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Review: Madoka Magica The Movie – Rebellion

madoka magica the movie 3 rebellionMadoka Magica The Movie – Rebellion -
Aniplex of America
115 minutes

Ready for more pain?

The third Madoka Magic movie, subtitled Rebellion, pushes angst to extreme highs (or lows), as Gen Urobuchi puts his cast of cute magical girls in heartrending situations and weaves an unexpected tale that will leave viewers breathless.

Continuing where the first two movies, adaptations of the original series, ended, Madoka Magica The Movie – Rebellion eases us into a familiar world, but one that shouldn’t exist.  Madoka’s sacrifice seems to have never occurred, as this new world finds her along with the entire cast in existence, though a few have slightly altered personalities, including villains from the previous works.  But what is this world?  Why does it exist this way?  And can Homura discover the secrets behind it?

This third and (possibly) final installment of the Madoka Magica series divides nicely into three parts.  The first functions as a quizzical introduction.  Viewers are left scrambling, wondering why things have turned out this way.  Did we misunderstand what occurred in the finale?  Meanwhile, we’re treated to Akiyuki Shinbo’s always interesting directing style, as uncomfortable backward head slants and dichotomous visuals mark the landscape of the film.  But with a budget far surpassing that of the series, he is able to match his direction to some of the most beautiful and stunning animation scenes ever developed; it’s pure pleasure to watch the magnificent scene when the magical girls team up to take down their enemy.  The same can be said of the scenery, as Shinbo treats us to some of his most intense or creative artwork during scenes of exposition or silence, ensuring us that despite a nearly two-hour running time, we won’t be sitting through a soporific movie.

Adding a further dimension is Yuki Kajiura’s score, which is almost a character in itself, adding voice to scenes throughout the film and at times affecting it as much as the animation and script.  Truly cinematic, it is perhaps the beautiful scoring that particularly makes the movie one that should be enjoyed in theaters as much as the outstanding visuals do.  The new opening and ending, “Colorful” by ClariS and “Kimi no Gin no Niwa” by Kalafina, respectively, are memorable and further add to the film’s scope, which is as large as to be expected.

Indeed, we fall further into understand the enormity of the story (emotionally more than physically) as the second phase of the tale follows Homura, poking and prodding in true tough-girl detective style, often coming to blows with her friends, to find out the truth.  And what a truth it is.

Certainly, many fans will be shocked, more than once, by the final act of this supposed final film.  It takes the story in a direction that is appropriate for the series, which has always been a mind bender, but it also alters significantly how we think about the franchise’s characters and the grand narrative.  While I found the movie to offer a strangely comforting answer in a discomforting finale, others will feel quite differently.  Certainly many in the crowd at my theater were shocked, and after the credits rolled, almost all were silent, perhaps both in confusion and awe.

And that’s both a strength and the weakness of the movie, as it perhaps tries to give too much story, working our minds like a steam engine, while denying us the enjoyment we could have in seeing a slightly less dizzying finale.  This perhaps tells how fine the film is, though, that I would nitpick about the movie forcing us to use our minds.

I will say that  Madoka fanatics may perhaps find other, more considerable flaws in the film, though if they’re there, I almost don’t want to know what they are.  Please just leave me alone.  I want to be free to soak in the most visually and musically impressive and compellingly scripted animated film I’ve seen in quite some time.

Rating: A

Madoka Magica The Movie – Rebellion – and Redefining Love

How do you define love?

“Love” carries with it perhaps more meaning than any other word in the English language.  It’s such a powerful, personal concept, that each person connotates it differently from the next, carrying experience, beliefs, hopes, and other items into his or her definition of the word.

A Google search for the concept brings up this simple meaning: “an intense feeling of deep affection.”  On the other hand, St. Paul famously defines it this way:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

- I Corinthian 13:4-7

In other words, love is demonstrating deep kindness to someone without regard to how it affects the lover.  This is largely the meaning for love which I embrace.

Homura Akemi

Art by Mitsu (Illustration ID 40042564)

Akemi Homura, on the other hand, sees love quite differently (Spoilers for Madoka Rebellion after the jump).

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Doubting Homura, Ghostic Haibane, and Ef: A Tale of Theologies

Japes gets into the nitty gritty of the characters’ personal theologies in Ef – A Tale of Melodies in a thorough and thought-provoking post. [Japesland]

Nick Calibey correlates Rakka’s sprouting of wings in the first episode of the series to teachings of the Gnostic movement. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Emily compares Homura’s storyline in Puella Magi Madoka Magica to Doubting Thomas. [For Me, in Full Bloom]

Annalyn compares the Christian God to Striker, the self-declares one, of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

D.M. Dutcher finds the Erica Fontaine of Sakura Wars to embody a positive and fairly accurate portrayal of a Christian. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Tommy ends his review of Anime Expo with an interesting note related to his Christian beliefs. [Anime Bowl]

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As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Something More: God and Soul Eater, Anime and Serving, Madoka and Salvation

Frank dives into episode 13 of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, examining that episode’s ideas about servanthood, as well as that topic in relation to God. [A Series of Miracles]

Annalyn begins to watch Soul Eater, and draws comparisons between God and Lord Death, reminding us of God’s nature. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

Cytrus responds to Nick Calibey’s comments about Puella Magi Madoka Magica and salvation by expressing his beliefs about how Madoka’s gift of salvation works through a Buddhist perspective. [Yaranakya]

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As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Something More: Christ’s Sacrifice > Madoka’s, Oukoku Christian Game, and AnoHana and the Supernatural

I didn’t update “Something More” last week, so today’s links include two week’s worth.  Sorry for the delay!

