Madoka Kaname is a regular schoolgirl but her life is changed when she meets the strange creature called Kyubey who gives her and her friend Sayaka Miki the chance to have a single wish granted in exchange for becoming Magic Girls who fight Witches. Madoka must wrestle with this choice while discovering the perils Magic Girls must face.
'Puella Magi Madoka Magica' is a brilliant show and definitely ranks amongst my five favourite anime series. The series is often compared to 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' and it is a rather apt comparison, and like that series it is something of a love it or hate it type of show. This series is a little difficult to talk about without spoiling at least some part of the story so anyone who wishes to avoid spoilers probably shouldn't read any reviews.
'Madoka Magica' is somewhat darker in tone than is usual for a Magic Girl series (as you would expect from a show that includes 'Faust' amongst its inspirations) but it is done extremely well with a good build up, as well as a nice and emotional finale. The animation of the series is very good with a great mixture of animation styles, especially when the characters enter a Witches Labyrinth where it can get a little trippy. The soundtrack used in the series is also extremely good. The series uses a number of the usual Magic Girl clichés but tends to twist some of them in different ways.
I have seen this series in both Japanese and English now, and I must say that they are both reasonably good even if the English one takes a little getting used to after watching and enjoying it in Japanese. The voice actors for the English dub are generally good and they all suit their characters well, although I will admit that I was originally a little disappointed by Cassandra Morris as Kyubey but I soon got used to it and now think she did a great job.
If I had a criticism of the show it would be the usual one for twelve episode series, namely that there probably isn't much time to develop some of the characters. While this is true, the series does its best and there are some nicely done character moments for the main characters even if some of the secondary characters get a little side-lined.
'Puella Magi Madoka Magica' is arguably one of the most popular anime series of the last few years and I feel that it certainly deserves this popularity. The series is definitely a must see for any anime fan and one that is worth nothing less than five stars.
on 7 December 2012
I'm a guy and from the appearance of this show it should be the kind of thing that would be sheer torture to sit through. The box is very pink looking and it belongs to a sub-genre referred to as "Magical-Girls".
This show should be awful and un-watchable, the sort of thing a guy would run from watching.
Now the reality of this series is that is is genuinely AMAZING. Buy this series, do it now, you will not be sorry. To anyone that enjoys skilful story telling, gorgeous animation and wonderful music, you will love this. There is intelligence and depth to spare in it's characters and the themes explored here. Almost every episode comes with a "LOST" type twist/revelation, though unlike that live-action series when the twists and revelations come they are GENUINE and MEANINGFUL and actually have an emotional resonance with the viewer.
The last third of the series becomes awesomely cosmic and mind-bending and the manner in which the story is resolved both happy and bitter-sweet. When you watch the series through a second time (knowing the ending/outcome) you will notice numerous hints and touches layered into the narrative that you didn't catch the first time.
I would tell anyone to buy this ASAP, the only down-side to getting it is that you will no longer be able to knock "Magical-Girl" shows any more.
on 27 September 2012
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.
on 27 January 2013
I'm not one much for writing reviews so this will be short.
I started watching this show not knowing any of the spoilers, which is a good thing since the first impression was artsy stuff but trite.
I was soon proven wrong, this show turns the magical girl Anime completely on its head and gets increasingly dark with some excellent story telling.
I can not recommend this highly enough.
on 18 August 2012
By now you've probably at least heard of "Puella Magi Madoka Magica"; most likely from the large fanbase it has that is constantly shouting about how great the show is...guess what though? They aren't wrong at all. To say it is the best anime of recent years is an understatement - it's an example of some of the best TV as a whole in the last few years.
The Magical Girl genre is one of Japan's most popular - after all, who can fault a story about young girls getting dressed up to use the power of love and friendship to stop bad guys? However, this show isn't about that. It takes that genre, flips it upside down and then messes with its head. It isn't a show with a clear cut line between good and bad - we have a villain that is far more fascinating than even Othello's Iago, we have a young idealistic girl realising the cruel world around her and we have a finale that is so inspiring and awe-striking that it WILL change your life.
