461st G-View: Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story

Note before reading: This review is by a person who greatly enjoyed the original Madoka Magica anime but does not revere it as one of the all time greats nor did it have a strong impact in my nerdy life. Viewers who do or possibly consider it life changing may not enjoy this spinoff. Readers who are open to reading whether this story set in the Madoka universe is worth checking out can do so as we take a look at the anime adaptation of the Magia Record mobile game.

Magia Record Cover

Alternate Title: Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden (Japanese)

Genres: Dark, Drama, Magic, Magical Girl, Moepocalypse, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural, Yuri

Number of Episodes: 25. Split in three parts:

  • Part 1: Magia Record. 13 Episodes
  • Part 2: Eve of Awakening. 8 Episodes
  • Part 3: Dawn of a Shallow Dream. 4 Episodes

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: In exchange for the fulfillment of a wish, Magical Girls keep fighting, unbeknownst to the rest of the world. But Iroha Tamaki can’t seem to remember her wish. There is a gaping hole in her life. Something important has been lost. But she continues to fight every day, without even knowing why. Then, a rumor begins to spread among Magical Girls. Magical Girls can be saved if they go to Kamihama City, the city where Magical Girls and Uwasa are gathering.

Iroha staringIroha became my favorite character for her adorable confused expression throughout most of Part 1. So cute.

As mentioned the story is split in three parts/seasons covering three arcs and presented in the basic plot structure.

Part 1: The setup.

Iroha vs UwasaThis being the beginning it is an introduction to the setting, the important main and side-characters, how things work and the ever growing mystery of what is happening and why. It is presented in a per episode mystery culminating in a battle against the Witch of the Week along with dropping hints of what is really going on. The main heroine team meet and come together to become a Witch and Uwasa slaying family. More on that later.

Part 2: The Rising Action

Sayaka getting Yachiyo outta thereBy Part 2 the curtain had been halfway raised to reveal what is going on. Our heroines face greater challenges than before as the weekly formula is dropped and it is all about ending the main threat, hopefully by avoiding grimness but this is Madoka Magica so…Speaking of Madoka Magica.

Madoka and Megane HomuraThis is not a huge spoiler as any longtime fan would expect to see them in some capacity. Yes. The OG Team Madoka do appear and play a growing role over time. Their own journey is referenced but that is all I will say.

Part 3: This is Meduka Meguca

The final puzzle pieces are revealed and the epic climax is reached. Also the part with the strongest reminder that this story is set in the Madoka universe. Viewers are advised to be mentally and emotionally prepared for what is to come.

Sana's sadnessAs was established at the start of the franchise Magia Record is also about girls who suffer emotionally, are offered a contract by the white cat thing of doom and face the consequences of its Faustian nature. Physically and emotionally torturing vulnerable adolescent and teenage girls is the norm in most Moepocalypse shows since the early stages of dark magical girl/moe stories and Magia Record is no exception. Fears, regrets, self-loathing, cursed existence, confusion, spite and other negative emotions plaguing the poor unfortunate souls tricked into this seemingly endless magical war full of suffering. Debates on the right and wrong way to save lives are presented along with an understanding of human emotions. It’s like the main phrase in professional wrestler Edge‘s various theme songs:

You think you know me?

It is important to remember that phrase while watching this show. Having said that at the end of the day the universal truth of this franchise remains the same: It is, has and always will be Kyubey’s fault.

This show being 25 episodes there is enough time to unveil the curtain and reveal what is going on. Most of the key players’ stories and roles in the plot are revealed. All but one though when it comes to this lime green haired character her origin and motives are presented in bits and pieces. Viewers are given an idea what her deal is but not have it spelled out to them. Personally I paid attention to her character archetype and to be honest she did nothing for me. She of course has her fans from the mobile game or fellow anime viewers but I have seen others do her shtick better.

Tsuruno and Yachiyo vs WitchThe presentation is similar to the main series with our heroines traveling to worlds full of creepy drawings fighting the Witches, or as I like to refer to them, killer doodles (Some were even in glorious neon colors and paper), along with the new threat of the Uwasa and other dangers closer to the girls than they expect. The rapid still shots, symbolic imagery within the Witch/Uwasa domains are all either aesthetic or have meaning behind them. Honestly could not tell myself but it was all cool and creepy which was all I needed. While not super bloody there is more than enough creepy and unsettling imagery to match its mostly somber tone. The soundtrack is pretty good with tunes that fit every emotions from happy to scary along with some nice OPs and EDs.

