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View Poll Results: Madoka Magica - Episode 03 Rating
Perfect 10 117 56.25%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 57 27.40%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 23 11.06%
7 out of 10 : Good 4 1.92%
6 out of 10 : Average 2 0.96%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 1 0.48%
4 out of 10 : Poor 0 0%
3 out of 10 : Bad 1 0.48%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 1 0.48%
1 out of 10 : Painful 2 0.96%
Voters: 208. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-08-02, 03:16   Link #381
Archon_Wing
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To quote myself when I reviewed the series:

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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!"
The point of the witches' lair is that are supposed to appear otherworldly and so different from the actual world that they are in. It's supposed to be a place where it's incomprehensible and extremely alien.

That being said, sometimes I do feel like whacking Shinbo with a donut.
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Old 2011-08-02, 07:56   Link #382
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Very interesting thoughts, Kaoishin. Thanks for sharing them, as they offer a slightly more detailed take on the real world vs. witches realm dichotomy than what I've read before.


Pertaining to the upcoming violence level of this anime, since you touched on that... I'll deal with just that violence level in the spoiler space below (your choice if you click on it or not )


Spoiler for Madoka Magica Post-Episode 3 violence level:
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Old 2011-08-02, 09:45   Link #383
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Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
I know that's weird to say for someone who enjoyed Higurashi and how that went from being sugary to a violent horror series (not that this was ever really overly sugary, but it did get really violent this episode when before it had just been cartoonish of the kind that is more the norm for magical girl fare), but that was more of a gradual change in tone whereas this feels like the tone of the show and overall goal got changed up right in the middle of production or something and they didn't have enough time to up the style of the dialogue to suit the change in tone so they just worked in some catty barbs between Mami and Akemi. Am I expecting too much in the dialogue here for a more dramatic take on the magical girl tone? I can't really answer that myself which is why I'm moving onto the next episode right away.
The drastic change in tone here was almost certainly intentional, considering that the way they marketed (hell, even presented in general) to everyone was that Gen was going to go out of his comfort zone in the writing here, and that this was going to be a more upbeat story than his usual fare, all the while giving only small whispers about how there was a ''grotesque'' or ''horrifying'' element to the story they didn't want to reveal until the shows airing.

There were always hints to the show taking a very harsh turn somewhere down the line, but I think that they didn't want it to become apparent early on so they could make sure they generate the maximum shock value.

It certainly worked well enough.
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Old 2011-08-02, 14:01   Link #384
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Gonna be completely honest, I don't know who Gen is or about any of this stuff to do with the hype preceding the show. I pretty much went into this show as cold as can be with no idea about the plot other than it was supposed to take a darker turn at some point then most magical girl shows. I always assumed the hype level was pretty strong, but I never really paid attention to that cause I was doing other stuff like watching Hockey and wasn't really paying to much attention to the anime scene while this show was leading up to airing.
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:40   Link #385
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
Gonna be completely honest, I don't know who Gen is or about any of this stuff to do with the hype preceding the show. I pretty much went into this show as cold as can be with no idea about the plot other than it was supposed to take a darker turn at some point then most magical girl shows. I always assumed the hype level was pretty strong, but I never really paid attention to that cause I was doing other stuff like watching Hockey and wasn't really paying to much attention to the anime scene while this show was leading up to airing.
It's cool. All I knew when I watched Episode 1 of Madoka Magica back in January (or very late December, I can't recall which) is that it was a magical girl show done by SHAFT. That alone (well, along with the character designs) was enough to pique my interest. The very idea of SHAFT doing a magical girl show just seemed potentially pretty wild to me.
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:48   Link #386
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We all generally predicted a darker turn in the previous two episodes (many predicted Mami to be the bad guy) but that may have been due to the fact that we all knew Urobuchi Gen. But really I think the hidden darker side was apparent anyway, so I would never say it was an unintentional shift.

The witch world is a definite YMMV, though, so i can't fault you for not liking it. I thought it was weird too (even for Shinbo) but I got used to it.
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:51   Link #387
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Originally Posted by Haak View Post
We all generally predicted a darker turn in the previous two episodes (many predicted Mami to be the bad guy) but that may have been due to the fact that we all knew Urobuchi Gen.
Haak, no offense, but Kaioshin and I both just wrote that we didn't know about Gen going into this anime.

Not everybody watched this show just because of Gen.

For those who didn't, the dark twist may be pretty surprising. I wasn't totally shocked by it due to how ominous Homura was in Episode 1, but the death scene was a bit earlier and more gruesome than what I had expected, to be sure.
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:52   Link #388
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Oh for...

Okay fine: Many of us generally predicted a darker turn in the previous two episodes (many predicted Mami to be the bad guy) but that may have been due to the fact that most of us knew Urobuchi Gen.

You happy now?
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:53   Link #389
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Knowing Gen or not, I thought the very first scene of the anime implied a darker shift all on its own. But I don't watch Magical Girl series, so I don't really know what qualifies as "darker" with the genre.
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:04   Link #390
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I think I should clarify: my point was that the change in tone that Kaioshin mentioned (that made the show like it went through a complete change in goal and direction of the story) was intentional based on the way the show was marketed and the writer on board being elusive about the actual nature of the show (since he's pretty well known for writing horror and all around depressing stories) to make the ''twist'' in this episode all the more powerful.

I was just putting the episode into context, nothing more.

In the end, I guess that was to make sure that everyone had a similar reaction to the show, whether or not they were aware of who was writing the show.
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:19   Link #391
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Regardless of who was writing it, Madoka's first 2 episodes had more than enough hints that everything was not what it seemed. From the bitter relation between Mami and Homura, to the very first scene in the anime, to the way Homura was looking really pissed during the scene with Madoka where she warned her about holding everything she has dear... It was all there.

It was a very logical lead up IMO. Now, I do agree though with the choice of art and animation by Shinbo and shaft being... well not good to say the very least. My biggest criticism of the series lies there.

For me the shocking part was to see something on that level so early, that's where the shock factor was. At the very least it serves its purpose extremely well. Sets the tone of the anime thereafter for everyone in plain sight.
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:24   Link #392
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I agree that the hints were there, but I still think that Maimi's fate in this episode was more extreme than what the hints had lead on.

As for the art ... well, I sort of agree that the stylistic choices here do feel very distracting at times (and thrown in for the sake of it some other times) but do you feel the same way about the redone BD's as well? since a lot of the mistakes are corrected and the episode ends up feeling more ironed out than the TV broadcast, which helps it look more focused IMO
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:31   Link #393
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Well, even prior to watching Madoka Magica (although Madoka Magica really hammered this home for me even more), I was a big believer in the "Three Episode Rule" (at least for one cour shows).

Basically, I think that most anime shows get three episodes to win over viewers, and that's it. So, partly for that reason, I wasn't totally shocked by the events of Episode 3 of Madoka Magica. If Madoka Magica was going to be a (mostly) dark show, it helped to make that crystal clear, in dramatic fashion, no later than Episode 3.

There's a show airing right now called Blood-C that probably should have learned this lesson...
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:39   Link #394
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Hey, don't go around bullying Blood-C :<

Also, Blood-C fights > Madoka Fights.

(I agree BTW. I do think that for a show airing for a single cour, it should by most the third episode make it clear which tone is setting out to follow no latter than the third episode, though I still think this episode revealed it's tone in a heavy twist, rather than at least make it sink in gradually)
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:49   Link #395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akashin View Post
Knowing Gen or not, I thought the very first scene of the anime implied a darker shift all on its own.
Exactly. I didn't actually see a drastic change in tone, but I was surprised at the pacing. And:

Quote:
(many predicted Mami to be the bad guy)
That was me, too. (I don't think I was anime-active online at that time, so I doubt I posted about it.) So, there was the added surprise the way they took Mami. I didn't trust her; she seemed... shifty.

As it happens, I'm re-watching Madoka at the moment (at the pace of an episode every two weeks or so), and I've just re-watched episode three. Even in her final fight, she demonstrates why I didn't trust her. One was the cool mentor front, which she dropped in this episode (for a reason I didn't expect that made me feel sorry for being so unfair). And the other was her fighting style, especially when she pushed the gun into that doll-soft face and pulled the trigger with obvious satisfaction. Yeah, here's a witch, but that's a level of style-over-content violence that sort of makes Mami creepy to me. And on that I haven't changed my mind.

But as Akashin said, the very first image of Madoka, a pink blob, traipsing through and empty and predominantly black/white world pretty much set my expectations. When she then woke to have a stylistically-over-the-top morning idyll, where Madoka woke her mom, and not the other way round, that sort of feeling solidified.

