Posted by psgels on 22 April 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica




Ah, the deconstruction: taking a genre or trope, and examine it, put it in a real life situatio, or take a look at it from a completely different angle. I personally love these kinds of series (heck, some of my favourite series are deconstructions). Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica finally shows us another deconstruction of the Mahou shoujo genre, and it is glorious.

This series takes the well known formula: a cute animal comes to a girl, gives her superpowers, and they fight evil. It then examins what it means to be a magical girl. It actually uses its setting quite cleverly in order to really give the life of a magical girl a set of huge advantages and disadvantages. Really, the graphics may be simple, but underneath is a very, very dark storyline.

Teh thing that’s especially amazing about this series is how well everything fits together. It’s twelve episodes long, but it makes excellent use of its time, the characters all fit the story perfectly and everyone serves his own purpose to the points that this series is trying to make. The show really makes sure that it doesn’t waste its time and just about every episode adds something to the overall story and characters. This creates quite a bit of nice development for such a short series.

The graphics are also gorgeous in this series. Unlike a lot of other Shaft series, the animation knows exactly when to be normal, and when to be experimental. The action scenes in this series look really great thanks to all kind of strange and artistic images that are inserted in the surreal battle scenes. Yuki Kajiura is also behind the music, and while this may not be amongst her best work, she still delivers an excellent soundtrack.

It’s definitely a well written and thought-provoking series that continues to evolve. It deserves to be watched, and I see no way for this series to not show up in the top 10 of best eries of 2011. I don’t think that I’ll end up ranking this amongst my favourites, but that entirely because I just consider a lot of other series to be better, not for this show to have major flaws or anything. If I had to nitpick and mention a flaw of this series, then I’d point at the characterization: if the characters here were put in any random slice of life or a more conventional action series, they wouldn’t be interesting to watch at all. It’s entirely the story and the setting that makes something memorable out of them. Again though: this is just nitpicking.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Really well balanced and evolves really well for a 12 episode series. Maks excellent use of the ingredients handed to it.
Characters: 8/10 – Nice development, interesting backstories.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Successfully experiments with its graphics, resulting in some gorgeous action scenes that form a stark contrast with the quiet scenes.
Setting: 9/10 – A terrific deconstruction of a genre that really needed some nudge again.

Suggestions:
Fancy Lala (Very, very different and slow-paced, but shows a completely different yet just as brilliant take on how to deconstruct the Mahou Shoujo Genre)
Mahou Shoujotai
Figure 17 – Tsubasa & Hikaru

48 Responses

  1. Jérémy says:

    Only 87,5? You need to start being more generous with your scores XD Especially when you rave about those shows all season. Personally, I found Madoka and Hourou Musuko to be 100times better then Level E!!

  2. Joe says:

    The story definitely deserved a higher score – that was definitely the strong point of the series, so that should have been a nine at least. I get the feeling that you just gave the story a lower score because you didn’t want to give the series a 90.

  3. mds says:

    Yeah,this should be higher.
    Like two comments above said,the story needs something like 10 cause it’ll need a genius to deconstruct the whole mahou shoujo genre and defy so many tropes it used.

    And also,Homura and Sayaka are really developed well throughout the series ;)

  4. Kiarae says:

    Also surprised by your scoring. You’ve always been generous in scoring anyway, but by that measurement this still should have soared over others for how you raved about it over the past few months.

  5. jeff says:

    Yeah, seriously, the story in this was really, really good. The writers did a really good job of crafting a mature, complex, well thought-out story. The last time I watched a show with a story this good was Phantom (you should note that Urobuchi Gen wrote the story for both Madoka and Phantom of Inferno)

  6. psgels psgels says:

    Crap. Something went wrong there, yeah. I meant to give the characters an 8/10, not the storytelling. Blame an error in the html.

    But yeah, I’ve thought about it and came to the conclusion that I really like this show, but I liked other serise just better. It’s not a matter of Madoka being bad (heck, I rated a lot of amazing series 87,5/100), but others just making more of aimpact on me, and being even better.

  7. Hogart says:

    I don’t agree with the others, I think your score is about right. Your scoring system confused me at first, but after a couple of years I’ve found it pretty consistent and almost predictable.

    But then, I never felt that you were “gushing” over Madoka.. you’ve always been rather generous with your words, and conservative with your scores, saving the real gushing for series that simply blew you away.

  8. m says:

    I think a lot of the strength of this show is in the particulars of its execution. The story is about a centimeter thick on its own. The actual script is more capable than the ideas it contains, and when realized through the direction of the animation and the performances of the voice actors, it is very successful at emotional manipulation. I think it’s the best Shaft work since the first half of ef, and since it’s an original work, I am inclined to give it even more credit (and my money).

    Some of the visual styles and art allusions used throughout the show’s run were clever, and not annoying like Shaft’s other works have been. However, and this only really applies to the broadcast at this point, some of the character work in the early episodes is rather borked. It’s especially strange to have distorted faces on screen for several seconds, but I imagine this has been cleaned up in the final version for the discs.

  9. Zaion says:

    Wow I think i am the only one in the whole world right now that thinks this series is massively overrated. Nah Princess Tutu still is the best mahou shoujo anime ever for me.
    it is not even original at all. In fact, Sailor Moon has almost exactly the same story.

    • mnscoaiy00understudies says:

      Do people die like this in Sailor moon?
      Does Sailor moon have a jesus ending?
      Do mahou shoujos turn into enemies (AKA witches)?
      Are their transformation devices containers of their soul?
      Madoka is awesome.

  10. Tan-Tan says:

    I actually wish they went to the more conventional action series. What sold me to Madoka was the epic fight scenes – never before the same with magical girls. It was creative and damn exciting. I wish we could have seen all magical girls together as a team. The plot could have been the backstory, but well with 12 episodes I guess you can’t expect much.

