Thursday, December 5, 2013

Madoka Magica Rebellion U.S. Premiere

Your host and Madoka
The U.S. Premiere of Madoka Magica Rebellion had long lines, a sold out crowd and the third installment of one of the most shining beautiful animations on the genre of magical girl. Huge posters of the different Magica girls stood upward inviting fans in as music from the series blasted out to the street. A red carpet of voice actors from the English translation of the series was off to the side. The Egyptian on Hollywood, on an early Dec 3rd night was hosting fans. Special goody bags were being handed out by cosplay clad Madoka Magica girls as ticket holders happily came in through the gift shop area where they could get rare movie merchandise. Anyone standing in the long line was in for a night of amazing animation and beautifully well-crafted almost like a ballet of fights involving girls who looked too young to be out late.

Some fans came dressed as Madoka, some wore Kyubey ears. They had all come to celebrate the possibly last movie in the series as no others are planned at this time.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Part 3: Rebellion is not an easy tale to explain in words. Calling it another Sailor Moon isn't accurate at all. It's a visual experience and storytelling of a bizarre, unsettling and unfinished-always Japanese nature that leaves you with more questions that even the producer and director couldn't answer even though they were in attendance and were asked what just happened.

On the basic Wikipedia level Madoka Rebellion brings the girls together for fan and director to enjoy. Visually-stunning battles on par with Dragon Ball Z or Gundam, to be honest the quality goes beyond that for this film. The heavy use of overwhelming intricate animation is still tied down by having to be about high school girls.

 Madoka and the rest of the girls, some who "resigned" in the other films are back. We relive the original story seen in the first film, partially, until the characters realize it's too good to be true. For fans this film directly ties into the last film, it takes a while to get there though.

These magical high school girls must defend their city from "Wraiths". To do so, they transform into powerful magical girls each with their own special powers to defeat Wraiths they take hold over human desires. Wraiths are powerful enough to alter reality itself causing entire buildings and city blocks to become strange monsters and creatures. These wraiths look off-putting, like they don't fit in reality. The animation used for them is usually choppy and that of paper cut-outs. It puts you at an unease to see them this way.

An evil grin and a want for carnage might be shown on your face as the Magica take hold to beat these strange looking monsters. The first battle is an astounding fight with all five magical girls fighting and showing off their powers and transformations. It's ending of monster defeat will  make you bust your head on asking what exactly just happened? Was that a tea party defeat? The tea party teddy bear defeat along with even more beautiful battles, there like dance recitals of chaos, will have your eyes captured to the screen.

Even commented on during the Q and A portion after the film was shown by Mitsutoshi Kubota (President of SHAFT) and Atsuhiro Iwakami (Producer of Madoka Magica series) was the amazing dubbed by Atsuhiro "Gunkata scene" where two magical girls have a gun battle that involves time manipulation. One girl's special powers is guns and ribbons, Mami Tomoe, a blonde girl who showed Madoka what a magical girl was. The other Homura Akemi and long black-haired grim fate type of girl who can stop time. These two magical girls are both firing away. Homura drawing guns out of thin air. They easily counter each other's bullets. This battle has Homura stop every bullet from hitting each other.Visually you see each bullet's trail frozen around a crumbling city and in an instance when Homura unfreezes all the bullets it's complete chaos as every shot fired ricochets and impacts on the surroundings.

The scene is one of many moments of beauty with violence. That might be a good effort to explain how the love between Homura and Modoka gets to biblical proportions in this film, not a joke. All of time and space, all of reality gets thrown around, again for love.

You can thank Kyubey for setting this up again, remember he's not just a cute magical girl pet cat. He's messed up.

The film though beautiful does suffer from repeating itself not once, but time after time to the point it gets nerve-wracking. The story is in no way intended to give us answers, just more fan service and not in the boobs department, but in bringing all the girls together in fights, which the other films never captured.

During the Q and A, Mitsutoshi Kubota (President of SHAFT) and Atsuhiro Iwakami (Producer of Madoka Magica series) could not answer the oddly, already ready questions about what the ending of the film means. Leaving such responses as it could be a happy or sad ending based on the character.

Hearing that aloud was sad, you could feel the audience being lost in this Q and A. I've been to sold-out shows at the Egyptian and the responses by other audiences have been far greater. Not in anyway due to the film, just sheer boredom of the Q and A.

The attendees questions were not provided by the audience. Instead, a list of questions was already available and being asked. Perplexingly, the questions were asked in English with no visible signs of translation to the attendees, so was everything pre-rehearsed? The attendess didn't seem to know English. Not allowing the fans there to get handed the mic was a bit low.

When the audience was asked by the host of the evening about if they thought the ending was good or bad with a show of hands the results were laughable. When asked if it was good ending, nearly no hands went up. However, same for bad. Many thought it was neither as it's so Japanese open-ended nonsense. Weird for the sake of weird? Or weird, because they Japanese think it sells after Eva did well? Much of the film could be seen as nonsense writing that Japan always leads itself up for where explanation of the events doesn't matter and everything can be left open-ended.

Madoka Magica Rebellion's U.S. Premiere was a special anime night that we don't get that often in the states. The animation in this film from human sadness just through face and body movement to all out action with a crumbling reality in a city with monsters and magical girls going all at it deserved an opening night as big it received.