12 of 12 episodes seen
Madoka is different from other Mahou Shoujo. That much is made evident around a quarter of the way in. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows in the Madoka universe - oh no. The true nature of the universe is revealed to us - quite suddenly - as one in which death is a very real possibility; one in which we can expect the heroines of the show to die.
But does all this mean that Madoka is a deconstruction of the genre? Heavens no. Sure, we are presented with a universe that is far from the norm of Mahou Shoujo, but it is in no way a deconstruction of the genre. The "deconstruction" trope refers to taking apart something (hence the deconstruction) in order to better understand its meaning and relevance to us in reality. Madoka does not deconstruct - merely because there is death does not make it a deconstruction. It does not mean elements of the genre have been laid bare to the rigours of reality. Madoka simply looks at the genre through a different scope.
The perspective that Madoka is viewed from is, as I have mentioned above, completely different from most Mahou Shoujo. It is darker and there is death. There is quite a heavy focus on the suffering on the heroines. It paints quite a bleak picture. But are these elements enough to warrant praise? Does it make the series revolutionary? Does being different really make it good?
Of course not.
Madoka is so often touted as being brilliant because it deconstructs the genre, because it shows the world of Mahou Shoujo from a different scope, or simply because of the twists. Simply put, many see Madoka as being good because it is different - because it subverts cliches and has heroines far different from the norm who have to deal with issues that usually are never explored in the genre. It would be foolish to dismiss the setting as being irrelevant entirely, but the truth is Madoka isn't good because of the fact it's dark. It is good because of how well it was executed.
Remember how I mentioned that the fact Madoka was different from other Mahou Shoujo was mentioned around a quarter of the way in? That's important. The dark universe of Madoka is not made immediately obvious to the audience. It completely takes the viewer by surprise, but it's a good kind of surprise - one that was foreshadowed subtly, albeit in a twisted fashion. It doesn't feel cheap. The brilliance of the execution that removed the façade of innocence from Madoka is twofold - not only does it completely take the viewer by surprise, but the event itself is not an irrelevant one. It serves as a catalyst for much to come in the series.
No event in Madoka is irrelevant; everything is interrelated, and every event seems to have significance. Nothing seems out of place - it's one concise story that flows well. The audience is kept on their feet; desperate to find out what happens next; desperate to find out how it all ties together. However, this is a double edged sword. This focused and fast-paced storytelling coupled with the fact it is only 12 episodes in length means that some developments are unfortunately rushed - for example, some plot twists come without warning and some characters seem to suffer due to these constraints (notably one of the original trio who seems to have just been cast aside).
The characters are however, for most part, very relevant to the plot, with their problems all tying together. The characters themselves are played quite well, with performances that really do add depth and life to their characters. However, I did not find the characters themselves very interesting - sure, their role in the plot was good, and I liked how their conflicts all seemed to converge, but (to use an example) could the character of Kaname Madoka really be seen as an interesting one? The personalities of certain characters in Madoka could only be described as generic and at times bland. This isn't that big of an issue though, considering the brilliance of Madoka once again lies with how the characters are used. It is their conflicts and their experiences which really adds life to this series.
The production value of Madoka is for most part quite high. The animation is usually fluid and of a high quality, with fighting scenes and transformation scenes being of a very high quality. There are slight mishaps, but it isn't a big issue. The art style of Madoka can only be described as unique - the faces are really, really wide. I was really impartial to this decision, but I can see how people might dislike this art style. However, even if you dislike the wide faces initially, by the end of the series you probably won't mind them. It really becomes trivial in the grand scheme of things and won't adversely affect your enjoyment of the series at all.
Another interesting facet of the art style employed in Madoka was the change in environment to a bizzare, surreal world whenever one of our heroines entered the realm of a Witch (which, if you don't know, are the antagonists of the series). The designs of witches themselves can only be described as bizzare. This is not to say this is a bad thing. The art style allows the viewers to see the contrast between the "real world" and the "Witches' Realm" - the difference between reality and this seemingly fantasy world; this world that is completely separate from the reality they knew of before - the world where they can get killed.
The sound was great, with the opening and ending songs providing an interesting contrast between jovial and dark. The use of sound in the series was generally done well - most of the music used was appropriate for the situation.
I found Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica to be an enjoyable ride. Sure, it isn't as revolutionary as many would have you believe, nor does it deconstruct the Mahou Shoujo genre, but it was enjoyable nevertheless. The show is littered with a myriad of symbolism and cryptic messages written in runes, factors that only seem to encourage you to rewatch it. It's definitely a series that I'd recommen and, despite its flaws, is still a brilliantly written series. A must watch. read more
5 of 22 episodes seen
From the outset, I feel like I'm watching a Code Geass clone. It's quite a generic series. The ability of the main character (which allows him to draw out "Voids" from people) is even named the "king's power" (I recall the Geass being referred to as "the power of the kings") and it even has mechas!. The story, from what I've gathered so far, is about your typical shounen main character who has a special ability fighting in a resistance movement ("Undertaker") against the government. I'm not going to say that having parallels to Code Geass is a bad thing, however, one can see that this isn't going to be a standout series of this season (unless some convoluted, Madoka-esque twist happens very soon) and is in all senses a generic series of average quality.
