Spaghetti Western Madoka Magica and Genre Deconstructions

Topic started by EquitasInvictus on March 21, 2011. Last post by vergilius 3 years, 5 months ago.
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
  
I think Sergio Leone would be proud of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I think Sergio Leone would be proud of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
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!  

 Does this image not lend itself to being interpreted as a Mexican standoff? Granted, it happened a lot more quickly than typical Western Mexican standoffs go, but the tension was definitely there!
 Does this image not lend itself to being interpreted as a Mexican standoff? Granted, it happened a lot more quickly than typical Western Mexican standoffs go, but the tension was definitely there!
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.

This magical girl is broken, someone euthanize her - quick!
This magical girl is broken, someone euthanize her - quick!
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!
Post by metalsnakezero (674 posts) See mini bio Level 16
Indeed, this show is great. Now if they just get it back on the air. Damn delays.
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@metalsnakezero: I'm sure it'll be worth it, although I'm not sure whether or not they confirmed Madoka will be airing this week. 
 
Considering it looks that most of all other series this season have resumed this week - pushing Spring 2011 back a week - I'm almost certain we'll be seeing Madoka again by the end of this week.
Post by ZombiePie (861 posts) See mini bio Level 15
Soooo yeah this show got canceled. Rumor has it that they are going to try again but make it a slice of life comedy.
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@zombiepie I've already seen this slice-of-life comedy you speak of! Although I have to say, the comedy in it went over my head -

Hidamari Sketch.
Post by metalsnakezero (674 posts) See mini bio Level 16
@zombiepie: It was delayed, not canceled. 
 
@EquitasInvictus: I would like that, Hidamari Sketch Madoka. Will they having a bath scene at the end of every episode? :D
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@metalsnakezero said:
"@EquitasInvictus: I would like that, Hidamari Sketch Madoka. Will they having a bath scene at the end of every episode? :D "
It could not be Hidamari Sketch Madoka without those scenes!  
 
Although, they - particularly Kyoko and Mami - really liked their sweet snacks and tea time... maybe it'll turn out more like K-On. o_o   

 If they were in a clubroom, this would totally be looking like K-On right now!
 If they were in a clubroom, this would totally be looking like K-On right now!
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@EquitasInvictus:  One memorable thing about Madoka Magica is not that it is being the fighty  Magical Girl. I watch Nanoha, so that all goes out the window( When you see Mahou Shoujou AI and Nanoha, you would probably figure anything is possible)
 
but
 
QB, WTF IS THAT? It is something i tell you, It's not only cute looking, but evoke the feeling of scary everytime it do something, any other seeming cute but scary things had no shit on QB, this guy doesn't look cute on purpose, that is how it look(guessing by the fact  of the eaten QB)
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@cfatalis: Aw man, don't get me started on Kyubey. As creepy as he is, I've thought a lot about him. From what I've gathered:
 
QB is an alien and a monster. He admits to having no ethical/personal values and works solely to preserve the existence of his own species at the cost of arbitrarily desperate members of the human race. As such, he covertly preys on human girls in order to harvest energy by temporarily bestowing upon them the powers of "puella magi" to force them into a zero-sum struggle against witches that ends inevitably with the girls becoming witches themselves such that QB and his alien race can extract an accumulation of their spent energy to somehow prevent the heat death of the universe. It is a cruel and vicious cycle!  
 
That being said, he stares into the souls of every young girl in the world - waiting for his next victim! Just like this:  
   ◕‿‿◕      
   ◕‿‿◕      
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@EquitasInvictus: Another POV: QB is an Eldricth abomination
 
 no other explanation needed
I mean look at it, look at how many not so normal QB fan art floating around
 
Koemushi, is an asshole plain and simple, zip ARSEHOLE , one look we know
Narutaru Dragons are an animal that means well only to it's master , one look of their action says it all
 
see? clearly defined, very very clearly defined
QB on the other hand?
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
Kyubey is... Cthulhu? Dang, I thought Winter 2011 had enough of those references with that flash anime, Haiyoru Nyaruani... 
Anyway, this blog post might now need to be renamed: "H.P. Lovecraft's Madoka Magica"   
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@EquitasInvictus: PM-ed you with something to back my claims
 
The world isn't ready to see this
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@cfatalis said:
" @EquitasInvictus: PM-ed you with something to back my claims  The world isn't ready to see this "
Hahaha! That PM was great - you should've posted those images here!  
 
But gee, now I'm scared of how the series is going to end now after seeing them.
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@EquitasInvictus said:
" @cfatalis said:
" @EquitasInvictus: PM-ed you with something to back my claims  The world isn't ready to see this "
Hahaha! That PM was great - you should've posted those images here!   But gee, now I'm scared of how the series is going to end now after seeing them. "
I detect  a semi happy ending however, it doesn't feel like they are going to gloomy end


Well well, At least now we see who Akemi Homura is, and why Kyube told she would be the greatest witch
Post by EquitasInvictus (332 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@cfatalis said:
" @EquitasInvictus said:
" @cfatalis said:
" @EquitasInvictus: PM-ed you with something to back my claims  The world isn't ready to see this "
Hahaha! That PM was great - you should've posted those images here!   But gee, now I'm scared of how the series is going to end now after seeing them. "
I detect  a semi happy ending however, it doesn't feel like they are going to gloomy end

Well well, At least now we see who Akemi Homura is, and why Kyube told she would be the greatest witch "
That.... makes perfect sense! o_o
Post by AgentJ (1,545 posts) See mini bio Level 13
This blog is among the most interesting I have read in a while, and it increased my interest by %100. (my previous interest was not very high)
Post by AURON570 (572 posts) See mini bio Level 15
I've come to appreciate Madoka as an attack on the magical girl genre. The ways in which it reacts to and parodies magical girl stereotypes are pretty good. But it is not on the same level as Evangelion. I've found that Madoka tends to rely quite a bit on melodrama and music to get its point across.
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@AURON570 said:
" I've come to appreciate Madoka as an attack on the magical girl genre. The ways in which it reacts to and parodies magical girl stereotypes are pretty good. But it is not on the same level as Evangelion. I've found that Madoka tends to rely quite a bit on melodrama and music to get its point across. "
and Eva didn't wangst to get their point across?
They HAD to have wangst
both magical girl and mecha protagonist is ussually cheery/optimistic and so on
 
@EquitasInvictus:
The mind of Pixiv is certainly amazing
Post by AURON570 (572 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@cfatalis:  Umm, no. I don't know exactly what you mean by "wangst", but I guess you're referring to the teenage anxiety that Shinji shows during the series. Firstly I don't see how any of the characters in Madoka can complain about the situation that they are in. Each and every one of the girls had the option of NOT making the contract. The show itself makes a great deal of portraying Kyubey as a clearly suspicious and evil character. Like somehow Kyubey was deceiving them and should have told them everything beforehand. The readiness of each of the girls to sign away their life is still baffling, and there is hardly any conflict at the time of each contract. They find out they can fight evil wishes with special powers and have 1 wish granted, and they do it, and they all regret it later.... 
 
The reason Evangelion is far superior is because of the way Shinji's conflicting motives are explored. For example, at one point Shinji chooses not to pilot the Eva, but eventually returns. Shinji doesn't pilot the Eva to save the world, he does it largely to gain praise from his father. But even this is questionable. Then the only reason he pilots the Eva is because he is the only one who can. The question then becomes, why him? His father doesn't even seem to need him because of the "dummy plug" system. Similar psychological conflicts are explored in both Rei and Asuka. 
 
I guess the main problem I have with Madoka is that is already imposes the structure of a contract, and Kyubey is in a sense, a stranger trying to lure innocent girls into going home with him. He is automatically the "bad guy" and somehow almost all blame for the girl's suffering rests on him, when the fact remains that you need 2 parties to make any sort of contract. The motives for which the girls sign the contract are not as nuanced as the motives for which the pilots in Evangelion choose to pilot Evas. And in my opinion the story and conflict in Madoka is NOT presented as well as it is in Evangelion.
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@AURON570:  Kyubey never told them , "Oh hey you will forfeit your life to me, if you sign this thing" The girls found out after discovering that magical girl will became witch at one point.
Kyubey is not evil per se, he after all admit to NOT understanding any concept of moral and only act with the intent of saving "the world"  which is more or less the same as Nerv
 
Why Shinji, because EVA-01 can only sync with Shinji , dummy plug is not perfect and was invented in the 12th-13th time period . If Eva-01 can sync with anyone else, his father wouldn't have cared. The same with Kyubey, who will take ANY girl to become magical girl , he doesn't care as long as the girl can defeat bad wishes. Madoka was the PERFECT target for his contract, awed by Mami and insecure wanting to have a talent, JACKPOT
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