Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Part 1 and Part 2 – Beginnings / Eternal Blu-ray

Release Date
Manga Entertainment
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Run Time
300 Minutes

Based on the hugely popular anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica written by famed Nitroplus writer Gen Urobuchi, Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Part 1 Beginnings and Part 2 Eternal serve as a summary of the 12 episode television series, leading into the third movie, Rebellion, that features an all-new story exclusive to the movie. This release from Manga Entertainment sees both movies collected together in a limited edition version that also includes a 16-page booklet and on disc extras; both movies are also available on DVD as two separate standard edition sets.

“What does it really mean to be a magical girl?

Madoka Kaname is an eighth-grader who leads a peaceful, fun-filled life as a student, surrounded by her beloved family and her best friends. One day, a transfer student named Homura Akemi arrives in Madoka’s class. She is a dark-haired beauty with a somewhat mysterious disposition. Soon after meeting Madoka for the first time, Homura goes on to issue Madoka a strange warning.

Madoka also meets Kyubey, a mysterious looking white creature. He says, Make a contract with me and become a magical girl! To make any wish come true – Madoka didn’t know the meaning of this miracle nor what its cost may prove to be. An impending loss triggers a drastic change in her destiny…” – Manga Entertainment

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is the quintessential ‘never judge a book by its cover’ anime often brushed off as ‘just another magical girl anime’ and, given the evidence, there’s not much to say otherwise. That is, until you watch it, and then you are treated to a rather dark and compelling storyline that your average magical girl anime just can’t provide. Starting out as a typical high-school anime with a very Shaft-like quality to it, it all quickly changes when Madoka, while out with Sayaka, hears a voice calling out to her. Repeatedly calling her name and asking for help, enters Kyubey and the beginning of a not so everyday magical girl story.

One of the most praiseworthy aspects of the two movies are the visuals; backgrounds are varied and detailed, an obvious amount of attention has been dedicated to each new area that appears on screen, with city landscapes being rather stunning. Character designs are unique and instantly recognisable, like a half-way between normal anime and chibi style; Madoka Magica’s characters really stand out. The use of drawn effects like pencil shading for the shadows and eyes within the characters is a nice touch and another step in separating the series from the norm. As with any magical girl anime worthy of the name, the transformation sequences are spot on and then some. The witch segments within the movies are also particularly high quality, using an array of unique visual styles to separate them from their surroundings. Upon entering a witch’s maze, the visuals suddenly become picture book-esque and very psychedelic with classically styled artwork and other random creations clashing together and distorting the space they inhabit.

The two movies come with both English and Japanese language options presented in 5.1 surround sound with white clear subtitles accompanying the Japanese option. Extras on disc include textless opening and ending animations, original trailers, television commercial and a teaser trailer for the third movie Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Part 3 – Rebellion. The limited-edition Blu-ray version of the two movies come in a rigid artbox and include a 16-page booklet.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Part 1 Beginnings and Part 2 Eternal are a great starting point if you haven’t already seen the television series, just need a refresher course or just love the series and want to experience the story all over again. With Beginnings and Eternal being released by Manga Entertainment after the third movie, Rebellion, newcomers may be put off, but wait it out as then you can dive straight in and watch all three. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is not your typical magical girl anime so don’t be tempted to judge it before you’ve watched it as you may just miss out on one of the best titles this year.