Madoka movie 3

Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie : Rebellion to be more precise.

Originally I wasn’t supposed to write about anime on this blog, but I do have some 30 non-anime posts by now so I guess every now and then shouldn’t be a problem.

Anyway, to the Madoka movie. The whole movie and the 12 episode anime series it’s based on thrive on dramatic twists and surprise reveals, and this review will contain spoilers on both. You have been warned.

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In the anime series girls became magical girls in exchange of one wish to fight evil witches. However, in many of the series’ twists it turns out that the witches are actually former magical girls who fell into despair. Ultimately one of the magical girls, the titular Madoka, manages to break the system and become a godlike figure who takes the despair of the magical girls before they become witches, allowing them a happier afterlife.

The movie begins in bizarre conditions. It takes place after the anime series, but characters who died in the anime are still around. As the story goes on, Homura, one of the magical girls and Madoka’s friend when she was still human, starts to notice that something is off. She soon discovers that they are inside a witch’s magical barrier, which is very puzzling because witches shouldn’t exist any more. Eventually she learns that she is the witch herself, because she suffers from being separated from Madoka. When the God Madoka finally comes to release Homura from her misery, Homura disturbs the process, undoing Madoka’s god-form, becoming the ultimate devil herself and rewriting the rules of the universe to her will.

…that was probably not very helpful for the people unfamiliar with the story, but hey, at least I tried! If someone else can sum up the story of the anime and movie in two paragraphs I’d like to see that!

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But while my summary of the movie probably isn’t the best possible, the plot wasn’t exactly simple either. Or at least I had difficulty following it towards the end. The movie kept me entertained for the two hours it took, but the dramatic twists didn’t do that much for me any more. I would have expected “main character, you’ve already turned into a monster whose only purpose is to suffer and spread suffering but you just haven’t realised it yet” to have a bigger impression on me.

I think I read somewhere that this was originally supposed to be a second anime season, but it was turned into a movie instead because there wasn’t enough material for 10+ episodes. I don’t know, I would probably have liked a slower paced anime season instead, that would probably have made the second half of the story a lot less confusing.

The acidy visuals are back, and the movie was very interesting to watch. The fight scenes were also pretty cool. And being a magical girl transformation fan I also paid close attention to the transformation scene where they magically change their casual clothes to their magical uniform, and that was great too. Usually I prefer seeing the transformation of the clothes properly, but since there already is footage of that from the show and the other movies, the dance themed thing this time was delightfully different from what I’ve used to seeing.

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Probably what has interested me in Madoka the most is the dark magical girl world, which shows what having to regularly fight monsters does to a teenage girl. Or “deconstruction” if we’re using tvTropes speak. The movie continues in the same vein: sure, the anime series ended on a positive note with Madoka becoming a god and stuff, but how does that affect Homura, who is now the only person who remembers Madoka ever even existed and whose entire life has been revolving around Madoka for an incredibly long time? I think it’s always interesting when stories answer questions like that. I also liked how the movie showed what it is like to be a witch.

The witch Charlotte from the anime series became such a fan favourite that she got to appear in her human form in the movie. I was really looking forward to it, because I like both her witch design and magical girl design, but in the end she was pretty irrelevant and fanservice at best. Which, arguably, worked well enough because I’m still happy that she was in the movie, even if her performance was quite a letdown.

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I gather from the internet that a lot of fans were not pleased with the movie. I didn’t have a problem with it; I thought it was a fine continuation to the Madoka universe where everyone suffers all the time. I think I would have liked it a lot more if I had seen it a year or so earlier, but by now my Madoka phase has pretty much passed and it’s hard to get that excited any more. But I was still thoroughly entertained, and I don’t really much complaints other than that it was a bit confusing. Okay tier.

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