Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Alright, so this is a rare thing for me. I watched anime. Not an older series like I tend to lean towards, but something very recent. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a magical girl anime, but it's a decidedly darker take on the genre. What really caught my attention with this series was the art. Most of the time the art is kind of run of the mill, except for the shading in characters eyes, but when a witch encounter is coming up the art takes a turn for the awesome. Witches are kind of the driving force behind the series, I don't think they really fit the role of antagonist, they're just a narrative tool for moving things forward. Anyways, when one is on-screen the art becomes very abstract and strange, if it weren't for the interesting twist in the art style I probably wouldn't have watched past the first episode. 
The music... I don't feel I can really comment on the music as well as I'd like to. I watched the series about a week ago and none of the music struck me as anything but kind of standard. The opening song is pretty memorable, the ending song honestly probably set the tone a lot better though. I suppose that works pretty well with the show as a whole, up front lots of typical mahou shoujo veneer but once you get a bit further in it's much less happy go lucky and more about suffering.

I'm pretty torn about this show. I'm big on the use of concepts borrowed Buddhism but taking a genre show, subverting most of it's tropes and then mixing in religion is something I'm all too familiar with. Neon Genesis Evangelion made it really popular with mecha anime for a few years but it's been kind of a while since it's been done, and as far as I'm aware it's the first time someone's done it with a magical girl show. I suppose overall it's a compliment just how often this series gets compared to Evangelion, and I do happen to love show's where the central theme is suffering (much like in Koi Kaze). I'm glad I watched it, but I can't agree with the massive amount of praise this show garnered. If anything that's probably a new generation of anime fans getting a taste for this darker kind of series, I'd bet fans of whatever series did it before Evangelion felt much the same way when it started taking off.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Worth a watch, nothing revolutionary, but easily among the better stuff released in the past couple of years.

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