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Madoka Magica Isn't The Same Without Gen Urobuchi (But That's Not a Bad Thing)




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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 2120
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 10:55 am Reply with quote
Madoka Magica is my favorite anime of all time, but even if Rebellion isn't the same, it still is the closest thing in the franchise to feeling like the original in terms of narrative structure and masterful writing (The Different Story manga is a close second, though). I don't think it's fair to say it "retconned" the original ending so much as it progressed it, though. The status quo from the original series' ending still exists, but spoiler[Madoka is no longer the one keeping it going.] Even thematically, the reason it ended the way it did was because Urobuchi (with suggestion from other staff) realized spoiler[his original ending might've been too pure and naive, throwing such an inhumane burden onto the back of a single middle schooler.] But that's my takeaway.

Thanks for the article! I stopped playing the Japanese version of the game right before the first arc ended because I lost my data and everything I had gotten (I had the entire original cast, too...) and I also got bored with the gameplay anyway, but I can still watch the story on youtube, so I will probably do that again soon.
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Malsang



Joined: 29 Jul 2014
Posts: 42
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 11:23 am Reply with quote
The story of Magia Record had a great premise ("what if spoiler[magical girls knew about the consequences of witchification, but without Madoka's infinite potential they needed to use multiple wishes to jury-rig a brittle system to overcome it]"). However, as it went on it became clear that the outside limitations imposed by the gacha business model hampered the story. "We need more characters, introduced constantly!" "People won't shell out if their favorite girl dies, so no deaths allowed!" "We have to include the original cast!" "We need these girls to be the villains, because!" "Crap, we had the MC's motivation be finding her sister, now how do we write her back in?" "Remember this enemy? She's baaaaaaack!" Characters actually become more one-dimensional as the story goes on; the complete opposite of what should happen. This became especially true after the part that the first season of the anime covered, which is why I am apprehensive about the upcoming one.

Despite my harsh words though, I'm still going to watch it. Even if not all the original staff was involved, it became clear that there was genuine passion put into this project. Madoka Magica means a lot to me, and I'll bet a number of the staff working on it feel the same way. Episode 1 was genuinely great, and the fact that certain elements of the story have been completely changed have me feeling hopeful that this adaptation will actually skew away from the source and do its own thing. And, despite my criticisms of the character writing, I found myself getting attached to a fair number of characters when playing the game. Kanae, Rena, Kanagi, Momoko, Yachiyo, to name a few. Plus, the fact that Touka drives a Hitler-car to magical girl fascist headquarters tickles me to no end. You know what? I'm actually looking forward to this, even if it does end up being a wreck.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 1341
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:57 pm Reply with quote
Man, I've been hearing about To the Stars since... I guess it would've been in its first year? Never actually read more than the first chapter, for some reason.

I have been reading another fanfic, Resonance Days, since it was on like chapter 6 in late 2012. That one's built around the premise of Kyoko and Oktavia landing in an afterlife for magical girls and witches, of a variety that isn't exactly heaven or hell, finding Mami married to Charlotte, and stumbling into an epic quest revolving around "Oblivion", the one being in the afterlife who can end someone's existence there. Currently up to 48 chapters and almost 630K words.
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mistakenot



Joined: 07 Jul 2021
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:36 pm Reply with quote
Wow, my favorite fanfic got a shoutout! Pleasantly surprised.

Shay Guy wrote:
Man, I've been hearing about To the Stars since... I guess it would've been in its first year? Never actually read more than the first chapter, for some reason.

I have been reading another fanfic, Resonance Days, since it was on like chapter 6 in late 2012. That one's built around the premise of Kyoko and Oktavia landing in an afterlife for magical girls and witches, of a variety that isn't exactly heaven or hell, finding Mami married to Charlotte, and stumbling into an epic quest revolving around "Oblivion", the one being in the afterlife who can end someone's existence there. Currently up to 48 chapters and almost 630K words.

I'll second that rec. Resonance Days is also a good fanfic.

It took me a long time to get past the first chapter of To the Stars, too. But once it got going I was hooked. It reminds me in some ways of my favorite sci-fi series, Iain Banks's Culture novels. Both explore post-scarcity interstellar civilizations with interesting AI characters and plots/intrigue.

If you want to get a jump-start you could try reading Chapters 3 and 4 first, which cover what happened between the end of the original Madoka series and TtS in the form of an in-universe movie that Mami watches: https://archiveofourown.org/works/777002/chapters/1461990

There's also the first interlude chapter, which is a self-contained short story set in TtS's past (the near future to us): https://archiveofourown.org/works/777002/chapters/1462020


Last edited by mistakenot on Sat Jul 10, 2021 7:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cloudywind



Joined: 14 Jan 2018
Posts: 42
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:41 pm Reply with quote
Supposedly the person who ran the Magia Record page on Gamepress (one of those mobage info and guide sites) knew early on that Magireco NA was in huge trouble based on traffic to their page as compared with traffic to other Gamepress pages like the FGO one. The population was so dire that there was a spreadsheet of whales and you could directly name the sub-dozen or so whales who were probably funding most of the game by themselves. It's part of why they stopped updating the Gamepress site after just half a year.