  11. Ncrdrg says:

    My favorite show of the past year by far. Ending made my bawl like a baby. One thing Madoka did incredibly well is keep the viewer in the dark and making wild guesses based on a few hints.

    It was hard to predict exactly what was coming. I had my own predictions for the finale and I didn’t see that ending coming! And the execution for Madoka was just brilliant.

  12. Acid says:

    I agree with your score and the comment you made about the characters. Something about them made them hard to relate to until the very last episodes. Still a great show though!

  13. Ragna says:

    I’m pretty surprised at the score too, after all, you seemed to like the show a lot, especially towards the middle-end. Then again, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Madoka was an excellent show of both deconstruction and reconstruction – and in a mere 12 episodes no less.

    While Madoka’s storyline and characters were great, it was the execution and directing that truly made it brilliant. Honestly, a lot of the tropes they used here have been done time and again (especially the “change reality/jesus” trope), but few shows have managed to pull it off this convincingly.

    Also have to give the scriptwriters and VAs props for making the show an emotional roller-coaster. Only Clannad AS and VNs (sharin, ev17, etc) have had this much emotional impact on me.

    Overall, I would rate Madoka around 95/100. It definitely goes into my top 10 list, especially considering its execution and efficient screen time use. My only regret is that Madoka has raised the bar too high – I can’t seem to enjoy any of the new season’s offerings.

  14. V says:

    Only 87.5? I thought you were going to rate this at least with 90, gosh

  15. mochi2000 says:

    i completely agree with you on the scoring. the story is pretty amazing but the characters were 0 LOL. Other than homura, I could not connect with anyone else. Surely it was original but I was pretty let down by the last episode. I was of course happy that Madoka came up with such an amazing wish but it didn’t make me go WOWWWWWWW. The anime is definitely a must-watch but not something I will remember 5 years from now. I would agree though that anime creators should aim for something like this and move forward from here. And I know why people would rate this higher but it’s different for everyone =p

  16. gandalf8 says:

    Ragna “My only regret is that Madoka has raised the bar too high – I can’t seem to enjoy any of the new season’s offerings. ”

    I’m really with you there. i just don’t have any motivation at all to check out any of this seasons new shows at the moment after the awesomeness that was Madoka. I’ll probably pick up the best of the new shows maybe after the 5th or 6th episode. Right now I’m just more inclined to rewatch my favaourite old shows.

    • mnscoaiy00understudies says:

      I know right?
      All the shows are suddenly crappy.
      I’m now perfectly content to rewatch Madoka or my fav shows.

  17. deedee says:

    So, you mention you like deconstructions psgels.

    Can I ask you a question? Do you like reconstructions too? And name a few shows that you like that are reconstructions. Because without reconstructions, deconstructions will not exist.

  18. maskedguy says:

    Hmm, I guess this series doesn’t really “Blow people away” with its ending =/ I mean, its good ending, but it doesn’t make people go “OMG, that just happened”… Anyway, I would probably still have given it 9, but I don’t think your score is bad.

  19. Nomus says:

    Good rating (even too high for me). Nice show, that could be a masterpiece.

  20. Kagekyuubi says:

    Rather than a deconstruction I’d say it’s a reconstruction because of the ending. Madoka remade the system so that it becomes more like the traditional magical girl model with Kyuubey becoming a necessary companion for the girls as they no longer have go cannibal on one another to survive. In this case, it’d be in the furball’s best interests to keep the girls safe rather than screw them over leaving only the new curse demons as a threat rather than each other. Magical girls are still pledged to a life of combat but at least they’re not trapping each other in a cycle of despair now.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I actually hated Madoka. The pointless whining and crying every goddamn episode, the characters I couldn’t feel pity about, QB’s science fiction cliche bs. Everything I don’t like about Elfen Lied is here. They tried too hard to make it unnecessarily dark, when it didn’t need to be. As I recall, even the original Cutie Honey manga had bodies flying all over, and Honey’s best friend even dies after being torched, and that’s from 1973.

  22. vic says:

    “…if the characters here were put in any random slice of life or a more conventional action series, they wouldn’t be interesting to watch at all.”
    And that’s exactly what Shinbo wants to do.

    Anyway, I would have personally given this series a higher score, but I can see why you gave it a 87.5. I was too absorbed in all the plot twists to really care about the other details, but now when I look back on it the flaws became apparent.

  23. astrocurrent says:

    I disagree on Fancy Lala being a deconstruction of Mahou Shojo. Studio Pierrot created the “Mahou Shojo” series in the last century. Each of them was made consciously toward the teenage girls at the time. One of the emphasis of these series, or maybe all the Mahou Shojo anime is “dream comes true” & “girl turning to a woman”. Fancy Lala was the last of them, which was aired in the 90’s. It represents a lot of facts and change of that age. Its unique storytelling and as a mirror of reality may make it look different than other Mahou Shojo series, but the core feels the same to me. It’s still a story about a girl’s dream comes true, the end of the “girl” period, and finally turning into a woman.
    Now for Madoka. I never see it as a Mahou Shojo series. It use “Mahou Shojo” as a figure to tell something the writer himself has been keen on to tell. I enjoyed the show from the first episode to the 9th. But it lost its charm to me at 10th. Not because of the cliche and all. Time traveling has always been one of my favorite theme. But I don’t like how Urobuchi Ken uses the characters as his chess pieces to complete his game. I guess I can’t blame him for this, because after all he is the one who has the power and right to tell whatever he wants to tell. But as a individual viewer who’s outside the game, I tend to like characters have feelings of their own and complete their stories on their own, not forced. And that’s why Miki Sayaka is my favorite character of the show. I think she is the one who has the most independent soul. Kyoko comes after. But her decision in 9th ep comes too quick, still feels a little “made” for me.

