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Spotlight Anime: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica

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#1
06-10-11, 10:19 AM

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Spotlight Anime: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica



MAL Anime Information Page: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica


MAL Score – 8.87 (scored by 18065 users)
Ranked - #13
Popularity - #237

For the next week I would like to have a discussion about the anime that focuses on the key elements that we here on MAL use to critically rate an anime: Animation, Sound, Characters, Story, and Enjoyment.

I would like everyone to approach this thread as if you were going to write a review and structure your initial post like this:


Animation - insert rating
Sound - insert rating
Characters - insert rating
Story - insert rating
Enjoyment - insert rating

Animation - discuss any pros and cons of the animation styling used in the series, try to include some specifics.

Sound - describe any of the things you liked or didn't care for in regards to the music and sound effects used in the series

etc...



If you are having trouble writing up a review or coming up with specific pros and cons, please don't worry. Just do the best you can with it and if you can only write two or three sentences about any of the 5 elements then that's OK. Not everyone here is currently at a level which will allow them to articulate their thoughts and opinions.

After your initial post is made you can feel free to civilly discuss issues of contention. I am sure there will be many opinions expressed here that some of us will disagree upon and criticise and it is for that reason that this entire club exists. So I hope everyone has fun and I am really looking forward to watching this discussion unfold.

RESULTS OF THE YOU DECIDE POLL

Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica was NOT inducted into the club Anime list:
33 Yes - 61.1%
21 No - 38.9%

27 Don't know this character - 31.8% of the total number polled
4 Abstained - 4.7% of the total number polled
Modified by kokuro, 06-20-11, 9:22 PM


 
#2
06-10-11, 10:24 AM

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From my recently revised Madoka review:


Supplementary material:
Character analysis for Sayaka


Character analysis for Kyouko



Personally, I'm not fond of walls of text, but this stuff has been accumulating for quite a while now.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-16-11, 1:40 PM
 
#3
06-11-11, 7:36 AM

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Animation: 6/10. Truthfully this was the one flaw that I found to Madoka, because not only was the art style completely different from the show's plotline but I could never tear my eyes away from how fat the faces looked. xP The other thing is that there were rather small quips I had with the animation iself besides the style; these mostly happened in the first few episodes (for example, episode 1 where Madoka is running through a hallway and opens a door to find Homura fighting and Kyuubei watching. When Madoka opens that door, it always looks like there's some lag in the animation: like they completely missed a frame! That's going to forever irritate me, unless they fix it in the BD. The other thing is how Madoka ran when she was running down the same hallway. A shot of only her back legs was shown and her legs weren't kicking directly behind her, but more to the sides of her with each step. I'm pretty sure my legs don't veer off near my thighs when I run. However when it came to animating fight sequences, they did quite well; so normally I'd give this a 5 for average, but I'll give it a 6 for the nicely-executed animated fight scenes and such.

Sound: 10/10. The soundtrack for this show was phenomenal, and if the CD wasn't so difficult to find, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. It utilized a lot of orchestral stuff as well as a choir. The OST contained a combination of light, fun-sounding songs and the dark orchestral pieces. Its one of those shows where I sat back and just thought, 'Damn, this is some awesome music' while watching the show. I honestly don't have anything bad to say about the OST.
The voice-acting of the characters appeared to be rather good as well; they captured the pain of the Puella Magi quite well.

Characters: 8/10. The characters presented in Madoka were all pretty unique yet all on a similar plane in regards to their situation. While at the start they are displayed as normal school girls, when they undergo massive character development and become the Puella Magi, suddenly the audience is just sucked into their lives. I liked this sort of character development because it was something I wasn't really expecting at the start. SHAFT always tends to mess with our minds!

Story: 10/10. The story was, in a word, incredible. I loved practically every second of it and plot twists just kept being unveiled with each episode. This made the pacing really fast but not really difficult to follow, I found. 'Definitely a unique plot amidst the other Magical Girl anime.

Enjoyment: 10/10. 'Just couldn't get enough. <3
 
#4
06-11-11, 11:11 AM

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Okay, now the main commendable part of this anime, is the animation. They obviously had wet dreams while awake, making this, it uses many techniques in a collage like environment. They lovingly create an alternate reality in the witches' lairs, however, this doesn't even differ from the real world much anyway. That's because there is no physics that stay tangible, everything is HUGE [what, did Japan suddenly become 20 times bigger?] this includes, um, every single building shown, and most of the outdoors too.
So why is there this disparity from our world into madoka's world?
Good question. I have no idea either. Maybe to make it even more effective for those otakus tripping balls.
Unfortunately, none of the actual techniques of animation are mastered within madoka. Though, the contribution of these different styles does make it interesting to watch. Jack of all trades, master of none. This is especially apparent in the earlier episodes where they don't even have to focus on much content wise and have stuff like unfinished faces being used in the actual show [filters and layers have a multiplier effect per episode, this must be crazy bpm!]. 4:3 sort of makes it look better. that isn't such a good thing.
Next are the characters. Meticulously built to stereotypes in the first 9 episodes, with contrasting and conflicting views post puellafication, we have perhaps a bit of fun.
Then we have parallel times shown, and again we have these simple characters, yet again with variance in their personalities while keeping their appearance and main trait. Interesting?
One simple point is that with different effects, as per the suffering creates power rule, there would be different levels of personality warping with different timelines having different equivalents.
Why exactly in the original timeline of homura, the other are not present can be explained by this. Why homura, with pro-puella madoka and mami, did not become a puella before miss terminator arrives, is more of a question.
As is how homura, and especially madoka, when mortal, are able to transport themselves into mid air destroyed skyscrapers when terminator has arrived.
Most of the character development is shown in episodes 10-12, though not for stereotype aggresive lad kyouko. Poor kyouko.
kamijou is an interesting trait in the story, and the most consistent character. What exactly caused that accident anyway? And so why, when post killing all witches before they happen, does he not suffer that accident?
kyubey and homura are very in depth characters, even if they have their flaws in context.
Also the teacher, the best character. Hilarious. She does it so well, and her voice actor did it perfectly. Why and how that conversation happened in episode 11 though, is another mystery. Totally out of context and character.
That leads to voice actors. I think they all played their roles quite well, even if they were cursed by being unsynced and having crappy illogical and inconsistent roles to work with. The family unit of madoka particularly shines out, and kitamura, mizuhashi, and yuuri; play their sterotypes consumately. kato was perhaps bad, or perhaps good. For something supposedly emotion free, that was performed extremely badly. For something that is a dramatic prop, that was performed excellently.
The soundtrack? Well it integrated fairly well. It was cut very well at episode 10-11 actually building some sort of tension, that is unfortunately destroyed with anticlimax. Nothing very special though.
Now arriving at the plot. First, lol science. That was worse than even Asura Cryin' 2. And that is fucking saying something. It doesn't even matter in the end though, does it? It's not like anyone who would watch madoka would know science anyway.
On the same strain, there is logic. And while many anime have a perceptive lack of it, it is more a question of what logic is there even in madoka?
For instance, as kyubey said, madoka had a loving life etc etc, what caused her progression into power of sadeynessy boohoo, was being repeated. Even though those alternate universes must have existed anyway, I can understand the possibility of homura's connections causing this impossible situation. So hang on, if this is true, how the fuck did madoka turn into a puella in the first fucking timeline. She couldn't have.
And if you think episode 12 makes sense.... well, um. awkward.
Plain things like only teenage girls can experience this kind of sadness!... what? Though I guess, magical girls, yay! That must mean the show makes no sense. Though, if they make the suggestion that it does...
It is really beyond ridiculous. madoka is the biggest troll since angel beats, which is again, saying a lot.
If we are to look at it as a parable, what of it? .... Friendship? The simple fact that all the main characters would have ceased to exist after the wish of madoka is a bit troubling.
Um... You should steal your friends boyfriend for great enjoyment? I havn't got a clue.
You should read out of the way Germanic texts caus.... Um?
That code wasn't even particularly relevant, and again showed the halfassed job this production received.
Modified by ridojiri, 06-11-11, 11:24 AM
 
#5
06-11-11, 4:03 PM

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ridojiri said:
So hang on, if this is true, how the fuck did madoka turn into a puella in the first fucking timeline. She couldn't have.
It's Madoka's nature and desire to be of help to people, but her low self-confidence leads her to believe that becoming a magical girl is the most viable method. Her thoughts at the end of episode 2 and her chat with Mami in episode 3 make that clear enough.


ridojiri said:
And if you think episode 12 makes sense.... well, um. awkward.
ridojiri said:
If we are to look at it as a parable, what of it? .... Friendship?
Not friendship, altruism. If you want to be good, pay the price. Come on, as if airing the last episode on Good Friday wasn't explicit enough!

Conventional morality dictates that there must be a reward for every good deed, but doing good deeds assuming that to be true is contrary to the spirit of selflessness. Some girls such as Sayaka willfully try to carry the burden on their own but are inevitably crushed under its weight. It's not that Sayaka did anything wrong, but her desire to be loved hinders her from doing so. Only people whose desire is to help others (i.e. Madoka and Kyouko) could carry the cross. Madoka only happens to have been granted the power to do so on a grander scale, and her solution is an extension of Kyouko's decision.


ridojiri said:
You should read out of the way Germanic texts caus.... Um?
That code wasn't even particularly relevant, and again showed the halfassed job this production received.
It's not a necessity, but it is relevant. Anybody familiar with even just the premise of Goethe's Faust would realize the similarities of the two stories; the runes in episodes 1 and 10 support this. The direct quote in episode 2 is a very early foreshadowing of Madoka's actions 10 episodes later. The runes of episodes 4, 8, and 9 give hints of the witch's defining characteristics and what led to their downfall.