From that perspective one might say that Aniplex US could actually be commended for at least keeping the game going until NA reached a good story conclusion point at the end of Arc 1, rather than cutting their losses sooner. Although, less generously, it could be that they were just waiting to see if the anime cross-promotion would create a miracle, or waiting to squeeze a last quick buck out of selling 1st anniversary gem packs and milking people rolling for IroYachi before announcing the EoS.

Anyway great article. It's a shame how the weight of Madoka already hangs so heavy around Magireco's neck, which manifests in all sorts of ways from reviewers directly equating characters who aren't very much alike at all, to weird intrafandom rivalries between people who like the new girls and people who like the original girls. That it doesn't really need or want to just retread the themes and characters of Madoka all over needs to be said more often and more loudly.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 5147
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2021 2:32 pm Reply with quote
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (or as shortened Madoka Magica) for me is the original and main series, with it's sequel movie, Rebellion.

Magia Record and others are just 'alternate world' things, much like all the alternate Tenchi Muyo shows.

Looking forward to the new Madoka Magica movie, to close out Rebellion. Which is much needed.

Nothing wrong with liking Magia Record, or all those alternate Tenchi Muyo series. I am sure some would argue about Magia Record's 'canon hood', blaming Homura for it. But for me Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Rebellion is the canon series.
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invalidname
Contributor



Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 2229
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2021 5:12 am Reply with quote
In the spirit of that epic fanfic mentioned in the article, I have to say I really enjoyed and respected the manga spinoff Tart Magica: The Legend of Jeanne D’Arc, which picks up on one little thread from the original Madoka Magica — the idea that many significant young women from history were secretly magical girls — and runs with it.

While it trades on the audience’s familiarity with the witch system, soul gems, and Kyubey (excusez-moi, Monsieur Cube), its style and tenor are greatly different from other entries in the franchise. This is a historical manga that’s eager to show you that it’s done its homework, narrating the occurrence of important dates with sidebars and throwing in maps to show the movement of the various military forces. Its integration of magic and military is inventive and enjoyable, and better than a lot of other attempts where that aspect was front and center (looking at you, Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka). For five volumes, Tart Magica goes off and does its own thing, largely unburdened by the expectations and continuity of the Madoka anime, and it’s better for it.
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Professor Nihil



Joined: 09 Jul 2021
Posts: 27
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:15 am Reply with quote
My opinion:

As a fan of Urobuchi and Goethe's Faust (parts 1 and 2) I have a strong love for the Madoka series.

Rebellion is actually my absolute favorite anime film of all time.

One of my main concerns regarding the plot of the primary storyline is the relationship of Walpurgisnacht to Homura, which is visually indicated by the gears and temporal aspects.

It is this discrepancy I hope that Urobuchi addresses in the sequel to Rebellion.

That being said I attempted to watch the Side Story anime and made it to episode 9 before I accepted that there was absolutely nothing in the story that I found interesting, entertaining or inspiring personally.

I have 5 children of various ages who also watch anime and every one of them knows and loves the original Madoka series yet not one of them even had enough patience with side story to watch past the first couple of episodes.

In this I am reminded of Psycho-pass after season 1, which for me just didn't compare to the first one.

The magic of Madoka comes in part from one of mankind's most ancient stories of a Doctor Joseph Faustus in Germany who was followed home by a small black dog, which turned into a demon, spoke to him and offered to grant his wishes in exchange for his soul. In this story the Doctor and the devil attend an event on the eve of May 1st, the night of Walpurgis or Walpurgis-nacht.

The original stories are quite excellent but are not able to be read casually by most people due to the archaic language of the English translations. In fact after Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce, the English translation of Faust part two is considered one of the most difficult to read books in the English language, but this is ironically due to it's use of old Koine Greek names for various mythological figures.

Urobuchi employed elements of Faust in his masterful retelling of this ancient story with a modern twist. It was and remains genius at a level beyond the majority of even his other excellent stories.

And while the original Madoka series has this historical, occult, intellectual and philosophical content pervading it (as does Rebellion) the side story contains nothing of the sort and has a formulaic quality as if it is the product of a board meeting and focus groups trying to take advantage of an existing market

The side series has the image of and yet non of the substance of the original and while I rate the original series at 10/10 for me the side series is at 3/10, watchable but not special and rather forgettable in that it is neither good enough nor bad enough to be memorable.

However I am comparing it to the original and rating it in that context alone. It I consider the writing, characters and presentation by itself and ignore it's failures in the contexts of the original then the work rates higher at 6/10, worth watching but not inspiring or worth owning.
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