They’re the best Anime that 2012 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s, One Piece Film: Z, and more!
5: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅱ ドルドレイ攻略
MAL Score: 7.89
The Band of the Hawk and their enigmatic leader Griffith continue winning battle after battle as their prestige throughout the kingdom of Midland grows. But their latest task is one that has seen failure from everyone who has attempted it: the subjugation of the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey.
But with members like Guts—the captain of the Hawks’ raiders who can easily fell 100 men with his gigantic sword—such tasks prove to be trivial. However, in the aftermath of the battle, Guts decides to leave the Hawks in order to pursue his own dream and bids farewell to his companions, despite Griffith’s attempts to make him stay. This single event causes Griffith to lose his composure, and leads him to make a decision that will alter his and the Hawks’ fates forever.
The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slow motion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles.
The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I’d rather have Hirakawa do everything again.
In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts’ new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska’s new seiyuu I just don’t feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don’t feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn’t capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character.
In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again.
We get to see the epic battle between the Band of the Hawk and the hilariously named Purple Rhino Heavy Cavalry. As you no doubt already surmised…the battle looks like total crap! Then we get tons of scenes with the Hawks celebrating because there is a very limited amount of time and this movie wants to get the important stuff in. Remember the sub-plot revealing how Midland’s politics work? The one with the royal hunt, the attempt to assassinate Griffith, and Guts’ counter assassination that results in him killing a child? They cut that out. The fact that Guts felt great guilt over that act and it played a huge role in the story for both his character development and his decision to ultimately leave the Hawks…who cares about that? Instead of even alluding to that sub-plot, just have Guts leave for no reason. We need to spend 10 minutes of screen time on a wonderfully Narm, shit CGI sex scene with Griffith, featuring questionable quality violin accompaniment. This movie is meant to introduce Berserk to a new generation and of course THAT was the part of the story they really needed to see. Fuck Guts’ character development. Griffith’s throbbing CGI, 240p resolution cock is FAR more important. Important characters like the devious minister Foss, and the Queen were axed, because that screen time obviously needed to go to Corbowitz and the goblin dungeon keeper. Corbowitz and the goblin were such critical parts of the story and atmosphere of Berserk. This technique of shitty adaptation has been passed down through the Corbowitz family for 3,000 years!
The film badly waters down the story and characters of Berserk, constantly making horrendous decisions to cut out important parts and leave in pointless parts. The CGI is very slightly improved over the first film, but still looks like absolute SHIT. If you are looking to get into the Berserk franchise, read the manga or watch the original anime. Don’t waste your time on the first 2 movies. The 3rd movie actually isn’t bad, but that is another review!
Whereas in the anime series we get to see Griffith in one light, in the movies he appears more humane, new layers of him are being exposed, or should I say, emphasized. In the anime series, the emphasized themes were gradual character development, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, points of view on all that. In the movie adaptations, we don’t get to see that much of character development. The movie mainly reveals more layers to the characters.
What is the most striking is the underlined homoerotic inclinations on Griffith’s part towards Guts, I believe. Casca’s character is pretty much unchanged. But, you’ll see for yourselves.
Sometimes I really didn’t like how they packed up the things and events, especially if I find such things crucial for the building of opinions about one character on the part of another (flashbacks instead of storytelling). However, there were really things worth omitting without doing any damage to the storyline. All in all it remains unchanged, and the message is somewhat conveyed. I’m still debating whether the anime series was more profound than this piece.
As for the animation, as one reviewer said, some motions sequences looked like they really needed debugging. Other than that, the new approach to things and new technology used to make this movie and its prequel, still leaves me puzzled. For ones who like battle scenes, I think this will be feast for the eyes. I especially enjoyed them!
Music and sound was okay, I think that the music used in battle scenes added to them being more dramatic and left me really excited. The spirit of the battlefield and the spirit of the Band of the Hawks is very well conveyed!
As for the voice actors, I think Griffith’s voice actor managed to convey his overall character and charisma perfectly, thus made me thoroughly enjoy the battle scenes even more.
Overall impression is that I find this movie to be very good (8), especially for ones who haven’t watched the 25 episodes of the anime series, this will be candy for the senses. The series will later fill up what is missing. And definitely this one will nicely warm you up to the third movie, which will be released February 2013.
To conclude, this movie is a must-watch and I hope it won’t leave you disappointed. Enjoy yourselves!
4: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s
English: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s
Japanese: 魔法少女リリカルなのは The MOVIE 2nd A’s
MAL Score: 8.15
Six months have passed since the events in the previous movie. Fate has returned to Uminari City with Lindy as her legal guardian and is living the life of a normal elementary schoolgirl along with Nanoha and her friends. The reunion between the two new-found friends is cut short, however, when they are assaulted by four ancient magic users who identify themselves as the Wolkenritter. As the motives behind the actions of the Wolkenritter become clear, Nanoha and Fate find themselves in a race against time to stop the reactivation of a highly dangerous artifact known as The Book of Darkness.
Needless to say, I was absolutely excited after I found out that A’s was going to get a movie version like the first season. After all, the first movie was great. It trimmed the fat of the first season to make a stellar narrative. Of course that meant that with A’s, something was going to be cut out. This was probably what I was most worried about that since I found it hard to cut scenes out of A’s without losing something.
Now, without further ado: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s.
Since the movie itself is an alternate re-telling of A’s, the story is overall very similar minus one set of characters whose actions did guide certain events along. For example, Nanoha’s Starlight Breaker + to break the barrier and Reinforce’s Starlight Breaker were all cut out from the movie. Despite the missing portions from the original story, the it still acts as a smoothly written and captivating narrative.
Art and Animation: 9
Movie budget. Need I say more?
Unlike the TV seasons and the previous movie, the soundtrack was composed by Misa Chujo as instead of Sano Hiroaki. My first reaction when this was announced was definitely negative. Sano Hiroaki had always created such a beautiful, pumping OSTs that always fit the moods of the scenes they played in perfectly. As such, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the movie and heard the OST. While it was not as good as Sano Hiroaki’s, it was still well composed and fit the movie really well.
There were two insert songs.
“Snow Rain ~ver. Holy Night~” by Ueda Kana was played at the same scene that the original Snow Rain was played in the series. The difference between the two was, of course, the instrumental but the new version still meshed really well with the scene and as such created the same impact it did in the original series.
The second was “Sacred Force” by Nana Mizuki which played at the same time that “Brave Phoenix” played in the original. While Sacred Force went well with the scene, it just didn’t have the same chilling feel that Brave Phoenix had in the original.
The last aspect of Sound is of course the voices. Starring the same stellar cast as the original series, the movie did not disappoint overall in this aspect. My only issue is with the defense program’s cry. Originally, it was given an eerie and highly feminine cry. This was meant to drive home the connection it had with Reinforce (this and the feminine shape you see on the defense program’s body being Reinforce’s former hollow shell). However, the movie gave it a more monstrous male roar. In a sense this somewhat distanced it from Reinforce while still keeping the feminine shape stemming out of the body of the program.
What the story lacked was definitely made up for with character development of the knights especially Reinforce. In the original, Reinforce’s appearance was sudden and did not make too much sense until the end. However, the movie does a good job of building her up from the very beginning of the narrative. However, the movie does a good job of building her up from the very beginning of the narrative. At the same time, the development of the knights is also extremely well done.
This category is kinda subjective isn’t it?
This movie is definitely something I’d definitely recommend that you watch the movie. However, I would also recommend that you watch the TV series first if you didn’t as it will fill in a lot of gaps. If possible, buy the DVDs or Blu-rays because they are worth every penny spent.
Genre: Action, Magical Girl, Drama, Sci-Fi.
Length: 1 movie, 2 hours 40 minutes.
A side note guys – I ADORE the “Mahou Shojou Lyrical Nanoha” series. It’s my favourite series. Therefore I may ramble on a bit thoughout this review.
This movie is a retelling of the 2nd series, “A’s” … Most retell movies only have improved animation going for them, truncicating the plot to cram it into a shorter time limit. Nanoha had previously proved an exception to this, as the first movie not only perfectly retold the season, but ADDED details and backstory. It’s a bit interesting to note now that 2nd movie DOES cut out a rather significant plot point, but I always hated that particular plot point, and never thought it made much sense. It’s replaced by some more character development for Adrmial Lindsy and Chrono’s father, which is a GOOD thing.
Animation is amazing. It’s easily a 10/10. The movie budget does not disapoint, as even the most complext of action sequences do not present a dull in animation.
Action is incredible, it looks amazing and feels amazing. Much of the high impact action is intertwined with some fairly emotional moments (Such as Nanoha fighting down Reinforce while Fate struggles with her identity)
Characters are as likable and fun as ever, with Nanoha and Fate taking center stage in all their glory. Interestingly, the yuri overtones between the two appear more obvious than the series (theres seriously a moment where they hold onto each others hips and stare into each others eyes….) but that’s pretty cute. Nano-Fate is a thing. In the actual series, it was a bit more subtle. A non intuitive viewer might’ve had more trouble picking up their relationship. It’s more obvious in this movie. Take it or leave it whether thats good or not. I’m personaly indifferent.
My only disapointment was the end scene: In the series, it shows Nanoha and the rest grown up, in their “adult” forms. This was such an incredible highlight for me, marking the end of an era and the start of something amazing (Nanoha StrikerS). In the movie, only Fate appears SLIGHTLY older (and even then, by about a YEAR at maximum) and the rest are looking the same age. I can only hope that the StrikerS movie appears!
SORRY! I tried to keep this as short as I could, but this IS a movie from my favorite anime series. Anyway, 100% recomended!
Visually speaking, the movie is extremely shiny and polished, despite a few moments of off model that were barely noticed. While the first movie looked great, it still resorted to stills in combat scenes, but 2nd A’s makes these weaknesses far less pronounced, leading to a ton of fluid movement. Regardless of the actual content of the movie, it sure does look appealing, especially for those into moe aesthetics.
