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Watching Anime with my Girlfriend -- MADOKA MAGICA

We wished hard for a new show, and we got one! Emily transforms into a magical girl, but did she wish for the right thing? Read on to find out!

In Watching Anime with my Girlfriend, Sam Weller guides his fiancee, Emily (video director of comedy mega-site COMEDIVA), into the world of anime with eye-opening, and often hilarious, results.

Previous Outings... END OF EVANELGION... RISTORANTE PARADISO

Wow, what a crazy show.

When I started this experiment with Emily, I never assumed I'd be as delighted by MADOKA MAGICA as I was. All I knew, going in, was that it was supposedly the ultimate magical girl show, and I was honestly skeptical over that prospect. Talking too much about the details of a genre can ultimately ruin its fun, in my opinion; and it was already going to be very hard for anything to ever unseat REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA in my mind as the best post-modern magical girl show.

Although I still have a deep love for UTENA, this show is truly its superior in many ways.

Now, bear in mind, Emily is a girl who never watched SAILOR MOON growing up, and therefore had nothing to expect from this one. As she put it, “I don’t watch this [censored.]”

What is Lord Humongous doing here?!
What is Lord Humongous doing here?!

Sam: Okay, so Emily. OMG...

Emily: This is a really intense show.

S: Now, this is one you explicitly told me you liked...

E: I did. I got caught up in this one. It’s really good.

S: I know we’ve watched a lot of disparate genres so far -- not including the ones you’ve seen me watch -- and what about this show made you go..."I could stand to watch more of this?"

E: I think 'cause it... it didn’t really do this “Oh, cutesy girls!” popcorn... underwear shots. “Oh, look at us running around all cute...!”

S: Did you wish there were more underwear shots?

E: No. [LAUGHS]

S: This is very surprising to me. *sarcasm*

E: And... they just twisted everything around, like what you were expecting. It pulled it off well, I thought.

CREEPIEST. THING. EVER.
CREEPIEST. THING. EVER.

S: Now, before we get started, I suppose it’s inevitable that we talk about spoilers somewhat...

E: Oh, I think we can talk about this without spoiling it.

S: You sure?

E: Yeah.

S: Okay, so we won't spoil anything in this show.

E: Yeah, don’t spoil it. Don’t be a dick.

S: Thanks. So this is definitely a magical girl show, and we learn very early on that these girls get their powers in exchange for granting a wish of theirs. In return, they are required to combat evil beings known as Witches - - the true nature of which becomes very important as the plot goes on. Now, I love the art direction of this show, especially in those Witch segments...

E: Yeah, it was liked [censored] up Monty Python.

S: When we watched END OF EVANGELION, I knew going in it was going to be pretty confusing and incongruous, but did you feel lost at all in the through-line with this show?

E: No, they made it like extremely clear. For having such complicated plots and like... strange world physics and weird... like for having rules that absolutely make no sense, it was actually pretty clear.

S: Yeah, they definitely had their own version of quantum physics. Well, you know how energy works? It’s because... emotions! Why? Duuuh... 'cause aliens. I don’t know.

So, switching gears a little bit, what did you think of the characters? Because I’m not going to lie, I got a little teary.

E: You got very teary. A little weepy. Jutting out your lower lip, eyes welling up... I had to scratch your head.

S: Yeah, thanks for that. [LAUGHS] But I did! I felt that got a lot of mileage out of the relationship between Madoka and her mother and another relationship I won’t mention cause it’s a spoiler.

"I&squot;m in your brain... I&squot;m in your brain... I&squot;M IN YOUR BRAIN!!!"
"I'm in your brain... I'm in your brain... I'M IN YOUR BRAIN!!!"

E: Yeah. Like I liked Kyubey. Until he was a dick.

S: But we won’t go into that.

E: You like know almost immediately -- at least suspec t-- that he’s probably a dick. But he was pretty cute.

S: Was it the deadpan stare? Or the never-changing smile?

E: The fact that he never changes his emotions? Yeah, pretty creepy. [LAUGHS]

S: Anything about the show you didn’t care for?

E: The lead character seemed pretty whiny throughout. Unfortunately got a little one note. It got better near the end, though.

S: I feel like that’s because she’s the stand-in for us.

E: But it happens like 20 times. It’s like, c’mon, your life is crazy now. You should be used to it being all crazy.

You better keep those water works shut off, young lady.
You better keep those water works shut off, young lady.

