Anime Vice News

MADOKA MAGICA #4 - - - Watch & Learn

A whole episode for grieving? Let's do it!

One conceit that always begs a more realistic approach in any deconstruction of action-adventure is the notion that characters can just easily shrug off constant near-death experiences. Especially in set-ups like this, where normal teenage girls are leading dangerous double lives. Even if the deadly witches aren’t showing up at class, it’s hard to buy Madoka caring much about classwork, boys or whatever after she just saw a friend get brutally murdered the night before.

Maybe you can buy that sort of emotional imperviousness from a hardened combat veteran who’s got years of training and experience logged. A sixteen-year-old from the suburbs, though? Pssh. Think about how much angst there already is without the aggravation of high stakes combat.

(That was something I found amusing about TIGER & BUNNY. Few of the superheroes had the sort of extreme personalities you’d expect would be needed to motivate career vigilantism).

If I’d watched this show before Sam and I did our Vice Pit about sad anime heroes, I definitely would’ve brought it up. See - - I’m honestly a little vexed about the plotting and pacing of this show, so far. The “witches” really haven’t been established as too clear of a threat, and the battles with them are so disconnected from the rest of this reality that I’m starting to suspect that they’re some BRIDGE TO TERABITHEA-style metaphor for - - I don’t know - - a dicey after-school club that Madoka’s getting involved with.

However, even though the show seems to be tottering along to some ill-defined goal post, I appreciate it for the simple fact that it’s essentially devoted an entire episode to Madoka cracking from what would be a quick plot point in another series. PTSD isn’t “whiney,” all right? It’s realistic. MADOKA MAGICA isn’t really “delivering the goods” of a proper thriller, yet, but at least it’s offering up some interesting… supporting arguments, perhaps, to the thesis of other deconstructionist efforts like EVANGELION. And I can dig that.

Watch this episode, "Miracles and Magic Are Real" 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

Lurkeroon Nov. 12, 2012 at 6:29 a.m.

I do admit that I am not a big fan of magical worlds that are somehow separate from reality. The witches are only seen by the magical girls? It seems irrational for the magical girls to keep their alternate lives a secret from everyone else. If they are truly trying to save the world then some kind of help would be appreciated. Such a cop-out but at least the show is enjoyable besides that.

One of the reasons why Digimon Tamers was so cool is because the monsters were integrated into the real world and there was no denying their existence.

zaldaron Nov. 12, 2012 at 7:54 a.m.

One of them just died and the witches are not much of a threat? If you mean to the rest of the world separate from the magical girls, I can see that, and that problem will be answered soon.

yllekkramon Nov. 12, 2012 at 8:44 a.m.

@zaldar: I would put forward that (almost) causing mass suicides in this episode constitutes a threat to the real world.

Lurkeroon Nov. 12, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.

@zaldar: @yllekkram:

What I mean to say is that the world does not know about the witches and nothing can be done about that. Even though bad things happen in the real world because of the witches, the witches cannot be touched or seen by anyone other than magical girls. This allows the writer to focus on the magical girls and the witches without worrying too much about other consequences (the two worlds are separate, but the witches can still affect the real world). It's a plot convenience that often irks me.

Kino88on Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.

yes, as a 24 year old with PTSD I would have to agree with you tom,

ReiKaion Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.
Having not seen nor really familiar with the series yet, I can't really give an opinion on it. Though I still went out of my way to buy a Series 2 Madoka collectible figure (it's small and cost like $30, but...I'm an otaku, so fudge you. :P). However, going to anime conventions (went to Youmacon from Nov1-4th) always gets me interested in other series that I haven't had the opportunity to take notice of before. Usually because stores where I am are so scarce.
 
So, after getting some juicey bits there, I definitely want to check out Madoka Magicka and see for myself how it is from the beginning. Yet I can only offer a small tidbit that would involve any who watch TV or do much searching on the net. That being there are so many things showing and depicting violence and death that people can become desensitized to it. Not saying that this is the case with Madoka, but it would not be surprising that, even witnessing the death of a friend, that the reality of that may not strike her as real or having happened. Passing it off like a bad dream, just one that doesn't go away, even when you face it.
 
Perhaps they are building up to something, but like I said I haven't seen the series yet, though I would like to, and I'm not that into the whole "Magical Girl" routine either. I don't even like Sailor Moon (there, I said it.)
metalsnakezeroon Nov. 12, 2012 at 12:11 p.m.

Yeah, this is where the show start to build on the emotions of the characters and the events that will come soon will test their ideals.

zaldaron Nov. 12, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.

@yllekkram: Ah didn't think that was this episode then yeah I would say he should see the danger now...@Lurkero: Ah I guess you don't like a good bit of fantastical realism as that is a pretty common trope.

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