves that even monsters are good people. Gen, like TK, your angst and your worries bring you notoriety. But you've worked with Kobayashi before. There's a Den-O in you too. The sands of time may appear infinite and dangerous, because they are, but even if it's contained within a single train car, there's laugher and smiles and genuine friendship, saving others from a cruel fate all the while. Put your pen to the paper. Make a comedy. The ligher side of life will welcome you with open arms.
You can overcome your tragedy syndrome and produce something that still goes against expectations, still is wonderfully written, still has substance and gravitas. But instead of darkness, there will be light. Happiness doesn't mean vapidity. Silliness doesn't mean shallowness. Being heartwarming can have just as much of an impact as being depressing, nay, more. Your would be self, your own wish, can be granted. You don't need an Imagin or a Shiro Kanzaki or a Kyubey to grant that. Reach out and achieve it with your own two hands. If you stumble, I encourage the stumbling. That's okay. Because while picking something apart is fun, polishing it up and putting it back together is even better.
Thank you, Gen and TK. Thank you, Yasuko Kobayashi. Your works caused me to question myself, influenced my writing style, and made me a stronger person. Not in realizing that life is futile. Just the opposite.
I want to be certain that the passion to live runs through me!
I gave the entire series a 8 out of 10 - I thought it was very good. For me the strongest element was the masterful storytelling - the writers were constantly surprising me and bringing new (and interesting!) elements with almost every episode that came out, both making the story deeper AND raising more and more questions each time. Brilliantly done. This was without a doubt my favorite aspect of the series and one of the best examples of storytelling I have come across in this medium.
I give the series a 9/10.
Certain characters such as Homura, Madoka, and Kyubey shined. Homura's story was developed beautifully, from her initial frail state to the emotionless veteran soldier back to the frail girl who cried for Madoka. Kyubey did an excellent job of misleading his clients while keeping a consistent and emotionless voice. In general, all of the characters had distinguishable personalities and motivations behind them, and not one character acted... well, out of character.
The only problem is that certain characters disappeared too quickly, which diminished my emotional attachment and sympathy. With Homura, we get to see the series of unfortunate events that drove her to force a strong, emotionless face.
However, not all the characters had that luxury. For example, we learn in episode 3 that being a Puella Magi is not all that enjoyable, and that Mami feels alone. In that same episode, Mami is killed. Because of how fast and short Mami's story was, the audience remembers Mami more as the Puella Magi who was killed prematurely than as the Puella Magi who felt alone.
Kyoko also suffers the same problem as Mami's, though to a lesser extent. We only get Kyoko's story through a brief speech with SHAFT's abstract art, which is not as effective as actually seeing her lose her family like the way we saw what Homura and Sayaka went through.
In that sense, the greatest flaw of the show is its length. In a show with death and mortality apparent, certain characters died too quickly and gave the audience little time to develop an attachment to these characters. Had the series been given more episodes, we could have seen Mami and Kyoko's story unfold as beautifully as Homura and Madoka's did.
I intend to do a lengthier review later, but I do want to share a few general thoughts right now.
I find that Madoka Magica is an anime that I like more and more the farther we move away from its conclusion, and the more I think about it in a 'big picture' sense. I still couldn't give it a 10/10 since its faults, collectively, made me feel like I had to take a point off, but I do think this anime will age like fine wine.
One thing Gen, SHAFT, and Shinbo truly get, I think, is just how important the beginning and ending of an anime show is when it comes to lasting impressions. And when I think about Madoka Magica, my feeling is that the first three episodes were very strong when taken as its own distinct section of the anime (I'd call it the "Mami Section" myself), and the last three episodes were sensationally strong.
It's ironically the six episodes right in the middle (Episodes 4 through 9) that is where I find almost all of the flaws for this anime. I say "ironically" since this is the part of the anime that Sayaka dominated, and I liked her character a lot, possibly my favorite of the entire cast even now (and it's an excellent cast).
But then, in the world of anime, it's the beginning and the end that stand out the most, and so I think Gen and SHAFT played the anime world perfectly in having a "Wham!" Episode 3 (remembering the 3 episode rule that many anime fans go by), and a "Wham!" Episode 10 setting up a truly epic conclusion.
A big part of the reason why this anime is one that I like more and more as time goes by is that it has such a splendidly satisfying ending. Where a lot of the more action-oriented anime shows I've watched have disappointed me is in having somewhat underwhelming concluding episodes given what came before. Madoka Magica avoids that pitfall, and hence provides concluding episodes that leave a great and lasting after-taste.
I vaguely recall another poster saying that Madoka Magica's end is the Gainax Ending done right, and I strongly agree with that.
I'll be generous and give it a 9/10.
Character Design - Nice. It just need to go WIIIIIIDER.
Characters - Ranging from OK to Great. Madoka is the 'OK' one, Homura is the 'Great' one. I mean, there are times when Madoka takes actions that are completely unnatural. On the other hand, Homura is being herself all the time: a Byronic heroine who kick Eldritch arses even as soul-crushing desperation darken her soul (figuratively and literally).
Premise/Idea - H.P. Lovecraft would have been proud. And then he would have been frickin' told, big time.
