SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers for Magia Record anime series through Episode 5, as well as the Madoka Magica series. However, plot points explored by the Magia Record mobile game that have not yet been reached by the anime will not be spoiled here.
If you’re a fan of the original Madoka Magica, then you’ve likely been waiting for Magia Record to take a darker turn at least since Episode 3, if not sooner. While it certainly can’t (and was never going to) live up to the shocking turning point of the original series, Magia Record Episode 5 made some startling twists and depicted them in some unsettling scenes. Along with the coalescence of the show’s plotlines and a significant amount of action, it turned out to be one of the better episodes for character development so far this season.
But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness, like a heartbeat,
Drives you mad in the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…
– Stevie Nicks, Rumours
SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers for Magia Record anime series through Episode 4, as well as the Madoka Magica series. However, plot points explored by the Magia Record mobile game that have not yet been reached by the anime will not be spoiled here.
Episodes 2 and 3 of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story heavily featured new characters and their plight. Those earlier episodes were intent on introducing Rumors: Witches that only appear when certain circumstances are met. This has meant that Iroha’s quest to find Ui, as established by the first episode, has largely been sidelined. However, now that we have a burgeoning cast and a stronger understanding of how Kamihama differs from Madoka Magica‘s Mitakihara, we can start piecing together how Ui’s disappearance and these Rumors might be related.
Micolash, Host of the Single Installment Nightmare
Much to the chagrin of many PC gamers, Bloodborne, FromSoftware’s 2015 dive into madness and eldritch horror, has been exclusively hunting the bloody streets of the PlayStation 4 for five years. But with the recent news that PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn may soon be releasing on Steam and Epic Games Store, the promise of dawn may not be far off for PC kin. If that’s the case, then it may be one more sign that Sony has grander plans for the future of this franchise.
“If you remain weak and don’t change, you’ll continue to sacrifice someone for your own goals.”
The original anime established that a lot hinges on the third episode of a Madoka Magica series. The common recommendation from evangelizing fans is that anyone giving the series a try ought to hang in there until Episode 3 to get a true feel for the show’s tone. Magia Record has opted to buck that precedent. While some maybe expected heads to roll in Episode 3 of Magia Record, it continues to offer promise for those who are still skeptical about it carrying the Madoka Magica torch. But as a result, newcomers may be confused as to why the property has such a dark reputation.
An episode with highs and lows, but very little Yachiyo.
The first episode of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story was a solid reintroduction to this magical girl universe and a deep dive into protagonist Iroha Tamaki’s subconscious, exploring her profound loneliness and longing for a person not there. Where Episode 1’s clever and subtle storytelling informed us of our main character in ways she may not have been able to express herself, the second episode opted to be less personal and more focused on side-tracking the main conflict with new characters and their accompanying drama, but not without dropping a few breadcrumbs for careful viewers.
Currently in competition with the Kingdom Hearts series for longest, most convoluted installment title.
You may be familiar with the 2011 anime series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, in which teenage girls are convinced to essentially sell their lives into magical girl servitude in exchange for a single wish granted by an extraplanetary cat-like creature named Kyubey. In case you haven’t (please, please go watch it) and this brief synopsis wasn’t sufficient, the first episode of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story makes sure to jam that entire setup into its first three minutes. And so begins another spiral into despair.
Take the opportunity to explode alongside friends.
I’m still trudging my way through tar in Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding (and loving every minute), but I recently decided to give a little time to another new release: Wattam.
I originally fell in love with Funomena’s Wattam when I was covering PAX West in 2017. I had the opportunity to preview the game at that time, and although I didn’t get a chance to finish the demo (because a hat had fallen off of the map – a glitch, not a consequence of gameplay), I was still completely charmed by the concept and the sheer delight of the entire experience. Now that the full game is out, I’ve had the opportunity to refine my thoughts on the next title by Keita Takahashi, the creative mind behind Katamari Damacy.
SPOILER WARNING: This post analyzes Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse from the perspective of a particularly lurid scene that takes place late in the film. As such, it includes major spoilers for the plot and deals with topics of a sexual nature.
For my birthday, I planned to see Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. With a toddler at home, visits to the theater aren’t all that common, so going to see a movie is a bit of a luxury. After watching the initial trailer, and as a huge fan of Eggers’ The Witch, I was initially eager for his next. When I read a preview that described it as a film “achieving depths of cerebral insanity horror rarely breached and impregnating it with a dark sense of comedic absurdity to allow viewers some semblance of sanity as the plot derails into nautical oblivion,” I was about ready to bribe the necessary parties for film festival credentials.
So far, Death Stranding has been what I expected as much as anyone’s able to expect something from Hideo Kojima. As a longtime fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, there were few ways that a game by Kojima Productions could have disappointed me, and after about 12 hours of the new developer’s debut title, I have to say that I’m excited for more.