So, no, I wouldn't exactly call it "half-assed". It's not a necessity, but it's a very nice bonus for those willing to dissect the details.


------


Anyway, here's an interesting quote from the writer from his previous work, Fate/zero. Perhaps this marked the conception of Madoka.

Urobuchi Gen said:
Gen Urobuchi wants to write stories that can warm people's hearts.

Those who know about my creative history will probably furrow their brows and think this is a sick joke. Honestly, I have trouble believing it myself. For when I start typing out words on the keyboard, the stories my brain comes up with are always full of madness and despair.

The truth is, I haven't always been this way. I have often written pieces that didn't have a perfect ending, but by the last chapter the protagonist would still possess a belief that "Although there will be many hardships to come, I still have to hold on".

But ever since I don't know when, I can no longer write works like this.

I have nothing but contempt for the thing men call happiness, and have had to push the characters I poured my heart out to create into the abyss of tragedy.

For all things in the world, if they are just left alone and paid no attention, are bound to advance in a negative direction.

No matter what we do, we can't stop the universe from getting colder, either, and on the same principle. This world is only maintained in existence by a series of logical, common-sense processes; it can never escape the bondage of its physical laws.

Therefore, in order to write a perfect ending for a story you must possess the power to break the chain of cause and effect, invert black and white, and act in complete contradiction to the rules of the universe. Only a heavenly and chaste soul, a soul that resounds with genuine praise for humanity, can save the story; to write a story with a happy ending is a double challenge, to the author's body as well as the mind.

At some point, Gen Urobuchi lost that power. He still hasn't recovered. The "tragedy syndrome" is still continuing within me. Is this a terminal disease? Should I give up on the pure "warrior of love" that I have longed for? Or mount a pallid battle steed and reincarnate into a bearer of the plague... could it be that I can only create pieces that give men courage and hope in my next life? (When I wrote this, I accidentally wrote "courage" as "lingering ghosts". I guess that's what I get for using IME — Ah, I just wrote "IME" as "hatred"... is there no way out of this for me?)
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-11-11, 4:20 PM
 
#6
06-11-11, 5:18 PM

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Here's my input:
I think the main problem with Madoka is that it is so plot-driven that it completely disregards the characters. The whole show felt not as the exposure of the characters' behavior when being introduced to this Mahou Shoujo setting(which would have made for great TV) but rather as the exploration of said setting through the cast. As such, at least for me, there's a sense of detachment from the characters because the situations and actions feel forced on the cast just for the sake of guiding the plot in the direction the creators intended. The result is that the majority of the cast feels not as real, dynamic characters who act and react to the current situation but rather blank slates who take whatever personality or mentality just to keep the plot in track.

Also I don’t think Madoka can stand the test of time, after all most of the enjoyment and praise came from shock situations, continuous plot twists, weekly discussion and specially from it being different and so much better than everything else that was currently airing(anything looks good compared to Fractale and Yumekui Merry, haven't watched Hourou Musuko though), so I don’t think an objective assessment of Madoka can be made so close after it ended airing, the hype it currently has(not as much as 2 months ago though) will clearly influence the voting. So I'm voting no, if it passes in 6 six months I will watch it again without the hype to see how good it really is.

On the (supposed) pro of Madoka being an excellent deconstruction of the Mahou Shoujo genre I cannot cast an opinion since I haven't watched much of this genre so if anyone can shed a light on this topic.
 
#7
06-11-11, 5:53 PM

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amdx said:
Also I don’t think Madoka can stand the test of time, after all most of the enjoyment and praise came from shock situations, continuous plot twists, weekly discussion and specially from it being different and so much better than everything else that was currently airing
If I were to judge based on plot alone, I would agree with you.

It baffles me though why most viewers persistently disregard the themes being explored in the show. Has it become a prerequisite for the creators to explicitly state that "Hey, we're trying to be deep here" just because Evangelion and The Dark Knight did so? Gunslinger Girl and Silent Hill 2 did something similar, and the only explanation I could think of for the different feedback is that neither of these were popular enough to generate hype.
 
#8
06-11-11, 5:56 PM

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Yuunagi said:
]It's Madoka's nature and desire to be of help to people, but her low self-confidence leads her to believe that becoming a magical girl is the most viable method. Her thoughts at the end of episode 2 and her chat with Mami in episode 3 make that clear enough.


What exactly would prevent, say, hitomi, from becoming a puella then? kyubey senses those who have trauma in their lives to harvest from. she doesnt have any. her nature? fuck that, her nature doesnt mean shit.

