May drop Star Driver in favor of Madoka Magica. I saw more in 22 minutes of MM than I’ve seen in 14 episodes of SD, and there’s no comparison between the two as far as staging, set design, direction, tension and overall quality. (best use of CG overlays since Gankutsuou.) Madoka Magica feels like something I could enjoy taking apart. Something with some meat on its bones.
Initial impression: Extremely impressed.
Cut for SPOILERS to current episode.
I’m caught up through episode 3 now. Something occurs to me… the common assumption (and one that makes good dramatic sense in a ‘you’re fucked!’ universe with the current rules that MM has) is that Madoka will use her wish to fix what happened.
But then I remembered another unusual powered character with graphic and unexpected onscreen deaths – Murasame from Giant Robo was a man who literally could not die. He even shot himself in the head right in front of Daisaku to make his point (talk about scenes designed to deliberately traumatize children!)
We don’t yet know the precise nature of Mami’s wish. Critically, her words to Kyubey were muted. The common assumption is that her wish was “not to die alone” but perhaps it was more primal than that. Given the circumstances – it could very well have just been plain “I don’t want to die“.
How gruesome of a life would that be? It would certainly fit the eldritch horror/Evangelion vibe of the piece, and “be careful what you wish for” has been hammered down again and again in every episode so far. True wish stories make it clear that a wish also contains an inherent unavoidable curse; something always goes wrong when a wish is granted; there’s always a dark side, something the wisher failed to anticipate.
Of course, the other thing is that Mami might not return; she’s fulfilled her usefulness as an initial explainer of things and as example of what can happen to someone who chooses the magical girl lifestyle; there’s a certain ruthless logic to disposing of characters that have served their purpose. The title of episode 4 could be a misdirect or in reference to something else.