It really can’t be because I had high expectations. I didn’t really. I was skeptical. I’m always skeptical. Especially as the one series from the Winter season that seemed to be universally well-liked, I went into the whole thing with a large grain of salt. After all, I don’t seem to have a great track record for agreeing with the popular opinion (see Eureka 7 and Gundam SEED).
Magical girls? Yeah, okay, whatever. Even if Sailor Moon was my first and only, I don’t have a problem with magical girls — but my opinion towards the genre probably wasn’t necessary to factor in anyway, considering everyone was liking Madoka because it was “different” from what you’d typically expect from a magical girl series.
But the first two episodes bored the hell out of me. I didn’t see anything different. It wasn’t bubbly and shoujo enough to be typical magical girl, I guess, but it wasn’t groundbreaking in any way or even halfway intriguing. The characters were flat and uninteresting, wholly good and moral. Homura was a question mark, but did not provide a lot of excitement. Kyuubey was creepy though. Clearly he has an ulterior motive! The collage element in some scenes were kind of neat, but not neat enough for me to watch on that basis alone. And boy, was that opening theme fan-pandering or what.
So I thought about dropping because hey, when was the last time I actually ended up liking a series that I almost dropped early on? Oh, right, never. (The only halfway case was when I almost dropped Dennou Coil near the midpoint because it was slow, but I wasn’t bored at the beginning of the series.) But I was goaded into watching episode three because it’s such a short series anyway, and episode three was the first instance of Puella Magi Madoka Magica being different.
(Spoilers for the entire series beyond this point.)