Story/Execution - Great. The whole ENTROPEE thing is ham-handed, but ultimately whether it's entropy or something else *cough* Bokurano *cough*, the story is about the extent of what people will do when facing insurmountable, cosmic threat.
Music - Great. Everything that I like about Yuki Kajiura is there. Everything that I don't like about her isn't there.
Animation - Great. Studio SHAFT really knows how to bridge "the crowd's demands" (Moe) and "doing it for the art". May they be successful enough in the future to bring us another awesome animation. Meguca*that wont be necessary*
I gave it a 10/10.
Story - As a whole, the story is overall very well constructed and executed and the pacing is excellent. Not one second have I thought that the story felt rushed or was going too slow. As excellent as the story is, with episodes 3, 10-12 being the highlights of the story, it still does suffer from some flaws, mainly from Sayaka's arc. However, the flaws did not detract that much from the story, and overall, the story is great and immensely satisfying. 9/10
Characters - The story is very heavily character-driven, and as such, all the characters have great depth and are believable. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses and act realistically to the situations that they experience. Every character is likable and as the story progresses, you grow to care and feel for them. Props to the VA's who all match their respective characters well, especially Homura and Kyubey's VA's. 9/10
Sound - This anime wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable if it weren't for the amazing soundtrack composed by Yuki Kaijura. Her unique sound and style works very well with the atmosphere of the show, leaving a very strong impression. 10/10
Art and Animation - For the most part, Shaft has done a great job in this department. Character designs are cute and contrast well with the dark mood of the story. Some people may find this a turnoff but the designs don't affect the anime negatively at all and are easy to get used to. Shaft is renown for their creative and abstract visuals and works well with Madoka Magica. The dreamworlds found within the witch's barriers are nightmarish and horrifying, lending to the overall mood of the story. 9/10
Enjoyment/Emotional Level - Although I recognize that this anime isn't perfect (none are for the matter), I still gave it a 10. Why? It's because the amount of enjoyment and satisfaction I gained from the anime is so unbelievably great, I couldn't help but give it a 10. One of the main reasons I love this show is because it allowed me, the viewer, to become so emotionally attached to the characters of the show, especially Homura. Homura's tragic back story and her single-minded, yet admirable dedication to Madoka has made her one of my favorite characters of all time. I've become so attached to her, that in episode 11, I started tearing up when she almost gave in to despair, and I bawled even more when she and Madoka had to separate. Madoka Magica is the only show I've ever watched that has truly made me cry and feel depressed. Not even Clannad, another one of my favorite anime, has managed to affect me in the same emotional level as Madoka. 10/10
It's because of this that Madoka is one of my all-time favorite anime and why I gave it a 10.
Animation Quality: 8/10
Solid overall. While it felt they cut corners, and art suffered in some part, it did not distract me as badly and Shaft sure knows what to do with the allocated budget. Something that the studio behind that other magical franchise should learn from.
Voice Actors: 8/10
Thank you Chiwa Saitou, thank you Aoi Yuki, thank you Ai Nonaka, thank you Kaori Mizuhashi, thank you Eri Kitamura and thank you Yuko Goto. But especially thank you Emiri Katou for Kyubey, you made him awesome.
A common challenge in creative writing is to write a compelling story under a limited number of words. Gen Urobochi does that with an one cour animated series. It's a lesson in writing to remember in regard of other series that have failed with one, two or three cours.
I always said to my irc friends that that other magical girl franchise would have hugely benefitted from a score made by the big names like Yoko Kanno or Yuki Kajiura. If Kajiura's score for Madoka have done anything, it is to nail what I said about it. But even without comparing those two anime, Madoka's score by itself is full of merits that are worth the praise.
Correct me if I get that part wrong.
Stylistic-wise, I could call Shaft and Shinbo the Tim Burton of the anime industry. To me, and in my taste, Tim Burton is a love and hate affair, emphasis on hate, because I felt that his stylistic gimmicks are getting worn, tired and getting in my way when it comes to enjoyment. Shaft often felt that way to me.
However, in this show, this is one of the few times where I have felt that, rather than being a disservice to the show, Shaft being Shaft actually serves the show, by giving the show and the world within the show their own identity and helps it to stand out among the shows of its genre.
Man, this have been a thrilling and fun ride. This is the first show of the 2010s that made me eager for the next week. It did help that it is an original creation as in there was no original material to compare to, and that spoilers were mostly avoided. In the subject of spoilers, it tells you a lot when it is heavily discouraged to spoil the series for the people who are just discovering the series. Yes, keeping newbies in the dark and seeing their face as the events unfolds is just priceless. I enjoyed every single minute of it, and I speak as one who have watched the mahou shoujo genre back in its Momoko, Magical Emi and Creamy Mami days, watched Sailor Moon and Princess Tutu (and still prefers Card Captor Sakura over those classics).
