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Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 03 »« Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 01

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 02

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「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.

 

Preview

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica   02   Preview 01
January 14, 2011 at 12:17 am
72 comments »
  • January 14, 2011 at 12:21 amdietwarrior

    Dammit, I guess now I’ll have to un-drop this one.

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:23 amShadiic

    I still don’t understand what happened in the fight scene. I actually didn’t notice that there was a change in the tension at different points of the episode as it flowed quite smoothly. It’s nice how it melds both the soft hearted and seriousness together so that we have a complete episode rather than the first half focusing on the characters and then the latter half focusing on the fights with a lack of connection.

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:26 amabubu

    Yep its the top show this season and mabye the only good one that im actually waiting to come.

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:29 amSheapy

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:29 amZaku Fan

    Heh would be fun if it took a Bokurano twist

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:33 amjrj

    the fight scene is awesome! unlimited guns work XD
    one thing I am curious is how Madoka’s dream in the beginning of the first episode connect with all these… nice way to keep the plot a mystery, I like that.
    and to use the witch loot drop made it sounds like that magic girls and witches might be related or something like that…
    Art style is still as SHAFTY :)

  • January 14, 2011 at 12:58 amCantQuiteGuess

    I’m loving the underlying creepiness I keep feeling from everything. Regardless of what direction the story goes from here, I’m loving that everyone seems to be putting dark twists to every piece of information given, i.e. like witches being magical girls who were unable to fulfill their contract and refill their powers.

  • January 14, 2011 at 1:32 amamado

    I definitely wasnt disappointed, it had a smooth and light hearted atmosphere then went to dark and serious one later. the fight was pretty cool to watch, pulling out guns here and there and using a gigantic for the finisher. it was a bit confusing for me when the tendrils came from the holes though.

    but what I really liked most was the hint of yuri in there. I predict and hope sayaka really loves madoka…

    • January 14, 2011 at 3:51 amkeiOnDaisuki

      XDDD i approve of your last claim.XDD

  • January 14, 2011 at 1:45 amLonghaul

    Did you notice how when Mami was “recharging” her crystal, it was actually removing that black stuff from it.

  • January 14, 2011 at 2:00 amoutcast

    At the beginning i was thinking man this show still reminds me of moetan. But i was sold as the episode progressed.

  • January 14, 2011 at 2:27 amahelo

    wow. Animation wise SHAFT is at it! That abstract sequence was again very jawdropping. Story-wise its getting pretty gripping i guess. Needs a bit more episodes like Nanoha to be really breathtaking. So far this is my “Series to automatically watched when an episode airs”.

  • January 14, 2011 at 3:43 amder fur shur

    Cannot wait to watch it, maybe SHAFT can keep up the quality

  • January 14, 2011 at 3:48 amkeiOnDaisuki

    dang! subtle yuri is delicious! L0L. man, this is why i like shows to have girls everywhere. XDD

    nuff with the perversion,xD my impression of this still haven’t changed.the aura that it gives thrills me! madoka surely is a worthy watch.XD

  • January 14, 2011 at 3:50 amSchmell

    This psycho-squirrel/whatever thing looks so nice yet SO CREEPY. I think it’s actually no good at all

  • January 14, 2011 at 3:52 amBreedo

    I think the fact it brings people to thought about the very foundation of what we are seeing is epic…i like the suspense, even if it turns out to be what we expect. It kind of reminds me of telling stories as kids when things like witches really did seem scary. the music is epic. They are really doing a good job using it to enhance moods along with the dialogue. Very well put together ambiance. Is it just me or did Mami look extra ruthless when she stomped on that little creature thing to get the big witches attention!? o_O

  • January 14, 2011 at 4:23 amqntiria

    is it just me or is mami actually evil while homura is on the good side??

    • January 14, 2011 at 10:43 amZaku_Fan

      Actually with the need for the heart thing (and it being needle shaped) they get after defeating the “witches”, it seems like Mami’s a drug addict. “Sharing” the witch heart with Homura reinforces that image.

