Puella Magi Madoka Magica – 07 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 18 Feb 2011 – Even though Sayaka loves her friend Kyousuke, whom she healed with her wish, she can’t even approach him after learning what the bastard Kyuubey has done to her. And her friend Hitomi has decided to stop lying to herself and will confess to Kyousuke – unless Sayaka stops her, which she doesn’t; at least not this week.

This is kind of the quid-pro-quo Sakura warned of while talking calmly with Sayaka in her father’s church. She gains a lot more depth this week by revealing that her whole family was destroyed by her impulsive wish to net her radical cleric dad more followers. After that, she learned that Maho Shojo can’t truly help anyone but themselves. If they try, people will get hurt or killed. By the end of the episode, Sayaka seems to be warming up to that idea as well. Rather than shouldering her pain and anguish, she lets the magic absorb it so she feels nothing – not even the attacks of her first bona fide witch hunt.

This series keeps getting better as we become more engrossed in the story. We daresay it’s our favorite of the Winter 2011 season so far. There’s a lot to like: complex conflicts; ridiculously-flawed yet endearing characters with deceptively cutesy design; awesome, often trip-tacular animation; kick-ass battles; great architecture; and a rippin’ good soundtrack from start to finish.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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Mawaru Penguindrum – 06 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 19 Aug 2011 – Whatever screw is loose in Ringo, it’s getting looser by the week. Kanba’s woman troubles are far more serious than he had predicted. Shoma is no closer to ‘obtaining the Penguin Drum’, drawing the ire of The Hat. The animated displays on the Metro warn of an impending trap. Yes, it’s a typical Penguindrum so far: jumping all over the place, yet totally cohesive and monstrously entertaining.

Somebody has it in for Kanba in a way that makes his other exes’ scorn seem trifling. This mysterious woman with orange hair and blue eyes is eliminating the memories of Kanba’s exes. Holed up in her ginormous mansion full of marble busts, she vows to methodically destroy Kanba. She claims to control fate. Who is she? Momoka? (Wild guess.)

Momoka supposedly died years ago, and was Tabuki’s first, possibly only true love. Ringo inherited her diary and believes it is her destiny to become her sister – which means being with Tabuki. Her obsession is starting to have physical consequences – she has a high fever, and is prone to uncontrollable actions that – ahem – scare Shoma and make her mother get the wrong idea.

This is all deliciously excellent buildup. We’re itching for more answers, as always, but in the meantime the show does a superb job keeping you constantly interested in what’s going on, not simply longing for what’s to come. “Plan M” is something both Ringo and the mysterious “memory assassin” mention as well – it probably doesn’t mean “marriage” or “matrimony”, but could mean “Momoka” – another reason we suspect she could be Ringo’s sister.


Rating: 9 (Superior)