Konome Madoka has a dream in which she sees a dark-haired girl fighting against some dark force in the middle of a floating ruined city, unwilling to sit back and watch her be beaten Madoka wishes she could do something so a small white coloured creature offers to make a contract with her that would allow her to become a Puella Magi.
“Connect” by ClariS, download.
Before she can actually do something though she wakes up and goes about what appears to be her morning routine, waking her mother up with her younger brother, and talking with her about things at school while they prepare for the day. Where her mother picks out the red ribbon and tries to get her to think that she has secret fans that would go head over heels for it, they then eat breakfast together before her mother goes off to work and Madoka to school. On the way she meets up with her friends, Hitomi Shizuki and Sayaka Miki where they talk about things like love letters as Sayaka attempts to grab her in public.
When they make it to school their teacher looks to be inserting her relationship problems into her classes before she introduces a new transfer student, Homura Akemi, the very same girl from Madoka’s dream. While she appears to be quite popular already Homura asks Madoka if she could escort her to the infirmary. Where on the way she remains otherwise silent before she asks her about whether she considers her friends and family to be important, and when she answers that of course she does Homura appears to warn her that she could lose them if she becomes someone not like herself.
During their later classes Homura not only does well in their academic classes, but also in their athletic classes, something that Madoka and her friends talk about after school together. Sayaka wonders whether it could be ‘moe’ while Hitomi asks Madoka whether she really did meet her before, leading to Madoka telling them about the strange dream she had last night. They then have to part ways with Hitomi as she goes off to her piano lessons and elsewhere the creature from Madoka’s dream is being chased by Homura. As they listen to music, Madoka hears calls for help and when she follows them she finds the creature wounded with Homura not far behind.
She steps forth asking Madoka to leave him but before she can make a move Sayaka comes to their aid by blasting her with a fire extinguisher, long enough for them to get away and as Homura manages to clear the air around her the world around her appears to change. While Madoka and Sayaka run away Madoka is determined to save the creature after it had called her for help, but the changes around Homura weren’t limited to her as the world changes around them as well with strange monsters steadily moving towards them. However before it’s too late another girl, Mami Tomoe arrives and thanks them for saving the creature which she calls Kyubey. She then transforms into her Puella Magi form in order to take care of the monsters, summoning multiple flint locks to fight them and restore the world back to normal.
Homura manages to catch up and before she can continue where she left off, Mami manages to threaten her not to as she warns her about what will happen if she intends to continue. With her gone Mami heals Kyubey who wants Madoka and Sayaka to form contracts with him allowing them to become Puella Magi.
Of all the shows beginning this season this was probably the one I was looking forward to the most, as by being directed by Akiyuki Shinbo and the script written by Urobuchi Gen of Nitroplus fame it was sure to bring about something good. And by being a magical girl show it would be something that Shinbo is said to have wanted to work on and would be a bit different from some of Gen’s previous works, things that could make it a bit better as well. Aside from that I kind of like Shinbo and SHAFT‘s style of shows.
Secondly as a first episode I thought that this was pretty good, as even though this genre is completely new to me I still thought how it introduced us to the four main characters was done quite nicely. With the first half showing part of Madoka’s (voiced by Aoi Yuki) everyday life as she went about her morning routine, went to school, and hung out with her friends, Sayaka and Hitome with the former voiced by Eri Kitamura and the latter by Ryoko Shintani. Along with things like how her mother was the breadwinner in her family and how her class was forced to deal with their teacher’s relationship problems showing the type of ordinary life she had as just an ordinary girl, something that was about to change if she were to become a Puella Magi.
Other than that there was also a feeling of mystery in Homura’s (voiced by Chiwa Saito) character in both what and why she was fighting during the beginning of the episode, as well as how she was against Madoka becoming a Puella Magi. Being things that seemed to stand out and gave the impression that she could know more than she lets on about. Other than that with how she isn’t shown alongside Madoka, Sayaka, and Mami in the opening and how she attacked Kyubey, it wouldn’t take much to think of her as an antagonist at the moment, yet the two things former suggest otherwise. Either way though her character has interested me so I’ll be interested to see how some of these things play out in the later episodes.
The animation change towards the end of the episode was also quite interesting, as not only was it reminiscent of SHAFT’s earlier work with some of the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Openings it also worked quite nicely in how it completely contrasted with the animation used for the characters. Providing with it something almost disturbing to the monsters/creatures that appeared and making them a little more intimidating, almost allowing us to feel some of the shock and fear that Madoka and Sayaka felt. So in all it was an interesting change and I’m looking forward to seeing the way it’ll be used in future episodes as well.
The transformation and action sequence that Mami, voiced by Kaori Mizuhashi had in the same scene where she came to Madoka and Sayaka’s rescue were also both pretty awesome, especially how she summoned multiple flint locks to rain down on the monsters/creatures that attacked them. Aside from that because she appeared towards the end of the episode Mami was also kind of mysterious as well, though in a slightly different way to Homura, as she not only showed up at just the right time but was also able to intimidate Homura enough to make her back down. The magical aspect to the show is also pretty interesting so far as we don’t really know that much, as what we really only know so far is that the girls who make a contracts with Kyubey can become Puella Magi.
So in all this was a pretty interesting way to start a series as while it went about doing things like introducing the characters, at times there was still a feeling of mystery to it that grabbed my attention. Making me want to know the reasons for why some of these things were happening and look forward to seeing how they would be explained, while at the same time the animation style could make it a pretty fun series.