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MADOKA MAGICA #5 - - - Watch & Learn

You kind of need a black belt in Magical Girl anime to handle this.

I find it highly amusing to view Madoka’s actions in these first few episodes (well, in nearly half the series) as her essentially auditing the Magical Girl program. She hasn’t got much more time left in the semester, now!

Look, Madoka going on however many patrols and still remaining undecided is probably the more realistic turn of events (just as her extended grieving process last episode seemed more natural). However, with the subject of mopey anime heroes still fresh in mind, I have to see her behavior here as lending further credence to my suspicion that this is just as much a higher-level deconstructionist exercise as CASSHERN SINS.

Which is to say - - I don’t know if this should be recommended to anybody who doesn’t already have a fairly solid background in the magical girl genre. The developments in this episode, in particular, seem like they’ve been fashion by and for otaku who’ve always wanted to see Sailor Moon and, say, Sailor Jupiter get into some bitchy competitive squabble.

Is that a creative and more emotionally-authentic spin on familiar tropes? Certainly. But its effectiveness is also predicated on the viewer’s awareness of other shows. Indeed, the fresh novice who’s seen no other magical girl anime might be wondering why MADOKA MAGICA been dillydallying from what a pretty obvious foregone conclusion.

She might also wonder why this suspiciously missing a defined antagonist this deep into the run time. Obviously, the sensible money is on Kyubey being the real villain of this piece - - a sinister, manipulative devil in the guise of cuddly stuffed animal. And, again, I suspect that such a plot development was inspired by more than one fan conversation about how some cute animal sidekick in SAILOR MOON (again, I’m not too familiar with the show) was actually the mastermind all along.

Of course, MADOKA MAGICA'S obviously been one of the bigger hits of the years, and the viewers can’t all be seasoned aficionados - - so what do I know?

Watch this episode, "There's No Way I'll Ever Regret It" 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

zaldaron Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:19 a.m.

The magical girl tropes are so engrained even in people who do not know much about the genre that the differences here were pretty easy to see, just as you saw them and you are not an afficianado. I certainly am only a green belt in the magical girl genre and it definitely was a moving show for me. So no comment on the crazyness of her friend deciding to become a magical girl? I always thought they didn't do a real good job explaining that.

As for the villain not going to get spoilers from me.

Turambaron Nov. 14, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.

I don't necessarily think previous experience with the magical girl genre is a must. The show itself is good enough to stand on its own, though being able to spot the subversion of genre tradition would make it more impactful.

sickVisionz moderator on Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
Of course, MADOKA MAGICA'S obviously been one of the bigger hits of the years, and the viewers can’t all be seasoned aficionados...

You'd be surprised.

metalsnakezero is online on Nov. 14, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.

Knowing some magical girl tropes does help in understanding what Madoka Magica does differently and later on better but this show is also able to stand on it own and bring in new audience from the gentle nature of the first few episodes.

You're starting to see where Kyubey is going so keep an eye on him.

thekokapellion Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:40 p.m.

I had the same misgivings going in, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone if I thought subverting magical girl tropes was all it had to offer. That's not necessarily an indicator of quality; it can be used well or used poorly like anything else. It is, however, a thoughtful Faustian tragedy and beautiful postmodern fairy-tale, and an example of the karmic inevitability that separates good storytelling from great storytelling. The characters also grow to be tremendously fascinating and complex.

yllekkramon Nov. 14, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.

While one could argue that some of the episodes up to this point have been a little slow, every episode going forward has at least one HOLY S***! moment that I think even an uninitiated viewer could appreciate. I enjoyed this show having only seen a few random episodes of Salior Moon, although I do have a bad habit of not dropping shows once I start watching, no matter how good (or bar) they are.

Dig Deeper into Puella Magi Madoka Magica

A Magical Girl anime created by Gen Urobuchi and produced by Shaft and Aniplex.

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