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Mahou Shoujo Tragical Faustus
March 2, 2011 5:45 PM   Subscribe

Puella Magi Madoka★Magica (unofficial trailer) is an animated show about a pink-haired girl and her buddies who fight against cursed witches (video example). Boasting buildings based on well-known architecture, a slowly shifting opening sequence and dark ending sequence, Faustian graffiti and ciphered German runes, this currently-airing show has been called a deconstruction of the magical girl genre.

Animated by Studio SHAFT and written by Gen Urobuchi with music by Yuki Kajiura, Madoka Magica has an astoundingly exhaustive wiki and has inspired 25 spoilerific printed pages of tropes and 50 pages of theories on TVTropes, all within the span of two months and eight 24-minute episodes. Four more episodes are scheduled (with the 9th airing tomorrow).

Extras (watch for falling spoilers!):
  • Madoka Magica meets Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Inception Mashup
  • A pictoral comparison of two openings
  • Hylarn's Liveblog
  • Discussion forums at MyAnimeList and AnimeSuki
  • The wiki's compilation of archived 4chan threads, including /a/ cracking the runes

    Also, Kyubey would like to make a contract with you. ◕ ‿‿ ◕
  • posted by anthy (23 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

     
    So this isn't some chibi version of Revolutionary Girl Utena? Intriguing.

    Also, I am a fan of this recent uptick in Anime posts on the blue. Now I need to get my wife to watch anime with me again.
    posted by filthy light thief at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2011


    I liked one of the reviews I saw on myanimelist. "Both Madoka and Tsubasa start out as light-hearted, generic stories that eventually become horrific beyond words."

    Just like Higarushi no Naku Koro ni! I've already started downloading it.
    posted by stoneegg21 at 6:12 PM on March 2, 2011


    If you're considering watching this, don't read too much about it before you watch up to the most recent episode.

    There have been a LOT of plot twists and unfortunately it's one of those shows where spoilers really ruin things, although some of it (e.g. the most recent episode) has been predicted.
    posted by shii at 6:22 PM on March 2, 2011


    Less than 45 seconds in before the tentacles vs. schoolgirl schtick starts. Meh.

    Meanwhile, on Crunchyroll, the entire run of Eyeshield 21 is available for free. It's absolutely the best anime about sports, and about a sport no-one in Japan has ever cared about in the history of athletics. The female characters are strong, independent, and essential to character and plot development; cardboard cutout villains suddenly gain depth and sympathy, and change from villains to competitors and friends; and minor "joke" characters become essential to the story.

    That, and Hiruma is absolutely the best fictional quarterback of all time.

    There is far too much crying, but that's because the series is aimed at 14 year old girls, who think boys who cry but are strong on the inside are hot.
    posted by Slap*Happy at 6:40 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


    > has been called a deconstruction of the magical girl genre.

    Link, explication, something?
    posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:35 PM on March 2, 2011


    There seems to be a trend in other media as well... (as regards the adolescent girl as warrior theme).
    posted by tomswift at 7:36 PM on March 2, 2011


    My favorite anime currently, and possibly ever. It's amazing. I wrote up something about this on my little personal blog for friends, but this dwarfs it. I've been trying to convince my friends that it's not what they expect, especially after they see the opening. (which is so bait and switch, heh) Trying to convince them to make it past episode 3, and then continue. they are all good, but most just shrug it off.

    There is far too much crying, but that's because the series is aimed at 14 year old girls

    And the characters "are" 14 year olds, mostly. Just imagine going through what these characters do, and that's pretty much how they should act. Much better than shrugging it off like most shows do.

    Some friends of mine call Buffy a deconstruction of the magical girl, but it's not really, it's just a following of it, doesn't really break away in my eyes. What's funny to me is that my same friends who worship Buffy, dismiss this show for being magical girl, like others dismissed Buffy because of the name.

    I've heard it called the evangelion of magical girl shows, and that's not far off.
    posted by usagizero at 8:02 PM on March 2, 2011


    I need to catch up on this show (only two episodes in, and I've heard spoilers are best avoided), so I won't be following this thread, but I just want to say that I am loving the recent trend of anime posts.
    posted by reductiondesign at 8:08 PM on March 2, 2011


    > Link, explication, something?

