Both are darker twists of the shoujo genre and they are both equally excellent in their own ways. There are heavily surreal elements and the theme of protecting someone and/or sacrificing yourself for someone else are apparent in both series.
Surrealism, genre deconstruction, plot made of «double floors» and «rabbit holes», great music solidly integrated with the action, shadow play aesthetics — that's what both series have in plenty. And the similarity between the storylines, though not apparent at first, increases dramatically towards the finale.
Here are some connections:
- Both are psycological series's
- Both feature a cast of school children
- Pink haired girls are leads (how often does a pink haired girl play a minor role)
- There's a curse and witch theme in both
- We have two tales of 'rescuing' and unfortunate party
- Both feature fight scene's in an obscure, art rich dimention
- Dramatic clasical music features in conflict
- Cutsie looking animal* familiars are present
Both shows are occasionally brutal re-imaginings of the Magical Girl genre. Both are brilliantly written, and beautiful to watch.
Both have strong female characters determinate by some unfortunate event.
Finale is epic and changing entire current composition of own universe.
Both series are dark and mind-screwing, despite being called a (mahou) shoujo. Both develop themes of sacrifice, miracle, suffering etc. Soundtrack is fascinating, and battles inspire similiar surrealistic feeling. Postmodern art as it is.
Also, there are naive pink-haired protagonists and strange pets.
Both are dark genre deconstruction anime that contain magical girl elements (Madoka more so than Utena), with a strong plot that will throw some surprises at you.
As said before, before are deeply psychological and have your fair share of yuri undertones.
The most deep connection I could make between the two that makes me love them so much is how I could relate to the characters and the emotional buildup that follows between deep philosophical questions about life.
Both have magical girls, maybe not in the sense of Precure or Sailor Moon, but they are magical girls and amazing ones at that. There's even the reference to witches which seem to share a similar role in both RGU and Madoka Magica. Definitely watch if you loved RGU.
Both are series that are not what they seem at first, and as it progresses, and if the viewer is attentive, will find increasing depth and multiple meanings. They are works of authorship that are not satisfied with just being "an anime more" with a huge script quality, but not easy to see at first glance.
The most striking similarity between Madoka and Utena are the feelings evoked by the endings. I felt almost the same thing while watching Madoka's ending as I did Utena's. Without giving away too much, both endings are very bittersweet and focused on friendship. Aside from both being magical girl genre breakers, these two anime begin happily, with dark elements layering on little by little. The pacing in both shows is perfect, and you're kept guessing until the very end. Both shows have a unique style of visual expression as well. The yuri subtext in both shows is similar, although it is much, much stronger in
Many similarities exist between the two shows, but I find this one compelling: both have a character named Miki who is a naive idealist for whom music has a special romantic importance and both wear blue and have blue hair. It can hardly be a coincidence!