Most people have been comparing Madoka Magica to other titles, from Bokurano, and several others, but most especially to that notorious franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion. While most people have concluded that Madoka had borrowed some concepts from that show (because apparently anything German is supposed to scream Eva all over), it really irritates me a LOT when people say Evangelion and Madoka are both closest to one another. This particular argument is very debatable, so I would rather not discuss much about it. But for me, I want facts. I want real proof that Madoka Magica is indeed not the twin brother (or sister) to that overly-pretentious, overly-controversial and massively popular show. So my first question is: Is there really something out there made before that is the closest to Madoka Magica? Well, fortunately there is.
Meet Alien Nine, a 4-episode OVA from 2001.
Alien Nine’s premise is simple. Imagine a world where aliens can invade anywhere and anytime, even within a local middle elementary school. So what this school did was to assign a special team among their students, for the sole purpose of fighting aliens and capturing them. And members of this “alien party” are supposed to wear these things called “Borgs”, which helps them improve their mobility and effectiveness in capturing aliens.
We are now introduced to the main character, Yuri Otani. She was not particularly fond of joining the Alien Party, but much to her shagrin, she was forced against her will by her classmates. Now she fights along Tomine Kasumi, who joined the alien fighter simply for the sake of doing so, and Kawamura Kumi, who became and alien fighter to avoid the responsibility of yet another year of class presidency, to defend their school against these aliens.
Now, I’ll explain why this one should be recognized as the closest thing to Madoka Magica. Yuri Otani, the main protagonist, is a girl who was approached by her classmates as the alien fighter. Pretty much like Madoka, who was approached by Kyuubey to fight the witches. As the series continues on, we see Yuri still refusing to make a decision to fight these aliens, just like Madoka. Of course, the “Borg”, who apparently can talk, tries to convince Yuri multiple times to use it to fight aliens, just like Kyuubey. What Yuri didn’t know was the disturbing truth behind using the Borg and fighting the aliens, just like the truth behind being a Puella Magi. It’s not the same consequences though, and of course I won’t spoil it. Yuri’s friends Tomine and Kumi, although a little deviative, can draw some parallels to Madoka’s friends.
But its not just the characters. The character designs has this overtly moe “little girls with cute eyes and cute faces” style. While just by looking at the box art makes this show ostensively look cute, wacky and fun with its alien fighting and girls with angel helmets, roller blade gear and sticks, it is exactly the POLAR OPPOSITE once you watch it. Again just like Madoka. Where’s your Rei and Asuka now bitches?
My second question is, how similar is Madoka to Evangelion?
…Or rather how NOT SIMILAR? First of all, Madoka doesn’t have an emotionally inept, sexually repressed main protagonist. People had been comparing Shinji’s “I mustn’t run away (rinse and repeat)” behavior to Madoka, which I simply do not see the connection in any shape or form. Madoka isn’t running away from the choice of being a magical girl because she’s scared, but rather because she doesn’t know what will happen to her if she did. Also, she’s always being stopped by Homura, which also factors in to her decision of refusing to become a Puella Magi. Unlike Shinji, to which no one is really stopping him from riding Unit 01, all but himself. If you look at it that way, Madoka’s personality is completely different from that piece of emo trash. Besides that, Madoka doesn’t have giant robots, and people going frantic every time an opponent appears. Madoka is not set in a post-apocalyptic world, there are no stupid shitty Freudian context whatsoever, and most of all Madoka doesn’t have these god depressing characters that just makes you want to cut yourself and listen to Paramore all day long.
But, not to be unfair on the other side of the argument, Evangelion did have some similarities to Madoka (I wish I can nail that word “some” to a fucking crucifix right now). Evangelion did have the “monster of the week” theme running through it. But the same could be said for MOST ANIME. I’m not particularly going to deny “every anime is a ripoff of Evangelion” here, but it’s just not fair to say that to each and every show. Also, Evangelion’s own Asuka she-has-two-surnames-so-whatever can be easily paralled to one of Madoka Magica’s characters, particularly Sayaka. Way to ruin it, Sayaka. That’s why you’re the least favorite.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD BE WARNED
And the most controversial of all is Madoka’s ending being compared to Eva’s (the End of Eva ending, not the series ending). It just happens that episode 12 started with Homurun desperately fighting Walpurgis Night because there are no more magical girls available other than herself. It’s fairly reminiscent to Asuka fighting the mass-production units, with the bombastic music and the fighting sequence. But was it really that similar? I call shenanigans on that.
The more important part is about Madoka ending up being Jesus herself, which people (especially in forums, god I wish I never came to Animesuki’s Madoka section) compare to Rei becoming humongous… or maybe to Shinji changing the world because he’s a sad, sad man. Honestly I can’t say for sure, because Eva’s ending is the most vague, confusing shit ever written, and Madoka’s ending was entirely different and way more clearer than that, not to mention A WHOLE LOT BETTER. But if not for the beautiful animation, and the fact that it’s completely vague, Eva’s ending is still the most memorable in anime history.
And all those comparisons only came from one episode. One god freaking episode. And suddenly people out there starts saying Madoka is now Evangelion? Sigh…
In the end, I could only say that people should remove the idea that Madoka and Eva are the same show. Rather than encouraging more people to watch Madoka, it would just make other people avoid the show, because of the sheer amount of stigma that Eva carries. It also offends people like me, people who liked both Evangelion and Madoka, but for completely different reasons.