Friday, 4 February 2011

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Episode 5

While the climax to episode four of Puella Magi Madoka Magica introduced us to Sayaka in her new magical girl orientation, episode five begins with a quick flash back to the moment she makes her contract with Kyubey as a bit of a reminder and to fill in the gaps of what went before.

Despite both Madoka and Hitomi being saved by Sayaka's actions, we see some very different "morning after" responses from this trio of characters - Hitomi is understandably little more than confused by what happened to her (not being in on the whole magical girl secret) and Sayaka is as cheerful and out-going as ever, while Madoka is still wrapped in chains of worry about her friend and what she's gotten herself into.

For Sayaka herself however, everything seems to be going just as planned, with her wish granting Kyousuke the use of his hands and the ability to play the violin once again; interestingly however, Kyubey's take on his contract with Sayaka seems a little different, as he comments to new rival magical girl on the scene Kyouko Sakura that Sayaka "did and didn't" make a contract with him - this could simply be on account of that fact that Kyousuke's legs are yet to heal, but it could mean something else entirely.  Still, while Sayaka is happy with her current lot Madoka continues to fret, imploring Homura to help look out for Sayaka only to be rejected, then offering to do the job of watching over Sayaka herself - an offer which of course has Kyubey giving his usual "you can make a contract any time" sales talk to Madoka.  Indeed, this even looks set to take place as Sayaka comes face to face with Sakura; a clash of personality and ethos that looks likely to have lethal consequences until someone steps into the midst of their battle...

So, another week has left me once again coming to the end of an episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and shouting "what? That's it?  You can't leave it there, I don't want to wait another week for more!" - such is the effect this series has had on me.  Even though its per episode formula is clear to see, it does everything right where a series like Star Driver gets it wrong - its emotion, drama and character interactions are all hugely important and filled with interesting snippets of information that leave you trying to second guess what will come next, while the action scenes offer up genuine edge of the seat tension and a feeling of real peril, no doubt partly due to Mami's demise a couple of weeks back.  The fact that the backdrops and gorgeous and fitting, the dialogue and character designs work well and the action is surprisingly well animated at times, and it seems as though Madoka Magica is refusing to put a foot wrong.  This series is awesome, and it quite clearly knows it as it teases and manipulates us with a grinning, motionless face.

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