Puella Magi Madoka Magica
As someone who watches a substantial amount of anime every week I seldom come across something that truly surprises me. Back in January most of the series I were following were ending to make way for a new season of animes. I downloaded the first episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica presuming it was of the typical magical girl genre. I didn’t think too much of the first couple of episodes other than it seemed kind of weird.
The anime starts out within a dream of the protagonist, Madoka Kaname, a young and timid eight grader. She watches woefully as a dark haired girl fight a mysterious dark force and eventually be struck down. Madoka asks if someone [weak] like herself can really make a difference. As obligatory in these kinds of animes a small rabbit/dog/creature, named Kyuubey, asserts she most definitely can. All she needs is to make a contract with him to become a Puella Magi.
Puella Magi is the name shared by the magical girls chosen by Kyuubey to fight witches, or evil spirits that terrorize normal humans and lead them to terrible fates such a suicide. By becoming a Puella Magi, Kyuubey will grant you a single wish. In turn you must dedicate your life to fight witches. As the viewer, you’re posed with the question of that one wish. What would it be and would you sacrifice your life for it?
The anime takes a weird angle whenever these witches make an appearance. Instead of typical animation Puella incorporates paper craft, with hand-drawn doodles and cutouts to paint the backdrop for the sinister and irregular world of witches.
Now that I’ve laid down the basics of the anime I want to address why this is actually worth your attention. Beyond the third episode the show takes a turn for the dark and brutal. The cutesy exterior in the first episode can only be described as a clever façade as this anime is far from pink and cute.
[Spoiler warning: You can stop reading here if you don’t want to see plot spoilers]
The fates of the girls themselves are as grim as they are swift. Becoming a Puella Magi turns out to be a far greater sacrifice than they anticipated. In fact, the fate of the world might hinge on them NOT making a contract with Kyuubey.
The adorable dog-rabbit becomes more scary than cute as the show goes on. You could accurately describe him as a young child pulling the wings off butterflies, ignorant to his actions. Maybe not ignorant. Just emotionless.
It’s painful and thrilling to accompany the girls descent into darkness, but a joy to see an anime that dares to take risks and play with the viewers assumptions. The plot twists are frequent and you never know what’s going to happen next.
Unfortunately we might never know what happens since the show was cancelled past episode 10. Even with that in mind, I implore you to check out Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It’s nothing but one of a kind.