Puella Magic Madoka Magica is one of the stand-out animes released in Japan in 2011. At twelve episodes long, it may not seem all that worthwhile, but this is one show where despite the seemingly short length (ignoring opening/closing credits and next episode info, the whole show is about four hours long) there is a lot of action, information, and emotion packed in to it.
The whole premise is about fourteen year old Madoka Kaname being offered the opportunity by Kyubey (a being from another world) to make one wish. In return, Kyubey is able to make a contract with her and give her the power to become a magical girl. In return, she must take up the responsibility of fighting to rid the world of witches. However, a new transfer student to her school, Homura Akemi (a Magical Girl herself), is hell-bent on preventing Madoka from making that contract.
The characters are all rather candy-coloured and pastelly, and the animation style (young and innocent) looks very much like other magical girl shows, especially Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. However, as evidenced by the great big "15" age rating, this is NOT a show for young children. Madoka Magica delves in to just how the responsibility of fighting witches affects the teens who make the contract, and from episode three onwards the show hits you with shock after shock as you find out more and more about this show's universe. If you know Gen Urobuchi or some of the other stories he's worked on (Fate/zero, Saya no Uta), then you stand in good stead to know at least the basic premise of this show and what may occur.
Like another reviewer, I imported the collector's edition from the US partly because there was simply no other way I could get my hands on the soundtrack to this anime (and despite its high cost, I had no qualms about supporting this anime). The soundtrack is done by Yuki Kajiura -- if you have ever watched Noir, .hack//SIGN, Tsubasa Chronicle, or My-HiME (to name a few) with the original Japanese soundtracks, you are already aware of the type of work she does. The music ranges from the fantastical (Salve, terrae magicae; Sis puella magica!) to the distraught (Decretum; Serena ira), to the epic (Credens justitiam; Venari strigas) and fits in with the show very well.
The writing, animation, and soundtrack tie together to make this an anime worth watching.