Warning: mild spoilers ahead.
At the start of Puella Magi Madoka Magica ~Rebellion~, things seem…off. Why? Everything is perfect.
The five magical girls from the popular series – Madoka, Homura, Mami, Sayaka, and Kyoko – are shown living a blissful life: dealing with a typical school life, going out to eat, and battling “nightmares”. The girls now call themselves the “Puella Magi Holy Quintet,” and have elaborate transformation sequences that wouldn’t find itself out of place in any sentai series.
It’s the perfect life for a magical girl…which is exactly why it’s wrong.
At the end of the series (as well as the first two movies, which were just a recap), Madoka takes it upon herself to be sacrificed in order to save all magical girls from their fate of becoming witches, essentially rewriting the laws of the universe and becoming a god. The only one who remembers Madoka is Homura, whose sole wish was for Madoka’s happiness. It seems like not only did those events not happen, but everyone survived, albeit with slightly altered memories.
Homura decides to investigate the true nature of the universe they are in. Without going into full spoilers, it is revealed that they are indeed in a trap, but by who and for what reason, will have to be discovered by viewers.
Like the TV series, the major themes in Rebellion tend to jump around at random. One moment, it’s about high school hopes and dreams, the next, it’s the end of the world and the dissolution between love and hate. It’s all very “End of Evangelion”-ish, both as a fascinating deconstruction of the familiar magical girl genre, as well as an observation of the consequences of pushing one’s will beyond the breaking point.
The new character in this film, Bebe, spends most of her time as a chibi version of the witch that beheaded Mami in the series. When she does finally transform into human form, she only says a few cryptic lines before transforming back, begging the question as to why she was needed in the first place. Though to be fair, Bebe does have some adorable scenes while in chibi form.
Madoka and company are nicely animated, especially during the battle between Homura and Mami. However, the “unique” art style from the series that portrayed the witches’ space is used heavily throughout Rebellion. While this does make sense from a story standpoint, it becomes visually over-stimulating at times.
As confusing as this movie can get, it does answer many questions and provides closure to the series, probably just not the closure fans were hoping for. Regardless of this, I highly recommend any Madoka fans to watch this film.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica ~Rebellion~ is currently screening at the Downtown Independent theater in Los Angeles, CA. Locations and showtimes can be found at www.madokamagicausa.com. Thanks to Erika and the rest of the ELEVEN ARTS crew for tickets to this event.