      In that case Kyubei is a drug pusher, giving new “clients” a free taste before they start being unable to stop. Mami’s motivation could then be seen as being pretty black.

      If this was true, then the series would definitely be a head spinner on cliches :)

      • January 14, 2011 at 2:22 pmskylaris

        That’s an interesting take on the motives. I would die to see if it’s a drug related scenario.

  • January 14, 2011 at 4:31 amSchmell

    BTW this Grief Seed really looks like blackened Soul Gem, so CantQuiteGuess is not far from truth, i think

  • January 14, 2011 at 4:44 amSchmell

    And one other thing: on one of anime related sites i just read interesting theory which says that bright “real” world here is just illusion in which our heroine sleeps and that destruction we saw at the beginning of first episode is real

    Discuss :P

  • January 14, 2011 at 4:45 am♕Croosboy♕

    there still 2 things for me that i dont understand in myself.
    1. Even though i dont like the art why do i feel i dont want to drop this.
    2. Why do i get absorb when the fighting begins.
    (╯︵╰,) what a strange anime

    • January 14, 2011 at 4:50 amjrj

      it is made by SHAFT after all… don’t drop it, just for the sake of SHAFT… :)

      • January 14, 2011 at 5:27 amyeahair

        Fanboyism at it’s best. Shaft fans are almost as bad as Kyoani one’s.

      • January 14, 2011 at 11:17 amrazi

        hooray for SHAFT!! :)

    • January 14, 2011 at 5:08 am♕Croosboy♕

      1 thing is for certain that i like about this anime. i like the background music

      • January 14, 2011 at 9:58 amCassidy

        Kalafina at its best :3

  • January 14, 2011 at 5:20 amewok40k

    adding to watchlist for the magical girls with Big Friggin Guns!

  • January 14, 2011 at 5:25 amstarss

    *sees screenshots of other dimension*

    SHE-IIIIEEEEEEEE-T!!!!!

  • January 14, 2011 at 6:13 ampsyche

    i think i just fell in love with mami o.O sophisticated girls with guns are hot

  • January 14, 2011 at 7:01 amMad_Dog

    this anime is still absolute shit

    • January 14, 2011 at 2:17 pmjopchan121

      You hate anything Shaft, don’t you? We don’t have to hear it for the 65 millionth time.

      To me, this is one of the series that I was(And am) looking forward to. And: I am REAAALY liking Mami right now.

  • January 14, 2011 at 7:52 amGhostalker

    This series is quickly becoming the top priority in my list this season. This is the first Mahou Shoujo to be in that list after 4 years (the last I’ve watched and completed is Cardcaptor Sakura), It seems that many people are commenting on how this series and Nanoha are the same, maybe perhaps I should try re-watching Nanoha which is still currently “on hold” on my list.

    Yeah! It’s about darn time I watch Mahou Shoujo themed series, something I’ve been avoiding for quite some time.

  • January 14, 2011 at 9:01 amSuppa Tenko

    Who does not think this series was not made on drugs?

    Single shot rifles are cool :3 they do adhere to the bottomless magazine trope :3

    It really is Unlimited Rifle Works.

  • January 14, 2011 at 9:06 ampieprsn

    I just love the way this series strays from the norm of fanservice and melodramatic battles about friendship. The girls aren’t fighting for the sake of their friends or any of that bullcrap; they’re fighting for survival. The music and insanity of the abstract artstyle adds to the feeling of terror. I love it.

    The only thing I can really complain about is the witches themselves. I love SHAFT’s abstract art style, but I have to agree, it just felt like it would be a little cooler if the witches were animated normally. The backgrounds and the minions are great, but I would prefer the witch itsself to look a little more…hit-able? Like, it feels as if they’re shooting a piece of paper. Meh, that’s all I have to complain about though.

  • January 14, 2011 at 9:09 amGuy

    this episode was awesome besides Fractale this is my favorite anime this season YAY X3

  • January 14, 2011 at 10:52 amArabesque

    ” 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.”

