So if you haven’t seen this, I’d recommend watching before reading because I don’t want to spoil anything for you!
I usually don’t connect with animes or anything animated actually. Inside Out and Anomalisa were the two big animated movies that came out this year and I honestly thought that both were pretty average. I didn’t understand the overwhelming praise for either one of them.
That being said, I actually really liked and connected with this show! It only has 1 season of 12 episodes and each episode is very well balanced as a whole. Each character is well developed and carefully thought out. I was very impressed by the strong use of metaphors and intricate way that the theme of time was woven into the show even before the final few episodes. This show surprised me in many ways by being so real and awe inspiring. It was made in 2011 and has definitely aged well over the last few years. I don’t normally binge watch animated shows but this one just felt right. The animation is consistent and beautiful looking. I also didn’t feel like it was a problem that the girls were so young as none of them were objectified and actually became less provocative as their transformations occurred.
This story is pretty hard to describe! It’s almost something that you should watch on your own to fully appreciate! If you have seen it, then maybe you can comment something that’s easily understandable for everyone else!
Anyways, here’s my butchering of the story. We are first introduced to Madoka and Sayaka who get introduced to this cat like being named Kyubey. Then we meet this transfer student named Homura who tells Madoka to stay away from Kyubey. Madoka and Sayaka then meet Mami who is a magical girl! A magical girl gets a soul gem and gains the ability to use magic. Magical girls also fight witches who are evil beings that cause suicides and other tragedies. When witches die then drop items that clean soul gems. If your soul gem gets too “dirty”, then you die and become a witch. Kyubey then offers Madoka and Sayaka one wish; in return, Madoka and Sayaka have to be magical girls for life. We are also introduced to Kyoko who eats a lot.
This show shines in its ability to tell a compelling story without revealing too much at once. It would be really easy for it to introduce most of the plot points at once, but instead it holds them all like poker chips. You can never really tell where the show is going because you just have a feeling that it’s trying to trick you and that there’s something more. To extent, this feeling is mostly true. There’s a great level of satisfaction that is achieved just by knowing what will happen in the end. The rewatch-ability that this show has is very high. By knowing the ending, it’s interesting to see the story in a whole new way. It’s like watching Fight Club or Memento for the second time!
Another area that this show excels at is its animation. I usually despise the way that anime can look because of how over the top and self indulgent it can be. I’m very picky and don’t like it when the artists are pretentious. I never felt that once in this show. I’m not sure if it was because the animators never tried to make me get sexually aroused by the characters or just wanted to make an amazing show. The color scheme and backgrounds are phenomenal. They really pop out from everything else. Each character has their own “color” almost. It’s interesting to see how they affect the environment as they go around. This becomes increasingly apparent when they travel dimensions. The colors that the artist chooses for each character also matches their personality. It’s truly inspiring to see. I was impressed to say the least.
I thought each character was fully thought out with their individual power. My favorite character of the show was Sayaka. I’m not entirely sure why. But she’s the angsty teen who just wants to change the world. I guess I saw myself in her. These characters are relate-able and that what’s really drew me in. Sayaka has a blue color scheme and used her ability to heal someone else so she heals more quickly. The show does a great job of using each character’s wish to determine the full extent of their power. Homura has the ability to stop and slow time because she originally wanted to go back in time. Mami is able to heal other characters as well.
The ending of this show is powerful. I didn’t expect to get so emotionally involved. The ending was genius. I think this is the ending that Lucy tried to copy. It was very well thought out and had minimal plot holes in my opinion. Overall this show was a true delight! The characters were relate-able and likable. The action was intense. The animation was gorgeous. It was a very good show. I would highly recommend it to anyone!