Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 02
「それはとっても嬉しいなって」 (Sore wa Tottemo Ureshii Natte)
“That Would Make Me Really Happy”
After a lot of you commented on this week, I’m starting to think that the depth on this take of a Mahou Shoujo is probably what makes it stand out from the rest. As I sat here watching the second episode, I could almost feel the different atmosphere that each scene tried to create. After taking a week to gather my thoughts on the show as a whole, I don’t think I can even compare it to other shows. Instead of striving to be that “cute” show that tries to capture your attention with fan-service or using mystical devices, Madoka flies past the competition using it’s ability to change the atmosphere on a whim. By switching between a light hearted scene to a serious one, and making it flow smoothly, a sense of tension starts to build even though nothing is actually happening on screen. Something other shows only dream about doing.
Besides the dialogue helping push the story along, I’m glad to see that the whole mahou aspect isn’t being blown out of proportion. Besides having some type of artifact that provides a Mahou Shoujo her power, it was really interesting learning about the strings attached to becoming one. With the only upside being that a single wish will be granted, I couldn’t decide if actually becoming a Mahou Shoujo was blessing or a curse in disguise. While being able to transform on the fly and casting spells on a whim does sound really fun – is it really worth having to risk your life every single day to fight against witches who roam the land, causing havoc wherever they go? Besides having no physical form, they seem to have tons of minions at their side wherever they go, ready to attack anything that gets near them. Plus, even if a Mahou Shoujo didn’t want to fight them, it looks like that fighting witches is essential for a Mahou Shoujo to keep her powers intact. Without defeating witches, they are unable to restore the magic after they’ve used it; and without magic to defeat witches, I would guess a Mahou Shoujo becomes useless! It sounds like a pretty vicious cycle to just have a single wish granted. On the lighter side of things, even though the atmosphere can feel super serious at times, I’m glad there is still room for jokes to get thrown around. Besides watching Madoka and Sayaka fail to be subtle about being able to talk with each other telepathically, it’s even funnier when Hitomi misunderstands their strange actions and believes that they’ve become so intimate that they can read each other minds! Besides bringing up the topic of how a forbidden love between girls probably would never work, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of watching her run away with that cute squeal of hers.
I’ll take a second to quickly comment on the art style during the fighting scenes. While I can honestly say that I’m not a fan of the whole abstract art style of the monsters and how they look too “real” in comparison with the characters, the background art that SHAFT decided to use in the other dimensions look pretty amazing. The battleground where Mami and the witch fought at looked amazing – making me think it might be something that could have came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book for adults. Plus you can’t forget how awesome Mami looked like as she started pulling rifles out of thin-air (like a magician with a top hat), finishing off with a HUGE pistol with a just as huge final blast.
With such an interesting checks and balance system for Mahou Shoujos, it makes me wonder if there is a greater power behind the whole thing. Could there some omnipotent being that controls both Mahou Shoujos and witches? And what about Kyubei – he couldn’t be the only creature who can create pacts to make Mahou Shoujos right? From an animation standpoint, I’m glad that everything still looks nice and crisp, especially all the close face shots. While the plot itself hasn’t advanced very far, I’m hoping that this SHAFT original keeps on being awesome.