This spinoff of the Madoka Magica series, based on the mobile game of the same name, is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to plot and characters. However, one thing that it’s absolutely amazing at is creating a haunting atmosphere that really gets you into the minds of the magical girls and reveals tidbits of information that give you more insight into their lives. Studio Shaft has really outdone themselves this time, so let’s take a look at the best haunting scenes from Magia Record!
-- Spoilers Ahead! --
5. Rena, Momoko, and Kaede’s Argument at the Burger Shop (Episode 2)
The abrasive Rena and her shy, immature friend (?) Kaede don’t tend to get along very well. Their magical girl senpai Momoko tries to keep them in line, but they’re constantly at odds with each other because they have polar opposite philosophies on how magical girls should act. Their fight at the burger shop is beautifully embellished by floating pieces of text on the screens in the background, which reveal their true thoughts even as they say things that they don’t mean. “I don’t know what to do”, “forget what I just said now”, “I hate them”, “my wish”... This is one of the easiest details to notice since the phrases are in English, and it really adds to the scene.
4. Iroha’s Entrance to Kamihama City (Episode 1)
When Iroha decides to get on the train to Kamihama to find her missing sister, she seems to transcend into another dimension where all magical girls are connected by their wishes that have been plastered all over the billboards and advertisements in the city. We see silhouettes of girls solemnly dragging their suitcases behind them as they enter the rumored place where magical girls can supposedly be saved—they pass by dozens of wishes (some from characters in the show, some from mobile game exclusive heroes, and some unknown) that each represent a person who gave up everything just to make it come true. It’s a powerful image to start off the series, that’s for sure.
3. Yachiyo’s Past in the Memory Museum (Episode 12)
Throughout this show, most of the magical girls don’t seem to know the horrible truth that their souls are bound to external Soul Gems and that they’re doomed to succumb to despair and become witches one day. Anyone who watched Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica knows that, but it’s still terrifying to watch poor Iroha and the others come to this realization after learning about Yachiyo’s past. Yachiyo used to have a group of friends much like her current team, but they were all taken from her by the harsh life that magical girls are forced to lead. Presented as a college lecture by the dispassionate Magius leader Touka, it’s a creative and extra creepy way to reveal the true nature of their powers.
2. Counting Down the Lucky Owl Water Events (Episodes 6 & 7)
When Iroha and Felicia get roped into drinking Lucky Owl Water in a witch’s barrier, they’re unwittingly locked into a countdown where their luck slowly runs out until they have to drink the water again. It starts as an incredibly subtle background detail—the fruit juice percentage on the popsicles they’re eating drops from 24% to 23%—but the numbers become increasingly more obvious as the counter gets closer to zero. If they don’t defeat the witch in time, who knows what could happen...
1. The Wings of the Magius Final Speech (Episode 13)
It’s no coincidence that the Memory Museum, where the Wings of the Magius concoct their plans to somehow “save magical girls”, looks like the palace where Benito Mussolini headquarted his fascist party during WWII. In the final episode of the series, Touka addresses her hooded legions of followers on top of a large platform as she explains how her new system will release magical girls from their despairing fate. Iroha looks on in horror, seeing familiar faces in the crowd and wondering what she can possibly do to drag her friends back to her side. Can such a charismatic leader ever be stopped?
We also appreciated the haunting qualities of Sana’s life in the Endless Solitude, particularly her interactions with Ai and the stylistic interpretation of her backstory. But did we miss any of your favorite haunting moments from Magia Record? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!