A magical surprise
March 11, 2011 1 Comment
Since this winter season began, I was having doubts about whether I’d really enjoy the shows coming out. The only ones I was remotely impressed with at the time were Fractale and Wandering Son. Now that this season’s nearing it’s end, as we’re about to head into the spring season, I must say, I’ve found some quite delightful surprises. Most particularly in Madoka Magica.
Major spoilers up to episode 10 to follow.
Now when I first watched Madoka Magica, I didn’t think much of it. It looked cliche, plot seemed rather boring and dull. Madoka herself, didn’t seem very special, and neither was her friend, Sayaka. The plot seemed rather simple at the beginning: A small furry animal persuading a bunch of teenage girls to become magical girls to defeat some odd monstrous beings, supposedly to bring peace to the world or whatnot. However, it takes a surprisingly turn of events, starting mainly with Mami, as she’s unexpectedly killed in battle. This occurs in episode 3 if I do recall correctly, and from the last two episodes I saw, this was a relief to see. At last, I’ve found some development in this series. An ulterior motive for Madoka to become a magical girl. But she doesn’t quite fill in the contract yet.
More development follows as Sayaka becomes a magical girl in order to heal the hands of the boy she has a crush on. Sadly, he doesn’t feel the same way, forcing her to delve into madness. It’s here that the art style explodes with glorious creativity, as the artists create the scenes with a contrast of black and white between the characters at the background. I was really enjoying the art style of Madoka, more specifically the dream world, but the scene just shined to me as it manages to properly express the tone of Madoka and the direction it’s leading up to. A very demented and deranged world, not meant for the weak hearted.
More surprising events follow including Kyubey, the devious little furry animal, revealing what truly makes a Magical Girl. The fact that a soul gem is separated from their bodies, is in altogether, a dirty trick conducted by Kyubey. It’s what divides them from the real world and the dream world. Moreover, it’s what almost causes Sayaka to die, as Madoka mistakenly throws away her soul gem in order to save her, unknowingly of its consequences. It’s almost quite disturbing to know your body is just an empty case of nothingness, while your real soul lies in a tiny gem. Inevitably, Sayaka turns into a witch, which in turns costs Kyoko her life as she sacrifices herself to defeat the witch. I wasn’t bother by her death that much, to be honest. For a character we barely know that much about and hasn’t done so much for the show, her death was just worth a frown to me.
The biggest turn of events occur in episode 10 where everything falls into place and makes the most sense out of this series. Homura, the seemingly cold-hearted girl, is revealed to be initially shy and timid before she became a magical girl. What’s even more unusual is the revealed Madoka at a point where she is already a magical girl, already fighting beside Mami and Sayaka. Interestingly enough, the magical girls drop like flies one by one, before Homura finally makes a contract with Kyubey to make her ultimate decision to become a magical girl in order to return to a time before she met Madoka. The second time around, the girls once more meet a devastating fate as Sayaka turns into a witch, turning on each other as they realize Magical girls inevitably becomes witches. Now that Homura possess time-shifting powers, she’s able to redo the time she spent, and attempt to prevent Madoka and her friends following the same fate they have previously led in their previous lives.
It’s this particular episode which definitely raises my expectations for this show, making it possibly my favorite show of the season. The title itself is so misleading and devious. It’s not so much what Madoka does, but what Homura can do, and how she’s trying to prevent these catastrophic events to occur. This episode alone changed how I viewed Homura. Like how she was viewed, she seemed to be a cold hearted bitch, with no reason to act this way, yet now I understand why she’s doing the things that she does. However, it raises an inquiry for the audience. Can these events truly be avoided? Mami, Sayaka, Kyoko, have already met the same fate as they have in their previous lives. But can Madoka be saved? If Homura is killed, the chain is broken, but everyone will still meet their end. It seems Kyubey cannot be killed forever, as he somehow has an infinite supply of bodies, and each contract made, continues the chain of magical girls and witches. I’m at a loss of how this series will end.
Damn, I’m really excited about this series now.