Madoka spoilers incoming.

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Is Madoka Magica what happens when you put a leash on Shinbo?

No, really — I held off on this post until I could figure out how to go about it, and I think this is probably the way. I’d like to hear from people who know Shinbo’s oeuvre better than I do, which isn’t that hard. Is this what a subtle Shinbo show looks like?

I don’t dislike the guy as a director, but one thing I always find myself complaining about during his productions is the lack of subtlety. Maybe it’s purposeful, and I don’t deny being a fan of literary douchebaggery sometimes, but I’m just not that into things like Bakemonogatari’s solid-color interjections and Hidamari Sketch’s constant substitution of symbols for characters — or I should say that I do like those things, but not when they happen every minute and a half. Shinbo brings some powerful imagery to bear, but, in my opinion, it’s most effective when it’s occasional and brief.

I mean, Madoka Magica’s witch scenes are pretty balls-out so far. But they don’t have (legible) text plastered all over them, which is something. And we haven’t really been force-fed visual motifs like the glass-walled, cage-looking classrooms — they show up for five seconds or so, then they’re gone for ten minutes or until the next episode. The result is a show that feels artsy, sure, but not forcedly so.

Ergo: what’s going on here, you hardcore Shinbo fans? I want to know because, whatever it is, I like it.

Though I guess it doesn’t matter much insofar as they had me at Unlimited Antique Rifle Works.