The Madoka movie, 前篇。

The lobby of 109 Cinemas in Nagoya.

On Sunday, the first of October, there was a typhoon, which turned out to be more hype than storm (seriously, it rained a lot, but that was it). I found my favorite drink in the world, Pepsi Twist, at Seiyu; it just appeared on the shelves one day. (I can’t even get that stuff back in America.) I was exhausted the following Tuesday, so didn’t go to kendo, but Natascha and I returned on Thursday and got to learn a little about footwork and how to handle the sword.

Something that had been on my radar since before I left America were the movie remakes of the anime TV series 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ。 I’d watched it after Otakon, and the prospect of seeing thirteen episodes repackaged (with new footage, natch) into two movies — with the promise of a third, all-new movie to follow eventually — was something I didn’t want to miss. The dates were set; the first movie would be on the sixth, and the second part the very next weekend. I asked Ayaka, one of the Japanese girls who lives with us in the dorm, if she’d suggest the closest of the theaters that were screening the first movie, and she told me to try 109 Cinemas near Nagoya Station. I checked into a ticket on Saturday, the first day of the movie, but was told that the best seats were taken. See, in Japan you reserve your theater seat(s), and can place your order online. This means that the front-center seats go FAST in the first few days, something I hadn’t given enough thought to. Thus, I decided to walk down to the theater and see about reserving a ticket for Sunday’s show, thereby making sure I knew where the theater was already when it came time to go.

To reach the theater, you exit the station on the side with the massive metal art thing and turn right, and then just walk straight for about ten minutes or so. The building that houses the theater is on the right. In addition to the theater, there’s a game center (and a nice one, at that), a MOS Burger (score!), and a few other restaurants. The whole thing is called La Vamo Sasashima, and its mascot is a little burro. I headed up the escalator and browsed the theater-exclusive Madoka merchandise, some of which was already sold out and all of which was a little pricy, before settling on a scarf shaped like one of the characters. (For those interested, it’s a Kyubey scarf, and his ears are the operative part.)

A helpful employee at the ticket counter told me that many of the Sunday showing’s seats were already gone, but there was a decent, mostly-central spot at the back of the theater still left, which she recommended. I went ahead and paid, got my ticket, and went downstairs to have a burger.

The following day, I had plenty of time before the movie, so I slept in and cleaned up my room a bit (we each get a small vacuum, and I decided it was time to try it out). With plenty of time ahead of me, I went from city bus to subway to the streets of Nagoya, eventually arriving at the theater. The line was really long, snaking around the lobby, but I wasn’t concerned; everyone had a reserved seat. Turns out there’s a reason the center seats go fast: There’s a whole section that are nicer, deluxe seats with wide areas between for placing concessions. Also, everyone received a sketch of Madoka signed by the production staff (copies, but high-quality ones) and a little card. I tucked them both away as best I could and settled into my seat.

The movie did not disappoint. It had the same production values as the series, and ended at a suitably climactic point. I made a brief stop at Akamondoori and then headed back to the dorm very pleased, and finished the evening by making grilled cheese sandwiches and sharing them with Sai and Unei (the latter of whom had been asking me to show her how to make them since the first night).

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