Emotional Involvement: 10/10
This is tied together with my enjoyment. While Sayaka was far from my favorite, I still felt sorry for her when all that shit happening to her, fully knowing that it is mostly her fault. And this is one example among others. If some naysayer says, "Yeah, well Madoka is 90% shock!", I answer, "So fucking what?" even if you got your precious percentage wrong, a little shock here and there doesn't hurt. What mattered to me in the end is that I CARED FOR THE CHARACTERS! I fucking know that too much grimdark would eventually kill care and interest in the characters. But the other side of the spectrum, where everything is ponies, rainbows and friendship winning the day without bloodshed and tears IS JUST AS BAD. I know that from personal experience, because this is how I eventually felt about that other magical girl franchise.
While watching Madoka, I could see what Vonnegut meant when he said, "Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of."
General impression of the series.
I have come into Madoka series with one single expectation, not having paid mind to who was writing it (until SpaceBrotha reminded me who did): Please may this show not be another Nanoha. Make the magical girl magic again.
In some way, it met my one expectation. And added its own spin by reminding me that magic is not always a good thing. With wishes, comes the curses, with the magicians, comes the witches, with the innocence, comes the horror, with the miracles, comes the tragedies, with the joy, comes the despair. But in the end, hope.
Opinions on the overall story, writing & plot devices.
While the similarities with Faust may run not that deep, Madoka Magica remains a story with damnation and salvation as one of its themes. It's hope brought by the titular character that is the key to salvation for many of those damned souls. In that regard, I think that Gen nailed it right. Moreover, it takes one trope: the transformation of the titular character, teases us with it over ten episodes, by cleverly, slowly but surely unveiling the good and especially the bad aspects of the life of a magical girl, and making us aware that Madoka becoming a mahou shoujo could lead to the worst possible outcome. Homura's hamster wheel run under the sun of the Groundhog Day just serves it to drive it home.
So it looks like that it can only end in blood and tears, right? Well, no. Not all the Pact with the Devil stories ends with the Devil dragging the soul of the poor lad in Hell. Sometimes, it ends with such a selfless and noble act that God intervene and take the protagonist to Heaven, sometimes the man who contracted outsmarted the Devil and gain his own salvation by exploiting a loophole in the contract. Which Madoka did by taking an injustice in the system, exploit it and fix it. And she did not care what would happen to her so not only she earned her own salvation but also did it for everyone in the past, present, future and beyond, and in turn she have become much than that. As a result, her transformation is the climax of the series not because she becomes a mahou shoujo, but also because by doing that she becomes the herald of the very thing Mami said that Puella Magi were spreading and enforcing. The transformation of Madoka have become the climax, and more than the climax it is an apotheosis, Madoka Kaname herself have gone neyond the teenage girl, beyond the magical girl.
Result being, it is a well crafted story within a limited space with a limited cast of characters. As I have said earlier, Legend of Galactic Heroes, like Dune and War & Peace, slowly build its plot and flesh out its characters with a slow delibarate pace that its allowed by its format. Madoka Magica felt closer to the short stories. Short stories, by their brievety, are in no way inferior to novels, or doorstoppers. Done right, they are griping and thrilling. To quote Baudelaire, the brievety of the short stories adds to its intensity and this intensity leaves in the mind a powerful memory. And Madoka accomplish that, it yield great success where Angel Beats failed.It takes a genre, use plot devices that will make the people of great taste, or those who pretend to, roll their eyes, but use them in such ways that it makes you wonder why those plot devices and tropes are so bad that it set the pants of those who despises them on fire. And even the weaker parts of Madoka Magica, some parts of episodes 4 & 9, pales when it comes to contemplate the whole tapestry.
If I have to say one thing about how the plot progressed to that ending, I'll leave the quote that have come in mind when episode 9, 10 and 11 passed (until the last seconds of episode 11)
What the show meant to you.
As you may have concluded from my lenghty post, it meant a lot for me. You know I care a lot about the characters when, myself rooting for a bad end by the end of episode 3, I ended up to hope for a better end after episode 10. Gen Urobochi and Shinbo managed to do that. As I have said, I HAVE watched Sailor Moon, and absolutely hated it, and Princess Tutu while nice did not left a big impression on me, so the anime veterans who want to give me history lessons can go back to their nostalgia booth for all I care; I can't repeat enough how that other magical franchise is disappointing, and Card Captor Sakura is my favorite magical girl anime.
Know what? Madoka Magica is now the magical girl anime I'll make my child, if I even have one, or nieces and nephews (more likely) watch with Card Captor Sakura.
So yeah, 9/10
I remember the day when I first came into the A&M section of Evageeks.org Forum, and wondered what's so much fuss in that particular thread devoted to a show called Madoka Magica, where the bros were talking about deeper stuff that was once the exclusive province of a few psychological thriller anime.
Curiously, I decided to see the whole show for myself. Yeah, full marathon from episode 1 to 8, and by the time I was finished, how I look at the magical girl genre has been completely altered, the imagery burned into my head, and... wow.
Now, deconstructing the MG genre isn't new at all; it was pioneered independently by predecessors Sailor Nothing and (of course) Princess Tutu, both bordering into the dark side of all things MG. But at the time I finished the first eight episodes I told myself, "Shit, MINDBLOWING! This Madoka might be the Evangelion of the MG genre! This is what I'm looking for!"
