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Rise of the Dark Magical Girls


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yurigasaki



Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 155
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:53 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
yurigasaki wrote:
Madoka drives me insane because it not only doesn't do anything new in terms of being a magical girl story but it isn't particularly anything new or interesting as an Urobuchi Gen story or even an original anime story period. Everything in Madoka is something I've seen before elsewhere and done better.


Oh, lord. We have another one of these smug, "too cool for school" types who is so eager to assure those of us who who loved Madoka that we are wrong. Yeah, maybe none of its elements were new. I have no idea because I am not exhaustively familiar with magical girl shows. One of the impressive achievements of Madoka is that it attracted a huge fanbase that didn't necessarily normally watch magical girl shows and ended up enthralling us. No doubt being the sophisticated expert of magical girl shows that you are, you yawned in weary tedium at the huge reveal that Madoka contains. Oh, you've seen that kind of thing a zillion times before, right and seen it done so much better, right? Sucks to be you I guess, because I loved it and it will remain one of the most memorable anime moments I've experienced.


sry2disappoint my dude but i wasn't talking about magical girl shows in particular (as you will see by me explicitly mentioning other variables) but i also used to be a huge madoka fan too and i actually cried the first time i watched the finale because i was so moved by what madoka did. i've been soured on the show by hindsight, the show itself not aging very well and just me changing as a person and examining my media in a different way than i used to back when i first saw the show (in 2011 what the shit i could've sworn it was way more recent than that)

but it's pretty clear you're not interested in an actual discussion about why my feelings on the show are what they are, and instead just threw out a snobbish and defensive response to someone having a different opinion on a divisive show so carry on with your life, my dude :^)
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1837
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:12 pm Reply with quote
littlegreenwolf wrote:
I'm still waiting to hear what Madoka brought outside of targeting men late night with upped violence, but so far I'm seeing nothing. It just regurgitated magical girl themes that have always been there without the limit of daytime censors and a bigger budget shows that target the female gender rarely ever see.


Having seen at least Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Princess Tutu, and Utena, I don't feel like any of those series approached the idea of "What does it mean to be a magical girl" the same way that Madoka did. Sailor Moon probably comes closest (in anime filler, at least, which has episodes that contrast civilian life with saving the world), with Princess Tutu and Utena close on its heels, but those both struck me as "What does it mean to be a hero" rather than the very specific expected trappings of a "magical girl", things like addressing actual combat fatigue (both the physical and psychological toll it takes), the granting of wishes being an assumed cure-all, the kind of infrastructure in place to create magical girls--usually via a cute, cuddly mascot, etc. (Though CLAMP series in general tend to be some of the few that actually dissect the concept of magic beyond "it exists!".)

So did Madoka do one, totally awesome and original thing on its own? Eh, I'd have to say not really.

But what it did do was take ideas that were softened or just plain old unexplored in previous magical girl stories and combine them into a new idea: "What does it really mean to be a magical girl in a world that functions realistically?", not unlike how Evangelion approached the mecha genre.
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yurigasaki



Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 155
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:20 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
So did Madoka do one, totally awesome and original thing on it's own? Eh, I'd have to say not really. But what it did do is take ideas that were softened or just plain old unexplored in previous magical girl stories and combine them into a new idea "What does it really mean to be a magical girl in a world that functions realistically?", not unlike how Evangelion approached the mecha genre.


my problem with this idea though is that this isn't a "realistic world", it's gen urobuchi's "realistic world" and he's a writer that over saturates his stories with unrelenting cynicism in the first place. he's not a bad writer by any stretch (saya no uta is for serious my FAVOURITE piece of VN horror) but i guess... his idea of a 'realistic world' doesn't resonate with me. his narratives really feel like the philosophical equivalent of "life isn't fair, sweetie : )" and the mechanics of the magical girl system are already stacked against the characters in a way a more traditional narrative isn't. not only that, by his own admission, urobuchi doesn't consider the story to be a magical girl story and had actually never even seen a magical girl show before he penned madoka.

i do think it would be interesting to see a more traditional magical girl narrative set in a realistic world, however! if you read webcomics at all, i really highly recommend "sleepless domain" which is a magical girl story that comes so close to scratching this itch for me that i can almost feel it.
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Lero



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 41
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:26 pm Reply with quote
Animechic420 wrote:
I'd be down with the whole dark magical girl rise if they weren't 12 year old girls killing each other.

You have magical girls ranging from 7 years old to over 40+ years old.
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Aylinn



Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 1684
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:38 pm Reply with quote
To me the main difference between Madoka and these shows is that magical girls aimed at girls focus more on relationships, interactions, characters and development, which Princess Tutu and Sailor Moon did well. I will count Utena, though I think it only has elements of a magical girls’ genre and is more interested in subverting shoujo tropes.

