Why ‘Madoka Magica’ Is Every Bit as Magical as It Sounds

Madoka MagicaTBS/MBS

I couldn’t in good conscience call myself a true anime fan. I’m a casual fan of the genre at best – I haven’t truly watched it since the days of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura.

That is, until Puella Magi Madoka Magica. At first glance, it looks almost unbearably saccharine – Madoka, the protagonist has cotton candy pink hair, and together with her friends, they make up almost every color in the rainbow in their ultra-girly get-up. To my prejudiced eyes, it looked, in a word, silly.

But then I started to notice that all of my smartest, savviest friends could not stop gushing about it – and feeling the tiniest bit left out, I decided to give it a try. It was one of those shows you binge-watch over the course of a day – and binge-watch I did. Approximately 6 hours later, I was crying my eyes out and feverishly planning out a Homura Akemi Halloween costume (even though it was February). Long story short, everyone should watch it, and here’s a few reasons why:

– First off, the series is beautiful. Part of the premise involves a magic parallel universe, which is rendered in animation through breathtakingly gorgeous collaged art. It’s unique, and I’d watch it again for the art alone.

– It’s surprisingly dark – no spoilers, but there’s a definite nihilistic slant to the series (though it is ultimately hopeful and uplifting). The writer (Gen Urobuchi – A.K.A. “the Urobutcher”) is most well known for writing horror, and it shows.

– And speaking of Urobuchi – the writing is top-notch. You’ll cry. A lot.

– It’s adorable. (Does that even need saying?)

– Finally, the series is a thought-provoking study on the whole “magical girl” genre – it serves to both celebrate and subvert it.

So, what are you waiting for?  Look past the pastel bows and puffed sleeves, and give the show a try.