12 Days of Anime #5 – Rewatching a Show is a Completely New Experience (Madoka Magica)

I’ve watched Madoka Magica when it aired, back in 2010. It was a great show. As someone who loves watching emotionally resonant scenes/moments in shows he enjoys, I’ve re-watched episodes 11-12 quite a few times, and I’ve rewatched episode 10, the emotional high point of the show, countless times.

Akemi Homura - Madoka Magica Anime

Homura, so strong.

But rewatching the whole show? I hadn’t really done so. Recently though, after some online discussion I’ve sat down and rewatched the middle portion of the show (episodes 4-8). And I was blown away. This show is one of the shows that reward rewatching the most. It sort of brings us back to what I’ve discussed in my post about flashbacks, in the context of movies such as The Usual Suspects or 6th sense, where there’s a reveal at the end that transforms much of the plot.

Unlike these movies, the reveal here doesn’t change your understanding of what happened, but a much stronger why everything happened, it lends everything a much deeper emotional context and depth. I’m sure people who marathoned the show would’ve retained more memories, and I obviously had some retroactive understanding, but nothing prepares you for rewatching Madoka – every single sentence, every single look by Homura suddenly speaks volumes, and pierces your heart. I freely admit to tears coming unbidden to my eyes as I rewatched the show, and understood Homura.

Rewatching Madoka Magica was like watching a completely new show, it was heart-rending and beautiful, and it was one of my top moments of the year.

So, dear readers, any moment this year where you’ve revisited anime(, only for it to feel completely new)? Any moments related to the Madoka franchise?Note, due to the Madoka Rebellion movie being released only in select locales, please avoid any spoilers of the movie in your answers. Thank you.

And now, here are thoughts shared by others, related this time to how rewatching anime or the Madoka franchise:

Redcrimson: Madoka Magica Rebellion: A Spiritual Pilgrimage:

I still don’t think it’s really sunk in how significant it is that I had the chance to see a theatrical showing of my favorite anime. I mean, this wasn’t a Ghibli movie or a Shounen Jump property. This was a Seinen Magical Girl Anime, screening subtitled in a major city shortly after its release in Japan. It’s really only by the grace of Madokami herself that I was allowed this experience. And it was a pretty neat experience. Standing out in Cambridge Square freezing my ass off. Trying to explain to passers-by what the hell we were all waiting in line for. Opening up my Madokami autograph board(funny enough, the guy handing them out accidentally skipped the person in front of me so I gave what should have been mine to them instead. This was clearly divine intervention. I am a chosen disciple. Praise Madoka!). I even got to ride the subway, which I rarely do. I think the experience of getting to see the movie will stick with me more than the experience of actually watching it. Which is saying a lot because, holy fuck, that movie.

Meeea: Re-watching AnoHana with a girl I’m interested in who hasn’t seen it. Her seeing me cry in front of her on episode 1, and me being embarrassed.

UnorthodoxbyNature: OreImo Season 2: A Change of Heart:

I remember the first time I watched OreImo, I really hated Kirino. Even though I enjoyed the show, I felt it would have been better if she wasn’t in it. Thus, I sucked it up and re-watched it so that I could be ready for season 2. Never has a character made me change my mind about them so much. The bonding between Kirino and Kyousuke throughout the series was so nice to see. It made me root for them, not only as siblings, but eventually as  as well.

Akemi Homura - Madoka Magica anime

Homura, so strong, yet so very hurt.

Another look at Higurashi no Naku koro ni:

Last year, I watched Higurashi. Not only that, I also decided to watch the dub. Boy was that a mistake because I ended up HATING IT! The series felt so damn slow and boring. Everything just seemed so bad and I wondered why people liked it so much.

So, this year, I decided to give it a second chance. Why? Because I found out there was a second season and I figured it might redeem itself. However, this time I decided to watch everything subbed, and holy crap what a difference that made. The show was actually interesting and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I ended up loving the series and made me glad that I gave it a second chance.

aesdaishar: Paprika Rewatch:

So when being introduced to works outside of studio Ghibli I found this film and didn’t really think much of it. It was hella confusing and I just preferred Inception. In September I decided to go back and revisit the film since I’ve matured a lot as a viewer. im happy I did because it was an utterly brilliant work of art now that I can understand it.

SohumB: Rewatching Madoka Magica in preparation for the movie:

It’s an odd experience to rewatch something while having your old notes from just about a year earlier handy, seeing right in front of you how much you’ve changed in your analysis and appreciation. My old notes were all flailing about how ridiculous it was to literally put a deus in the machina and then not have her just fix everything, whereas now I’m all mmm delicious thematic pudding and character focus. I’m not sure I understand past-me’s critical lenses too well, but hey, they grew into my own, so I can’t complain :P

2 comments on “12 Days of Anime #5 – Rewatching a Show is a Completely New Experience (Madoka Magica)

  1. 123 says:

    I partly rewatched Welcome to the NHK this year while on holiday. I think it was too soon. I watched it two-three years ago, so I thought I would have forgotten some of it, but knowing what was going to happen made it less interesting than the first time. Still love it though, but I didn’t end up finishing it the second time.

    Speaking of Madoka, I only watched it this year (haven’t seen the movie though). I had read the manga first, but for some reason the anime was so much more powerful. Even though I basically knew what was going to happen. Yeah :-). Opposite to my NHK experience.

    • Guy says:

      Welcome to the NHK is similar to Grave of the Fireflies, which could be described as “The best anime (film) I’ll never watch again.” :P It’s heavy stuff, it’s not exactly fun to watch, it’s not even cathartic, because it’s not the “beautiful” sort of painful, but it burdens you.

      When I write a post about spoilers, that point will star in it, knowing what is going to happen not only doesn’t detract from appreciation of the material, but usually enhances it. Yup. Also, anime has the voice acting and soundtrack, reading Fairy Tail after watching the show, while hearing the actors’ voices and the awesome soundtrack in my mind surely enhanced the experience :)

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