So, late last week I reviewed the first Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie, Beginnings, and if you haven’t already read that review then I suggest you go do so before jumping into this one. Now, Eternal covers the final four episodes of the original TV series, which are the most memorable of the Madoka Magica episodes. Has this movie done the story and series justice?
The short answer is that, yes, yes Eternal does do the Madoka Magica story justice. Unlike the first movie which I found fault with for cutting certain things down, the editing of Eternal felt far better. It felt like it was giving us more than enough time with Homura and Madoka without overshadowing anything else. It also felt like it was setting up nicely for the third, original, movie that will be seemingly focused on Homura after the events of the original story.
Eternal captured the strong bond and feelings of friendship between Homura and Madoka just as well as the TV series did, if not better sometimes. At heart, the bond between Homura and Madoka is -the- most important part of the story and I’m very happy to say that Eternal did really well in capturing all those feelings perfectly. Shiny animation helps, of course, as does the nothing less than impressive soundtrack, but that isn’t all. The thing that really drives Eternal and drove the original series is the characters and the story. Anyone who values their friends deeply will be able to relate to Homura’s feelings, and even if you can’t relate to her from personal experience, you have to be pretty heartless not to care for her to some degree. She’s a character that went from looking like the bad guy to being one of the good guys and having everyone feel terrible for judging her so unfairly in the beginning.
All that said, you could easily argue that the deaths of Sayaka and Kyoko are somewhat ignored in favour of focusing on Homura and Madoka, which is really just a sign of things being cut down for the movie much like my issue with not spending as much time with Mami in Beginnings. In fairness to Sayaka, Beginnings does spend a good amount of time focused on her and the relationship between her and the other magical girls, so her death and the scenes that come after do feel well done. The loss of Kyoko? That doesn’t seem to have as much of an impact on Madoka and Homura as I remember from the TV series. I value the bond and connections between Madoka and Homura very strongly though, so in my case I’m willing to overlook some of what Eternal has ignored in favour of how much right the movie does. It certainly ended things off very nicely and it does do the series justice.
In closing: While the Madoka Magica movies without a doubt do the series justice, I still wouldn’t recommend newcomers to the series watch them first. This isn’t really the kind of series you can cut down from 12 episodes to two movies without losing something, and while both are very impressive, to properly get into Madoka Magica you’re better off watching the series through first and then coming to the movies a little while after.