The animation in this show is beautiful, and even the idea is pretty cool too. As far as my thoughts on the pilot, it could have been stronger…I still don’t know fully what is going on, though it is a great subversion of the “Magic Girl” anime trope where magic is easy and the problems faced don’t have any affect. In this there are consequences, and that is established from the first few scenes.
The episode was directed by Yukihiro Miyamoto, Ryuoma Ebata and written by Gen Urobuchi.
The story begins with Madoka watching an apocalyptic battle between a mysterious girl with long black hair and something off in the distance. The girl is losing and a creature approaches her and says she can change the events and the ending. She agrees and we see that she was asleep. She realizes it wasn’t completely a dream though when following a strange voice her and her friend run into the creature Kyubey who Madoka had met in the dream being hunted by the long haired girl, who is the new student at their school named Homura.
The Pros: Kyubey – The creature is adorable and I don’t trust it. It looks like a cat mixed with a small dog with a chibi face and the creature in the distance in the final battle looks kind of like it. There is a reason Homura was chasing it and I want to learn why.
Homura – She is the distant Rei personality type except rather than simply being disconnected she is driven and we see her hunting Kyubey leading to Madoka getting involved and rescuing Kyubey.
The Magic Realm – There is a realm that exists when magic is cast and it looks awesome! There are strange creatures in it and the world looks like a surrealist painting. It’s really cool and one of my favorite things so far about the series.
Mami – Mami is the girl we see who originally came to protect Kyubey, so I again don’t trust her. She comes off as kind though and it might be genuine, she’s just found a way to deal with her magic and the loneliness and Homura says will come if you use magic. The price is to lose everyone.
Okay: Madoka – Madoka is a bit to cutesy and kind right now, I want her to become an actual character. Her saving Kyubey was her being active at least as well as during the dream, I just feel like I don’t know this character yet.
Sayaka – Madoka’s friend who is really close to her. I don’t really know her yet either. When she was hanging out with Madoka and her other friend she seemed the most outgoing but that was about it. I hope she makes the deal for magic. I have a feeling that will define her and Madoka’s character a lot in the episodes to come.
I think the first episode was good. It wasn’t great as the main character is not interested enough to keep me watching it for her story, I’m more interested in the Magic Girls we meet who have defined personalities and are active and have an adversarialish relationship that is somehow tied to Kyubey…that is what intrigues me, as well as the threats in the world of magic.
Final Score: 8 / 10. Solidly good, but not great.