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REVIEW: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Vol. 2 Blu-Ray


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belindabird
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Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:15 pm Reply with quote
I'm glad to see that the series is still garnering high praises. I'm extra-excited to see how the final installment fares, especially considering that it contains my personal favorite episode (episode 10). Darn the 2 month wait between volumes.

I share a little bit of Zac's frustration with Madoka's story arc at this point in the show, but I think her role as an observer helps to make her decisions in the final few episodes more believable as a result. I suppose that's really only an observation that can be made in hindsight, though.
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:15 pm Reply with quote
An amazing review as always, Zac.

These four episodes truly showed me why this show is adored so much. God bless Gen Urobuchi, and his amazing skills at deconstruction.

However, I do disagree with your critisism of Cabonos' performance. In all honesty, Madoka's Japanese voice actor doesn't sound much like a little girl either.
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neocloud9



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:20 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
we're given no understanding of exactly why Madoka is so special and powerful


That's one of those things that might go completely unexplained in a regular magical girl show, but not this one. And when the show finally does give the explanation for that, it fits really well with the nature of series up to that point. Watching the show again via these releases, having already seen the series once through, has been a really fun and rewarding experience for me so far.
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Chagen46



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:25 pm Reply with quote
Also, Zac, I'm surprised you did not mention how Sayaka is performed in the dub. Given how important Sayaka is to these four episodes, her actor needs to nail it perfectly or the whole dub for this volume falls apart.
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dragon695



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:27 pm Reply with quote
Poor dtm24 Sad
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pachy_boy



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:32 pm Reply with quote
A near-perfect review that almost exactly captures my own feelings, although I for one think the dub is solid.

After all the fan hype, I really wasn't expecting to like this series as much as I am now (believe it or not, I was just a tad bit underwhelmed by Redline after all the hype). It may not be an 'art' series per se, but that's exactly what I feel I'm watching, and everything that's happening hurts so good. This show really is offering something different, and I'm loving it for it. And after such a cliffhanger where Kyubey reveals the identity of the witches (among other things being revealed), the third Aniplex set just isn't going to be coming fast enough.

Quote:
The music helps bring that sinister side to the fore very well – particularly the ending theme, which feels much more honest about what the show is than the completely deceptive opening.


By episode 7, even I was wondering, "Um, shouldn't they be changing the opening theme song by now?" The ending theme is quite possibly one of the best ones ever made for a series--it honestly scares the crap out of me every time I watch it, and even more so as the story progresses.
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kyokun703



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:51 pm Reply with quote
Sweeeeeet. I can't wait to watch this once CR gets all the eps up. I'm going to marathon the shiz out of it with my friend.

Thanks, Zac, for putting up spoiler warnings! Very much appreciated!
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Animerican14



Joined: 19 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:51 pm Reply with quote
Great review! Kinda surprised I didn't see any A+'s though. Well, maybe that'll happen with the final LE... I think you'll find yourself pretty impressed with the animation there, at least. Very Happy

Wow, I think this might've been my first time seeing an explicit spoiler warning like that in a review here on ANN... at least, for a show that I've already been already fairly well-versed in. I'm also happy that you took notice of the music this time in your evaluation... although don't dismiss the opening theme as pure trolling, though; the lyrics will come to be particularly meaningful come a certain upcoming episode. And also, you use "screenwriters" instead of "screenwriter?" I've been pretty positive that Gen Urobuchi handled screenwriting duties for all twelve episodes, not just general story composition.
Zac wrote:
[...] one concept in particular takes center stage: the idea that happiness and the naiveté that's inherent to being happy is toxic and antithetical to survival. Hardened cynicism and ruthless self-preservation is the only way you'll truly survive; the innate need to protect the ones you love will cost you everything, including your humanity and any memory that you ever existed. Abandoning your desire to help those around you is key.