Unfortunately, it falters in the story department. This was to be expected, as the series was 13 episodes long with minimal filler. Trimming at anything significant would weaken the narrative, and unfortunately there are a few plot threads that simply will not make sense to those who haven’t seen the tv series. That is most likely the greatest weakness of the movie, and I would have to recommend you watch the tv series first.
What it does focus on, it does fairly well, and offers a lot of humanization to the antagonists of the story which makes the storytelling a more balanced affair. It’s not too easy to take sides in this conflict for good reason, and that makes the movie more involving to watch. The movie actually doesn’t spend that much time pew pew’ing all day as compared to the first movie, and focuses some on developing the characters’ personalities and inner thoughts. Still, due to time constraints, certain key players from the tv series are left hanging but still left there leaving you wondering what they’re supposed to do. I felt they could have fit them in more cleanly.
In the end, I was very much satisfied to see Nanoha animated after an absence of three years. This movie is much more for fans though, and while I’d recommend that you could skip the first television series for the first movie, I really can’t say the same for this. So, if you’re into the series, you should know what to expect. If not, then try the television series, and give this a pass for now.
3: One Piece Film: Z
English: One Piece Film Z
Japanese: ワンピース フィルム Ｚ
MAL Score: 8.17
The Straw Hat Pirates enter the rough seas of the New World in search of the hidden treasures of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger－One Piece. On their voyage, the pirates come across a terrifying, powerful man, former Marine Admiral Z.
Z is accused of having stolen the “Dyna Stones”, weapons believed to have the power to shake up the New World. The Marine Headquarters believes Z is about to use it to end the pirate era, and with it, the lives of many innocent people. In fear of such a phenomenal event, marines start to take action against the former admiral.
Even if it means stumbling upon marines and the navy, the Straw Hat Pirates decided to chase after Z and stop him from causing havoc. As they continue to embark on their ventures, the pirates bump into new and familiar acquaintances.
For this review it will be broken down into four parts: Music, Animation, Characters and Story.
If you watched the trailers, you know that two tracks of Avril Lavigne would be played in the movie but you won’t hear that until the credit rolls. First half was “How You Remind Me” and then “Bad Reputation” played after that. The original soundtrack was brilliant. It was different while at the same time maintaining that One Piece feel we all love; high tension to melancholy themes that played throughout different scenes.
There was a lot of CGI just like Strong World. The action scenes were animated far better than anything I’ve ever seen in previous One Piece movies or the anime. The angles and camera movements following every scene was done fluidly.
The title of the movie is quite self-explanatory. The movie focused on Z, at times even more than the Straw Hat gang. Character Z, also known as Zephyr had such deep story to him and if you love backstories of various characters in One Piece, you’ll definitely love Z’s. As for our lovable characters, the Straw Hats each got their turns to shine in this movie, however the stronger and prominent fighters such as the Monster Trio(Luffy, Zoro and Sanji) had their own individual opponent to fight. Franky was the next in line after the Monster Trio. Usopp also had good action scenes, but not quite on the same level. Nami and Robin at times were used for fan-service until the climactic battle at the end. Chopper was funnier than ever before, but not entirely important to the story. Brook didn’t do a lot in terms of getting into battles, but he had his comedic moments just like Chopper.
This movie as an entirety was built around the Marine lore and back story. This will have it’s drawbacks for some though. The story had lots of explanation regarding the principle themes of the Marines and some characters were basically used strictly just for the sole purpose of providing exposition. To fit the plot in a movie length time span, it was surprisingly well done. This was one huge gripes that I had with Oda’s previous project, Strong World was a bit of a let down. With Film Z, I feel that he understood what it took to make a movie that retains the breathtaking aura of One Piece series, and he delivered it.
I would love to talk about just about every scenes in the movie but I want to keep it spoiler-free. If this movie doesn’t win major awards in Japan, I will be very surprised. It surely deserves to be nominated in Japanese Academy Awards and win Best Animated Japanese Film Awards or even Best Picture of the Year Awards.
That being said, let’s talk about this movie. I was excited when I first heard of it. They were projecting it to be better than Strong World, and Oda was going to have a hand in it (which meant the possibility of something canon) I couldn’t contain myself the first couple months it was in theaters in Japan.
Then life kind of got in the way, and I forgot about it until it came out on blurray and I was finally able to see it subbed. When it started, I quickly felt the excitement I felt months ago, but that was quickly dashed as the movie progressed.
Now, if you’re a One Piece fan, you have to watch it. Same as with Strong World. Regardless of what I think, of either movie, One Piece fans need to probably judge for themselves. Which probably makes you wonder what the point of this review is.
Well, as much as I wanted it to be true, this film is not better than Strong World. I know many people complain about Strong World basically being Arlong Park arc, but it at least had pacing. This film doesn’t really. It has a lot of nice animation and some humorous moments (along with a few kind of overly suggestive scenes) but not much else.
