Puella Magi Madoka Magica

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Screwball » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:41 pm

So, has anybody else been watching this? If so, what are your opinions?

From what I've seen, it appears to be a binary state whether you like it or not. A lot of the people I've discussed it with really didn't like the dark atmosphere, and I admit I didn't find it particularly pleasant either, even if it probably is a more 'realistic' portrayal of what sending teenaged girls to fight eldritch horrors would be like. In the context of the last two episodes, however, it turns into something completely different, and the previous dark tone adds a considerable emotional weight to the ending, turning what would have been effective anyway into possibly one of the most epic acts of heroic self sacrifice I've ever seen in an anime - or any other medium, for that matter. I'm genuinely impressed, and I think this is going to ear a spot in one of my all time favourites despite the fact that I generally don't like shows that are excessively heavy on the angst.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Crescent Pulsar R » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:18 pm

My opinion is generally the same as yours.

When you begin to watch it, you have to pick it up with the intention of finishing it. It's kind of like... taking a liquid medicine, I guess. You'll likely have nothing positive to say about the taste, initially, but by the time it kicks in the taste's long gone and you thank god you took it.

As I said in the only other messageboard I go to, the ending reached a very special place in my heart; and that's no easy thing. It's actually a kind of typical ending for the magical girl genre, in a way, but given multitudes and multitudes of substantial value because of the plot you may not have really liked; and because of what the protagonist does, which is somewhat unexpected yet believable nonetheless.

Man... If the ending isn't perfect, I don't know what is. I don't know about anyone else, but when I saw it, anything I didn't like before, that led up to it, suddenly became precious. I'll never forget this series, and will probably remain on my recommend-to-others-regardless-of-venue-and-circumstance list forever.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Comartemis » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:01 pm

My opinion on this series is much the same as my opinion on Evangelion. I adore the characters (Asuka aside) enough to want to read fanfics about them, but I despise both the series and Gen Urobuchi for what it/he puts them through. I especially don't get how anyone can consider the ending to be happy by any stretch of the word, considering that two characters are deader than dead, two of the others are emotionally-broken wrecks because they never met the two dead characters, and the one who went through several times more angst and heartache than the rest of the cast put together failed to save her precious person and has to settle for being the only one who even knows she ever existed. And yet people are raving about this like it's the best thing to ever come out of Japan.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Crescent Pulsar R » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:24 pm

Bittersweet doesn't seem to be your cup of tea, perhaps. Besides, it's not like whether it was a happy or sad ending was the point; it was supposed to be a serious tale, a poignant tragedy with a silver lining. It's like reading a fairy tale as it was originally written, before Disney and such got their hands on them. I don't much care for angst and dark themes myself (and I did stop watching it a few times, unsure if I wanted to continue), but I enjoy good stories, and I enjoy even more something that breaks away from the usual territory and does a good job of it. The magical girl genre needed a story like this one; I very much appreciated it.

I mean, I feel the same way as you do about Evangelion, if perhaps for different reasons. The story never really grabbed me, and the ending fell flat, in my opinion. Well, I think there's a new ending now, but I haven't been interested enough to find out how that turned out.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Screwball » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:33 am

Comartemis wrote:My opinion on this series is much the same as my opinion on Evangelion. I adore the characters (Asuka aside) enough to want to read fanfics about them, but I despise both the series and Gen Urobuchi for what it/he puts them through. I especially don't get how anyone can consider the ending to be happy by any stretch of the word, considering that two characters are deader than dead, two of the others are emotionally-broken wrecks because they never met the two dead characters, and the one who went through several times more angst and heartache than the rest of the cast put together failed to save her precious person and has to settle for being the only one who even knows she ever existed. And yet people are raving about this like it's the best thing to ever come out of Japan.


I agree that anybody who says the ending is happy probably hasn't been paying attention. Like Crescent Pulsar says, it's bittersweet, and if you don't like things that don't have mostly unqualified happy endings, then obviously you're unlikely to like this. I think, however, that if it had ended 'and then they all lived happily ever after' or something similar, then the whole thing would have fallen flat. As it is, we've got a conclusion where somebody who's been through what is essentially a torture regime designed to reduce her to suicidal despair, who knows that if she gets it even a little bit wrong, she'll become a monster that will destroy everything she's ever loved, and who knows that she has to sacrifice a great deal of those things in the first place, still has the guts and the spirit to stand up and say 'No, I'm not going to allow this to happen'. That self sacrifice ensures that, ultimately, the individual story of every magical girl in the setting has a happy end - that is, they really do go to a better place, rather than becoming soul sucking monsters - and introduces real hope into a previously utterly hopeless situation.

So, no, it's not happy, it doesn't fix everything, but it does turn what is basically a crapsack world into something where there actually is hope for the future. D'you really think Homura would work with Kyubei if the incubators were still running an energy ponzi scheme involving emotional torture of adolescent girls? The whole setting pretty clearly changed for the better. For what it is, it's beautiful and has huge emotional impact, and that's why people are raving about it.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Comartemis » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:35 am

So, no, it's not happy, it doesn't fix everything, but it does turn what is basically a crapsack world into something where there actually is hope for the future. D'you really think Homura would work with Kyubei if the incubators were still running an energy ponzi scheme involving emotional torture of adolescent girls? The whole setting pretty clearly changed for the better. For what it is, it's beautiful and has huge emotional impact, and that's why people are raving about it.

I know all about the emotional impact Screwball; it makes me sick to my stomach.

