MADOKA MAGICA #11 - - - Watch & Learn

Topic started by No_name_here on Dec. 3, 2012. Last post by thekokapelli 1 year, 9 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
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Any of you lunatics catch the Shaft brand rocket launchers that Homura summons for her duel with Walpurgisnacht? The notion of an animation studio branching out into munitions - - or, on the same token, an arms company dabbling in 'toons - - just tickles my black heart.

Barring an awful final episode, I feel confident about putting MADOKA MAGICA onto my list of favorite anime. It’s one of those rare titles that engages both the cerebrum and the viscera, as it were - - a show giving you something more challenging to chew on whilst still satisfying all the fundamentals you expect from an action-adventure. Honestly, I feel like the latter has to be particularly emphasized in this balance. Lord knows I’ve written-up plenty of anime with no shortage of fascinating ideas, but more storytelling shortcomings than I’d like to put up with (CASSHERN SINS, C-CONTROL, et al).

Thinking about it, I’d say that the secret of this balance really comes down to the number of “offers” being presented in each episode. That’s a term Sam pulled from improv when he was describing his frustration with CODE GEASS’ conceptually over-cooking, and it’s apt to describe why MADOKA MAGICA works for me. Each episode is structured like a paragraph in a well-written essay, with a focus on one distinct point that builds on the previous paragraph’s point and advances the overall argument of the piece.

Go back over these episodes, and you’ll notice that mind-blowing surprises are steadily paced. The episode with Maya’s death reveals that this Magical Girl business isn’t all fun and games. Another episode has the shocker that the girls have actually agreed to put their souls into these gems. Another episode uses Sayaka’s dramatic heel turn to reveal that the witches are actually all corrupted Magical Girls. Each one has a clear idea and a surprise that re-contextualizes everything that’s come before. This time, it’s the secret origin that Homura’s been at this for a very long time and her actions have actually contributed to Madoka being the “chosen one” that she is.

It’s very sharp writing. The last show I noticed doing this was CLAYMORE, and that’s actually a little unfortunate, since that show rather disappointingly went off the rails at the end. Coincidentally, or not, that series was also about young women making life-altering sacrifices to become powerful warriors who'd constantly face the threat of mutating into the very monsters they hunted.

Having written all of this out, I’m starting to think the point/surprise of the finale will be a nasty coup de grâce that sees Madoka turning into Walpurgisnacht and being sent back in time by Homura to start this awful business all over again. It'd be the mother of all tragic, cyclical conclusions, certainly - - but none of you are seriously expecting a happy ending for this, are you?

Watch this episode, "The Only Thing I Have Left to Guide Me" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Post by Lurkero (408 posts) See mini bio Level 7

I was very pleased with how this anime turned out. By episode 11 of Madoka Magica I felt more engaged than 100 episodes of shows like One Piece and Naruto make me feel. If MM had a bit more action I would have given it my highest of highest regards. I was mostly satisfied by the ending too, but it's not time to talk about that yet.

Barring an awful final episode, I feel confident about putting MADOKA MAGICA onto my list of favorite anime. It’s one of those rare titles that engages both the cerebrum and the viscera, as it were - - a show giving you something more challenging to chew on whilst still satisfying all the fundamentals you expect from an action-adventure.

I agree with this. The writing is not vapid and there is also a good balance of action and drama.

Post by YotaruVegeta (576 posts) See mini bio Level 12

Hee. Hee. Hee.

I hope you touch on the historical references in the final episode, whether you feel they are proper or not.

Post by metalsnakezero (673 posts) See mini bio Level 16

Indeed, each episode had a good reason as the series want on and it shows what a well structured it is.

Post by thekokapelli (98 posts) See mini bio Level 9

At least now I know it wasn't just me who thought that last episode was awful. I mean, conceptually it was fine, it had a perfectly satisfying ending, but the execution was a flop. It was far too exposition-heavy and long-winded, and when the rest of the show has been so close to perfectly written throughout, it was pretty noticeable. Still, just a bump in an otherwise incredible run.

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