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on January 15, 2016
Usually I wouldn't spend $35+ dollars on 4 episodes of any TV show. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an exception. This isn't your typical magical girl anime. (If it was I wouldn't have spent $35+ on it.) In a strange way this show is a satire of the genre. If you haven't seen this show yet you really should.

Story:
Let me start by saying that this series has one of the strongest opening few minutes to any show I have ever seen. After the opening few minutes of the show the pace slows down a bit. You are introduced to the main characters, you get to know them a bit, then you are thrust back into total chaos. The beginning is the weakest part of the series, but the beginning is still amazing and deserves 5 stars. This series takes a 180% from where you think it would go.
Characters.
First things first, these characters each have their own flaw, this is a very interesting point in understanding the characters and their behaviors, motivations, and actions. For example Madoka has problems with feeling inferior. Her behavior is influenced by this. These flaws make the characters seem more human and realistic.
Soundtrack.
This series has one of the most spot on soundtracks I have ever heard. Pretty much every song fits the scene it is in. Reading the lyrics to the closing song "See you again" was very interesting because of how well it fit. The opening theme is very catchy.
Dub vs. Sub
I have watched both the sub and dub for episodes 1-4. I watched the show in dub the first few times and only watched the sub for the first few episodes recently.
Personally I think that the sub is done better than the dub. (At least in the first four episodes.)
In the dub only a few of the characters voices seem to fit. Some of the lines in the dub are hard to understand. There are lines that are different in the sub and they fit better than the dub. In the case of 2 of the main characters, (Madoka and Sayaka.) their voices didn't fit very well, and at times were hard to understand. Though I think the voice for Kyubey was spot-on.
Overall
This series is amazing and worth buying. It has a different and unique take on the genre and I would recommend it to any fan of anime.
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on August 3, 2015
One of my favorite shows, anime or otherwise. Fantastic ending most of all. So many feels!
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on June 17, 2015
$94.98 suggested retail ($56.98 now) for a 4 episode blu-ray disk???!!! Are the distributors insane? I don't care how good the show is (and I've heard good things about this one), I am NOT going to buy this. (Yes, I know, I haven't watched it. I decided to make an exception in this case because of the ludicrous, laughable price.)
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on February 24, 2015
Okay so, people rating this are rating it purely off of opinion. They should be rating the product itself not the show. You truly need to experience this show for yourself, I for one love it, and even own the Ultimate Madoka 1/8 pvc scale figure because of my love for it.
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on November 22, 2014
If you have seen this anime, perhaps on Netflix, and decided you just need to own it, then you already know it's worth the money. If, on the other hand, you heard some good things about this series and are trying to decide if it's worth the $70 price tag, then do yourself a favor and stop reading reviews right now. The most important thing is that you avoid spoilers, and if you keep doing what seems like reasonable research for a purchase like this, you can end up ruining the experience. For goodness sake don't read the Wikipedia article.

I'm like you, and I normally will read up on a series before I buy it, but I lucked into this one without doing any research at all, and I'm so glad that I did. I'm a 42 year old male anime fan, so you might think I'm outside the demographic for this show, and so did I. I've been collecting anime since 1988, yet I've never even finished a single episode of Sailor Moon. I loved Tenchi Muyo, so I was able to stomach some Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, so I'm not completely unfamiliar with the Mahou Shoujo genre, but it's really not my thing. I only watched this because Christine Cabanos, the English voice actress for the main character was going to be at a local anime convention and I wanted to be familiar with her work before meeting her. I did absolutely no research whatsoever. After watching the first two episodes, it was headed in exactly the direction I expected it to be going, and I wasn't too excited to hit play on episode three, but I'm so glad that I did. The first two episodes aren't all that interesting to watch, but believe me, you will enjoy them a lot more when you re-watch them, and you will. Once you finish episode ten and realize just what has been going on, a re-watch is practically mandatory.

I've already told you how important it is to avoid spoilers, and even revealing the nature of the show is a major spoiler, but you do need to know one thing: Give it at least three episodes. The end of episode three marks a major turning point in the series. To say that the plot gets serious at that point is an understatement. Everything changes; the story loses its frivolous nature, the art, settings and even the music change to suit the new dramatic nature of the plot, and it's at this point that you should make your judgment on whether or not to finish the series. Don't get me wrong, this is a Mahou Shoujo anime to the end, but if you are a fan of extremely well written stories, and I mean on the level of Shakespeare, Goethe, and classical Greek legend, then this is for you, regardless of whether or not you like Magical Girls.

Lets break it down:

ART: 8/10 I've seen better animated shows. Especially close-ups on the character's faces leave something to be desired, but still, this animation is above average. The use of backgrounds and lighting to set the mood for the scene is done with masterful skill. The use of a completely different art style to set the witch labyrinths apart from the real world is jarring at first, but you can't deny it IS effective. Every image is meaningful.