  24. MrWasabihead says:

    This story reminded me of why I love anime.
    “Madoka” was in my opinion an excellent anime series. It has definitely made my top 10 of all time. Though I’m not sure where it lands it succeeded in amazing me at the quality of story telling and [voice] acting present in some of today’s anime series. All of those that worked on this anime should be proud of their accomplishments. I wonder if they ever stop to think about all of the lives they touch. Lives so far away from what they might consider their “target” audience. Watching anime of this quality also re-establishes my faith in the human race, somehow. This series was more than entertainment. It was without a doubt art in the truest sense. Engaging, deep, thoughtful and complex with an gorgeous sound track that hooked me at the first episode. I’m sad that it ended at 12 episodes but I feel that I’ve been changed by it. As the best of arts does, in the best of ways. I truly loved it and I thank those that created it.

    MWH

  25. Ragna says:

    Looking back at Madoka, there is one thing that’s really bugging me – Homura’s piss poor social skills. I mean couldn’t she have just spilled the beans to Madoka in episode 1 and told her everything? It doesn’t even matter whether Madoka believes her or not, all Homura has to say is “if you don’t believe me, its fine, but make freaking sure to ask/squeeze the truth out of Kyubei if he approaches you”. That could have prevented A LOT of close calls, especially at the start when Madoka didn’t know crap and was overeager to sign the contract. It might have even prevented Sayaka from signing on if she had known that she would effectively be lich-ified. I can excuse Homura not being able to prevent Kyouko’s death (in episode 9) due to the circumstances… but I can’t seem to rationalize why she didn’t do the above.

    I guess I’m just nitpicking I suppose. Regardless, Madoka’s still an amazing show and I stand by my previous 95/100 score.

    I just have to add that its pretty sad that psgels gave Madoka 87.5/100 when Star Driver *shudders* got 85/100. Of course, its his opinion XD.

  26. Aikun2012 says:

    90/100 for me, but Phantom DOES NOT deserve a bloody 92.5/100 …. That show was way too inconsistent and way too bloody stupid… maybe an 85 or even an 86, but NOT a 92.5…. Anyways, Madoka was okay….

  27. windy says:

    This show was utterly amazing from the beginning till the very end! I love how it managed to completely deconstruct then reconstruct and renew such a primarily light and simple genre as the one that characterizes the “magical girl” series. The ending was quite ingenious too, I could somehow see it coming that Madoka would make a wish that shall put an end to the perpetual circle of agony the chosen ones had to face. But to think that she would ask Kyubey to erase the witches from existence before they’re born was a surprising twist ending! It’s also interesting how the world seems to have changed but at the same time things have not changed that much, since Homura and the others still has to fight demons, the change is centered on the characters’ (mahout shoujo’s) fate and not so much the world itself. Anyway, I place this show among my favorite! The creators did a fantastic work!

  28. Rodkin says:

    Madoka is the one who doesn’t deserves all this praise/high scores. Not only Phantom but Madoka is way too inconsistent too, you know? Messed up plot full of nasty coincidences, unbalanced and random powers, many plot devices (Last second saves: a plot device overused to the point of stupidity. When a character is about to be killed it is saved at the last moment by someone who appears at that moment without anyone noticing it; this happened…hmmm…a dozen of times?), many things remain unexplained, etc. Madoka just goes for shock effect, just like Elfen Lied did. But even with me bashing this show, Madoka was still fairly good for me, since i enjoyed some aspects of this show, but far, far, far away from being as great as the hype seems to say.

    If you want great stuff, watch Monster, Cowboy Bebop, Berserk, Yojouhan Taikei, Legend of the Galatic Heroes or something like that. THOSE are great animes, worthy of a 92,5/100 or a 95/100, but not Madoka… A 82,5 is just fine for this show. Nothing less, nothing more.

    And yeah i like Psgels reviews and i respect that, but wow a 85/100 for Star driver was kinda bizarre since this show represents the “bad” Bones(along with the dreadful Heroman and the good but unfortunately heavily flawed Wolfs Rain). Just to remember that Star Driver had the score of 85/100 from Psgels, the same score was given to another two excellent shows from “good” Bones that are Fullmetal Alchemist and RahXephon, which i consider far superior compared to Driver.

  29. Da5id says:

    “Madoka Magica finally shows us another deconstruction of the Mahou shoujo genre”

    There were others?

    Also, is your mid B range rating having something to do with the fact the show JUST ended? Lots of good shows look way better in hindsight, as with some good shows that look horrible in hindsight (I.E. Code Geass, Gundam 00)

  30. Oroboros says:

    I finally finished Madoka today, and I have to admit it’s probably the only Shoujen anime I enjoyed ever since I started watching anime sporadically and then religiously over the past year. The grade is a bit low, but I don’t think any of us can make our opinion objective or independent of our tastes. And Pgels argued his/her rating, so that’s good enough for me.

    I too enjoy a deconstruction of a genre (even though I wasn’t a fan of the genre in the first place) so I would like to know what are the other deconstructions? I know Neon Genesis Evangelion is one (giant robo anime) but I think its dominance has turned into a reconstruction for a new series to deconstruct one of these days.

  31. P-chan says:

    If I may add a series to your list of recommendations for people reading this: Princess Tutu – another magical girl deconstruction, but one that deconstructs itself rather than magical girl series in general.

  32. Juno says:

    @P-chan: Good recommendation. And yes, it was a magical girl series, but it didn’t have enough of the magical girl genre formula in there to deconstruct in the first place. It really deconstructed its own story from beyond the 4th wall for a while, though, and that was surely an amazing feat that could only be done with a series like itself.

