Puella Magi Madoka Magica, for all it was cultural phenomenon upon its release in 2011, has struggled to keep up that momentum since then, at least internationally. While it would be silly to suggest its influence isn’t still felt within the anime industry, following the release of the third and final movie in a trilogy of films that followed the success of the original TV series in 2013, discussion of this property in the West has mostly gone away.
In the following 6 years, no new anime property based on Madoka Magica was released, which really hindered its chances in the long run. The story is a little different in Japan, however, since the release of a mobile game in 2017 helped to sustain interest in the property. We’ve known for a while this game would be adapted into an anime later this year, but it appears that, in an effort to promote the title and following the enormous success they had with Fate/Grand Order, license holders Aniplex have chosen to localize the mobile game this new anime will be based upon, Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story.
The mobile game has brought back a lot of the staff from the original series and films, with Ume Aoki once again returning to work on character designs and opening animation and transformation sequences animated by SHAFT. The success for the game has been huge, leading to a stage adaptation featuring members from idol group Keyakizaka46 and a manga adaptation, all due to the success the game had in finding an audience. Aniplex will be hoping lightning can strike twice following their previous mobile game exploits with the localization of this title and plan to release the game in the United States and Canada in mid-2019, just in time for the anime adaptation.
A short trailer for this game has also been streamed online.
With the anime on the horizon, the game had a large booth at Anime Japan a few weeks, and a popular one at that, with many people flocking to see the displays the had and the Walpurgisnight on display near the entrance. If the company are able to replicate Fate/Grand Order’s success with Magia Record, it would be a surprise, I feel, if a welcome one, since the dormancy of the IP in the West and the framing of this game as a side story that makes it feel unimportant being things that I think will work against the game’s chances of success.
The series is simply not as recognizable anymore, as much of a shame as that is, and I just wonder whether enough people are excited about this project to justify the investment, as much as I hope they do find the audience. Hearing iconic songs from the soundtrack for the original series and movies in that trailer still manages to give me goosebumps and makes me want to try this title out and see it succeed.
The Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica mobile game will release in English in mid-2019, and you can find more information at the game’s official Twitter account.