Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Timekeeper)
Now before I begin this review, I will admit this before writing: when I first encountered Madoka Magica on the net and everyone and their brother talking about it like it was the newest fashion craze, I was very skeptical to even touch it. In the beginning, I chose a very shallow approach and used the "judge a book by its cover" technique and thought Madoka Magica would be a tad bit similar to other colorful, cutesy, family-oriented magical girl anime such as big name titles like Cardcaptor Sakura, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and Sailor Moon.
Christ was I wrong.
The story does have a lot of similarities to the typical magical girl anime: normal girl living normal life, has a life-changing experience, and encounters a furry little creature who offers to give her magical powers to fight the powers of evil and badness. The biggest difference I can see is that around a fourth of the way into the series, the show begins to ask and answer a lot of questions that other magical girl anime do not, which is why I can see how this anime is set so far apart from its predecessors.
The five main characters in question are, to me, a group of diverse individuals that, and I guarantee you this, you'll end up picking a favorite before the series is done. You have the indecisive, the cold and stoic, the caring, the tomboy, and the bratty yet independent characters. As for secondary characters, there honestly isn't much to be said about them seeing that for the majority of the series they're all pretty much a second violin (pun intended) to the main characters.
Another thing that sort of put me off about about watching Madoka Magica is the art. At a first glance, it seemed a bit childish and more targeted towards a younger demographic. The art is basically one of those "you're going to either love it or hate it" and in my case it was sort of in between. I didn't think that it was in such great detail that you could see every facet of the characters, but I also didn't think that it was so bad that it looked like the artwork was left up to a fourth-grader's art class homework. But in all honesty, the art and animation starts to shine a lot more during the action sequences more than anything else.
To say that this show's music composer Yuki Kajiura did an "okay" job would be an understatement in my opinion. Nearly every track in this series is a pleasure to listen to and each of the melodies fit perfectly into the current scene being played. Whether feeling relaxed, in despair, having hope, or a fight between two characters, Kajiura hits the nail right on the head.
The English dub, on the other hand, is like the artwork: you'll either really like it or absolutely abhor it. In my honest opinion, I thought the two lead voice actresses, Christina Vee and Christine Marie Cabanos, both did a superb job in portraying their characters of Homura and Madoka respectively. But, I suppose if you cannot stand the English dub's rendition of Madoka Magica, there is always the option to switch to the original Japanese audio.
Now comes the final call. Would I ask you to recommend this to someone who is a fan of the magical girl genre? Yes, but be prepared to be hit with something harder than a pallet of bricks. Would I ask you to recommend this to someone who is not a fan of the magical girl genre? I'd still say yes. If they are a bit iffy about watching the series, ask them to watch it halfway through and see what they think or, as a rule of thumb for me, watch until the end of the third or fourth episode to judge whether or not it's worth continuing.
If you'd like me to review a show, go ahead and comment down below and I'll see what I can do so long as it's not an extremely bulky series (Naruto, Bleach, Fairy Tail, One Piece, etc.) ^_^