Akiyuki Shinbo's PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA
Review by Dennis D. McDonald
Middle school student Madoka Kaname is recruited by a strange little creature named "Kyube" to become a "magical girl." Madoka will be granted any wish if she agrees to Kyube's deal: sign over your soul and then become powerful enough to fight the extra-dimensional "witches" who threaten the world.
The series follows Madoka's soul-searching as she tags along with other magical girls as they fight witches in alternate universes and timelines. She sees firsthand the horrors, bloodshed, and death they constantly face as they do battle.
Madoka faces moral dilemmas along the way. Sacrifice her soul to the cause? Use her one wish to help family or friends? Subject herself to the horrors she witnesses in these other worlds? Meanwhile, what is Kyube's real motive? Can Kyube be trusted?
Madoka and her friends may initially look like the wide-eyed slender and short skirted characters we've grown accustomed to but the story, dialogue, action, mayhem, music, and animation are anything but typical.
Even if we grew impatient with how long it takes for Madoka to make up her mind about what to do, the pseudo-metaphysics of it all makes for an unusually fascinating series. It may not appeal to someone seeking simple linear -- and literal -- animated storytelling, but it is definitely something different.
Review copyright (c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonal