“Madoka Magica” officially aired in Japan in 2011. (same year American Horror Story aired on FX) It received critical acclaim from critics and anime fans alike. Although a short run, the anime became a phenomenon for its darker tone, subverting the magical girl genre, characters and realistic consequences. In 2012, an English Dub was officially distributed.
Although I’m an anime enthusiast since Toonami’s golden years on Cartoon Network, I never heard of Madoka Magica in my entire life. Until Hunter Schafer’s character Jules from “Euphoria” mentioned she binge watches the show. Hunter confirmed she’s a fan of the show when she shared a playlist on HBO Max. As a fan of Euphoria, I thought about giving Madoka Magica a try leading up to Euphoria’s upcoming second season.
This review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS. If you haven’t got a chance to see Madoka Magica, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
The Entire Thing
Positive: Voice Actors did a decent job for their respective voiceover performances.
Animation is gorgeous as it brings character models, fluid movement, environmental locations, flashy combat etc.
Action Sequences are decent. Every single fight scene makes you root for your favorite character. Mine is Homura. She gets Bonus Points, because she has an interesting past.
Each Labyrinth design is presented as a combination of hand drawn animation and stop motion. Best way to describe a Labyrinth’s design is like a cross between my favorite director Christopher “Chris” Nolan & Terry Gilliam. Come to think of it, I would pay my money to see an anime created by Chris. He’s also an anime enthusiast like me. “Paprika” is one of the main inspirations of “Inception.”
Chemistry between Madoka and her allies serve as the main highlight. Her interactions with her friends keeps the story climbing.
Character Development involving Madoka. As each episode moves forward, she begins to adapt. Homura also earns Character Development.
Every main character has a distinctive personality. As you watch episode upon episode, you will care about them. Trust me, they’re not one-dimensional boring individuals. Even a certain one’s skills and abilities are effective in battle.
Will Seeds play a pivotal role. Grief Seeds are another thing to remember.
A new girl in town named Homura factors in. If you’re fully aware of her motivation, you might get it.
If somebody grants a wish, a person shall become a magical girl. An important wish from a character is for you to remember.
Monster designs are grotesque in a good way. Makes me wanna play any “Dark Souls” game and Demon Souls PlayStation 5. Dang it. I really want a PS5 so bad.
As the series progresses, it gets darker. You think the opening credits is gonna be just another lighter and fun anime? You’re wrong. As they say, “Never judge a book by its cover.”
The show has unpredictable moments. A specific scene will make you gasp.
A villain’s true identity is kept secret. I can’t tell you who he/she is, you’re gonna have to watch every single episode.
Transformations scenes are not slow as fudge like Sailor Moon. They’re actually quick.
Opening Song is pretty catchy.
Soundtrack is very memorable.
Once you watch all episodes. It’s definitely worth a rewatch for all the plot threads you saw.
The Ending will make you cry. If you have a sensitive side, let the tears flow. I cried my butt off. Gonna have to give this pro an tremendous amount of Bonus Points.
Negative: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless series as possible.
Episode 1 – I First Met Her In A Dream Or Something
Fast: We’re introduced to the main character Madoka on what she does for a living.
Homura enrolls in school. Madoka is shocked as if she met her before.
Madoka & Sakyaka meet Mami. (pronounced as mommy) The latter shows them the ropes as a magical girl.
Slow: No cons found.
Episode 2 – That Would Be Truly Wonderful
True: Mami offers Madoka & Sayaka a risky opportunity to become a magical girl.
A battle ensues centering around a monster. I’m officially hooked.
I gotta love Mami’s Big F**kin’ Gun (BFG for short) in combat. Somebody’s been playing “Doom.”
False: No issues spotted.
Episode 3 – I’m Not Afraid Of Anything Anymore
Strong: Madoka & Sayaka continue their training.
A glimpse of Mami’s past is shown.
Something terrible happened. I refuse to tell you.
Sayaka visits her childhood role model, a violinist player at the hospital.
Homura has an epic moment.
Weak: Not a single flaw seen.
Episode 4 – Miracles And Magic Are Real
Real: After Episode 3’s shocking moment, Modoka & Sayaka feel conflicted if they want to resume their training.
After another visit with the violinist player, Sayaka is motivated to fulfill her role as a magical girl and grants her wish.
Madoka encounters her friend Hitomi.
Fake: Couldn’t find any flaws.
Episode 5 – There’s No Way I’ll Ever Regret It
Calm: Sayaka accompanies Madoka on a hunt.
Two characters partake in combat.
Scared: Nothing horrible found.
Episode 6 – This Just Can’t Be Right
Right: Something unexpected occurred. I don’t wanna tell you.
Madoka’s mother gives her daughter advice.
A shocking moment happened. I’ll sum it up in two words. Holy Guacamole!
Wrong: Nope. No issues spotted.
Episode 7 – Can You Face Your True Feelings
High: Sayaka learns a valuable consequence.
We learn about Kyoko’s background. It’s pretty messed up.
An intense fight scene escalates.
Low: Nothing terrible occurred.
Episode 8 – I Was Stupid So Stupid
Genius: Homura confronts Sayaka.
Sayaka is in bad shape.
Kyubey has an important conversation with Madoka.
I gasped over an unpredictable scene. I did not see that coming.
Dummy: No cons found.
Episode 9 – I’d Never Allow That To Happen
Clean: A pulse pounding fight with a monster is so intense.
Madoka receives bad news.
Kyoko accompanies Madoka on a quest to safe their friend. The tension is very deep in terms of emotional stakes.
A jaw dropping scene got my heart pounding fast.
Cluttered: Nothing bad happend.
Episode 10 – I Won’t Rely On Anyone Anymore
Promote: Episode 10 focuses on Homura
A Plot Twist is revealed. Good gravy! This show is getting emotionally intense and crazier at the same time! I’ll say it in three words. The Plot Thickens.
A wish is fulfilled yet completes a contract.
Episode 10 has some “Groundhog Day” vibes. Known as a time loop repeating the same day over and over again. Unlike the movie, this episode is played for drama.
Opening Credits appear until the very end. Meaning you’re gonna be part of an emotional roller coaster. In the words of Martin Lawrence in “Bad Boys II.” “It just got real.”
Demote: No issues spotted.
Episode 11 – The Only Thing I Have Left To Guide Me
Unlocked: Homura’s special power digs deeper. As if Christopher Nolan wrote this plot point.
Kyubey shares his personal views.
Homura embarks on a one woman mission.
Locked: No flaws found.
Episode 12 – My Very Best Friend
Victory: After building up every single episode. The last one is a point of no return.
Episode 12 doesn’t have the Opening Credits just the title. Obviously one final ride.
The Outcome changes everything. I cannot give away every single detail.
The Ending made me cry. If you have a sensitive side regardless of being a grown up, it’s ok to let the tears flow. I am gonna give this pro a tremendous amount of Bonus Points. The last time something animated related got me shedding tears is Code Lyoko’s second season finale.
A Post-Credits Scene is shown. Setting up the next adventure.
Defeat: No flaws discovered.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
As an anime enthusiast since Toonami’s golden years on Cartoon Network, Madoka Magica is without a doubt a masterpiece. All the positive things I’ve listed, indicates why this 12 part series is now one of my favorite anime shows of all time next to “Dragon Ball Z” and my favorite anime of all time, “Cowboy Bebop.” I got some excellent news, Madoka Magica is getting a follow up. If you’re excited for the upcoming sequel, I strongly recommend this anime.