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Hachiko's Puella Magi Madoka Magica Tv Review

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Puella Magi Madoka Magica tv Review

It's a normal day for Madoka Kaname and her friends, until a new transfer student arrives in their class. The mysterious Homura Akemi excels at both sports and studies, but seems to harbor negative feelings towards Madoka, despite them never meeting before. Things become even more strange when Homura warns Madoka to "never change" if she values her family and friends. Soon after, Madoka rescues a strange creature called Kyubey from Homura's attacks, after which Kyubey not only reveals the existence of magical girls, but offers Madoka and Sayaka the opportunity to become so! They each get one wish granted in exchange for it, but at what cost?

Story & Characters

This is not your average magical girl show. I repeat, this is not your average magical girl show. In fact, forget about all the stereotypes and notions you have about the magical girl genre because this is a show that redefines the genre. And it does it without fail. Believe me. I know it, I've seen it, and that's why I'm reviewing it.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is about this girl named Madoka Kaname, your ordinary, run-of-the-mill junior high scholar from Mitakihara City, who happened to have a dream about the need to live a normal life by a certain Homura Akemi, unless the worst comes to mind. Unfortunately for her, she runs into this adorable-looking animal by the name of Kyubey, who lures her with a wish for anything she wants.

The catch: she must become a Puella Magi, which is a girl with magical powers that battles witches. Ironically, Homura is one of them, and these Puella Magi are not your average champions of justice (sorry, Sailor Moon fans, you will be disappointed). Puella Magi deal with the dark side of life. That's death, suicides, murders, isolation, agony and personal crisis.

And so, the question is brought to Madoka's attention throughout the entire course of the series: to be a Puella Magi, or not to be a Puella Magi. This question is essentially the string-puller of the show, the nucleus of the show: the question of whether to fall in line or not. Just for that one wish.

There are other important characters that have their roles in the big picture besides Madoka, Homura and Kyubey: Sayaka Miki, Madoka's childhood friend; Mami Tomoe, a Puella Magi with experience who lives alone; and Kyouko Sakura, who happens to be quite the gourmand and who comes from a troubled family of her own. Every character in this show has a story to tell, and the way they weave into the big picture is done thoughtfully and skillfully.

You don't need to go on and on like Inu-Yasha or Bleach or One Piece to get your point straight. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a class example. It has a storyline that focuses on concepts and aspects of really that make you think and wonder.

Solid nine.

Rating: 9

Art

Everybody has been to a gallery at least one time in their lives. I happen to have visited galleries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean during my travels in my youth. Puella Magi Madoka Magica has some of the finest art direction ever made. It's as if you are walking into a painting, and you continue to peruse the exhibitions and the permanent exhibits, appreciating the thought, the originality, the intention, and the emotions that evoke.

From the very first episode, you can see that in terms of appeal, it's going to be a very enjoyable show from a visual standpoint. Every color of the palette is used, and some of the animations for the witches resemble moving paintings. It's like the Mona Lisa jumped out of its frame and went out for an afternoon walk.

The way characters like Homura and Mami move when doing their work are fluid and flowing. They are graceful and mesh well with the storyline. I would have liked to see a bit more skin in the transformation sequences, but I guess the way they had done it is a fair compromise.

One visual wrinkle that I really like is the special alphabet that is used in the show. There are different types of rune letters that represent different letters of the English alphabet, although not all letters are represented. It's as if you are seeing the show broadcast in two languages: Japanese and this exclusive language made up entirely of rune letters. Very nice wrinkle.

I also love the costume designs of each of the Puella Magi because they match their hair and their personality. Madoka's is cheerful, hence it's pink and red. Sayaka's is cool and easygoing, hence hers' is in shades of blue. Homura has a dark, silent aura to her, that why it's black and grey.

Excellent animation from the SHAFT crew, the feeling that you are seeing an endless exhibition of paintings and those adorable-looking runes give the art a 10. One of the best shows of the year in terms of the visuals.

Ten.

Rating: 10

Sound

Let's start with the music. The orchestral and chorus-based battle music of this show parallel the music of Sam Spence. For those of you who don't know who Sam Spence is, he is this composer who has created music for NFL Films, and his music is muscular, powerful, and glorifying. That is the same state of mind behind the music of Yuki Kajiura and Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

From the rather light moments, to the serious times of need, to the battles between Magi and witch, Kajiura composes a delight for the ears that mixes well with that of the eyes. It persuades you to want more, grabs you by the throat, and send you to the edge of your seat.

The voice acting of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is pretty sharp too. Chiwa Saito (Francesca Lucchini in Strike Witches, Hitagi Senjougahara in Bakemonogatari) delivers a masterful performance of Homura Akemi. Not only can she be serious, but she can also be emotional and passionate. Chiwa not only embraces her role, she feels like she is Homura. In the world of voice acting, you have to not only understand the personality, but you have to be in that person's shoes and embrace it. Chiwa does it to a T.

And so have Aoi Yuki, who has done other notable roles (Victorique de Blois in GOSICK, Tooru in A Channel) besides that of the star of this show, Madoka Kaname. Aoi has done very well in her role as Madoka. And as her character develops, so has her confidence and her skill in delivering the emotions and resolve that defines Madoka.

Also notable is that of Kyubey's voice actress, Emiri Katou. You may know her for a number of roles, the most notable being Kagami Hiiragi of Lucky Star. Kyubey's gender is male, and Emiri didn't have any problems knocking this one out of the park.

In terms of the voice acting, if I was from AMPAS, I would give a nomination to Chiwa for her role as Homura. Easily the best-played character in this show.

Solid music and solid voice acting make for a high score. Nine.

Rating: 9

Presentation

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is one of the top shows of 2011 for a reason. Hands down, it redefines the magical girl genre by having its heroes deal with the dark facets of reality, and the heroes themselves having a story to tell, most of which is also dark and tragic. This is a show that makes you think about the meaning of life and the fact that life itself can't be taken for granted.

It may be a cliche, but it still rings true because it is true.

The plotline has excellent brevity and punch to go with solid artistic presentation—perhaps the best of this year—impressive voice acting from its leads, especially from Chiwa Saito, and great background music.

This is a show that you will want to experience again and again. And from somebody that has done just that, you should do it.

And even if you are new to the magical girl genre, I recommend that the first show you watch in this family is this one.

Recommended. With a capital R. Deny the obvious. Uphold the inane. Watch this show. Go do it. It's your duty.

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

9.50 (excellent)

Reviewed by Hachiko, Jun 23, 2011

Comments

  1. Weskalia Jun 23, 2011

    Ooh, I didn't expect you would review this Hachi :P

    I have to say this: characters are somewhat mixed, some of them appealing. It was a great time to make them grow, but their transition is instantaneous. Even Homura is more interesting than the titular character, jumping from a weepy crybaby to a more responsible personality that saves the whole world in her last moment just pulled me out of the character and I stopped caring about her at all. Story I admit was pretty good, but so far not so new.

    I do like the animation, the concept and the ending though. Overall, 8.5 (or maybe 8) for me.

  2. MisaSasekage Moderator Jun 23, 2011

    I liked the show and didn't think I would. From hearing the title it wasn't what I was expecting. I thought the animation was different. The concept was pretty good. Though it was a bit cliche, the ending especially, it makes you think what would you be willing to sacrifice for one wish? Nice review^^

  3. angelxxuan Jun 23, 2011

    this is one of those when card captor sakura meet hellsing, something along those lines. it's a great show and anyone that hasn't seen it so should. I fell in love with it when I first started watching it. someone mentioned it to me and I needed something more/new to watch. excellent review, glad others are starting to know of it's existence.

  4. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator Jun 28, 2011

    Wow, very nice detail and description. This show sounds really interesting to me, since I like magical girl shows but also wish there were some shorter ones out there. So to hear about one that's only twelve episodes makes me super excited. Plus, it's not often that they're more than fluff, so I will probably have to check this one out. Great review! :)

  5. Hachiko Jun 30, 2011

    Thanks a lot, SnickerdoodleNinja.

  6. AirJack Jul 14, 2011

    Kinda doubt it at the beginning but as it go on, it gets really good.

  7. hitsu-chan Jul 20, 2011

    oooh, I see... thx for the review! :3

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