Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Here we go again—

Puella Magi Madoka Magica 魔法少女まどかマギカ

Like Psycho-Pass, I’ve had a few people recommend Madoka to me for a while, including my Umineko reading partner. The premise: a pair of middle schoolers are recruited into a battle against supernatural forces as “magical girls”—like the well-known Sailor Moon but darker. After recently reading Stefan Gagne’s “Sailor Nothing” (ALL OF THE CONTENT WARNINGS), I can’t see this turning out well.1

(Oh hey, Madoka was written by the same person as Psycho-Pass too, Urobochi Gen.)

“Here we go again” is a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not really going to do the post-after-every-episode thing I did with Psycho-Pass; that’s a bit more work than I feel like putting in for now. But Madoka only has 12 episodes, so I expect to finish it by New Year’s easily, and then I’ll post my thoughts about it.

Still, I couldn’t go through it without doing any of my former screencap nonsense. But I couldn’t decide what to screencap, so I ended up just collecting shots of the ridiculous architecture of Madoka’s vaguely near-future world. Like the giant washroom, except somehow there’s another mirror right behind them.

Madoka's mom: "Boys who don't even have the guts to confess their love in person are no good."

The classrooms that look like cages.

And these zigzag balconies (through the window) that…okay, in all honesty this one’s not that bad, I could see it in some large library or government building.

There are a number of other architectury shots, many of them establishing a ridiculous scale for Madoka’s home, school, nearby mall, everything. How many people go to just this one school?

Anyway, I did appreciate that they lampshaded the whole show right away.

Sayaka: "Awesome! You're acting like you're an anime character, too!"

So far, I’m not so impressed. Everything is pretty normal and not yet very compelling. (Well, okay, both of Madoka’s parents seem pretty cool.) The magic world is a trippy mess that deliberately breaks the art style, which is cool and all but also makes my brain just kind of flush it out without paying attention. And nothing makes sense yet. On the other hand, at least these middle schoolers actually look like middle schoolers.

One thing’s for sure, though…

Kyubey (magical cat-fox thing): "I want you to make contracts with me and become magical girls!"

…these kids are screwed.

Madoka is available on Hulu. (It’s probably available elsewhere too, but Hulu is where I’m watching it.)

  1. I really like some of Gagne’s other work, particularly City of Angles and Floating Point, so check him out if you’re looking for modern episodic stories. And unlike Sailor Nothing, these aren’t dark and upsetting the entire time. ↩︎