As I stumble across a grand facade of innocence, and simplicity.
I was somewhat zealously against watching Madoka Magica when it was first suggested to me by one of my friends. Magical school girls fighting evil? Yeah, not interested, Jerry. Needless to say, I was not a fan of the overall plot. I went into this show, completely turned off by what the cover and the theme, flaunted as a seemingly naive show about magical school girls fighting the forces of evil.
And that’s exactly what the show is trying to do — A cover, hiding something surprisingly sinister underneath, though I can’t point out exactly what yet.
The show starts off as expected, meeting an adorable cat-like creature with a seemingly simple premise. Become a magical girl, and get a wish. Our protagonist is also unsurprisingly hesitant about what to choose for her wish. The somewhat routine chain of events ends there however, as the episodes move forward to introduce witches — an evil spirit that curses humans, causing them to become depressed, or even suicidal. We don’t know the motives for these malevolent spirits, a mystery that compliments their strange and ominous appearance. Where did they come from? What exactly are they? And what do they want with us? I didn’t think a villain in what I figured was a childish magical girl-style anime would have me so engrossed about its origins.
As for the girls themselves…
I’m really liking our main cast so far. I expected to find a more cliche 2-dimensional character when it came to Madoka and her friends, yet they have a strange hidden depth to them. Not only that, but I do find the characters themselves lovable in their own way. A dark twist to the standard magical girl formula, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the back-story for all of the magical girls in the group as the show continues.
Despite the show putting Akemi in a negative light, I’m getting some strange vibes about the whole magical girl deal in general. I have no basis for my suspicion really, it’s just some sort of weird feeling I’m getting about the whole thing, from Mami to Kyubey. Hell, Kyubey being so eager to have Madoka and Sayaka sign a pact with him is sketchy as fuck (though admittedly, I could be just overly-paranoid). Though Akemi acts like the bad guy for the series, I’m thinking she’s trying to dissuade them from joining for deeper reasons than “she wants all the glory”. I’m going to guess there’s going to be an even bigger catch to being a magical girl that Kyubey will conveniently keep hidden from the girls.
Aside from the curious plot itself, I’m liking the show itself so far. The artwork is colorful, and really sells the whole “naive magical-girl” theme very well. The opening in particular, is very colorful and silly, punctuated by the beautiful singing of high-school duet, Clara and Alice. Actually, the entire soundtrack of Madoka Magica that I’ve heard so far sounds amazing.The appearances of the witch are made even more intense and ominous by the wonderful soundtrack, a testament to the music, especially the particularly haunting orchestra and vocals of Kalafina’s “Magia”.
A somewhat unanticipated watch to end the Winter season, but I’m more than willing to see this one to the end. With only three episodes under my belt and many more questions than answers, I’m looking forward to finally figuring out the origins of our strange villain, and what Kyubey has in mind for our lead heroines.
Oh, and is this the face of evil?