If Yuki Yuna is an attempt at introducing cosmic horror, agency, and the personal consequences of power usage, then Madoka is the end all be all of magical girl deconstruction.
It’s pastel, adorable, friendship centered, and absolutely horrifying, in the best way. Whether you watch the original series or the two recap films, the series is both beautiful and fascinating to watch unfold. Both series lead into the third film – Rebellion, which in unquestionably the best in the franchise.
It takes the meta, mind break, heartbreak, and cosmic scale horror of the earlier series and amps it up to God level.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what the absolute power level a magical girl could have would be, then this is the series for you. It takes everything the genre is known for – young girls only being chosen, unbreakable friendship bonds forged through battle, the stained glass ceiling capping magical power, the enemies they fight – and not only amplifies them with an injection of harsh psychological realism, but explains them within the series in ways that make sense – or break sense.
The series is filled with incredible visuals that, true to form, move past anime as a style and medium and create a mosaic of paper pieces, found objects, and elegant food. The visuals alone are worth the watch, but it really is the plot that places Madoka on a pedestal. It rises higher than what a series should, which sounds risky in theory, but paid off in full.
Madoka is dark. Madoka is pastel. Madoka is everything.