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Favorite visual artistBill Watterson, Charlie Christensson, Junko Mizuno, John bauer, Gary Larson, Roman Dirge, Aaron Alexovich, Masahiro Itō, Favorite moviesBlood: The last vampire, The Big Lebowski, Fear and Loathing in Las vegas, Lost in translation, Dark water (The orginal Japanish version.) The dictator,Favorite TV showsSeinfelt, In treatment, Rome, Friendship is maigc, Courage the cowardly dogFavorite bands / musical artistsTom Waits, Khanate, Amanda Jenssen, Opeth, The Birthday Masscre, Lykke li, Ahab, Metallica, Daft punk, Aphex TwinFavorite booksDairy of Hiroshima, the Anita Blake- bookseries, Mugworld, Lovecraft novells.Favorite writersDon't really know, rarly read more than two books by the same human.Favorite gamesBeyond Good & Evil, Machinarium, Zelda: The Wind waker, Halo, Vampire: Bloodlines, Silent hill 3, Mass effect 2, Limbo, Tribes 2, Phoenix WrightFavorite gaming platformThat's silly thinking.Tools of the Trade.... I wanna go home.Other InterestsLike trying various kinds of beer and ale, would also like brew my on mead someday. Animation, horror novells, traveling and all sort of social healthy behaviors.
Or my story of when I started to watch an anime that inspired me greatly, and a bunch of reason why you should watch it too. Even if your first reaction might be that you don't wanna. The anime is called Madoka magica, and it looks like this:
See what I mean?
There is few times in life when you experience something within simple entertainment that changes you. That opens your mind to something you would otherwise completely ignore. Like when the jock reads his first book. Because being the stereotypical jock he is, he thought those were for stereotypical losers. Then one day he starts to read Kafka. And realized that books can be good, and also that he is depressed. The times when something blows your freaking mind in short.
When it comes to animation this has happened to me two times. The first time was when I saw Spirited Away. Why would the teenage me ever waste time with a kids movie? Within the following year I owned most Studio Ghibli movies.
The second time was when I watched Madoka Magica. An anime series in 12 half hour episodes about magical girls Sailor moon style. Why the hell would the grown up me waste time with that? Because it turned out to be really good.
And you should watch it.
If you have not seen this before and you now look at the trailer above. What was your first impression? It looks kinda weird doesn't it? Like some old mans fetish? My first impression was of complete distaste, a big "What the fuuuck". And because of that it probably made more impact on me that I did actually enjoy it greatly.
About a "none anime" guy who decided to watch the whole madoka magica series and then make a video review of every episode. Sense I read kotaku almost daily, I had seen articles about Madoka Magica before but simply ignored them. I started to watch his review of the series. Expecting him to make fun of it and how bad it is. But you could tell from his videos that he had got really into it. Like someone who had seen game of thrones for the first time. And after he mentioned a few plot twist I got interested and started to watch it myself.
I am gonna try not to dwell too much on the plot here. If I can get anyone to watch it with my ramblings I feel like I would rather make them watch it spoiler free. But the general plot is:
Madoka Kaname is a middle school student that one day encounter a strange small animal named Kyubey. It offers her to grant one wish, anything she can imagen, If she choose to sign a contract and become a Magical girl. An magical entity who sole purpose is to hunt witches. Witches are a dark creatures invisible for humans, that feeds on emotions such as depression and misery, killing the person in the process. Madoka is tempted to make the deal, just for the chance to help innocent people. But before she can, she meets an mysterious girl, that warns her that if she values her life and those she loves, she should not make the deal. During the the series Madoka discovers that being a Magical girl is dangerous, and can get her killed. By witches or even other Magical girls. And that this creature Kyubey that offers young girls magical powers, might be giving a devils deal.
So heres a few reason why you should watch it: It's a show about magical girls. But a mature one. HP Lovecraft style.
I often heard Madoka magica to be a gruesome deconstruction of the "magical girl genre". (Yes it actually has it own genre in japan.) I haven't watch any except sailor moon when it was aired here and I was like 8 years old. But I wouldn't call madoka magica a critic against Sailor moon. Just a similar show in a more realistic setting. This is a show about what happens when kids gets divine powers and the price they pay for it. I'm thinking the people who made it actually liked Sailor moon, but wanted to make a more complex setting.
Madoka Magica is also often describe as an dark show. Which it is. It's sometimes downright disturbing. But it's not that just for the sake of it. The development towards those events feels natural, and constantly leaves the viewer in that zone they constantly think "maybe things will turn out alright", then the horrible thing happens, and they feel "Noo whyyy, but okay maybe this time it will" and the something twice as horrible happens.
I often feel that the show has a similar plot to HP Lovecrafts novells. That the main character meet an unnatural force so large, twisted an unimaginable that the characters can't even describe it. And is put in a perspective how small and insignificant humanity is in the grand scheme of things.
Unlike HP Lovecraft, Madoka magica isn't out to fully scare you or depress. It's a story about small girls that meets an force larger than anything they can imagen, and how they try to deal with it. But the treat is constantly real and some characters will fall for the consequences of their own action. Because how can you try to control a force you can't even comprehend?
The cute and cuddly is a trap.
Madoka Magica first 3 episodes is all about build up for the big twists. It follows the pattern of a tradition magical girl tv show with few hints of what is to come. The series introduction video is an example of this, it's very pop-music, pink, and girly I wouldn't blame you for turning of the video during it. But thats part of the build up, it set itself first as a very typical kids tale where a girl gets to chance to fight evil and do good in the world. But then smash that fantasy.
This also give Madoka Magica strong emotional journey, the colors, music and tone can be vastly different between scenes. In my mind the colorful parts, strengthens it's darker parts. The character feels real when they are happy, sad and we know what they have to loose, we seen them live a simple happy life. Without giving too much away, at the end of the series stops at a middle ground which is neither a happy ending nor completely hopeless.
It has a great all female cast.
If someone was going to make an superhero movie similar to the Avengers with an all female cast. (Not that Hollywood would, being Hollywood.) They should look at Madoka Magica. It doesn't need to be as as dark as Madoka magica is. But the characters stories and their development would be of great inspiration when creating a superhero. Aside from the main character Madoka the show focus four girls that each has their own character arch. And for being a tv show thats less than 7 hours in total it's all well told.
The music, oh gawd, the music.
The music in changes with the plot. It starts with happy pop like the trailer. (I at least think thats pop.) But then changes tone to something more surreal. Even the end credit song and introduction video changes to reflect the events of the show. And it creates some really memorial pieces of music.
My only critic of the show overall I think is that it feels intentionally advertised for kids. Now, no idea how it was advertise in Japan or what they see appropriate for kids. But at first glance this is show fools people. I would say 13+ Kids can watch it, not much direct violent imagery in it, even if violent stuff do happens. But most of all it deals with some heavy subjects, and is an overall sad story. I don't think it will harm anyone. But I can imagen that some parent in Asia bought this series for their 8 year old expecting something else.
But overall this show has made a huge impact on me. I would go as far as calling it one of the best tv series I've seen. It has inspired me the way I draw and use colors, and can find tasteful design even among things I would year ago call "girlish". (Not saying everything in the show is tastefully done. But some settings and concepts are amazing.)
Heck, after watching this show I might even be open minded enough to give another super girly looking tv show a chance. Like what if they made a new My Little Pony show? Imagen what that would be like? Hahaha... Oh wait...