Last weekend, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 1: Beginnings, an abridged and enhanced version of the first eight episodes of the Modoka Magica anime was released in theatres across Japan. Now, exactly a week after the release of the first movie comes the second, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal. In the review of the first movie I stated how the abridged format actually improved the story, making the story seem tighter and more well paced. Does the movie version of the second half of the story follow suit and improve on the original, or would you be better off just watching the series in the comfort of your own home?
Good — Extra Ending and Third Movie Trailer
The highpoint of Madoka Magica: Eternal is the end of the film. While everything turns out identically to its TV series counterpart, there is an extra ending after the first set of credits (which were written in the un-readable witch-script). This extra ending is short, a mere 30 seconds, and adds far more questions than it answers.
But because that wasn't a big enough tease of things to come, at the end of the credits proper comes the first trailer for Madoka Magica: Rebellion, the third — and completely original — film in the trilogy. As trailers go, it was perfect: lots of random footage spliced together with random sound clips that tell absolutely nothing about the movie to come, but get you excited anyway.
Good — It's Still Good, Whether You've Seen the Series or Not
On the big screen or little screen, Madoka Magica is still Madoka Magica. For someone who has never seen anything Madoka-related, these two movies are as good, if not better than watching the TV series. And as I stated in the review of the first film, if any series deserves a re-watch, it's this one. It is deep and layered both in plot and on a psychological level. And that's great because, other than the extra ending and trailer, Madoka Magica: Eternal is...
Bad — Pretty Much 100% Identical to the Anime
How identical is it? So identical that I don't think there was a single shot from the TV show not re-used in the film. Even the TV show's opening credits make an appearance in the middle of the movie to announce Homura's flashback is over! And unlike the first movie, there is almost nothing noticeably different, not even in the pacing, as there are no cuts in this film.
There were a scant few new scenes, but they were uniformly static shots, serving to introduce a location — i.e., a graveyard at sunset — or to symbolise an idea. Simply put, they added nothing.
Madoka Magica: Eternal is a film that really doesn't need to exist. You can see it nearly frame for frame on the series' Blu-ray in identical quality. As a stand-alone film, Eternal should only be watched by die-hard fans who just can't pass up the chance to see the extra ending and trailer.
However, when coupled with its predecessor, this film makes for the definitive version of the Madoka Magica story. So for those who have never seen Madoka, Beginnings and Eternal are definitely worth a watch.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal was released in Japanese theatres on October 13, 2012. It will be released in select theatres in the United States starting on October 20, 2012.