Puella Magi Madoka Magica V2
Studio: Madoka Partners
Format: DvD (reviewed), BD
Release Date: June 6, 2012
Price: $29.99 (Buy Here)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is not your standard Magical Girl (Mahou Shoujo) series. It takes the elements of a Magical Girl show and then does a complete 180degree spin on it’s tone and direction. The result is a series that may irk some viewers, but has ultimately led it to an incredibly large fanbase. Also Kyubei is awesome.
Puella Magic Madoka Magica is a series that centers around the lives of a few middleschool girls that accidentally become involved with the world of Magical Girls and Witches. By the beginning of the second volume, they’ve become deeply invested into this world that they have only just found out about.
There is a small amount of assumed knowledge on the audience with this being the second disc of a 12 episode series of episodes that tell a story across a multiple episode arc, so new viewers to the series will probably not want to start with this disc. But for those of you who do I shall give you some of the assumed knowledge you need right here. *spoilers*The two female leads need to make a wish to become Magical Girls and they still have not made that wish despite it being a fairly long time frame between receiving the wish and also their friend and Magical Girl trainer Mami is dead *end spoilers*.
This series is probably one of the few series on any medium where I have consistently yelled at my monitor for the characters doing something completely stupid. I have also yelled at my screen for the girls constantly saying ‘Magical Girl’ at least once per sentence. If there was a counter in the series for each time the phrase had been uttered, it would be at a pretty high point by this time.
However, other than those negatives, this disc is actually where the story starts becoming interesting. The series seems to have moved away from a happy and charming feel and has moved towards more of what the opposite of what a Magical Girl series should be. There is a lot of dark themes this time around, but it isn’t until the eighth episode that they show finally shows it’s true colours and becomes it’s most interesting. Also, Kyubei is an awesomely Lawful Evil cat. Love that troll.
Puella Magic Madoka Magica is a very mixed bag when it comes to the visuals. On the one hand, the characters and often times, even the animation can be quite lacking. But on the other, you have these amazingly beautiful battle scenes that are pure bliss.
I found that as the disc progressed, the tones and animation increased in complexity. For instance, as the story became darker and darker, so too did the animation style. having the animation reflect the story is something that I feel is important for an Anime series to convey, and this one starts doing it well by around the mid-point of this disc.
And that brings me to one of my biggest problems with the series. It takes so long to start becoming good visually outside of the battles. I know that this is a review for the second disc, but it’s the second disc of a whole and if it’s taking 7 episodes to reach some kind of visual equilibrium across the series, then you’re doing something wrong. On it’s own though, volume 2 is incredibly strong visually… with exception to that one scene where they’re sitting in a cafe and their heads make them look like Donkey Kong.
Leaving this section on a high note, let’s talk about those battles. Fans of the series will already know how they look and feel, but I feel that this disc blends in the unique look of a Witch battle with the dark tone that the series has headed down quite well. Opposing that, we have the battles between then Magical Girls themselves outside of the Witches dimensions that seem to get pretty hardcore. The battles in this series are easily its biggest asset.
The audio in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is probably one of it’s strongest points. In this particular volume we have had some amazing audible moments, particularly where the score is concerned.
For instance, in many scenes, the background score is highly noticeable and adds an amazing emphasis to what you’re seeing on screen. This is especially prevalent in the action scenes and some of the chaotic moments towards the end of the disc.
Many people already hate me for saying this, but I preferred listening to the English dub over the Japanese dub with subtitles. The reason for this is that the Japanese voice actors have this insane ability to shriek whilst talking when portraying younger characters, which Madoka Magica is full of, and as a result of this, I had incredibly sore ears after listening to it. The English dub however, is much less shrieky and cutesy, leaving my ears feeling unmolested.
I want to end this section with the following message: The ending theme is awesome! Much love for it!
Unfortunately for anyone expecting a massive list of Special Features from this series you will be disappointed in the incredibly lacking extras section. On the entire disc I could only find the usual Madman trailers and a clean opening sequence. I suppose that this is kind of average, but, a series with as large a following as this one would probably have been satisfied with just a little bit more.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is finally becoming interesting enough to warrant a purchase. Whilst the show still has some issues that stop it from being perfect, namely in the visuals and story, the amazing soundtrack more than makes up for this. Also the dub is pretty good… don’t watch the Japanese audio track if you’re adverse to shrieking schoolgirls and bleeding eardrums.
I’d have to say that if you were put off by the show in the first four episodes, it probably isn’t worth your time to continue watching this series into this disc. However, if you found even a little enjoyment from this, definitely continue into this disc as the show becomes a whole lot better.