Madoka Magica and Vadim Magica

Madoka Magica Rebellion Poster Alternate Version

Regardless of it constantly happening, unfortunately Australia routinely obtaining licenses to films that were released in Japan months ago is nothing new. While American cinemas and their patrons on the other side of the globe are experiencing these movies perhaps a month or less after it’s been released, we have this unavoidable waiting period. Perhaps we should be grateful it’s being licensed at all though, because until recent years I hadn’t the good fortune of experiencing Japanese films in cinemas.

Sometimes it’s nice enough to be George Street cinemas, but for most other times it’s back to trusty Dendy cinemas in Newtown, where we experienced the first two Madoka Magica movies with a problematic BluRay Player — speaking of which, where did that complimentary ticket go?

Eyewitnesses from the scene described a line of monstrous lengths stretching down the street from the cinemas as hopefuls waited to get their hands on exclusive posters and signed character boards. Pity.


Yes, those capitals were necessary. Like their many -monogatari series building franchises, I have to wonder whether SHAFT always had this number of movies in the works, or whether it was an idea the studio decided they would develop later if their audience were receptive — which it turned out they were very much so.

SHAFT is known for its unorthodox approach to animation and storytelling, very different from its early works, but this has established a style that the studio is now widely known for. A vastly complicated style that came into play today in some stunning and intricately complex graphics. Chaotic, as Ruben puts it. Although the art style appears simplistic at first impressions, there is a hidden level of detail concealed in even the simplest(-seeming) scenes.

Despite promoting the latest Madoka movie like there was no tomorrow, honestly I had no idea what to expect from MADOKA MAGICA: REBELLION today, contributing to a universe that had seemed to wrap up in a tidy package in the movies we had seen previously. Perhaps the name should have given it away because hindsight is always 2020, but despite having seen many illustrations of Homura from this latest movie, what had started out like an alternate universe reminiscent of the first movie quickly revealed itself to be a true sequel to the events that had seemed resolved.

Without giving out spoilers, the movie was certainly a mind bending exercise (it was certainly a neck-craning one, since we arrived late and didn’t have much choice of seating). I have to admit I preferred the initial ending, the one from the Eternal movie and the anime. One that told a tale of endless loyalty and devotion. Of patience and endurance.

Though this movie carries these themes well enough within the movie, the end is the most unexpected when all sense of virtue disappears and an air of selfishness creeps in, one that was always present in the background but now seems so much more obvious. This series always was and at the same time was never quite about Madoka, was it?

Like Ruben says though, this makes an otherwise fantasy story more ‘real’, these characters are not just as two-dimensional as they are painted, but they have many facets like we do too. SHAFT enjoy crossing planes don’t they? Just don’t jump out of planes.

Vadim is a Kyuubey

Vadim Magica

Although Madoka was a great movie and I was glad of the chance to catch it (thank you to Vadim for the tickets), unfortunately the battle with trackwork and the coolness of the air-conditioning within the cinema eventually meant that Ruben and I were unable to make it to Vadim’s birthday celebrations.

Though I would have loved a spot of pasta or pizza and maybe later an embarrassingly loud rendition of Happy Birthday to you~ (oh you copyrighted that? Sorry), I hope he had a great time all the same with our good friends and presents heaped upon him.

Perhaps ‘magica’ isn’t right for him, being Kyuubey, but I digress. Can’t say no to a bow-tie.

Additional to Vadim, however, I’m sorry that I was also unable to attend Sashin’s birthday celebrations early this week for similar reasons. Therefore I’d like to take this opportunity to wish them both a Happy Birthday, considering it’s an iconic milestone year for them both, and to extend them an invitation for some time quality together somewhere next week in order to rectify this.

We can all be magical girls! (Wait, what?)

Photograph of Vadim taken by Wilson Cheng.