    As for Madoka, I see what you mean, but I find that “normalcy” of the characters to be a positive part of the series. Lots of people don’t agree with me, but I could connect with the characters, their motives, and even their changes and development a lot. For characters that were meant to symbolize cliches (as they did in the second Drama CD, which put the same characters in a typical magical girl story, complete with spoofs of the series), they were very realistically developed.
    Even more so than anything, though, Madoka excels in the “hidden elements” category. There is so much to be gained from re-watching the series again (all Blu-Rays are out, so use those!), and I can guarantee that you’ll look at something again and think, “Oh! Now it makes so much sense!” or something will pop out as being genuinely foreshadowed or intended to creep you out the second time through. The creators even suggested watching it twice for a whole new experience the second time through. Pretty interesting, to say the least.

  33. pseudotim says:

    Finally watched this, and I agree that it’s great as a “mirror universe” parody of the genre. But I expected far more than that from the accolades and analyses I’ve seen online. Talk about counter-productive hype.. I was honestly expecting something serious or profound, not a self-aware dark parody.

    PS: Your readers get way too easily hung up on the final score, and seem to ignore the glowing review. It’s quite amusing.

  34. ultama121 says:

    While it did contain some satire, it was not at all a parody. A deconstruction, obviously, but to say it was a “self-aware dark parody” makes me question your understanding of the show. Urobuchi Gen hasn’t written anything that wasn’t serious and this is no exception.

  35. pseudotim says:

    @ultama121, I might change my opinion some day, but for now I’d rather enjoy it as a satirical parody. Question my understanding as you wish, I’m not pretending it’s some laughy, happy comedy.

    There’s just a limit to how far my brain is willing to take something seriously, and fighting that will only lower my enjoyment. You seem to have enjoyed Madoka on a far more serious level, and more power to you.

    • ultama121 says:

      Wait a minute.

      So you’re aware that Madoka in its nature isn’t a parody of any sort… but there was some element in the show that you found detestable enough so that you decided you’d prefer to enjoy it as a parody?

      Pardon me, but that’s the same kind reasoning one utilizes when watching a B horror movie. The movie itself is meant to be taken seriously, but the viewer finds it too silly to digest normally… so they treat it as a silly, albeit dark comedy.

      Madoka obviously isn’t without its flaws, being among my favorites, I’ll admit that… but unless your standards are unbelievably high (especially for anime!) there’s literally no reason for you to find it that silly. You’ve taken cynicism to an extreme. Just come out and say you hated it. That’d be fine. At least then you aren’t coming from some passive aggressive pretense, claiming to have “enjoyed” the show in an “unconventional” way. At the very least you enjoyed laughing at the show. If you enjoyed laughing at the show, just say so. In the case of a serious anime like Madoka, enjoying laughing at the show =/= enjoying the show.

      • pseudotim says:

        Good lord, what is with your need for a witchhunt? Let me spell it out for you: I enjoyed Madoka, just not as much as a serious story, and more as what you apparently call “satire” (hint: parody is NOT always funny, nor does it have to be the purpose and focus of a show).

        I also don’t care what you think about that (or me). I wasn’t laughing at Madoka like some pathetic solo MST3K rant or enjoying it like I would enjoy Army of Darkness. And if I can enjoy [C], Ben-to, and Blade, I certainly don’t have high standards. You are reading WAY too much into what I’m saying.

        Clearly you have your own idea of exactly how I feel, and nothing I say will change your mind. Madoka may be among your favorites, and I think that’s awesome. But apparently *I’m* the hipster jerk for not enjoying Madoka the same way you did, and for letting *you* put words in my mouth.

        • zo says:

          This is not a parody – it is a deconstruction. Parodies DO have to be funny. It is one of the conditions for it to actually be a parody for it do be funny.

          parody |ˈparədē|
          noun ( pl. -dies)
          an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect : the movie is a parody of the horror genre | his provocative use of parody. See note at caricature .
          • an imitation or a version of something that falls far short of the real thing; a travesty : he seems like a parody of an educated Englishman.

          • ultama121 says:

            Just to be clear, that post wasn’t aimed at you zo. In fact, thanks for beating me to the punch in terms of clarifying the terms. xD

        • ultama121 says:

          This isn’t so much a witchhunt as much as it sort of played out this way. Initially you posted something I thought you misunderstood and I corrected you. Your response irked me a little bit so I decided to reply further. It evolved into this. Don’t even pretend I’m some random fanboy who’s decided to attack your “innocently” subjective opinion. I have plenty of friends who absolutely hated Madoka. I don’t give a shit, because its art. Art is subjective. Its the way you’ve written your post/expressed your opinion that irked me… at least at this point I’m more confused of what your opinion truly is at this point.

          First and foremost, here’s a tip: If you criticize someone’s use of words (IE: if you feel the way they’ve mistaken definitions) at least bother looking up the words.

          “Parody: An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.”

          Emphasis on comedic effect. Parodies are comedic.

          “Satire: The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

          Satire isn’t necessarily comedic. Its the word you’re looking for. Please make sure you know your words before you use them in a semantic argument.

          Regarding your second paragraph… Alright, I have to admit that at this point I’m not even entirely sure how the hell you enjoyed this anime. You’re saying that you thought Madoka was a self-aware dark satire… a non-happy laughy satire. Okay, so then you must have enjoyed it as a more serious satire that contains compelling depictions of issues… or put simply, a satire meant to be taken seriously. Buuut thennn… you proceed to say that you didn’t take it seriously.

          *This is an inherent contradiction*

          Second, your evidence for lacking cynicism is laughable. Enjoying any of those anime is inexpressibly easy simply by one virtue:

          They. Aren’t. Necessarily. Meant. To. Be. Taken. Seriously. That’s it. With anime like that its inexpressibly easy to ignore any semblance of plot and simply enjoy the obviously enjoyable elements such as absurdity or action. Cynicism doesn’t only encompass pretentious idiots that consume nothing but high-horse media and look down on those who consume anything of what they consider lesser. It also applies to people who can’t ignore relatively very small inconsistencies in logic for the sake of a much more enjoyable experience… and regarding reading too much into your post… I’m only reading what you’re posting… and what you’re posting doesn’t make sense. Simple as that.

