Magical girls done as only SHAFT can do
Overcooled: I can’t say I’m exactly a big watcher of the magical girl genre, but I know it generally consists of these things: shiny transformations, cute mascots, ornate outfits and subtle yuri subtexts. Don’t deny the last one, YOU ALL KNOW IT’S THERE! YOU SAW THE OPENING!
Sassy: It seems I’m the only guy who had this on his “want” list, which is expected since this is a magical girl show after all. I don’t usually like this genre, but since there seem to be a lot of these this season, I figured I might be missing out if I didn’t give them a chance. So, here goes nothing!
Kyokai: Whoa… Magical girls by SHAFT?! I don’t even know what to think. Not like they are not known for surprises. Let’s see how they fair.
Overcooled: Most magical girl animes start with a dream sequence, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one as badass as this one. Madoka stumbles upon a decimated city, completely dark and empty. The only inhabitants are a dark-haired girl desperately fighting against something and a cute animal who asks her to form a magical girl contract with him in order to save that girl, who will inevitably lose otherwise. But lulz, IT’S ALL A DREAM! WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT!
After the opening, there’s a bit of the cooldown from the action, transitioning into cuter things such as waking up and getting ready. Madoka’s mom is pretty awesome, so watching the two idly chatter is actually pretty interesting. They both leave for work/school (The dad is the one wearing the apron while the mom is an executive? AWWW YEAH) and Madoka meets up with her two friends. More cuteness!
The first thing you will notice about their teacher is that she complains about her poor love life to her students and is a bit on the slow side. It’s only until she’s done her bought of ranting that she actually introduces the new transfer student (again, standard fare for magical girl shows…or any anime, really). She’s the same girl from Madoka’s dream too.
The girls fangirl over her more than the guys do…
Basically, she is the new shit and everyone wants to touch her, be near her, talk to her, kiss her shoes etc. She excuses herself from all her fangirls by saying she will get the hall monitor to take her to the nurse’s office to rest a bit. She wordlessly glides towards Madoka and asks, no, DEMANDS to be taken there. Add in a glare for good measure, and she can’t refuse.
…I wish my old school was this nice -.-
Madoka awkwardly tries to make conversation with Homura, but she just powers forward, ironically leading the way instead of Madoka. They eventually stop in an empty hallway, after some very Bakemonogatari-esque shots of Homura looking pissed, and she threatens the HELL out of that poor little girl. The bottom line: don’t become a magical girl or you’ll lose everything. Well, maybe it’s more of a warning to protect Madoka from being like her, but it’s more fun to view Homura as an emo bitch, so I shall~
Madoka’s friends provide wonderful feedback to Madoka’s story: you’re both crazy. The nice friend leaves Madoka with the one who called her crazy a few moments ago, so they go CD shopping together. At least, that was the plan until Madoka hears a voice calling for help and sneaks into a dark basement. A badly injured animal falls from a ceiling panel right in front of her, so she quickly scoops it into her arms. That’s when Homura, clad in her magic girl costume, appears and demands custody of the furry creature.
Sayaka springs into action with a fire extinguisher and gets Madoka out of there. I guess at this point everyone’s dose of LSD has kicked in, since the show seems to be hi-jacked by experimental art students at this point. Unable to leave due to mustachioed dandelion fluffs (and we all know from experience how brutal THOSE are), they cower in fear until a blonde girl suddenly pops in, transforms, summons a near infinite amount of guns, and fires them all in a hellfire of bullets. That may be the single greatest (probably run-on) sentence I have ever written.
Homura reluctantly flees, allowing the blonde chick (I’m bad with names, and too lazy to look them up. Hush.) to heal her animal friend, Kyubei. Once he awakens, he asks both of them to become magical girls.
MORE MADOKA MAGIC!:
…See? SEE?? SEE?!?!
Senjougahara, when did you get here?
“Now you can be a magical girl! Also, I’m pretty sure you caught his rabies.”
