I'd just like to preface this by relating a bit of background here. Since Otakon 2011, which I volunteered at, I knew that the dark magical girl show “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” existed and was coming to the States. This past summer, at Otakon 2012, I went to a celebratory panel with Christine Marie Cabanos, Sarah Williams, and Lauren Landa, who provide the English voices of Madoka, Sayaka, and Kyoko, respectively. And although I hadn't actually started watching “Madoka Magica” at that point, I had such a great time at the panel and autograph session (where I was ecstatic to have Lauren Landa say two whole sentences to me that didn't have to do with the show) that I decided I just had to watch “Madoka Magica” this very Halloween.
Fortunately, “Madoka Magica” turned out to be fairly short, which meant it was easy to fit in—and, if anything, I found myself having to pace my viewings of it so that I wouldn't finish the entire thing in a single night (then “Shiki” came along...). This is a good show. It's compelling, it draws you in, and it really makes you feel for all the various characters. I'm not sure if I'd say it's quite as good as “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” or even that it's as groundbreaking as it's been made out to be—though more on that later. But there's a lot it does well.
WARNING: There's really no way to talk about the plot of “Madoka” without giving away the story, so if you haven't seen it yet (and you want to be surprised) DO NOT READ ON!!
( SPOILERS AHEAD )