Madoka Magica... It had a few interesting concepts, looked nice visually, but I feel the pacing was both perfect and way off.
The reason I say that is because while every episode felt satisfying (except the first two and the last), didn't lose my interest, and none were filler, I feel like overall the show progressed way too fast. It seems I feel different about this series than most people, evidently, so I'll be making a spoiler-heavy review on it to give concise reasons why I didn't feel this show was anything special. So don't read below unless you've finished the series, major spoilers.
To preface: I didn't expect ANYTHING going into this series. My review is based on my own thoughts after watching the anime for the first time nearly 100% blind.
-= MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED THE SERIES =-
One reason I feel the pacing is too fast is Kyoko's relationship towards the other main characters, which felt very fast-paced and under-developed to me, it seemed like one episode she was trying to kill them and the next she was willing to die for them. I say "seemed like", but that's literally what happened. While Sayaka might've changed her mind while they talked in the ruined church, the way her relationship developed with them felt really badly executed to me.
I like the idea of Homura going back in time over and over, in fact I think the episode it is revealed in (episode 10) is my favorite episode of the series. However, the way the series ended felt really forcefully grand, in my opinion. Despite Kyuubey's constant hinting at Madoka's raw potential, I feel like her wish was needlessly dramatic and only went that way because of a need to make the show end on a note of that calibre. But I also think that if the series had ended any other way I'd still not enjoy it.
I think my issues with the pacing are my main problem here, Kyoko's relationship with the other characters isn't my only problem with it: Characters are introduced and killed off 1-3 episodes later. In a show with only 12 episodes, that makes me feel like things are progressing way too fast. Interestingly, I feel if more focus was given on Homura and she wasn't basically a mysterious background character for 80% of the show, it could've made me enjoy it a lot more in the end.
I can't relate to how these characters feel if they cry over the death of a character who was introduced 2 episodes ago. I didn't get enough time to realize who they were. In fact, I feel like Madoka herself had pitiful development over the course of the series. Despite being the "main character", she doesn't offer much to the episodes. You would think that due to my disdain of the other characters coming and going and not getting much development, that the main character who stays alive throughout the entire series would have the best development character-wise. I mean, she's in every episode of the show.
Yet it doesn't feel like she changed much at all until the very end, which made the ending feel even more forced to me. Most of the time her development comes from her crying over the loss of a character in the show. But it's not good enough if that's literally the only thing developing her as a character.
This is another issue I have with the pacing of the show. How can Madoka truly be developed if she's constantly crying over the loss of characters the viewer couldn't possibly have gotten to know in the short time between them being introduced and killed? It happens so many times in this 12 episode series that it cheapens the impact it has on Madoka. So when she cried, by the third time, I felt next to nothing for her except "Oh, that's sad.". The first time a character died, it shocked me. I figured that since it happened so early on, it was just part of the set up of the show. But then it happened again. And again. And each time I felt less, because no character who died was developed enough for me to feel much of anything.
-= Spoilers Over=-
I have yet to watch the movie, maybe it will change my thoughts on the series, or maybe it'll make them worse, who knows.
Perhaps if this was 24 episodes instead of 12, or just restructured to be paced better, I'd enjoy it a lot more. But as it stands, I didn't like it much at all.
-= Story: 5 =-
-= Art: 8 =-
-= Sound: 8 =-
-= Character: 3 =-
-= Enjoyment: 5 =-
-= Overall Score: 5 =-