By God, as a psychological thriller packaged as a MG show, PMMM had almost everything that hooked me to Eva in the first place: the mind games, the intense battles and drama, the dilemma and conflict within and between characters, a callous and indifferent "frienemy" capable of inciting bloodcurdling anger in an otherwise cute and fluffy exterior, and damn... cute-looking characters that seem to be so multifaceted and vulnerable, not generic cardboard cutouts on the first impression, and they hook you in and become involved emotionally.
I could go on listing merits and all, but, as you can see, it may be a flawed work, hastily done in order to accommodate a limited budget, time constraint, and expectant sponsors and viewers. But I understand now that PMMM can't please anyone because every viewer has his/her own tastes and idiosyncrasies, so there will be admirers and detractors, and heated debates will always erupt whenever Madoka is mentioned. Furthermore, despite its shortcomings, PMMM never fails to amaze me even days after the final broadcast (as if I felt what the atmosphere was really like after all of Japan watched the final episode of Eva), and has defied the expectations of many, making it the best show of the season.
Finally, the experience taught me where to find a real winner that's worth watching, not tripe that passes for entertainment.
All right, an evaluation (I'll be very honest about this):
Animation Quality: 8/10 -- despite some flaws, some of the visual SFX strongly emphasized how terrifying the girls' enemies can be.
Character Design: 9/10 -- they may look cute and generic (thus not everyone are happy with the cutesy, child-like looks of these 14-year-old girls), but throughout the show they almost came close to the breaking point. That's what breaking the cutie is all about, and where I get to see their true character within.
Voice Actors: 10/10 -- lots of chemistry involved with the other seiyuu, especially between Yuuki Aoi and Chiwa Saitou (what a potent combination!); it was also an added bonus to hear the voices of two veteran seiyuu (from Eva, of course).
Script: 8/10 -- the pseudoscience can be hard at times, but I like to look closely at the relationships between the characters.
Soundtrack: 10/10 -- As a fan of movie score tracks, Yuki Kajiura is made of win; last time I heard such a moving score, reminds me of Gabriel Yared or James Horner; No surprises for me if she's asked to collaborate with Hans Zimmer (she was in West Germany at one time, according to her bio) in a future project.
Editing: 8/10 -- there are some instances where some of the needed information or detail is missing, but I think that's what happens when Gen, Shinbo and the Shaft nutters had to work within a 12-episode straitjacket.
Enjoyment: 10/10 -- I have nothing much to say, except this show will be forever branded into my noggin like Eva and Utena; psychological thrillers pull me by the lapels, and these girls did it exactly like the way I enjoy it.
Emotional Involvement: 10/10 -- *laughs* Sometimes I curse QB loudly; sometimes I yell in triumph when one of the heroines win or show something really awesome; sometimes I was left speechless or in a state of total catatonia (episode 3 left me saying... "WTF?"); and sometimes I have that ache in my heart when one or two of the girls have a sad moment (like I want to ask them to stay over at my home and feel welcome like they're my younger sisters).
Overall, and as I have made my choice on the tally board... it's a 9/10. Flawed, not perfect, has some pieces missing, but what the hell, PMMM kicked my ass three times over!
And, oh, two more things I'd like to say:
1.) The last time I watched a decent anime series or a movie was Maria-sama ga Miteru and Evangelion: Rebuild, and in those times I never bothered about leeching and watching other shows, but it was only with the big hype surrounding PMMM that I made the decision to see it for myself... and Madoka and her buddies never failed to amaze me.
Hmm, clearly this series was overrated. I mean darkier and edgier sounds like a cool new concept to bring to the magical girl genre, but having a darker twist in itself is not original. Hell, it's been done to death in the 90s and it's kinda annoying that Darkness= quality. It's not original, it's just gimmicky. PMMM could have had a lot of potential, but most of it was squandered with dancing marshmallows with mustaches.
What some may call artistic, I call cost cutting. Is not trying to have animation artistic these days? Surely, it's not as bad as their previous shows, but it's just lazy trying to be abstract and comes across as just being pretentious.
And what's with those character designs? Pancake faces? Really? The only attractive looking character is Kyubey, and it's sad that some demon-alien looks the best out of the cast.
Backgrounds are nice... when they actually give a damn. But all and all, nothing special
Although the story can be considered self-consistent, it gets cluttered with all kinds of nonsense and pacing problems. The entropy nonsense not only highlights the writers' lack of understanding of basic science, but also the lack of ability to throw in a suitable plot twist. Oh, time travel too? How impressive-- that just sets up a chance for a reset button. The ending cannot be called a true deux ex machina, but instead of having the characters find a way to fight out, they have an easy bake solution.
Also, it's convenient to have most of the parents out of the picture huh? Well, Kyoko had that excuse, but Sayaka? Mami? Please! Kyubey wouldn't have had half the chance. When I make a choice I am always right in hindsight; they should obviously be too.
Then the series ends with some kind of naked hugging lovefest. Lay of the drugs, guys.
A story needs characters, not plot devices. Madoka herself is the ultimate plot device; we have some frail little girl who oh wants to help, but won't do anything until it's too late. Hey, why not just make the wish now and spare us the suffering? Some may consider them clever for saving her up, but honestly, it's just to drag the show on and sell more DVDs.