          Now… dat last paragraph. I like how you attempted to perform the ~pretentious hipster reversal~ thing, yet your last paragraph contains a gigantic assumption. If you can clearly explain how you enjoyed Madoka and make non-conceit tinged sense while doing it, then I’m totally cool with that. I’m not as static as thou assumeth. This is kind of redundant at this point, but I didn’t put any words in your mouth. I logically attempted deducing your opinion based on your words… but apparently your opinion doesn’t make sense. It’d help if you didn’t depend on your mysterious method of enjoying Madoka as a “self-aware dark parody [sic]” that apparently is not serious and not funny at the same time.

          TL;DR: Stop trying so hard.

        • pseudotim says:

          Ah, thanks. My bad. You put me on the defensive, and I didn’t even realize that I was the one with the wrong definition of the word. Thanks zo, if he had just said that or I didn’t have a stick up my ass this would have been avoided.

          So ultama121, it’s your win. I was wrong. Sorry for making you rant on and on because I was too lazy to look up a word.

          • Ytinasni says:

            that’s a lot of talking.

            I enjoyed the manga adaptation, havent gotten around to the anime. (I just prefer the pacing of manga better, since I can skim talky parts to get the jist of whats going on, and go back and read them if I feel I missed something.)

  36. mnscoaiy00understudies says:

    Yep, I love this series too.
    Madoka is a little too stereotypical, but Homura was the best. She does everything to protect Madoka and what does she get in return? nothing.
    Though personally there seems to be too much yuri going on.

  37. mnscoaiy00understudies says:

    Yes, Madoka. One of my all time favorites.
    Why didn’t you say a single word about Gen Urobuchi? Heck, he’s awesome, from what I’ve heard. And if you knew about the leaks that he directed it, that would probably give you a whole new first time perspective, won’t it?
    :D

  38. Amaya says:

    I personally think Madoka Magica was not all that good. While I admit it’s certainly not bad nor is it merely above average, it’s not something that can pull you in. I watched this, gave up, and forced myself to watch it again when recommended. I found that the experience was similar to School Days, but way better. It seemed to depend on its twist and its dark nature to make up for its beginning, which I found rather uninteresting. I think people who don’t like the Mahou Shoujo genre may not even follow it long enough to like it. It does a good job at trying to get your attention (They killed off a certain someone first for that impact) but it seems more reliant on its hidden theme to cover for its beginning.

    Of course, it’s up to personal preferences. I did not like the starting and the art style just made me uncomfortable from the first episode onwards for some reason (it just didn’t feel cheerful enough to me to be a Mahou Shoujou anime). Madoka Magica is certainly good, but most definitely not all that brilliant.

  39. Afonso Ribeiro says:

    Absolutely the best anime I’ve ever ever had the opportunity to watch. I am anxious for the film trilogy. It is simply beautiful.

    And I agree with you: Deconstruction is a beautiful art, specially in anime.