Iroha, Yachiyo and SanaIroha and Felicia hear the creepy laughYachiyo holding back TsurunoI mentioned earlier a Witch and Uwasa slaying family. That is because we have a main group of five consisting of two mother figures (Iroha and Yachiyo), their energetic cousin (Tsuruno) and two rowdy but adorable daughters (Felicia and Sana). As the story progresses viewers will see what I mean.

  • Iroha is a confused cutie doing her best to fight but not strong enough to kick major booty. However, her journey is MOSTLY that of a great heroine growing stronger over time and her being my favorite was excellent watching how far she would come.
  • Yachiyo is a token badass sassy ice queen who means well deep down but has understandable reasons for distancing herself.
  • Tsuruno is the energetic cool chick of the team but is she really? No really. Is the cool chick her true self?
  • Felicia is a young hothead who had seen things…
  • Sana is the calm child with emotional baggage. They all have it but you know what I mean.

The important side-characters on both the good and controversial sides are the same. The OG quintet are the Rebellion versions. That is all I will say about them without spoiling.

One of the main reasons I greatly enjoyed Magia Record is most of the heroines and antagonists (except one) are very likable. Naturally I cannot guarantee viewers will like them all but I sure did. All their good and bad, their adorable traits, struggles, victories and failures. I took it all in. As mentioned in the themes some familiar but tough stuff they went through. Invested in most of it, I was.

Iroha rescued YachiyoSpeaking of the moms it is time for the usual main event. Cannot have a dark magical girl story without yuri goodness. That is the case most of the time and Magia Record is no different. There are easy to spot gays and couples who get together on the side but the creme de la creme are the aforementioned moms Iroha and Yachiyo. Textbook example of filling in the empty spaces in their souls. Whatever Iroha lacks Yachiyo provides and vice-versa. Without giving anything away I would say they are at their best in Part 2. HOWEVER, keep in mind what kind of show this is so again be mentally and emotionally prepared.

Overall Magia Record continues the legacy of Meduka Meguca being a top tier Moepocalypse franchise. I cannot guarantee avid fans of the original will like this one but readers who enjoy Moepocalypse stories in general may find a lot to like here. I do not know how closely it follows the mobile game version of the story but what we got here was still quite good. Just know what you’re getting yourself into and be prepared.

Yachiyo Shaft-tiltingPS: The levels of Shaft tilting vary. Not all ladies go ham with dem tilts but some do. Yachiyo does have some hair action though.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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23 Responses to 461st G-View: Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story

  1. chikorita157 says:

    The first and second seasons, I felt that they did a pretty good job and the Iroha and Yachiyo moments were good. Also nice to see some hints of Mitama and Momoko. Also Kaede and Rena is nice. There were some moments like with Yachiyo saving Iroha from her doppel was also nice.

    I had a big problem with the finale is, especially since I played the game, which had a happy ending. The ending just doesn’t really make sense since it’s supposed to be a lighter and fluffier spinoff from the main franchise. Also, I felt that Kuroe’s character development from what happened to her is a complete waste and didn’t really contribute much to the story. If you leave her out of the story, I felt that the Anime adaptation wouldn’t change that much since she didn’t contribute much to the story.

    But yes, the ending was very unsatisfying and I wished they just stick to the game’s ending. Everything was good until the final season, but how it ended feels incoherent and unsatisfying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      It was meant to show Iroha failing to save Kuroe as the opposite of Yachiyo saving Truruno, meaning it doesn’t always work. What exactly Kuroe was afraid of I didn’t quite get. Probably consumed by indecisiveness and social awkwardness.

      It’s a vintage Meduka ending. That’s the point.

      I think you now understand why I dislike consuming the source before watching adaptations. Besides preferring to go in blind the other is less reason to complain about them not adapting shows the way I wanted them to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Red says:

    I played the game in English when it existed. The story definitely wasn’t perfect, and the anime fixed some of its problems. Unfortunately, I felt the anime also made changes for the worse…and in greater quantity than the opposite.

    One major thing people get hung up on is that the game’s story is too happy. I agree, and it was an issue I voiced back when I finished the game’s story. But the anime overcorrected. It’s not a bittersweet ending, it’s just a bitter ending. People died and nothing was accomplished. It’s not at all satisfying. It’s not like the game’s story was consequence-free, anyway; arc 2 (which I haven’t personally been able to experience yet but have heard about) delves into the lasting problems caused by the Magius, and in a pretty organic way. But that’s not something the anime can realistically do now.