Good description of that theme there, fo' shizzle. Definitely not thematic you see in a show with moe character designs, eh? However-- and I'm about to touch on a thematic spoiler for the last third of the series, so beware-- spoiler[this theme ends up not becoming not so nihilistic as this set of episodes leads you to believe, I think! Let's just say that Social Darwinism is not one of the end-all be-all messages of this series, or at least one of the "right" messages ... Smile)]

Quote:
During one of her many scenes where she's justifying her decision to save lives, Sayaka says she'll stop anyone who's trying to hurt people. In the subtitles, she says she'll stop them “even if they happen to be magical girls”, but in the dub, she says “especially if they're magical girls”. This changes her motivation and it isn't clear why that choice was made; for a show that absolutely lives and dies based on what comes out of its characters mouths, fiddling with the dialogue during moments like that should've been verboten. Those changes don't help anything and only serve to confuse.

Actually, I think this little change on the part of the localization is very much in line with Sayaka's character-- why, it seems to make a certain character trait of hers all the more noticeable. With the emphasis of "especially if they happen to be magical girls," I think the point is more powerfully made home that Sayaka will never let anyone get in the way of her dishing out of "justice." If a magical girl happens to be in her way or causing harm to others in front of her eyes, such a magical girl would to Sayaka essentially be a traitor to the cause for good, and thus Sayaka would likely feel more personal anger, even hatred, towards such a person that has more or less completely "given up" on fighting the so-called Good Fight than some monstrous Witch.


Last edited by Animerican14 on Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sacto0562



Joined: 12 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:56 pm Reply with quote
What I find interesting was how very little promotion happened for this series in Japan until only shortly before the first episode aired.

But yet, when it finished it became the type of landmark anime series that will be remembered for many years to come, just like what Neon Genesis Evangelion did after its first airing on TV Tokyo in 1995-1996 changed the perception of the mecha anime genre and the first season of Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon in 1992-1993 on TV Asahi changed the perception of the mahou shoujo anime genre.
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Polycell
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:58 pm Reply with quote
Chagen46 wrote:
God bless Gen Urobuchi, and his amazing skills at deconstruction.
Most of what this series is deconstructing are its own premises and the show's better for going its own way and not trying to rend others.
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Anton Chigurh



Joined: 03 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:07 pm Reply with quote
This show had all the opportunities in the world to fail up to this point, and it never did. It's pretty cool to see someone with exacting tastes like Zac's being pleased with what he's seeing. Man, to think he still hasn't seen episode 10, which turns the entire series in its head - a series which was turning its entire genre on its head, no less... THAT review I want to read.

Of course, he's also yet to see episode 12, and I do want to read that review too, but for entirely different reasons.
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Asterisk-CGY



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:08 pm Reply with quote
Wait wait wait...

Animation got a B?
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kyokun703



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:14 pm Reply with quote
Asterisk-CGY wrote:
Wait wait wait...

Animation got a B?


From the review:

Quote:
Visually, the show continues to thrill, when it isn't stuck with the usual cost-saving television animation techniques.
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belindabird
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:16 pm Reply with quote
Asterisk-CGY wrote:
Wait wait wait...

Animation got a B?


I'd actually agree with that score. While the art design is excellent and definitely out-of-the-ordinary, the fluidity of the character animation often leaves a bit to be desired. There's a reason why that "Meduca Meguka" meme was so prevalent for a while. Anyway, this still puts the show above average in that category, which it definitely is. Even for all its minor mistakes and off-model moments, it still looks great.
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Julia-the-Great



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 328

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:32 pm Reply with quote
Asterisk-CGY wrote:
Wait wait wait...

Animation got a B?


I can see that. For all the stunning witch battle animation, there is just as much "not showing mouths while they speak" cost cutting during non-battle scenes. It can't be A++ animation ALL the time, after all, or they would run out of money! Laughing

I really like the dub, actually, and I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I am. I still think a few of the voices sound too similar sometimes, but there were moments watching it earlier today that got the old eyes a'watering. Particularly Sayaka's monologue about spoiler[losing Kyosuke to Hitomi.]

Worth every penny I paid for the LEs. Watching the high def on the big screen, I'm catching so many little things I hadn't noticed before. (This is my third time watching it through....)
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