Madoka Magica is a show with a very real, but very dark theme - that as much as we try and do for people, it will often end up being thrown in our faces. Everyone can relate to that overall message, that we have all been willing to give all we have for someone, only to have that backfire in one way or another. However, it is a show that teaches us that despite that, we still need someone to be there for us and when it comes down to it, that one person is all we need. It is a show that teaches us that it is all over the moment we give up on our wishes or our dreams and that all that awaits after that will be despair. Puella Magi Madoka Magica a beautiful, precious, sparkling gem wrapped up in an epic heart-wrenching tragedy.
The performances by the voice talent in both the original Japanese and the dub are absolutely superb - Aoi Yuki won awards in Japan for her performance as lead character Madoka Kaname, while Cristina Vee's English Homura was so powerful that I will now burst into tears just by hearing a certain line of hers.
This show is a visual masterpiece - definitely a show to be watched on blu-ray. The scenes in the witches' labyrinths really stand out in particular - they are random, quirky and yet even creepier and unsettling than the contents of Tim Burton's nightmares. The character designs are cute and the Magical Girl outfits are bright and cheerful, which creates a spectacular contrast of the dark world these Magical Girls invite themselves into.
The soundtrack for this show is absolutely phenomenal. With a classical feel, but with a more modern, fiery energy that really gives scenes the boosts they sometimes need from becoming great scenes, to becoming tear inducers. I would pay serious money to see it being performed by an orchestra; it's that good. My personal favourite track has to be "Nux Wulpurgis" - I blast that as load as I can whenever I can.
Once you watch this show, you will absolutely love it and you will love Gen Urobuchi's fantastic writing, yet hate him at the same time for what he put your favourite character through. It's an amazing feeling - you really connect with all of the main cast; you're happy when they are happy and you cry when they cry. If a show can make me cry, then I know that it has truly succeeded in taking the step from entertainment to art and despite having watched many anime, films, read many classic novels and plays nothing has managed to make me cry more than once...until Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica and the lessons I have learned from it have, no lie, changed my life. I cannot go into detail about how until you have watched the final episodes, but I have won plenty of religious debates using the morals and lessons I adopted from this masterpiece.
I paid £210 to import this show from the United States and I do not regret a penny of it - and I still have this release on pre-order. £28 for the entire series on blu-ray is the cheapest in the WORLD and for a show of this magnitude, it is an absolute steal that should not be passed on for any reason. In an ideal world, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises wouldn't be the most in demand blu-ray releases this year, it would be Puella Magi Madoka Magica (and I enjoyed the Avengers and TDKR!).
on 4 January 2013
First off, do not let the cute look fool you because despite being a 'magical girl series', PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA (2011), which has become one of the most talked-about anime in recent years, isn't your standard anime series. It's very, very, very, very dark and it's not a harmless and fun series beyond everyone's imaginations. It's a tragic story. All I can say is that when it's gets to the third episode, it will leave you shocked and establishes it's overall tone that remains right up to the twelfth and last episode.
Yes, PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA is a deconstruction of the 'magical girl' genre, which takes a certain thing apart, pulling down to it's valuable core (for example, WATCHMEN [1986-7], Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' magnum opus, is a deconstruction of the comic-book superheroes, while THE CABIN IN THE WOODS , co-written and produced by Joss Whedon, is a deconstruction of the horror movie genre). Despite being just twelve episodes long, neither of them are fillers. Each episode contains information to the characters and their stories that is vital for the viewer to watch.
The animation in the Labyrinths scenes, where our heroines battle the witches, is definitely a stand-out to what we get in recent anime today. My young brother, who was also amazed by MADOKA MAGICA, told me that the Labyrinth scenes reminded him of YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968). The characters are also one of the reasons that makes MADOKA MAGICA work. My favourite is Homura Akemi. Even though she may be distant and stern, there is more to her than her demeanor, as the tenth episode shows. And as the series reaches it's conclusion, I actually shed a tear or two.
