all hat and no cattle

A perfect pairing.

In the final Madoka BD release, Gen Urobuchi (scriptwriter) said, “Well, I feel it hasn’t ended here, not yet.”

Let me let out a Darth Vader, “NOOOOOOOOO!” Madoka is a fine anime series. It’s well-written and compact and told a complete story. It stands alone like To Kill A Mockingbird or Escaflowne or Elfen Lied. Yes, you can add a prequel. Yes, you can add a sequel. Yes, you can a spin-off. This is why you shouldn’t.

(But they need to whore out their franchises and make bank! Okay, fine, this argument I accept. After all, it’s Shaft, and we’re four seasons past the prime of Hidamari Sketch, so, yeah, they might be willing to milk, milk, and milk until the cow shrivels up. It’s not like they don’t have 12 more volumes of Bakemonogatari or Negima or Senor Despair to work on or anything…)

(And if Sunrise can resist revisiting Cowboy Bebop and turning in into the 2015 version of Code Geass, I’m sure Shaft can resist turning Madoka into Hidamari Sketch.)

The prequel. Let’s start here. First problem with prequels: they all suck. No, seriously, name one that surpasses the original? While I can name a few sequels that outdo the original (Terminator 2, After Story, Code Geass R2, Zeta Gundam, Star Trek 2: Wrath of KHAAAAAAAN!), I can’t name a prequel. The main issue with prequels is that they’re easy to write (you know what happens) so writers get lazy and trapped. No, seriously, how good did we expect Star Wars I, II, and III based off the facts that at some point Anakin must turn into Darth Vader? Even minus Jar Jar and getting better actors for Anakin and half the cast, the ceiling is a B-. Again, with prequels, you know what’s going to happen, so it traps the writers… unless Madoka somehow uses Homura’s time shift to distort everything thus enabling a new timeline a la Star Trek reboot and now my brain hurts.

The sequel. Okay, so we have Homura in a dystopic world hunting neo-witches. Will it have the same impact as the original series or feel really tacked on like Caddyshack 2? I’m leaning towards Caddyshack 2. (Maybe we can ask how the one-too-many sequel for Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha did… it’s not like it was so terrible they needed to reboot the timeline to save the franchise or anything…)

The spin-off. Yes, Madoka does have a lot of manga cousins, so this choice is the least of all evils. Heck, some spin-offs are actually good (Frasier, Laverne and Shirley) so I’m not against this. Yes, well, it’s not Madoka. So there.

I guess I enjoy Madoka enough that they’re doomed to try to come up with a sequel or prequel. It’ll be like coming up with one for Gurren Lagann or Bebop… sure, but you’re talking about a B- ceiling and generating a lot of angry fanboy tweets and blog posts because they don’t understand for some franchises, you’re just screwed trying to tack on the story.

A spin-off… I’m less against. But if they really want to make money, why did they not team up with Arc System Works and make a Madoka fighter? That would sell beans. Or team up with Key and make a re-imagined visual novel for Madoka… oh gosh, the tears… the tears! So much entropy for Kyubey.

22 Responses to “all hat and no cattle”

  1. “No, seriously, name one that surpasses the original?”

    Speaking of better prequels I wonder if Fate Zero will be one. I’ve heard rumours the story is much better than it’s original.

  2. I’m down with the Madoka fighter. Tira Finale!

  3. *Tiro

  4. Funny you mention Nanoha, as Nanoha A’s was much better than the first season.

  5. We will have to wait and see, but maybe the Hobbit? (film-wise…since really The Lord of the Rings is the sequel to the Hobbit)

  6. Prequel that surpasses the original? Well it’s kind of cheating, since the comics timeline was established before the first movie was made using material from the middle of that timeline, but how about “X-Men First Class” versus “X-Men”? I reckons “First Class” did a fabulous job and outdid that first X movie in pretty much every respect.

  7. Wait, how can you say you’ve never heard of a prequel that surpasses the sequel when Fate/Zero comes out right this season?

    (Well, we can’t say for certain that the anime will turn out better; though it’s hard to see how it could be worse than DEEN. But the novel at least is at the very least on par with the original VN, probably a bit better.)

  8. Eh, I fail to see why Madoka’s so popular. It definitely doesn’t need a second season.
    However a Madoka fighting game sounds pretty cool. It wouldn’t be round based, but each grief seed you have gives you an extra life bar (call it refills to a soul gem), force all of your opponents to use all theirs and they turn into a more powerful witch form which you can get a grief seed by defeating. Lose all of your own, and it’s a non-standard game over where you become the witch and play through all the remaining rounds in that form, then get a different ending. Special moves would probably also drain the life bar. And the points you normally get for doing well? Here they’re entropy points for Kyubey.

    Hell, that’s a much easier idea to come up with than a Persona 4 fighter.

