Madoka-san@Ganbaranai

Some crazy fans have taken the OP for Sasami-san@Ganbaranai and replaced all the characters with characters from Madoka Magica (via Crunchyroll).

The result looks amazingly good. It probably helps that the shows are from the same studio so the style of the artwork matches. It’s interesting to see which Madoka character they think corresponds to each Sasami-san character.
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2011: The Anime Year in Review

I’m going to go about this in my usual biased way, ignoring anything that didn’t interest me and selecting the shows that were great, the shows that were good, and the shows that might have been good were it not for some serious flaw. Ongoing series that have not completed a single season will have judgement deferred until next year. (Too often a promising show is ruined by a bad or missing ending.)
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Buddhist Elements in Madoka Magica (Spoilers)

If you haven’t yet seen Puella Magi Madoka Magica / Mahou Shoujo Madoka Majika you should do so before reading this post or the posts I link to. Don’t let me spoil what is probably the best anime of the year.

Yi has written a very extensive post called Birth of a Goddess, Madoka’s Path to Nirvana – A Study of Buddhism. You might also find my general notes on Buddhism and anime helpful.
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Madoka Magica Ends

Wow. I was afraid that after the ending had been delayed more than a month due to the earthquake, my expectations might have built up to the point that anything would be a disappointment. Boy was I wrong. That was a great ending. (If it doesn’t make sense to you, it might help to reread my long essay on Buddhism.)

It’s too early to be naming the best anime series of the year, but unless something truly amazing comes along this one has it locked up.

Cardcaptor Madoka

By now most of the people watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica have concluded that the real villain is the cute animal mascot character Kyuubee. (I’m just going to transliterate the name. Others use “Kyubey” or even “QB”.)

It’s easy to believe that he’s actually in league with the witches. At best he’s a totally amoral pragmatist who is willing to sacrifice any number of magical girls in order to defeat a greater evil. Worst of all is the way he deceives his potential recruits. He doesn’t exactly lie to them but he certainly doesn’t tell them the whole truth about what they are getting into.

This is a notable subversion of the well-worn tropes of the magical girl genre, but it is not unprecedented. In fact it evokes the greatest magical girl show of them all: Cardcaptor Sakura.
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Puella Magi Madoka Magica–Anime First Impressions

One of the most fascinating animes of the new season is also one of the most unsettling. Puella Magi Madoka Magica has all the elements of a traditional magical girl show. Ordinary girls (check) make “contracts” with a cute talking animal mascot character (check) which gives them magical powers (check) which they use to fight monsters (check) while wearing cute costumes (check).

But the series doesn’t have quite the usual cute appearance. It’s done by Akiyuki Shinbo and Shaft, which means it has Shinbo’s characteristic avant-garde cut-and-paste style. That’s a matter of taste–I kind of like it.

More importantly, the story isn’t cute. It reminds me of Shakugan no Shana, which is not a conventional magical girl show. In Shana the Flame Hazes pay a terrible price for their powers, involving constant physical danger, isolation from normal humans and the psychological consequences of associating with people who are insane by any reasonable standard.

It’s pretty clear that in PMMM the magical girls pay a similar price. And that’s the optimistic assumption. The little mascot character Kyuubee looks cute enough, but frankly he creeps me out. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that he is actually evil, and the “witches” the girls are fighting are really innocent victims.
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