S: Let it be known that Emily McGregor has no sympathy for anime protagonists. You’d better [censored] buck up in six episodes or --

E: I’d give it like 3 episodes of sympathy. And then you... at least switch up your emotions. There’s whole cycles of grief, at least vary it up. Vary that [censored] up! [LAUGHS]

S: Yeah, maybe that makes these characters hard to sympathize with?

E: I wouldn’t say that. I mean, these are dumb teenage girls. There is no better person to prey on than an emotional teenage girl. There is no dumber, more emotional, being in the universe than a teenage girl.

S: I have to say, before we finish - - the art in this anime is standout. The animation, the character designs, the fight scenes... honestly, everything in that category is at a 10 level for me.

E: Completely agree, very inventive.

"Give it to me straight, did you like the show?"
"Give it to me straight, did you like the show?"

S: Okay, so the recommends... last time when we watched END OF EVANGELION, you said you’d only recommend it for high schoolers. Can you say the same for this?

E: I think high school kids would enjoy this, but I feel this is broader entertainment. I think a lot of people could like this show, you don’t have to be in high school.

S: Okay, Emily, so if you were a magical girl what would you wish for?

E: I’m not going to become a magical girl! [censored]! After all that?!

So it turns out that Emily and I both were on the edge of our seat with this show. And honestly, I’m glad I watched it with her, 'cause I feel like this show has earned me enough good will to say, “Hey, you like that one show... there’s got to be another out there, right?”

So tune in next time, Anime Vicers, and recommend a new show for us to watch below!

Sam Weller is a writer and actor who's scribed for shows like FIRST EDITION, GEEK THERAPY, and most recently BATGIRL: SPOILED. He also really likes anime. To know what is going to happen next, follow@cravesam

Donwunon March 8, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.

That was an almost perfect pick Sam good choice

Recc'd Bartender before but i know how you guys feel about anime outside the legal circle which makes it a little more difficult to recommend some of the better shows out there since most of the great ones ain't got US licences yet but yeah will think of something else. (Bartender is awesome tho waa :( )

Again, good stuff with Madoka.

Kino88on March 8, 2013 at 8:45 p.m.

hey Sam great show, Loved Madoka Magica

now that you guys' have seen some giant robots and magical girls the next one I would suggest is one of my all time favorite slice of life anime

Whelcome to the NHK

takashichea moderator is online on March 10, 2013 at 7:13 p.m.

When BigHeart711 recommend this show to me, I told him it was too girly and cutesy for me. He told me not to judge a book by its cover (I can't remember exactly what he said) and mentioned it had a surprising twist. I took his word and bam! I had the same reactions when it reach episode 3. The show is pretty dark for a Magical Girl show and changed my views on the Sailor Moon stuff. I never like Madoka because she is so wishy washy.

Dream moderator is online on March 10, 2013 at 11:29 p.m.

This wasn't my surprise hit of 2011 for nothing. The mahou shoujo element had me thinking it was just another typical title of its genre, until the events of episode 3 made me think otherwise. Moral of the story:

This thing is a literal case of Satanic hell spawn.
This thing is a literal case of Satanic hell spawn.
Elfenlied1012on March 11, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.

@Kino88: I second your suggestion.

Kino88on March 11, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.

@Elfenlied1012: thanks for the back up :)

zaldaron March 12, 2013 at 9:05 p.m.

I am glad she liked this. THIS is the example I should give that person in that other thread about what makes anime better than western stuff...

But anyway I agree that teenage girls can be stupid but really I don't know if they are dumber than teenage boys..I mean we can be pretty stupid...

That is an interesting thought experiment actually how would this be different if they had made it a hero boy show? The fact no one has done a magical boy show I find interesting.

samweller999 staff on March 13, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.

@Elfenlied1012: @Donwun: @Kino88:

Thanks you guys for the continued suggestions, I always show Em them when you do!

So after some deliberation (and playing trailers of Welcome to the NHK) I followed the logical step of just clicking on an ad near Hulu and after seeing this trailer Emily said, "I'd love to watch THAT show." And this was it

@zaldar: I'd argue that Gundam Wing is like a magical girl show... but I would like to see something a bit more literal, that sounds entertaining!

zaldaron March 14, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

@samweller999: oh lord you are going to watch Lain with her next!! THIS IS AWESOME! I may end up having to take your girlfriend from you Sam...

Before I saw Lain I was told it was for people who thought Eva was easy to understand...they were right. Enjoy!

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