For many years, fans of the magical girl anime tended to be from the same demographic as its principal characters: little girls. The genre of young girls using mystical powers to fight monsters saw its potential broadened, though, in 2011 with the television premiere of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which cast an unflinching, unsentimental eye at the physical and psychological dangers of tasking middle school girls with battling extradimensional entities.
Madoka went on to become such a hit that its original 12 episodes were retouched and repackaged into a pair of theatrical releases. This month a third film, Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion opens in Japan, and a special exhibition of Madoka artwork and statues is being held in Tokyo.
The event is running until November 4 at the observatory of Roppongi Hills, the upscale shopping and dining complex which also houses an art museum and movie theater. Over 800 pieces of artwork from the first two Madoka films, Beginnings and Eternal, are on display.
There’s also the requisite gift shop, plus a café with Madoka-themed beverages based on the color scheme of the series’ five heroines, which come served on illustrated coasters (while stocks last).
Hungry fans can also chow down on sweet bean buns shaped like sinister puppet master Kyubey.
And if you’re upset about villain Charlotte, the Witch of Sweets, devouring one of the cast members, you can take revenge by eating her in curry form.
Moving back to the exhibit area, life-size statues of Madoka’s full crew of five magical girls are on display. While these same figures have been shown at previous events, they still make for an impressive sight assembled together.
▼ Homura Akemi, sporting her alternate look with glasses and braided hair
▼ Big-sisterly/-chested veteran magic girl Mami Tomoe
▼ Sayaka Miki, best friend of main character Madoka Kaname
▼ Spear wielder and big eater Kyoko Sakura
The literal big draw of the exhibition, however, is the beautiful statue of Madoka herself in her Ultimate Madoka incarnation.
Recreating her appearance from the finale of the TV series, the figure stands two meters tall.
While it may not be as massive as the full-scale Gundam statue in Odaiba, Ultimate Madoka has the giant robot easily beaten in number of frills, which seem to have been strategically placed to prevent upskirt photos.
▼ Sorry fanboys, not today.
Despite the figure’s size, it shows a breathtaking amount of detail, starting with the understated yet angelic grin the character greets visitors with.
But what we were most impressed by was the craftsmanship shown in the hair.
Madoka’s pastel locks taper gracefully down to elegant tips, and the depth of the design, flowing past her wings, lends the statue an overwhelming sense of scale.
The manner the statue is situated in doesn’t allow for it to be viewed directly from above or behind, but there is enough space to check it out from various angles.
However, Ultimate Madoka isn’t on permanent display, as she is shown alternatively with a statue of fellow magical girl Homura as she appears in the newest Madoka film. Information as to which character is being shown on the specific day can be found on the exhibiton’s website, but just as you have to watch both the Madoka TV series and movies for the complete experience, true diehard fans may need to come to this exhibition twice.
Location: Roppongi Hills ObservationDeck
Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-10-1
Hours: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Monday-Thursday, holidays), 10 a.m.-1 a.m. (Friday-Saturday, days preceding holidays)
Admission: 1,500 yen (US $15)