Madoka: Rebellion

Just to capture some highlights and impressions before it gets wiped out. Spoilers ahead.

Akemi Homura, Akuma ver

My friend who was sitting next to me says it’s a selfish film, referring to the characters. I see where he is coming from. But at the same time that’s kind of the point it is trying to get across, where just by painting with that broad stroke obfuscates the nuances. On the way home, seeing Homura’s final form (obligatory: it isn’t even her final form!) just makes me want to play with Kuroyukihime, LOL.

The one big problem I have with Rebellion is how it is ultimately feeling like just setup for a subsequent film. It’s “open” in a way where there are simply gaping questions unanswered. Like how Madoka saved magical girls at the end of the TV series, Homura’s new role in this new world is largely postulated and not demonstrated. We get it thematically, but so what? Unlike the end of the TV series, though, what Madoka did at the end directly addresses the main issue they were trying to resolve in the TV story…and this doesn’t do anything per se. I’m not sure if Homura’s choice in the end resolves the problem they were trying to fix? I mean, isn’t it no better than what happened earlier, other than removing the Incubators from the equation? There feels like something that should happen next. Like QB’s decaying pupils holding the secret the universe, the wizard behind the curtain, something. Not “the end” or whatever in ‘Dokesrune.

It is definitely the most elaborate Shaft movie ever, however. Detail-wise, once it hits home video the true fans can pour over its flashing single frames (there was one in the half way point that bothered me a lot) and the code words and the way characters talk to each other or whatever. I would think, also, Rebellion is the most pothead-friendly Shaft anime ever, too, and that’s actually saying a lot. The story isn’t the easiest to make sense out of, and the visual relies a lot on Inucurry’s typical mad imaginations a lot more so than the TV series, mainly because the bulk of the film takes place inside a witch’s labyrinth.

There is also the dancing. There was a lot of dancing motifs in this movie, from the weird disco-like moves in the OP to the way they do their magical transformations (definitely the most rad magical girl transformations ever) to even the mid point where Yukkuri-head floats up with the violin, or how the “final showdown” was and all. Lots of dancing motifs. Not sure if this is just for some reason or what.

Magical girls + Gun-kata = let’s go home guys, it’s done.

Definitely need a follow up. This is not the satisfying kind of thing that Urobuchi is known for. It’s missing that key ingredient.

At the screening, which is I think the first one in NYC, it felt rather anime-club-y. Lots of youngins, and some older people. Costumers, loud-mouths, squeeing fanboys and fangirls. Not my ideal environment. However like last time the crowd largely kept quiet during the film, save for one or two places that elicited a yelp or an applause. It was still quite loud during the rest of the time; before the film and during the ending credits. I sat way up front–30 minutes early means you are the last 10% of people getting seated–so I can’t tell if anyone left the theater before the end of the film, since the movie continues after the credit.

Aniplex decided to give out little shikishi for the American screenings. It’s a little something, and I’m pretty happy that they did it. It would be nice to have merch available like how they do it in the various special screenings either in LA or in Paris, but it’s a step up from before.

PS. To TL;DR Author-style
Liked: I guess so.
Rewatch: Maybe once more just to see if I missed anything


12 Responses to “Madoka: Rebellion”

  • dm00

    Serial Experiments Homura.

    The End of Magicalion.

    Maybe I’m jaded, or maybe it’s just because there was so much of it in the film, but I thought Inu Curry weren’t bringing their A-game. I did like the pedo-bear Itano circus that appeared early on.

    That said, I agree that there’s plenty of fodder for a frame-by-frame analysis. Where the film echoed the TV series, there were changes (in dialogue, in action): what was the significance of those changes.

    The first half of the film was wonderful in the way it played with the established characters. The shift in Sayaka’s character was especially nice.

    I have to see it at least once again before I feel like I can come to grips with the last half of the film. At one point, I thought they were going for the cheesy, sappy, happy ending, and was feeling disappointed in the cop-out — then the reversal came. After that, I was amused to see “Nihilistica” in the credits.

    I don’t recall having heard anything about a continuation, but it does seem like there should be more to it than that.

  • dm00

    I’m a nerd, I do nerd things.