STORY: 10/10 This is the real selling point of the anime. Since I started watching anime in 1988 I have never come across a better written show, bar none. Again, I'm not going to give anything away, so I'm just going to ask you to trust me here. I can say that if you have heard that this is a deconstruction of the genre, then you heard right. It asks questions that other shows in the genre don't ask, and plays out the consequences of the character's actions and choices in a fully serious and realistic manner. However, its more than that. It borrows heavily from the classics to give a surprisingly deep and well thought out story. One that stands up to analysis, and if you're a writer yourself, prepare to be inspired.

MUSIC: 10/10 If you have never really paid attention to Japanese composers, this show may change that. The music is absolutely perfect. Where the show wants to be light and uplifting (mostly in the first two episodes) the music does that quite well. Where the music really shines is in the dramatic scenes and the action, where the music can set the tone for a scene equally well, if not more so, than the visuals. This music can lift your spirit or crush your soul, whichever is required for the scene. Previously, my favorite anime composer was Yoko Kanno, but after watching this, Yuki Kajiura is now top of my list and not likely to ever be deposed.

THE DUB: 8/10 Not bad. Some other reviewers have given Christine Cabanos a bad rap, but I don't agree. She may be new to the voice acting scene, but she does a good job here as the main character Madoka. The role was demanding, with a LOT of emotion, and I think she delivered that emotion believably. Christina Valenzuela does an outstanding job as Homura. Her character is almost the opposite of Madoka, with little emotion (at least in the first half of the series) and an intensity that doesn't really suit a middle school student, but once you have seen the full series, you will understand that this is exactly what her character called for.

OVERALL: 9/10 Now, I own the DVD and have seen the Netflix version. I haven't seen the Blu-ray version, but I have heard that the animation was upgraded, with a lot more detail added. If that is true, then I could see giving this a near perfect score. Perhaps I will update this review if I ever do watch the Blu-ray.

RECOMMENDATION: If you are looking for a light, fun piece of entertainment, then this may not be for you. I wouldn't recommend this for younger audiences either. It really is written for a more mature, discerning, intelligent audience, and may even be off-putting, if not inappropriate for young viewers. Hint: Parents, don't buy this for your eight year old daughter. Now, by inappropriate, I don't mean it has a lot of blood, gore, and sex. In fact it has no sex, only the briefest nudity (like during transformation sequences, as is typical for Magical Girl anime), and although it does have violence, it isn't all that bloody and definitely not gory. Still, the story deals with very serious material, and the realities of being a Magical Girl are atypical of the genre to say the least. This is a deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre in a similar sense that Unbreakable was a deconstruction of the Super Hero genre, and Madoka Magica contains no laughs.

If, on the other hand, you grew up with Sailor Moon and would like someone to write a Magical Girl story for your now older and more refined tastes, with a story that will change the way you look at the genre, then get this. If you just like well written stories, that don't pull any punches and make you feel like you've been on an emotional roller coaster by the end, then this is definitely for you.

Sadly, it's Aniplex, so it's expensive. It may be available on Netflix or Hulu as other people have pointed out, but titles on those sites come and go. I have a feeling that after experiencing this series, you will want to own it, like I did. And if, by the time you are reading this, it isn't available from those sources anymore, then take my word for it, it's worth the price of admission.
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on November 17, 2014
a beyond epic series . . . . . . that aniplex usa DROPED the ball on instead of going the afordable route like funimation or sentai "cough" ad-vision "cough" they chose the overly expensive jp price points, i can understand paying a preminm price for a good series but WAKE UP aniplex do you wanna go the route of bandai and their doomed preimum imprint Honnêamise
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on September 11, 2014
Don't listen to the whining weenaboos ( I don't usually hate, but when you go breaking balls on an anime just because you don't like the English dub, I gotta go on the attack)! The English dub is just fine! Madoka Magica is one of my top 10 animes of all time ( and I'm a guy)! This maybe a magical girl anime, but don't go thinking its a Sailor Moon clone ( though Sailor Moon is good also)! Won't say no more (don't want to give away spoilers), but definitely check out Madoka Magica! I doubt you'll regret it!
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on July 24, 2014
Great anime which turns the genre of pretty sailor girls on its end. Mature plot with death and violence make it not a kids story.
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on March 10, 2014
As a fan of all things with a dark twist, this anime has everything that I've been looking for! The animation, storyline and the characters are all original where it turns the magical girl genre on it's head. I have never watched it in English dub, and I have no desire to. Fortunately the DVD is available with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. Most reviewers on this usually give this product a low rating simply because of the English voice actors, but if you just ignore the English audio and just watch it in the original Japanese, then it's worthy of all 5-stars. Kurobuchi-san, the creator of this anime as well as many others, has truly created a masterpiece that has redefined the magical girl genre forever.
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on January 13, 2014
When you first take a look at this anime's cover you think "cute/girly anime", which it is far from.

This anime is dark and twisted with some amazing animation and lovable characters, if you like weird and creepy anime then I would defiantly recommend this to you.
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