First Impression – Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica

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.”

End Thoughts:

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~

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We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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52 Responses to “First Impression – Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica”

  1. Dan-go says:

    SHAFT u make me feel like a perv…but a damned happy one at that

  2. Robert says:

    I watched this anime just because it’s SHAFT, and it met my expectations :) animation is perfect (as expected from SHAFT), although character designs are not my type; music is also perfect :) I think I’ll watch this, even though I HATE magical girls- type anime.

    • Overcooled says:

      SHAFT always adds a touch of AMAZING to everything they do. The character designs take some getting used to, but I think they’re okay. I swear this is the show that will convert us non-magic girl fans into fans XD

  3. aihara-yuki says:

    lmao! i love kyokai’s comments where you said “The girls are very cute and have an innocence about them even if they will be getting hot for each other quite soon. >.>”

    Brilliant, that’s what i’d thought as well.

    Although it pretty seem that, imo, the best magical show would be Card Captor Sakura, Sailor Moon (Don’t deny it, xD I totally got hooked in its SNES game!) and Sugar Sugar Rune. CCS got its hint of shoujo-ai where Tomoyo fancies Sakura, but the other two I mentioned is probably the best! >_> Oh yeah, there was Sailor Neptune x Uranus thingi, but it’s not so deep anyway.

    And yeah, why is it that these days, magical shoujo animes are like so loli-cons? -__- It shudders me when I think Japanese are *that* perverted to be interested in pedos now… You see a lot of those kinky stuff in Japan, yknow… Can’t blame MJ…

    Magical girl shows these days tend to be too shoujo-ai + yuri, it’s pretty sick and I could tell how this kind of genre goes. Typical. Maybe towards Magister Negi Magi(?)… But seresly, this kind of show is totally… BORING me!

    It annoys me to HELL when the ADVERTS kept POPPING OUT whenever I’m watching Arakawa x2, Bakuman and TnC! It has made me wanting to shut the laptop fer good.

    But you made quite a good comment bout this show tho. It shows you guys got professionalism, unlike mine, bashing all the way through since this show is on my nerves, xD I love reading through your reviews. It makes me wanna pick some of the new animes just because you reviewed it.

    Thanks! Sorry for my long comment… Yknow, I HAD to let it all out >.<

    • Overcooled says:

      LOL yeah, somewhere between the friendship speeches and magic battles, the girls start getting WAAAYY too close to each other. It’s usually just a lot of hugging though, so I just laugh and go along with it. The loli-ness seems to just be in order to add to the cute factor…but ends up attracting lolicons T.T

      Oh my gosh, all those adverts…Especially when a tense scene ends and then it’s like BAM! SUPAA PINKU KAWAII DESU!!!!! <_<

      Hey, your comment is fine XD Who cares about professionalism, just let your thoughts out!

  4. Foshizzel says:

    Fun show so far I like what Shaft has done with a magical girl themed series, usually ill avoid these mostly because they get old kind of fast so hopefully this turns out to be a good one!

    • Overcooled says:

      SHAFT put their own spin on it, so it’s worth giving a try. I think magic girl fans and non magic girls fans will both be pleased

  5. Goking says:

    Now i really feel like picking this one up..even though this genre of anime never really appealed to me much before ._.

    • Overcooled says:

      Trust me, almost none of us are magic girl fans and it’s still addictive. Give it a try at least =D

  6. anaaga says:

    i remembered when i used to hate this show before it evern started. the commercial was in every one of my damn favorite shows. i always went batshit crazy because they always put the commercial in the fighting part

    *see Ryner fighting some evil dude. all dark and tense*
    *commercial for madoka. dark turned into pink and fluffy*
    me: “FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU”

    but yeah, i ended up liking this show. i like how there’s actually something dark and tense in this magical girl show, not just happy and fluffy. the last time i saw this kind of magical girl was when i was in elementary, watching sailor moon 😀 also, the blond girl’s weapon is badass!!! kinda reminds me of final fantasy vs. 13 >.> i wana summon weapons like that too. i actually like the art. the songs are awesome. i’m loving all of the songs already
    madoka’s house is awesome. the bathroom is just fuckinhuge. the school is also nice too. the whole point is, i’m watching it 😀

    and it’s ok sassy, it happens to everybody. i actually laughed a lot when i watched shiki >.<

    • anaaga says:

      and yay for some yuri hints! xD

    • Overcooled says:

      Those ads really hyped me up for it as much as they made me rage for interrupting my show.

      I like the dark elements too. This magic world seems really..well..DANGEROUS. And it’s rare to get that sort of feeling.

      I WANT THEIR BUILDINGS. ALL OF THEM.

  7. Amutofan123 says:

    Okay, I guess I’ll just be one of those few people that love magical girls. You can blame Cardcaptor Sakura and Shugo Chara for that.

    The characters and story weren’t anything that new, but SHAFT’s style is enough to pull me in. I felt like a was watching a mixture of Bakemonogatari, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

    The music was just awesome.

    I’m definitely going to continue to watch this.

    • Overcooled says:

      I knew there were some actual magical girl fans out there! But hey, everyone loves CCS. =D I watched Nanoha before and it was “meh.” I kept almost typing Nanoha instead of Madoka though, which was kind of annoying…XD

    • anaaga says:

      cardcaptor sakura is amazing. i still have a crush on yue xD now that i remember it, there’s actually a little of shounen-ai going on in that series xD

      the continuation of ccs (trc) is good also.

      • aihara-yuki says:

        lulz, CCS is probably the best since it’s not lolicon, ecchi etc… it has the best story plot, CLAMP, waddya know…

  8. Metalsnakezero says:

    This is pretty much SHAFT crazy take on the genre and twisting parts of it to their own will. There is a dark tone to it that was seen or explored enough in other magical girls and it’ll be interesting to see how the characters will react to it. Also UNLIMITED MUSKET WORKS!

    • Metalsnakezero says:

      Sorry, spelling error on “was”. It should had been wasn’t.

    • Overcooled says:

      Why didn’t anyone else think to throw in a little darkness to their magical girls show, huh? Because it just works so well! =D

      Lulz, yeah, I saw people saying that a lot when she summoned the guns. That and how the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei attacked them halfway through the episode XD

  9. Karin says:

    In opinion this is almost like a Bakemonogatari and a Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha mixture. Bakemonogatari because the animation of Mahou Shoujo Madoka really reminded me of it, and as for Nanoha, not only the name of the series but the fact that they both find an injured animal mascot and become magical girls, with a mysterious girl that seems like an antagonist at first but is probably going to become one of their best friends later on ^^;;. Either way I’m sticking around to watch mostly because of the animation but also because I love Aoi Yuki~

    • Overcooled says:

      It has the same direction as bakemonogatari, so that’s not a surprise. I keep thinking of Nanoha too. I’m picturing a REALLY BAD magical girls show called Ground Defense Mao-chan right now and let me tell you…it’s easy to screw up a good magical girls show and yet SHAFT is doing it right XD

      Mmmm I love Aoi Yuuki too. She has wicked awesome range.

  10. Nayu says:

    I loved this show. As a moderate fan of the magical girl genre (Cardcaptor Sakura and Shugo Chara are two of my favorite series), I just had to watch it. And I really enjoyed it :D.

    Madoka actually reminded me slightly (only very slightly though) of Sakura from CCS. I instantly fell in love with her because of that. And also, she’s got pink hair (I love pink hair~) ! It certainly is great that Sayaka gets to be a magical girl as well. It accentuates the whole “power of friendship” theme that magical girl anime have. Other shows where the main character has to lie to her friends about who she really is aren’t really sticking to the theme. I mean, it’s like telling the viewers to lie ! What if a random three year old watches a magical girl anime where the main character lies and then becomes a liar. . . That would be horrible.

    The art style used for the characters isn’t very good. It’s like watching an anime partly made by a seven year old. However, the scenery looks great. Madoka’s house and school look amazing ! Some parts definitely reminded me of Bakemonogatari, especially those moments with Homura getting mad. I don’t really like her as a character, but she might grow on me. I have really high expectations for this show now~

    • Overcooled says:

      Mmm, it was good, alright. I EXPECT A LOT FROM IT AS WELL! Most magical girl leads seem a bit similar actually. They’re all usually chipper and adorable XD

      I hate when they lie to their friends, and their friends still support them -.- They’d obviously accept it if you told them, so why be a bitch and make them worry about you? *sigh* It IS a bad lesson to teach people!

      They’re going for a more stylistic character design, and I’m pretty neutral on it. I don’t like or dislike it, it’s just…there. XD

      • Nayu says:

        I guess it’s because I enjoy chipper and adorable girls that I like Magical Girls ^^.

        Where is the world going to, now that adorable pink-haired lolis lie to their friends and family *sigh*. It’s sad. . .

        You’ve got the right state of mind on the character design. That way you can enjoy the show without concentrating on them (lucky) ! I’m just too picky on art and refuse to watch shows that look bad. If the beautiful backgrounds weren’t there, I would’ve definitely dropped this.

        • Overcooled says:

          I like cute girls too though…Look what moe has done to me XD

          Are you judging it just based on the art? It’s offsetting to watch something with annoying/bad art, but I don’t know if I’d drop something just because of it. I guess I’m just easy-going in the art department :3

          • Nayu says:

            I blame K-on for my attachment to adorable girls. And Shugo Chara for my love for pink hair xD. I think there aren’t any survivors of the moe wave anyway ! I mean, who could hate cute little ditzy girls with huge eyes ?

            You probably aren’t easy-going in the art department, it’s just me being a perfectionist, I think :). So many of my favorite shows are on my list just because of their art. I don’t really care about the story (although it’s nice if it’s good as well), as long as it looks good, I’ll watch it xD.