Yunnagi said:
Not friendship, altruism. If you want to be good, pay the price. Come on, as if airing the last episode on Good Friday wasn't explicit enough!

Conventional morality dictates that there must be a reward for every good deed, but doing good deeds assuming that to be true is contrary to the spirit of selflessness. Some girls such as Sayaka willfully try to carry the burden on their own but are inevitably crushed under its weight. It's not that Sayaka did anything wrong, but her desire to be loved hinders her from doing so. Only people whose desire is to help others could carry the cross. Madoka only happens to have been granted the power to do so on a grander scale, and her solution is an extension of Kyouko's decision.


it was delayed because of the earthquake. what are you talking about.
that was a very iconoclastic ending. look at the demons.
burden of what? burdock cordial? conventional morality does not dictate rewards. it may dictate a system like katma, which is very different- a subversion of fate, which is what sayaka is victim of having puellafied.
read between the lines if you want. that really is not what is happening.

Yuunagi said:
It's not a necessity, but it is relevant. Anybody familiar with even just the premise of Goethe's Faust would realize the similarities of the two stories; the runes in episodes 1 and10 support this. The direct quote in episode 2 is a very early foreshadowing of Madoka's actions 10 episodes later. The runes of episodes 4, 8, and 9 give hints of the witch's defining characteristics and what led to their downfall.

So, no, I wouldn't exactly call it "half-assed". It's not a necessity, but it's a very nice bonus for those willing to dissect the details.


nup. and i read the whole fucking thing. its got just as many parallels as say, inferno. also, we expect viewers to decipher a code and read elusive german texts? what the fuck. fuck off.
that is as useful as NGE's numerous cryptic references that together make, like this, bullshit. allusions are not in neccessity evil, but when they become part of what the production is relying on, it is.
Modified by ridojiri, 06-11-11, 6:58 PM
 
#9
06-11-11, 6:08 PM

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Yuunagi said:

It baffles me though why most viewers persistently disregard the themes being explored in the show. Has it become a prerequisite for the creators to explicitly state that "Hey, we're trying to be deep here" just because Evangelion and The Dark Knight did so? Gunslinger Girl and Silent Hill 2 did something similar, and the only explanation I could think of for the different feedback is that neither of these were popular enough to generate hype.

The Dark Knight, deep? ?
Gunslinger Girl, deep? ?
i am not sure how either of these were, certainly gunslinger girl was very simple in construction and about the single relationships between girl and agent with the side effects of having been cyborgified and working for a secret government organisation. it's true that gunslinger girl was done well, but I don't see how it is deep.
 
06-11-11, 6:12 PM

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Yuunagi said:
"Hey, we're trying to be deep here"
I meant that as a hyperbole for having to state things explicitly.

ridojiri said:
that is as useful as NGE's numerous cryptic references that together make, like this, bullshit. allusions are not in neccessity evil, but when they become part of what the production is relying on, it is.
This is a common practice in literature; I don't understand why applying this in animation would count as evil. Besides, these were still relevant, not just some random obfuscation.

ridojiri said:
conventional morality does not dictate rewards. it may dictate a system like kalma, which is very different- a subversion of fate, which is what sayaka is victim of having puellafied.
Let me correct myself then: Pre-conventional morality is associated with rewards, what Sayaka exhibits is more of post-conventional morality. Deep down, Sayaka wanted (by desire) or believed she was worthy of (by the idea of justice) some form of reward or recognition.


ridojiri said:
it was delayed because of the earthquake. what are you talking about.
Yes, it's a coincidence, but it's more than sufficient for some people to realize the parallels.

ridojiri said:
What exactly would prevent, say, hitomi, from becoming a puella then? kyubey senses those who have trauma in their lives to harvest from. she doesnt have any. her nature? fuck that, her nature doesnt mean shit.
A good chunk of the story revolves around desires, trauma only makes it more evident. Why do you think everything starts with a wish?
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-11-11, 6:58 PM
 
06-11-11, 6:42 PM

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Yuunagi said:
This is a common practice in literature; I don't understand why applying this in animation would count as evil. Besides, these were still relevant, not just some random obfuscation.


Unless you are reviewing something, or writing a crappy fantasy book that relies on its metauniverse, than no, nearly all literature does not rely on other productions heavily enough for it not to be understood without having read the reference.

Yuunagi said:
Yes, it's a coincidence, but it's more than sufficient for some people to realize the parallels.


And if I was shot on the day of your birth, there would be parallels?
False ones.

Yuunagi said:
A good chunk of the story revolves around desires, trauma only makes it more evident. Why do you think everything starts with a wish?