One minute you’re on one island and the next you’re on another island resolving the main conflict. They try to make you empathize with Z a bit, but because of the vagueness in Garp’s story about Z and the sort of unexplained randomness of Z’s flashbacks, you never really get a chance to know that character. Which is unfortunate, because this is the type of thing One Piece usually excels at
In the end the fight between Z and Luffy isn’t especially memorable. He gets beat in his first fight with Z, and wins by overpowering him in the second (despite nothing really changing in his strategy) Similar thing happens with Z’s henchmen. In Strong World you at least had a pretty epic fight in the air, and there was more tension with whether they would get the antidote for Nami in time. Here the stakes were supposed to be raised, but you never quite felt any of the danger.
This movie on the other had is a sad reminder of what one piece has been reduced to. One pointless and boring arc after the other, introducing character who are never developed enough to be either liked or hated and going on the very same ideas that started with, but after 10years it simply can not shock or cause the same emotions anymore. It got old, outdated and donwrigth dissapointing.
The plot is your typical nowdays onepiece. A “stong guy” (my name is Z…) wants to destroy the world. He encounters the strawhats, he beats them. Many boring scenes later the same happens. Boredom after boredom later they meet again, only this time luffy wins. The end.
I mean,at least try to deliver something original. I know that expect Strong world, one piece movies are ‘nt that great, but at least they try. Some even have some interesting plot and good ideas, which never happens here. This movie could end at 20 minutes, after all its not like the enemies are that strong anyway.
The strawhats are the strawhats,no surpise there. But the villains….
are simply horrible. A weak as hell sword lady who zoro takes pity on, an annoying plant ninja who is one of the worst characters ever conceived, and then Z. A guy so underdeveloped that has to repeat his name so the viewres do not forget him. We get nothing on his story except he was an admiral( a really weak one compared to the three monsters we know as admirals, i mean the guy uses haki, big deal, even coby uses it nowdays), no idea on why he does what he does. Nothing. The guy was so boring that even his death caused no reaction on my part. I even speeded it up so the movie could end sooner.
So, Z is a horrible movie. But it represents perfectly the onepiece of the 2013. An anime that half the people who watch it simply wish it was like the one piece of old,and the other half feel like they have to, as a sad obligation.
Really, shame on us who endulge movies like this
2: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Movie 1: Hajimari no Monogatari
English: Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1: Beginnings
Japanese: 劇場版 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ 始まりの物語
MAL Score: 8.23
Madoka Kaname and her best friend Sayaka Miki are ordinary middle school students in the city of Mitakihara. But one day, they encounter a strange cat-like creature named Kyuubey, who claims he can grant them one wish. In exchange, they would become magical girls and fight against evil perpetrated by witches. A veteran magical girl in the area, Mami Tomoe, decides to show them how to hunt witches, while the mysterious transfer student Homura Akemi warns them to not take Kyuubey’s deal, though she refuses to say why.
However, after witnessing the brutal reality of fighting witches, the girls decide it may be safer to decline Kyuubey’s offer. But when another magical girl arrives in the city and Sayaka decides to make a wish to help the one she loves, things quickly escalate as they are confronted with the harsh truth behind their powers and the ultimate price of their wishes.
All of these of these things are prevalent within Madoka★Magica. And yet there’s no anime quite like it.
Back in 2011, Madoka★Magica took the anime industry by surprise with a decidedly mature take on an otherwise lighthearted genre. Important characters die in brutal fashion. They struggle with the concept of right-and-wrong, that ‘justice’ is arbitrary and often fanciful. The villain is driven not by greed or vengeance, but by rational motives, occasionally making you wonder if the girls are the ones you should really be rooting for. It was dark and twisted – it took the tropes of the genre and fed them to the ghouls.
And it was a massive financial success. Enough to spawn a movie adaptation only two years later.
Now, let’s be honest – the first thought that came to mind when hearing about these movies was that SHAFT was milking the money cow. TV to movie adaptations don’t have the greatest reputation, and really, it’s hard to be too surprised by that when comparing the bulk of them to the quality of their source material. So where does that leave Madoka★Magica? Somewhere else entirely. A place where a movie adaptation can not only equal the source material, but surpass it, too.
A glimpse at the art is enough to tell the quality of the movies. It is a beautiful anime to look at, befitting of a full-feature movie and far more than just a copypaste of the TV series. A TV series which, mind you, was marred by subpar animation and technical mistakes in its original broadcast (which have sorta-kinda been fixed in the BluRay release). There are next to no technical mistakes in the movie adaptation, and while the characters’ faces could use some more work, SHAFT has put the effort into making the animation flow as well as possible. And that’s to speak nothing of the art direction and scenery. Even simple locations like a secondary school are given unique designs (in this case, something resembling a cathedral), while the worlds of the witches are illustrated in some weird clay-like design which mixes in several widely different animation styles. Your eyeballs will be treated to one of the best-looking anime out there.
The pacing also sees a significant amount of improvement. A few lighthearted scenes involving the school teacher (rambling on about not being married– poor lady) are added in to set a more appropriate atmosphere at the beginning of the story. The dream sequence from the beginning of the TV series has also been removed, which tones the foreshadowing down a notch and makes the big ‘shock’ scene seem all the more crazy.
