OP Sequence

OP: 「ごまかし」 (Gomakashi) by (TrySail)

「やぁやぁ、知ってる?魔法少女のその噂」 (Have You Heard? That Rumor About the Magical Girls)

It’s been a while since Puella Magi Madoka Magica opened up a world of magical girl despair. Though several similar series have tried, none has surpassed the original. Magia Record comes in with high expectations, especially with the original studio Shaft and Shinbo Akiyuki back as animation supervisor.

Based on a mobile game, Magia Record takes place in an alternate universe, although how it links to the original is unclear. I admit I had shivers when the theme song started playing, and then witch labyrinth appeared! Shocking!

Witch Labyrinth!! That means in this timeline, Madoka’s wish doesn’t exist?! What is going on?

Mystery upon mystery, especially since magical girls Iroha Tamaki (Asakura Momo) and Kuroe (Hanazawa Momo) are well aware of the sacrifice necessary to have your wish granted. That all the girls know what soul gems are and how to form contracts with Kyuubey makes the wish-granting even more interesting, especially since Kuroe’s story seems to run parallel to Sayaka’s.

Like, at which point do you willingly and knowingly decide that yes this person is worth sacrificing your life for? Or maybe it’s a “it can’t be as bad as it seems” thing and turns out that killing witches is the worst form of grinding?

Watching Magia Record is like peering into a mirror world, a parallel version of a well-known story sliding sideways down the side of a spoon. There’s a pink-haired magical girl, but it’s not the same pink-haired magical girl we know. There’s witches and labyrinths and mysteries to be solved, but it’s not exactly the same. Just enough of the original Madoka seasoning to make us want to learn more.

There’s a lot of great animation going on here, everything just feels expensive. Iroha practicing her fight moves with a school mop has to be one of the cutest things in this episode, along with Kyuubey eating her second bento.

And then the atmosphere!! The unsettling quiet of something lurking just beneath the surface, those gorgeous long shots of stillness and afternoon light (perks of animation, every hour is golden hour). Initially I thought Shaft would go for the bizarre architecture from the original Madoka, but the decaying buildings crumbling next to the futuristic trains is both jarring and beautiful to watch.

The surreal sequence where a train slowly collapses into itself and the tracks twist up into a giant CGI ball that meteors right into Kamihami City, the rumoured place where magical girls can be saved. I really enjoyed the ‘Sand’ witch fight scene, the pastiche and collage art flows well and then the sudden appearance of another magical girl (Homura 2.0).

The use of rumours and repetition is a clever conceit. Anime adaptions of mobile games tend to either go all out with apps, or completely forget about them. Magia Record’s repetition of ‘Have you heard…?’ is a subtle one hint to its smartphone origins without actually showing an app. In one of the final scenes, with all the girls sharing their dreams and traveling towards Kamihami City, it feels like you’re a magical girl, and all the other magical girls (all the players) are sharing their wishes and dreams. It’s a super effective storytelling.

Already we can see how the series is building towards a familiar theme of sacrifice. Whether it’s a sacrificial wish given away to a special person or the lifelong sacrifice of being a magical girl; the trade-off is that you have to fight witches until you die. It’s a decision that haunts many magical girls, as with great sacrifice, comes bitter regret.

Sequels, prequels, alternate timelines are always a difficult balance, and I think Magia Record pulls it off with an interesting episode 1. Instead of rehashing characters, it takes the worldbuilding of Madoka and expands upon it to create something both fans of the original and a new audience can enjoy. I’m not sure what I’ll be covering this season, but this is definitely a top contender.


  1. It wasn’t a bad start for the series, but I do hate how there are more deserving offshoots(manga spinoffs) of the Puella Magi franchise that will never get anime adaptations because there’s no financial incentive for these companies to do it. If a manga is not ongoing they don’t care.

    1. mmm that’s definitely true especially if you look at something like Fate Grand Order, which is a juggernaut with 3 spinoffs at this point (babylonia series, camelot movie, lostroom ova) along with the original game.