The characters are fair - again, we have a somewhat generic cast. Shu, our main character who starts off as a "wimp" but in more recent episodes seems to have become more confident, Iniori, your typical quiet female who seems to have some connection with Shu and Gai, your typical anime badass who is the leader of Undertaker. None of them come off as particularly memorable characters, although it might be too early to make such a call.
The art however is exceptional, and I'd say it ranks among the top of this season. The characters look good and the animated sequences are usually fluid and appealing for the eyes. The sound is also quite good with the soundtrack being performed by supercell and all.
At the moment it is your average and rather generic anime. Unlike some other anime of this year, it isn't downright horrible or unwatchable in any sense and it is certainly a very visually stunning series, however, I ultimately don't think it's worthy of these 9 or 10 reviews it seems to be getting. If you really liked series like Code Geass then you should probably check this out and see whether or not you enjoy it. Otherwise, I wouldn't personally recommend it.
31 of 31 chapters read
The main character in this story is Kurosawa, a 14 year old male in middle school who could be described as somewhat of an introvert. He doesn't have many friends, nor does he want them. He's never been in love, nor does he want to. He doesn't seem to have any goals or aspirations either. Each day, he goes to the third floor female toilets to do his "daily routine"; to put it crudely, he masturbates to his female classmates. A progression of events eventually leads our main character into being blackmailed into helping someone enact revenge.
Initially, the story isn't very serious - in fact, it's comedic and quite light heartened. It parodies many series (which hardcore anime fans should be able to recognise) Death Note prominent among them, complete with "just as planned faces", hence it being affectionately titled by fans "Fap Note". He uses plans much like Kira would, except he isn't a hero doing something which he believes to be beneficial to the world - instead, he's just an insignificant, powerless person who through masturbation pettily harasses and disturbs people.
At this point, you probably have an impression as to what type of person Kurosawa is and it probably isn't a very positive image. He is nowhere near perfect; he is flawed in many aspects. However, as the story further progresses, Kurosawa becomes more likeable and more human. The story becomes more compelling and suspenseful. You'll find yourself eagerly anticipating the next page, curious as to what'll happen next. The execution of the plot is simply brilliant. He still has flaws as a character, but these flaws only help define his humanity and help us as an audience relate to him.
The supporting characters of the series are also interesting, among them a twisted bitch and a guy with a cauliflower hairstyle who is always trying to warm up to Kurosawa. Though interesting as characters and integral to its plot, it is Kurosawa who is truly the star of this this manga.
The manga appears to be a doujinshi and consequently the art isn't professionally done. That's not to say it's bad - indeed, the art is very well done, with appealing, though somewhat generic character designs and well drawn backgrounds. I have no complaints art-wise and for a manga that wasn't professionally done, I feel that it was done extremely well.
I found the manga really enjoyable and I was quite surprised at how deep it was, considering I picked up this series simply to kill time. I recommend you pick up this series if you're at an age where you aren't disturbed by sperm shots (which really is as sexually explicit as this manga gets). Don't be fooled by its title or the themes it deals with! It is very worth your while.
31 of ? chapters read
That's a basic summary of the plot. Our main character, Sakamoto, isn't your typical manga protagonist who is born to fight, able to battle and kill with no qualms. He is a man with a conscience and even in the kill-or-be-killed environment of the tropical island, he still finds it difficult to just kill others and in the few cases in which he does so he is filled with regret (and even in these situations he only did it because he had no other option). He is, in my opinion, an interesting protagonist and a refreshing break from some of the other protagonists in manga who seem to be slightly unrealistic in their approach to situations.
I'm not going to write too much about the story because as of the time of writing it simply chronicles Sakamoto's attempt to survive and escape the island. That's not to say it's bad though; indeed, so far the action has been intense and satisfying.The art is also quite good, but nothing exceptional. However, it is nice to look at and it certainly manages to capture the feel of the story in it.
Overall, it's an enjoyable manga that I recommend you to read. If you enjoyed Battle Royale or seinen works like Gantz, I recommend you check this series out. read more
200 of ? chapters read
The art in this manga is good with excessive amounts of fanservice which I am not personally too fond of but I'm sure it'll appeal to a lot of its target audience (presumably heterosexual males). Still, it ranks only as "good" and is by no means exceptional.
