With impromptu Mexican Standoffs and minimalism in approach - especially in how the witches' worlds are rendered - the only thing Pulla Magi Madoka Magica is missing from being a spaghetti western other than not being Italian or a Western is how it definitely doesn't have a low budget.
I mean even the music of Once Upon a Time in the West edited cleverly into scenes of Madoka's 10th episode perfectly fits with the atmosphere of the moment, as demonstrated by the below YouTube video:
It might just be me for being impressionable when it comes down to what I'm interested in, but isn't that intense?
I'm not that much of a perceptive film buff, but in hindsight I felt framing that whole part of Homura's Flashback as a Mexican Standoff was genius!
It had me thinking: there is a poetic, literary quality behind the tragedy and moral ambiguity of the show's titular "pulla magi" trading off their souls and objectifying them into gems in order to get a philanthropic wish granted, only to be dragged into a zero-sum life of fighting witches at the seemingly inevitable risk of dying and/or becoming witches themselves while enduring even more misfortune possibly produced out of the granting of their wishes. Don't even get me started on their whole spin on the metaphysics of entropy relative to the universe.
Having been so thoroughly impressed upon watching its first episode about two months ago and describing it to people as "Magical Girl's Neon Genesis Evangelion," I am standing by that claim and would even like reiterate it. Essentially, I've sensed that Puella Magi Madoka Magica is to the Magical Girl genre what Neon Genesis Evangelion is to the Mecha anime: a cerebral deconstruction of the genre's recurrent themes and "tropes," as many would refer to them.
For those unfamiliar, deconstruction essentially refers to taking apart something in order to further analyze or expand upon it. In context with the Magical Girl genre and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the anime series essentially breaks down the ideal Magical Girl by twisting, deforming and outright breaking her to the point that feel sympathetic towards her and see her in a new light (or darkness, more appropriately.) There's a lot more pathos in this anime than one would expect.
With regards to the image above, for those familiar with Mami Tomoe, I'm not even sure how much worse that was than having her devoured only to be spit out as a wad of digested black goo anticlimactically. (And that was a lot earlier on in the series than anyone expected.) Poor girl.
This isn't even my first blog post singing praises for this Winter 2011 series. While this show isn't even over yet, Puella Magi Madoka Magica promises to end most magnificently and is my favorite Winter 2011 anime series. I'm almost certain that this will eventually make its way stateside, and I'm definitely going to put down my money into purchasing it!
So, do you enjoy seeing deconstructions? Can you think of other good examples? Bad ones, even?
Thanks for reading!