Spoiler-Free Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Review [9.6/10]

So, my final (I hope) Madoka post will be this, which is spoiler-free. This is mainly for archiving so that when someone actually wants to watch Madoka in the future, they won't be spoiled immediately. The plot is a huge element for an anime like Madoka; my hope is the anyone about to watch it won't get spoiled beforehand so they get the full enjoyment from it. Anyway, random blurb aside, time to get with reviewing.

Where do I start? It was an extremely well-woven tale that followed five Mahou Shoujo. Hands down, this is one of the best plots I have seen in a while. It was filled with twists and turns that left me wanting more after every episode. The story was well thought-out, with everything making sense by the end, without really being confusing for the first watch-through. This is absolutely one of the best stories I've ever seen in anime.

Madoka suffered from a bit of pacing problems in the first two episodes. This was clearly shown before, when I dropped it after those two episodes after finding that it moved too slowly. It's only at episode 10 that you can really enjoy the beauty of those first two "slow" episodes, so I'd suggest persevering through. Nonetheless, this is a gauge of the whole experience, and having a slow first two episodes is definitely a minus. The good news is that, after the slump, everything moved much faster. The setting itself was nothing special. It followed the standard Mahou Shoujo trope, wherein they go around looking for evil monsters to fight. It was the small details of how things played out that makes this very different from conventional Mahou Shoujo anime. By the end, I feel they could have had some small twists to the same setting in order to really spice up the Mahou Shoujo genre, but this was still done very well, overall.

This is probably because I've been blogging about [C] lately, but the animation quality is starting to become much more noticable to me. When I pause an anime and skip frame-by-frame to pull screenshots, the quality of the animation becomes very noticeable. For this anime, the quality wasn't bad to begin with; combined with the different art styles used throughout made for a very nice package. The super-wide faces were a huge turn-off in the first episode, but it wasn't very noticeable after watching a few episodes. There's really no time to study the face sizes when there's so much story to focus on.

I can clearly say that I loved 4/5 of the Mahou Shoujo (I will always hate Sayaka). They all had their own story to tell, and you could see them clearly grow throughout the series. It was almost like slice-of-life, except much subtler. I think the character interactions were extremely well done, and I really felt like I could relate to the characters' decisions. Some may have felt slightly rushed - but, with such huge events happening around them, it is hard not to change at a fast pace. These were definitely some well-done characters, who actually all grew by the end of the series.

Personal Satisfaction
I loved this series from the second I got over the two-episode hump. It had a very strong plot, which is what I look for most in my anime. You combine this with creating one of my favourite characters of all time (Homura) and so this was just further pushed up for me. A month-long gap between the 10th and final two episodes led to a period where I showed symptoms of a crack addict. That is probably all the information I'll need to gauge how to score this section.

This was a hugely enjoyable series that I'll highly recommend to any anime watcher. So much so that I am willing to give it my Pearz Stamp of Approval. At any time, if you'r unsatisfied, you can come back and rage at me why you disliked it and I'll do my best to convince you otherwise. The only real faults I can find would be the slow start (although you'll appreciate that later) and the wide-face syndrome. I think it is a very strong series overall, something that everyone should give a chance.

Final Score: 9.6/10

Here are some links for Madoka: explanation of the ending [full of spoilers], thoughts on final two episodes [full of spoilers]Madoka for my posts along the way (it's the tag) and, finally, Madoka Wiki (which hopefully still exists).