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The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Final Season

How would you rate episode 9 of
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (TV 3) ?
Community score: 4.1

How would you rate episode 10 of
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (TV 3) ?
Community score: 4.1

How would you rate episode 11 of
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (TV 3) ?
Community score: 4.0

How would you rate episode 12 of
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (TV 3) ?
Community score: 3.9

What is this?

In exchange for the fulfillment of a wish, Magical Girls keep fighting, unbeknownst to the rest of the world. But Iroha Tamaki can't seem to remember her wish. There is a gaping hole in her life. Something important has been lost. But she continues to fight every day, without even knowing why. Then, a rumor begins to spread among Magical Girls. Magical Girls can be saved if they go to Kamihama City, the city where Magical Girls and Uwasa are gathering.

Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story is based on a spinoff game of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime and streams on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

How was the first episode?

James Beckett

I'm just going to get the full title out of the way up top, since it tells you everything you need to know about the show. This is Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Final Season -The Dawn of the Ephemeral Dream-, a four-episode mini-season that is meant to conclude the nearly three-year-long odyssey of this messy but ambitious Madoka Magica spinoff. It seems odd to call this a “preview" since in just this one episode we're covering a full quarter of this long-awaited conclusion, but thems the breaks, I suppose.

Going into -The Dawn of the Ephemeral Dream-, the main question on everyone's mind, including mine, is going to be whether or not a mere four-episode arc will be enough to draw the story of Magia Record to a satisfying conclusion. The thing about “We Failed” is that it's a flashback episode, devoted entirely to explaining the origins of the antagonist cadre of Magical Girls known as the Wings of Magius, so we don't get much in the way of narrative progression here. The good news is that, so far as infodump episodes go, “We Failed” is a doozy, answering many of the long-standing mysteries that Magia Record has been dangling over its viewers' heads for the past few years.

Granted, none of these answers are necessarily revelatory; given everything we learned about Ui, Nemu, and Touka last season, it was easy enough to figure out the broad strokes of this backstory ahead of time. Still, seeing everything laid out in a more traditional narrative fashion sure is satisfying for longtime viewers of the series, and it helps to contextualize a lot of elements of the series as we head into Magia Record's final act. The full scope of Ui's disappearance from the world is explained, we understand how all three of The Hospital Gang ended up as Magical Girls in the first place, and how Touka became the Uwasa creating villain that she was in the first two seasons of the show. We even finally get an explanation for Baby Kyubey, and it's a lot more reasonable than I was expecting!

The second season of the show was also notable for its extreme highs and lows in production quality. A few of its episodes ranked among the best spectacle that the franchise has ever delivered, and at the same time, the final entries of the season were stretched so thin that you could practically see the bubblegum and duct tape that the artists at Studio Shaft were using to hold the production together. “We Failed” is by no means the prettiest episode of Madoka Magica ever produced, but it looks solid, and my biggest hope for this extra-short final season is that the overall aesthetic of the franchise isn't compromised because of scheduling and production errors. Lord knows that the poor crew deserves one hell of a vacation at this point.

All that said, do I think that Magia Record's final season will end up doing the spinoff justice? It's tough to say. I've always had a mixed relationship with Magia Record; at its best, it feels like a genuine and compelling expansion of the entire Madoka Magica universe, but at its worst, it becomes borderline incomprehensible. I think the good of the series generally outweighs the bad, though, and if you're at all a fan of the Madoka Magica franchise, I believe (and I hope) that you'll have a mostly good time with Magia Record. Just, you know, make sure to watch the other two seasons first if you're new to the series.

Richard Eisenbeis

This episode might as well have been called “30 Minutes of Answers.” In one self-contained flashback, it lays out every major remaining mystery in the series and thoroughly unravels them. However, the way it does this feels completely natural through yet another story of Madoka Magica-themed suffering.

As it goes with most of these stories, it begins with Kyubey preying on Iroha's fears for Ui and tricking her into becoming a magical girl. What's interesting here is that Ui, Nemu, and Touka are able to see through Kyubey's half-truths and uncover what is really going on. And like Madoka in the main series, the three sickly girls figure out the bunny-cat's biggest weakness: he has to grant wishes. He literally can't stop himself.

This, of course, kicks off their search for the perfect wish—or rather, set of wishes—to break Kyubey's system and allow the remaining magical girls to live normally even after all witches are exterminated. Their solution is basically to become Kyubey themselves—feeding the collected energy back into the magical girls rather than keeping it for themselves. The problem is that they never considered what would happen to the one taking in all the negative magical girl emotions—i.e., that they'd become a witch in seconds.

Basically, this episode is a tragedy centered around hubris. The three girls think that after a bit of research they can game the system and save the world. But instead, they arguably make things worse, leading to almost all of the tragedy we've seen in the series so far.

What's truly heartbreaking, though, is the effect that comes from isolating Ui's fractured soul inside of Kyubey. Like with Madoka at the end of the main series, this places her outside of reality—as if she never existed in the first place. This drastically changes the personalities of those closest to her (namely, Touka) and makes the previous seasons gain yet another layer of tragedy in retrospect. All in all, it's a fantastic amalgamation of lore and character building that has me pumped to see where things will go in our final three episodes.

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