Anime Review: “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” Part 2- Wish Cautiously

Written by Emily Stewart April 19, 2013

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From left to right: Kyoko Saukra, Sakaya Miki, Mami Tomei, Homura Akemi, and Madoka Kaname

In my last review of “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, I stated the first eight episodes of the anime looked into the darker aspects of being a magical girl. The last four episodes look into that element much more, so much so that the ending is quite emotional and melodramatic at times. While just four episodes seems like a short part of the series to review, the narrative has a lot of detail and emotion, and provides background on the origins of  protagonist Madoka Kamane and her classmate and fellow magical girl Homura Akemi.

“Madoka Magica: The Movie” Trailer

Time for a flashback

The transformation of Sayaka Miki from a magical girl to full witch form begins the rest of the series. Although Madoka pleads for her to remember her role was originally for justice, her words do not reach Sayaka at all. Sayaka’s defeat does not only lead to her own death, but to the death of Kyōko Sakura as well. Such perishing changes the light-hearted (as possible) mood of the characters completely from somewhat individualistic girls to more solemn and mourning, with the exception of the contract-negotiator Kyubei, stressing throughout the anime that it was their destiny to die. In relation to the perishing, the intense acting includes a lot of tears and shouting from the girls, which is understandable for a group of friends who had to watch each other die throughout.

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This is not the first time the characters have been killed, however. There is an entire episode based upon flashbacks from Homura Akemi through her experiences as a magical girl, revealing she has tried to prevent Madoka from dying many times, despite that their teammates perish throughout the process-some even killing each other! Actually, Madoka’s last wish was for Homura to prevent her from becoming a magical girl once again, leading the audience to an explanation of why Homura discourages her from doing so when we are first introduced to the characters. That particular episode explained the concept of the show completely, and the impact on the other characters was displayed well given the time constraints.

Stubborn Teenagers

Since Madoka died more than once throughout the series, and given the fact she’s been cautioned about becoming a magical girl, surely she never signs a contract with deceiving cat Kyubei, right? Wrong. After learning about Homura trying to save her many times, she decides to become a Puella Magi, with her wish to save all of the other girls who suffered and eventually passed on, by bringing them back to life, stating she would never suffer if all the other magical girls are revived. All of her teammates who perish are brought back into the series, as the narrative travels through flashbacks once again.

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Of course, Madoka’s existence is forgotten by most-except her little brother and Homura. The saddest, yet most ironic, part of her erased legacy on Earth is her own mother doesn’t even remember her, asking if she’s an anime character. While it is clear throughout that the girls sell their soul to Kyubei to gain their powers, it is interesting how her brother is the only one who remembers her, and could make for an interesting sequel series.

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While “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” has definitely raised the bar for anime about magical girls with an intense and darker storyline, there were a few things troubling about it, as indicated in the Part 1 review. Kyubei is an unsettling creature, despite its cute cat-like appearance, but villain-like characters should be like that. Although Madoka didn’t become a magical girl until the end of the series, despite her name inserted into the title, she was the most powerful. However, during the final conversation between Madoka and Homura, the two girls are in a dream-like world where both of them appear while nude, though they are more like semi-silhouettes, it is still troubling. Yes, this is nothing new for bishojo hiro anime  (*ahem* Sailor Moon transformation sequences), and the dialogue itself represented their friendship, however “Madoka Magica” stood out in the first part because it didn’t have that in at all. Either way, the anime puts a unique spin on the magical girl genre, and proved not all stories like it are the same.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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