Every main character, regardless of their status at the end of the TV series, makes a comeback. Starting us off is Homura is my favorite magical girl as she dethrones Sailor Mars of my childhood since she has an amazing power of manipulating time and uses high explosives and bullets to get the job done. Although, she regresses back to the timid and awkward girl in the beginning of the movie, by the time the second and third act hit, she is back into her badassery ways. Since the series is really about Homura and not Madoka, despite what the title suggests, she forms the core of the main narrative and Rebellion is just the continuation of her story, which is taken to the next level under Urobuchi.
Outside of the tremendous amount of development and dialogue given to Homura and Madoka, Sayaka is surprisingly given a good amount of depth and maturity this time around as opposed to her personality leading to some pretty dark implications in the preceding storyline. Where she was sort of unlikeable, Rebellion changes her into an assertive and confident young magical girl that put her on par with the rest of the Holy Quintet. Other members like Kyoto and Mami, while they do have their moments to shine and speak, aren’t given that much of role in the plot.
That is to be expected since their back stories have reached their conclusion in the original television series.The much-hyped character Charlotte being included into the main cast doesn’t detract or add to the overall package. She is a colorful and playful thing of sorts and she does give Mami a witch/person to be paired with as strange as that sounds. Charlotte does suffer same problems as Kyoto and Mami in that they don’t have really much to do other than coming along for the ride and use their powers in a supporting role during the climactic battle of the movie.
Studio Shaft is notoriously known for rushing their episodes in order to meet airing deadlines and then redoing entire episodes for the Blu-ray releases. With all the heaps of money that they raked in with disc sales, spin-offs and merchandise, the production team spared no expenses for the entire two-hour long movie. At 2,300 shots, it is double of the typical amount in comparative animated movie and yet, all the visuals remain at a higher quality than the TV series.
If you thought that the witches and their labyrinth were trippy with their collage art project style, then be prepared to be utterly overwhelmed to point of questioning whether or not someone slipped LSD into your drink. At more than a few points, I was struggling to find traditional animation in the sea of psychotic art cutouts. Still, the creativity required to produced such things is nothing to scoff at. In fact, Rebellion has my favorite magical girl fight scene of all time and personal highlight of the movie which pits Mami and Homura against each other in a frantic gun battle. This fight is a display of Studio Shaft’s ability as these two unveil their full abilities in the torrents of bullets that they unleash at each other in a spiraling dance to the death which is unmatched in any other magical girl show.
Returning back once more to score the soundtrack is Yuki Kajiura, having down work on high-profile shows like Sword Art Online, Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Zero and previous installments of Madoka Magica. Also coming back to sing the opening credits is ClariS, which give a very good performance that complement their pervious Madoka effort. The closing song is sung by Kalafina, Yuji Kajiura’s own band and while it sounded nice, it didn’t have that punch nor despair of “Magia”. Overall, the sound department was handled fairly well , even if it retreaded old ground and missed some opportunities to take Rebellion to the next level.
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