Magical Girl Madoka Magica #01 — Shinbo World

January 6th, 2011


Is he even trying anymore?


Let’s see, another show about magical girls where 3 minutes is spent in some trippy stylized world and 20 minutes is spent on mundane, boring as snot talking heads chattering about nothing with some obvious moral lesson about friends hinted at with all the subtlety and grace of King Hippo in a g-string. Where have we seen this before? I wish they had kept the magic world to the initial monochromatic/post-apocalyptic dreamland too, because Shinbo just throwing together all his neglected Zetsubou Sensei OP cutouts was moronic. And have some of Bakemonogatari’s flying scissors too. It’s been a year since we dragged those out. I can already hear the weak-minded clapping their hands in delight and squealing like morons. Don’t get me wrong, I did really like the initial magic/dream world segment, but that just made the following 18 minutes of mind-numbing insipid nonsense even worse.

The music was easily the best part of this episode and the only show thus far that has actually done a solid job with its score. Production, however, is already showing plenty of cracks. Aside from the second magic world sequence being made up of 95% material recycled from old Shaft shows, all the usual Shaft directorial garbage is in full effect. They try to hide the lack of budget with continuous distance shots, off-screen talking, random zoom-ins on CG objects (escalator steps being my favorite), but after almost half a decade of dealing with this from them, I’m really just plain sick of it. It’s not clever. It’s not interesting. It’s just a directing trick to avoid visual focus. This is a visual medium. Make the visuals meaningful. I’m already sick of seeing that exact same shot of Madoka’s face over and over and over again. Besides, filling 2/3rds of the episode with budget saving tricks is never a good sign.


Anyway, I’m underimpressed. It’s Shinbo being Shinbo… yet again. It’s not horrible by any means, but he does absolutely nothing here that he hasn’t done six or seven times a year for the past half decade. I was tired of it years ago and I’m tired of it now. If you’ve seen any one of his shows from that time period, you’ve pretty much already seen this one. Somebody needs to reign him in already and explain that his moldy directing gimmicks are not a substitute for substance. The cast is cookie-cutter to the extreme and the plot is very obviously being opaque for the sake of opaqueness. I guess you could call that ‘mystery’ a hook, but I’m so tired of seeing the same show from Shaft season in and season out that I don’t even know if I want to brave it next week to find out if they’re going to actually do anything with the magical side of it.

Posted in Anime | 36 Comments »

36 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • Anise_Punter says:

    The only time the “directing gimmicks” really ever got in the way of the show for me was Bakemonogatari, which I thought sucked, and the gimmicky-ness did nothing to help that.

    I always thought they fit better in a somewhat lighter setting; I thought they worked pretty well in the Zetsubou Sensei series. Then again, Arakawa was a pretty light setting and I thought it was terrible, though that was less the directing gimmicks and more of it just not being funny.

    This one looks promising though, and I look forward to it inspiring an equally large number of inane comments as Angel Beats did last year during its run. Hopefully this one is nowhere near as disappointing.

  • Jack says:

    Too pink.

  • KRISS says:

    I’m also sick of your boring critiques of SHAFT/Shinbo shows.

    • Anonymous says:

      And I’m sick of your refusal to acknowledge that Shitbo’s works sux donkey balls ^_^

    • JTFish says:

      Aroduc just doesn’t understand the symbolic meaning behind all these budget saving tricks. It’s some DEEP message about friendship or something.

      • Anonymous says:

        What’s this thing called ‘friendship’? If it’s what I think it is, then maybe those mahou shoujo chains that showed up during the magical world segments has something to do with that mysterious ‘friendship’ thing… whatever it is.

  • Keaton says:

    It’s Urobuchi Gen, man. That alone separates this show from everything else Shinbo has done.

  • marvelous stan says:

    Seen the Magical Girl Yue OAD? I think that might be more your style, so far as Shaft magical girl stuff goes.

  • Kaisos says:

    Aroduc, why do you even go near Shinbo shows anymore? You hate them. Just stop blogging them and save yourself the trouble.

    • Aroduc says:

      Because I hope that some day, he’ll show a glimmer of the creativity, wit, and charm that went into Pani Poni Dash or Tsukiyomi.

      • EXM says:

        Aroduc, are you passing on this show? Your negativity isn’t exactly anything new, but neither is your willingness to follow a show you deem shitty just for the sake of mocking it. So which is it?

