But I'm also firmly of the opinion that a movie - that is, a cinematic experience of visuals and sound intended to convey a story - needs to stand as its own thing, whether it's a recap, sequel, prequel or fly-on-the-wall documentary about some guy who paints fences. So I came into the PMMM movie with that mindset, intent on judging it on its own merits no matter how great the longer anime might or might not be.
Rest assured, then, that not only do the two PMMM movies stand on their own as films, they blew my mind like that one time I stood too close to a jet turbine. It's so good I'm considering taking out a
loan on my kidney to pay to purchase the Blu-ray of the series. Hell, it's so good I now have the boxset - featuring a whole bunch of badass young ladies wearing technicolour battle armour - taking pride of place on my shelf beside Cowboy Bebop and my Attack on Titan collections. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But I'm not exaggerating when I say the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie is damn, damn good.
The premise starts with sweet, unassuming and pink-haired middle school student Madoka Kaname finding an injured magical white weasel/ferret hybrid called Kyubei. After saving him from death, Kyubei offers Madoka the chance to become a Magical Girl, giving her a Sailor Moon-esque set of transformative powers to fight witches in exchange for any one wish she can make. While she contemplates this decision, Madoka meets other Magical Girls - including the confident, impossibly-coiffed Mami and the quiet but deadly Homura - and discovers that getting these powers might lead to something much darker than that which she is tasked to fight.
It's actually difficult to articulate entirely what makes the PMMM movies work like gangbusters. I'd
Those are minor drawbacks, though, and the positives are to the negatives what a beer stein is to a teacup. There's enough grand, operatic narrative peppered with introspective character moments and a really nice dark, gut-punchy undertone that the two Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies combined manage to stand tall as a fantastic anime film that eschews a lot of the auteur problems such deconstructive tales are usually plagued with. Most might probably tell you to watch the series itself before checking out the films (for I understand there's a third movie that acts as a sequel to the whole thing), but I'd go out on a limb and presume some of the narrative fat of the anime might've been trimmed with good reason for the movie. Of course, I'm gonna have to watch now to find out, so there goes another six hours of my weekend.
Ignore the cutesy cover of the Blu-Ray, avoid the spoilers and just engage. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is awesome. Plain and simple.