    I suppose the change to Sayaka might be viewed as a reflection on Homura, or Homura’s beliefs about Madoka and Madoka’s happiness.

    I looked at the report at ANN on the LA premiere (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2013-12-07). I was a little surprised that Iwakami, the producer, said there were no plans to continue the franchise. My first impression, after seeing this movie, was that it was a setup for a sequel, but if what Iwakami says can be taken at face value, where the story goes from here, if anywhere, has not been decided.

  • DarkFireBlade25

    I remember someone saying that this is just the beginning of another Madoka project, that there would be some sort of continuation. May or may not be with Gen Urubuchi.

  • ota235

    I was lucky enough to catch this in LA (we got those little signboards too). Rebellion was a thoroughly beautiful film that, while predictable in some regards, was always followed by pleasantly unexpected twists. Overall, wonderfully made and superbly directed. It felt as if everything SHAFT and Shinbo had done in that past was in preparation for this.

    >I’m not sure if Homura’s choice in the end resolves the problem they were trying to fix?

    It my view, it established Homura as a character that was ultimately human and selfish, embodying the concept of “Love” composed of a paradoxical selflessness and fervent desire. While they’ve always been portrayed as friends, “Love” was not explicitly mentioned until this movie, so that’s quite significant in terms of developing Homu’s arc. There’s something to be said about how Homu and Madoka represent a cosmic duality in which one cannot exist without the other.

    I’ll have to watch it again, but it seemed that the new world has no need for magical girls? If that’s the case, Homu fixed the world by finishing what Madoka sought out to do–eliminate magical girl suffering by eliminating the need for magical girls. I can’t really remember the details. In my defense I left the theater drooling as a result of of Homu moe and psychedelia.

    >Definitely need a follow up. This is not the satisfying kind of thing that Urobuchi is known for. It’s missing that key ingredient.

    I agree. I’m pretty sure they will follow this up either with another series or film. Rebellion is anything but conclusive. Even in its thematic resolution, it creates a new conflict worth exploring by introducing a “new” Homu; while Homu gets what she wants, it’s one of those “empty” resolutions that leaves her arc incomplete. Perhaps they were going for an Eva end, but it really doesn’t stick here since the themes don’t transcend the characters or the world. Instead it seems they have been transformed as if in preparation, as you mentioned, for a continuation.

    There’s also the (smaller) possibility that this might actually be the ending. While I enjoyed Saya no Uta, and I haven’t had much other contact with his work, Urobuchi seems like a fairly mediocre writer. Much of the intertextuality and symbolism of Madoka is ultimately due to SHAFT, not Urubochi. Further, Urobuchi stated that he enjoyed writing Sayaka’s arc the most, which, at least in my opinion, was shallow, contrived, and sloppily done. I kept telling myself they needed a couple more episodes, but it’s really just trite and ham-fisted. At any rate, he doesn’t seem to be one to focus on depth in his writing despite people often characterizing his themes as being “deep.” Perhaps I haven’t had enough exposure to him, but from what I’ve read from interviews, it seems the real magicians here are the guys at SHAFT; judging by their previous works, they’re fond of playing with structure, narrative, and reference. I see them–particularly Shinbo–as following the “postmodern” trend of anime most clearly represented by Eva. He’s like Anno 2.0 if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post. Sorry for rambling so much.

    • omo

      No problem at all. You reminded me the possibility that if somehow Homura was able to eliminate all the incubators from this universe, then there wouldn’t be any magical girls. In a way the two deities (or just one I guess, at the end) canceled their origins paradoxically.

      But I guess it gets pretty messy once you investigate that line of thought, so I’ll just leave it be.

  • TheBigN

    “Magical girls + Gun-kata = let’s go home guys, it’s done.”
    Pretty much. I would rewatch the movie just for that scene.

    Given Urobuchi’s oeuvre, I shouldn’t have been surprised by how the ending occured (I liked how they did it though. Still want to look up to the sky and shake my fists at him in rage though.), but thinking about it, it was Homura’s desire taken to a(?) logical conclusion. Madoka should have stopped when she said she cared deeply about Homura, but that’s just not her style.

    lol breakdancing.

    lol “I don’t understand”

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