Friday, July 29, 2011

Madoka Magica to be Dubbed!

Aniplex of America, perhaps best known at this time for charging a small fortune for the Garden of Sinners movies, has just made a lot of magical girl anime fans happy with the announcement of an English dub for the absurdly popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica making this only the second dub the company has done by their own will. (They'd re-released some dubbed series but only Durarara! had a dub they were paying to produce.)

Personally, this is a big shock to me because despite the insane popularity of this series right now, it's a magical girl anime and so far in the US such anime have apparently died sales wise if they weren't called Sailor Moon. Some suggest that mainstream male fans are afraid of their macho points dropping if they watch magical girl anime while female anime fans often prefer more shonen or yaoi-esque titles. Others claim that merely using the words "magical" or "princess" in the title of an anime dooms it to being considered a series for pre-pubescent girls. Regardless, this turn of events leads me to think there are 3 possible explanations for this English dub being announced:

First, that Aniplex is convinced the massive online fan popularity of Madoka Magica will translate to big sales and/or they've gotten so much pro-dub feedback on this one that they decided to dub it despite all of the previous failures of magical girl series.

Second, Aniplex isn't aware of the previous failures and/or does not understand that they'd probably get better sales dubbing Blue Exorcist and Oreimo. They simply believe that western the fans will flock to it like the Japanese fans.

Or third, someone made a contract.


Frankly, I think the third choice is the most likely.

As I see it, Madoka Magica will not actually sell well despite the huge fan popularity. The reality is that many of the fans online who practically worship this series probably won't bother buying it. They've already got it subbed and downloaded onto their hardrives and for far too many anime fans in general, that's more than enough. The reality Aniplex of America will likely soon discover is the same harsh one that the other anime companies have learned before: magical girl series don't sell well in the US.

Or I could be wrong. Madoka Magica is a harsh deconstruction of many of the tropes and plot elements of a typical magical girl series. It does not bode well though that even a beloved classic power house of a magical girl series like Card Captor Sakura can't even get a dubbed full release here.

Then again, I was wrong about this series getting a dub at all so what the hell do I know? I can't lose my head over these things. I should just be happy about this news!

Anyway, we know Blue Exorcist and Oreimo fans who wanted a dub are screwed and sub fans will pay a hefty price for these releases despite that. Compare Aniplex of America sub-only sets with releases from other companies and you have to ask yourself why the cost is higher for sub-only from them when they are the US arm of the Japanese company that OWNS the series to begin with. A licensor incurs costs licensing but a US branch incurs more to license? That seems unlikely.

Oh well, some fans like paying higher prices for less content. And don't forget those pretty boxes! Ignore that fans just a few years ago said "screw the box I want my anime to be cheaper!" Ignore it like the NASA data on CO2. I guess the feelies consisting of sixteen ending card postcards, a double sided poster and a 24 page booklet of character designs will have to try and make fans feel like it was worth it. (Wow, remember when we used to get LE sets that came with swag plus bilingual releases?)

Then again, there are fans who will jump for joy to pay more because the releases are more like the Japanese releases. (Ah, anime fans are just weird. Complaining about costs when it's a license by Americans but praising expensive releases when the Japanese come over and do it.)

Well, this bit of con news is certainly welcome to me one way or the other. I love magical girl series and this one will get into my collection! Maybe I'll even help some of you, my readers, to add it to your collections on the cheap? Hmm, maybe I will. You'll have to talk to my partner in this plan. . . .


He can be very persuasive. Don't miss out, plan ahead to save for the release of Madoka Magica!



  1. Even though I had a feeling in the back of my mind that this show was definitely getting a dub, it's definitely VERY satisfying to finally see it confirmed! :)

    I seriously hope the many fans of the series put their money where their mouth is and help make this series as big a hit here as it was in Japan.

    Anyway, I'm definitely picking this series up, it's a really great show! :3

  2. lol i JUST read the news after getting of work. My brother is PISSED though. He said "they dub that piece of shit monster eatin Madoka and not Oreimo?!?!....."

  3. Also, myself and a large number of other people posted a lot of pro-dub comments on the Official Madoka Facebook page right after it opened. That may actually have influenced them. ;D

  4. I was a bit disappointed that Oreimo will not get an English dub, which really killed the chances of the English dub side having the next "queen of tsundere" (Cristina Vee). Regardless, I'm hyped up on the news that Madoka is getting an English dub.

    But anyways, Madoka is now a definite must buy for me. I think you failed to point out that the main reason why magical girl anime usually don't get licensed a lot and don't sell is mainly due to the fact that demographics show that the large majority of American anime fans happen to fall into the "shonen" demographic (young boys between ages 10-17). Most of the magical girl anime is usually aimed towards the shojo demographic (young girls) and most of them would be seen as "too girly" or "too childish" to be worth while for American licensing. Though being said, there are some magical girl anime that is aimed towards older males (18+ years old) that is heavy on the lolicon content (Nanoha).

    What makes Madoka more unique from the other magical girl anime is that it is a deconstruction like you said. But they deconstruct it in a dark, cynical, and gritty way. Many magical girl anime fall into the idealistic scale, but Madoka falls in the cynical end. Deconstruction of popular anime cliches (like magical girl) in a dark and brutal way is what get a lot of recognition from not only in Japan, but in the U.S. as well. There are deconstruction that are done in a sillier and comical way, but it is very hard to do.

    I would love to see more deconstruction anime of other popular cliches other than the mecha (Mecha constantly have too many deconstructions and responses to the said deconstructions to the point that they are highly unoriginal). Next on the list? Deconstruct the hot-blooded action hero concept in many shonen action series (Bleach, Naruto) in the most brutal way possible.

    Anyways. my two cents on dub cast guess, tell me what you think (I would like to see a mix of LA and Houston voice acting regulars):

    Madoka- Hynden Walch
    Sayaka- Laura Bailey
    Kyoko- Jessica Boone
    Homura- Cristina Vee
    Mami- Monica Rial
    Kyubey- Johnny Yong Bosch /人◕ ‿‿ ◕人\

  5. I'd also like to point out that Madoka's fandom encompasses both type A and type B otaku. Few anime have the capacity to do so they're lucky if they manage to grasp onto one.

  6. @ darkpaladinx: I'm bummed too about Oreimo but I do like that dream cast for Madoka!

    @ Anonymous: I'm not sure what you mean by type A and type B otaku. Can you elaborate please?

  7. Nice page you got going here, Richard.

    (BTW, this is Andrea, the Colombian freak from

  8. I know I'm very late about commenting, but I many good things about this Madoka show and I wanted to give the "magical girl" genre a fair shot, so I'll probably look into this show at some point.

    @Richard J.
    Also, (I know this is off-topic) I think your contest is a cool idea, but, if I may offer a suggestion, maybe you should try to see if ANN will promote your contest on their site.