It'd be even better if she had some more willpower. How can you have a story when the hero is a sobbing mess all the time. Look at Evangelion, the Rebuild movies are better, because the hero pulled something completely out of his ass out of sheer willpower! Why can't we have something like that?
Everyone else isn't worth mentioning. They have roles, but they are clearly here to be tortured by this sadist of a writer. Homura has to keep the idiot ball going with her cryptic hintings of plot and her time travel plot, Mami's to get killed for shock value, Sayaka to make them even more confused, and Kyoko's there to eat because they're all too depressed to do so. And what's with Kyoko's regular outfit? Fanservice fail.
Well, I guess watching people die repeatedly was fun, in a sadistic way... but really, dragging
Plot contrivances out of the wazoo, characters that service the plot. Gee, really, I can't believe I wasted my time because everyone hyped it up so badly. Sheesh.
:heh: :heh: :heh:
Ok, I'll write an actual review later... I just think you guys need a balance to all the praise I'll give later as well as from others.
I pretty much ignored Madoka at the start as to me MS series were normally very "rainbowy". In a lucky accident, with nothing to watch, i ended up watching the first 3 episodes of Madoka.
The story was really about characters, the mystery of the system and the problem of how to solve the entire thing even when all the information was laid out to you.
Sayaka really caused me neck problems as i was headshaking many times on Sayaka's lack of ability to think. When Sayaka changed did as everyone had expected for 3 episodes, up to the very point where she talked to Kyoko, i was still headshaking. Her VA did an absolutely magnificant job with her baka line because when she finally said that and the BGM swelled, i still considered her as "need more brain food" but felt sad for her remorse at the very end of her life. If only she had not chosen as unwisely as she did.
Kyoko was a surprising character, I would not have thought i would feel for her. I credit much of it to her picture as a kid with a bewildered face, her simplicity of thinking at that time and her bad ending of her wish. Part of what i like about her was that she took the lessons of her wish to heart and to use that as a life lesson, not that ultra selfishness was any better. However her end was also much less impactful than Sayaka's. Her VA failed to bring as much life to her final dialogue.
The word i use to describe Homura is "manly". When she said that line "For you, even if i was forever trapped in a maze, i would not balk", such courage and determination is remarkable. Her showing in ep 11 was truly astounding even though results were not as anticipated. Her VA has also been consistently good, though to be fair, she has only cold or sad dialogue for most of the series.
Kyubei was an interesting character. His motives were the moving force for the front parts. The wolf in sheep's clothing for the series and an excellent one. The lighting, unchanging smile and obvious lawyering already marked him early as someone who was never going to be helpful but you never knew what he was hiding until it got forced out of him. His VA did an excellent job, maintaining an even, uncaring air though in some parts the voice did project too much emotion.
As for Madoka, maybe i'm one of few but i liked Madoka's character from episode 1. I have a soft spot for characters who try to be responsible and kind and as Junko noted, Madoka was successful in her job at being a good kid. I was quite impressed by Madoka's attempt to stop the mass suicide which marked her as having courage. Though some would harangue her on her "cowardice" for not contracting, thoughout the series i felt Madoka had responded the most life-like, not signing up for a life sentence for an acquaintaince like Mami, yet willing to risk it to save Sayaka. Obviously Homura helped a lot in her not having to contract. The Madoka in the final ep, who had all the information she needed, and the willingness to commit her entire life to a wish that was not for herself showed her determination was not any less than Homura's.
The thing about the entire story is that it is consistent and logical with itself. The final wish was an excellent piece of logic, that closed all the loopholes and didn't attempt too much. Not many series can claim that nowadays. The only one is Kyubei's "entropy's ending the universe" sales pitch, which falls flat, unless one considers that the energy usage of the galactic races is sufficient to bring a vastly early end to the universe. Not very realistic but as it never went further in its explaination which was good because you cannot pin any logical faults on something that was never explained.
Magia is actually a head turner. Connect is well made yet isn't that special but you don't hear someting like Magia's calibre everyday. The background music is also very nicely done. Sayaka's part in ep 7's end brings out the emption of the scene. Sometimes its too heavy handed like Homura's ep 11's end music, still overall its very good.
Mostly ok. The character's pancake faces work surprisingly well. Not much definition needed but the eyes and other small things brings out the emotional state of the character, matching the VAs very well in most cases. The abstract nature of the witches allows for pretty absurd stuff yet remain acceptable.
Overall this is definitely a 10 for me. Until another anime can dethrone it from the same genre niche, it will remain a 10.
Alright, here goes with the real deal.
The magical girl genre is not necessarily one of my favorites, but it's I've been familiar with it as long as I've encountered anime. Who could forget the silliness of Sailor Moon, plus its colorful characters? Or the classic moe character of Sakura from Cardcaptors? They weren't exactly my kind of thing, but they frequently left behind concepts of hopes and dreams that would leave much to the imagination. Even as an adult now, I could still find these things to be of value, even if reality frequently contradicts these ideas-- they're still worth holding.
