Earlier this year I rewatched Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica for a second time, which just so happens to be one of my favorite anime series. The first time I rewatched it was when it was still airing and the final two episodes were delayed because of the tsunami in Japan. It was still very good.
My second rewatch was in preparation for the third movie titled Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Rebellion, a completely new story that would finish of the movie trilogy. As such, I decided to marathon all three movies – the first two recapping the series – in a single day to keep my memory fresh. The result? It was still very good.
Eight months later, however, I am still undecided whether or not Rebellion is actually needed. The thing that makes Madoka Magica so great is how it tells a complete story in only twelve well-written episodes. It manages to introduce, explore and round off its ideas in a very organic manner. The ending itself is a great conclusion and there is nothing of importance for a sequel to touch upon. This is the series’ strength: it didn’t need a second more, or less, of screen time.
Then comes the sequel Rebellion and throws everything I initially believed into chaos, making me question myself. I quite like Rebellion – there is no doubt about that. It manages to create a story the audience didn’t know was “needed”, yet works splendidly in action. However, at the same time, it still feels utterly pointless in how the exclusion of it doesn’t make Madoka Magica worse or the inclusion of it doesn’t make Madoka Magica better.
It definitely feels as if Rebellion was created because it had to be and not because it was needed to enhance story. On the other hand, uttermost care has been put into it and it ties so well into the original series it becomes difficult to feel dissatisfied.
I have never been so conflicted about my feelings on an anime before. All I know is that I need to rewatch Rebellion sometime soon.