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Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Part 1 and Part 2 - Beginnings/Eternal Blu-ray
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'Discover what it really means to be a magical girl. This limited edition contains Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1: Beginnings & Part 2: Eternal on Blu-ray Madoka Kaname is an eighth-grader who leads a peaceful, fun-filled life as a student, surrounded by her beloved family and her best friends. One day, a transfer student named Homura Akemi arrives in Madoka's class. She is a dark-haired beauty with a somewhat mysterious disposition. Soon after meeting Madoka for the first time, Homura goes on to issue Madoka a strange warning. Madoka also meets Kyubey, a mysterious looking white creature. He says, 'Make a contract with me and become a magical girl!'; To make any wish come true Madoka didn't know the meaning of this miracle nor what its cost may prove to be. An impending loss triggers a drastic change in her destiny... This limited edition Blu-ray box set includes a rigid artbox designed by character designer Junichiro Taniguchi. Bonus Features include: Textless Opening and Ending Theatrical Trailers TV Commercial Collections 16 Page Booklet
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- The Japanese voiceover has been completely rerecorded and is startlingly good (Madoka herself showing the greatest improvement), numerous lines have been tweaked for greater clarity.
- New footage, about ten minutes total at a guess. Most of this is taken up with flashy transformations and some new combat animation - again what's there is very good. As this is now a 'film' there is plenty of new scene transitions (these tend to be static backgrounds)
- New music - several extra new tracks have been added to presumably avoid repetition - fear not, the new tracks are by the same excellent composer (Yuki Kajiura). A new opening theme is particularly upbeat.
- The opening dream sequence from episode 1 was cut, some fans will debate this removal as controversial as it misses out a lot of foreshadowing for the film/TV series.
- As to be expecting a couple of scenes and conversations from the TV series have been trimmed or fully removed, I would argue none of this detracts from the experience except for the above. I'm sure there are fans that would disagree with this however...
- Any worthwhile extras (except the art book); for the price I would have hoped to see a 'behind the scenes' or maybe some interviews or a soundtrack.
What's in the box?
- Two DVD cases with beautiful artwork on each; there is also a small art book included with about a dozen pages of background CGI and character art.
Should I buy it?
- If you enjoyed the TV series and can't wait to watch the true sequel (Rebellion, Part 3) this is an excellent way to enjoy the series a second time with the extra scenes and rerecording really adding enjoyment to this excellent series. This is also a perfect entry point to someone who has not seen the series before and wants to see what all the fuss is about.
- If you did not enjoy the TV series that much or feel it is massively overhyped there is nothing to change your mind here.
Madoka Kaname is an average fourteen year old girl who loves her friends, family, and her life. One day she encounters a cat like creature called Kyubey, and he offers her a once in a life time opportunity. If she makes a wish it will be granted and she will become a magical girl.
Honestly, I could give you more details than that, but then I would be spoiling it. The story itself is well written. There are moments when the characters ask questions that any normal person would ask; why does this creature want to give me powers? What should I wish for? What is the point in any of it? There countless things to expect. However, it can be quite predictable, but not so much so to ruin the experience in watching it. There are just times when you can easily know what will happen next. Then there's the ending. Honestly, I didn't like the ending that much, but when I rewatched it it grew on me. However, I still think it could have ended better, but it is good enough. The ending isn't bad, but I think it could have been better. But with Madoka Magica Rebellion now available to view I can enjoy this ending a little more than I did originally.
To be honest I can't find a way to talk about the character's without giving something away. It's not that they're complex character's I just can't find a way to talk about them; though I do find Madoka to be a worse main character than Shinji Ikari from Evangelion. Shinji will get into a fight and be willing to help, but Madoka literally does nothing throughout the entire time apart from crying, and whining. But if that's the case then what is the point to this series? You can enjoy a story based around Madoka while she watches her friends do all the fighting, and are the ones to get hurt. This causes Madoka to think about her actions.
Apart from saying that Madoka is a Shinji copy I can't really say much for the other characters except that they go through a lot, but I will give mention to my favourite character, Homura Akemi. She is mysterious, and is probably the most interesting character in the whole series. She's a complex character. The other entire cast of characters can be very much be summed up quite easily.
ANIMATION & SOUND
The animation is okay. It's nothing amazing but does have its moments. The animation really does differ depending on the different art styles that are used throughout the series. The witches have very shoddy and cheap animation with designs that people will either like or hate for their own reasons. While I'm not much of a fan of the designs I do like the fact that they are showing that this is not a happy-go-lucky series; like pretty much all magical girl series. There are times when various art styles are used to show a dark scene, and are some of the high points to the series. Some fight scenes are also very well animated, and look gorgeous to watch. There are also some bright and colourful day scenes that contrast well with the dark and eerie night scenes.