    It's a deconstruction in the loose "this-is-counter-to-standard-generic-conventions" manner that term has grown to connote. It's hard to explain why this is the case without tossing out bunches of spoilers, but basically, being a magical girl in Madoka's universe sucks considerably more than in your standard fare on physical, emotional, and psychological levels. In its darker tone, it has similarities to other genre-benders such as Revolutionary Girl Utena (a genre- AND gender-bender) and Princess Tutu.

    Delving into the more troubling aspects of the magical girl genre (aspects present though not always explored even in your sunniest story) is nothing new, so take claims of innovation and avant guarde with a grain of salt; however, the show is well-directed and animated, has a wonderful figure-it-out-as-you-go-along mystery plot, and has superb and eclectic animation styles.

    posted by Room 101 at 8:09 PM on March 2, 2011


    Heh, I used on one of those Magical Girl shows. I look forward to delving into this.
    posted by Navelgazer at 8:57 PM on March 2, 2011


    I will admit a terrible candy colored weakness for variations on the magical girl genre. Anywhere good to watch this online?
    posted by troublewithwolves at 9:24 PM on March 2, 2011


    The director is Akiyuki Shinbo, who has picked up something of a reputation during his stint at SHAFT. His shows aren't necessarily always good, but they are always strange.
    posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:31 PM on March 2, 2011


    Oh, and as regards this series, after episode 3 I couldn't watch any more of it.
    posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:32 PM on March 2, 2011


    Less than 45 seconds in before the tentacles vs. schoolgirl schtick starts. Meh.

    Dude, that's like complaining about gun violence in American action movies
    posted by Hoopo at 9:38 PM on March 2, 2011


    I thought Cardcaptor Sakura was the ultimate deconstruction. CCS did it so well, I actually found myself enjoying (lawd!) a magical girl anime.

    So this is a cross between CCS and FLCL, yes? This is a black hole I definitely want to get sucked into.
    posted by Xere at 9:47 PM on March 2, 2011


    I thought Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt was the ultimate deconstruction of mahou shoujo. Henshin sequence as pole dance, for example.

    Surely CCS is a standard expression of mahou shoujo, not a deconstruction of it?
    posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:15 PM on March 2, 2011


    CCS is a quintessential magical girl show. Maybe you liked it because it's supposed to be a very good magical girl show?
    posted by schroedinger at 11:40 PM on March 2, 2011


    PMMM is not a cross between CCS and FLCL. PMMM is a cross between CCS and Evangelion. That is perhaps the best description of it I've heard yet.
    posted by cthuljew at 10:02 AM on March 3, 2011


    Ambrosia Voyeur: To add to what Room 101 contributed, take a look here. You can browse examples and other explanations of deconstruction. TVTropes is a great site, albeit one that can occupy up a lot of your time.
    posted by SollosQ at 2:52 PM on March 3, 2011


    Well, I watched what's out already, and have two thoughts:

    1. I'm rather uncomfortable with the hyper-sexualized anime characters that look like they're about 12 years old.... the constant short-skirt shots of characters drawn that juvenile, despite theoretically being older, is off-putting.
    2. Nonetheless, this thing is freaking awesome. I love the mixture of cute and dark. They do a very good job of shading from one to the other.

    I wish I could be more descriptive, but this is a series that can be very badly spoiled, so I'll stop there. I will say, however, that if you like the classic animes, this could easily turn out to be one.
    posted by Malor at 4:17 AM on March 4, 2011


    Thanks for the pointers, guys. I'm not well-versed in Anime tropes, but the whole structure upon which they operate is, as far as I understand from this book's interventions, different from "western" character and plot construction. Given that, I would be very interested in seeing a serious deconstruction of them.
    posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2011


    So, thanks for getting me into this. Episode 10 was just... whoa. Like...whoa. Blown away.
    posted by Gordafarin at 3:10 PM on March 13, 2011


    Quantitative evaluation of magical girl/witch population dynamics in the world of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Warning: massive spoilers.

    Gordafarin: yes, Ep 10 is amazing. Certainly one of the richest, most dense in action, character, meaning, emotional resonance, of all episodes in all anime, and all episodes in all TV shows, ever.
    posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:15 PM on March 21, 2011


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