Category Archives: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

QB156

Just some thought dumps, since it’s all I have time for this week.

CrunchyRoll’s newsletter has an interesting take on B156. I am not sure who contributes to their newsletter but I thought this is a particularly empathic take, and one that I don’t disagree with much. Namely it points out the maturing of anime has something to do with blurring between the genres that were categorically adult and what clearly weren’t. It’s a logical thing to say because it is obvious; you can see it happen. It’s good that I’m no fan of Moetan either (although I don’t think I hate it). More pertinently, the maturing of anime probably comes from the notion that its audience has grown up (age-wise), but this was missing from the write-up. I quote:

Sex sells; or more specifically, moe. Moe is rife in modern anime, more than ever before. Granted, sexual content has been present in anime (who hasn’t heard of hentai or ecchi?) but up until recently, the boundaries between mainstream and hentai were well established. These boundaries have blurred considerably with series such as Strike Witches and Moetan leading the way in using moe to promote questionable or feeble material. The latter is particularly responsible. The main character, Ink, is meant to be sixteen years old and yet she looks like she’s ten. The dialogue enforces constantly that her age is sixteen but there’s no getting away from the fact that she DOES look like a pre-pubescent girl. That was three years ago. Nowadays, there’s always at least one series per season that tends to one-up the previous season in terms of sexual content sparking outrage with organisation and public figureheads like Ishihara.

This leads me back to the title of this article. I believe that this legislation, if it goes ahead as planned, could stimulate anime into producing more mature and accessible series that are more engaging narratively speaking and less sexually awkward. However, I’ll make this clear. I’m not a fan of Ishihara and the need of a bill to make anime not resort to controversial tactics to generate interest regarding a show. Studios and directors should come to that conclusion themselves and not out of fear of reprisal from the government. I liken anime in 2011 to a teenager – exploring the boundaries of risque subject matter whilst not being able to fully comprehend the consequences for doing so. A bill may change that – whether it will be a positive or a negative action remains to be seen.

I think the blurring or pushing of boundaries is natural. It’s how almost everything evolves. It’s certainly how art and entertainment evolve. Of course what should go hand in hand with this boundary condition is socially responsible application of boundary pushing. If that is what B156 pushed for, it’s certainly not written in it anywhere, although it does make sense in this context. Still, this Masako guy might be right even if how he came to his conclusion may be wrong–that eventually we’ll get something pretty darn cool because things will have evolved.

Like Magica Madoka: You know what was the coolest thing so far? QB’s real name. And it’s a bilingual trick too, by taking the second and third syllables of QB’s real name (which is basically English lol) to make his other name. And just to think if we didn’t have an aging audience clinging to magical girl shows they were infatuated with when they were younger, how possibly could we have had this strange mix of deathly despair and frilly-cute combat outfits? I suppose I should also talk about the other word play reveal at the end of episode 8, but someone else probably can do it better.

Before QB’s reveal, though, Homura’s strange outpouring on Madoka is somewhat … funny? I think this doujinshi explains why I find it funny (and it was made a few episodes ago no less). The only question left is: how GAR can she get?


Puella Magi Erandis d’Vol

I like my tea and cake anime, but I like my high brow drama anime too. Too bad the latter require some major spoilerage to get flushed out. Thus, warning, spoilers, let there be.

It is the oddest sort of connected thoughts, but when Quebey discussed the nature of magical girls in Madoka’s universe (episode 6), it spelled out much like a more logically constructed D&D-style lich. In other words, QB makes them into liches.

And once I made that connection, there is nothing really shocking about it. I understood why it is a dramatic moment, that it broke even Kyoko’s poker face, but it wasn’t a big deal. It’s much like how Homura just went and got it, what’s the big deal?

When Urobuchi’s magical girls polish off their soul gems-slash-phylactery with magical grief seeds, what is really happening? What is QB doing with them in his magical container sort of thing? I guess souls are delicious.


Array of Public Opinion Blossoms in the Crack of Weekly Broadcast

Okay, can I spoil on Madoka Magica episode 3 now?

