I’m going to try to get back into a rhythm of writing reviews. Now, if any of you have read my About page (hint: go read it…self-plug for the win!), you’ll notice that I’m pretty fearful of approaching the magical girl genre of anime (mostly because of the judgment). However, I was repeatedly assured that this show takes a different approach and it’s even directed by Shinbo, who gave us Bakemonogatari.
So what’s the story? Basically, we follow Kaname Madoka, a fairly normal girl in a slightly futuristic society. She runs into a strange being known as Kyuubey, who offers her a contract: one wish in exchange for an eternity as a magical girl. Enter Akemi Homura, a mysterious transfer student who tries to stop Madoka from becoming a magical girl. From there, the story follows Madoka as she continues to learn the truth about being a magical girl as she tries to make her decision about whether she wishes to become one.
This story breaks out of the “transformations” and “magical wands” that are very typical of magical girl series, bringing out something so much darker. Every episode keeps you wanting to see the next and no one is who they seem to be. This show will seriously mess with your mind.
Most of the focus in the series falls on the five magical girls, Akemi Homura, Kaname Madoka, Tomoe Mami, Miki Sayaka, and Sakura Kyouko. Although Madoka is the focus of the series and we see quite a lot of character development on her end, each of the other magical girls has a detailed background for themselves (especially Homura). These characters all voiced brilliantly as well. Also, if you’re the type of person who’s a big fan of conserving weapons…don’t freak out when the characters start tossing weapons away. Finally, we have the mysterious Kyuubey. Originally introduced as a sort of ally, the creator of the magical girls, Kyuubey remains as a mysterious presence throughout the entire series, with unknown intentions and allegiances (kill it with fire!).
If you’ve seen Bakemonogatari, you won’t be so surprised with the animation style of this show. I’d describe it as different, but not so much in a bad way. The opening and ending themes are definitely outstanding, and the soundtrack has plenty of tracks that are memorable. The music fits the mood very nicely, giving the show a mystical sort of feel.
Long story short: this story twists the magical concept so much that you start to question whether it can really be put in the same group as the others. And if you’re looking for tentacle rape, then I’m sorry, but you’ll have to look elsewhere. This show is definitely one that shouldn’t be judged so easily. I’m annoyed that I was so biased against it to begin with. Some may say it’s too short, and I’m almost inclined to agree, but honestly, I think the length is just fine. I’d definitely recommend this show to just about anyone.
Final Score: 10/10