Earlier this year, I resigned myself to return to the Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise, in the hopes that I could rekindle my lost love for it. Unsurprisingly, my most recent foray back into the franchise – marathoning all three Madoka movies in order – reignited the feelings that I had for Madoka when it was initially airing. What may come as more of a surprise, is that it was Madoka: Rebellion that stirred me the most.
Rebellion is, as a general rule, much-maligned by Madoka fans. At best, it’s considered indulgent fanservice. At worst it’s panned for character assassination of the highest order. My own thoughts on the movie itself are conflicted. Even having rediscovered my personal love for Madoka, I still don’t hold the series in the same esteem as others, in spite of believing it incredibly well-executed.
However, I do love Rebellion.
It’s wonderful, weird, and attempts something so contrary to the magical girl ouevre that it’s nearly impossible to peel one’s eyes from the screen, even if their emotional reaction is vehement anger. Lingering shots on familiar vistas from the series make the world of Rebellion suddenly seem so much larger and grandiose than the original Mitakihara, when in actuality it’s the former which acts like a movie set and the latter that is the in-universe reality. Beautiful transformation sequences and eerie banquets with their Nightmare prey pervert any sort of pleasure derived from seeing one’s favorite characters effectively reborn. It’s a completely grotesque movie and I love it all the more for that.