    IMO, the reason why Madoka is able to be stand out is because the array the magical girls genre offers is vastly unique in the first place. Every couple of years or so, a magical girl show comes along that is innovative and tries to bring something new to the table (be it Utena, Princess Tutu, Rayearth etc.) that I think it’s hard to find a cookie cutter magical girls show (the closest I can think of would be Pretty Cure, and even that is difficult to call run of the mill at times) I think it’s the genre’s own malleability with introducing and experimenting new ideas that allowed for a show like this one to be born.

    As for the actual episode, Unlimited Musket Works for the major win people. I do wonder what other things Mami keeps under that skirt @_@

    Oh and Yuri.

    • January 15, 2011 at 7:55 amSuppa Tenko

      Um… those are rifles, not muskets.

    • January 15, 2011 at 11:40 amTakaii

      I’m not a gun guy, but I was assuming that Mami was using a Flintlock rifle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flintlock

      I didn’t see a spot where she should put on a bayonet plus no manual loading of gun powder.
      :)

  • January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pmwasabi

    Love this show. Can’t drop this one.

  • January 14, 2011 at 2:06 pmGuy

    also is fractale gonna get blogged just curious?

  • January 14, 2011 at 2:20 pmskylaris

    The anime looks even more promising, which is rare for me. I hope Shaft can keep up the quality with the show in both story and animation wise. BTW, I love Mami’s elegance when fighting, especially with the tea sipping at the end.

    • January 14, 2011 at 3:47 pmArabesque

      Gen Urobuchi is going to be exclusively in charge of the script and plot, so I doubt there will be much fluctuation in there.

      As for the animation … this is SHAFT after all, best to keep these sort of expectations low for the reminder of the show.

    • January 15, 2011 at 9:54 amSirMuffin

      Fuck Yeah! Drinking tea with style!

  • January 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm♕Croosboy♕

    after rewatching this episode many times and seeing some SHAFT anime art. i finally realize that anime is not about the movement, moeness, fan-service and etc., its about how unique the animation is how they will adopt this to story/manga/Light novel/Visual Novel/blahblha. Seeing that, if they keep repeating the same style over and over again, it will make you think that anime is getting boring or something.
    From what i understand from the different dimension thing ,the art i think is “messy, distorted,not sorted out”. Meaning things get messy inside when they fight.

  • January 14, 2011 at 5:05 pmwahahahahaha

    Fight more = More Grief and soulgem becomes grief seed easliy
    Mami may finds downliners to reduce that oppotunity.
    Kyuubei look likes a salesman on the MLM business.It’s persuade Madoka into its MLM business by bulff and offer some benefit.
    Honoka mays knowned this thats why she has killed intention.
    Ps.Kyuubei’s contact its reminds me to the demon contacts.

  • January 14, 2011 at 6:19 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    every time i see that kyube’s creatures eyes close up , i get a Craving for “ferraros” red Hot’s candy

  • January 14, 2011 at 6:49 pmPhosphatide

    Director of Nanoha + Artist of Hidamari Sketch anime = YES

  • January 14, 2011 at 7:01 pmChevalier-kun

    At first, I thought that Homura Akemi might be on the evil side. But when I saw the anime version cover for Kalafina’s single “Magia”:

    http://i53.tinypic.com/25swrd4.jpg

    It gives us a hint that Homura might be helping Madoka or unless she’s kinda a guardian for her.

    • January 14, 2011 at 7:17 pmNinja Penguin

      After watching unlimited rifle works in action, am i the only onw that think’s Madoka’s weapon totally sucks? :P

      • January 15, 2011 at 7:56 amSuppa Tenko

        Since she is an Archer, don’t you think its possible for Unlimited Blade Works?

  • January 14, 2011 at 7:15 pmNinja Penguin

    A great episode once again. As far as I can tell Mami’s stealing the show from Madoka lol. Unlimited Rifle Works ftw.