Madoka plot is decent, as the intrigue makes sense if you look back to the first episodes and there are ‘hints’ that something dark is going on. However, when it comes to characters, Madoka doesn’t hold a candle to Princess Tutu, let alone Utena where characters are more complex and more importantly allowed to grow up and move on. Even Sailor Moon did a better job in this regards, thanks to Ikuhara and other talented directors form what I know.

I suppose that most fans of these shows didn’t care about plot too much, especially Sailor Moon which doesn’t have the most complex intrigue and has infamous monster of the week episodes, but re-watching Sailor Moon S and Super S not so long ago made me realize just how good the slice of life was. Utena is pretty much the same. The winner of the duels is easy to predict, since it is not important who wins, but why are these people fighting in the first place? Princess Tutu is too more about characters than plot. It has plot and it is a good plot, but I remember tension being mostly build up on characters coming to certain decisions and then acting on them, even if the consequences were not always pretty and/or the odds appeared overwhelming. Characters in Modoka, once they have learnt in what a shitty situation they are, fall into despair. This is what characters from magical girls’ for girls show also experience, but they eventually decided to fight for what they believe, in other words they were allowed to move on past this stage.
Quote:
Guys, you can't just go and say that Madoka doesn't have anything new to bring to the table just because it wasn't the first magical girl series to deal with adult themes. Utena, Princess Tutu, Sailor Moon, none of those shows are even anything like Madoka. Utena isn't even in the same ballpark as Madoka.

Other than have the girls fall into despair and die, instead of making them move on and fight like in other magical shows, Madoka doesn’t have much more to offer. I admit that the plot is handled decently, but it is not like it is impossible to find a show with a better intrigue or an equally good one, so it is not like it is better storytelling-wise. It is not even like you cannot find a good plot among magical girl series. Princess Tutu is a good example. However, if someone finds shows about magical girls being crushed and killed off appealing, they are of course free to like them, each to their own. I am not saying this is bad or that these kind of shows must necessarily be bad.
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Blood-
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 20664
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:42 pm Reply with quote
yurigasaki wrote:
but it's pretty clear you're not interested in an actual discussion about why my feelings on the show are what they are, and instead just threw out a snobbish and defensive response to someone having a different opinion on a divisive show so carry on with your life, my dude :^)


As you yourself would say, got it in one. I'm not interested in discussing your feelings because you gave me absolutely no reason to do so. You claimed that you've seen everything in Madoka before and done better, but of course failed to provide a single example. In other words, the only thing you offered to anybody to respond to was a smug inference that those of us who love Madoka are wrong. Don't mistake me, this is not an invitation to explicate your views further. You do not strike me as a particularly interesting thinker, so I'd have zero interest in reading them.
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yurigasaki



Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 155
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:53 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
In other words, the only thing you offered to anybody to respond to was a smug inference that those of us who love Madoka are wrong.


lol if you're defensive enough about madoka that you mentally tacked "AND ALSO ANYONE WHO LIKES THIS SHOW IS STUPID AND WRONG" onto a post explaining why i, personally, the person behind this keyboard and not anyone else in this thread, have found madoka increasingly tired and boring over the years then that's your problem and not mine

there ain't nothing wrong with enjoying wholeheartedly a piece of media that has flaws, glaring or otherwise -- shit man you'd be hardpressed to find something that ISN'T in some way flawed. if you enjoy something then go ahead and enjoy it. if it's something you truly love then there really isn;t any need to get defensive and jump down the throats of people who, for whatever reason, critique it.
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Blood-
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 20664
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:22 pm Reply with quote
[quote="yurigasaki"]
Blood- wrote:
...if you enjoy something then go ahead and enjoy it. if it's something you truly love then there really isn;t any need to get defensive and jump down the throats of people who, for whatever reason, critique it.


I love how somebody starts off with an obviously abrasive tone about something and then when somebody naturally reacts against it, accuses the responder of being defensive. Rolling Eyes

You could have actually made an interesting first post that would have lead to a worthwhile discussion. You could have said you were originally a fan of the show, but as the years went by and you thought more about it and saw other things, you came to change your mind and you could have provided concrete examples to illustrate your points. But nah. You were more interested in adopting a shitty tone and not providing any concrete examples. Of course when you do that some people are going to call you on it. What do you expect? Learn to communicate effectively and you won't run into the problem.
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Artesox



Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 90
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:27 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
Having seen at least Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Princess Tutu, and Utena, I don't feel like any of those series approached the idea of "What does it mean to be a magical girl" the same way that Madoka did. Sailor Moon probably comes closest (in anime filler, at least, which has episodes that contrast civilian life with saving the world), with Princess Tutu and Utena close on its heels, but those both struck me as "What does it mean to be a hero" rather than the very specific expected trappings of a "magical girl", things like addressing actual combat fatigue (both the physical and psychological toll it takes), the granting of wishes being an assumed cure-all, the kind of infrastructure in place to create magical girls--usually via a cute, cuddly mascot, etc. (Though CLAMP series in general tend to be some of the few that actually dissect the concept of magic beyond "it exists!".)


