A dark fantasy/horror genre anime and manga, Madoka Magica does not disappoint! Originally produced by Aniplex and Shaft, this seems to be an anime that was originally written for the show rather than starting off as manga. There are still some differences between the manga and anime, but they follow along the same main story line. There are slight dialogue differences between the anime and manga, but nothing that seriously takes away from either.
They are both captivating and in the end, it will come own to how you prefer to enjoy the story. If you really want a detailed look at what differs between the two mediums, check out this link that has compiled all of that information for you! The manga holds a slight advantage to me, as I was gloriously unable to hear Madoka’s horribly high-pitched voice (Christine Marie Cabanos in the English version). I was originally drawn to the anime because it is freely available on Netflix, but I went and searched out the manga to escape the voice acting.
The story focuses around Madoka Kaname, Homura Akemi, Sayaka Miki, Mami Tomoe, Kyoko Sakura, and the mysterious Kyubey. Each main character has their own distinct personality, which really helps make the story what it is. There is also a nice amount of backstory shared on at least three of the main characters which helps to fill out the story and give the audience a connection to the characters. Mami, Kyoko, and Homura each had a wish granted by Kyubey and in exchange they became magical girls that have to protect the world from witches. Madoka Magika is considered horror/dark fantasy for a reason, with its twisted story and dark deaths. Not to mention a face like Kyubey’s inspires nightmares. And the fact that it eats it’s own carcass at one point.
Kyubey goes around offering contracts to fourteen year old girls to make them magical girls. If they sign the contract Kyubey grants them one wish before forcefully removing their soul from their body and turning it into a gem so they can fight bad guys as ‘magical girls.’ At the beginning of Madoka Magica, Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki have yet to sign on with Kyubey. Kyubey is willing to sign Sayaka, but the real prize is Madoka. Madoka is supposed to have almost God like power dwelling within her and Kyubey wants it. What Kyubey doesn’t tell them is that once you are turned into a magical girl, you eventually downgrade into a witch. Some girls do this faster than others. What Kyubey really wants is the energy released from the girls once this happens.
Something that I felt the manga lacked was the abstract style of the witches lairs that can be found in the anime. In the anime each witches lair displays different abstract styles, but that wasn’t as easily seen in the manga and kind of took away from their creepy, otherworldly feel.
For a story about middle school aged girls fighting witches and transforming in a very Sailor Moon-esque fashion, this story is horrific. I saw a review a few weeks ago where the reviewer stated that Madoka Magica was the goriest anime around. While I strongly disagree with that statement (Claymore, for example), I do think this anime offers a level of gore to its viewers and it definitely has a creepy factor. If you only want to set aside time for either the anime or the manga, I would personally recommend the manga. While the anime is available on Netflix and would be less of a hassle overall, I feel like the manga is just… better when it comes to conveying the story.
Have you read or watched Madoka Magica? What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments!