Ever since the finale of Madoka Magica, which aired two months ago, the series has definitely become one of the most captivating and memorable show of 2011 in my opinion. While Madoka has some of the traditional magical elements, it had a darker story filled with despair that made the overall premise rather interesting. Despite the minor flaws in storytelling, the show has definitely redefined certain aspects of the magical girl genre (Image Source).
Traditionally, magical girl shows has cute young girls transforming into a different outfits and using their powers for justice. Before I started blogging about anime, my last magical girl show I ever watched was Cardcaptor Sakura back in the early 2000s and Sailor Moon during the mid and late 90s. It was not until one year later that I discovered the first season Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha during last year, which aired back in 2004 and it was a very enjoyable experience thus far. Nanoha had cute girls to appeal to the moe crowd, a complex magic system and some yuri. Shinbo, who has directed the first season of Nanoha among the many subsequent shows from Shaft, has made him a well renowned animation director. He was the driving force that made Madoka unique as seen when the girls fight against the witches. While some of the witches looked like something that came out of a nightmare, it fitted with the overall dark feeling of the show. Besides the direction of the animation, there was one certain mascot that added to the despair. That mascot was Kyubey!
In the past, magical girl mascots served as a source of comedy and sometimes assisted the girls in their tasks. While Kyubey may look extremely cute, he is a very sinister creature who throws innocent girls’ lives away for his own purpose… to turn girls into witches and use their grief seeds to make more contracts with other girls. Since he leaves most of the girls in the dark about the unintended effects of being a magical girl and has a lack of human emotions, many people hated Kyubey to the point of being targeted by Homura. This hatred has also spawn many fan art of the girls torturing or killing him. While his goals have good intentions, the entropy involving the Soul Gem and the energy surrounding it has damaged his relationship with humans. As with power, the grief seeds he collects from magical girls who sacrificed themselves has corrupted him. This moral corruption only stopped when Madoka changed the laws of entropy that doesn’t require sacrifices, thus improving relationships with humans. While it is not fair to say that Kyubey is evil 100%, he was in no doubt one of the unique villains I have seen thus far because of his rather creepy nature and personality wrapped up in a cute package.
Even though title suggest that the story is about Madoka, but in reality, it is not. The story is mostly about Homura and the struggles she goes through to save her loved one. When she transferred to a new school, she was a really cute, extremely shy girl who lacked confidence as she recovers from her disease. Since Mami and Madoka saved her from the witch, she becomes emotionally attached to them and couldn’t bare the burden when they died in Walpurgis Night. From this, she becomes a magical girl and tries to change the past in order to save Madoka. In a way, the experiences Homura goes through felt like a tragic coming of age story. When she first became a magical girl, her friends supported her. They guided her along the way as she learns how to use her abilities to the fullest while taking advantage of man-made weapons to defeat the witches. She eventually knew that she has to grow up quickly and has to change her innocent image so she wouldn’t be burdened. While she became cold towards the other characters, she was still by far the strongest magical girl out of the whole cast because of the determination she puts into while maintaining her emotions for Madoka. It’s easy to blame her for clashing with Mami to save the others from a horrible fate. In the end of the day, she finally persuaded Madoka to put an end to the suffering of herself and all the magical girls at the expense of her existence in the new world.
Overall, Madoka Magica has given me an ever-lasting impression on the magical girl genre as a happy ending after periods of despair through a heroic sacrifice. Sure Sayaka will always get shafted no matter what happens, the other magical girls (Mami and Kyoko) had appealing personalities that made them vastly popular. Also, the Idea of having Madoka, as a goddess of all magical girls was quite astounding. Nevertheless, I felt that Madoka Magica while not flawless has definitely made an influential change to the magical girl genre for years to come.
9.5/10, A, Masterpiece ¶