Final Impressions: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

In a lot of ways, we knew exactly what to expect from Puella Magi Madoka Magica before the first episode even aired. The story was a closely guarded secret and the previews were only stills of the characters and a few random lines of dialogue with the opening theme in the background. But several other things stuck out. Shinbo had directed several magical girl anime before, and now he wanted to take a risk doing an anime-original story. It was obvious that he wouldn’t be bothering with this unless he had something interesting in mind, but the music, character designs, and what we could discern of the premise gave the impression of a bog-standard Nanoha rehash. But once it was revealed that Urobuchi Gen was in charge of the script, everything suddenly made sense.

It’s not what a story is about, but rather how it’s about it. Execution is the single most important part of storytelling regardless of the medium. As the premise grows more complex and ambitious, it becomes more difficult to pull off. But with higher risk comes higher payoff. When these sorts of stories are told properly, they can leave an impression on viewers for years or even decades. When done poorly, they typically end up so terrible that they can enrage even the most stoic fans. Into which extreme does Puella Magi Madoka Magica fall?

If you make a contract with me, I can take you past the break!

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Bakacast – Winter Wrap Up

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Welcome to the last Bakacast of the winter season. It seems like only yesterday that we watched those first episodes, huh?

Jon wasn’t able to join us, so we kicked Fractale out the door, bid fond farewell to Wandering Son and Level E, and hosted our last Star Driver Love Party without him. We then start the first round of spring season reviews with a pretty respectable amount of anime. Expect the list, as always, to be cut in half by the time we figure out which shows we want to stick with.

And which shows we can convince each other to watch.

We cover:

  • 2:19Mass Effect animated film announced
  • 5:04Gosick #11
  • 8:37Level E #13
  • 11:22Fractale #11
  • 17:13Wandering Son #11
  • 22:11Star Driver #25
  • 29:49X-Men #1
  • 34:23Nichijou #1
  • 40:09Tiger and Bunny #1
  • 46:05Hanasaku Iroha #1
  • 54:47Steins;Gate #1
  • 1:00:49Sket Dance
  • 1:09:32Macross Frontier #21 & #22
  • 1:18:06 – Listener questions

All you bronies out there should appreciate the songs I chose for this episode.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Resumes


As you may have heard, SHAFT’s hugely successful series Puella Magi Madoka Magica has been on indefinite hiatus following the Sendai earthquake. While most other shows resumed after only a week, SHAFT has taken the opportunity to do what they do best. But after a month of silence, there is finally an official schedule for the remaining episodes.

According to the official MBS website, episodes eleven and twelve will both be aired in the original timeslot on April 22nd.

Final Impressions – Fractale

I might be stuck in a terrible anime, but at least I have this bitchin' hat.

I really wasn’t expecting much from Fractale. We’re all familiar with the grandiose claims Yamakan made at the start of the Winter season… bloviating about moe killing anime and how he was going to singlehandedly save it with his incredible new show. He even promised to retire if it performed poorly. Now that Fractale has bombed, how long do you think it will be until he starts claiming that plebian anime fans such as ourselves are incapable of appreciating the brilliance of his work? In any case, I wasn’t fooled by Yamakan’s posturing; I expected Fractale to be yet another mediocre offering from the overrated director who brought us such turds as Black Rock Shooter.

For most of the season, my prediction bore out. Fractale was an incoherent mess that failed to develop its characters or maintain a consistent tone. There were little snippets of cogent material, but they were buried under mountains of frivolous nonsense. But in the last few episodes, Fractale did something utterly terrible that transformed it from a stalled-out steam train into a full-blown derailment; it decided to play the rape card.

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Bakacast of the Daleks

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Beware! Bakacast (and Paul “Otaking” Johnson) has fallen to the Daleks! I managed to hack into Project Haruhi with my sonic screwdriver just long enough to get this episode out.

If anyone is out there, if anyone can help, please, destroy this robotic-trash-can menace before it’s too late. If they succeed, Level E won’t get a chance to pull itself from its quagmire. Star Driver will never get the fabulous ending it deserves. And, most importantly, we won’t be able to mercilessly mock Fractale anymore.

So if you happen to know any time travelers with British accents or an immortal, omnisexual leader of a secret group of alien hunters, send them our way. We could use the help.

On this episode, we cover:

  • 2:30 – What we’ve been watching/playing
  • 12:35 – “Yu-Gi-Oh!” creator sues 4Kids
  • 18:44 – OreImo #13
  • 25:03 – Level E #12
  • 29:31 – Fractale #10
  • 35:34 – Wandering Son #10
  • 44:03 – Star Driver #24
  • 50:18 – Suite PreCure #7
  • 53:34 – Macross Frontier #19 & #20

If you would like to submit listener questions for a future episode, you can email them to bakacast[at],@reply them to Project Haruhi’s Twitter account using the hashtag #bakacast, or leave them in the comments below.