The music is okay. Nothing like Evangelion, but does pick up every now and again. It serves as decent background music for the series and does make scenes standout, but it isn't amazing. The composer was Yuki Kajiura (Sword Art Online). She does well at composing the music for this, but sadly doesn't bring out many tracks that stand apart from the scenes in the anime. I'm not saying that there aren't tracks that don't standout, because there are and those tracks sound pretty good, but there just isn't a whole lot. If anything it serves well enough to make a scene look good.
The dub is a pretty good one. The actresses do a good job of playing they're characters, and do not disappoint. Christine Marie Cabanos (Azusa Nakano in K-ON!, Shiemi Moriyama in Blue Exorcist, and Silica/Keiko Ayano in Sword Art Online) plays the wimpy Madoka Kaname so well that there are some scenes which some people might find emotional. Cristina Valenzuela (Noel Vermillion , Nu-13 and Mu-12 in BlazBlue, Sailor Mars/Raye in Viz Media's new uncut dub of Sailor Moon, Morgiana in Magi the Labyrinth of Magic and the Kingdom of Magic, and Mio Akiyama in K-ON!) plays the infinitely awesome Horuma Akemi, and pretty much steals the spotlight. Sarah Williams (Nonon Jakuzure in Kill la Kill, Uni / Black Sister in Hyperdimension Neptunia, and Lisbeth/Rika Shinozaki in Sword Art Online) plays Sayaka Miki, Carrie Keranen (Ryuzetsu in Naruto Shippuden the Movie Blood Prison, Casca in Berserk, Maiya Hisau in Fate/Zero, and Satsuki Kiryuin in Kill La Kill) plays the mentor figure Mami, Lauren Landa (Litchi Faye-Ling in BlazBlue, Ain in One Piece Film Z, Xenovia in Highschool DxD, and Annie Leonhart in Attack on Titan) plays the bratty tom boy Kyoko Sakura, and Cassandra Lee Morris (Taiga Aisaka in Toradora!, Ritsu Tainaka in K-ON!, Patema in Patema Inverted, and Leafa/Suguha Kirigaya in Sword Art Online) as the creature with the creepy stare, Kyubey.
SERIES VS MOVIES
Beginning and Eternal are recap movies of this series, and Rebellion is the continuation of the series. I’ve decided to do this because there are some people that might be wondering what the differences are, and might be wondering if they are worthwhile.
Beginning’s is the first eight episodes of the series condensed to two hours and ten minutes with thirty minutes of footage cut, and Eternal is the last four episodes in an hour and fifty minutes. The main difference between the movies and TV series is that there are new visuals, a re-recorded soundtrack and dub, and a faster paced story. With very little content being cut from each movie what we end up having is a recap movie that improves the visual and audio aspect of the series, but is also a recap movie that surprisingly follows the story of the series almost exactly. With very little content being cut we end up with two versions of Madoka Magica which are pretty much the same.
The big question is this; are you bothered by what is missing from each movie? The only thing that bugged me when I watched them was that they didn’t explain how the Magical Girls could talk to each other telepathically; instead you’re left to assume they can when the scenes come without an explanation, and Mami’s past is cut. Now, I’m not bothered about Mami’s character and her past didn’t change my view on her, nor did it really add anything in my opinion and not to mention it is very brief and it didn’t explain much anyway, and I can easily live without the short explanation of telepathically talking. The thing that I like with these movies is that they have better and improved visuals, so it isn’t just a copy & paste job. After watching the movies and then going back to the series you will be able to see just how much of an improvement the movies had, in comparison to the series.
The music is also a high note to the movies, as it stands out a little more than some of the tracks from the series. The new tracks and old tracks are mixed together well to create a soundtrack that is just an improvement of what we had originally. The re-recorded dialog is also another high note; as a good number of the actresses were just starting out in voice acting when they first dubbed the series, so it’s nice to hear them come back with they’re improved skills and redub Madoka Magica.
I can easily recommend Madoka Magica to anyone who likes Evangelion, or is looking for something different, or are just fans of magical girl anime’s. If you liked the series then just expect visual and audio improvements, as the story is exactly the same. For guys wondering if they should be embarrassed to watch it I can reassure you that you shouldn’t be; it is vastly different than many other magical girl series that you might already know of.
So, which version of Madoka Magica am I recommending? I’m going to recommend both. I say to watch the series first then the movies, and decide which versions you prefer. Though it is also fine to watch the movies first, as both have they’re up’s and downs. When it comes down to it you really aren’t missing anything important too by not watching the series first, and I think that the movies flow a little better than the series in some areas.
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