The new year is here, and people all over the world are hoping that 2017 shapes up to be a better one than 2016. However, for anime fans, it looks like one franchise is ready to spit January into a rather bleak hole. Over on Twitter, a slew of artist welcomed 2017 with behind-the-scenes photos and artwork, but Puella Magi Madoka Magica chose to do something a little less conventional. Character designer Junichiro Taniguchi shared two dark images with fans that left many wondering if the surprising dark anime may infect 2017's shiny charm.
The artist's Twitter messages were friendly enough. In one post, Taniguchi thanks his followers for all their support. "Thank you for a great deal earlier this year," he wrote. "This year is my very best! Thank you so much for you patronage."
Another image by Yukata Sugiyama was also uploaded by SHAFT, the studio behind Madoka Magica. The tweet said, "We want to deliver a happy new year…and congratulations for the nice work" fans have done in supporting the twisted magical girl series.
Looking at the pictures, you may think they are innocent enough, but fans of the anime are more than familiar with its dark undertones. The first picture depicts protagonist Homura Akemi dressed as the devil. The young girl is one of the main characters of the series as she tries desperately to save her friend Madoka. The magic girl has the power to travel through time, and she becomes fixated on saving Madoka despite the paradox she finds herself stuck in. Though she looks sweet and young, Homura's emotions can swing wildly due to her obsession with Madoka, and the teen has lived a long time because of her looping gifts.
In the second photo, fans can see the series' mascot makes an appearance, and it may be an unwelcome one for many. Kyubey can be seen in the corner of the painting looking innocent, but anime fans know the alien's true self is an ugly one. The wish-granting creature is the main protagonist of Madoka Magica as it gifts young girls magical gifts so long as they sign a contract saying they will kill the world's evil witches. However, the creature does not tell the girl that their ultimate goal is to create a never-ending cycle of chaos that feeds of the girls' gifts, and it will only end when the victims becomes witches themselves.
旧年中は多大なご声援ありがとうございました。今年も精一杯頑張ります！変わらぬご愛顧のほど宜しくお願い致します。 pic.twitter.com/mALaMfY9Wk— 谷口淳一郎 (@syaorin_2009) December 31, 2016
新年あけましておめでとうございます— シャフト (@shaft_official) December 31, 2016
If you are not familiar with Madoka Magica, then you can probably already tell the series is not like your typical magical girl series. The anime debuted back in January 2011 and quickly became one of the most popular franchises both in the U.S. and abroad. Madoka Magica follows a group of magical girls as they battle dangerous witches who will not hesitate to brutally slaughter their enemies. Pitted against untold dangers, the girls quickly learn how horrifying life is for so-called heroes as they face death, grief, and wrenching anguish in their fight to escape Kyubey's curse.