My heart goes out to director Akiyuki Shinbo and writer Gen Urobuchi for creating this brilliant masterpiece that will definitely be ranked among anyone's top 10 anime of all time in the years to come. PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA is recommended to buy on either Blu-Ray or DVD.
Reviewer: Ben David W
on 2 January 2013
I personaly enjoyed this series, it was very entertaining but the hype uilt up my expectations to enormous heights, only for those expectations to fall flat on their face.
Now this series is in no ways bad, I enjoyed it but hype was not the only thing.
I'm writing this review in the perspective of a person who knew spoilers before seeing it because the fans were everywhere raving on about and spoilers were everywhere, I know this review is needed as many do know major spoilers yet haven't seen it.
The biggest part about this series was the twists and if you know some of them, it will definitely hinder your experience watching this show.
Overall, the show was good but it would have been better if I went in blind about it. Also, as most people know, the show does make a big twist in tone early on in episode 3, that's all I can say.
The release has to be the best so far. Every country in the world who has Madoka, has it in volumes, now those volumes do come with some cool stuff but if you just want the show in a nice, sturdy sleeve, this is the best release for you, and it is limited so if you want it before it's in a volume release, I would reccommend you buy it soon.
on 10 April 2014
This show is amazing! I bought it having heard very positive reviews from people who normally would not watch anime or read manga - if you're simply a sci-fi or fantasy consumer, you will easily follow and enjoy the plot, knowing nothing about usual anime tropes.
The series acts essentially as a 'deconstruction' of the 'Magical Girl' genre - taking something usually quite simplistic and childish (not to criticize; childish does not always equal bad) and exploring it in a more mature and in-depth manner. As a result, the plot will twist and turn in unexpected ways - and yet never without making sense, or being a logical progression.
Extremely well plotted and gripping right to the end, the only criticism I have of this series is that it's slow to start - the first episode is (upon first viewing) probably the weakest of the entire series, and it's not until episode 3 that things really come into their own. However - upon rewatching (once you know enough to appreciate the myriad of foreshadowing throughout the early episodes) you will definitely understand and appreciate even these weaker episodes!
An absolute must-see for any fan of sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and quirky, mature, deconstructive story-telling!
on 17 January 2013
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a brilliantly told story which takes a much darker twist on the Magical Girl genre. As someone who doesn't tend to enjoy the Magical Girl genre, I can definitely recommend this to people who are adverse to those types of shows. Please don't let the simplistic and cutely drawn characters put you off, or the first couple of episodes which are purposely innocent and carefree; this show has a 15 rating for good reason. In terms of animation, there are some really nifty sequences to enjoy, mostly showcased in the witches labyrinth's. These look amazing and by the end of the show, I truly appreciated the well thought out and symbolic designs. That in my mind is what makes this show work so well; everything in it has clearly been thought out in advance, with most things tied up neatly at the end. When the credits rolled for the last time, I knew I had seen something very special. Don't miss out on this show, after all it's only 12 episodes long so you won't have to dedicate millions of hours to it like with some anime!
on 27 May 2013
Enough people have already mentioned why Madoka itself is brilliant so I will stick to reviewing this particular release.
The main reason I bought this particular set is because it is a great deal cheaper than all previous releases of this series since it only costs just under £30 whereas getting a hold of the Aniplex release would set you back well over £100 if you decided to import it.
This Blu-Ray set has all 12 episodes spread across three Blu-Ray discs which are in one standard box and stored in a rather nice glossy slipcase.
The visual quality is excellent on this set and there is a very noticeable difference in quality between the DVD and the Blu-Ray.
There are not any special features included but since the version that has special features costs around 5x the price of this set I will forgive it.
All in all this set is very reasonably priced(It really is)and despite a lack of special features I will give it a 4/5 simply for being a UK release of Madoka.
Just a heads up for any US customers planning on importing this. It is locked to region B so make sure you have the correct hardware before trying to import yourself a cheap Madoka set.