Brief Description: After experiencing a bizarre dream, Madoka Kaname, a kind 14-year old girl, encounters a magical creature named Kyube. Madoka and her friend Sayaka Miki are offered the opportunity of gaining magical powers if they agree to make a contract with the strange little being. He will also grant them one wish, but in exchange they shall risk their lives by accepting the responsibility of fighting witches. Invisible to human eyes, witches are catalysts of despair in the areas they inhabit. An ally of Kyube, a magical girl named Mami Tomoe, befriends and encourages the two girls to accept the contract. For an unknown reason, another magical girl named Homura Akemi is determined to prevent Madoka from accepting the deal.
(Source: ANN http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=12120)
Release Date: 2011
US Distributor: Aniplex of America
Suitable for ages +16
If you could have one wish, what would you give up for it?
Everything you thought you knew about magical girls is wrong. Or so Madoka Magica will lead you to believe. It takes an innocent premise and sets the stage to play out a tragedy, Faustian style.
So, don't expect this anime to be a walk in the park, it carries some deep meaning and dark elements. Yet, if you hang on until the end, you will not be disappointed by the hope it brings.
Violence wise, there's not that much blood at all, but that doesn't take away the emotional and brutal aspects of some of the violence in the series. The use of guns should be noted (though only the magical girls use guns on the "witches", the ones they are fighting against, and sometimes against the magical creature Kyuubey (see below for explanation)). There are a few very disturbing parts in the series that I would not consider "violent", but definitely not for the faint of heart. Those are:
Besides some magical girl transformations, there is no nudity or sexual content.
The series is based around magic and more importantly around a rather odd magical creature called Kyuubey. Kyuubey is the one who gives all magical girls their power and also grants them one wish.
Even the most darkest and deep places can find light. That's what Madoka Magica does. It paces itself well, and tells a story that at times will blot out your hope, only to renew it again, brighter and better than it was before.
Note: This is a review of the Aniplex of America English dub version of this series.
Violence / Gore:
This series is not overtly bloody. Not every episode centers on violence. However, central to the plot is the emotional turmoil that violence brings.
There are some blood splatters throughout the show. Guns, swords, etc. are used to fight and kill monsters. One girl is shown being eaten by a monster. A girl violently shoots a cat-like creature. A woman tries to commit suicide. Later, a group tries to commit mass-suicide. Spoiler:They were not in control of their minds. A man murders his family before killing himself as well. One girl beheads (and repeatedly stabs) a monster. Though you only see its silhouette, there is a lot of blood shown.
Nudity / Sexual Content:
There are two instances (in the theme song, and late in the series) in which two nude girls are hugging each other. Neither instance is sexual in nature. One girl misunderstands a situation and is upset because she believes that her two female friends are dating each other.
The girls in the show wear pretty short skirts but it's portrayed innocently for the most part. That said, there is a picture at the end of an episode that shows quite a bit of one girl's rear end under her skirt.
Potentially problematic theological themes:
The use of magic is prevalent in the series. There are also witches, and a conversation about how a human could posses the power to change the fabric of the universe, and become a "god."
Also prevalent in the series is the idea of a soul - in Madoka Magica, it is something that can be taken from someone Spoiler:and exchanged for wishes. It is also something that can be spoiled.
In one episode, a preacher begins to preach ideas that are "not in the Bible." His ideas are portrayed by one character as being correct. However, religion is not portrayed as being evil.
Other potentially problematic themes:
As a whole, this anime does not usually have more than 1 swear-word per episode. Sometimes none are said. However, in one episode, two random men are having a conversation near a main character. Their conversation is full of vulgarities and their topic of conversation is degrading women. Most of the swear-words they say are mild (as in the rest of the series). One person does begin to say the f-word before getting distracted.
One woman tells her daughter that being an adult is difficult, and that's why adults are allowed to drink alcohol. The girl replies that she's excited to grow up so that she can drink with her mother.
*Beautiful artistry and good pacing. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an interesting take on a well-known anime concept: magical girls. However, these characters are not run-of-the-mill. Neither is this series meant to be a comedy. The characters grow and mature as they begin to understand that everything has a price. But are they willing to pay it?