It’s a little bit odd, though, that SHAFT would make all these improvements and yet not keep in a vital scene for one of the characters. Mami receives no character development, no depth. The scene where she explains her past to Madoka is gone. Erased. And why? It was the only thing that made her seem like a human being and not just a mentor for Madoka and Sayaka. In the movies, she’s just that – an archetype and a plot device. For a series which stands out for having well-written and developed characters, I can’t for the life of me understand why they would remove such an important scene. It’s an unnecessary blemish on an otherwise brilliant story.
The music, much like the art, is exceptional. Rather than simply accompany each scene, the music enhances them. Fights feel tense. Emotional scenes make you want to go and grab a blanket. It’s a powerful soundtrack, and even listening to the music weeks or months after will be enough to get those same feelings back. The voice acting is stellar as well, with Kitamura Eri providing an especially commendable role for Sayaka’s character.
For those looking to get into the series for the first time, both the TV series and the movies serve as equally valid entry points. I would argue that the movie duology is the better of the two, though, as the cinematic experience makes the climax so much more satisfying. Having only one break in the story does wonders for pacing.
Madoka★Magica is just as great as it’s always been. There’s no need to make significant changes when the existing formula is already so sound. All the little changes (with one notable exception) are enough to improve the story and make it even better than before. Has all the praise the series received over the past few years been exaggerated? I never thought so.
As much as SHAFT is reaching for our wallets, it doesn’t change the fact that the Madoka duology is a solid adaptation of an excellent series. More of the same isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s more than enough.
Yet, was it needed?
Let’s set the record straight: the first two movies cover the same story of the original series. However this is not a simple rehash of the original. It’s a bit unfair to use the term “recap” simply because most fans know the story; the movie contains the same events, but everything in the film has been revamped. Newcomers will be treated with an amazing experience, and fans will be delighted by the subtle changes. Mostly.
After the first few seconds, it becomes quite clear that Shaft had no intention on simply recycling Blu-ray footage: it’s even better. The visuals are absolutely stunning — these changes extend beyond fixing the infamous “meduka meguca” quality drops; the art is much more polished, the animation is more fluid, and backgrounds are incredibly elaborate. The use of the paper-cut-out style returns, bringing an dynamic contrast between the two worlds. Fortunately, these changes are more than simply cosmetic. I have always praised Shaft for having amazing cinematography and this movie is no exception. Familiar scenes have subtle changes: pans, close ups, dynamic angles, head-tilts. When combined with the directing of Shinbo Akiyuki, all these tweaks enhance the tension and suspense.
Shaft also spent much time reworking the sound design. Compared to the original series, audio plays a more prominent role is establishing the atmosphere. Whispers and footsteps add to the eerie nature of the witch-hunts, while the crashes and explosions add power to the action. Of course, the biggest highlight would have to be the amazing soundtrack. Kajiura Yuki created an amazing score that reflects the magical yet horrific world. And just like the visuals, the movie boasts a few new tracks to please the returning fans.
The most controversial change is the pacing. By switching from a television format (12-episodes, 25 minutes each) to a movie format (120 minutes), the story is definitely accelerated giving a great sense of development and plot progression. The movie covers the first eight episodes of the original. The faster pace works to improve the drama (especially with Sayaka’s arc later on) and help give more personality to the characters. However, this change is the Achilles’ heel of the movie.
The original series excelled in “shock and awe” tactics. Before airing, there was mysterious nature to the show. The eerie aesthetics and haunting foreshadowing toyed with the audience’s expectations in the early episodes, only to dramatically reveal its true nature in a stunning plot twist. By deconstructing the genre and using parallels to Goethe’s Faust, it was a roller coaster of madness as the world witnessed the tragedy and downfall of our protagonists. Every week, we were treated with stunning revelations and jaw-dropping cliff-hangers. The pacing was slow yet methodical, only to enhance the suspense and drama. The movie does not have this. The story continuously progresses from scene to scene, granting no time to let it all settle. The audience has no chance to reflect. This isn’t to say the movie is incompetent. The experience is all in the story and the directing, but it’s clear sacrifices were made. This ultimately boils down to one question: What is the purpose of these movies?
Essentially, these movies are a love-letter to the fans. The enhanced audio and visuals definitely deliver a new experience, though the added benefit is quite minimal. Shaft could have simply reused old footage, but it’s clear they chose to make something more. The movie is fantastic as a stand-alone product, but it’s hard to critique it without comparing it to the original. Fundamentally, the story is faithful, yet it lacks the same emotional impact of the original. I’m confident that both die-hard fans and newcomers will enjoy this movie. However, for new fans I recommend the anime original instead.
For a movie to be adapted for another run (especially in terms of story retelling), popularity and revenue often comes as one of the reasons. In fact, anime that have been revived in recent years for a remake or rerun are not new such as Hunter x Hunter, Gurren Lagann, Berserk, Evangelion, and so on. When that comes to the equation, Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica also becomes part of that formula. Despite being only 12 episodes with the original TV series that ran in 2011, it has achieved tremendous success that resulted in the record breaking sales of its BDs, numerous anime awards being won, and achieved universal praise for its presentation. So obviously, when a TV series of this caliber gets a movie adaptation, I was excited. No, I was more like ecstatic.
