Review: ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion’ a crazy, colorful trip

A scene from "Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion."

The candy-colored crazy quilt of images that make up the Japanese anime “Madoka Magica” are like designer nightmares of cutesiness gone mad. Our heroines are magical schoolgirls, after all, who fight malevolent witches sowing despair, and struggle with their own built-in melancholy. After two feature films that essentially retold the original TV series, director Akiyuki Shimbou and writer Gen Urobuchi have unveiled an all-new Part 3, “Rebellion,” that is by far the trippiest of the lot.

Seeming to go backward at first, it reintroduces us to the girls as if the apocalyptic events of the last movie never happened, before zeroing in, “Matrix"-like, on transfer student Homura’s uneasiness about her suspiciously familiar surroundings. You may feel like you need a mythology guidebook for all the existential talk of transformation, destiny, who’s the enemy of who and whatever the Law of the Cycle is, as Homura and pink-haired colleague Madoka come to grips with their intertwined lives. The more generalized confessionals on friendship and love are a lot simpler to grasp.

But the real star is the riot collage of twisty, breakneck visuals underscoring these conversations and battles: swirling ribbons, fabric-textured backgrounds, fantastical weaponry, demented childhood iconography and shape-shifting forms that create a highly tactile evocation of roiling emotions.



“Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion”

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Playing at: Downtown Independent.