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Or things like Mischief makers .
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know vonter mentioned Mystical ninja 64. But I remember after I'd moved on from the snes to the N64 when I was younger, growing up with that obscure castlevania game on it, or stuff like those 3D bomberman games no-one cared about. Or obscure stuff like body harvest, jet force gemini, blast corps , turok, quest 64 and shadowman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love coming across those online lists of literally WHOtier, WHOcares , games literally only YOU liked and heard of/played. Makes me feel less alone.
Amagi
I was also always discussing about politics with my father. Whenever we started with this my mother just said "porca putana" and went into another room to watch tv in peace.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animemosh: lol I have daily political discussion with my Marxist-Leninist father just like that =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh I should state, even though I'm not as bothered by the modern setting, I actually do prefer the cold war narrative.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: The documentries name was Battle of Chile by Patricio Guzman.
Amagi
Especially since I don't think that the typical BF audience is of a kind that would lose interest because a series is taking place in the past. It was just written for the 80s, people can't just change that without changing the story itself to some degree.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I thought the anime did such a good job with Shio's backstory , that I didn't miss what was omitted. The anime is now up to date with the scans. I do agree that Satou's obsession with Shio is non-pedophilic but I think the scene itself is kind of going to give the wrong message.
Amagi
@Animosh: one of the many reasons why I would have prefered Banana Fish's original setting.
Animosh
By the way, apparently the backstory of Shio's mother - which supposedly is really tragic - was largely skipped. Guess I'll have to read the manga.
Animosh
I get what they're going for, recreating the ritual and all, but I also thought the Shio-Satou moment was a bit forced. I still think their relationship is platonic though. Satou has never been shown to lust after Shio: she just fills her with warmth and happiness. They're more like messed up siblings than (romantic) lovers.
Animosh
@Kaiser: sounds interesting! Chile is an excellent example of the kind of Cold War intervention that I really don't see happening today. Although you never know with an impulsive narcissist in the White House.
Animosh
End of monologue. Sorry about this. :p
Animosh
Long story short: I think the Banana Fish conspiracies fail to adequately represent the current situation. At the very least, it fits the Cold War world order much better.
Animosh
That includes the US (backing the Kurds and the rebels), but also Turkey and the Arab states (Sunni rebels), Russia and Iran (Assad), and so on and so forth. You can't act like this is the fault of one party. Hell, I'd say Russia and Assad are more responsible for failing to a peaceful resolution when they had the chance.
Animosh
As for Syria, it's a mess, but the US is only one of many parties responsible. And oil isn't particularly important in this conflict. It's a civil war that's been made much worse by the influx of money and weapons from many different parties vying for regional influence.
Animosh
So what does it do? It gives military and financial backing to militias with shared interests (which is much less than Russia does, by the way), orders drone strikes, and perhaps the occasional tactical strike. But overthrowing countries and setting up puppet regimes? I don't see it happening. That's basically declaring war on the other big powers.
Animosh
And even when it does intervene militarily, it rarely goes all out. The US has learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't want to be dragged into another endless conflict, or see its efforts end in another brutal civil war that destabilizes the region.
Animosh
So although the US occasionally still intervenes militarily in other countries' affairs, other means of pressure are now more popular. The sanctions against Iran and North Korea are a good example of this.
Animosh
The current landscape is much more complex. America is still powerful, of course, but relatively speaking it is in decline, and that means it can get away with much less. Today's world is closer to a multipolar world, with many sides fighting for influence. And because the ideological conflict is much less pronounced, the US is much less willing to go against its purported values.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Coincidentally I recently watched a series of Chilean documentaries regarding the murder of Salvador Allende and the installation of the Pinochet Junta.
Animosh
And that meant both that America was far more powerful than it is now, and that much more intervention was considered acceptable - including shamelessly backing dictators that oppressed and exploited their people. After all, a defeat meant evil would prevail.
Animosh
Obviously the US still interferes in other countries. Quite a lot, actually. But there's a big difference between its current policy and that during the Cold War. Back then the geopolitical landscape was very different. It was bipolar, with two big Isms (capitalism and communism) fighting it out.
Animosh
@anon: not sure if this is the right place for a political discussion, but whatever. I like politics, so here we go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*was no exception
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: If, out of the many moments in happy sugar life that I'd consider unsettling, it would be the one's with the aunt and this weeks episode was an exception. That last part of the episode will be interpreted as shoujo-ai bait by people though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking forward to Angels of death next week, I think we're getting answers, glad to get answers on bad guy even if he is a simple villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Now this is an interesting coincidence as last night I just got done watching a documentary about cyberwarfare against Iran.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats alot more detailed than what I was going to say. I was just going to say that it reflects current foreign policy.
Anonymous2808488
however the current stalemate in Syria is a reflection of the intransigence of the monied elite to not let go of ill-gotten gains, constantly provoking conflict with Russia/Assad/Iran
Anonymous2808488
Its a documented fact the US/EU promoted the Arab Spring/ISIS rebellions and it was stopped by patriots with a conscience
Anonymous2808488
replace with the mexican cartels/Hezbollah, and oil money promised to Cheney-connected Genie enerrgy
Anonymous2808488
its a pretty accurate description of the current reality minus a couple silly things like the mafia and mind control drugs
Anonymous2808488
You guys realize this plot is unfolding in Syria just replace drugs with oil money
Lenlo
Its hokey in the now, but in the original context the series was written, the Cold War, I think it could fit really well.
Animosh
@Kaiser: what felt awkward to you? I thought the pumpkin stuff in particular was pretty hilarious. Eiji is an evil guy. :p
Animosh
Yeah, the conspiracy stuff feels a bit wacky in the present. But in the context of the Cold War, it makes perfect sense. The USA supported plenty of bloody coups after all, especially in Latin America. Hell, they even backed the Taliban in their war against Russia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In the future I want to make a bigger effort to follow MORE of whats being covered on here seasonally.
Kaiser-Eoghan
http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Red
https://manganelo.com/manga/red_naoki_yamamoto Two history manga, wonder if they'll be fully translated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine most will probably agree with you anon though. I have alien taste/opinions. I also love conspiracy stuff =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Originally, in the manga version of that part, it was attacking communism in south America.
Anonymous2805624
I don't know; I kinda find the whole Middle East stuff a bit hokey; maybe that's just me.
Lenlo
Im about to watch it. Looking forward to it
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know its only one line, but that they still mention skip and shorter, even its just their names, at least the show keeps them in mind.
Kaiser-Eoghan