Why doesn't kyubey collect energy [wtf is this shit] from every girl then? Or do average girls not wish for things in their teenhood?
The keystone is suffering. Kyubey directly states this as the law for the power of puella. No suffering, no power, no puellafication. I don't get why you are arguing against the integrity of this anime, which you are apparently defending.
 
06-11-11, 7:08 PM

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ridojiri said:
Unless you are reviewing something, or writing a crappy fantasy book that relies on its metauniverse, than no, nearly all literature does not rely on other productions heavily enough for it not to be understood without having read the reference.
If everything were so simple, why would schools still have years of literature classes in their curriculum? Are all those references to Biblical figures, Norse/Greek mythology, Shakespearean plays, and whatnot self-explanatory when you read older works of fiction?

ridojiri said:
And if I was shot on the day of your birth, there would be parallels?
Intentional or not, if there was irony, yes.

ridojiri said:
Why doesn't kyubey collect energy [wtf is this shit] from every girl then? Or do average girls not wish for things in their teenhood?
The keystone is suffering. Kyubey directly states this as the law for the power of puella. No suffering, no power, no puellafication.
Suffering is a part of the process, not a prerequisite.

ridojiri said:
I don't get why you are arguing against the integrity of this anime, which you are apparently defending.
Because it'd be boring as fuck if everybody simply agreed? =P I'd be disappointed too if every member just gave it a "yes" without a second thought.

Besides, you're talking to a guy who gave Because Goodbyes Are Coming Soon a 10/10. I enjoy squeezing meaning out of what I see, and I liked what I got out of this show. Whatever stupid reason Kyuubey has for doing what he does, it's still a story of about desires, disillusionment, and self-damnation.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-11-11, 10:31 PM
 
06-12-11, 12:47 AM

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amdx said:

I think the main problem with Madoka is that it is so plot-driven that it completely disregards the characters.

While I can definitely understand while you might feel that way, Madoka, as you said, is a plot-driven story as opposed to character focused. I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with this approach, and I also don't think the characters are completely disregarded either. The reason this story had to be plot-driven is because the story (other than episode 10) all takes place within a period of about two weeks. Realistically, you can't expect much character development as a result of this, but Madoka seems to pull it off anyways.

Each character has a different set of personality traits. From Kyuubey going from cryptic to blunt, Madoka going from passive to active, Kyouko going from cold to empathetic, all of the characters undergo some sort of development during the course of the series. Episode 10, which is one of the single greatest episodes of anime I have seen, allowed Homura's character to be developed more so than the other characters.

amdx said:

Also I don’t think Madoka can stand the test of time, after all most of the enjoyment and praise came from shock situations, continuous plot twists, weekly discussion and specially from it being different and so much better than everything else that was currently airing(anything looks good compared to Fractale and Yumekui Merry, haven't watched Hourou Musuko though), so I don’t think an objective assessment of Madoka can be made so close after it ended airing, the hype it currently has(not as much as 2 months ago though) will clearly influence the voting.


I disagree that Madoka consisted of continuous plot twists. I found one of the best parts of Madoka to be its very effective use of foreshadowing which provided great fuel for weekly discussion. Foreshadowing was done well because the hints dropped in earlier episodes were not hidden enough to go unnoticed, but not obvious enough to give away exactly what was going to happen. My favorite example of this was the reveal of the nature of Soul Gems. Looking back it feels so obvious that a Soul Gem would contain the person's soul! After so many meaningless object names, it was strangely surprising that the term should be taken literally.

The other couple things that could be considered ‘twists’ might be the Homura time travel episode (which I thought was effectively foreshadowed), Mami’s death in episode 3 (which I don’t think was a twist since it is pretty much introducing what the entire series is actually about), and the final episode (which was quite different, but not outside of the scope of what had been going on previous to it). I’m not sure what other plot twists you might have problems with; maybe you could elaborate on that?

I don’t think hype, what was airing at the time, or how recently it finished airing should have any bearing on whether this show is club material or not. I don’t see how this should affect whether or not you can make an objective assessment. The only problem I had with the series is the minimal pacing issues during Madoka exposition dumps and during the finale, but these are not near enough of an issue that I wouldn't highly recommend this show.
Modified by Rhastaroth, 06-12-11, 2:00 AM
 
06-12-11, 6:09 AM

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One word resumes my feelings about this show: disappointment.

And it was all your fault, guys.
Waratte Oemashou Sore ha Chiisana Inori
 
06-12-11, 7:43 AM

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It was good show, but I couldn't agree with the excessive fan base that levelled this show as being ground breaking. Of course, one should never really follow the opinion of the fans, or rarely that is.

Anyway, Archaeon in his review

While Madoka★Magica may at first seem like a totally unique concept, it should be remembered that the Nanoha franchise possessed some dark themes, Black Rock Shooter featured a young girl's alter ego fighting strange creatures in a surreal other world, and Uta Kata tried to show the breakdown of a person who becomes controlled by their power. There are other shows that explore some of the themes of the series, sometimes in more detail, but in truth these are only minor niggles as Shaft have managed to create a mahou shoujo anime that, like those that came before, successfully displays the true potential of the genre.


