Oh pricey. I used to be actually hoping that this season’s shortened size may need helped stop Magia Record from falling sufferer to the manufacturing woes that plague so many anime lately, but it surely looks like that was wishful considering on my half. I at all times knew that there was solely a slim probability that this season would have the ability to preserve the attractive requirements set by its first episodes, however this is not only a step down in high quality from earlier weeks—it is downright unfinished.

I’ve been singing the praises of this second season’s restricted run, as a result of it has meant that Magia Record can lastly trim the fats and dispense with all the time-wasting that marred its preliminary run. Even whenever you low cost the episode’s different obtrusive points, that is an space during which “This is Something Only I Can Do” backslides into the primary season’s worst habits. Everything we see on this episode consists both of characters touring from one place to a different place, characters speaking about stuff that the viewers already is aware of, characters coping with conflicts that do not truly go anyplace this week, or some mixture of the three. It’s not a horrible story, however table-setting not often makes for essentially the most compelling tv.

Now, given the knots that Magia Record‘s plot was already twisted in at first of Season 2, I can perceive and even forgive an episode like this, which is without doubt one of the needed evils that always crops up in a serialized story after the writers notice that the one method out of the nook that they’ve scripted themselves into is lots of meandering and exposition. However, what may need been a merely “okay” episode of Magia Record is totally hobbled by an virtually disastrous drop in manufacturing values. It is not even that the artwork itself seems to be significantly ugly or off-model. No, the most important points right here lie virtually solely within the modifying, and by extension, the stuff that by no means even bought animated to start with. In addition to the standard telltale indicators of a rushed manufacturing—looped keyframes, prolonged digicam pans over static pictures, repeated insert pictures—there appear to be a number of cuts of animation that simply plain by no means bought completed.

By this, I imply that there are quite a few situations the place two sequences observe each other with none form of transitionary pictures to attach them. For instance, there’s one shot close to the tip the place Iroha sweeps her cape in entrance of her to catch some Black Feathers off guard; the minimize of the rippling cape lasts just a few seconds longer than it should, after which instantly Iroha is horizontal and mid-air above her foes. Normally, there’d be some form of visible indication of what Iroha was doing—a zoom-in of her ft pushing off the bottom, a medium shot of her kicking into the air, one thing—however on this case, there’s simply nothing however a tough minimize from one picture to the subsequent.

If this type of gaffe had been restricted to 1 and even simply a few situations, it would be straightforward sufficient to disregard, and plenty of viewers most likely would not even discover within the first place. The downside is that I used to be noticing bizarre modifying hiccups like that in virtually each scene, which had the cumulative impact of creating the entire episode extremely troublesome to observe. There had been different, much more apparent goofs that took me out of the present utterly, too. Specifically, I counted a minimum of two distinct sequences the place characters had been clearly talking to one another, however no dialogue could possibly be heard, and there wasn’t any indication that the scenes had been deliberately put collectively that method.

And look: I get it. Making animation is impossibly difficult, even in the very best of circumstances. Unfortunately, “the best of circumstances” for many anime studios nonetheless tends to imply that employees is overworked and underpaid to an virtually prison diploma. I’m certain all of that hasn’t been made any higher by the worldwide pandemic that we’re all nonetheless struggling to cope with, whilst the tip of 2021 looms on the horizon. While I can not converse to what particular elements particularly led to Magia Record having to decide on such a determined and slapdash effort as this, I can let you know that it wasn’t very enjoyable to observe. I can solely hope that the season can recuperate in its ultimate two episodes, and that it may possibly accomplish that with out abusing the sources or the willpower of a studio that’s clearly being pushed to its absolute restrict as is.


Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story is at the moment streaming on

James is a author with many ideas and emotions about anime and different pop-culture, which can be discovered on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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