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5 reasons you should watch 'Madoka Magica' on Netflix

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine recommended an anime that I’d never heard of before, but she clearly loved, called Madoka Magica. I decided to watch it, based on her recommendation, and I was floored by the storytelling and the show’s profoundly emotional core.

Without any further ado, stop whatever it is you’re doing, and take a plunge into the awesome world of magical girls, witches, and crazy ideas that is Madoka Magica.

Here are five of the top reasons to watch:

the magical girls enjoy a relaxing meal before battling witches

1. Sophisticated Storytelling

Part of what makes the show so wonderful to watch is its ability to deliver emotionally rich and complex storylines. At the beginning of the show, Madoka, our protagonist, discovers the concept of magical girls when she meets several of them—including one of her mentors, Mami. The show uses her journey to explore what it would mean for her to leave behind a normal life to fight evil (in the show, this evil is represented by witches) on a regular basis. The show goes out of its way to illustrate why these decisions aren’t easy for these characters, especially at such a young age. They’re shown wrestling with emotions and difficult decisions. Madoka‘s storytelling is one of its greatest assets, and one that elevates it into great drama.

Madoka and Homura talk about school

2. Character Relationships

If there’s one thing viewers can take away from this show, it’s that it really centers on characters’ relationships. All I’ll say, without giving anything away, is to keep an eye out for how the show explores the relationships between all the girls (Madoka, Homura, Mami, Sayaka, and Kyoko) which is magnificently emotional and smart. It balances action with drama, while exploring character flaws and strengths in a wonderfully sophisticated way.

From the get-go, it’s clear that the show wants to tackle ideas about friendship, love, fighting against the evil in the world, believing in yourself, never giving up, and compassion in the midst of the really messed-up situations that these characters find themselves in. It’s a great contrast that the show creates and pulls off: The relationships feel nuanced and subtle, but also incredibly emotional and raw. That’s another thing that this show does really well, and that you should be prepared for: It doesn’t shy away from breaking your heart (especially toward the latter half of the season).

Homura and Kyubey contemplate

3. The Animation and the Awesome Score

Madoka Magica is a visual spectacle. Let’s just say, it knows how to take advantage of what animation can do. The almost post-apocalyptic landscape of Mitakihara Town is beautifully rendered in gorgeous 2D animation. But without a doubt, some of the most stunning visuals found in the show are the amazing fight sequences. They’re used as a way to brilliantly explore character development. You learn about these characters by the way they fight (their style indicates a lot of their personality), and that’s the best kind of action storytelling.

Since their battles often involve fighting witches in bizarre-looking time distortion settings, this is where a lot of the animation really gets to shine. These fights have a psychedelic and surreal style that fully immerses the viewer. Adding to the trippiness is the magnificent score by Yuki Kajiura, which adds energy to the show during the fights, but also manages to incorporate more melancholic tunes that rightfully fit the show’s dramatic tone.

the magical girls talk before fighting witches

4. Science Fiction

A lot of animation explores cool science fiction ideas, and Madoka Magica certainly goes all-out with them. This is a show that uses science fiction to explore characters, themes, and relationships. Classic science fiction concepts like time travel or multiple timelines are wonderfully realized in this show, primarily because they actually demonstrate how these concepts affect characters.

What is the impact of your life once you become a magical girl? What does it mean to carry the burden of such a responsibility to fight for the people you love? How does time travel affect someone in an emotional way? It’s operatically done, and if you’re a fan of science fiction stories, especially those involving time travel, this show is an absolute treat. It’s a perfect mix of themes and ideas used for the purpose of character and story. It doesn’t shy away from exploring big ideas and thematic complexity, but it also never forgets how those themes could alter and affect the characters in a major way.

The magical girls stop to contemplate

5. High Stakes

Madoka Magica is profoundly effective at being a great character drama. First of all, even when it’s going for the heartstrings, Madoka never feels manipulative or cheap, because it’s earned those dramatic and emotional moments. The majority of the 12 episodes’ running time is dedicated to adding emotional complexity to the characters and their interactions. All the drama is justified because we spend so much time learning and caring about these characters and their relationships. Madoka also doesn’t shy away from having ridiculously high stakes; anybody can die at any moment, and the threat of the witches is palpable from minute one. But that’s not all that is at stake These characters are also emotionally impacted by having to deal with saving the world. Their inner turmoil, their self-doubts, etc. are all vividly captured and give the series and characters their incredibly high stakes.

Homura after a battle

Even if you don’t like anime, Madoka Magica is worth watching, because it’s not just a great anime, but great storytelling. It’s a visually striking series (with excellent characters, sharp writing, and complex ideas) that manages to have a profoundly emotional core.

All of Madoka Magicais currently streaming on Netflix (in both original Japanese and English dub).

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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