The setting can go to hell for all I care, I don't really give a damn about the fates of all the nameless puellas who didn't exist until the moment we saw them. The main characters got screwed over. That's all that matters to me.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby CRBWildcat » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:47 pm

Angst equals depression. Depression equals tears. Tears equal clogged sinuses. Clogged sinuses equal one unhappy Curtis. I'm staying clear of this one.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Crescent Pulsar R » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:21 pm

Humor can lead to happiness and/or laughter. Happiness and/or laughter can lead to tears. Tears can lead to clogged sinuses. Clogged sinuses equals one unhappy Curtis.

I feel very sorry for you. XD

Comartemis wrote:I know all about the emotional impact Screwball; it makes me sick to my stomach.

The setting can go to hell for all I care, I don't really give a damn about the fates of all the nameless puellas who didn't exist until the moment we saw them. The main characters got screwed over. That's all that matters to me.

We've got a robotic businessman on our hands! Oh, noes!

That's a joke, son! :P

Joking aside, I see where you're coming from, but if fictional characters were never used to their full potential, I'd hate to see what effect that kind of repression might have on the world. It's that one man's trash, another man's treasure sort of deal: by nature it's neither good nor bad. Some people just might prefer tears over smiles, perhaps only when the mood strikes them, so it's not wise to say that there's something wrong with them for having a differing opinion from your own. After all, there are other stories out there that treat the characters exactly how you like it, and I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of people who liked this story that would like them right along with you. And this is coming from someone who prefers characters that deserve to be happy to end up happy.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby CRBWildcat » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:34 am

Humor can lead to happiness and/or laughter. Happiness and/or laughter can lead to tears. Tears can lead to clogged sinuses. Clogged sinuses equals one unhappy Curtis.

I feel very sorry for you. XD


Actually, I don't cry much when I laugh. And strangely, it doesn't lead to any stuffy noses, either, but we won't talk about that here. 8)
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Crescent Pulsar R » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:17 am

Hey, you can't hold it against me for playing with your logic as it was presented. Unless you want more than a platonic relationship, that is. :P
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Cheb » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:51 am

Stumbled onto this topic. Downloaded the series. Watched it. Ooooh! :shock: Unable to tear myself away from the screen, watched it until the very end (3 in the morning). Got to work late.

It's so magnificiently brutal... A life and death struggle with the failure as the only and inevitable outcome. Giving your best only to die a meaningless death. Pain, pain, more pain and any attempt to lessen it only brings even more pain. :cry:

So I got, you know, ideas for my Sailor Ranko fanfic :twisted:

By the way, Sailor Moon canon implies some of the principles involved are the same as here, with the exception that the payment is postponed until "much later".

As a bonus there's an atheist character! (even if it's a soulless, alien alien) It's so utterly rare for the anime :D With all the mysticism around, even in the seemingly sci-fi series like babylon 5, I feel like I'm starting to waver in the faith of my ancestors. Of course, the soul should die with the body, anything else is too good to be true.

I agree that anybody who says the ending is happy probably hasn't been paying attention.

Well, it's an unbelievably happy ending... By the Lovecraftian standards.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Kilich » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:45 am

*Pulls himself out of Lethe.
Watching it while discussing and speculating about possible plot twists in madoka irc channel made months, of watching it, very fun. And with spin off mangas, the party is not over yet.

I think that happy ending wasn't possible in madoka's last timeline, so it was fine. Even though I really want to see more of Homura's adventures, before and after that epilogue.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Screwball » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:33 pm

There are rumours of a second season, so your wish to see more of Homura may well be granted. I'd say 'pray to Gen Urobuchi,' but given that he himself may well be a lovecraftian horror, that might result in you growing gills, so play it save and don't. :P
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Pale Wolf » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:59 pm

Watched it, and loved it.

I'd say the ending was the best one possible, under the circumstances. A pure happy ending after ep 10 would have come out of nowhere and felt like it was spitting on everything that happened before. See: Mai HiMe.

Instead, we got people trapped in a completely untenable situation... and Madoka gave them a way out. She didn't make them have perfect lives, and I'm all for that - someone who had a perfect life wouldn't be the character you loved, no matter how similar their face would be. She didn't take away the struggles that defined them as people. She made it possible for them to die without regrets.

And y'know? Everyone dies. It happens. Completely inevitable. What's important, I think, is how you die. Both the characters that died were satisfied with what they accomplished through their deaths. Everyone knows that life isn't all sweetness and light. But Madoka made it possible for them to die at peace - to achieve a true miracle, and fight through the struggles that defined them as people, and not turn into a shrieking eldritch abomination that is in so much pain it wants to destroy everything they ever loved. The Sayaka conversation even implies that she has the power to retcon out them ever becoming a magical girl if they're not satisfied with the outcome.

It's not for the people who want sweetness, light, and eternal cakes and tea parties. But it is a very good story. It gives the characters their due. Life ain't perfect, but they can handle it. Everyone's time comes to an end, the important thing is how it goes, and whether you're satisfied with the outcome. Comartemis may not be, but the characters are.
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Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Postby Comartemis » Mon May 02, 2011 12:43 am

Pale Wolf wrote:I'd say the ending was the best one possible, under the circumstances. A pure happy ending after ep 10 would have come out of nowhere and felt like it was spitting on everything that happened before. See: Mai HiMe.

You say this as if it's not a perfectly acceptable outcome.

*Hawks a loogie on the rest of the series*
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