    If there’s one thing I hope they change though then it’s the enemies. Whilst the abstract stuff is okay for now, I’d like to see some well animated antagonists which the magical girls can fight, and we the audience can connect to. There’s only so many times you can fight a strange, abstract, disjointed cannon fodder…thing…that passes for a witch before it get’s boring.

  • January 14, 2011 at 7:33 pmlkaze

    several point to say
    1) unlimited gun work, cool
    2) don’t trust kyube and mami( seem to be hiding something )
    3) hmm, recharging soul gem huh, why is that a reward? maybe 2nd function will explain better
    4) very important: anyone notice hitomi said to madoka? In my translation (from nutbladder???) she said: “I’m jealous! i just feel like a fifth wheel now!
    FIFTH WHEEL???, either there are some translation problem or that she is foreshadowing that hitomi is involve as well

    • January 15, 2011 at 7:59 amSuppa Tenko

      A 5th wheel is a wheel that does not belong in a vehicle since a vehicle can turn and maneuver normally when there are 4 wheels and less. Unicycle, Bicycle, Tricycle, and cars. Once you add a 5th wheel, the maneuvering becomes awkward and it makes it very hard to turn. Thus the term of the 5th wheel, its the wheel that does not belong.

      • January 15, 2011 at 7:27 pmlkaze

        i see, thank for the explaination!! i’m just used to hearing 3rd party and not thought of it as wheel for a car

      • January 17, 2011 at 7:11 amj.j.j

        I’m not really sure where you got that “5th Wheel” definition, but that is not at all what the term means in American English. I admit, the subbers or you could be from some other country with different sayings and different meanings, but this looks to me like a translation error. The proper term would be “3rd Wheel” which is a saying used for someone who tags along on dates between couples. Just like a bicycle, only 2 wheels (the bf and gf or in this case, the two girls accused of having some kind of lesbian relationship) are needed and a third just feels left out.

        The phrase is sometimes extended to “5th Wheel” if there are two couples and a single person who is feeling left out. “5th Wheel” is also a type of trailer or RV which is pulled behind a truck.

  • January 14, 2011 at 7:53 pmanon234

    Hmm, maybe it’s just me, but did anyone else notice the German on the wall when they entered the building? From what I could see, I recognized it as a quote from Faust, the alchemist who sells his soul to the devil. I’m pretty sure Kyubei and Mami are more sinister than it appears, and here are my reasons, based solely on these two episodes.

    1) Hemura showed up at the school to warn Madoka to not become a mage. Did anyone notice the setting there when Hemura told Madoka to stay as herself? The two were on a bridge. mmm, symbolism.
    2) Hemura was trying to kill Kyubei so he couldn’t give Madoka the offer
    3) Kyubei said he *wanted* to make a *contract* with the two girls. That means he was actively seeking them out, specifically Madoka. Also, notice the language he uses at the very end of episode one. He says “I want you to do something for me”.
    4) Kyubei said he could grant one wish as his part of the contract. Sounds like a devil’s offer to me
    5) Mami threatened to kill Hemura
    6) Mami’s gem didn’t become brighter due to a recharge, it became brighter because the darkness left it
    7) Mami’s apartment was poorly lit when she was describing everything, implying something is being hidden.
    8) Mami is trying to convince the two to sign the contract, hence the witch-hunt. But, she earlier states that a possible motivation for Hemura’s warning was to reduce competition. Something seems off here.

    All of that makes me think we’re going to be in for a big plot-twist later that shows Kyubei and Mami aren’t as nice as they appear.

    • January 17, 2011 at 11:54 pmkabayongtao

      Good points, you did well.

  • January 14, 2011 at 8:59 pmMike

    I only hate the art style during teh fight scene everything else is fine by me. this abstract stuff make me remind of that famous painting ” Scream”. Not my cup of tea.

  • January 14, 2011 at 10:10 pmDawn

    Yeah, ‘recharge’ my ass.

