This episode didn’t really sell me on the show, but it hasn’t really deterred me either. I remain on the fence when it comes to the art and animation approaches, and am still waiting for the story to genuinely hook me in.
⚫ So the death this episode was the big shock twist that I heard everyone talking about throughout the day. I wasn’t spoiled on anything specific (not even that anyone died) but I had a general expectation that something dramatic was going to go down this week. That might go towards explaining why I saw Mami’s death coming well before her final moments. As a result, her death scene didn’t have much of an impact on me.
⚫ I’m also not very saddened by Mami’s death because I think it’s fairly obvious she’ll come back. Madoka has a wish she doesn’t know how to spend and the whole episode was essentially devoted to setting these two up as an inseparable witch-fighting duo. Then again, this is Gen Urobochi we’re talking about (the writer), so he may well surprise me (please, please do!)
⚫ That brings me to my next point, Gen Urobochi seems to be in a difficult place as a storyteller. Because he’s become known for gruesome and shocking plots, people expect him to write like that. But when he does write like that, it falls into the trap of being predictable. I kind of hope he can steer this anime in a different direction to what people are hoping for (demanding, even).
⚫ The ED has finally appeared! It’s a nice moody sequence, and a solo animation work by Hirofumi Suzuki.
⚫ My hat goes off to Ashino Yoshiharu‘s storyboards. I have great respect for this man for being the director of the wonderful Mahou Shoujotai Alice, and he’s storyboarded all 3 episodes so far. As awash as his episodes are with SHAFT influences from the directors, they still have an engaging and interesting feel to them.
⚫ There wasn’t much in the way of notable animation this week, but I did enjoy the action scene because the witch was done with traditional animation and wasn’t nearly as retarded as the previous ones have been!