Quote:
but the death scene was a bit earlier and more gruesome than what I had expected, to be sure.
It was earlier than I expected, but I wasn't that surprised at how gruesome it was. (And I'm one of those who'd never heared of Urobochi Gen before.) But now that you mention it, I noticed for the first time that there were no last words, no passing the baton. Normally, you'd get characters of Mami's importance mortally wounded, so they get their last words in. Not here. Snap, you're gone. Just like that. That is a shock effect, because it flies in the face of a popular narrative convention. Odd that I never thought about this.
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Old 2011-08-02, 16:58   Link #396
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As it happens, I'm re-watching Madoka at the moment (at the pace of an episode every two weeks or so), and I've just re-watched episode three. Even in her final fight, she demonstrates why I didn't trust her. One was the cool mentor front, which she dropped in this episode (for a reason I didn't expect that made me feel sorry for being so unfair). And the other was her fighting style, especially when she pushed the gun into that doll-soft face and pulled the trigger with obvious satisfaction. Yeah, here's a witch, but that's a level of style-over-content violence that sort of makes Mami creepy to me. And on that I haven't changed my mind.
In all fairness, that entire fight showed a level of over-the-top confidence that she didn't display in her Gertrud battle. Everything about her fighting in that battle (though particularly when fighting the Familiars before rendezvousing with Sayaka and Kyubey) screamed a flair over efficiency way of fighting that was most certainly not present in her past fights. While the obvious satisfaction she showed at headshotting Charlotte was a bit creepy, I took it as an extension of that.
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Old 2011-08-02, 17:09   Link #397
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Hey, don't go around bullying Blood-C :<
I actually like Blood-C for the most part, for what it's worth. I just see some similarities between Madoka Magica, and Blood-C, so I like comparing them sometimes.

Quote:

Also, Blood-C fights > Madoka Fights.
Yeah, I'd definitely have to agree with that. That's an edge for Blood-C.


Quote:
(I agree BTW. I do think that for a show airing for a single cour, it should by most the third episode make it clear which tone is setting out to follow no latter than the third episode, though I still think this episode revealed it's tone in a heavy twist, rather than at least make it sink in gradually)
True, I agree with all of that.

I should say that I'm a guy who likes plot twists in general, so maybe that's why Episode 3 sat better with me than it did for some viewers.


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Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
It was earlier than I expected, but I wasn't that surprised at how gruesome it was. (And I'm one of those who'd never heared of Urobochi Gen before.) But now that you mention it, I noticed for the first time that there were no last words, no passing the baton. Normally, you'd get characters of Mami's importance mortally wounded, so they get their last words in. Not here. Snap, you're gone. Just like that. That is a shock effect, because it flies in the face of a popular narrative convention. Odd that I never thought about this.
Good pick-up there.

I really liked it myself, as it strikes me as much more realistic than the more popular narrative convention. In real life, violent deaths are usually quick, and not of the "crawling on the ground, mortally wounded, slowly dying but able to talk" variety.


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Originally Posted by Akashin View Post
In all fairness, that entire fight showed a level of over-the-top confidence that she didn't display in her Gertrud battle. Everything about her fighting in that battle (though particularly when fighting the Familiars before rendezvousing with Sayaka and Kyubey) screamed a flair over efficiency way of fighting that was most certainly not present in her past fights.
I think that Mami was trying to show off for her new friends.


Quote:
While the obvious satisfaction she showed at headshotting Charlotte was a bit creepy, I took it as an extension of that.
I just took it as Mami thinking "Finally!" given how Charlotte was proving to be a hard opponent for Mami to put down.

It's kind of like trying to swat away a fly for a few minutes, and you finally get him. Of course it'll give you a sense of satisfaction.
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Old 2011-08-02, 17:45   Link #398
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In all fairness, that entire fight showed a level of over-the-top confidence that she didn't display in her Gertrud battle. Everything about her fighting in that battle (though particularly when fighting the Familiars before rendezvousing with Sayaka and Kyubey) screamed a flair over efficiency way of fighting that was most certainly not present in her past fights. While the obvious satisfaction she showed at headshotting Charlotte was a bit creepy, I took it as an extension of that.
I agree with that to a certain extent. She's certainly showing off. It's just that this scene merely articulated something that I felt from the beginning. I'd have to re-watch the earlier episodes with particular attention to her fighting style. It's entirely possible that I've been seeing things that weren't there, because of a misconception of mine (I did completely misjudge Mami).

