"There is but one dream, of a world rushing toward its doom.
Will it be destroyed?
Swallow your hesitation! What do you desire?
Chasing these greedy desires, will the future fade away?"
PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA on HULU
What's It About?
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (aka Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica or Magical Girl Madoka Magica) is a twelve episode anime series about a world plagued by evil spirits called Witches. These bizarre entities work in secret, manipulating human beings into taking the lives of themselves and others by corrupting their minds with soul-crushing despair.
The only ones able to stop the Witches are the Puella Magi, girls recruited and empowered by an enigmatic creature known as Kyubey. Becoming a Puella Magi means risking one's life against the Witches. In an effort to entice girls into voluntarily joining the ranks of the Puella Magi, Kyubey offers them a fantastic opportunity: the fulfillment of one wish, no matter what it may be.
Despite this gift, the life of a Puella Magi is hard. The public at large is ignorant of their sacrifices, they must continue hunting and defeating Witches in order to forestall the degradation of their Soul Gems, which grant them their powers, and their fellow Puella Magi compete against them for the spoils of Witch hunting. Even the wishes that each Puella Magi sells her life into service to fulfill can have unfortunate consequences.
Perhaps worst of all, the Walpurgisnacht, a Witch of apocalyptic power, will soon appear...
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is a show with myriad twists and revelations that unfold throughout the series. For example, if Puella Magi are recruited and empowered by Kyubey, then where do Witches come from? What exactly is the true price of becoming a Puella Magi? What did each Puella Magi wish for? Did their wish turn-out as expected, or did something go wrong? What are Kyubey's motives for empowering the Puella Magi? Can the Walpurgisnacht be stopped? If so, will the world truly be saved, or will a greater threat arise?
Who Are the Puella Magi?
(From Right to Left)
Madoka Kaname - A 14-year-old girl whose life changes when she learns of the existence of the Puella Magi and the Witches. After bring rescued from a Witch's familiars by the Puella Magi named Mami and encountering the seemingly hostile Homura, Madoka and her friend Sayaka receive an offer from the mysterious creature known as Kyubey: "Make a contract with me and become a Puella Magi!". Madoka is a kind, open, and selfless girl who wants to be a Puella Magi simply so that she can help others; however, she also wants to make sure that she does not waste her one chance for a miraculous wish. According to Kyubey, Madoka allegedly has a large amount of magical potential within her. "I thought I had nothing good going for me. I thought I would live my whole life, never helping anyone, never being useful. That made me frustrated, and it made me feel alone. But I thought I couldn't do anything about it. If I could use magic to help people, that would be truly wonderful."
Homura Akemi - A seemingly cold-hearted Puella Magi who transfers into Madoka's school. Homura is very knowledgeable about the Puella Magi and the Witches, but refrains from sharing what she knows unless it serves her purposes. For reasons unknown to all but herself, Homura does not want Madoka to become a Puella Magi. She tries to attack Kyubey in the first episode, only to be stopped by Mami. Homura primarily uses various types of guns and explosives in combat and is also able to temporarily stop time. "Kindness begets naivety. Courage begets foolhardiness. Dedication has no reward. Those who can't understand that are not fit to be Puella Magi."
Mami Tomoe - A Puella Magi who saves Madoka and Sayaka from a Witch in the first episode and explains the whole affair of Puella Magi and Witches to them. She, unlike Homura, wants Madoka and Sayaka to become Puella Magi and acts as their mentor. Despite acting confident, the death of her parents and the vast amounts of her free time she spends saving people from Witches instead of associating with her former friends have made her isolated and very lonely. She uses muskets as a weapon. The muskets only have one bullet, but she can create an infinite number of them. "I won't let you make me look foolish in front of my juniors!"
Sayaka Miki - Madoka's classmate who, after helping Madoka rescue Kyubey, ends up getting an offer to become a Puella Magi herself. She cares deeply for her friends, and wants to help an ill boy named Kyousuke Kamijou who inspired her when she was younger. As a Puella Magi, Sayaka wields a sword and can heal her wounds even faster than other Puella Magi. "I won't associate myself with people who use and abandon others. I don't need any reward for my work. I'll never use magic for my own benefit."
Kyoko Sakura - A rival Puella Magi who comes to the city. A girl with red-colored long hair and an equally fiery personality to match, she prioritizes her own happiness and cares little about saving others from the Witches. Mami once acted as her mentor, but the two are now on bad terms. Amusingly, she is always seen eating something, even while she is battling. Her primary weapon is a spear. "Witches prey on weak humans and we prey on those witches. Isn't that how nature works? This is how we separate the weak from the strong."
The Walpurgisnacht Approaches...
Madoka: "No! It can't end like this!"
Kyubey: "If you give up, it's over. But you have the capacity to change fate. The destruction and grief are inevitable, but you can change it all. It's within your power."
Madoka: "Really? Can someone like me really make a difference? Can I really change what's going to happen?"
Kyubey: "Of course! So make a contract with me, and become a Puella Magi!"
Praise for Madoka Magica
- Two time grand prize winner of the Japanese government's Ministry of Cultural Affairs' 15th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards: "The series continued to be an ambitious one, skillfully setting critical traps that shook the very foundations of the genre, leaving viewers unsure about the premises upon which this otherwise common theme of the 'magical girl' is based...The script is overflowing with the revolutionary energy that always strives to change things."
- Winner of 12 of the 21 awards in the first Newtype Anime Awards.
- Winner of the Television category at the16th Animation Kobe Awards.
- Winner of a Best Media award at the 51st Japan Science Fiction Convention.
- Winner of a Sisterhood Award by the Japanese Association for Gender, Fantasy, & Science Fiction.
- A 2011 live cast of the entire series on Nico Nico Douga attracted a record-breaking 1 million viewers.
- "Madoka Magica is an award winning anime series, famous for deconstructing the "magical girl" anime genre and turning it into something more akin to a psychological thriller. More than that though, the series is beautiful, mixing several disparate art styles to make an anime unlike any other." - Kotaku
Two Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies have been released so far and have had limited screenings in the US and Canada: Beginnings
. They are slightly abridged versions of the television series with redrawn scenes, new music, and re-recorded dialogue. In addition, a third movie, Rebellion
, is set to be released this year that will continue the story.
Four different graphic novel series set in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica world are available. The first has the same title as the animated series and is an adaptation of it; it is the only one officially available outside Japan.
The other three manga series assume the reader has watched the animated series or read the manga adaptation. A newcomer should not read these.
Puella Magi Kazumi Magica is set in the same world but features different characters. While it has some interesting concepts, it is most definitely the weakest manga series of the franchise.
Puella Magi Oriko Magica features the original cast along with some new characters and adds to the story of the original series, but in a way that I can't really explain without spoiling the franchise as a whole.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story elaborates on the relationship between Mami and Kyoko. Like Oriko Magica, it builds on the original series. I highly recommend this one (for those who have finished the show, of course).