[Psychological Fall 2016] Like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica? Watch This!

Introduction

Psychological themes are quite rare in the industry. They either end up being a complete success or die off, being just another anime on the ranking boards. What defines a good psychological anime is its expert use of creative human mind. Everyone has their own interpretation and it is up to the anime to toy with your experiences and expectations to literally mess you up. This Fall season brings us 2 animes with a strong psychological theme. Let's see if it matches up with the standards of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica!

About Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jan 7, 2011 to Apr 22, 2011

Madoka Kaname was just an average high school girl. One day she rescued Kyuubey, a cat like apparition. Kyuubey offers her the chance to be a magical girl as well as one single wish. However, Madoka was constantly warned by Homura Akemi not to accept those conditions as the consequence of doing so is grave. Not much is known about the magical girls and the duties that they have so until Madoka makes her final decision, she will have to go through her adventures with other magical girls and finally understand what it means to be a magical girl.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is an atypical magical girl show. If anything, it shocked audiences and revamped the magical girl genre into something that is darker and more depressing. Often hailed as one of the better works of Gen Urobuchi, this anime is set to give you a mind wrecking time of your life. Twists and unexpected developments are a just a few of its characteristics, making this anime famous for its unpredicted nature. Madoka has revolutionized our interpretation of the mahou shoujo genre, giving it a whole new perspective into the world of being a magical girl.

Liked Mahou Shoujo Magica Madoka? Watch Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku!

  • Episodes: Ongoing
  • Aired: Oct 2, 2016 - ???
  • Read More

Called the Magical Girl Raising Project, the project aims to grant magical powers to random girls via a 1 in 10000 chance. The powers conferred upon them are what will set them apart from humans. Naturally, the struggle of power becomes real and the participants soon realized the responsibilities and obligations in having such powers. Things do not go in their favor when a certain district announced that there were too many magical girls and they had to reduce the numbers. The only way to keep their powers is through the collection of Magical Candies. The participant with the least will have their power stripped away.

Three Major Similarities between Mahou Shoujo Magica Madoka and Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku

1. Unorthodox Mahou Shoujo Theme

Contrary to typical mahou shoujo animes like Sailor Moon, both animes portray a deeper and darker story line. Instead of the usual happy events and the happy go lucky nature of magical girls, both of these animes explore what it really means to be a magical girl. While both animes have different storylines, their gloomy nature is something that was unheard of during the peak of the magical girl era. The original demographic of the magical girl genre was geared more towards females. However, with the introduction of darker and mature themes, the audience has since been expanded to include males and older people as well.

The introduction of such themes was quite unlikely if you think about it. However, these new elements were what revitalized the mahou shoujo genre. The genre seized back its popularity after a decline in popularity in the mid 2000s. It goes to show that there is nothing wrong with trying something utterly crazy and ridiculous! You'll never know if someday it will be the next big thing.

2. Tragic, early deaths

When we talk about the dark themes and unconventional plots that both anime possess, naturally the bulk of it is referring to the tragic deaths in both animes. Both animes are not afraid to throw out the death card early in the series. In fact, the deaths are reminiscent to the Hunger Games where the deaths are constant and unpredictable. Just when you start to develop an interest in a particular character, she may very well just die the next moment. Your anticipation and confusion is what fuels and spurs the story even more. Just like Danganronpa, you'll never know who's next on the list to die.

3. Fantastic and Moe Art

Big and defined eyes, miniature bodies and colorful costumes and hair. The dynamic presentation of both animes often misleads others. The moe-ism is probably what throws people off. Picture this; you are drawn to something innocent and fun. You find yourself previewing either of these anime, engrossed in the cute actions and light heartedness of the show. And then it hits you, the first instance of death, transforming the whole feel of the show.

Yet however, the art style remains pretty much the same. The characters remain identical except now; they are in a perilous situation. Despite the overall gloominess in the show, you just can't help but admire the art. The blend of bright colors of the characters amidst the depressing background really accentuates them. Of course, we must have our daily dose of moeness after all!


Liked Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica? Watch Lostorage WIXOSS!

  • Episodes: 12 (Ongoing)
  • Aired: Oct 8, 2016 - ???
  • Read More

After finally returning back to her hometown of Ikebukuro, Homura Suzuko yearns to meet up with her childhood friend Morikawa Chinatsu. Remembering that they made a promise to remain friends forever, she is intent to keep that very promise. However, she faced troubles fitting in at her new school even before finding Chinatsu. Eager to make some friends, Suzuko chanced upon the card game WIXOSS. Maybe if she managed to learn to play the game, she might make some friends. Just as she was able to start playing however, one of the characters in the card started moving...

Three Major Similarities between Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and Lostorage WIXOSS

1. High Stakes

This is not just your everyday ordinary card game. Likewise, being a magical girl is no small feat either. Both animes portrays the price that comes with power and desire. In Lostorage, the memories of an individual is worth its weight its soul while in Madoka, the responsibilities of a magical girl is so heavy that it entails death. It is through both animes that viewers learn of the burden of balancing one's desires and wishes upon their very lives.

In Madoka, the price for becoming a magical girl is severe as the lives of the magical girls are constantly threatened. In Lostorage, each player has 5 coins to preserve. These coins represent the memories of the player and losing all 5 of them means losing their memories. Both animes shows the characters gambling with their lives unwillingly. The stakes are high and the unknown of the future is the enemy of these girls. At any time, they might very well lose themselves.

2. Theme of Friendship

The value of friendship in both animes is unequivocal. We will always need to rely on someone to become stronger than we ever were before. That is why the highlight for both animes is the theme of friendship. Friendship is one of the cornerstones of both protagonists' power. Be it known or unknown, the mere presence of a companion impels the protagonist to go beyond their limits. Even if the pressure strains the relationship between them, their efforts are what allow them to go on. After all, that is what it means to be friends and both animes portray it in a majestic manner, glorifying the mutual trust and affection between friends.

3. Inner Conflict and Desperation

The characters in both animes have to deal a lot with their personal feelings and circumstances. Due to the grim situation around them, they often feel helpless, forlorn and lost. This escalated to the point of desperation sometimes. From trying to save your friend, going through the passage of time over and over again in Madoka to finding your friend and then realizing that you have to battle them in Lostorage, the insurmountable amount of stress on them forced them to do things that they never thought they would do. This attribute of desperation is what contributes to the overall mature theme of both animes.

Final Thoughts

Psychological animes will always without doubt leave you wanting more. The unknown and anticipation of what will happen next is the selling point of psychological animes. Were you left speechless via watching Madoka due to its unexpected twists and unnatural story progression? Were you satisfied by how Madoka ended? Watched any of the 2 animes already? Do share with us if they are in any way similar or what else you feel is similar between these animes. Until the next season, we will see you next time!

Araragi

Writer

Author: Araragi

Writing from a little island known as Singapore. It is through my articles that I want to show that the world of anime reaches out beyond the boundaries of Japan. From different age groups to individuals coming from different walks of life, everyone and anyone can be a lover of anime. To quote from Kingdom Hearts, 'There are many worlds out there, but they share the same sky.'

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