Spoiler-Free Review: Madoka Magica 3: Rebellion

So that happened.

I think the best review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie 3: Rebellion is the reaction of the theater audience when I saw it: As the credits rolled, they erupted in an outburst of confusion, denial, and outrage. Slowly this died away to silence, and then, after a few minutes, slow clapping started, which accelerated into uproarious applause.

It’s that kind of movie.

Visually, it was of course stunning, combining all the elements that made the TV series so striking and then transcending them. Yuki Kajiura’s music was likewise outstanding, as it was in the series. And it managed both shocking moments on par with the ending of episode 8 of the TV series, battle sequences that easily topped the spectacle of episode 11, and punch-the-air moments on par with episode 12.

I will say that, like the series, it was heavily cryptic. Not ambiguous or confusing (this is Madoka, not Evangelion), but encoded to mean something very different to people who recognize its allusions as opposed to those who do not. However, the allusions are not actually that hard–having read Paradise Lost, and being rather shallowly familiar with Buddhist and Gnostic mythology was enough for me to not share in the rest of the audience’s outburst–instead, I found this a satisfying, appropriate, more-or-less happy conclusion to the series, and am perfectly content for it to end here. On the other hand, if they’re going to continue producing something this good, I have no objection to there being another movie or TV season.

Note: As this is the spoiler-free review, any comments which contain spoilers will be deleted as a courtesy to readers who did not get to see the movie (the availability of which is still quite limited in the English-speaking world) and wish to. If you want to make spoiler-y comments, wait until Wednesday, when my spoilery review and initial analysis will go up.

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