This is a paragraph that I highly agree with him and I still think that anime such as Princess Tutu is much darker than Madoka.However, I mostly agree with the last line "successfully displays the true potential of the genre". Madoka was a great idea and had a sick visual to support it, but I felt that the execution relied too much on melodrama rather than anything else in the end.

My second thought goes to the Faust reference that were everywhere in this anime. After all, Madoka wouldn't be the first anime that is inspired by Faust, but Shaft still had to say to its audience that it was a Faustian anime. Because of this, I felt that Shaft were a bit presumptuous with these germanic quotes. Hell, Princess Tutu was highly influenced by Swan Lake, but they had the intelligence not to make a fuss about it.

In the end, I still gave a 7 from pure enjoyment.
-Fixing-
 
06-12-11, 2:09 PM

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amdx said:

I think the main problem with Madoka is that it is so plot-driven that it completely disregards the characters. The whole show felt not as the exposure of the characters' behavior when being introduced to this Mahou Shoujo setting(which would have made for great TV) but rather as the exploration of said setting through the cast. As such, at least for me, there's a sense of detachment from the characters because the situations and actions feel forced on the cast just for the sake of guiding the plot in the direction the creators intended. The result is that the majority of the cast feels not as real, dynamic characters who act and react to the current situation but rather blank slates who take whatever personality or mentality just to keep the plot in track.


Agreed, and this would be fine if the plot was any good.
 
06-12-11, 3:28 PM

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Again, Kyuubey's motives are irrelevant compared to what the protagonists decide to do after becoming magical girls.

His primary purpose in the story is to setup the system without providing a traditional antagonist, the malicious and mortal kind that can simply be blown away with firepower to bring a good ending. That's what separates Kyuubey from the antispirals of TTGL.

Conflict with Kyuubey is secondary only to the conflict amongst the girls themselves and their hopeless situation. The name, form, and origin of both grief seeds and soul gems also emphasize that their corruption is an internal process.


Sidenote:
Wilio said:
I still think that anime such as Princess Tutu is much darker than Madoka.
Princess Tutu was an excellent show, but I can't really understand how one can say that it's darker than Madoka given that it has more traditional antagonists (i.e. the Raven and tainted Mytho) constantly egging other characters towards the dark side. Drosselmeyer didn't strike me as sinister either.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-13-11, 7:44 AM
 
06-12-11, 7:07 PM

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Excelsior said:

Joan of Arc.


Yes, that was particularly hilarious. I guess she was guilty of being a witch after all.
 
06-12-11, 8:49 PM

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Hm... on the fence with this one.

On one hand, Madoka does something special with the magical girl genre by using conventions of the genre to express all the themes that Yuunagi mentioned, desires, morality, etc. Also, the shows technical merits are just splendid.

On the other hand, it does sacrifice quite a lot from its characters. More than anything else, they feel like character-types common in the genre simply being used as vessels for those said themes (because that is exactly what they are), and honestly little else. Hardly good characterization; like say Elfen Lied, it felt as if Madoka was forcing me into sympathizing with these characters, rather than the emotion being genuine.

I'm not sure how much all the allusion to German literature helped. Sure it did do a lot in shaping the story and such... but in the end it feels more like NGE's heavy-handed unnecessary symbolism, rather than the connections to fairy-tales which proved to be a necessity for Princess Tutu.
Modified by judojon, 06-12-11, 9:14 PM
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06-13-11, 1:20 AM

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judojon, refer to this a little:
http://wiki.puella-magi.net/Episode_revisions

certainly in at least the tv version, there were lots of technical mistakes.

though the animation is the best thing about madoka...
 
06-14-11, 9:01 AM

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You know, Mami was shown to handle killing witches so easily...
It seemed as if she hadn't the slightest trouble with being a magical girl...

I really didn't get any sense that it was particularly straining on her.
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06-14-11, 10:08 AM

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She was the closest thing the show had to the classical magical girl (heck, she's the only girl in the show who even bothered to give her final attack a name). Her being talented and becoming the mentor figure is a consequence of that. Her loneliness and her death after a blissfully careless moment marked the start of the deconstruction.

From that point on, the characters are denied any sense of victory. For example, Sayaka heals and gives hope to Kyousuke ("Magic and miracles do exist!"), saves Madoka and Hitomi, and defeats her very first witch in episode 4. Typically, developments like these would give the characters much reason for celebration. In this story though, all you get is even more dread because, aside from very heavy foreshadowing, Mami's death in the prior episode hammers in the idea that even the best among them could fall. And they do.

judojon said:
More than anything else, they feel like character-types common in the genre simply being used as vessels for those said themes
Quite true. It's not always a bad idea to rely on archetypes though, provided that the writer knows how to make good use of them. In that regard, Madoka's closer to myths, religious stories, or tragic plays than it is to most anime. Besides, I get the nagging feeling that trying to emphasize the characters' personalities would be detrimental to the flow of the story given the very limited time of 12 episodes.
 
