Note: This review was voted by you viewers, considering I’m still watching the shonen animes for shonen month
Every time I introduce someone to this anime I ask them, “If you come wish for anything that is guaranteed to come true in exchange of becoming a magical girl (or a magical boy or whatever), what would it be?” I ask them this because as soon as people are asked the question and have a think about it, they give an answer for what they’d wish for thinking to themselves that it is just a wish. You think to yourself making a wish won’t change anything, that your wish will come true and things are fine, you are fighting witches in exchange, what could possibly be so bad about that? Most people have at least seen a magical girl anime or even a magical girl cartoon, heck just a magical person cartoon/anime in general and they’re all the same in a way, they’re all bright and happy in the end of the day. Than there is Madoka Magica that takes a twist of your naive idea of this genre and tells more to the story.
The anime follows 14 year old Madoka Kaname who has an ordinary life, she attends school, has friends and has a loving family, she is perfectly happy. However she has a dream of a girl who is fighting and this…. cat-like creature comes up to her and asks to make a wish and sign a contract with him. Madoka wakes up from her dream after school, her and her friend Sayaka her someone calling for their help and when they come to rescue him, they find the cat-like creature and he asks the girls that he can grant any wish they want in exchange they sign a contract to become magical girls and fight witches.
Madoka Magica is probably one of the hardest animes to criticize because I can’t deny, it is really good. But after re-watching I made sure to notice some problems I have with this anime. But I want to start off by talking about all the qualities I love about the plot. The freaking concept is absolutely amazing. While we are generally use to other magical girl animes like Sailor Moon, we tend to think being a magical girl isn’t that bad, the worst it can get is getting hurt from fighting. Madoka Magica on the other hand deconstructs making it a more realistic and crueler because you can’t gain something and expect not to lose something as well, that is not how reality works, the world is balanced between good and bad. I think what’s even better is that Madoka and every other magical girls are in their early adolescent years which is a state of innocence and the anime breaks their innocence making the girls face the real harsh reality we live in.
Madoka is only 12 episodes and this is really good because usually animes with 12 episodes are rushed but Madoka Magica on the other hand had perfect pacing. I will also give credit to its conclusion, I know there are 3 movies out but the way the anime series ended was just perfect because it stayed true to what Madoka Magica’s point was. I do wish Madoka Magica had a bit more episodes because I still think they could’ve explained more about magical girls and more about Kyubey and his kind. Heck I still don’t know what time period the anime is set in because everything is too modern and advanced to be set in 2011.
Every character in the show takes a part in the story and I found all of them intriguing. If you’ve seen my Top 10 Best Anime Characters list then you know Homura Akemi is my favorite character in the show, without mentioning spoilers all I can say is Homura is someone who appears cold but has so much more to her character and she’s badass. We have Sayaka Miki who is Madoka’s best friend, she is outgoing and compassionate and gets some amazing character development too. Mami Tomoe is another magical girl who is kind of like a sister figure to the girls and is very kind and strong. Kyoko Sakura is magical girl who arrives later and you’ll rarely see her without food and I feel like I can relate to her in that way. She is stubborn, fierce and appears selfish but this just adds to her backstory. Trust me you’ll hate Kyoko when she’s first introduced but you do come to love her. Finally our main lead, Madoka who is the most innocent and sweetest character in the show, she is very kind, gentle but has a low self-esteem.
Now I would complain about how Madoka doesn’t get as much focus as the other girls did despite being our main character but honestly this a good thing. She gets development from being a witness to everything rather then actually going through it all. What she has to watch changes her innocence just as much as the girls who actually had to go through it all. Every character received amazing character development and a great backstory. The characters that weren’t magical girls were interesting too because they took a strong part to the story. Small credit to the show by making Madoka’s mom a full-time worker and the father a house husband, it is great because it changes the stereotype. I have a problem with this show that I won’t go too much into detail with, I’m disappointed that they didn’t give Mami enough development, I still don’t know much about her backstory because they only showed a few seconds of it and… spoiler spoiler spoiler. By the way, Kyubey is an asshole.
Now I really, really like the animation to the show. The animation was done by Shaft, I haven’t seen any of their work but I’ve heard of some of the things they’ve done which are Hidamari Sketch and Nisekoi. The anime has this moe appearance making you believe it is all cute and innocent but then you notice its very dark tone using a lot of monochrome and its creepy designs for the witches, and honestly the anime does this change of tone so well. I love all the character designs, especially Homura’s with her glorious long hair. I love the anime for having a short transformation sequence because I swear Sailor Moon’s transformation sequence is as long as its opening theme. Small problem is that from what I heard, Shaft has a habit of being last-minute making the animation have less detail but they did go back to add more detail to the show which is really good so at least they made up for it but this can be annoying because it depends on what version you’re watching.
Madoka Magica has the best soundtrack I have ever heard in an anime. I don’t usually notice an anime’s soundtrack but even back when I first saw this anime in 2013 where I didn’t even pay attention to any animes soundtrack, I always loved the OST in Madoka Magica. It was done by Yuki Kajiura who is pretty well-known for her work, I’ve never seen any other anime she’s done the soundtrack to but I know she was involved with Black Butler’s ending theme (I assume the second ending) and Black Butler II (don’t know what song). Though most people say Madoka Magica’s sugar-sweet opening doesn’t match the show, I disagree. The opening does make the show come off as sweet and innocent but it works well because it gives you hope for the characters and it does get darker as you watch it. It’s first ending theme is very deceiving, it’s as if the show’s trolling its viewers but then when you make it to the more darker episode that’s when the second ending theme comes in which matches the dark tone of the show and it’s a way of laughing at your face because you were tricked!
The dub and sub are both really good. I can’t believe so many people hate this dub because to be honest this dub worked so well, no one had a bad actor for them. Sarah Williams did fantastic as Sayaka, Carrie Keranen did good as Mami, Lauren Landa did a really good job as Kyoko, Cristina Vee did excellent as Homura and the supporting cast were all good, I don’t see what everyone hates about this dub. The worst this dub gets it how high-pitched Christine Marie Carbonos perfomance as Madoka was but it was tolerable and it did work. So if you want to watch this anime in Japanese then go ahead because the Japanese dub is just as good as the English dub but because I watched this show in English, I can’t really pick any stand outs in the Japanese.
Score (Music): A
Score (Voice Acting): B+
I think if anyone is going to have a problem with the show, it is most likely the hype the show gets. But Madoka Magica is a favorite of mine because it has what I like in an anime. My favorite genre in anime are romantic-comedies and the show isn’t much of a comedy (we have moments but it really isn’t one) and the closest to romance we have is Sayaka’s crush and people’s ships. Madoka Magica does have amazing characters and the story is overall fantastic, I love the music and animation to the show and it has pretty good voice acting. I just wish we had more development to Mami and it was given more than 12 episodes, but regardless of that the show gets a B+. If you haven’t seen this anime I recommend you do but before you do, answer me this in the comments, “If you could make any wish you want and in exchange you have to be a magical girl (or whatever) and fight witches, would you do it and what would you wish for?” After you comment your wish, watch the show and then come back and tell me if you’d still make that wish.
Next Review: Lovely Complex