I’ll admit that I’ve been putting off watching this anime. This is an anime about Magical Girls, prominently featuring tons of Lolis. That’s typically a good sign for me to stay away. BUT, I heard from several places that it was an amazing anime, probably one of the top three from 2011. AND I saw that it was created by SHAFT (the studio that did Bakemonogatari, Ef, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei to name a few) which I have a studio boner for. SO I decided I might as well get over the Loli and watch it anyway.
This anime is no fucking joke. Based on all the reviews, I expected it to be awesome and it was. I watched all 12 episodes in about a week, which means it was so good that it even surpassed video games in the bid for my free time.
The story takes a typically happy and cheerful genre of Magical Girls and applies a super dark, twisted look on it. It provides a very interesting and unique perspective; something fresh that I haven’t come across in a long time. In terms of spoilers, I will say that I sort of predicted a lot of the twists and turns, but that may be because I went into it with the knowledge that this would be a dark anime. However, even if I kind of knew what was going to happen, it still didn’t make it any less exciting to watch.
The pacing of this anime is spectacular. The short 12 episode style means each episode is straight to the point and doesn’t dilly dally around for no reason. I will say I didn’t really connect with any of the characters very well, but that might just be because I’m not a 13 year old girl.
Ultimately, what won me over was the amazing animation styles that SHAFT tends to put in. During dialogue, anime tends to switch to pans of nearby scenery or objects, while the characters continue to talk. This was originally used as a way to save on animation costs, but SHAFT goes way past this and shows the most random things possible. Characters will be talking in a room, the scene will shift to water falling down a drain, and then the scene shifts back to the characters in the room, with seemingly no reason for that switch. SHAFT also makes boring, everyday environments look absolutely ridiculous. Yet, somehow it ends up looking great. How awesome would it be if you got to brush your teeth in this bathroom?
Overall, this is definitely one of the better animes of the last few years (on par with Steins;Gate) and is worth a watch from any anime fan. It also reaffirmed my belief that SHAFT is my favorite studio.