Japes looks at the supernatural in AnoHana and how we might approach the topic from a Christian point of view. [Japesland]

Nick Calibey responds to a post that argues that Madoka’s sacrifice in Puella Magi Madoka Magica was greater than Christ’s. [A Rather Silly Blog]

D.M. Dutcher previews Oukoku Game, a manga with a really interesting concept involving Christianity. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

D.M. Dutcher also reviews several works for Christian viewers/readers:

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As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Something More: Modoka > Jesus Concludes

After last week’s barrage of spiritual articles, this week has been much slower.  Still, a few terrific articles were posted, as Alexander of Ashita no Anime concluded his Madoka > Jesus series.

Alexander claims that Jesus creates some kind of co-dependency as a savior, which Madoka does not. [Ashita no Anime]

He concludes by emphasizing that God is tyrannical, which Madoka is not. [Ashita no Anime]

I highly recommend you read through Alexander’s series, which is quite thought-provoking.  His tone may be off-putting (I’ll admit, I didn’t comment on a number of posts because I felt too emotional to leave comments due to how Alexander references Christ at times), but it’s one that has led to some good debate.  And as such, I recommend, also, that you read the comments following the entries as closely as the post themselves.

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As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

 

 

Something More: Madoka v. Jesus, Kirino Acts Like a Christian, and Christ the Stampede

It was quite a week for spiritual and religion tinged articles in the anime blogosphere, headlined by Alexander’s still on-going series entitled, Madoka > Jesus.  Here are his posts thus far:

Nick Calibey responded to Alexander’s post with his own article. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Stardf29 reviews episode 3 of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and makes connections between the importance of “thank you” and life lived less legalistically. [A Series of Miracles]

D.M. Dutcher compares Kirino’s treatment of her otakuness in Oreimo to how Christians often treat their faith. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

In another post, he makes some great comparisons between the humorous hero, Vash the Stampede, and Christ, as well as to scenes in Trigun: Badlands Rumble and the “problem of pain. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Dutcher also advises Christians in his reviews of Aoi Sekai No Chuusin De and season one of Oreimo.

Japes, who guest-blogged for us earlier this week, is off and running on his own aniblog, beginning with an introduction of his theology. [Japesland]

Japes also brings his faith into a defense of Vocaloid as an artistic expression. [Japesland]

Medieval Otaku points out Christian theology and themes in his review of several manga, including Superior and Vinland Saga. [Medieval Otaku]

So…the Jesus and Buddha characters of Saint Young Men are now being used to market fashion merchandise.  Interesting. [Anime News Network]

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As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Something More: Madoka > Jesus?

A prime goal of this blog is to encourage open discussion about faith, using anime as medium through we can ask questions, give answers, and promote knowledge and understanding.  I’m thankful that our posts here recently had some role in encouraging Tommy of Anime Bowl to write an article about how Madoka is lacking as a Christ figure.  And inspired by Tommy’s post, our old friend Alexander, who has contributed plenty to Beneath the Tangles by bring a very different viewpoint to user comments, guest posts, and cooperative posts, is beginning a week long series focusing solely on this idea: why Madoka is a better savior than Jesus.

Interesting topic, huh?

He’ll be posting daily this week.  Please visit Ashita no Anime to read the first of his posts, and return throughout the week to comment on others:

Madoka > Jesus – Human vs God

Something More: Faith is a 3-D Girl, Saint Young Men Movie Trailer, and Madoka is Not Jesus

D.M. Dutcher mentions Please Save My Earth in his article about the realness of Christ and his time on earth [Cacao, put down the shovel!]:

To end with an anime analogy. as much as it would be easier to be, our faith isn’t a 2-D girl. It’s always 3-D, with all the same issues and all the same joys.

In another article, D.M. Dutcher gives Haganai an NC-17 rating according to his movie rating scale for Christians. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Medievalotaku asks questions about prayer and atheism in his review of Banner of the Stars II. [Medieval Otaku]

The full trailer for the Saint Young Men movie posted this week. [Anime News Network]

And finally, in case you missed it in my Wednesday post, Tommy explains why the comparison between Madoka and Jesus may not be a terribly fitting. [Anime Bowl]

Why Madoka Makes a BAD Christ Figure

One of my favorite things about blogging is connecting with anibloggers all over the country (and world!).  I’ve made friends with many bloggers and become a fan of so many others.  One blog I follow very closely is Anime Bowl.  Run by Tommy, Anime Bowl is a unique blog that follows anime and football.  He focuses particularly on anime conventions, Bleach, and the Green Bay Packers.

Tommy also writes on faith and anime from time to time (he did a wonderful guest post for us in the past).  For Easter weekend, he wrote a terrific article that I want to share with you.

On Beneath the Tangles, we focus on connections between anime and Christianity.  Perhaps the anime we’ve written about more than any other is Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  I’ve been persistent in my comparisons between Madoka and Christ, while also sharing other connections, including those made by other bloggers on their own sites.

Kaname Madoka

Art by 茶谷湊

Tommy, however, says that the analogy doesn’t work:

So for Easter Sunday, I can’t help but thinking of the parallels between Puella Magi Madoka Magica and the Easter story. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday, I struggled and struggled at fitting together the puzzle pieces. Madoka represents Jesus, Kyubey is Satan, who’s Homura? But all those comparisons break down when you look at the most important part of Easter.

He focuses on a very significant and important part, and one that’s worth pondering particularly in light of Easter.  I highly encourage you to head to his site and read the complete post:

Easter: Why Madoka doesn’t measure up

What do you think?  Is he right?  Do we miss the point if we don’t discuss the resurrection?