Puella Magi Madoka Magica Review & Characters - trading your life for a wish (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)


  • Episodes : 12
  • Genre : Dark fantasy, Horror, Magical girl
  • Airing Date : January 2011 – April 2011
  • Producers : Shaft, Aniplex

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Madoka Magica revolves around the lives of five girls that gain the ability to turn into Magical girls. The setting is a fictive town in Japan called Mitakihara where heroine Madoka lives with her family and friends. The first twist in her life comes in the form of Homura Akemi, a transfer student in her class. This wouldn't be too shocking if it weren't for the fact that Homura appeared in Madoka's dream the night before.

At the same time, a cat-like creature called Kyubey appears. One day, as Madoka follows the voice of Kyubey into the deserted part of a building, she encounters Homura in her Magical girl form. She attacks the creature and tells Madoka to stay away from him no matter what. Together with her friend Sayaka Madoka tries to escape only to get attacked by monsters.

Another Magical girl, Mami, appears and saves the two friends. Understandingly, Madoka and Sayaka are both terrified and confused as to what exactly is going on. Together with Kyubey Mami explains to them the world of Magical girls.

Kyubey has the power to grant a girl one wish. In return, she has to live the rest of her life as a Magical girl and fight against witches who spread hatred and fear. The lives of Magical girls are dangerous and pre-determined. There is no way out of it except one - death.

The anime follows Madoka and Sayaka as they are getting caught in the world of Magical girls. They have to decide whether they are ready to become one themselves or whether the risk of dying is too much for them.

Who does Puella Magi Madoka Magica cater to?

Interestingly enough, I wouldn't say that fans of Magical girl anime should watch Madoka Magica. It is not a regular Magical girl anime in the sense that it depicts the darker side of this transformation. If you start watching Madoka Magica because you want to see friendship, laughter and cute outfits you will be extremely put off.

Instead I would say that open-minded people who enjoy experiencing new and unique shows should give Madoka Magica a try. Also, you need to show some patience. The first few episodes are so cute and happy that it's almost cringeworthy. Only if you are able to bear with it and try to immerse yourself in Madoka's story then you are able to understand the fuss around this show.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

What makes Madoka Magica so special is the fact that it does not contain gore or blood but still manages to be disturbing.

If I had to put it into words I would say it reminds me of a childhood nightmare. You have all those cute characters and this seemingly perfect world that the girls live in. Yet, once they step into the parallel universe where they fight witches everything gets turned around.

It is not only the plot itself that slowly turns more sinister, but the artwork and music as well help conveying certain feelings. The design of the characters and the scenes feels like something I haven't seen before and the music will get a hold on you. Trust me, even after the last episode you will find yourself going to Youtube and searching for the soundtrack of Madoka Magica.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Main Characters List

Madoka Kaname

Voice Actor : Aoi Yūki

Heroine Madoka is a typical girl in her second year of middle school. As such, she worries about things like growing up, boys and her future. She truly cares about her family and her friends.
Yet she sees herself as someone without aspiration or special talents. She's almost self-conscious and does not know what to do later on in her life. That's why she is inspired by Mami and considers turning into a Magical girl herself. This would be her chance to finally become strong and to do something meaningful.

Sayaka Miki

Voice Actor :Eri Kitamura

Sayaka is Madoka's class mate and best friend. She's also the one that's by her side when she finds out about the existence of Magical girls.
Unlike Madoka, Sayaka does not question very long whether she wants to become a Magical girl. For her the powers are not as important as the wish Kyubey could grant her. She uses it for a childhood friend of hers, a former musical prodigy that lost the ability to play the violin due to an illness. Once her transformation is complete she receives a sword to fight.

Mami Tomoe

Voice Actor :Kaori Mizuhashi

You could call Mami the Senpai of the other Magical girls. Madoka and Sayaka are both amazed by Mami's grace and strength and therefore look up to her.
Mami is the only girl that didn't have time to think about her wish or whether she really wanted to be a Magical girl. She got caught in a traffic accident and just on the verge of dying Kyubey appeared. In order to survive she agreed to Kyubey's contract.
It is not until Madoka steps into her life that Mami finally forms a wish. Being a Magical girl and fighting against witches has given her a life of solitude. The one thing that she wants now is a friend. That's why she wants Madoka to turn into a Magical girl as well - so they can fight alongside each other against the evils of this world.

Homura Akemi

Voice Actor : Chiwa Saitō

Homura is by far the most mysterious Magical girl out of all of them. She appears as a transfer student, but somehow shows a weird interest in Madoka. She tells Madoka to stay true to herself and to not accept Kyubey's offer.
People respect her because of her cold aura and her matureness. Plus, she performs exceptionally well in academics and sports.

