Volume 49 Issue 1 Reconstructing the Grand Narrative: The Pure Land of Madoka Magica

Greene, Barbara

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Since its premiere, the 2011 anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica has been widely regarded by both critics and consumers as a groundbreaking work. While contemporary otaku culture typically eschews the notion of a grand narrative, this does not mean that otaku lack a longing for the transcendent, which is often projected onto a young girl whose limitless potential triggers an intense reaction with otaku who have an affinity for the fictional over the mundane. However, Madoka Magica harkens back to an even older model of the transcendent. Within the series, through powers gained from multiple, self-sacrificial incarnations, the lead character Madoka is able to break free from her reality and into a paradise in which her fellow magical girls can attain absolute peace. This article explores the ways in which the discourse of Pure Land Buddhism have been integrated into Madoka Magica and, thereby, offers otaku a postmodern Pure Land.