It is the sort of little joys in my life, to be able to tune in to a fanbase that expressed their surprise, dismay, anger, joy, admiration and how eyes lit up when the collective of us pondered the meaning behind Kyubey’s unphased face, that never-changing :3 expression. The undigested SPOILER of a certain SPOILER drops onto those pin-top tables, feeling as if we’ve attended the wrong tea party. No queen spoke of “off with her head” but we did get a really large dose of Faust, and when you get that along with the word “contract” it shouldn’t take a lawyer to have some alarm go off.

The most pretty expressions this week are the fan artists and the graphical remixers. As TheBigN mentioned previously, Pixiv is one of the earliest spot. I guess there might be some kind of speedsubber mentality at work there, but it’s not just them. I think 2ch, 4chan and all the usual spots have a lot of fun takes of episode 3’s surprise twist.

But how can you enjoy these potentially short-lived outbursts if you don’t follow this show on a weekly basis? I suppose to an extent you could enjoy it by an exercise of empathy, but I doubt it can capture even 80%, let alone 100% of the festive feeling I’ve seen expressed. Especially if in the next episode, we get a big turn-around that may nullify this little shocker.

Well, we’ll know in a couple hours!


The Spoiler And How It Implicates in the Simulcast Nonsense

This post contains no spoilers, at least not on the face.

The latest about Madoka Magica from Urobuchi’s, writer, twitter, is a spoiler for the show, 3 episodes in. I am not too concerned about his sadly feeble attempt to mislead, but it does show that the intent to surprise is fully present.

As an anime guy who watches anime and talks about it on the internet, spoiler, well, I shouldn’t have to tell you if you are reading this–they’re a double-edged sword or a necessary evil. Whatever and however you think they are and feel about them, they are unavoidable to an extent. Some might even seek them out on purpose. It’s also a great way to troll, as seen in Madoka’s case, as well as countless previous instances. Probably most recently famous for the Snake Kills Dumbledore meme [wow, 2005?]. Or maybe something else newer.

But if Shinbo doesn’t want to spoil you, maybe that is the best way to enjoy the show? Maybe it is best to enjoy Madoka without reading up and speculating too much? Well, whatever floats your boat, but that seems like a sensible thing to do.

Funny enough, given my perspective and tendencies I find myself applying The Spoiler Problem on the whole directly to the simulcast situation. It isn’t really a big surprise considering time delay and exclusivity are common methods for content owners to make profit and distinguish themselves over their competitors–there’s money in it. People want their stuff now, ASAP. I am not going to point fingers at DirecTV customers and call them impatient because they can get Hollywood films over their satellite dish faster than Netflix, but you get a bunch of them calling people who watch fansubs that exactly. That makes no sense to me, especially how some (very large and pervasive) media companies encourage this behavior. Can’t we stick to calling them people who break copyright laws? Because that’s all there is to it.

I mean, put it this way, in order to enjoy Madoka fully you pretty much have to avoid a spoiler that is 3 episodes in. The surprise element is pretty much gone if you follow any of the anime episodic blogs or chatters from Japan. Heck if you read #madoka on twitter you will basically get spoiled. As someone who prizes enjoyment of his anime above all else anime related, I really sympathizes to those Madoka fans who have to get their anime first, in this specific case, just so they can keep swimming.

I guess that’s not a real problem anyone has to be concerned about, since we live in a media-rich society with instant communication and broadcasting via the internet. In other words, we struggle with this all the time. It’s no different than picking up the newspaper on Friday and read about the reviews of new films coming out. Except in that case, if I really cared, I could just go watch it in theaters that same day then read the reviews. Where as in the anime case, copyright law says  you are SOL. Sorry, can’t read twitter or blogs for the next 3 months!

But instead of griping or whatever, I think of it as a Real Life Problem and an opportunity for profit. That’s how startups are born, people! Because this applies not only to anime, but it applies to all manners of media and it applies to all forms of consumption. Like this little twitter client. Or something like Crunchyroll.


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