So I finally got my ticket for the third Madoka movie. Fifteen bucks to a theatre that takes almost forever to get to from where I live on a Saturday. Could have been worse. Could be better. Either way, I’ll be watching it and I’ll try to have a good time. Whether or not the third movie was necessary is something I’ll decide for myself when December 7 hits. It’s a weekend too. Hooray!
Personally, I’m hoping that Madoka can save itself and I’ll finally start to like Shaft again, because they’ve been disappointing me a lot lately. I mean when was the last time Shinbo ever released a good show? Arakawa? Soremachi? Katte ni Kaiz…well I didn’t really enjoy that one much. I could be kind and say the second season of Monogatari, but I didn’t make it past the Hanekawa arc due to how awful it was. And this must be your first visit to the blog if you think I’d consider Madoka good.
Quick history: I was going through a bad phase in regards to anime around the time Madoka got released, so when I saw the hype for it on Anime Nano one day, I jumped in and started loving it. A dark magical girl series? I never thought such a thing could exist. Yeah, keep in mind, I was pretty dumb in regards to my cartoons back then, so I tended to eat up the stupidest shit at the time. All those deconstruction talks and whatnot? Yeah, I bought into them.
Naturally, I got swept up by the hype and when I finally made my own MAL account, I gave Madoka a 9, praising it to be a classic. As such, I was vastly disappointed when I saw that Aniplex was selling them at too high a price for me to pay. Over $100 for four episodes? No thanks, Aniplex. But anyways, it was one of my favorite series of all time and I think I put it on my favorite anime list at one point.
Then I saw those movies.
The first movie was decent. It was pretty much what a recap movie should do in regards to handling the pacing of turning a few episodes into a feature-length film, but it also reminded me of what I liked about Madoka. I liked how we didn’t have much of a clue regarding what was going on. I liked Sayaka’s story and her “best friend” archetype. Now obviously, the “shock” factor didn’t have much effect on me anymore, but you shouldn’t rely on shock to tell your story anyways. Shock should make sense story-wise, and I was glad when I discovered that it did…at least in regards to the first movie. After all, since I didn’t have a clue regarding what was going on AND I was enjoying that fact, you could throw all sorts of shit at me and I’d be happy. It was fun.
As for the characters being boring and having no personality, that doesn’t bother me. I know a lot of my colleagues have problems with that, but I don’t have to actually “care” about the characters as long as I at least find them interesting to watch. I didn’t give a crap about the characters in Danganronpa, but that didn’t change the fact that they kept me engaged in regards to their courtroom duels and all. And yeah, it was pretty fun to watch Sayaka and Madoka fall into despair whilst that bastard Kyuubey stares at them with his blank smile. All he needed were Hanna Barbara sound-effects added to his antics and he’d be the ultimate dark master.
Then I saw the second movie. It was absolutely terrible.
The good pacing of the first movie was absolutely absent here. Events just happen with no cohesion and the whole thing was an utter mess that I kept tuning out of. It was a miserable excuse of a recap move in every single way. However, I wouldn’t have turned against a franchise I once loved if the pacing was my main beef with the thing. No. the problem I had with Madoka was how it was written. Specifically, it committed one cardinal sin: it explained things. It tried to give logic to all the mysterious things and shock factor I liked about the series. And by explaining things, it just made them more confusing and uninteresting at the same time. Rather than explain myself, I’ll let Updatedude from Mecha-Guignol do it for me.
It’s like knowing how the tricks work in a magician’s act. The performance (Madoka as a series) is still good, but the magic is gone.
It isn’t a matter of Kyubey being a dick. It’s actually the complete opposite. He’s NOT a dick anymore. Where once he was amoral, mean, malicious and mysterious; now he’s just a robot.
Also, the explanation was stupid anyway. STUPID. Because it has a major plot hole. Which is with almost 7 billion humans, all with emotions, you’re better off farming the ambient emotions rather than focusing so much effort on what’s essentially a drop in the bucket. Or hell, just go for people who are depressed or suffering from some sort of bipolar condition.
Before, it was all mysterious and any plot holes were either forgivable or made for fun speculation. By laying out the truth in such a technobabbly way, it makes the plot vulnerable. Suddenly, we’re presented with a 7 billion sized plot hole. – Updatedude
To add my own comments to his, I didn’t have a problem with the reveals at first. But the second time was different. Since I saw all of this before, it no longer had any real effect on me the same way it did when I first saw it and now I just see the revelations in the end as dumb. Revisiting your old favorites can do that to you, you know.
The ending was also worse than I remembered. It was a goddamn reset button happy ending to a show that didn’t deserve one. Some people have said that Madoka was always a tale of redemption and whatnot, but I saw about as much evidence to that as I saw to the happy ending in Clannad (oh yeah, I went there). The whole thing ran on sad girl fetishism regarding boring characters with poor foreshadowing to its reset and aside from having some cool action scenes, being Shafted, Kyuubey, and the fact that they have some different styles, there’s not much differentiating the two in my eye. I’m sure you could argue that the stuff i mentioned is enough and I’ll admit that the former is a better series because the first half is legitimately awesome and despite explanations ruining them, at least it wasn’t boring. Oh, and there was a lot of cool shit that went down during the awful ending that alleviated me somewhat. But it was still a happy ending to a show that I saw no evidence of deserving a happy ending.
Also, this isn’t a major complaint since I can get past this if enough things appeal to me, but I am getting sick of Shaft’s visuals. It’s the same goddamn thing they keep doing over and over again with no variety whatsoever. I’m tired of seeing those goddamn architectures in Monogatari. I’m tired of seeing those constant far-away shots in Sasami-san. And in regards to that upcoming Nisekoi anime…well, I loathed the manga so maybe Shafting it up a bit would actually do wonders for that thing. For god sakes Shinbo, use your goddamn money! It’s called animation because you have to animate things. Not put a load of pretty pictures in the background and basically be the equivalent of an audiobook! It’s just gimmicky and gimmicks wear thin after overuse!
My love for Madoka was gone after that experience, I changed my score of the series to a 6, and haven’t really looked back. Madoka was basically a product of its time that lost its appeal way too quickly. Happens all the time. With that said, this new movie might be the thing the franchise needs to save itself. Maybe it’ll go in a direction beyond just making alternative fuels for Kyuubey’s race and give a better conclusion to the franchise. From what I saw of it, it introduces a new character and involves Homura still whining about Madoka. The new world created by the series’ ending does bring up some potential. As an anime fan, I’d be stupid to pass up on the chance to see it. So bring it on you third movie. Let’s see if you can fix that atrocious ending better than the main character in Misery tried to reverse his main character’s death.
And if it doesn’t, I’ll still have Danganronpa aka the show Madoka wanted to be. It told a great tale of despair mixed with hope with better visuals, better characters, and a better ending. *Sproing!*