quarta-feira, 18 de setembro de 2013

[Anime Review] Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (or Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

I´ve been hearing about this anime (also, manga), for quite some time, but have been postponing watching after once trying to view the first chapter and finding it not interesting enough, however, after reading another reviewer, with his impressions about the show, I decided to give it another try. 

And yeah, have I been surprised.  

Yeah, the anime is quite interesting, to the point that I actually became hooked to it. Watched the whole 12 episodes in about 3 days - around 4 episodes per day, give or take.

So let´s get started with the review. (Of course, here be spoilers)

Overview 

The series (I´m talking specifically about this anime series, not any of its spin-off´s I have not yet seen) has been wildly renowned as a deconstruction of the "magical girl" theme. Yeah, you know, magical girls, a genre that is also considered silly by almost half the population of Earth - those with the cute girls, and the cute small pets or magical beings (familiars), and all that. Yeah, this anime starts as another one of the so called "mahou shoujo" ("magical girl" in japanese) animes, but it delves into something much more complex. Yeah, bear with me here, for I was as surprised as you probably are. But the story really is compelling and makes you feel for the characters involved. They all go through great deal of suffering in this anime, but it somehow is managed, by the end, I´m not gonna spoil how. 

The way the series starts and progresses made people celebrate this as a deconstruction of the magical girl stories, and don´t get me wrong, it is, for the most part, but, when it get to the end, we gotta ask if it really is so. 

Perhaps I´m being a little picky. And yeah, it is a deconstruction, but in the end, it kinda pay its tribute to the genre, much in the same way as, for instance, Evangelion (with its latest installments).

Don´t fret - I´m sure you will also be surprised by the story of this piece, which is an ENORMOUS deal of its grandeur, but it also has a lot of other things going for it.

For instance, the art. The art is amazing - and I do mean it, also, pardon the pun, but it really is artistic. It is not merely telling a story. We are being showered with visuals, with graphical events - for instance, when the witches (the enemies of the magical girls) appear, the visual art style changes, paying tributes to german expressionism, for instance, with all kinds of strange things coming up on the screen, and different visual styles than normal anime appearing all around. And plus - german expressionism! You read that right. Go watch and see it for yourself. 

The musical soundtrack is another gem, with the main song (which is the ending) being developed/made by Yuki Kajiura - a famous performer from the anime scene in Japan - among others. 

The series has also interesting points going for it - the way they, for instance, avoid showing the ending song and credits until episode 3, which is when things "get real" in a sense, and overall, it just reeks with symbolism and references. 

Are there any bad parts to this? 

Yeah, being really picky, I´d have to say it is not perfect, though - though to be clear, it really is a greatly conceived and developed series which made me hooked to it for 3 days straight. 

It does have its normal share of 'anime forced things', like, the run-ins with another "twisted soul" that might just question your motives and irritate you beyond any good measure for no good reason - Kyouko and Sayaka on this - and also a lot of unexplained, or perhaps even unexplainable issues, like for instance: why do the Incubators can transform the girls? If magic is something they don´t quite understand - how do they possess the technology to access it somehow? And if the girls are perhaps so unstable and powerful as Kyubei says they are, how it is dangerous for the universe he is trying to preserve to give these girls such enourmous power in the first place? Where are all the other alien races Kyubei mentions? How come the Incubators can trigger this power reaction on pubescent girls, and also, give away miracles, and not be able to "break the second law of thermodynamics"?

In the end, though, the series on overall is amazing. I don´t take that, in the end, to be a total deconstruction (as I don´t consider Evangelion itself - as of Rebuild of Evangelion - a deconstruction of the mecha genre as well, but instead a celebration of it). 

Definitely recommended. 

Positive Points:

- Incredible art;
- Great plot and storytelling;
- Great music and atmosphere;

Negative points:

- There are some things left unexplained; 
- Suffers from some 'forced anime circumstances syndrome'

Rating - 4 crows.

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So what are your opinions on it? Have you seen it? What do you think about it? Leave a comment!

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