Animated Ambien – Nichijou 0


Warning: Action speedlines not indicative of actual content.

Talk about a disappointment. Kyoto Animation’s Nichijou, an adaptation of the 4-koma manga that ran in Shonen Ace, originally interested me because most sources described it as a mix between Azumanga Daioh and Cromartie High School. Both of those shows would make my top 10 anime list. Episode 0, however, contains entirely original content not found in the manga, and it doesn’t exactly speak well for the competence of the staff.

Simply put, Nichijou is one of the worst things I’ve ever watched.
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Bakacast – Sparking!!

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This week on Bakacast, we try something new for our opening segment and talk about what we’ve been playing and/or watching during the past week. Which means that I finally get to talk about video games on my anime podcast. Glorious freedom!

Anyway, Madoka didn’t air and Gosick wasn’t subbed in time, so we took the opportunity to catch up with Break Blade, fall asleep during Nichijou and discuss a K-On! doujin (yes, really). In other news, the Fractale hate train keeps rolling, the Star Driver love party returns and we give our advice for how you–YES, YOU!–can be Internet-famous podcasters (DISCLAIMER: May not actually make you Internet-famous).

We cover:

  • 2:27 – What we’ve been watching/playing
  • 15:27 – FUNimation backpedals
  • 21:22 – Deconstructing K-On!
  • 29:18Nichijou #0
  • 35:25Break Blade #4
  • 43:12Level E #11
  • 47:43 Fractale #9
  • 53:07 Wandering Son #9
  • 59:01Star Driver #23
  • 1:07:01Suite PreCure #6
  • 1:11:06Macross Frontier #17 & #18
  • 1:20:12 – Listener questions

Bakacast – NOT THE BEES!

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I want you all to know that I waited to play Dragon Age 2 so I could get the podcast edited immediately. You see the sacrifices I make for you people?

Anyway, we’re a little lighter on reviews and heavier on news because of the terrible one-two punch of natural disasters that recently hit Japan. If you’d like to help out, the link on the top of the sidebar will take you to a list of large and trustworthy organizations (such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army) that you can donate to. Since plenty of news organizations have covered the disaster better than we can, we instead focus on what it might mean for the short-term future of the anime industry. And on a lighter subject, we discuss FUNimation’s HorribleSubs gaffe. After our typical review segment (minus the Star Driver love party, sadly), we go off on some of our wildest tangents to date thanks to your seemingly straightforward listener questions.

  • 2:04 – Earthquake aftermath
  • 13:07 – FUNimation uses HorribleSubs
  • 20:15Madoka Magic #10
  • 25:03Gosick #10
  • 31:25Level E #10
  • 38:26Fractale #8
  • 47:13Wandering Son #8
  • 56:16 Macross Frontier #15 & #16
  • 1:11:00 – Listener questions

I reference a couple things during the listener questions segment that you might like to check out. Fast Karate for the Gentlemen ripped apart both the anime and live-action versions of Blood: The Last Vampire (be warned that, unlike Bakacast, they use explicit language). As for the “Cage Rage” podcasts I mentioned, you can find every single one by clicking these handy links. Consider them your course materials for Nic Cage 101. There will be a test. It will not be open book.

If you would like to submit listener questions for a future episode, you can email them to bakacast[at], @reply them to Project Haruhi’s Twitter account using the hashtag #bakacast, or leave them in the comments below.

SHAFT Postpones Release of Madoka


My translation of this article:

2011/3/15 Volume 1 BD/DVD Postponement Notice

We offer our heartfelt sympathy to everyone affected in the Touhoku Pacific region.
Because of the earthquake, there are power shortages and issues with distribution. We were planning to release Puella Magi Madoka Magica Vol. 1 on March 30th. Because of the situation, we have decided to postpone its release.

We deeply apologize for the large amount of trouble this will cause everyone, but we ask that you please understand and cooperate with us. Please check Aniplex’s official site from now on for updates regarding the release date.

You’ve probably already heard about the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s obvious things like this would happen, since frankly there are much better things to allocate limited power and resources to than manufacturing and shipping anime DVD’s. Madoka’s preorder statistics indicate that it could end up becoming the best selling anime series of all time, so I can only imagine how tough this decision must have been for SHAFT. This news is disappointing to say the least, but it’s great that they have their priorities so well established.

If you’d like to join SHAFT and do your part to help Japan recover, follow the link under Japan Earthquake and Tsunami at the top of our sidebar.