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.