But re-watching the first three episodes with what I know in mind haven't actually changed my mind. I do know that first impressions can be powerful as well as persistent. So, yeah, I should maybe give her more of a break. Heh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R
I really liked it myself, as it strikes me as much more realistic than the more popular narrative convention. In real life, violent deaths are usually quick, and not of the "crawling on the ground, mortally wounded, slowly dying but able to talk" variety.
Heh, you're talking to the guy who didn't even notice that the death scene was unusual until just now. It fit the story so well, that I never second guessed it.
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Old 2011-08-02, 22:36   Link #399
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post

As it happens, I'm re-watching Madoka at the moment (at the pace of an episode every two weeks or so), and I've just re-watched episode three. Even in her final fight, she demonstrates why I didn't trust her. One was the cool mentor front, which she dropped in this episode (for a reason I didn't expect that made me feel sorry for being so unfair). And the other was her fighting style, especially when she pushed the gun into that doll-soft face and pulled the trigger with obvious satisfaction. Yeah, here's a witch, but that's a level of style-over-content violence that sort of makes Mami creepy to me. And on that I haven't changed my mind..
I definitely gathered that too. Too me the way she handled the Akemi situation (refusing to listen and seeming like she was pulling off some grand manipulative scheme by tying her up and seemingly enjoying it) and just the way she came across right until the final moments of the episode when she and Madoka were alone made me feel like she was trying to bait Madoka into some trap by isolating her from the other girls. I'm kind of confused why she was acting so suspicious and why she seemed to be straddling on the line of unveiling some ulterior motive right up until her death and kind of hope that behaviour is explained in a flashback or something at the very least.

About to pop another episode on so I'll be posting in the episode 05 thread shortly. Hope it continues the stronger narrative that episode 04 built up. I should mention that episode 04 made me a little more fond of this episode in retrospect save for the above. I think we're firmly in "good" territory here now.
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Old 2011-08-03, 00:05   Link #400
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I definitely gathered that too. Too me the way she handled the Akemi situation (refusing to listen and seeming like she was pulling off some grand manipulative scheme by tying her up and seemingly enjoying it) and just the way she came across right until the final moments of the episode when she and Madoka were alone made me feel like she was trying to bait Madoka into some trap by isolating her from the other girls. I'm kind of confused why she was acting so suspicious and why she seemed to be straddling on the line of unveiling some ulterior motive right up until her death and kind of hope that behaviour is explained in a flashback or something at the very least.

About to pop another episode on so I'll be posting in the episode 05 thread shortly. Hope it continues the stronger narrative that episode 04 built up. I should mention that episode 04 made me a little more fond of this episode in retrospect save for the above. I think we're firmly in "good" territory here now.
Your initial poor impression highlights a particular issue that I think Madoka Magica must have struggled with in its execution. Somehow, many people don't manage to come away from the first two episodes with an impression of anything much more than 'generic mahou shoujo'--and then, after that, in the immediate takeaway from episode 3, they can't get much farther than 'generic mahou shoujo deconstruction' either. Either way, perceptions of the show remain chained to the conventions of a particular genre this show has superficially taken on the trappings of rather than being freely conceived of in terms of its own identity, the expression of which is by far Madoka Magica's true purpose.

Urobochi Gen said that he had nothing but contempt for that thing which men call happiness. However, in the wake of his declaration of such a black view of the nature of hope and the universe, he confessed that his greatest wish was actually to write a story which could make men's hearts soar. Madoka Magica poses the question, not just of an unflinchingly harsh reality which has no sympathy to spare for delusions of hope and idealism--but, in such a harsh reality, whether there actually still something in the end, after all, which you would gladly trade your life for. From the very beginning, Madoka Magica talks about wishes--magical energy born from hope and raw emotion. This is a story whose fundamental premise was borne from the transcription of our hearts into reality. So the death and tragedy in this show was never meant as a gratuity, degenerate cynicism presented for the worst facets of humanity to revel in in despair and contempt for humanity; rather, they set a stage, a mirror of reality--to grant each of us humans a heartfelt opportunity to think about what meaning, what hope really does still remain for each of our pitiful, chained existences.

I don't know whether it was a weakness of the show itself. I feel like Urobochi Gen's former reputation almost forced them to attempt to play up a false impression at the start of the series and then explode with gratuity for the shock factor. The fact is, at the topmost surface level, the first three episodes of Madoka are not very representative at all. Madoka Magica is very much a universal story, not one aimed narrowly at the fans of an adolescent girls' genre or degenerates seeking only to witness the tearing down of something beautiful. I can only hope that all the future viewers of Madoka will be willing to approach the series with some open-mindedness.
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