I never understood this connection between Magical Girls and Wish Making. Sincerely, it is a trope that is not present in most shows, especially the battling magical girl subset from which Madoka was born, and a lot of shows, such as Magical Emi and Go! Princess Precure, have a straight refusal of the MCs in having their dreams fulfilled by magic.

It was, in fact, one of the things that alienated Madoka so much from the "what does it mean to be a magical girl" question you try to present as its key factor. Though that is kinda expected when the author had never watched a single magical girl at the time.


Last edited by Artesox on Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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yurigasaki



Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 155
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:27 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
trimmed for length


so do you actually have anything to contribute to a conversation here or are you just that invested in complaining at me that my own contribution to a discussion you weren't previously part of wasn't exactly to your taste because like

it's 25 past 10 on a saturday night so it ain't like i've got much else on right now my dudebro but i'm sure the good folks here who actually want to talk about relevant shit would rather you take it to a PM or just. elsewhere that isn't here.

Artesox wrote:
I never understood this connection between Magical Girls and Wish Making. Sincerely, it is a trope that is not present in most shows, especially the battling magical girl subset from which Madoka was born, and a lot of shows, such as Magical Emi and Go! Princess Precure, have a straight refusal of the MCs in having their dreams fulfilled by magic.


if you wanna ssstttreetttcchhh then maybe you could say it was influenced by the idea of like. the cute witch subgenre? with its day-to-day use of magic to solve mundane problems and the like. but even those come with a certain element of WHOOAOAOA BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOOOORRR and an encouragement to solve problems with your own power and not rely on magic (i.e, outside help)

but, yeah, then there's that nugget of urobuchi being unfamiliar with the genre so who knows where it came from, i guess. iirc, he had shinbo's approval do whatever he wanted? so maybe it's an idea someone tossed at him and he bul

E: mushing a reply into another post so we don't get a double post
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1837
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Artesox wrote:

I never understood this connection between Magical Girls and Wish Making. Sincerely, it is a trope that is not present in most shows, especially the battling magical girl subset from which Madoka was born, and a lot of shows, such as Magical Emi and Go! Princess Precure, have a straight refusal of the MCs in having their dreams fulfilled by magic.


Yeah, that might've been poor wording on my choice. When I said "wish-granting as a magical cure-all"*, I was thinking more directly of the "prayer turned into tangible outcome" scenes, like when Sailor Moon gains the power to overcome various obstacles by the other Senshi thinking/believing in her/saying her name aloud. Not literal "I wish for this to happen" scenes like in Madoka. But I think that Madoka and any "normal" magical girl show treats "hope as magic" differently. For Madoka, hope is nice and all, but it does jack-all without some action to back it up. For other series, it's a driving, quasi-magical force that can save the world, which lends those series' worlds a more fantastical feel than the one Madoka ultimately operates in, where magic is more or less constrained to the spheres of witches and magical girls.

*The exception being Utena, where it's implied that "the power to revolutionize the world" is pretty much "the power to grant your personal wishes".

Also, funnily enough, I just got into the webcomic yurigasaki recommended. Anime hyper Small world!
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SquadmemberRitsu



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 1384
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:43 pm Reply with quote
Lero wrote:
Nope, Raising Project is inspired on Battle Royale, Jojo and Dangan Ronpa with magical girls with influence from western comics.
So the dark, violent male centric series with moe character designs where the leads are tricked into becoming magical girls by an emotionless fuzzy creature with ulterior motives who leads them on a path of destruction and despair is somehow not inspired by Madoka? Also I get Danganronpa and Battle Royale inspiration but JoJo? Seriously?

littlegreenwolf wrote:
We're pointing these out because they weren't listed in the article and completely ignored by content made by men for men.
People make these unfavourable comparisons with the expectation that the other person hasn't seen the thing that it supposedly rips off. Unfortunately for you guys, I have seen them and I can say with confidence that none of them are anything like Madoka. In fact the only mention of Utena I can find in Urobuchi interviews is one where he denies that Sayaka was inspired by Miki. As for the other two, I don't think he's ever mentioned them at all. And this is coming from a guy who's quite open when it comes to talking about his influences. He probably hasn't seen them and even if he has he definitely hasn't been influenced by them.