Kyokai: Ok, even if the art style is not to my personal liking at all, I’ll try to be objective here. The animation is brilliant and as expected of SHAFT. The crazy camera angles and just the right amount of lighting is what you get with rightly placed background music. The girls are very cute and have an innocence about them even if they will be getting hot for each other quite soon. >.>
The characters are voiced quite well and of course I’m going to like Homura because Chiwa Saito is behind her. For some reason or the other, she ends up doing all the strong girls of SHAFT, Senjougahara and Stella anyone? Madoka being the main character has to be cute and well, vulnerable. She definitely has one awesome mom and some guys are not going to like the fact the dad being, well house-husbando? Also, the Kyubey name made me go lol wut?! My version of Kyuubi’s quite fierce and not at all cuddly, but that is what works for this anime for sure.
I never got into this genre so I don’t think there is any point of me continuing to watch this but hey, if you like the Hidamari Sketch style and GAR lolis with shotguns, here’s something that you will enjoy~ Oh also, Shinbou, still waiting for Kizumonogatari, ne~ Be a good guy and finish it by Spring, alright?
Sassy: Apparently, I had forgotten what elements are a part of magical girl shows. I can handle the weird transformation sequences, as long as there’s no poorly censored nudity – I’m no lolicon. I can handle the overly dramatic emphasis on friends and family. They’re a bit cheesy, but hey, these are great lessons to learn! But the thing I can’t stand under any circumstance is that annoying little mascot-animal-thing. When I realized that there was going to be a talking-cat-whatever (which, by the way, was like 2 minutes into the episode), I almost gave up right there. I think there’s some part of me, most likely my Y chromosome, that refuses to accept that annoying brat. But enough with the irritating parts, let’s talk about more pleasant things.
The main girls seemed to have pretty much cookie-cutter personalities and appearances, so I wasn’t really attached to them. I did, however, enjoy two characters: Madoka’s mother and her teacher. I don’t think there’s anyone here who hates having the blanket pulled away while trying to sleep in, and Madoka’s mother captured that feeling perfectly, right down to the scream. As for Madoka’s teacher, that might just be me being preoccupied with middle-aged women with relationship issues. Hey, don’t judge. I’m American. I’m a little mixed about the acid trip part of the episode. I thought the cotton balls with mustaches were hilarious, but then I felt a little bad because Madoka and her friend seemed genuinely scared. And you know how you kind of feel like an ass when you laugh at something that ends up being inappropriate? Yeah, that’s the feeling I got. Then again, these are anime characters, so maybe I’m just being crazy for considering their feelings. Or maybe I’m so compassionate that I can feel bad about hurting anime characters. Or both.
This series was a little too much for me, or maybe too little, so my gut instinct is telling me to drop it. Maybe I’ll hear a lot of good things about it in the future and make my glorious return, but for now, it didn’t make a lasting, good enough impression on me to keep watching. But at least I’m happy with myself for trying! Later~
Overcooled: Well, that was nothing short of adorable. Adorable, yet with a hint of darkness not found in many magical girl shows. It’s a GREAT mix of things going on here. I swear those attacks look more badass than cute. Did that blonde chick just summon like a BAZILLION guns? Daaaaaaamn. Is it wrong to hope for little girls brutally pounding the living daylights out of each other in kawaii frilly dresses? SHAFT really brings a unique flavour to the typical magical girl base (I mean, the story is very typical of a magical girl show), which surprisingly makes up for the classic textbook story and then some.
Another thing I liked was that they let the best friend in on it. I can’t stand it when all the friends are like “what did you do last night, madoka?” “Oh, just went on Tumblr, didn’t save the world or nothing lolololol” . NO. YOU NEED YOUR BUDDIES TO BE KICKING ASS ALONGSIDE YOU OR AT LEAST AGREEING TO BE YOUR CHEERLEADER. Also, DAT MUSIC. Yuki Kajiura is a godly, musical BEAST. Half the time the music was more epic than what was actually happening, it was so intense.
I wasn’t BLOWN AWAY since it’s seemingly a normal show with some flare here and there to make up for it, but it’s by far the best thing I’ve seen so far for the Winter season. It starting off slow and very cliche (aside from the special animation), but oh man..does it ever have the potential to become something great. I’ll be blogging this from now on, that’s for sure. Look forward to it, ne~