The movie covers the first 8 episodes from the original series in recap form. Therefore, don’t expect any new plot twists or storytelling alternation in this film. In other words, this isn’t a prequel, sequel or side story but rather a recap. This doesn’t mean you should skip anything though especially if you want a refreshment of PMMM entertainment. For new viewers, this should be a delightful experience. As for those who have seen the original TV series, the movie should be a reminder of what Madoka really was.
As far as experience goes, the movie itself touches upon what modern technology can do – recreating the style of PMMM to its finest form. In fact, animation itself isn’t a term to be used here but rather as a vivid expression of what the movie presents. As for starters, the tone of the movie is lighthearted. There’s no change to Madoka’s character from the original series as she remains her usual self. Easily recognizable by her round face and pigtail-like ribbons, she is obviously still the star of the movie. Then, there’s of course the mysterious Homura who transfers to Madoka’s school. As a new student, she’s obviously the talk of the class. Her character remains generally the same and fills the void of the show with its mysterious tones such as the question:
“Do you treasure the life you currently live?”
From a magical girl theme stance, the question spells out a darker mood of the realm. It explores aspects of the magical girl genre like never before. Chiwa Saito (Bakemonogatari, Last Exile, Strawberry Panic) plays her role brilliantly as Hormura as she draws not only Madoka towards her character but the viewers as well. Coming from the TV series, the infamous Kyuubeymakes his return. As the familiar of the magical world, he can grant any wish to a certain girl, on the condition that she becomes a Puella Magi and fights against witches. For fans who are already familiar with him, it’s nostalgic. But for new viewers, this is an experience to see just how dark his character can be. Other characters makes their reappearances too of course like Mami and Sayaka.
The story pacing itself is designed to fit within this movie in a span of more than 2 hours. (2 hours and 10 minutes to be exact) In other words, 8 episodes from the original TV series had to be fit into this presentation. It’s no easy task especially that means some parts would have to be cut out. Perhaps most imperative of these parts involves Mami and her character. Otherwise, one other particular with a big appetite gets more screen time than I had thought which bought a big smile to my face.
Then, there’s the magical transformation from a normal girl into a Puella Magi to fight the witches. The transformation itself is fluid with a strong OST to back it up. Yuki Kajiura’s work is recognizable here with her style. The action itself is also colored with fantasy like atmosphere enhanced by the visual direction of this film. Indeed, it looks sharp. Shaft also adapts its style of presentation through its easily recognizable work. With a magical staff, gun, and determination, these girls can do just about anything.
The themes of solitude and despair also remains intact in the film. As mentioned by Kyuubey, the magical girls represents the spread of hope while the witches are the symbols of despair. That part comes with the tears running down on the face of Madoka after a startling revelation. It’s amazing how almost every little detail gets captured though in this film. Shaft wastes no time with this adaptation to visually present this at its finest imagery. The voices of the characters captures the mood as well. In the beginning, Madoka has that cheery atmosphere surrounding her. On the other hand, Homura shows more of the darkness of the magical world. Then, there’s of course Mami that represents a balance of both in a way. I give praise to the voice actors and actresses in their roles for an outstanding performance.
For character designs, there’s that sense of magical girl feeling. The way they are dressed shows they are serious in fighting the witches just like from the original TV series. For new viewers, Kyuubey will be the surprising twist behind that emotionless smile. The city and its magical realm contrasts greatly in designs that shifts between the world of the real and the surreal. In fact, that fantasy world represents a surrealist sense of despair that also conjures emotions. Of course, there’s emotions here and there especially since the responsibility of being a Mahou Shoujo is never easy, not once in this film. As for the witches, they are designed to be evil without remorse. Their visual representation seems to be sarcastic with their simple designs. However, make no mistake as they are the harbingers of despair.
Ultimately, this film may have a different impression depending on how you watch it. Obviously, not every single second from the original series will be presented in this work. However, what it has brings refreshment to fans of the PMMM franchise. It takes that magical girl theme and gives it to viewers once again with style. What it might lack though is new additions (such as new material inserted in) since this is a recap..but clearly, this can be supported by the OST, atmosphere, and mood of the movie. The original series had that as well so this is a pleasant refreshment. The production values are probably the strengths along with the powerful soundtrack. (make sure to turn the volume all the way up with headphones!) No random fan service, no forced humor, no stupidity, no still animations, no regrets. It’s more than just a recap. It’s a magical experience. ／人◕ ‿‿ ◕人＼
1: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Movie 2: Eien no Monogatari
English: Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal
Japanese: 劇場版 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ 永遠の物語
MAL Score: 8.39
Though Sayaka Miki’s wish was fulfilled, the unforeseen consequences that came with it overwhelm her, causing her soul gem to become tainted as she succumbs to despair and eventually loses her humanity. Homura Akemi reveals to Kyouko Sakura and Madoka Kaname the ultimate fate of magical girls: once their soul gem becomes tainted, it transforms into a Grief Seed, and they are reborn as witches—a truth Homura learned only through repeating history countless times in a bid to prevent Madoka’s tragedy.
