Original Run: August 1, 2021 - September 26, 2021 Number of Episodes: 8 Genre: Drama, Magic Girl, Thriller
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 – The Eve of Awakening. Reader discretion is advised.***
However, a crisis is on the horizon, one that may result in the end of everything. The only thing that can stop this is the power of the magical girls. Unfortunately, the burden these warriors carry is often far too great to bear.
From around the world, magical girls gather in the hopes of being saved. And heroes separated by time and distance must join forces. But will it be enough?
Here is an instance when I must eat my words. In the Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (Magia Record 1) review, I wrote this:
“Unless something drastic changes in the future, you can skip [Magia Record 1].”
I stand by that statement. As part of the Madoka Magica series, Magia Record 1 failed to deliver. Despite retaining the same visual and audio quality of its predecessor, the first installment in this sequel series came nowhere close to matching the original’s memorability. Part of me even wishes the first season was a one-and-done deal.
However, there is now hope. Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 – The Eve of Awakening (Magia Record 2) is also not Madoka Magica. But it is an improvement; it is a massive improvement.
Before we say anything else, let’s do a little housekeeping. If there is one thing Magia Record did that saved its specific franchise, it firmly established when this story occurred.
In the season one review, I put this series happening after the events of the third Madoka Magica movie, Rebellion. That is wrong. Since I don’t remember what caused me to say that, there is a chance I misunderstood something while watching Magia Record 1. Therefore, I have no problem accepting fault if the mistake was, indeed, mine.
To set the record straight, and according to the information available in Magia Record 2, this series is a prequel to Madoka Magica.
Nevertheless, establishing the timeline was essential because it helped quantify what was going on in this story. Season one did a bad job at this, and, as a result, I had – and have – a hard time remembering who most everyone was and what people were trying to do.
Of course, I used the phrase “most everyone” because I knew one group of characters very well.
To my fellow Madoka Magica fans out there, Madoka Kaname (voiced by Aoi Yuki) and her friends were prominent players in Magia Record 2. Although the original cast didn’t automatically make this show better, I don’t believe that was their purpose. Instead, I think Madoka and company were here as a way of correcting course.
Regardless if that was their role or not, that is what they did. Madoka’s presence was a stark and needed reminder of what this franchise is. Madoka Magica and Magia Record are dark tales that deal with loss, despair, hardships, and suffering. For many reasons, Magia Record 1 struggled to convey that.
Magia Record 2, on the other hand, had a lot more weight.
Granted, I am still unsure who many of the non-original characters were. After all, this installment did start in quite the hole. Be that as it may, this series’s two main characters, Iroha Tomaki and Yachiyo Nanami, became proper leads. They are now firmly the faces of Magia Record.
Finally, with a proper story to its name, we can appreciate that, yeah, Magia Record is from the Madoka Magica universe, as well as a Shaft production. Those distinctions have meaning.
Sure, Magia Record is inferior when compared to its genre-defining predecessor. Then again, expecting anything more from any follow-up was asking a lot. But as a Shaft anime, this series finally finds a comfortable place amongst the studio’s other well-known projects (quality will vary):
- The Monogatari series
- Hidamari Sketch
- Panipoini Dash
I mean, my god, the animation in this season was nothing less than breathtaking. I would even go so far as to consider Magia Record 2 as one of the best animated shows of 2021.
To bring it all together, this season was much more fun, far more interesting, and notably more worthy as a Madoka Magica successor than its predecessor ever was. In fact, this goes back to what I said at the top.
Unless something drastic happened, Magia Record 1 was a show you should skip. Well, Magia Record 2 came, and now, you might want to reconsider.
As far as I know, and if we believe the “To Be Continued” mark at the end of episode eight, Magia Record 3 is on the way. Magia Record 2 has rekindled my interest in this series, and that is an accomplishment.
Still, this season’s biggest fault was something that was out of its hands. This installment needed to recover from the disappointment of Magia Record 1 on top of continuing the story. And it had to do both those things in only eight episodes.
That was a tall order, and Magia Record 2 gave it a commendable attempt. Unfortunately, it found itself stuck with a cast of characters who remained forgettable. I know I said Iroha and Yachiyo had risen to become the face of this series, but ask me who they are once Magia Record 3 starts airing. If I can tell you their names on the spot, then I will be pleasantly surprised.
But, ask me about the original cast, and that is another thing altogether.
- Madoka Kaname
- Akemi Homura (voiced by Chiwa Saitou)
- Sayaka Miki (voiced by Eri Kitamura)
- Kyouko Sakura (voiced by Ai Nonoka)
- Mami Tomoe (voiced by Kaori Mizuhashi)
I watched Madoka Magica over six years ago, and I have a well-document history of not remembering details between installments that come out the same year. And yet, to this day, I have not forgotten their story or personalities.
While it was nice to see these five appear in Magia Record 2, they could not have represented a more glaring comparison.
Magia Record is a series that exists in the shadow of its predecessor; it is trying to make a name for itself. Season one’s attempt was not a good start. Season two improved many assets to the point where, if trends continue, season three might be something worthwhile.
Sadly, we have seen this franchise when it has been at its best – i.e., the Madoka Magica film trilogy. Incidentally, Madoka Magica’s fourth movie is, at the time of this review going live, in the works. And if you want to see me have real anticipation, just wait.
The point is, Magia Record 2 was in constant recovery mode. Only time will tell if it set the groundwork for a satisfying conclusion.
Improvements can happen; second chances can pay off.
I do not know the production schedule for this series. Perhaps there were significant changes between seasons one and two. Maybe there was nothing and everything, so far, has gone according to plan.
Whatever might have happened, one thing is clear. Madoka Magica has finally received a successor. It may not be in the same league, but this show grew to become far more fun than what it was before.
Unlike last time, Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 – The Eve of Awakening has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 – The Eve of Awakening? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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