Genre(s): Magical Girl, Drama, Dark Fantasy, Psychological Thriller
Age-Appropriateness: 15+ (Disturbing imagery, violence)
Platforms: Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll
TheAwersome Rating: 9.4 / 10 (A Masterpiece)
Premise: Madoka and Sayaka are regular middle school girls who encounter a cat-like magical familiar that offers them a proposition: he will grant any one of their wishes and in exchange they will become magical girls with power to fulfill their dreams and fight witches. Transfer student Homura, a magical girl herself, warns them not to accept the proposal and tries to stop them.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Do you ever have those shows or games that you go through and they just stick with you for like, months? This is one of those. I usually will quasi-binge anime, but this was the first one I truly savored. I couldn’t bring myself to watch more than one episode a day because each one gave me so much to think about, and so much artistry to appreciate. Everything in this show is a masterful work of art. The deliberate use of the both the “moe” and other art styles/mediums coupled with gorgeous cinematography boldly differentiate this from other anime. The soundtrack is masterfully done adding tremendously to the overall atmosphere and emotion of the show. Characters are distinct, complex, and believable, letting you really connect with them.
Note: If you are recently recovering from Doki Doki Literature Club, give yourself some time before picking this up. Speaking from experience here.
There are two movies that recap the series: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings and Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Eternal. A third movie, Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion contains new story that continues where the series left off (in next review). The first two movies are almost shot-for-shot identical to the original series, so they are by no means required. Basically there’s extra detail in the backgrounds, some flashier transformation sequences, and two or three new music tracks, but otherwise it’s just a condensed retelling of the series. If you can get the first two movies, go ahead and watch them if you want a refresher, but I’d recommend watching the series over them.