Kyouko Sakura

Voice Actor : Ai Nonaka

Kyouko is the last of the Magical girls and is first introduced as an enemy of Mami and the other girls. She fights using a spear and somehow resembles a wild animal. She has long red hair and her teeth look like little fangs.
She used her wish from Kyubey to make people listen to the preaching of her father, a pastor at a small church. However, when he found out about this he went mad and killed the rest of Kyouko's family. This is the reason why she advises the other girls to use their wishes for selfish reasons. She does not believe in trying to help others anymore and thus lives and fights by herself.


Contains Spoilers

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Review

Let me start out by saying that I really appreciate the plot of Madoka Magica. It is well thought-out and intriguing without giving away too much right from the beginning. The revelation of Homura’s true identity came unexpected for me and that is something that doesn't happen too often, to be honest.

Nevertheless, watching Madoka Magica had its ups and downs for me. Before watching it I heard that it's going to be extremely dark and sinister. A few episodes in, it was still a normal Magical girl anime in my eyes and if I'm honest with you I have to say I was a little bit disappointed.

I still continued watching it though, since the characters and their back stories intrigued me. From this point on, everything got better. Once I got over my expectations I could enjoy this anime freely and was able to see what others meant by saying it would get "darker".

If I had to compare Madoka Magica to something I've seen before I would say it reminded me of Happy Tree Friends. This comparison might be far-fetched but hear me out: it looks so cute and it reminds you of your childhood, but suddenly it introduces dark themes.

I am not saying it's the most disturbing anime I have ever seen - by far not. It's just that - if you didn't read any reviews beforehand - you're not prepared for it, so it strikes you as especially gloomy. That's what makes it so haunting.

This unexpectedness is a good thing in my eyes, since it makes you reflect on the pain the girls experience. We are so desensitized from constantly seeing death on screen that we don't really think about it anymore. Just consider how many of your favorite characters are orphans or had to experience some kind of death in their close social circle.

Isn't it questionable that we don't even think about it twice? Well, Madoka Magica made me feel real emotions again.

I really appreciated that the death of Mami in Madoka Magica was treated like death is supposed to be treated. With real tears and sorrow and the knowledge that that person will never come back again.

I am sorry if this review is getting a little bit too sad for some of you. It's just that this anime is so special in the way that it uses the full potential of anime. You can see a great interaction between plot, artwork, music and characters that will play around with your emotions.

Interesting fact: The airing of the final episodes of Madoka Magica had to be delayed because of the great Tohoku earthquake and following tsunami. You might ask why a natural disaster interfered with the airing of the show. Well, the final battle of Madoka during Walpurgisnacht completely destroys the city Mitakihara and this destruction reminded people of the great tragedy.

You may think about this whatever you want but you have to admit that this fact shows how moving and influential this anime actually is. Just consider how many other anime show mass destruction as a result of a final battle between the hero and his nemesis. Yet, the pain and destruction shown in Madoka Magica were apparently too real to be aired in such a hard time for Japan.

1. Kyubey

Kyubey is described as a “messenger of magic” and is the one who grants the girls their magical powers. His artwork fits the show perfectly as he looks like a cute animal but is in fact a being without moral or sympathy. His face and his voice never change and never reveal any of his emotions.

2.Soul Gem

A soul gem is the source of magical power of each Magical girl. You receive it after forming a magical contract with a messenger such as Kyubey. However, it is also the life power of the girls. With each time they use magic their soul gems turn darker. They need to remove the taint of their soul gems through fighting witches otherwise they have to die.

3. Grief Seed

Grief seeds could be seen as the equivalent of soul gems for witches. It is those seeds that magical girls need in order to restore the power of their soul gems. They appear after a witch has been defeated.


I would go as far as to say that Madoka Magica is a must-watch. Not because it is a good representation of Magical girl anime, but because it is an outstanding exception of the rule.

It has all the elements of a Magical girl anime but instead of showing the positive side like friendship, fun and magic, the story revolves around the negative side. It's no wonder that opinions split on whether it is a good or a bad show.

Well, I cannot answer this question for you. The only thing that I can do is to tell you my honest opinion.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is an outstanding anime that made it into my personal Top 10 list. Not because I was especially interested in the topic or because the story was highly entertaining, but because it was different. It wasn't the dark horror story I expected to see in the beginning, but it turned out to be something better than that.

You will either hate or love it, that's for sure about Madoka Magica. But you have to see it yourself to understand the truly unique vibe of it.

Cornelia Wagner

Writer

Author: Cornelia Wagner

Coffee enthusiast, world traveler and writer at heart. Left Europe to live and study in the insanity called Tokyo.

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