Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Well, I promised I would review more anime this year and I’m trying to live up to it. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an interesting one to talk about because you don’t know what to expect going into it. Most Japanese folklore would be filled with all sorts of spiritual talk of other worlds, monsters and witches so choosing this one is appropriate for the season. In a nutshell, it’s a modern fairy tale but with a darker brush stroke. The premise alone sounds really “out there” on paper but when watching it, you’ll find this one to be a rather unique experience.
A group of girls come across a strange creature that claims to grant a wish in exchange for becoming a magical girl. And because of this new power, they have no choice but to send forth and fight off bizarre witches. And from that, it’s all you really need to give you an idea of what to expect. I do hope I won’t confuse my readers but from what I understand a magical girl uses powers for good while witches are the polar opposite. A basic concept that doesn’t get confusing but the story built around gets more complex as it goes along which is good and holds your interest.
The main character is Madoka, a typical girl that is good nature and such. But what keeps her character from being generic is the dilemma she gets. Without spoiling too much, Madoka has this choice to become one of the powerful girls but keeps putting it off or is interrupted. The pressure gets more to her when some of her friends make that choice but later see its consequences. Knowing that she is normal, we see this constant struggle for making such an ethic choice and wonder how it will turn out.
As stated, there are consequences to choosing this path of fighting against witches as her friend Sayaka is a good example. She uses her wish to help out a young violinist which leads to some heavy tragedy. Without giving too much away, you sort of expect what will happen but thanks to the old phrase “be careful what you wish for,” the consequence of becoming a magical girl adds another level of tension. Even when you do make a good wish, we know it will backfire in some form. Some of this was in Disney’s Aladdin where our hero wished to be a prince but later realized the idea of being something he isn’t is a punishment toward his actions. But in that movie, the dangling consequence toward it never felt impending that much. Here, we know there is a risk and curious to see how it plays out.
But amidst the darkness, there are some fun characters and good humor. Another magical girl named Kyoko has sort of this Han Solo personality going on that leads to some humorous reactions with the other characters. I find it interesting she tries to have this cool personality and comes off as show off-ish but in a funny way. I strange character trait I found was how she keeps eating in every scene she is in. Unless I missed something, I just find that rather odd but again comedic. Normally a character like this would be smoking cigars or drinking. But here, its candy and apples that she holds in her hands.
The witches themselves are interesting too. They don’t speak or have much personality but depicted as twisted childhood nightmares coming to life. Even interesting is the style of animation they use to depict these creatures. Normal humans in the world of Madoka look like updated Sailor Moon characters while the monsters have this other type of animation design that gives a more other worldly feel. From monsters made of candy to strange mermaids, it makes the scenes with the witches more frightening and unique to watch.
Now, I could go deeper into the rules of being a magical girl and the remainder of the story but I feel its best you check it out for yourself without me ruining it. However, there are some drawbacks. First off, sensitive viewers might want to watch with caution or at least with a friend. There are some running themes here that are too dark or might upset them. There are some really clever twists and turns here but I fear it might disturb them a little. Keep in mind, this is meant to be a dark fairy tale that doesn’t hold back. Wolf Children is a great example knowing how to balance between light and darkness. Here, its the opposite. We think we are going into a charming world but find it to be paved with black bricks.
Second, this is actually a series but thankfully it was made into two movies. There is a third one that is more of an original story but the first two is really the entire show edited down a bit. I saw the movies instead and from what I read up, they do some animation enhancements that at least give fans a chance to see the movies in a different light. Part I is dubbed Beginnings while Part II is titled Eternal. I’m sure you can find them in DVD stores but as of this blog post, they are on Netflix. And because these two are connected, Part I does end on a cliffhanger. Both movies together clock in around a little over three hours so be prepared for such a binge. The only thing left to say is expect the unexpected because you in for a wild yet powerful ride with this one. Highly recommended, ’nuff said.
Posted on October 11, 2015, in Horror-Wood 2015 and tagged Anime, Dark, fairy tales, Gekijōban Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika, Horror, Horror-Wood, Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon, Magical Girl, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Witches. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.