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File 15678948918.jpg - (104.52KB , 1200x675 , a_madoka.jpg )
33380 No. 33380 [Edit]
What is it about Madoka that inspires such ardent fervor among its fanbase? While it's a fun watch and the impact on the viewer is of course subjective, even among other popular/hyped series Madoka seems to have a disproportionately vocal cross-section of fans, even moreso than other SHAFT works (e.g. Monogatari).

While the "twist" on the Mahou Shoujo genre might have been interesting (I am not a particular fan of the genre so I cannot speak as to wheter it was actually novel), that alone doesn't really seem to be substantive enough to explain it. Was it just the combination of the artwork and mildly "dark" plot combined with the sprinkling of symbolism to provide a thin layer of depth that nonetheless remains accessible?

There's some who claim that it grapples with essential truths like "what are good intentions," "what's the nature of evil," (all conveniently wrapped up in a Rorsarch-esque fog of moral ambiguity that makes it prime material for over the top analysis), but such grand and overarching themes seem like they could found in almost any piece of work. Certainly not enough to make claims as bold as "greatest story ever told" (which although might have been initially in jest, probably does reflect to some degree the reverence some have for this particular work). And not to mention the downright veneration many seem to share for Homura.
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>> No. 33385 [Edit]
>that alone doesn't really seem to be substantive enough to explain it
You're right. It being a Mahou Shoujo "deconstruction" AND the art work plus mildly "dark" plot with a little accessible symbolism on top explains why fans are so obsessed with it. Mahou Shoujo is supposed to be the stupid genre which everybody who knows nothing about anime pokes fun at, so making something which very openely deviates from that image gets people's attention. "I love Madoka uguu" is a badge of quirkiness. Maybe i'm just jaded.
>> No. 33386 [Edit]
I think it's simply because it is a more mature Mahou Shoujo targetted at an older audience, an average adult anime fan is more likely to like Madoka than Precure.
>> No. 33387 [Edit]
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Keep telling yourself that kiddo.
>> No. 33388 [Edit]
I know(I actually watch Precure myself) but it's still less mainstream among adults particularly in the west(for example it's not even subbed by horrible subs).
>> No. 33392 [Edit]
The idea here seems to be that Madoka is appreciated because of its intellectual insight, and that this is largely not justified. Neither claim is correct, but let's start with the first one. Madoka has the production and direction values, not to mention great moe characters. Add to that the emotional nature of its storytelling, and Madoka already deserves to be remembered. But going deep into what makes the characters so good is a lot of work, and many that only feel the moe but can't really think about it will take the easy way out to justify their love, which is saying the anime is "deep". It's a simple claim, and in casual conversation it's quite hard to falsify. But I want to stress this: if these people loved Madoka for intellectual reasons, as OP seems to believe, they'd talk about Camus or Nietzsche instead of Madoka.

Second, when it comes to whether or not Madoka's intellectual side is "substantive enough", OP is right to disqualify himself right off the bat. Tl;dr is that Madoka has some good commentary to add to the first story arc of Sailor Moon, but the conclusion of its thought isn't much to celebrate. It's the problem that is more interesting, and even then, it's core dates from the early nineties.

1) Mahou Shoujo was about self-sacrifice even before Sailor Moon, but SM managed to choose the exact right points to focus on. Those are: what constitutes a "pure heart", the isolation the heroines experience, and the absolute and absolutely silent manner of their sacrifice. It's a classic tragic story, except for the absence of corruption - the girls simply die. And here we see the first thing Madoka has to add: truly classical tragedies show how the protagonist is heroic but succumbs to evil and self-destructs.
2) The second move Madoka makes is a little bolder: it forgets how SM was retconned to have a happy ending, and asks what the implications would have been if the story of SM would have ended there. Should we take it to mean that in times of great danger, some misfits give their lives for people who ostracized them in the first place, and that's it? Is there no way to escape this fate? Ultimately, Madoka deems existence itself tragic - the only way out is to go outside "existence". Going even further, you could say the girls start out existing "inside the world, but isolated from it", and they can't enter the world (maturation is impossible - note the similarities to Utena's "the World is an egg" and "exiting the school grounds"), and Madoka (the girl and the story) finds solution in exiting existence. You could draw parallel to ides of metaphysics and epistemology*. If there's any "solution" Madoka proposes, I'd claim it's love for a girl can make a "leap of faith" possible, which would in turn constitute a case for "pure love".
3) A more minor addition is psychology. In SM, the girls represent a sentiment, but Madoka presents a question: "could those sentiments ever live in action?" The girls are shown to have a psychology loaded with those good intentions, and then they are put to a classic "choices and consequences"-style test. The answer is that reality is fundamentally hostile to our most beautiful dreams (the "outside" is our only hope). A nice touch, more on the side of direction than thinking, is directly naming some of the bad in society that SM only dares hint at.
4) Homura's character as someone who loves a pure heroine, and as such, has that question of a possible escape, and as someone who feels the futility of her work firsthand, is obviously great. She's a "male" character who bears the tragedy of knowing the question**, working hard to answer it, and seeing her efforts amount to nothing. How willing she is to go through hardship and get stronger for her true love is inspirational. As a "female", her pain is easier to relate to, and her distance from Madoka is more emphasized. (She's also a pervert character - a man should not desire to be a woman, nor should a woman love another woman. As such, she instantly has a place in the hearts of all perverts.)

Ultimately, "a pure love towards a girl will allow us to escape the tragedy that life is" isn't a very smart claim, but it's pretty well developed, and it's easy to see how it would become a well-liked sentiment. And it's easy to see how a moe anime that really likes moe would become a hit.

*Shonen faces a problem of "judging from the inside" when it wants to speak. Some acknowledge this; "my beliefs can't answer your questions. walk your own path" or "at least we're alive to ask these questions!" An inconsequential side note.
**on a quest(ion), walking "on the dark side" or "underwater", hoping to see another sunrise while pushing deeper into the darkness
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