  9. The rurouni kenshin prequels were better than the original. I watched them first before the main series with my friend. After watching the prequel we wanted to see the main series, he gave up pretty quickly. I dogged it out to the Kyoto arc but the kenshin prequels were better than most of the TV series except arguably the Kyoto arc.

  10. I could see a prequel based on, say, the first iteration of events where Homura joins the others after they’re already fighting, but I have to agree it would be there to milk the fans and nothing else. Because we have a general idea of how all iterations of the Madoka storyline go, there really aren’t that many twists to be had. Could see a sequel like Jason mentions, but you know they’d have to muck with things until they found a way to throw Madoka at least a passing part. I’d say it was the Sunrise “Death is a Temporary Condition” award approach, but guess she isn’t technically dead. Do we have an award for existing outside of Time and Space but returning due to a plot device?

    @Neriya: I have to say I agree with you on the popularity thing. Rather than not seeing how it could be popular though, I think its just generally the Magical Girl genre isn’t generally my cup of tea. I did watch all of Madoka (mostly so I could understand why it generated such a big splash on the web) and could see how, given the general state of the genre it was considered a masterpiece.

  11. 1. Kenshin prequels are better than Kyoto Arc? Seriously? The greatest 20 episode run of action anime ever?
    2. Love everyone jumping on the Fate/Zero bandwagon. Don’t forget to grab a window seat for when the bus flips over and catches fire.
    3. Saying X-Men First Class is better than X-Men is… well… no Marvel fanboy would consider either good. Seriously, Havok as the _older_ brother?!

  12. Madoka fighter? I seriously hope you guys have played Grief Syndrome.

    Prequels sequels… I can see how any would have difficulty playing up to the original, as all the Big Secrets are out. But hey, I would watch a show that told us how Walpurgishnacht became Walpurgisnacht. I feel though that if anything, a sequel is what we’ll get.

  13. @Jason
    Rurouni Kenshin

    Kyoto Arc> Prequel

    Prequel> 90-95% of the series

  14. Could Beast Wars count as a better prequel? Dunno what to classify it as.
    And I’d have to agree with Kenshin prequel…loved the series but loved the OVAs more : p

  15. The are 2 ways to do another Madoka series:
    1: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Fumoffu
    They nailed the drama, they nailed the soul crushing emotion, they destroyed and recreated the universe, so let it be. Pick a happy loop (with either Moemura, or for a direct Fumoffu comparison Homuando) let the antics run, make massive bank. If they’d restrain themselves a bit, SHAFT could knock this one out of the park.
    2: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Wasteland
    Follow the exploits, trails and tribulations of Kyoko, Mami and Homura as they struggle against the aberrations of the new world Madoka created. How long can they resist the LAW OF THE WHEEL before they too dissapear?!
    I’d go for door #1

  16. Good prequel? Ace Combat Zero – The Belkan War (to Ace Combat 5 – The Unsung War)


  17. I agree that the best part of the Kenshin series is the prequel OAV.

    The recent Star Trek movie (the academy years) was excellent — one of the best Star Trek movies. Doesn’t it count as a prequel?

    For Madoka Magica, I’d love a series that focused on the past of Madoka’s mother and their school-teacher. The scene in episode 11 when the two of them are in the bar was wonderful, as were all the scenes with Madoka’s mom.

    And, well, the next round of Bakemonogatari starts in January (a movie and a TV-series, I think), so at least Shaft can get that off their list.

  18. The Star Trek movie is both a reboot and a yet a sequel and prequel….thanks to time travel and alternal dimensional theories. While it takes place before the original series run’s time frame from the 60s, it is also a sequel to both the series Enterprise and (via Spock and Nero) to the Next Generation timeline. Because of the interference of Nero (and perhaps other things that happened in Enterprise) the time line is different in many ways. What comes after is effectively no more…for them. For Spock and Nero, their timeline still exists as a alternate dimention (seen today in Star Trek Online). This means that events from one universe have effected the other since events from Spock’s timeline (First Contact for sure, and many a few other things involving time travel) shaped the new universe….since Enterprise still happens in Star Trek. But events after Nero have shifted it to a new timeline entirely…with the paradoxes that go with it. The changes make it a reboot, but use the past material in said reboot that effects said reboot.

  19. Interestingly, fate/zero is also by Urobuchi Gen. Can’t speak for the anime but the novel is definitely better than the original.

  20. There’s something just wrong about the hearing term “milking the franchise” when applied to the underage cast of Madoka.
    The Rurouni Kenshin OAV is just that good, no contest. The Kyoto arc may be the best part of the series, even better than the OAV, but the mediocre everything else in the TV series offset the awesome.
    Go ahead and slag on Fate/Zero all you want, considering it’s by the same guy responsible for Madoka. So it’s a given that you’re be along for the ride, crash and all.
    Also, isn’t the upcoming Bakemonogatari show next season also a prequel? Everyone’s agreed that it’s a superior prequel as well.

  21. Give me the slice of life spinoff. With lots of yuri, please.

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