Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Episode 3

Best Friends Forever (for about 3 more minutes)

I am back on the anime bandwagon! Everyone was talkin’ bout this Madoka show, so I’ve been watching it. I read that Episode 3 had a pretty big spoiler, but I didn’t actually read it. I have a feeling that knowing that there was a spoiler without actually knowing it made this episode more interesting. I finally predicted it a few minutes before it actually happened.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka seems like a pretty complicated magical girl anime. It’s not afraid to be dark and show the consequences of actually fighting evil (like uh, succumbing to it). This episode seals the deal by killing off Mami, the mentor figure of Madoka and Sayaka. I imagine the rest of the series will be about the two girls getting tricked into signing a Faustian contract, and coming to terms with the fact that they’re basically going to be enslaved (or at least stuck in indentured servitude) for the rest of their lives.

Why is rabbit/cat thing still smiling?

Random Thoughts:

I guess that’s why you don’t see a lot of magical girls grown up. The lifespan of a good magical girl must be pretty short.

Madoka doesn’t really have the most potential that Kyubei’s ever seen. He just tells that to all his ladies.

I feel like Mami could have survived if she had taken the witch a little more seriously and stopped showboating all over the place. We get it, your gun skills are cool. Just make sure to get the job done. I bet you were gonna try and drink tea after killing the witch, too. Serves you right!

Maybe Mami died on purpose, kinda like Obi-Wan when he turned into a force ghost! Except she’s sorta totally dead, so probably not.

If the Kyubey thing is handing out Magical Girl cards, then who is handing out Witch cards? If it’s the same guy then he should seriously consider working for the government. Or BP. Genius. And doesn’t it seem a bit coercive that he signed up Mami while she was dying? I think Kyubey might win best evil/cute thing of the season with his track record.

Anime Review

Amagami SS – Anime Review

Oh, knee knee.

I did a marathon sprint with Amagami SS and finished the whole series last night. I thought I should write up my thoughts about the show while it’s still fresh in my head.

Amagami SS is a typical bishojou game to anime conversion in many ways, but in others it is quite unique. Most galge conversions (at least all that I’ve seen) only cover one girl’s arc (and maybe a second girl’s in an OVA). Or they take some time off the main route to focus on another girl for maybe 3-4 episodes. Amagami SS takes the unusual approach of having a 4 episode arc for a girl in its entirety, then doing a reset so Junichi can get with another girl.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was narcoleptic like me?

I think this forces the anime to be a little bit more self aware as it needs to concede to the fact that alternate realities are going to pop up. In a pseudo Back to the Future / Groundhog Day way, we see how Junichi’s actions (and inactions) affect those around him. In a way, it’s really sad to see alternate futures, because Junichi seems a pretty integral part of some of the girls’ lives.

Too soon?

For example, Junichi coaches Sae from being painfully shy to becoming a waitress at a popular cafe. In another arc, Junichi tutors Ai so she can avoid after school classes and remain on the swim team. In Rihoko’s arc, Junichi saves the Tea Club. In the final arc, Junichi exposes Tsukasa so she can be confident revealing her true self to others. This only happens in each girl’s respective arc, though. I think the series tried to mitigate this by showing scenes where the other girls were obviously not lonely, but I kind of wish they had played up the essentialness of Junichi. “Oh, you didn’t hear? Ai dropped out of school and became a prostitute.”

I saw you with five other girls!

Another thing that bothered me was how Junichi could be right for all of those girls. Obviously this guy is a man whore himself. I never noticed him saying anything like, “you’re the only one for me,” since that would have set off the fourth wall alarm.

Junichi and... Umehara!?

The final episode pokes fun at the causality of Junichi daing all the girls by having a final girl who meddles with his relationships. He just goes from Morishima to Kaoru to Sae to Ai to Rihoko to Tsukasa, just like the series progressed!

All analysis aside, I really enjoyed Amagami SS. There were a slow arcs, but towards the end I couldn’t stop watching. The Tsukasa arc finally brought what the series what it needed all along: some actual drama. There was finally a character who you didn’t quite understand, who had surprisingly more to her than first glance, and who might’ve been a bit dangerous.

I suppose it was the series quick 4 episode arcs that enabled me to finish, but I also enjoyed the characters and the humor in the how. The arcs themselves could have been done better. There were too many untied loose ends, like Ai’s little brother and Tsukasa’s book (and secret?). Overall, it was a fun show that was easy to take in small chunks and had a really interesting few final episodes. These days I hardly finish any anime, so it’s a pretty good indicator that I got all the way through this one.

Anime Episodic

Amagami SS 12 – Boring Girl Arc

I’ve been working a bit on Anime Nano, which has led me to watch some more anime. I found that Amagami SS was the easiest thing to pick up again since it comes in nice 4 episode chunks of resolution. Even though I thought that the Morishima arc was kind of weird (though also the best at this point) and the Kaoru one was awkward, I figured there’d be a better arc coming up.

This arc features Sae, the shy girl who’s friends with Miya, Junichi’s sister. Sae (which even rhymes with “shy!”) needs help being more assertive so she can grow up to work in food service for the rest of her life. For reasons even Junichi doesn’t understand, he helps her by becoming her personal life coach. After a lot of training and some accidental groping and leering, they both come to the conclusion that they are in like with each other. Pretty much zero conflict, unless you count Junichi becoming a lobotomy patient and not realizing that he liked Sae until close to the last episode…

I suppose that what I like about Amagami SS is that they’re keeping things fresh with their show direction. This one had an omniscient narrator chipping in about the characters’ secret intentions. There are parts that are genuinely funny, like when Miya suggests that Sae try out for the Santa Costume Contest and the music stops as everyone realizes what a trainwreck it would be.

Finally, I will say that if they made a spinoff of Amagaii SS that only featured Morishima and Hibiki, doing what they do off screen, I would watch every single episode of it (and maybe make Morishima wear glasses or something)!

Also, I am really just waiting it out for the fat girl arc, as I predict it will be the best.