The main reason is Urobuchi gave an interview where he said that the girls in Madoka were carried away by their “hubris” and “self-righteousness” and compared them to the Taliban (WHAT the fuck). So that pretty much flings any idea the show was trying to say something even vaguely feminist out the window- this guy literally things young girls should be punished for wanting things. women shouldn’t have desires. REVOLUTIONARY concept.
U can still read feminist things into the show for yourself of course (as I did initially), but knowing the opposite was intended puts a damper on it for me.
And also knowing that makes me view the show in a different light. I used to be okay with it because it seemed to reconstruct the genre a bit at the end, with Madoka restoring hope etc. but…
It really is just 11 straight episodes of little girls suffering, intended for a male audience, with some sort of attempt to smooth it all over at the end so the viewer doesn’t feel guilty and it’s still implied they all die or whatever. That’s kind of creepy, when you think about it. Especially when you consider that this is basically taking a genre meant to empower young girls and making it about little girls being tortured and manipulated. There are some genres that could use deconstruction- the magical girl genre isn’t one of them, at least not deconstructed in a way that’s targetted toward men. If it’s deconstructed, I think it should be deconstructed for a FEMALE AUDIENCE, you know, the actual main consumers of the genre. I mean, thinking about it, Madoka doesn’t really count as a deconstruction- it exaggerates tropes that were already in the genre- dark magical girl, coming of age story, etc.
Utena did a MUCH better job of criticizing shoujo tropes (like ACTUAL CRITICISM OF PROBLEMATIC shoujo tropes like the fucked-up dynamics of idealized shoujo romances, or the damsel-in-distress cliche, not just making stuff ~edgier~ and not really criticizing) while having an actual feminist message that was absolutely intended that you cannot miss, and we also know the creators actually kept the female audience in mind AND oh, it actually managed to have canon queer characters and relationships rather than just ~vaguely imply~ so straight audiences could ignore it. A lot of Madoka fans treat Madoka like it’s Utena, but it’s not. Utena is an actual deconstruction, Madoka is largely just a darknedgy take on things.
And it’s not like the magical girl genre didn’t have DARK STUFF in it, it just still managed to be…about empowering girls rather than punishing them. Princess Tutu was dark. Sailor Moon is the codifier for “dark magical girl warrior’ and “magical girl antihero” concepts and the live action serie got VERY heavy. And then people act like Madoka (and Nanoha) are the only magical girl shows with kickass fight scenes (and that’s somehow the measure of their worth) but Precure, aimed for 5 year old girls, can be ridiculously heavy on the action. I’m tired of ppl talking about how Madoka is great bc it’s got all this stuff the genre already had.
And reading spoilers for the movie, all my fears have been confirmed- the relationships and themes that made the anime work have been thrown out the window for cynicism so it’s basically worthless now. And still no canon queerness, ofc.
So yeah, I still enjoy some parts of Madoka, I’m just much less enamored with it now, mostly just in light of getting more into the magical girl genre and learning more about the creator’s true intentions.
I had some suspicions along these lines. Like I had no idea what the creators’ intentions were until now. But the fact it was purportedly trying to deconstruct the magical girl genre and the girls suffered so much… I think there are definitely aspects of the series you could read feminist aspects into for sure. But the whole symbolism of the magical girl —> witch and the magical girls quietly dying while still being girls, and the whole fact you mentioned that it was deconstructed for a male audience…plus everything the creator says is incredibly troubling.
anyone know where i can read that interview Urobuchi gave? and if it’s in english?