I got my brother into Madoka recently, and him talking about it so much made me want to rewatch it. I remembered really enjoying it when I watched a few years back, and remembered decently the plot beats. But rewatching it, it honestly became my new favorite anime. The plotting, the pacing, the characters, all so masterfully done and I can talk about the philosophical implications of both it, and Rebellion for ages.
On this trip down Madoka once again, I decided to throw watching Magia Record into the mix. I was interested in it anyways, and I’m a sucker for any Madoka content after this rewatch reinvigorating my love of the series. But, does Magia Record: Madoka Magica Side Story stack up to its predecessor?
No, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
This by no means makes Magia Record a bad series, but it most certainly doesn’t have the same tone or vibe as Madoka Magica. That didn’t bother me really, it’s called a side story after all. But the first five episodes were a lot of meandering, and what I thought to be poorly crafted characters. The plot wasn’t interesting enough, and it just felt like it was trying to capture aspects of Madoka without realizing that Madoka is a show that is crafted in a way that the sum of its parts make its whole. And that really bothered me. Why wasn’t this show trying to stand on its own two feet, and be interesting in its own right?
Well, you have to watch this first season to its end, because boy did it prove me wrong. This show is different in the sense that it has more time to develop its characters, and lay the ground work for an explosive finale by seasons end. We got to see each characters backstory, see them develop as a team, and then by episode eight or nine, what seemed like bland characters became really interesting and dynamic ones, because we had seen them all independently and acting as only a part of their character, not all of it. When all the core cast comes together though, you see them bonding, you see them grow together, and it makes the plot and its mysteries set forth in the first few episodes totally pay off. At the end of season 1, we didn’t get any of these mysteries solved, but that ending just got me so hyped for season 2 and totally got me hooked on wanting to see more of this show, and its characters arcs and the overall plot unfold.
There are cameos from beloved characters in the first series, but they don’t feel forced or out of place. They all are also going to be playing a bigger role in the series, you can tell, but we just don’t get to see how or why just yet. I won’t spoil any of the cameos, because for all of them I let out an audible “Yay!” when they happened because not gonna lie, I still love the main cast more than this one. This new cast has potential to be great characters in their own right (my favorite so far is Yachio) but they aren’t quite there yet. By series end though, I hope this changes and we see all of them come into their own and be just as epic as the previous series’ cast.
Magia Record isn’t Madoka Magica, and that’s ok. It’s not trying to be Madoka, it’s just a story that takes place in the same universe, and is part of the franchise. I like both series’ for different reasons, and am excited to see what happens in season 2 of Magia Record. You definitely have to watch this first season to the end though to get the full effect of whether you’d like the show or not, and the first half of the season is a struggle – it took me a week to go back to the series, because I just really wasn’t interested. But if you’re willing to give this series a chance, the end is definitely worth it and the cliffhanger and mysteries laid out throughout season1 make it worth watching this to season 2.
Have you watched Magia Record: Madoka Magica Side Story? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!