The story is where this manga really fails. Fairy Tail has never had much of an engaging plot, but that's understandable, considering it is mainstream battle shounen. However, something that really annoys me is the use of deus ex machina in order for the characters to escape difficult situations as opposed to more inventive solutions. For example, in one of the recent arcs the big bad was defeated through "the power of friendship", which is a concept which might have some appeal to five year-olds, but unfortunately I'm not five. There are plenty more examples of deus ex machina in this series but I don't want to spoil anymore of it.
The characters are typical mainstream shounen characters. I don't have any real complaints except for Natsu, the main character. His character has received zero development over the course of the 200+ chapters that FT has ran for so far. Despite him apparently learning an important life lesson about how one cannot always win during a battle with someone who far outclasses him, a few chapters later he seems to have forgotten and is back to his old, egoistical self, jumping in, thinking he can protect everything and completely ignoring the orders of his master. If this was any other manga, there'd be dire consequences. Unfortunately in Fairy Tail Natsu always wins and it is always he who defeats the enemies through THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP- yeah no.
Overall, Fairy Tail is enjoyable, but only if you don't take it seriously at all, pay no attention to the plot and just look at the pictures and watch the fight and comedy scenes. Even then, the fights are wholly unsatisfying because of how they end (again, with Natsu always winning through THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP or deus ex machina of another kind). In all honesty, I'd recommend steering clear of this series entirely or just reading it for the aforementioned scenes.
630 of ? chapters read
I'll keep it simple with a few key points as to why you should read it: it's characters are interesting, the battles are usually satisfying and the manga isn't the typical one-dimensional stuff you usually find in shounen - while it may simply look like a manga aimed at children from the outside, the stories of people in One Piece usually have much deeper meanings.
You may be intimidated by the length of it (631 and counting!). Don't be. As soon as you start, you'll fly through all those chapters and be hungry for more. Your desire for OP will never be sated. Maybe the art is a turn-off? It may not appeal to everyone, but after a while you might just find yourself loving it and the unique character designs in the series.
You might be debating more reasons in your head but the easiest way is to simply sit down and try reading it. If it doesn't initially seem that good, don't give up! You could be missing out on a potential favourite. I recommend reading at least fifty chapters before passing any judgement but that's just me. If you do not have that much time to spare at least aim for twenty. read more
130 of ? episodes seen
I know this might anger all you angry Naruto fanboys out there, but come on guys, where is the story in Naruto: Shippuden? All it's about is our title character, Naruto, trying to bring Sasuke back from the dark side. I admit that Kishimoto isn't as bad as Kubo in this department (who seems to be making the shit up as he goes along; either that or he likes trolling us (eg: "Who said the Espada numbers go from 1-10?!?!" *trollface*) but of course that is an entirely different matter. All I can say is that at least Kishimoto seems to plan a few weeks in advance). I wonder if people ever get bored of Naruto chasing after Sasuke.
"But no, psyxwar, Naruto isn't just about him chasing after Sasuke!" I hear you say. Maybe you have a point. It seems that the series is now about the Akatsuki, a criminal organisation, chasing after "tailed beasts", beasts of "chakra" (that's Naruto terminology for energy, ki, etc) with tails and their plan of world domination. I agree. There seems to be a little variation in events. This is why I have given Naruto: Shippuden a very generous score of "2" for Story.
Of course, you, being the passionate, die-hard Naruto fanboy that you are, probably do not accept my reasoning and justification for giving Naruto: Shippuden a "2" in the Story department. Fair enough. But shouldn't you put this into perspective? Would you read a book that had a guy chasing another guy as its plot? I know I wouldn't.
tl;dr: Naruto: Shippuden is about a guy chasing another guy
The art of the anime is okay - nothing exceptional, but pretty good nonetheless. There are countless examples of newer animes with better art and more fluid animation, but I won't hold this against Naruto: Shippuden. I've seen far worse in my years as an otaku.
The sound is good as well, but again, nothing exceptional. I would usually skip over the same opening after watching it one or two times which usually just means it's "meh". There was nothing godly like "Hare Hare Yukai" (where I would watch that every. single. time.)
The character development and characters in general admittedly weren't that bad. Naruto definitely develops in skill (and maturity?) a fair bit over the course of the series. I'm not going to spoil anything so I won't really elaborate further on the issue of character development. I'd like to add that despite somewhat "maturing", this may simply be superficial as he still chases after Sasuke. He should know by now that he's a goddamn sociopath and wants to kill everyone and destroy his village. The characters are for most part unique with their own personalities.
Did I enjoy it? Meh, it was alright. Nothing exceptional. I feel as if I've wasted hours upon hours watching this shit though. I feel that if I wasn't such a dedicated fanboy in my youth, I would have enjoyed this series a lot less.
THE VERDICT: 4/10