genki (gen.ki, 元気 )
1.) health(y), robust, vigor, energy, vitality (from EUdict.com)
2.) energetic or enthusiastic (from TVTropes.org)
If you’re an anime or manga fan, you’re definitely no stranger to those two words.
Genki Girl. A bubbly, lively female, who more often than not is the heroine in her own series. Card Captor Sakura’s such an example.
You will usually see them in magical girl (mahou shoujo in Japanese, literally means the same thing) anime – spunky young females in poofy, frilly skirts and wielding flashy wands/batons/swords/insert-weapon-of-choice-here, fighting the big bad in order to maintain peace and hope to all humankind.
As someone who grew up watching Sailor Moon and CCS and a bunch of other animes, I honestly thought that all mahou shoujo anime were the same. Always the same. Will be the same.
Until a good friend of mine told me to watch this.
Ladies and gents, presenting Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
If I’m gonna describe this series in a nutshell, it’s like Card Captor Sakura packed with a chock-full of depressants, wrapped in a straight jacket and thrown inside a solitary cell.
Now I’m not gonna fill this blog post with synopsis and whatnot, ’cause you got Wikipedia for that. Go ahead. Search for it. It pretty much summarizes the entire series. Or if you want a more in-depth explanation, there’s a wiki out there exclusively dedicated to this.
A word of warning, though: it is not for the faint of heart. So if you’re like me who’s gonna watch this for the first time, I strongly advise you to let go of your naive, idealistic thoughts that this will be just another CCS clone, because as one of Madoka’s reviewers so bluntly put it, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica essentially does for magical girls what Neon Genesis Evangelion did for giant robots.” [source] If you’re also like me who’s gonna watch this because of all the girl-on-girl fanart depicting Homura Akemi (the black, long-haired girl) and Madoka Kaname (pink-haired girl in twintails), then I say to you now WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE! ’cause you’re not gonna find a teensy-weensy amount of that while watching. Downer, ain’t it?
There’s a good reason after all why I called it CCS with depressants.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go to my comfort corner and curl into a ball.
*rocks back and forth*
To be fair though, PMMM is really good. It’s definitely not your ordinary run-of-the-mill shoujo anime. In this day and age where almost every anime series is a clone of its predecessors, Madoka provides that much-needed breath of fresh air…albeit in a very downer, heartbreaking form. Just like yin and yang, you gotta throw a mix of sadness and realism in your world in order to balance out the sparkly and sunshines-and-rainbows, because too much sweets just ain’t good for you. Just like the two sides of a coin, it’s unfair for the viewers to only see the happy-do-dah side of becoming someone who was given the power to affect those around her. Sometimes you just have to flip the coin and come face-to-face with its scratched and bruised-up alter ego.
So kudos to the brave creators and writers of Puella Magi for doing the unthinkable in a genki girl series. As a salute to your guts, I will watch Madoka’s struggle until the bitter last episode.
Gotta get my tissues ready.