    I have a similar opinion of the analysts above, too much foreshadowing and a sense of foreboding. The ‘maybe she just doesn’t want competition..to recharge her powers’ seems like bullshit to me as well.

    Somethings up. How could Saito Chiwa ever be a villian!!

  • January 14, 2011 at 10:28 pmsarcastic_weasel

    Caution: Never watch this when tripping. You might wind up eating one of your own hands.

    So the first thing the witch-blob does is … throw a Victorian sofa (I think it was a Chesterfield) at Mami.

    Sure, that makes perfect sense.

    If you’re insane.

    I like the series so far, but it loses 30 points when I see the somewhat lame witch-blob and the incoherent battle scenes. Same old SHAFT crap I’ve seen for the last god-knows-how-many years. Please get some new ideas.

    Otherwise, the art is really nice. Very well done. But this whole “I’m trapped in a Tool video” stuff really needs to go. It’s very 1996. And it wasn’t even that hot in 1996.

    As for the plot, I don’t trust a critter that has arms (or whatever the hell those things are) coming out of its ears. $5 says he creates the witches so the mahou shojous can fight them. Maybe that’s why Homura was trying to turn him into McNuggets?

    The odd thing is this– if he is so powerful that he can grant any wish, why couldn’t he stop Homura’s attacks? Was he letting her attack him on purpose then? Why can’t he just do away with the witches himself? Why does he need to get 13-15 year old girls involved? (Isn’t that a little creepy?)

  • January 15, 2011 at 4:20 amMockman

    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.

    Monty Python would be closer. The animation reminds me of the animation and the transitions between skits in the Flying Circus show.

    While the witch herself lacked character (and I hope that the future witches become more interesting), I think that the artwork is wonderful so far. I like the way they use shadow, indirect light and reflection. The scene where Madoka and her mother brush their teeth looks great. Of course, her mom is a cool character too. Or the scene where they discuss the grief seed — the lighting is very nice. Even the clock looks great. [10:56]

    On another note, while the two magical girls have been positioned as one being good and the other bad, how will things develop? Mami keeps suggesting that they should ensure that they make the right choices, but can they? What is Akemi’s motive? Is the cute critter deservedly cute? I don’t know how it’s going to develop but I’m looking forward to it.

    I also liked how the two girls prepared for their day. Sayaka brings her Louisville Slugger, Madoka some costume designs. And I like they way they are trying to think of what’s behind the curtain. Do they really need a wish?

    Lots of tension, some interesting characters and some cool artwork. It looks like a fun ride is getting underway.

  • January 15, 2011 at 8:01 amSuppa Tenko

    I wonder when a magical girl will show up with a bad ass long-coat and an equally bad ass fighting style.

    • January 15, 2011 at 8:04 amSuppa Tenko

      Oh and as for the grief seed absorbing darkness, maybe witches are actually Mahou shoujos that have fallen to the darkside, and each time a mahou shoujo uses fights against a witch, her jewel becomes tainted.

  • January 15, 2011 at 11:03 amRockmanshii

    I hope they’ll get Senjougahara to join their team soon.
    It feels like I’m watching Sailor Moon again, it’s cool.

    • January 15, 2011 at 3:28 pmamado

      isnt homura already the senjougahara of this show?

      • January 20, 2011 at 4:23 amkaz

        i think that’s what rockmanshii meant by senjougahara.

  • January 15, 2011 at 11:29 amTakaii

    I didn’t even think of Witches being fallen Mahou Shoujou. :O

    • January 16, 2011 at 12:04 pmsealouse

      That’s actually the first thing that came to mind after I got done watching this episode.

  • January 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm長門有希

    I’m getting strong Mai-Hime vibes from this anime, which is great! Homura reminds me of Natsuki, who’s trying to prevent more HiMEs being created.

  • January 16, 2011 at 7:37 amZaku Fan

    Soon we will know “des Pudels Kern” aka the core of the poodle :p

  • January 18, 2011 at 12:35 pmPeepQ

    I’m still not a fan of the crazy ‘art work’ they do when fighting witches.