Tag Archives: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica #12: Not Today, Satan

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In a world that wants nothing more than for you to fall into despair, the greatest act of rebellion is to hope. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #11: Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

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Remember that Ancient Aliens show that hinged on the theory that beings from outer space are responsible for the development of human society? Is that still being made? As of this week’s episode, Madoka Magica has been revealed to run on similar logic, subscribing to the suggestion that the sci-fi creatures at the heart of the series have been integrated into humanity since it’s earliest days, retroactively attributing big moments in history to said creatures. In this way, Madoka is in the same category as the Michael Bay Transformers movies. I’m not really sure what to do with this information. I kind of hate it. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #10: It’s About Time

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Before you go forward, you have to go back. And so without a word Madoka Magica’s tenth episode drops us in an unfamiliar and distant scene where a timid girl unrecognisable as Homura is introducing herself as Homura. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #9: Ouch

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Oh, we’re living in a world of pain this week. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #8: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

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A girl who cannot become a princess is doomed to become a witch.

…wait, wrong show. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #7: Take Me to Church

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I wonder if Sayaka, now a musical-themed magical girl, is any good at music herself? Because now might be the time to challenge Kyuubey to a fiddle competition for her soul. Or it would be, if she wasn’t so determined not to regret anything. And if Kyuubey knew what a fiddle was. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #6: Do Not Throw Souls

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Look, I had to name at least one of these after the most iconic anime meme of my generation.

We pick up right where we left off last time, with Homura having materialised out of thin air to put an end to Sayaka and Kyoko’s not-so-friendly idealistic debate. Kyoko draws our attention to the fact that yes, what’s happening is weird, even by magical standards: she demands to know what type of funky magic this new interloper is using, jabbing aggressively with her nunchuck-spear-thing while Homura calmly clips through space and evades her. What rattles Kyoko even more is that Homura knows her full name… but when asked if they’ve met before, simply says “Maybe. Who’s to say?” Even Kyuubey seems confused (as much as Kyuubey displays any emotion). This episode cements Homura as “an irregularity”, suggesting that magical girls can exist outside of Kyuubey’s system… and though we’re not yet sure how, this becomes a fairly comforting idea by the time the credits roll. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #5: One Gem, Two Gem, Red Gem, Blue Gem

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We’ve talked a lot about contracts with Kyuubey, but we’ve never seen what they actually entail. Watching Sayaka’s in motion we’re forced to realise/remember how otherworldly Kyuubey is—there’s not anything necessarily sinister going on on surface level, but there’s a deeply unsettling atmosphere surrounding the whole ceremony that’s only heightened by its juxtaposition to the peppy and colourful opening theme that comes on right after it. Not enough to cause real trouble, but just enough to raise the question “oh, my sweet girl, what are you getting yourself into?”

Back in the safety and supposed normalcy of daylight, Hitomi is at school and is fine, her brush with magical death having been passed off as a collective hallucination. Given that the gang has faced at least one Witch an episode thus far, I have to wonder what the police and hospital records for this city look like—presumably riddled with mysterious deaths, out-of-nowhere suicides, and spontaneous group sleepwalking sessions. Not to mention all the strange disappearances of the girls who become the Witches themselves, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. All I’m saying is this must be an exhausting and frightening place to work in emergency services. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #4: Depictions of Gratuitous Violins

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Thought: does the magical girl genre exist in the world of Madoka Magica? We can assume that anime does, given that Sayaka references anime tropes when she’s joking around in the first episode, but apart from that the only media we’ve seen the characters interact with is music (both pop and classical). Do the characters in-universe have any concept of what a “magical girl” is before they meet one/become one? It’s not entirely clear. Which is odd, in a way, since having pop culture set a precedent that real life does not match up to would lend a degree of social commentary—in a “television is not preparing our children for the harshness of reality” sort of way—to the series. After all, if you’re going to take familiar tropes apart (and here, clearly the subversion of familiar tropes is for the benefit of the genre-aware audience, rather than the characters themselves) you may as well use that process to make some sort of point.

Maybe it’s too early to be diving into that sort of discussion. It’s just something that blipped across my mind while I wondered where exactly this ideal image of a magical girl that Mami worked so hard to display, and her friends admired so much, came from. Are they taking cues from media? From history, perhaps, given that Kyuubey’s been making contracts since early human civilisation? From a logical combination of society’s ideal visions of femininity and society’s ideal vision of selfless heroism? The fact that Madoka’s setting seems to be some sort of deliberately ambiguous, slightly sci-fi, and architecturally stunning Anyplace isn’t helping. Do these characters exist in a bubble, a world vaguely recognisable as our own but effectively just a grand and beautifully-designed stage for this story to play out that’s isolated from any conception of actual society as we in the real world know it??

God. Anyway. This week we’re dealing with the wake of Mami’s untimely death, and everything is the worst. Continue reading

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Madoka Magica #3: Let Them Eat Cake

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Have I talked yet about how much I love the music in this show? Each track is distinctive and atmospheric, helping to set the tone of each individual scene and build a consistent otherworldly sense for the whole series. I especially enjoy ‘Sis Puella Magica’, which manages to be both beautiful and haunting, evoking a sense of simultaneous wonderment and foreboding that really does sum up the Madoka experience, and especially neatly reflects these first few episodes where we—and Madoka—are still figuring things out. And oh boy does that “mild sense of magical foreboding” come together this week.

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