Puella Magi Madoka Magica came out with one season of 12 episodes and became popular in 2011. There have been three movies, two that recap the show and the third which continues it. In light of having viewed the third movie recently, I thought it would be fitting to explain my adoration for the original series. I know that many anime fans have already seen this show, and it might seem silly to make an effort for a slightly less spoiler-laden post about it, but this is simply how I’ve decided to do it.
Keeping it short and sweet, here we go!
1) Concise Series
I think that Puella Magi Madoka Magica had a perfect run length of 12 episodes at about 24 minutes each (including opening and end credits which you might not watch every time). It really isn’t that much of a commitment, and if you’re not hooked by the end of the infamous episode 3, when things start to getting good, clearly it just isn’t your type of show and you haven’t spent long giving it a shot. With 12 episodes there are enough episodes for a long marathon or two shorter ones. If you get into this show, you will stay intrigued because the plot moves quickly with pretty much no filler. In my opinion it has a proper, fitting end (in the Anime at least, I don’t really read manga). The third movie does continue the story, and it does wrap up a few questions, but, honestly, the original series felt complete to me before I saw the movie.
As with most really good anime/manga, the art is simply incredible and speaks for itself but I’ll go on praising it just a tiny bit anyway. The concepts for the characters and their attacks are top notch, but the show truly shines in the more surreal scenes and the animation of the fights. It’s just all so beautiful, even when its intentionally grotesque or dark!
3) Good Round Characters
It isn’t to say that many anime shows don’t have round characters, most of my favorites do, but it is a major plus when I can put this down on a list of reasons why I enjoy a show. The main characters of this show go beyond the typical ‘hair color is personality’ standby of Anime even though certain characters do fit some of their assumed traits. All these main characters have character strengths and flaws and are put in situations that make them explore the moral grey areas helps them grow and also helps you to get more emotionally invested in them.
4) Counter to most other ‘Magical Girl’ shows
The show comes off as a typical ‘magical girl anime’ like Sailor Moon, but, unlike most of those shows it becomes very dark and thought provoking (going back to those moral grey areas). The concept of hope and despair having to be in balance runs contrary message of cutesy Magical Girl shows which focus on good overcoming evil. Also this relates back to the ‘hair color is personality’ statement in the previous point because Sailor Moon was one of the shows that helped nail down the association between colors and personality traits. Also twisting around the concept of the ‘cute companion animal’ is an aspect of the show which I really enjoyed.
5) People who normally only watch American TV will enjoy it too if they give it a chance!
After I first saw the show in 2011 I was trying to get all my friends to watch it, and I had one of my friends who hasn’t watched any anime sit down and view the concise 12 episode series- and she really liked it! (Honestly though, I think that most people who aren’t into anime could be if they found the right niche of shows that is similar enough to what they already watch.)