        • Aroduc says:

          There are still two more shows left to air next Thursday. Granted, both are noitaminA, but you never know. Maybe Yamakan will actually come through with his promise that Fractale will be amazing.
          I’ll almost certainly end up with two for Thursdays regardless but I haven’t really decided which to expect to get better instead of worse and will most likely give both another looksie next week to see if they’ve solved their issues of trying to be coy with the plot by spending most of the episode going nowhere. Oddly, they’re both remarkably similar in most ways aside from music and… Shinbo. Magica’s a known quantity, while Merry looks like JCStaff’s 3rd tier Ookami staff back in the saddle. Neither is overly appealing.

  • Mesousa says:

    Soredemo was awesome, by the way, you missed out on some pretty darn good stuff in that series.

    • anon says:

      Perhaps having one’s eardrums ruptured by Chiaki Omigawa’s screeching could be considered “good stuff”, in that you would never have to hear her again, but I dare say it would be an impediment to anime blogging.

  • Leah-san says:

    And again, this episode was awesome, and this anime will be awesome ^___^
    I don’t agree with you in the slightest ^.^

  • The Phantom says:

    A magical girl show, I hate that subgenre altogether. I’m skipping this one.

  • Anonymous says:

    Glad to see someone willing to call a spade a spade. If one ignores all the big names like “Shaft”, “Shinbo” and “Ume Aoki”, it’ll just look like a piece of crap.

  • alex says:

    Was still more interesting than IS.

  • Dual says:

    Such a nice opening song wasted in this slideshow, too bad.

  • Rincewind says:

    I liked the “insipid nonsense”.
    For now, its becoming the first of my list for this season.

  • Ninja Penguin says:

    When I saw this listed for Winter 2011, I dismissed it as “oh look, another stupid magical girl show”. My expectations were very low, but I gotta say after watching this episode, that I was thoroughly entertained.

  • Anonymous says:

    I spent half this show wondering why every building and room seemed to be made entirely out of windows.

  • sl says:

    >If one ignores all the big names like “Shaft”, “Shinbo” and “Ume Aoki”…
    Those mediocre stuff are not big names, Urobuchi and Kajiura are.

  • ~xxx says:

    introductions aren’t suppose to be so ‘flashy’ in the beginning.

    So I think I could ignore(up to 50%) and wait for the next one to kick in…[hopefully, it does not put me under stale moments.]

    The thing I liked was the insert music which reminds me of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was also skeptical at first, but I have to say that the second and third episodes completely convinced me to follow this show. The pilot was nothing close to extraordinary, but it wasn’t entirely bad.

    You should give it a try, and blog about your further impressions (because it’s quite amusing to read your articles).

  • Hexmage says:

    Why’d you choose to write about dull shows like Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka instead of Madoka Magica? I just watched all 5 of the released episodes of this show in 2 days. Now it’s the only show this season I care to watch.

    I usually agree with your opinions, but in this case I think you may have been too hasty.

  • Ota says:

    After watching 7 episodes and reading the impressions for the first episode in this blog all i can say is : no first impressions could have been more wrong than these.

    Shinbo completely tricked you.

  • Fan says:

    This show is ending up to be a lot like Index/Railgun without Touma and his patented method of stopping the rest of the cast from going off the deep end.

    • Aroduc says:

      Interesting premise with characters that consistently make godawful nonsensical decisions? Yeah, sure. I could get behind that.

  • Hexmage says:

    God, I can’t express how much I wish you had chosen to cover this show, if only so I could have something entertaining and related to the show to read while I eagerly await the next episode.

    I know we can’t have a general purpose anime thread on Penny-Arcade anymore, but I’m thinking of contacting one of the mods to ask if there can be a thread for just this show (seeing as they’ve allowed several other show specific threads). I just need to think of a catchy thread title…

    • Aroduc says:

      I’m pretty sure I would have just ended up mocking its janky art and how crappy a character Madoka is 95% of the time.

      • Hexmage says:

        Have you watched any of the other episodes and just haven’t blogged about them?

        I will admit that it’s odd how they’ve relegated the main character so far to just watching the action as it unfolds. Despite this, I’m greatly enjoying it and can’t wait to see what exactly Kyuubei’s true nature is.

      • Hexmage says:

        I know you probably don’t give a shit, but the latest episode revealed that there’s a reason for the way Madoka acts, and that reason has something to do with Homura.

        I already loved this show to death, and then it went and added *SPOILERS* a Groundhog Day time loop.

  • Random says: