Keith’s Anime Reviews: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica

“Anythin' is possible if ye make a contract with me!”

Puella Magi Madoka Magica (or just “Madoka Magica,” fer short) is a very surprisingly deep, somewhat dark, and very thought-provokin' series – especially given that at first glance it looks like “just another magical lass anime.”

For those not familiar, th' idea o' “magical lassies” is sort o' a staple in anime – it’s a bit o' a twist on th' more traditional “superhero” story ye see more often in western media. The basic idea is similar: person gains some sort o' super-power and secret identity and has t' fight bad guys/evil while tryin' t' balance a normal life.

The basic premise o' a magical lass story has th' potential fer a lot o' interestin' development, character growth, and so on – although it can also be used as just an excuse t' have characters dress up in cute costumes.

Madoka Magica is… not like that. At all.

This is a series that is very hard t' describe without spoilin' thin's – A LOT – but I’ll do me best, because it really is worth watchin' without knowin' th' spoilers.

The basic premise here is that our main character, Madoka (and that comely wench matey, Sayaka) are suddenly asked if they want t' become magical lassies by th' weirdly cute (but also somewhat creepy) talkin' cat-like creature Kyubey. In exchange, he will grant them any one wish they desire.

Gettin' any one wish ye want granted in exchange fer magic powers, a secret identity, and th' duty t' battle evil sounds like a not-too-bad trade, but this series really explores th' depths o' this seemingly inconsequential plot device.

Consider: should ye be “selfish” and make th' wish fer yourself only, or use it t' grant someone else’s desire – someone ye care about? What if yer wish turns out t' not be what ye want – or what th' person ye care about wanted? The price o' yer wish may turn out t' be more than ye can bear.

The characters in this series are very well developed – each one has a very interestin' back story and motivation (which fer th' most part is filled in slowly with hints and suggestions, rather than bein' spoon fed t' ye), and they all grow and change o'er th' course o' th' series.

This is an extraordinarily well put together and well thought out series, with lots o' attention t' detail and subtlety, which benefits from a second (or third) viewin'. You will absolutely notice thin's th' second time through that ye didn’t notice before, and ye’ll go “ah-ha!” or “oh, so that’s what that means!”

So if ye’re a bit tired o' th' usual fare in this genre o' anime, or if ye’d just like t' see somethin' that really twists yer mind (and yer heart!) and explores some very deep concepts in a new and interestin' way, I’d highly recommend that ye give Madoka Magica a try.