Kindness begets naivety. Courage begets imprudence. Furthermore, there’s no reward for devotion/dedication of any kind. Those who can’t understand that are not fit to be Magical Girls. – Akemi Homura, Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Episode 5)
I have fairly exacting standards when it comes to viewing anime; needless to say, I consider this show to be one of the few good exports from Japan in recent years. Between writing, themes, characterization, and subverting standard tropes, Madoka is a fine example of what can be done with a simple concept and turning it on its head. Sadly, the series is pricey to get ahold of (to own) in America; I lucked out with a good ebay auction. However, to view it, there are several streaming services (Crunchyroll comes to mind).
In examining the anime through the lens of gender studies/roles, however, I was fairly… disturbed and disappointed by some of what I found. While it is an excellent show in terms of feminine empowerment, it presents a mostly negative front for masculine identity and role.