Kyuubey only compounds their despair when he confesses his true intentions: to harness the energy created from magical girls and use it to prolong the life of the universe. As the threat of Walpurgisnacht, a powerful witch, looms overhead, Homura once again vows to protect Madoka and the world from a grim fate.
Caught between honoring Homura’s wish and saving the world, which one will Madoka choose in the end?
Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Movie 2: Eien no Monogatari is a story of inescapable destiny, and an unlikely hero who could change it all.
I’m not the biggest fan of the anime series (at least I wasn’t before watching these movies), and, while I think it’s good, it never left a very big impression on me. The reason I’m writing a review of the second movie instead of the first, is because this movie finally succeeded at leaving that impression with me that I have missed both times I have watched the anime. I’ve heard people talk about feeling a “void” after finishing an amazing anime, and Eien no Monogatari has successfully left me with that feeling. I just can’t think of anything to do right now other than writing a review or going to bed early.
As with the first movie, Eien no Monogatari is a recap which follows up and retells the last four episodes of the anime. While the first movie was about an episode and a half shorter than the original material it retold, this movie is actually slightly longer (around 20 minutes more) and it really helps it pace the story much better than before.
Story – 10/10
The story now begins to shift from the main quintet of girls to just Madoka and Homura. It becomes more focused on the idea of the “Magical girl” and exactly what they are. It delves a lot into the psychological aspect of the story as Madoka’s conflict of whether to become a magical girl or not reaches it’s climax after witnessing the tragedies occurring around her and knowing that more are yet to come.
I’ve got to give it up to Gen Urobuchi for being able to create this psychologically intimidating situation for Madoka so well. As the mysteries about Kyuubey come to light, his explanations for why he has done everything he has is amazing and really eye-opening. It really takes apart different aspects of the human race like guilt, emotions, and why we consider some things more important than others, and looks at it from the perspective of something that is not only not human, but does not understand our human perspective on any of these topics.
And then it starts to really focus on Homura. Episode 10 of the original Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica anime was one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen, and this movie pulls off that segment even better than before. It has more time, better animation, and some new soundtracks that make it the highlight of this movie in my eyes.
Art – 9/10
Speaking of the art, it’s all redone amazingly. The original anime had some sloppy, rushed animation which has completely vanished in this movie (and the first movie as well). There are still a few still shots that last maybe a little too long, but the action scenes, emotions of the characters, and the backgrounds are all a huge step up from before. The added time in this movie allows for a few new shots to be shown and for many previous ones to be given more depth. Overall, the art is the biggest improvement from the series.
Sound – 10/10
I always loved the Madoka★Magica soundtrack, and thought it was one of the best in all of anime. I have no idea how they made it better despite how amazing it already was, but they sure succeeded. I thought it had one of the best soundtracks ever, but now I know that between these two movies, I cannot think of a single anime in existence with a better soundtrack and I am not exaggerating. They reused all of the old songs, and even added a few new ones with a new, amazing ending credit song as well.
The voice acting is just as good if not better than before. I really can’t compare overall because I would have to watch the anime and movie side-by-side to do so, but there are a few parts where I’m sure the movie has the anime beat, especially when it comes to Madoka’s voice actress.
Character – 10/10
The characters become fewer in this movie as it begins to focus on Madoka and Homura, so it’s a good thing that those two are one of the best duos in anime. I’ll admit, I always liked Sayaka the best and cared less about Homura because of that, but this movie really made me like Homura much more than I ever did before. With the little extra time this movie has, her character is given even more focus and extremely well written development. Madoka as well I felt was stronger in this than before. Her psychological distress was less rushed in the movie and given more time to add to the emotions and darkness of the story and helped build her character. The other characters, especially Kyoko, have some emotional scenes that also top the anime in my opinion (well definitely Kyoko’s, the others are about the same).
Enjoyment – 9/10 (Amazing)
I actually enjoyed this more than the original anime. Sayaka being my favorite character, I enjoyed the middle of the anime series the best, but with these two movies, I actually enjoyed the end of the story more. The new, brilliant art, new additions to the already amazing soundtrack, and the slightly longer time allowed this movie to go above and beyond the already great anime. I can’t wait for the third movie with new material and I’m really hoping it will just as good (maybe better if we’re really lucky) than these two movies.
Well as mentioned previously, this movie is the 2nd part of the trilogy installation from the Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica saga. The movie covers the remaining 4 episodes from the original TV series. While the first movie was titled ‘The Beginnings’, this is where it it ends from where the TV version left off.
This movie is essentially another recap of the TV series and thus, there is no original material in terms of storytelling or plot twists. However, that doesn’t mean viewers should pass up a chance to give this a shot though because not only does it bring refreshment, it also brings that sense of magical feeling you might get once again like never before. Indeed, Madoka is like a magical girl theme series like no one has ever seen before especially to those new to the franchise.
