|Mami, Rifles dropping from her skirt?! Now that's Magic!|
As I've become a bit jaded in my second go-around with anime as an adult, I never considered myself someone who would like anime from the Magical Girl category, but I've taken a shine to Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica. Who'd a thunk?
The thing I like about it is that it pretty much destroys my preconceptions about magical girl stories, and seems to be a bit dark. I also like the alternate-reality sequences where the magical girls reach the core of the delusion (a newly-forming witch) that is causing people to off themselves in various ways (jumping from buildings, releasing toxic gases in a closed room), and these sequences are especially well done with a lot of stop-action-like animation using photographic-like images. It's hard to tell what technique the animators are using because things have really opened up with CG-integrated anime. Does this mean a more serious move towards CG is planned and will this put the already depressed Japanese economy further in the dumps by replacing animators with CG-generators? Not sure, but this technique is very interesting and engaging in realizing an alternate reality from the usual anime world we see.
The dark part of the storyline is that the girls who are selected to become magical girls by this stuffed-animal looking magical dog (rabbit?) is, on the outset, a pretty sweet deal; in exchange for becoming a magical girl and fighting witches you get any wish you want fulfilled. But the cost is too great in more ways than one, and this agonizing sub plot of what and how the two main storyline characters want to wish for and make their decision to become magical girls is interesting and unexpected.
If you don't want to take my word for it, here is a youtube video of a very (enthusiastic?) drunk young man, probably broadcasting from the inner sanctum of his dorm room at uni, narrating the preview from episode 3.
Got the picture of Mami from Due2Life blog.