Slave to the Deceiver, Magician Madoka

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I final­ly got off my bum and watched the one “mag­i­cal girl” ani­me every­one’s been rant­i­ng and rav­ing about: Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca.


Jump­ing into the series, I’ve already heard that it was­n’t your aver­age mag­i­cal girl ani­me. Actu­al­ly, that’s the rea­son why I even attempt­ed to watch it in the first place (aside from the awe­some open­ing theme). Because, let’s face it, mag­i­cal girl sto­ries made after the late 90s are less than stel­lar. Shugo Chara!, while being extreme­ly cute and rubs my moé in the right ways, isn’t the most amaz­ing thing out there.


Unlike oth­er series that have hyped cen­tered around it, the hype was actu­al­ly a ben­e­fit to my view­ing expe­ri­ence. The most I have heard from fans of this show was that this series fea­tures “many deaths” and is very “dark and grit­ty”. My over­all impres­sion from the hype? I was­n’t going to enjoy this show because it’s going to try too hard being dark and edgy. Yes, I jumped into the ani­me assum­ing I was not going to like it at all. Maybe I would have had a dif­fer­ent ini­tial impres­sion of the fan recep­tion if I knew it was writ­ten by the same dude that wrote Saya no Uta, the most dis­turb­ing visu­al nov­el in existence.

Dat blood

How did I feel after I found myself plow­ing through six episodes of Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca? “Man, this actu­al­ly has a pret­ty depress­ing and real­is­tic feel for a mag­i­cal girl ani­me.” Yes, in con­trast to oth­er shows of the same genre, this ani­me was not so much of a hap­py-go-lucky and warm show aimed at girls nor a try-hard dark and edgy death­fest as I ini­tial­ly thought it was going to be. In many of the episodes, the sto­ry depicts every­thing you would usu­al­ly see in a typ­i­cal mahou shou­jo ani­me as being too good to be true. And it does a pret­ty good job of it. The fear of death is high when you’re in the posi­tion of a super­hero and what­ev­er you wish for, may it be self­ish or self­less, may not be worth the trou­ble of trad­ing your life and human­i­ty for.

Stop staring you creepy little shit

As you can tell from the true trans­la­tion of the title, decep­tion runs high in this ani­me, in more ways than one. Along with the excel­lent twist of the “cute ani­me side­kick” play­ing the mag­i­cal girls for fools (had my sus­pi­cions about that lit­tle ass­hole from episode two see­ing how creepy it is), the series deceives the view­er past the forth wall. The open­ing, at first glance by a per­son who has no idea what they’re get­ting into, appears to be your stan­dard mag­i­cal girl open­ing fea­tur­ing your main char­ac­ter, sur­round­ed by fluffy cute­ness, trans­form­ing into her super alter ego. Fun­ni­ly enough, the main char­ac­ter is the only one with­out pow­ers for the major­i­ty of the series, and you real­ize that an entire focal point of the plot is her not becom­ing a mag­i­cal girl, or rather the pre­ven­tion of it.

Aw, fuck this shit...

Anoth­er added amount of shock comes when Mami gets her head bit­ten off by a witch and the end­ing theme changes from the fluffy Mata Ashita to the very dark Magia… basi­cal­ly telling view­ers dur­ing its first run that they’ve been HAD

Don't talk crap about your girlfriends

There are absolute­ly no shock absorbers in this series, akin to Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion, pre­sent­ing us with a real­is­ti­cal­ly screwed up atmos­phere and real­is­tic char­ac­ters in a genre of ani­me that’s com­mon­ly seen as unre­al­is­tic. One can com­pare Sayaka’s even­tu­al break­down from lone­li­ness and despair to Shin­ji Ikar­i’s break­down in End of Evan­ge­lion.

Kyoko on my mind

Over­all, I thought the series was an excel­lent decon­struc­tion of the mag­i­cal girl genre (and, in ref­er­ence to Sailor Moon, the sen­tai genre). But it isn’t only good for being dif­fer­ent. As a series, it pro­vides a great plot and char­ac­ters with sol­id char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. Basi­cal­ly, it’s worth a watch for any­body that appre­ci­ates a good sto­ry. The main char­ac­ter, Mado­ka, can only be described as a true hero. The end­ing of the ani­me got to me, to be hon­est. If Saku­ra Kinomo­to from my beloved Card­cap­tor Saku­ra made the kind of sac­ri­fice Mado­ka did (and, in all hon­esty, I think she would if CCS had tak­en such a dark direc­tion) I would cry forever.

By Johnny Nguyen

(The col­ored sketch of Mado­ka that you see above was done by me, found on my DA account xiao­longli. Click to enlarge.)

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