My girlfriend and I broke up about a month ago, so now I'm fully recovered, and one step closer to all the single-but-happy bros out there.
My latest obsession isn't a manga, but an anime. Puella Magi Madoka Magica, as its happy title might suggest, is a mahou shoujo anime following the experiences of a young schoolgirl named Madoka as she encounters the world of the Puella Magi.
Madoka Magica has a an interesting concept behind its initial veneer of normality. I won't attempt to analyze the magical girl genre, seeing as there has been plenty written on the subject both on /a/ and in other blogs, but I'll nevertheless point out a few notable characteristics of the anime.
You have the basic setup of a young, innocent girl that meets a magic little creature, who informs her of a world where things called 'witches' exist. Witches feed on human negativity and despair, and can cause people to commit suicides, murders, and other tragedies. Puella Magi, who are girls given magic powers, destroy these witches to keep humanity safe. These Puella Magi receive their powers from making a contract with the little creature, whose name is Kyubey, and in return for their dutiful work at killing witches, he grants them a single wish.
|Our cute magical creature that grants wishes.|
|Happy fanart of Madoka in her school uniform.|
|What is...I don't...|
|Resolutely walking towards a pale light, with someone reaching out to stop you. Not ominous at all.|
The story concept expands to fill the holes presented by its mahou shoujo shape. Kyubey, it turns out, has a penchant for approaching girls who are near despair or in the midst of strong emotion, and enticing them to make a wish, contracting themselves to him in the process and permanently becoming magical girls. Fighting witches carries with it all-too-real danger and consequences, as demonstrated in episode 3, and the bits of references to the tale of Faust give a hint to the direction of the series early on. Kyubey himself takes on an eerie tinge with his unchanging expressions and constant pressure for contracts, and soon, the brief glimpses and face shots we get of the little fuzzy creature end up sparking a mix of dread, anger, and hate from us.
|The tone of the series takes a detour for sobriety.|
|From right to left; Madoka, Sayaka, Mami, and Homura.|
But enough of the exposition. The series has spawned a wiki, http://wiki.puella-magi.net/Main_Page, endless threads on 4ch /a/, and copious amounts of fanart from pixiv. The setting of the series is sure to be a boon to those who enjoy architecture and hints of futuristic style (glass buildings and rising structures abound), and perhaps most relevantly, Puella Magi Madoka Magica carries an interesting subtext of yuri with it. Understandably, with yuri goggles I can perceive a great deal that isn't there, but nevertheless Madoka and Homura have a curious relationship. I'll save that for another, more yuri-oriented post. For now, please check out the series if you have free time.