The movie starts off from exactly where The Beginnings left off related to Sayaka. The OP song remains the same that is orchestrated by the talented ClariS (Luminous). What the second movie offers though is even more of a darker tone related to the Mahou Shoujo theme. Madoka learns it the hard way from the very beginning from Homura. Both the physical and mental scares remains in Madoka’s mind along with Kyouko. They bring out the psychological style of what PMMM was, is, and continues to be. As for the movie itself, Kyuubey still remains the all unforgiving antagonist with his devilish smile and mind games. It’s a mind twist itself after all.
Like the previous film, this one also boosts talent in terms of voice acting and emotions. Madoka’s VA Aoi Yuuki is especially noticeable because her character suffers throughout her experiences with the events in this movie. In fact, she struggles with her current situation and the words from Kyuubey. She knows they are true facts but hard to accept them as reality. Even Kyouko whom originally started as a confident girl is now struggling with her situation and some startling revelations. They are all suffering with the fate and what they must endure.
The movie also spells out the new destiny that Madoka must embrace just like she did in the original TV series. Along with the startling revelation made in the beginning, Madoka must make difficult decisions even if it’s by herself. In fact, she wrestles with her own feelings and true facts in regards to her best friend, Sakaya. It’s painful to watch but it’s also the grim reality of how dark the movie is, just like the original TV series. Kyuubey further fuels the darkness with his plan and ambition to make Madoka into a Mahou Shoujo no matter what the cost.
Despite this though, fans from the original TV series may also remember a bit of Homura. For newer fans, it is a new insight to her character as we see another side of her, or rather in a different way. We see all the magical girls but then, there’s some of things we don’t expect..(for newer fans that is). Be ready for another twisted ride.
The OST of the movie remains top notch. We can give our thanks to Kajiura Yuki who is able to bring out her talent at its finest. The emotional scenes are played solemnly with the pacing while the action scenes possesses that full throttle feeling of fighting. The artwork takes its majestic style to its own right as well. The way the characters are crafted along with the Witches makes them seem more grim than usual. Of course, the fantasy world also remains surreal with its cutting edge style. Additionally, there’s the grey and red coloring backgrounds that almost seems to bleed in with the style of the series. Even though it seems that the movie portrays the TV series for a recap, it is still just as dark in many ways. Thank you Shaft.
Overall, this was another great film. Despite being a recap, it still had the tone of the TV series with its great cast of characters, supreme OST, unique artwork, and a grim story of magic. It is a world that the characters live in with darkness. The movie is a good wake-up call for those who still comes back once and awhile to relive the experience of PMMM. It is through these experiences where we realize just how dark some series can be. A magical girl theme series unlike most others, Puella Magi Madoka Magica takes the magical girl idea to a whole new level, a level that is unparalleled to what I’ve seen in recent years. There’s pain. There’s sorrow. There’s emotion. There’s betrayal. There’s solitude. Then, there’s Eternal.
First, let’s be clear, the two Madoka movies do not tell any new stories different from the original TV anime. However, that doesn’t mean the two movies have no value, for they are by no means mere recaps of the original series. Except for the plot, everything – visuals, music, voice acting, directing, etc. – everything you can name has been extensively revamped.
Take the visuals for example. Most, if not all, of the scenes have been redrawn and reanimated – the backgrounds grander and more dynamic, the movements smoother, and all the drawing imperfections and animation mistakes fixed. The results are breathtaking. Time and time again, I found myself inadvertently silenced by the beauty and vividness on the screen.
The movies also boast a good number of new tracks by Kajiura Yuki, some of which are remixes/rearrangements of tracks from the original anime, and a few are new compositions entirely. If you know anything about Kajiura Yuki, I probably don’t have to tell you how amazing the new soundtrack is. At the same time, the new tracks also set a different feel for the anime.
Even the lines have been re-recorded. I cannot compare how the voice acting is done in the movie to how it is done in the original series, but I can tell you that in every scene of the movie, the voice acting is always real and compelling. I myself was definitely pulled deeper into the story thanks to the voice actors’/actresses’ part.
Of course, not every change made for a stronger story presentation. Transitions are not always the best, and some important scenes from the TV anime had to be cut out. The added grandeur and drama in the cinematography also sometimes end up working against the story instead. Still there are some changes that neither strengthen nor detract from the story presentation. Nevertheless, the stunning visuals, the soul-hauntingly beautiful music, the emotional grit of the voice acting, and clever editing all come together nicely, sustaining the flow and impact of the story.
When all’s said and done, the differences between the movies and the original series really aren’t that great. But for returning fans, hardcore or not, even these tiny, subtle changes make the movies worth watching. Through such changes in pacing, in cinematography, in animation and music, and in a small number of tiny additional scenes, Shaft has masterfully presented us with a slightly but meaningfully different perspective and feel of the Madoka story. So while it is not essential to watch the two movies to enjoy Madoka Magica – the original anime is still the core production – do try watching the movies if you ever want to revisit that fantastical and cruel world which came to your doorsteps over a year ago, in the form of a cute, white, cuddly animal.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Movie 2: Eien no Monogatari
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