    I have issues with the game’s story, but I still really loved it. The anime…I can’t say I hated it, it still did some things really well, but I hope they don’t treat it as canon in future works.

    Like

    • elkat4 says:

      To be fair, the last four episodes of the anime are titled “The Final Season” so I don’t think they are planning on continuing the story (at least not with the current studio).

      Given, if they really wanted to make progress the storyline, they’ll have to essentially reboot the anime (likely through movie retellings such as Madoka Magica did leading up to Rebellion), so I doubt we have to care.

      That being said, if Fate/Stay Night can churn several adaptations (from the ever mocked original by DEEN to the well received Ufotable adaptations of Unlimited Bladeworks and Heaven’s Feel), there’s hope for Magia Record.

      Sadly, until they do reboot/retcon the story in a way it can continue, I won’t know what happens next (I will never forgive Aniplex for sinking the English server).

      Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Like Elkat said your best hope is a reboot by another studio.

      Like

  3. Alexis says:

    Hi
    Terminé de ver la historia, al no saber nada del juego admito que fue disfrutable. Fue bueno ver cameos de otras chicas del juego y tengo que admitir que al ver a Homura desaparecer para ir a otra linea del tiempo me sacó una lagrimita, será un retorcido símbolo lésbico pero es el mejor ejemplo de como una neko-chan puede convertirse en una tachi-sama. Me gustó la breve interacción con Yachiyo, hubiera sido bueno una relación maestra/alumna.

    Son tantas las líneas del tiempo que ha visitado Homura que pueden salir otras historias, el tiempo lo dirá.
    Cyao

    Like

  4. cirno9fan says:

    part 1: Good setup. Introduced the characters, and made the cast pretty likable
    part 2: ramped up a lot of things, was doing really great…and then it just started spiraling near the end. I still will never get why Yachiyo was the one to save Tsuruno. There was someone else who really and truly understood Tsuruno. That was one of the most disappointing scenes in the entire series, and soured the experience for me pretty heavily. It never got fixed either, not even in part 3.
    Part 3: Things happen, things end. Kuroe proves she had no reason existing. Even as a non mobage player you can tell she just added nothing except some random drama here and there. Her story also was really confusing. I think she broke up with a girl, because those were the messages on the phone she was using during that final train ride. It wasn’t super clear, can be taken as friendship ending or relationship ending. One or the other, but it could have been the phone of the witch??? I dunno, that whole scene was so confusing.
    Lots of people died, and it was needlessly tied in to the madoka verse. Which, I knew was going to happen once I saw the final episode’s title.

    Until part 2, I was more on board with this cast than the og characters. But then part 2 just kind of ruined all of that, and part 3 didn’t do anything to really help it. I don’t even get what was going on with magius, they went from “CRAZY PLANS” to “WE WON’T ABANDON ONEECHAN” back to “CRAZY PLANS” (I feel like it switched back and forth one more time, but I can’t remember clearly enough to be sure)and it was just so….mental, for lack of a more appropriate term. I think some people thought they were trying to kill Alina, but everything I heard, and everything I saw, told me that they were going to work with Alina at that last moment. Killing Alina would be killing Eve, would be ruining plans. So, I don’t think that was the intent. And why Ui went along with that….made even less sense than how much flipping Magius did.

    Iroha and Yachiyo were a good and strong pairing. And Rena and uh…….can’t remember her name, were also a good and strong pairing. But everything else was kind of….I don’t even know what was happening during the “healing” process.

    They REALLY needed at least a few more episodes to handle this story. Also may as well have just made it a movie.

    It started with a lot of potential, but things went downhill once part 2 was hitting its end, and never recovered really. Part 3 had some good moments, but things just happened too fast with little explanation/preparation.

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Not much to add. Part 3 was controversial. I wasn’t upset myself because “it’s Meduka”. Plus as others mentioned there’s always the game and manga for those looking for a less painful outcome.

      Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        I don’t even mind how “painful” it was, but a large part of the problem is it all felt so random and last minute. Things just happened with no real reason

        Like

  5. elkat4 says:

    Now that I’ve actually watched the final episode:
    1.) What the hell happened to Walpurgis Nacht? I feel that they simply glossed over what happened to the deadliest witch in the world. Did she just get bored and leave? Kind of a big plot hole. I mean I guess they could have time skipped past that part so that they can have the battle against Walpurgis Nacht as a movie or something.
    2.) Homura used her magic to go back in time. Something happened to Madoka (why else would she abandon this timeline?) Are they planning on rebooting the anime from Homura’s point of view, trying to prevent the events the Wings of Magus from happening (or at least direct the story in a more faithful adaption)? Or are the changes in the story just an excuse to tie Magia Record into the original anime’s lore?
    3.) The final episode seems extremely rushed and it feels like they could have used a few more episodes to really have a proper ending not a brief after credits prologue that doesn’t really give resolution to anything.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      To answer 1 and 2 my best guess is Homura failed again and warped to try and save Meduka in another loop.

      The epilogue reminded reminded me of the end of God of War 3. Different circumstances of course but similar end result.

      Liked by 1 person

    • cirno9fan says:

      basically: it didn’t matter what happened to walpurgis. The point was that Homura decided it was a failed timeline and made her loop. Thus giving this story a canonicity even though it should never have been pushed to do so. In its own words: A record that no one will know

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kotori_Sonoda says:

    Was really excited for part 3 until I found out it was only 4 eps.
    Given those limitations, its turned out… alright.
    My favorite part was still the second season when things get heated up, both story and animation wise.
    Overall though I did enjoy magia record, lots of ups and downs but the anime introduced me to the expanded magireco lore (it even made me played the game and a few months later the EN version went offline – whoops). My favorite characters ended up being Iroha and Alina, which are as opposite as opposites can be…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yurimylove says:

    i remember very early on you already suspected that the small Kyubey is Ui. Very good hunch! Being adapted from mobage i understand it needs to tell the story kinda corresponding to the game play such as various uwasa etc., but personally i’d have preferred to watch a bit more Iroha x Yachiyo scenes…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. K says:

    To be honest, I was not a fan of how Iroha failed to save Ui, Touka, Nemu and Kuroe but being meguca is suffering and all that and yes, despite its rationalizations, it is Kyubey’s fault. My brother would always say “Shut up, rat” whenever he was done talking, 🙂

    That aside, Magia Record was enjoyable to me and it was a nice addition to the Madoka mythos. It was fun watching Iroha’s quest from beginning to end. Her struggle against her fate may be ongoing but at least Yachiyo and the rest of Mikazuki Villa is there for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Yeah. The mostly bitter with some sweet ending wasn’t what we hoped but again, it’s Meduka Meguca. Still a pretty good journey and more importantly Iroha, Yachiyo and their babies survived.

      Like

  9. Well, I finally caught up, and I must admit, I’m surprised to see such mixed reactions from everyone. Perhaps it’s because I never actually got far in the game’s story, and perhaps because I like darker tones in anime sometimes, but I personally enjoyed this side story myself. I think the important thing to remember to get the most out of this story is to understand that this is an alternative timeline. So for people who didn’t like the inclusion of the OG cast, I think it’s not hard to accept when you realize this was just another one of Homura’s failed timelines. I personally enjoyed seeing these incarnations of the OG cast.

    That aside, focusing on this timeline’s events, I felt that the storyline was solid. Perfect? No. Was it confusing at parts? Yes. But did it still hit the right notes for me? Indeed. The ending was bitter and sad because of the ones we lost, but I don’t feel their losses were worthless. I believe they meant something (even Kuroe) and ultimately these losses helped Iroha defeat the imminent threat. Did it stop all the world’s witch problems? No, and that’s ultimately why it was a failed timeline for Homura. However, for Iroha and crew, that was the only world they knew and I think they lived in it the best they could and fought as magical girls the best they could to the end. It was a story that would ultimately be untold, but still a part of their record. (Even if Madokami was the only one to know)

    Moving on to the main topic of discussion, the yuri was definitely a highlight of the series and I’d say we were well fed. Yachiyo x Iroha was the main attraction, but the other side couples were very present and welcome. The friendship between all the girls was great to see, and they truly were like a family.

    Overall, I’d say 8/10 is an appropriate rating, and I personally enjoyed this series. Looking forward to seeing where the Meduca universe will take us next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Not sure about OG Meduka fans but as we can tell most of the divisive opinions came after Part 3 for obvious reasons. I primarily gave it an 8 because I love the main couple and their daughters. Auntie is cool too. Side-couples were a nice bonus. I too thought Part 3 was mixed but knowing what kind of series this was prepared me for a possibly grim conclusion. It was. Even so, like you I enjoyed it quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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