Madoka Magica Movies 1 and 2 Review (Anime)

Having watched the Madoka Magica series quite a while ago and, uh, not enjoying it very much, I was curious to see if the condensed movies would make for a better watch.
The movies do a lot to fix the pacing issues I had with the series although I still don’t find the storytelling to be particularly great, or the characters. I appreciate that it goes to great lengths to prove how terrible the consequences of being a magical girl can be, but it’s made clear very early on but then continues to push the point for a whole lot longer – this issue is better avoided in the movies as they’re condensed but it still feels as if it focuses on Sayaka’s arc for way too long.
I understand the importance of the twists that are used in Madoka Magica but I feel that the character’s personalities are constantly pulled from side to side and lack consistency – I’m forced to question character’s actions that are out of character and even seem to go against what they really want for the sake of drama especially in the case of Homura. I still find it hard to believe that all of the events are set in motion by girls listening to a talking cat-like creature and actually believing that it’s 100% telling the truth, and they’re old enough to know better so it comes across as stupidity rather than naivety, and so it’s hard to sympathise with them when they’ve essentially gone out of their way to find trouble. I quite liked Kyubey, the creature, though whereas the only magical girl I liked was Mami (and Madoka’s mother is awesome, if not a magical girl).

I’m not a big fan of all of Shaft’s works but it’s undeniable that they’re capable of producing some incredible imagery and the visuals for the Madoka Magica movies are top-notch. I love the dark fairy-tale vibe it has going on and it’s use of normally bright but muted colours that reflect how bleak the situation is for the girls. The art style stands out with the girls’ square-shaped heads and makes them instantly noticeable, and whilst it’s far from my favourite anime, it’s easy to appreciate the visuals although they’re not enough to save the story and characters, they’re enough to keep you interested.
Being an apparent magical girl ‘deconstruction’ – I personally despise this term as it’s nothing of the sort – you can expect some more visceral action scenes that you might not see in more bubbly magical girl shows such as Sailor Moon with a lot more violence and implied horror unfolding before you. There’re guns and swords being used in battle and surprisingly not a whole lot of magic and the battles themselves are rather impressive although not particularly memorable.
I think the English Dub is fantastic and it features some of the greatest voice actresses around including Cristina Vee, Christine Marie Cabanos, Carrie Keranen and several others, all of who have lent their voices to multiple popular games and anime. The Japanese voice cast do a great job too, with both casts giving life to the characters although the characters themselves don’t really carry their weight. The OST is decent too, not that I find myself listening to it outside of the show and movies, but again, I like the dark fairy-tale theme it has going on and wish it made better use of it both visually and in audio.

You’re not likely going to want the movies if you already own the original series as these two movies are a condensed version, but if you’re a diehard fan then you’re probably already adding it to your basket. Madoka Magica was something I went in thinking it might not live up to the hype but I can enjoy it anyway, but sadly I didn’t find a whole lot to enjoy as the characters proved to be insufferable for the most part. I’ve yet to watch Rebellion and have heard mixed things about it but I’m hoping that it can only be better, but you’ll be able to read my thoughts on it regardless very soon.

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