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?