#TBT Anime Reviews: Madoka Magica

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)



How many times have you watched a movie, seen something on TV, or read a book and wished you could have that experience or have that life? Maybe it was watching Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and wishing you had his brains and his money to live his lifestyle. Or maybe you wish you could have been under the sea with Ariel. That’s what stories are capable of doing: taking us on different adventures to places we can only imagine. The animated series Madoka Magica takes us into the world of magical girls, where real humans become women with power, but that power comes at a price.

High school student Madoka Kaname had a weird dream where she was watching a black-haired girl fight a rainbow colored snake, while a furry white-haired creature tells her that she can help by becoming a magical girl. The next day at school, Homura Akemi, the girl from her dream, is now a new student in her class. After school, Madoka and her best friend go shopping only to find Homura trying to kill the white furry creature from the dream. In the fray, another magical girl appears to save Madoka and the white furry creature known as Kyubey. Kyubey is a familiar of sorts, able to grant any wish a girl desires, provided they become magical girls and fight witches. The life of a magical girl seems great, and any wish is available, but like all good things, there is a price to be paid. Can Madoka figure it out before it’s too late?

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Madoka Magica looks like your standard, cutesy, magical girl series, but in reality, it is far from it! Take all your Sailor Moon thoughts and toss them out because this series flips everything on its head. While it starts out like your typical series with high school antics, comedy, family discussions, and dream sequences, it soon delves into much darker territory. The tone of the series is noticeable early on in battle sequences. Nowhere do you see these magical girls using wands or magic staves. No, these women use guns, swords, spears, and the like. And the enemies themselves, though they may not look like anything too menacing or from your worst nightmares as far as witches go, they are drawn and stylized with a creepy eeriness, bringing back memories of old European horror films with their canted camera positions and distinct angles to make you feel uneasy. The people at American Horror Story would be proud.

Another thing that sets Madoka Magica apart is that no one is safe. This is a real world they live in, and the dangers are real. Despite being magical girls, you can die, and death happens in abundance. Much like Game of Thrones, people you come to like and want to see succeed can be killed off at any time. It’s a sad reality, but it allows the story to take on a much more authentic and real feel, despite the levity created by the character designs. And the characters, specifically the magical girls, each go into it for their own reasons but grow from those reasons. It isn’t until later in the series that we realize what it truly means to be a magical girl, the responsibility the title bears, and the lengths some people will go to atone for their mistakes and to make wrong situations right. There are many adult themes found in this anime, sparking realizations within our own lives and asking us who we are and what are we capable of, should we really desire to make a change.

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Madoka Magica is a series that people could overlook due to the drawing style and conceptualization of the world in which the story takes place. But for those who are willing to allow the story to really develop, you’re in for something unique and engaging. There aren’t a whole lot of stories out there that make you question aspects of your own life, who you are, and what you’re doing to make the world better (or worse, for that matter), but this series does just that. But it does it in its own subtle way, where you don’t realize it until after watching the series and contemplating what happened and how the events have parallels to your own life. Madoka Magica has something for everyone, and so much more. This is definitely a must-see series. It can be streamed on Hulu and Netflix.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


    One Comment

  1. Jacoby BancroftJanuary 26th, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    This is my second favorite anime series of all time. They burned through plot like wildfire and every three episodes things drastically changed. The episode with Homura`s backstory is I believe the best single episode of anime I have ever seen. Did you ever watch the movie that continued the story?

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