With episode 12, Banana fish has successfully contemporized its political/cospiracy aspect for me . Eiji is semi-uselful. Humour in this episode for the first time feels awkward, fast pace kind of means that the quieter slower scenes , though I still enjoy them, feel slotted in.
Lenlo
Most of my emotions this week came because of the original and my love of it, not this one
Lenlo
I agree, Steins;Gate 0 had all the potential, and there are some specific episodes that realized it. Like this episode had a lot of touching scenes cause it slowed down to play up Okabe's relationship with Amadeus. But most of the time, it fails to reach that potential. So as a whole it just feels... lacking
Kaiser-Eoghan
Plebs, not combining both into a single dessert.
Anonymous2802297
I'm talking about that sweet saccharine Chocolate Mousse, the Ganache, or the Chocolate Gâteau. Your puny muffin stands no chance. Mwahaha!
Anonymous2802297
Blasphemy. As a proud American, I can't stand for anything less than pure unadulterated diabetes-inducing sugar in chocolatey cake form. Anything less is an insult to my great nation. /s
SuperMario
@anon2801739: that's a nice analogy but I can't say I agree as I prefer chocolate muffin much more than chocolate cake :)))
Anonymous2801739
Steins;gate 0 is all potential but generally it's wasted. Whenever it actually seems promising they manage to jump plot points to boring nonsensical melodrama for a century. It was supposed to be a chocolate cake. Instead what we got was a muffin with tiny chocolate chips buried few and far between. Yeah it's still sweet at some points, but most of the time you're chewing through pointless fluff.
Lenlo
Like I said in my last post on it I think, the pacing is fucked
Animosh
I did like that the lab members finally acted like scientists again, methodically thinking through their options and all, and there were some pretty touching individual moments and nicely tied up ends. But mostly I'm just annoyed by all the unfulfilled potential of this show.
Animosh
I also hated the backtracking in the beginning. Don't make such a big deal of The Return if you're going to throw it out of the window in the next episode.
Animosh
I really don't understand Steins;Gate's pacing. It slows down to a trickle in the largely irrelevant middle part, and now that things are finally getting somewhat interesting again it just speeds through everything without building things up properly? I don't get it. And how on Earth are they going to resolve everything satisfactorily in one episode?
KTravlos
Reinhard (old series). Ash is interesting and depicted well, but not close to Reinhard. There is something noble in Reinhard, something beyond charisma.
Anonymous2797046
In a charisma battle between our two favorite Blond Boys (doing what blond boys do), who'd win: Reinhard or Ash?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Kind of felt this is what prelude penultimate episode/calm before the storm episode should be and I liked quite liked the ginko and souya scene, but I'm still eh, I shrug at this.
Vonter
After watching some more Star vs. the forces of evil. I'm getting Jitsu wa Watashi wa vibes. The Sailor Moon-like character episode was cute.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The bullying arc in sangatsu made me want to shootup the school.
Lenlo
I will admit, the family life stuff is less engaging than the crippling depression, but I dont think that would hit as hard with out the relaxing bits in between. Dont want to overload the audience.
Anonymous2791561
3-gatsu no Lion has its ups and downs; its ups are the intense emotional drama or shogi matches, while it's downs are the more relaxed slice of life food porn stuff. When I say up and down, I don't necessarily mean good and bad, just more about the intensity. I personally found that I could enjoy both styles, but sometimes I'd find the slice of life stuff dragging on.
SuperMario
Well, I regard 3-gatsu as one of the best character-writing in this medium in recent years. As for shaft, I'm their fan but even me was worried when I learnt Shaft adapting this. They did a nice job thankfully
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though I was glad that the comedy becomes more reigned in later on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got used to the tonally discordant humour eventually, accepting that the show essentially exists in two plains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
In tsukiyomi moon phase Shinbo made some of the shots look like photos, which was cool given the protaganists profession. Their weird style also was a good fit for an oddball show like Zetsubou-sensei.
Lenlo
I just finished the 4th episode, and so far I am torn on Akari. Im still not sure what to make of some of these relationships. I love the permeated depression theme in every episode though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if it will get a third season.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want Akari to be my mom.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hmmm only 9 out of 13 volumes adapted, which means the anime hasn't adapted the best bit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unfortunate that the sangatsu manga doesn't update often.
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I haven't seen it, I heard that vocaloid thing shaft adapted was very poorly suited to their style.
Lenlo
If a drama can actually make me feel something, actual emotions, then its a success. But it takes a pretty good, well made drama to do that.
Lenlo
I am very particular about my Drama'
Lenlo
Im planning on burning through the whole thing in the next few days. Maybe then ill try the manga, since there is probably more
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I didn't think your lie in April or sangatsu would actually be your thing. They're very drama-ey.
Lenlo
Basically im with Kaiser on this one. As for Shaft, I am very show by show with them. I couldnt stand Nisekoi, yet Sangatsu's color palette and way of drawing faces really has me
Lenlo
See, so far it has a very Mushishi/Fune wo Amu/Your Lie in April feel to me. I love these kinds of things animated, because I feel the music and color-choices really help set things in the mood.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario@Lenlo: We can be Kanabros for life all three of us ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
But in general I do think shafts style lends itself at its best to more comedic work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually felt that shafts style elevated their adaptation of Sangatsu. I find it easier to watch these slow paced shows than reading them. Also Kana Hanazawa.
SuperMario
Shaft's style can be a hit or miss with the audience, however. While I don't mind that, I still would recommend you try the manga instead
SuperMario
Oh, so you still have, like, 40 episodes left
Lenlo
Huh. Finally got around to March Comes in Like a Lion, gotta say. 3 episodes in, its pretty good
Kaiser-Eoghan
Speaking of it though, I wish they'd get that proposed new Vampire hunter D anime off the ground.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Though my memory on this is extremely fuzy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Y'know, I saw an article there on anime news network referring to the second vampire hunter D film, I know I watched it years and years ago, loved it, but I forget the plot, thinking about it now, how was the dude D was after supposed to survive without blood after buggering off to space alone with the girl?
Anonymous2786239
Amen to that
Anonymous2785164
I read blogs to see opinions on anime, not to read about how blog writer is much better than some youtuber I probably have never heard of :D
Anonymous2785164
Anyway, don't any of you guys let that get up to your head :p I'm also annoyed whenever media producers start mocking each other and setting themselves up as better.
Anonymous2785164
Nothing is more annoying to me than nerd doing the stereotypical nerd voice to mock people
Anonymous2785164
Either way, I kinda dislike majority geek youtubers because I find them all to be hypocrites. Like for example, complaining about commentors correcting them or nitpicking them when all of them are nitpickers themselves :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, he has habit of commenting on things way too early only to later on to be proven wrong by end of the anime :P
Anonymous2785164
That said, I don't remember Mother's Basement being that bad besides that he for most parts really sucks when talking about video games despite apparently having studied game development
Anonymous2785164
@AidanAK47: I don't actually like any of anime youtubers. They all seems to be pervs to me and I'm actually rather prude person :p
