Hey, guess what anime I just finished watching?
Puella Magi Madoka Magica was pretty amazing. I loved the shifting animation styles, the characters and the short and reflective story. However, I don’t think it “broke the magical girl genre” as a lot of people seem to think. Actually, this show fits right into the magical girl genre, which usually has a lot of drama and tragedy. The only magical girl show I remember for impressing me with it’s lack of drama was Card Captor Sakura. The whole death, death, zombies, apocalypse, magical girls being transformed is stuff that we have in the Sailor Moon manga. I get a feeling a lot of people who find this ground-breaking are dudes who just haven’t watched that many magical girl shows.
It’s definitely a fucking good show though. Reminds me of Sailor Moon a whole lot. Needs more badass transformation sequences…
Admittedly I only saw two episodes of Madoka, but I had the same feeling about people who were saying it totally revolutionized the genre. I mean… It doesn’t get any more revolutionary than this genre-breaking masterpiece: (animated gif under the cut)
I wouldn’t want to derail Secondlina’s lovely arts post but I’m gonna have to disagree a bit with Yamino. (insert Kanye West interrupting gif)
Granted I LOVE Utena, Sailor Moon and CCS and other shoujo series too, but Madoka does have some very intensely powerful storytelling, writing, characterization and structure that blew all my expectations out of the water. The slow pacing in the beginning indicated NOTHING of what was to come. And the amount of control the writing had in terms of events, foreshadowing, and remembering things to the tiniest detail in previous episodes was amazeballs.
The overarching themes of feminism, female love, friendship and destroying harmful and exploitative power systems from the inside was also something that was learned from other Magical Girl shows (things that already worked well in other series) and then having it shined to its narrative potential.
If Madoka has taught me anything about appreciating different art styles in animated shows is that I have learned not to judge things by their cover and be quick to dismiss things by how they are drawn. (aka when I watched MLP: Friendship is Magic, Adventure Time, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Utena etc). Sometimes a beautifully stylized show can’t save poor storytelling or thoughtless decision-making with characters. The complete opposite was happening with Madoka.
Though I think I most def agree with other people when the Madoka character designs don’t show much diversity at all in body type/race variation/age/gender and that the animation itself from SHAFT was kind of goofy and resulted in the now famous Meguca memes…
I don’t think it’s fair at all to say the art style is "unprofessional" or "high school" level, so that sort of thing is more of a personal preference as a viewer or to clarify more if it wasn’t, simply a first impression. That kind of preference could be said of the tall, elongated figures from Utena series/OVA and the Sailor Moon series, and shoujo art styles have branched out into many different forms since then. Moe or not, the designs even started to grow on me, in fact. To claim that it’s “unappealing” or “bad” to so-and-so, is also personal preference.
As much as lean more towards the art rather than writing side of things, and though I too get snobby with character designs… EVEN I have to concede that a character with a generic look/design but breathing with vivid, dynamic, empathetic, believable development and personality will outshine a character with the opposite.
And I dunno, man, I’d rather also have a series with a slow start and fantastic progression, instead of a series that started out great but ended up having a disappointing conclusion.