But the anime that would reinvent the MG genre in my eyes would have had to be Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, which showed us that it was possible to have high energy action, cool fight scenes, and most importantly, awesome weaponry in these shows. Nanoha's standard armament is no pretty wand-- It was made to break shit! The first season of this series had one of the most memorable endings ever, with an extremely dramatic flair thanks to the characters the writers created. What had started as a generic show may have gone on to slingshot the genre into this century.
So skip a couple of years, and I see the same director off to create yet another magical girl series. Intially I was quite skeptical of this, since I was no particular fan of Shaft and their odd style. But it was a pleasant surprise, as writer Gen Urobuchi had quite a few surprises in store for us, the result leaving me much more confident in the future of anime.
The weakest part of the show definitely lies in the visuals. It doesn't help that I'm not fond of the Shaft LSD kind of imagery. I mean how could you take fighting some paper plastic monster amidst a bunch of cupcakes seriously? Even as Mami was getting owned, all I could think about was "Omg they're hiding behind a donut!" I can't help but shake the feeling that they are being cheap. (Well, perhaps not Higurashi level cheap, but hey)
Now, I can't say that it was all bad. After all, the bizarre imagery helps invoke a sense of being out of this world. The witches and anything involving Kyubey are so alien that it is frightening to think of what they are dealing with. Things beyond your comprehension can do that.
The architecture involving their buildings is pretty interesting, giving us kind of a futuristic feel to it. I always get the feeling if something hits that school, that's gonna be a disaster. All that glass... :upset:
The fights are quite disappointing; perhaps the best one was Kyoko vs Sayaka, and perhaps the very last fight. I found myself being pretty underwhelmed by the majority of them, and there doesn't seem to be enough focus on them. It's kind of like Mai-HiME in which the fights seem to be a huge tease, but end up being too short, and you're left wondering "Hey, don't stop now!!" But at least Mai-HiME kept the fights high energy and tense.
Note that there is no excuse for this. Evangelion was not focused on the mecha, but there were still great fights going on. I won't hold this too much against Madoka, but it could be done better.
Visuals in general are pretty competent, especially the non drugged ones. Overall, I'd say a lot of hit and miss, but still good.
Note that I did not include this in the last post. :heh: But the soundtrack truly is amazing and memorable. The song "Magia" literally sent chills up my spine when they used it at the end of episode 3. There was no escaping what we were in for-- that's the use of a good soundtrack. It sets up the atmosphere and it leaves me anticipating for more. Yuki Kaijura could be said to be the real star of the show; then again, she's pretty much lighted up every show and movie she's ended up working with. Even if you hate Madoka, listen to the soundtrack!
Connect is not as notable as Magia, simply because it's more conventional (and how deceptive too) But it turns out it fit the show anyways, which I felt was a nice touch. The best use of it was probably at the end of episode 10, where it brings things for circle, letting you know who's perspective this song is coming from.
The BGM is more Kajura win-- notables include the angsty song that plays right before Homura shoots Kyubey, and the last battle theme, as well as pretty much the entirety of episode 12. Oh, and Mami's battle theme... well the list can go on.
The voice acting is decent. I actually appreciated Ai Nonaka the most as Kyoko. Her initial appearance as a bratty, arrogant, possibly murderous bitch that really needed to be slapped really left an impression; the change in her tone as the series went along was also excellent as well.
And Kyuubey. Just damn you Kyuubey.
The audio experience in Madoka is one of the best-- it makes up for the visuals, at the very least. :D
Spoiler for length:
Spoiler for length:
This pretty much goes without saying. I haven't been so enthusiastic about following a series for quite a while. I gave a damn about the story and hoped our heroes would win. And they did-- yay!
I'd say Madoka managed to never be boring. You have a decent mix of drama interspersed with some lighthearted moments. Well, before everything goes to hell, but at least they came back. Shaft made this a rather fun ride and left much to think about, considering all these discussions I see.
Is this the greatest animu ever? Probably not. But I haven't been this into an anime since Clannad or Higurashi, so I think I can spare to rate this a 10 instead of 9 point something.
And actually the last scene can really summarize my anime viewing experience in general. Every time I almost fall into despair because the new seasons' shows are like a desolate desert filled only with curses, something (Higurashi, Clannad, Durarara!) tells me to keep going. And judging by spring season, maybe Madoka shot the anime industry with an arrow too.
So thank you, Urobuchii. Thank you, Shinbo. Thank you, Shaft. You've saved anime for me.
*Imagines a bunch of people congratulating me*
This show took me by surprise. While I generally find enjoyment in almost anything, so much of it is forgettable quickly after I've finished. The list of anime that have truly stuck with me over the years is small, and I'm proud to add Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica to that list.
However at first, I didn't really find the series that great. Sure, Mami's death was a clear sign that this was not your average Magical Girl show, but after watching anime like Elfen Lied and Evangelion, it's hard to be disturbed or shocked these days. It wasn't until Sayaka and Kyoko appeared that I really got into the show, and the various characters and overall mystery of the story really sucked me in.
Sayaka's downfall in particular hit me hard. Episode 8, and the final moments of it, left me reeling for a week. I didn't want her to die, or turn into a Witch. I didn't want her to become some monster that fights her friends. It was then that I realized this show was truly something special. It was also when I realized how much I hated Gen Urobuchi. :heh: Was I really just watching a show of little girls being fed to a meat grinder?