Anonymous2785164
Hmm this chat is being buggy again and I can't change username from anonymous right now :P ANnoying~
SuperMario
@Lenlo: Readers will enjoy us more if we can throw some meme references... proof that we're still not out of touch with current trends ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I mean the opposite, the posts here are good because they don't use quips. They aren't fanboyish either.
Lenlo
Are you telling me I need to insert more quips. jokes and one-lines into my posts? Cause I can do that
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Drop grand blue if its taking up too much time, I know you are busy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I enjoy reading blog articles like on here. I feel the writers on here never sound like awful fanboys or quiplords.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*I have
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think its down to an idea have about vloggers/youtubers, that the videos will be full of unfunny quips and unrestrained fanboyism due to the guy doing the video can't keep himself in check.
Lenlo
Digibro isnt worth listening to imo
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never even really pursued listening to digibro. Although I probably should listen to eyepatchwolf apparently.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I should say the anime youtubers I've actually watched pertain to: Gigguk, one video by blackanimecritic, a few countdowns by Mistychronoxia and Animeman . I think I've watched maybe two of glass reflections reviews.
Anonymous2781300
I don't know, r/anime probably is also not the best sources; Youtube and Reddit are just the places I generally go to for large-scale anime discussion
Anonymous2781300
Oh my previous comment didn't post; basically I was saying that Anitube isn't super representative of audience popularity, at least as a whole, but it might offer some insight to at least a portion of it.
Anonymous2781300
*audience you're looking at: there's the Japanese audience and Western audience, but I feel like there's also like, another half of the world that most be people don't consider.
Anonymous2781300
It kind of depends which audience you
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't even watch gigguks videos anymore.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never really cared enough to overexplore any of those anime youtube critics for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If someone keeps talking about something, eventually it'll sometimes work out and get through, then I'll at least have to see some of it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I watched it because you kept saying not enough people were watching it.
AidanAK47
@Masky, cause Mothers basement did a video on it? Well hopefully it gets it some attention. Don't really like MB though. I mean "Gurren Meets Earthbound"? Jesus Christ.
Masky
Hmm, seems like Planet With is slowly getting more attention to it
Lenlo
I know im Shonen trash, but Hero Aca continues to be fantastic.
Animosh
You know, one person ends up broken through no fault of her own, and then ends up hurting herself and/or others to protect the only happiness she knows. And so the cycle continues.
Animosh
I thought Shio's backstory was really sad too. But yeah, although the show (and many of its characters) can be silly a lot of the time, there's a beating heart behind all of the craziness. Its main characters all have believable - if misguided - motivations, and the show portrays the cyclical nature of trauma very well.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: I think the scene with satou breaking down near episodes end were the standout. I often laugh at this show for its overthetopness, then makes me feel like a jerk by pulling something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Escaflowne ended too soon and abruptly. I haven't seen rayearth but I have read the manga, so I don't know if the anime original content is as good.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've noticed that the voice acting tends to be worse in reverse harems then regular harems.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Regarding otome, one of the worst cases though had to be hakuouki though, just a bag of complete wasted potential.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: While I didn't dislike Red river, I have the unpopular opinion of preferring Basara because I found the central relationship more interesting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Yes that was babylonia no shishi.
Amagi
I wish we could get isekai like Rayearth, Now and Then or Escaflown again.
Amagi
Sadly these series usually fail elsewhere, with the typical problems shoujo and otome series tend to have
Amagi
@SuperMario: strangely enough this is somewhat typical for shoujo whereas generic isekai can't get off that fake-rpg spleen. There is also a shoujo in which feMC gets transported into some old turkish setting and one with babylonia (think the latter was done by that mangaka that also did Cantarella).
Kaiser-Eoghan
Theres also a shoujo manga called babylonia no shishi.
SuperMario
maybe it's one of the earliest example of isekai if you don't regard isekai setting as strictly fantasy world.
SuperMario
" Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan." -> actually they did just that. One of the old classic shoujo, Crest of the Royal Family, is about a girl transported into Egyptian royal family. https://myanimelist.net/manga/5284/Ouke_no_Monshou?q=Crest of the Royal Family
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think the success is, if a series can distract you and still make you feel something, even if there should have been more to the characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Beyond Arthur and Dino, who always came off to me as "the bad guys to be defeated", I think I might have been so into Ash that I didn't really pay as much attention to his character development as you and Mario did.
Animosh
Happy Sugar Life was pretty intense again. It's not subtle, but it's certainly effective. For me, anyway.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*gamer
You could see that he probably enjoyed online games and knew his stuff, wheras it seemed in sword art the writer felt liking he was shitting on everything.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm not much of a game and I know it was a fantasy show, but I guess log horizon is isekai, but in that one from what I saw, I thought the writer seemed to be making more of an effort.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But given how lazy isekai tends toward, while yes a scifi world would be a nice change up, the inherent genre laziness would probably holdback on properly building that world.
Anonymous2771364
Why Isekai are limited to the fantasy worlds? What about one with a creative retro futuristic setting (like Jetsons, John Carter or Flash Gordon). Maybe a western setting. Or even something egyptian, babylonic, or mayan. Anything at this point will be genius if done right.
Anonymous2771364
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Didn't watch Gate but it wasn't kind of like that? Adapting an alien fantasy world to the real world?
Kaiser-Eoghan
On a total tangent. Imagine an isekai that dealt with immigration issues ;)
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Featured Posts

Steins;Gate 0 – 22 [Rinascimento of Projection -Project Amadeus-]

This week Steins;Gate 0, once again, brutally reminded me of the potential it started with ~5 months ago and subsequently wasted. We have lab-member shenanigans, emotional heart-to-hearts and overdramatic time travel sequences. Let’s dive in! So in general, Steins;Gate 0 worked this episode. It really did. The emotions were on point and there was a […]

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Banana Fish – 11 [The Beautiful and Damned]

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Steins;Gate 0 – 21 [Rinascimento of Image Formation -Return of Phoenix-]

This week Steins;Gate 0 gave me, most, of what I wanted. It gave us a journey through the future, a Time Leap chain and the return of our favorite mad scientist. However, for all that I love it, its to little to late. Lets jump in! So, where to start. Leaving the big spoilers for […]

Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight – 09 [On the Night of the Star Festival]

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Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro – 10 [Shinozuka-san, Sugar Content, and the Press Conference/ Thousand Spring/ Andou and George]

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