06-14-11, 10:28 AM

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Yuunagi said:

judojon said:
More than anything else, they feel like character-types common in the genre simply being used as vessels for those said themes
Quite true. It's not always a bad idea to rely on archetypes though, provided that the writer knows how to make good use of them. In that regard, Madoka's closer to myths, religious stories, or tragic plays than it is to most anime. Besides, I get the nagging feeling that trying to emphasize the characters' personalities would be detrimental to the flow of the story given the very limited time of 12 episodes.


You bring up a good point, which is why I'm still on the fence... otherwise I'd just give it a definite no. At the same time though, there have been shows that provided great character development and interesting themes as well in 12 or less episodes, Hourou Musuko or Gunslinger Girl for example.
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06-14-11, 10:39 AM

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judojon said:
Yuunagi said:

judojon said:
More than anything else, they feel like character-types common in the genre simply being used as vessels for those said themes
Quite true. It's not always a bad idea to rely on archetypes though, provided that the writer knows how to make good use of them. In that regard, Madoka's closer to myths, religious stories, or tragic plays than it is to most anime. Besides, I get the nagging feeling that trying to emphasize the characters' personalities would be detrimental to the flow of the story given the very limited time of 12 episodes.


You bring up a good point, which is why I'm still on the fence... otherwise I'd just give it a definite no. At the same time though, there have been shows that provided great character development and interesting themes as well in 12 or less episodes, Hourou Musuko or Gunslinger Girl for example.
You know, Yunnagi's point applies just as well to Princess Tutu as it does to Madoka. In both, the characters are effectively archetypes, and the scriptwriter and director made good use of them. Tutu uses classic fairytale archetypes to give the story a dark fairytale or ballet feel to it in much the same way as Madoka does with tragic plays such as Faust.

And while you can make 12-episode series with great characters, the series pretty much has to be dedicated to them, taking away the focus from other areas such as setting and backstory, with those two areas making up a significant portion of Madoka's running time not spent on the plot itself with the stories of Kyuouko, Homura and Kyuubey, along with the explanation of the witches, soul gems, and the contractual process.

I ultimately believe that Tutu was better executed than Madoka, but that Madoka shouldn't be dismissed without serious consideration first. Thus, I haven't decided how I will vote in the you decide just yet.
Modified by Rosa_FOEtida, 06-14-11, 10:45 AM
 
06-16-11, 1:27 PM

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judojon said:
there have been shows that provided great character development and interesting themes as well in 12 or less episodes
Can't really say much about the rest of the cast, but I found Sayaka, Kyouko, and the relationship between them to be far more interesting than anything else I've found in anime or manga. Pretty sublime stuff there.

As for themes, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (Kai) and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are the most similar I could think of, but they're not even half as good with the delivery.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-16-11, 1:38 PM
 
06-16-11, 7:38 PM

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I like the animation and surreal design of Witch's lair. From the other magical girl series I have seen ( a little ) when I was a kid, the likes of Sailor Moon, Akazukin Chacha and Cardcaptor Sakura, it's refreshing and trippy but not necessary universally appealing. When integrated together with the fight scenes, it undermines the tension. It look as though the girls are merely combating with sketchy pictures. The sountracks are commendable, it's so overt in delivering a daunting and disheartening atmosphere since the very first episode.

The plot progression did hinder character development, I still find it difficult to empathize with Homura, her single-handed dedication almost resembling Naruto but with a lackluster reason and rapid personality changes. Maybe because I was also annoyed with Shinobu's direction ( idlezeal brought up this to me ), the constant close up to emphasis something was a little redundant.
 
06-17-11, 7:45 AM

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I read through the comments and noticed that no really dug into the the philosophical arguments occuring in Madoka. I started a conversation on baka a while back that might be a good introduction to begin a serious dicussion on the topic.



Not too many shows that use cliche character designs and by now overdone time travel twists like Groundhogs day and Tatami Galaxy seem to hold my attention. But Madoka did. At first I really thought the ending was basically a cop out ending and the time travel twist was beyond overkill. But with further discussion and dissection of the philosophical eliments I think I'm convinced that this series truely is something special. It does successfully deconstruct the moe characters, and it's ending does have a solid moral, grounded in metaphysical beliefs and thermodynamics. Good vs. Evil, not really it's more like a symbiotic relationship between negative and possitive energy that's being played out in this series. Kyuubey could be seen as the absence of emotion while Madoka is emotions embodiment. Yada Yada Yada.

