Anyone Else Hate Madoka Magica?
My first experience with Madoka was extremely positive. A friend had recommended the series to me almost purely on the merits of its soundtrack, and after she showed me an action clip of one of the first episodes, I was extremely interested. Even in a paltry 360p, the art looked absolutely gorgeous and the way that Mami was firing rifles off left and right as Kaijura Yuki’s music blasted through my speakers told me that this was definitely a series to follow.
I got sidetracked after about four episodes, and didn’t get back to finishing the series for a few months. In the interim, I had the good fortune of attending Otakon. I had greatly underestimated Madoka’s popularity, and it looked like the mahou shoujo series was ‘the’ definitive title of the con, with loads of swawg, cosplayers and a screening of the six or so episodes.
I mentioned to some friends that they should definitely try and catch the screening, since everything I had seen up to that point left a pretty good impression on me.
I finished watching the series about a month ago, having decided to plow through the rest of the episodes in a single sitting. While the art and music remained fantastic, I just was not impressed at all with the characters.
My problem was that I hated all of them.
This wasn’t like School Days or Toradora where I could just hate one character (Makoto and Ami respectively). I hated every single character in the series with the exception of Mami, who ended up dead within the first few episodes anyway. Everyone else just seemed way too whiny. Not Shinji Ikari-level whiny, but you’d think that after being able to make a wish and grant absolutely anything, these girls would at least be able to live more than a few weeks without going crazy and lonely with regret.
And then there’s Madoka herself. Everybody hates Madoka, that’s a given, and not even extracting herself from countless timelines was enough to really redeem her cowardly, detestable nature.
I guess my main beef with the series is that I felt cruelly misled. The opening animation blends wonderfully with ClariS’ uplifting vocals, and I really got the sense that as melancholy as the situation was for Madoka, she would somehow pull through and make a stand for her friends. But I didn’t expect it to take the entire 13-some episodes for her to do it. I felt cruelly deceived; all of that footage of Madoka fighting and enjoying her time with her friends never actually happened in the series, alternative universes withstanding.
In short, the series that was advertised in the opening animation is not the same series that actually ran. I could draw so many parallels between the Madoka opening and Cardcaptor Sakura’s 3rd opening, it’s not even funny. The tone is the same, the music is similar, and even the characters are alike. The difference is that in CCS’s case, what you see is what you get. It doesn’t run a complete 180 to viewer’s expectations.
So yes, I hate Madoka Magica. But it’s a wonderful series and would still recommend it to others. It’s got a great concept, wonderful art and the music rocks. I can appreciate the artistic creativity that went into the backstory, and every frame of animation just bleeds with style. It definitely takes a different approach to mahou shoujo and it actually resolves at the end, unlike most other series in the genre.
Still, everytime I see a Madoka avatar or forum signature, I feel the need to put a fist through my monitor. The fact that the series can draw out feelings of this intensity is enough to tell me that the series is good. Really good.
But I still hate it.