Quote:
I'm still waiting to hear what Madoka brought outside of targeting men late night with upped violence, but so far I'm seeing nothing.
Well right now I did literally just that. And something tells me it's not the first time someone's tried to explain it to you. At this point I'm not only questioning your understanding of Madoka, but your understanding of the other shows too. I mean, there's a bit more to Utena than what you're building it up to be.

Aylinn wrote:
However, if someone finds shows about magical girls being crushed and killed off appealing, they are of course free to like them, each to their own. I am not saying this is bad or that these kind of shows must necessarily be bad.
You're saying 'to each their own' while simultaneously talking down to the people who enjoy them like a bunch of sick perverts.

I've honestly never met a single person who only likes Madoka for being dark and violent. If all you want is violence you're much better off watching schlock like Future Diary or Pupa.
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Artesox



Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 90
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:43 pm Reply with quote
SquadmemberRitsu wrote:
Lero wrote:
Nope, Raising Project is inspired on Battle Royale, Jojo and Dangan Ronpa with magical girls with influence from western comics.
So the dark, violent male centric series with moe character designs where the leads are tricked into becoming magical girls by an emotionless fuzzy creature with ulterior motives who leads them on a path of destruction and despair is somehow not inspired by Madoka? Also I get Danganronpa and Battle Royale inspiration but JoJo? Seriously?


Why the plural? There is literally one series that fits the description, Mahou Iku. And even then, it quickly adds the "corrupt official of a not so crappy system" which for me is already enough deviancy from what Madoka did.

Genei's MC joined the battles out of need and because her mother used to do the same thing before her. There were fuzzy mascots but they didn't play the same role as QB.

Yuki Yuna's thing was almost literal drafting. The girls had no choice but to defend the country even without the government pressuring them (As they did with Fuu by threatening to revoke her status as Itsuki's legal guardian). And even then, connecting a bit with your other comment on this thread, despite the system's messed up factor, some of the girls goes as far as saying they would have done it anyway even if they knew the consequences. The mascots are also seen in a much brighter light, spoiler[After they lose their mascots at the end of the series, Fuu says she misses Inugami, Yuuna outright makes a Gyuuki doll.]

And that is about it for dark magical girls made after Madoka. Of course, you could count stuff that isn't a magical girl, but even then, you would barely get 5 shows for the 5 years that have passed since Madoka.

Of course, all these shows are inspired by Madoka. The issue starts when people try to reduce them all to nothing but Madoka-clones. Of course, there is going to be some counter reaction to that.

Add that to many Madoka fans being quite new to the genre and thus attributing to Madoka stuff that is way older than it ( a prime example being Homura's archetype.) and you have the reason behind people being so keen on downplaying Madoka's originality. It's counterreaction.

Even if Madoka was not the first to do some of those things, it is still the one who was successful doing it. There is a difference between, say, Magical Paddler Roma, obscure 2009 manga about cute witch girl and her cute fluffy mascot getting people into Faustian deals for the sake of making them suffer and then using said suffering as a fuel back in their alien civilization, and Madoka, the best selling series BD wise of this decade.
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Sakagami Tomoyo



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 870
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:59 pm Reply with quote
Touma wrote:
Sakagami Tomoyo wrote:
Spoilers I can live with; I have seen it.

But not everybody has. That is why I avoid spoilers in threads like this.

That's what spoiler tags are for.
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VerQuality
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Joined: 01 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:17 pm Reply with quote
Another interesting precursor to Madoka that hasn't been brought up at all is Kamen Rider Ryuki, which I believe Gen Urobuchi has admitted was a major inspiration for him as a writer. These trends are not just limited to a single genre, or even to anime itself.

I think a big problem with this discussion overall is that very few people actually have the full image of the genre that allows one to see how its ideas develop. The darker, late-night anime magical girls series take their gene from the day-time, more optimistic and more mainstream series, and focus on areas that the writers feel is worthy of more in-depth investigation, or would just make for an interesting story. Without actually living in Japan for an extended period of time, it's just very difficult to see how magical girl stories, and their darker offshoots, exist in the cultural imagination.

Most day time anime can involve some pretty dark undertones. The fact that it can only explore them so far in more mainstream targeted titles is what opens up potential plots exploring those dark aspects in more detail in late-night anime.

Side rant: it's really annoying seeing Wixoss constantly compared to Madoka. Apart from the use of a flash-forward dream sequence to stir early interest and a generally dark atmosphere, they really don't have much in common at all. Honestly I feel Wixoss is closer to Fate/Stay Night as a battle royale urban fantasy, yet that's a comparison that I've not once seen. Nor does yugioh, the originator of the 'dark card game fantasy' genre, get called out much. Nope, dark atmosphere and a cast of girls, clearly Madoka.
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