If something makes me think this much it has to have some merit in Anime. Plus the series was well animated, the voice acting wasn't distracting, and the musical scores were well thought out. I was leading toward voting no because of it's ending but after further disection I can't not vote yes. It use of the relvant laws of physics intreaged me. While this show is probably wet dream for psychologists, Madoka probably also appeals to philosophers and physicists, even if it is just the basic ideas being used. One could say Madoka is an interesting introduction to many scholastic ideas. Don't hate me, but the converse can also be true. The craming of so many ideas probably does seem convoluted and probably even too pretentious.
 
06-17-11, 8:17 AM

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orion1 said:
Madoka was very good but I agree with a few other people about it's ending basically being a shounen power-up failure.
Except the typical shounen power-up is geared towards defeating an opponent whereas the point of Madoka's decision was to give hope and some form of salvation. I'm not too familiar with philosophy, but methinks the religious parallels with Christianity are more evident.

Orion1 said:
Madoka probably also appeals to philosophers and physicists, even if it is just the basic ideas being used.
Actually, no, he probably pissed off a couple of physics majors with the mangled explanation for entropy. Still, the main idea here is to question what one can do in the face of an inevitable outcome, so I find the transgression forgivable.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-17-11, 8:25 AM
 
06-17-11, 4:42 PM

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@Oi Yuunagi:

I think? the Entropy debate was fixed at the end of the series. No energy is created or lost. The universe is still expanding. It's just now Madoka is a godlike representative for protonic energy vs. Kyuuybey being the representative for electron energy. And i did say that it would appeal to philosophers and physicists simply for the discussing of the "basic" ideas involved. Plus I was thinking more about the idea of time travel creating and infinite number of different realities vs. the old theory of time paradox's for physicists, but of course entropy is a big element of thermodynamics. I never actually took any physics in college either so I'm just going off the very basic theory structures. As for the philosophy aspect it was if anything, interesting but possibly very "convoluted" because it had so many different philosophies working side by side. It might even go as far as being an example of skepticism since non of the inherent arguments were truly answered. It's another reason why one might see Madoka's ending as a cop out. Today I like it, but if I watched it again tomorrow I might think the plot is just too pretentious and cluttered. The time travel groundhog element did make me cringe at first. I could see how many might just hate the shit out of this series because of it.
 
06-19-11, 2:00 AM

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Is this entire thing about a soul residing within a human body having to do with human values a strictly japanese thing?
Please kill yourself if you like Umineko in any way, shape or form!


Here is the script to the american live action remake of Death note. Read it and weep.
 
06-19-11, 3:20 AM

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Dozer said:
Is this entire thing about a soul residing within a human body having to do with human values a strictly japanese thing?
I'm aware that purity is a big issue for them, but I'm not familiar enough with either Shintoism or Buddhism to say anything specific about their beliefs or attitudes regarding souls.

Anyway, we've had that question raised elsewhere (TV Tropes), and the characters' reactions make sense if you'd think of Kyuubey's dickery as spiritual rape (i.e. it's a personal issue if you think it matters). Kyouko gets over the revelation by the next day while Sayaka... Well, she never had a high opinion of herself. The issue further erodes her idea of self-worth and leads Sayaka towards her destructive coping mechanism.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-19-11, 3:34 AM
 
06-19-11, 5:15 AM

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Yuunagi said:
Sayaka... Well, she never had a high opinion of herself. The issue further erodes her idea of self-worth and leads Sayaka towards her destructive coping mechanism.

Heh, I knew she was the most emo character I eer saw.
"OH noes, my soul is not inside me, I'm a zombie, I'm not even aloowed to talk to boys!"

Half the girls problems are just unrelatable for me.
Please kill yourself if you like Umineko in any way, shape or form!


Here is the script to the american live action remake of Death note. Read it and weep.
 
06-19-11, 5:22 AM

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Yeah, that's also one of the reasons why we compared it to rape.
 
06-19-11, 5:26 AM

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Yuunagi said:
Yeah, that's also one of the reasons why we compared it to rape.


But rape is violating somebody's body.

This is just... compeltely trivial. It doesn't change anything.
Please kill yourself if you like Umineko in any way, shape or form!


Here is the script to the american live action remake of Death note. Read it and weep.
 
06-19-11, 5:28 AM

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The response is primarily emotional rather than rational. So, yes, it was rather emo of her; I'm not even going to argue against that. Either way, Kyuubey's dickery changed the girl without her consent.
Modified by Yuunagi, 06-19-11, 5:53 AM
 
06-25-11, 8:09 AM

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I just finished this today and it was just an okay past-time. Nothing breathtaking, epic or wowing.
Even when I was in crowd, I was always alone
 
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