Around this time someone had asked me what I thought the theme of the show was. I struggled with the answer to this question, and then I remembered a speech in Lord of the Rings by Samwise Gamgee. He spoke of hope, and darkness and light, and the reason why some stories stuck with you despite how awful they first seemed. He spoke of perseverance and courage. It was a speech that has always cheered me up.
Little did I know how much my answer would come true. I said the theme was Hope, and the show delivered, in spades. Sayaka did meet a bad end, but in the end the darkness was given a reason to fear the light, which was Madoka and Homura and all the struggles of the various girls in the story. Gen delivered a powerful story, and I could no longer hate him.
Was the ending of the story perfect and positive? No, and that was the point. The fighting goes on, the struggle continues. That's the point of hope, the drive to keep moving forward to something better no matter how many times people tell you not to hope, that it's useless. There's inspiration to take from this message, and it's a good one.
The audio visual elements of Madoka aren't perfect. The soundtrack is amazing, but some tracks do repeat. Not jarring, but noticeable. The visuals are a mixed bag. The Witches almost come off as Monty Python sketches at times, and while disturbing, don't typically feel dangerous or menacing. Charlotte's second form was probably the closest to this feeling of terror, the rest...mixed results. Suffice to say that the few battle scenes are well done, and the final episodes were fantastic in both audio and video. Some might not have liked the "pancake" character designs, but I thought the design was perfect. The cute look juxtaposed the darkness of the story and they were able to convey emotion very well.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the amazing voice acting, especially the later half of the story when things start to pick up. Episode 10 in particular really pulled at me, when Homura is forced to shoot Madoka and screams as she is pulling the trigger. Madoka's cries of agony as she turns into a Witch. Sayaka's tearful "I'm such a fool" speech. Kyoko talking to Madoka about saving Sayaka.....you can almost feel the sentimental parts of her words. I could go on.
Kyubey deserves a special mention as, simply put, the best villain I have EVER seen. Sure, other villains get moments of awesome, but Kyubey is easily one of, if not the, most complex villains I have ever seen. Not in his actions exactly, but in his morality. Never have I seen a villain where the audience is asked "is he evil?" and get so many divisive and conflicted answers. That said, it was with utmost satisfaction seeing Madoka finally making her wish, and his realization that he just got screwed over.
Is he still Kyubey in the end? Oh yes....but I'm not sure I'd have it any other way.
When all is said and done, Madoka will not appeal to everyone. It isn't perfect, and if you linger too long on some elements of the story you'll start thinking how little sense some of it makes. However, overlook the small stuff and look at the show as a whole, and I think you'll find a rare gem in the anime industry. Time will tell if Madoka joins the legends of the past, but at least for the Magical Girl genre, this is one of the best stories you'll ever experience.
since no series will ever deserve a 10, i'll give this the closest thing
unlike some people, i wasn't surprised, heh, i saw it coming
it was obviously going to be different
the ending was the best part for me
it wrapped everything up pretty well
that, and madoka fucked reality by killing herself and becoming god
this show rocked
it was awesome
not hoping for a second season
that might ruin it
10/10 for everything.
Why? Watch the show and you'll see.
To try to spice up this thread a bit, and to try to provide additional balance, I'm going to argue from a more critical perspective (even if it doesn't perfectly reflect my own view of this anime).
Solace's excellent review provides a good basis to work from here.
Just to be clear, is all of that correct?
I strongly agree with you on the witches. The first two were not impressive at all, imo, and most had a "Monster of the Week" feel to them.
Kyouko vs. Sayaka was disappointingly underwhelming, imo.
While Homura vs. Walpurgis Night was truly excellent, I still felt that most of the fighting action scenes in this anime were slightly disappointing. Much of that was due to the generally non-menacing Witch designs, though.
Kyubey is a tremendously influential character, arguably the most influential anime character since Haruhi Suzumiya, but I've watched and seen more effective (when it comes to the villain achieving his own goals) and entertaining villains.
I agree about the real flaws that you're pointing to here, but I don't agree with the implication that it's somehow the viewers fault for taking notice of those flaws (i.e. "lingering too long" on them).
A true masterpiece can and will withstand in-depth critical examination, in my opinion. And, to me, "10/10" means true masterpiece.
Not to mention that Gen and SHAFT hyped this work heavily, and clearly expects it to be held to a high standard. Well, if that's what the creators themselves are asking for, then I think it's only right for us viewers to oblige them.
I can raise them if anybody else here asks me to, but I think most here already know what they are, as they've been debated at length on this board already.
Look at all of the flaws you've pointed out that I have commented on. They're not insignificant, in my opinion. They do detract considerably from the overall effectiveness of certain parts of this anime.
In the post-Nanoha era, action scenes do matter in magical girl anime, in my opinion. Action scenes with visually unimpressive enemies to be defeated, and/or action scenes that are very short and unsatisfying, are not good. They're significant flaws, in my opinion.
And in an anime that's so rooted in its characters and their actions and choices, it can hinder a scene's effectiveness a great deal if those actions or choices make little sense. Again, not an insignificant flaw, imo.
These flaws are not totally overwhelming, though. I was still able to very comfortably give this anime a 9/10, and I think it deserves that.
But the flaws are numerous, significant, and varied enough that I am a bit surprised at all the 10/10s this anime is getting.
I fear that in time this anime may be viewed by many as overrated, which I think would be a shame, as that could cloud how this anime is, as you say, a rare gem.
But rare gems with creators that specifically ask their viewers to hold them to high standards should be held to exactly that, in my opinion.
Animation Quality: 8
Voice Actors: 10
Emotional Involvement: 10
I didn't really expect the show to be good at first.
Little by little I got absorbed in the story and started to care about the characters.
There's even a time that Madoka is in my hated character's list, but she redeemed herself in the final episodes. Right now, there's no one in the cast that I don't like, everyone played their part well. Mami - the mother figure, Kyoko - the tough girl, Sayaka - the drama queen, Kyubey - the manipulative guy, Walpurgis Night - the cool villain, Homura - the reliable friend, and of course Madoka - the heroine of this great anime.
This show has caused me to temporarily stop buying anime items from other series, currently saving money for buying figmas of all the main characters, music cd's, and other assorted merchandise that I could order from CDJapan and Hobbylink. :)
Oh sure, I get singled out. :heh: I'm kidding, I'll happily answer devils advocate disagreements. :p
Kyubey's plan isn't what made him interesting, it was his portrayal. Was he entertaining to watch? No. I've seen more interesting and grandiose villains. Rather, what makes him so appealing to me is that unlike so many other villains, I struggle with the morality and ethics he represents. Was he defeated? Yes, but not really. He admits that if he had the option of Witches he would have used it, but if you think about it what did he really lose out on? If anything he gained a sustainable source of energy instead of one doomed to fail as soon as Madoka became a Witch and destroyed humanity. So it's less efficient, but he didn't exactly lose either.
To use an analogy, it's a bit like trying to explain a joke to someone who didn't get it. The point of the joke is the punchline, but instead you're being weighed down with trying to explain how elephants fit into fridges, how numbers can eat each other, etc. If you linger too long on a joke, or attempt to explain them....they're just not as funny or interesting anymore.
I have never seen a story that can truly withstand critical opinion. You can pick apart and deconstruct damn near anything. For example, so many people proclaim Evangelion as the pinnacle of the industry. Really? Estranged fathers let their mentally scarred children pilot city leveling war machines without any concern for their well being, or the well being of others? The characters and plot of Eva are easy to pick apart, but because the show is just so damn interesting to watch, many can gloss over those elements and hail it a masterpiece.
How about classical paintings? Picasso certainly created some....interesting paintings, but compare them to Michelangelo and his iconic works. Masterpiece, like art, is subject to the eye of the beholder.
You say Shaft hyped this. I agree. But does it not hold up to the hype? Does it not hold up a high standard of quality animation, music, and storytelling? Ignore the things we'd nitpick for every show regardless of hype, can you not say that Madoka is head and shoulders above many, if not most, anime offerings in the last few years? Look at the Older Series section of our site. It's reflective of some of the best and most popular offerings since 2005. I won't argue that there has been many quality niche titles that didn't get subforums, but that aside, can you not find agreement in the statement that Madoka is at least on par with, if not better than some, of the best each season has had to offer in the last five or six years?
Better than Madoka's fight scenes? Well, I think as far as visual pron goes, 11 and 12 were great, but for sheer gar, rah rah fight adrenaline Nanoha wins. I'm a sucker for explosions.
I don't think that Madoka and Nanoha are truly fair comparisons though. I've tried to do it in the past, but it doesn't work well. They're just too different. Sure they share the same genre, but how they each explore it is very different. They're both good in their own right, and I think perhaps it would be better to say that they both deserve the top spot for genre defining shows.
By simple virtue of it being a rare gem, a show that transcends the usual stuff made every season, it is worth watching at least once. In a few years, a decade from now, will people look at Madoka and appreciate it? I guess that depends on what comes out in that time, and how well it ages compared to that.
If for nothing else, the show should be appreciated for bringing some fresh air to the industry, for trying to push the envelope, to break out of the norms, as it were. I can't put it any better than Shunji Suzuki:
So yes, time will tell if Madoka has that effect, but it is a good effort in its own right and off to a good start. Now lets see if the genre/industry will choose to stay in the shadow of Nanoha/Madoka, or try to surpass them.
I think an anime can be regarded as a masterpiece even if it does have severe flaws, and there pretty much is no work that would be considered a masterpiece by everyone.
Take Neon Genesis Evangelion; it may have numerous flaws including rushed pacing post episode 20, that ending, and a suffering of animation quality near the end. But many would regard it as a masterpiece, even if I personally didn't 10-rate the main series. I may not be able to get over the flaws in that, but other people can.
I mean, the point of this medium is to entertain, and for those people which a show managed to entertain and reach out too more so than other shows, then that would rate a 10 right? Because from their subjective point of view, that show has the most value.
I wouldn't worry about this anime being overrated, because it already is. And every other popular show there has been and will be. It's really up to the viewers to screen out the hype and form their own opinion, as hard is it is.
|All times are GMT -5. The time now is 21:04.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.