Puella Magi Madoka Magica – The Reason it Became Popular in Japan

Do you know the Japanese anime called Puella Magi Madoka Magica?

The story is about Madoka Kaname, who together with her magic girlfriends, battles witches (the enemies of humans). This show ran for three months beginning in January 2011.

Since it came out, Madoka Magica was the topic of much conversation and became a big hit due to the stark contrast between the cute illustrations and devastating story. Even after a year, new games and movies are still coming out; this shows how popular the anime still is.

The article below was posted on Nico Nico News as the new movie was coming out on October 6th, 2012.

The Secret Reason “Madoka Magica” is Popular – “Synchronized Experience” on SNS (Nico Nico News)

The article is about how the anime became so popular. In summary:

  • The creators kept a tight lid on the project to avoid plot leaks; so with each episode, the viewers had something look forward to.
  • Due to all of the plot twists that began in episode 3, there was an explosion of chatter among fans.Seeing the excitement on SNS’s, anticipation began to build even among people who hadn’t seen the show.
  • With and aggressive merchandising campaign (comics, etc.) carried out in bookstores and electronic shops that ran in tandem with the show (instead of after it), the creators succeeded in creating an image of a product that was already popular.

There has also been a great deal of discussion on Twitter related to the article. Here are some of the tweets:

  • “Everything [Madoka Magica’s popularity] is thanks to Mami.” @huuzin008
  • “I can’t forget the impact of episode 3.”… @Tikal_747
  • “Japanese people love tragic stories.” @EliseS1999
  • “I think the main reason  [for the show’s popularity] was nobody knew the plot because it was a TV original story [and not based on previously released comic]. If it had been previously released, watching the show would have been just an exercise in comparing the new anime to the original. It would have spoiled the atmosphere on the net.” @mayugeTTe
  • “It all boils down to it being an interesting story.” @kazombi
  • “The anime itself was an advertisement. Instead of making a show with what they thought was a good story, they made a story they thought would be good for sales.” ero_lism
  • “Personally, the discussion of whether Kyubey was right or wrong was the big reason I became interested in [the story]. In my opinion, he was wrong.” @ratuni
  • “There aren’t many magical-girl-themed animes that have a bad side and darkness. This was a great entertainment.” @kibitann
  • “I didn’t watch this at first because of the illustrations and the title, but I ended up watching it because of the anticipation on the web. The story was so fresh. The meaning of magical girls, that death scene, and soul gems (゚Д゚)” @Matometo
  • “That was a successful example of a mixture of odd elements.” @s_suke

Nico Nico News

The consensus on Twitter was that the sensational plot in episode 3 was what made this anime so popular. Episode 3 was talked about on all the major Japanese web forums after it aired. The other main opinion on Twitter was that the contrast between the cute illustrations and the dark story was another reason for Madoka Magica’s success.

Perhaps another reason it got so popular was that the much-discussed episode 3 was early in the season, so people who didn’t see it probably thought they could still catch up with the story.

Apparently many foreign anime fans were able to watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica thanks to subtitles furnished by various video sites. As a Japanese fan, I am very interested in the overseas reputation of this anime.

© 2020 Channel Japan. All rights reserved.

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