  11. Alynn says:

    I didn’t really like the art style either. I gave it a try because I saw like a million ads for this, and I have to say, I’ll keep watching.

    …My sister was with me as I watched this, and she got scared from those dancing moustache things…

    • Overcooled says:

      It kind of dances on the edge of being good or bad for me. Which is a shame, considering how great everything else is for the designs to just be “meh.”

      LOL awwwwww. I hope there’s something scarier next week to scare her again XD

  12. Sebz says:

    only Overcooled was able to mention Kajiura, cry T_T

    with SHAFT, it’s either hit or miss. honestly, this is my first mahou shoujo in a long while, and I like it xD

    • Overcooled says:

      Keke, I’m sure everyone here loves Yuki Kajiura, I just happened to be the one who mentioned it XD I haven’t seen a magic girl show in…a long time…either…but this certainly makes up for it :3

  13. wonton jr. says:

    Oh my gosh, SHAFT has impressed me, once again. But you’re right Kyokai, the art style doesn’t really agree with me either

    Also did I mention how awesome the OP is? I love the dark part of this anime, they hardly have any dark tones in magical girl type animes, and it’s surprisingly really good.

    • Overcooled says:

      I love the OP song itself, but the animation isn’t as amazing as SHAFT usually is. o.o Maybe I’m comparing it too much to Bakemonogatari though.

  14. amado says:

    the only other magical girl ive read is fate/kaleid prisma illya and watched strike witches so im definitely hooked.

    because all of these have yuri potential.
    plus made by SHAFT.

    • Overcooled says:

      Haven’t even heard of those, so you’ve already 1-upped me.

      I used to hate yuri, but now I’ve come to either be neutral about it or outright like it. XD

      • amado says:

        fate/kaleid prisma illya is a spin-off of fate/stay night.

        its pretty much still part of the nasuverse despite being a spin-off, just like the diff parts of fate/stay night(unlimited blade works, heavens feel).

        • amado says:

          oh and I realized that strike witches doesnt count because despite it having girls with magical powers, its definitely not like one.

  15. Junko says:

    The ultimate Mahou Shoujo for me is, and forever will be, Cardcaptor Sakura. The girls were pure and delicate, and the boys were either rash and full of fighting spirit. Kero was the best mascot anyone could have, given the whole transforming into a BAMF lion and Sakura’s older brother was darling.

    My standards are high, Madoka, very very high.

    • Overcooled says:

      CCS was brilliant for many reasons, and is THE magic girl show to compare things to (or Sailor Moon, but I never got into that quite as much). I usually don’t like comparing things directly, but if I know magic girl anime can be THAT good…Well, let’s just say we all have some bars set very, very high.

  16. ichigopockysticks says:

    I really dont know what to make of any of these show that have come out so far not really sure I am actually gonna watch anything other then KnT2

  17. Nalit says:

    I started watching this for the music! Yuki Kajiura~~~
    SHAFT sometimes goes kind of crazy with the stop-motion, but I’ll give this a shot!

  18. Gunny says:

    lol, I really into this *-* the story is so cliche. Face it. I still like it a lot. And SATSUYA-TAN IS SO CUTE. MY GAWD. D: You know when you see a child and want to poke and squeeze and SWALlOW IT DOWN YOUR THROAT?? lol . And all the LCD thing is cool.
    The BGM is another STRONG point. It’s awesome. THIS SHOW IS DARK.

    But I must admit that when i remembered about nanoha’s 1st season and how things were SO ALIKE with this show, it kind of dissapointed me. But okay. I’m already addicted to it. no turning back now =p.

    So this is one of the show i’m really looking foward right now (one of the others is Level E. A must watch for LCD lovers) and the GAINAX’s one, of course.

    Satsuya-tan * 3*

    • Overcooled says:

      LOL I KNOW, SOOOO CUTE >w<

      It reminds me of Nanoha too (I think everyone is reminded of Nanoha at this point, but darker and with better music.

      I still need to give Level E a try. I must admit, I’m a bit tentative though…

  19. Yi says:

    I’ve grown really fond of Shaft. Its willingness to go above and beyond on animation impresses me. I’m looking forward to great things… Although I won’t be surprised if it tanks like Vampire Bund.

    The music is just as – if not more – stunning.

    • Overcooled says:

      I used to ignore which studios did what…SHAFT was the only studio I could instantly recognize when watching something. They’re just so original! I doubt this will be a Vampire Bund level fail…it can’t become THAT horrible that fast.

  20. Namika says:

    Wow. I watched this last night and was rather impressed.

    • Dan-go says:

      yayyyy good girl, just w8 till the show gets twisted 😉

    • Overcooled says:

      WHAT DANGO SAID.
      It’s my favourite show of the season so if this doesn’t impress you, nothing will. XD

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