      I think with franchises there’s always going to be that problem though. Even second seasons/sequels don’t do particularly well in blu-rays, franchises have the same problem and more since fans will always compare it to the original. It’s hard for a production house to support itself without a guaranteed financial incentive.

    1. I’m going to wait for 3 episodes before deciding, but so far the mystery has me hooked. Doing screencaps for this was pretty hard, all the backgrounds were gorgeous!

      I didn’t even get a chance to talk about all the weird symbols/witch runes hidden inside especially in the “recorder tape” either….. I’m just liking it so far because it really pulls the Madoka nostalgia.

  2. As a returning Madoka Magica viewer, it was unsettling to sit through the entire episode knowing what happened in the 1st series and Rebellion.

    For some reason, MagiRec’s Kyuubei just doesn’t sit well with me. It looks more sinister than the original Kyuubei. The new Kyuubei looks more eager and has a more disturbing smile… Almost Joker like. The original Kyuubei looks very neutral and very welcoming.

    SHAFT continues to feed my head tilt fetish. Though she didn’t tilt her head enough…

    Henrietta Brix
    1. I was okay with Kyuubey until it started singing the Usuwa song….. that was creepy!!! Also I didn’t realize it was Kyuubey singing until Iroha mentioned it, which is honestly weird. I like the weird unsettling-ness though, that’s why Shaft is good (they make weird look good and interesting).

      LOL don’t worry we still have other episodes to go! I’m sure we’ll get a full tilt soon

  3. One thing I love about Madoka is the atmosphere that it portrays – something that seems futuristic, yet, very lonely, probably cause there’s a lot of mob in the bg, typical of Shaft.

    I cannot remember the detail about Magical Girls eventually turning into witches, which I presume is still the Other Major Con that the Girls are still regularly kept in the dar about.

    1. Yeah and there’s some nice framing too — like we don’t see Iroha’s parents’ eyes, and even with her (non magical) friends, she’s cut off from the group and not in the same frame. The closest she’s ever with is Kyuubey, who sits on her shoulder and shares bento with her. (scary…)

      I’m kinda wondering about that since they know about soul gems, so do they also know how witches are made? I guess we’ll soon find out

  4. So they are back after 9 years, But Can They do the same charm or the same miracle as they do back then?

    Well…I doubt it, I Really Doubt it!

    To me they are Just Lucky But i watch it and i kinda impress a lot, Also i hear the music from the previous one you know “Sis puella Magi”, Let’s just hope that this wont fall quickly i mean really…

    When do i hear that voice before…oh yeah…this girl

    Incubator 98 Model Revision 2

    1. It’s hard to compare with the original since it was so groundbreaking, but it’s like the Star Wars franchise — each new one is gonna get compared to the original trilogy. So I’m just going to take this series as it is and try not to compare too much otherwise it might not be as fun….. I hope the next episodes hold up!

  5. Quick thing: Iroha /doesn’t/ know the whole truth about the sacrifice she made. Yeah, she and Kuroe realize that making the wish means they have to fight witches, but the fact that they’ll become witches hasn’t hit them yet. It’s a huge plot point in the game when Iroha and most of the other girls find out, though a few major characters do know…

    As someone who plays the mobile game, I’m really excited for this adaptation. The episode is already a lot darker than the game, and I have no idea what they’re doing with Kuroe since she’s anime original. I hope the anime gets more people to check out the mobile game too; the story is fantastic, and there are a ton of new magical girls in there with interesting stories that won’t make it into the anime.

  6. https://randomc.net/image/Magia%20Record%20Magica%20Gaiden/Magia%20Record%20Magica%20Gaiden%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    *Yachiyo basically uses “Unlimited Lance Works”*

    *Remembers that “Being Lancer is suffering” (see also: Kyoko Sakura)*

    Uh-oh… On a different note, she resembles F/GO‘s Saint Martha.

    Also, happy to see best girl Mami–even if it’s only a cameo in the credits. Not too enthusiastic about the return of “Headless Mami” jokes, however. (Mami and Frenda…cute waifus that are the butt of morbid death jokes/memes.)


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