Sunday, January 23, 2011

[Review] Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica - Episode 3: Horror and hidden shadows

So, I finished watching all those animes that I missed. I'm only reviewing things that I actually want. All noitaminA craps will be ignored unless it is yamakan.

Now,

[Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Episode 1~3]

This is an anime that I was most hyped since millions of years ago. (eh?) Did it satisfied it?


A BIT TOO MUCH

This is, possibly since Bakemonogatari, that I just can't wait to see the next episode. Build up of tension, directions, storyline, motifs, music, characters and even supernatural mind fuck inu-care actions are thrilling me to the extent that nothing can reach.

*Spoiler starts here.


and center of all those mind fuck is definitely, UROBUCHI GEN AND SHAFT. They are trolling us too much. That third episode was almost like watching Evangelion sequel in Mahou Shoujo version.

Now, let's start with more general stuffs.

Directions:
The most notable thing about direction, was definitely inu-kare's maze design. As you know, Inu-kare's famous for their directions for Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei OP, Gurren Lagann music video and Maria+Holic ED. They were introduced as the one who 'connects Shinbo, Ume and Urobuchi', and that description can't be more truer.

This is, probably the first time that Inu-kare's direction is utilised this much in actual animation. Even though it's something that Shaft usually do, Inu-kare is different. They know how to create creepiest mood they can make using all those montages and paper-cute animations.

There are downsides. Shinbo seems to have some struggles on adapting this abnormal environment to actual animation, and it is indeed hard work. It is simply amazing how Inu-kare animation can 'POSSIBLY' used in this kind of action genre anime. When the first two episode had some serious lack of coordination between supernatural directions, character design, story and music, episode 3 clearly showed the whole intention between all these mismatch of atmosphere.

Simply, by making ambiguous atmosphere like this, readers can get even more mind-fuck.

and you can actually find yourself getting 'USED TO' this mind fuck, which is the scariest thing ever. Animation of witch maze scenes were actually getting more relevant and realistic as the episode goes on. This is Shinbo's ability. This kind of totally experimental and mind-fuck animation can only be used by Shaft crew thus successfully creating the whole new perspective of mahou shoujo genre as they promised.


Not just battle scene, other normal directions are splendid as usual. The battle directions are surprisingly good, and a lot of shoots were all contributing to the build of tension throughout the series.

Visual:
I was totally amazed.

Unusual devotion of Shaft on BG art was definitely shown in here, too. This is a bit too much, though. The details are simply amazing. A lot of those are definitely dark; even Madoka's house is creepy as hell with that infinite mirror room.

However, character design was a disappointment. Character movements were not as good as it should be and linings are somewhat rough for this kind of action oriented anime. However, in terms of the adaptation from Aoki Ume's design, it was definitely better.

Audio:
Kajiura Yuuki's track, was the premonition of the third episode mind-fuck. It was again, splendid.

She made unusually creepy audio track again, and it was so well fitting with the atomsphere of Urobuchi script. Of course, I wasn't too sure about this during the first two episode. However, that third episode, just proved how well-done Iwakami's production team was. All those songs, guitar themed battle scene, mysterious atmosphere was in harmony and finally exploded the tension at the end with Mami's death.

OP theme was very mahou shoujo, and well made. ClariS again did a great job as they did in Oreno Imouto. The ending theme was, very, VERY creepy. There was a reason why they didn't show it during the first two episodes. It was beyond disturbing, it is not mahou shoujo anymore. However, it was definitely refreshing to see how they are using very dark themed music unlike other mahou shoujo animations.

 Story:
 Haha... it's now time. BUTCH GEN

What he wrote was not even genre for teenagers anymore. It is totally seinen. This is a thing that caused madness and terror all accross the anime board including 2ch and 4chan.

In order to understand it, it is important to know the genre called 'Mahou Shoujo'.

The past mahou shoujo always had relatively cliched steps. Sailer Moon, Cardcapture Sakura, Precure, Doremi and even Nanoha... All of those starts with being 'magical girl' without any reasons, and starts fighting with evils right from the start. The pattern of 'protagonist being imo about themselves' does not come until the end of the season or whatever. Madoka Magica, destroyed it. It destroyed the entire universe of what we knew as mahou shoujo genre. Killing FEMALE PROTAGONIST even before main ones actually become magical girl is something that was 'FORBIDDEN'.

There were people who didn't know about Butch Gen. They were all shocked, which was given. However, even for me, who knew who Butch Gen was, couldn't even sleep properly after that grotesque scene. It was not particularly gore-festic. There were also tons of death-flags since the start of that episode. The reason that I was shocked was the fact that something was just not right. This kind of thing never EVER happened before.

There are also death in other mahou shoujos. But it always leaves some sort of, hope and sadness. Mami died, just because of simple mistake. Mami died, without any proper reason but by mere witch who wasn't even significant. Mami died, just when she finally found hope among her lonely life. We can't feel any hope or sadness. Onlything left is overwhelming terror. Her death at this stage of story is something unheard of, and it is already draw a mark on Japanese animation history. Even evangelion can't win this.

The future story will be (obviously) more death, and psychological trauma that Sayaka and Madoka will suffer. They are only high school girls, and saw their respected sempai being killed terrifyingly, miserably, so crying is the most nature thing they can do. On the other hand, it seems that in the center of all trouble, one small, kawaii beast is controlling everything behind.

KYUUBE

This devil was 'smiling' when Sayaka and Madoka was crying with despair. What he said right after Mami's death was, MAKE AH CONTRACT NAWW!. Seriously. I've never been so terrified about mere (kawaii) talking animal. Even though there wasn't much of blood itself, the atmosphere and amount of horror was just killing me. This is Urobuchi's talent, not due to his guro, but his story and tension building that leads protagonists into inescapable despair.

Overall:
Rating: A
This is not because of Shaft. It's all due to Urobuchi. Preorder ranking of this one is even higher than what Bakemonogatari did in 2009. I've never expected that Shaft will strike gold again this fast. This anime is not your usual mahou shoujo, and definitely become one of the most terrifying anime of all time. It is given. Knowing that, I can't wait for the next episodes and ending.


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Ringotamegane's Last Words
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4 comments:

  1. I think the death of Gai Daigoji in Martian Successor Nadesico episode 3 is easily on the same level as this, though still, this was fucking amazing. I was shocked and awed, but then I realized there was too much foreshadowing about Mami for her to die this early and most likely Madoka will use her wish to bring Mami back to life.

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  2. @mysword:

    I think all those over-usage foreshadowing was in purpose, in order to troll everyone by increasing tension and suspicion. Plus, it is better Mami to be left die, since Hell + Hell = Double hell.

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  3. Mami's death makes other anime deaths look like child's play.

    I so can not wait for the BD to see in in all its crimsonness!

    And damn that Kyuubei! Freak's smile is on a whole new level of disturbia now!

    And since I love Homura so very much, could you please explain to me what Ringotamegane means please?

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    I live your blog. I can't believe I just found out about it.

    *Books*

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  4. Scratch that.

    You ARE Ringotamegane.

    Duh!

    ReplyDelete