Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story- Anime Preview
Synopsis: Few people know the truth: the world is safe thanks to the Magical Girls who are forced to slay Witches. Even though these girls are putting their lives on the line for a wish, rumors say they can be saved in Kamihama City. That’s where Iroha Tamaki is headed in search of answers. She can’t remember the wish she made to Kyubey, but a shadowy figure haunts her dreams. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Magia Record isn’t exactly a direct sequel to the original Madoka anime or the Rebellion film follow up. It’s a side story that was first released as a Phone Game RPG that occurs in the same universe as Madoka proper. I always get a bit antsy when reviewing anime based off of games, especially adaptations of Mobile Games. Often times the efforts made to make the jump from game to anime are low effort, making many of these titles feel like low-effort cash grabs. But Magia Record’s anime adaptation actually manages to recapture some of the magic that made the original Madoka so compelling. It’s not a perfect recreation, the visual style has changed a tad, but overall this first episode sets Magia Record as a potentially worthy follow up to the original anime, even if the connection between the two series is little more than both occur in the same universe.
Linny: I think what really helps Magia Records recapture the classic, dark, unnerving Madoka feel is the music itself. It not only adds an air of grandeur and dread to the battles in the first episode but will remind fans of the original anime series. The art style for the witches themselves during battle also pretty faithfully follows the very unique style that was employed for them in the original, making them stand out and again, hearken back to the original series.
Tom: Despite the effort that’s gone into recreating the same feel, Magia Record feels more narrative focused compared to the original. Our introduction to Iroha is more centered on the mystery of her wish, rather than who she is as a person. This is likely intentional due to the nature of Iroha’s wish, and the mystery surrounding it, but if you’re looking for characters to become attached to Magia Record simply isn’t built the same way as the original. Iroha, Kuroe and Nanami, the three girls introduced in this episode, remain largely blank slates by episode’s end, making it crucial that viewers are intrigued by the mystery of Iroha’s wish.
Linny: The episode does indeed latch on heavily to the mystery of Iroha’s wish and makes it almost painfully transparent as to what it could have involved or be in regards to. But this is because once it does openly address it, it then injects a whole new layer of mystery to her wish, making it a great hook to suck in audiences and have them keep watching for answers. It’s a positive move, but one that seems to further strengthen the notion that Magia Records is more about the story than the characters themselves.
Tom: Despite the lack of definition for its leads, I still think Magia Record opens strong. It’s adherence to the visual style of Madoka coupled with a soundtrack also reminiscent of the original should assuage any fears that Magia Record is Madoka but in name only. The mystery of Iroha’s wish, and the subtle twist that mystery takes, helps to entice viewers even when the characters remain distant. I’m optimistic that Magia Record can build on this opening and do something at least half as interesting as the original Madoka. There’s also already signs that the anime may even differ from the source material, as the character of Kuroe wasn’t present in the game. Magia Record is probably Winter’s strongest title yet and I urge fans and newcomers (for now anyway) to check it out.
Linny: As someone who loved the original series, I was apprehensive about a new follow up, especially since it was based off a mobile game. But based off this first episode alone for now, Magia Records seems like an interesting follow up; one that of course isn’t for those who wanted to see more of the original gang but definitely worth a look in for those interested in a new story based on/set in the universe of the story. With music and visuals to inject some nostalgia, and an intriguing opening mystery, here’s to hoping Magia Records only gets better as it goes on.
Magia Record is available for streaming via Funimation. (Crunchyroll and HIDIVE will also be streaming Magia Record after January 11th.)