Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica OP Single – Connect – Review

Album Title: Connect
Anime Title: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Artist: ClariS
Catalog Number: SECL-948
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: February 2, 2011
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. Connect ClariS 4:32
2. Dreamin’ ClariS 4:37
3. Kimi to Futari ClariS 4:15
4. Connect -TV mix- ClariS 1:33

Review: Ever since ClariS’s debut with the opening song “Irony” from Ore no Imouto, my impressions of the duo have been mostly positive; I only say “mostly” because “Neo Moon,” wasn’t all too good. Still, these girls are whipping out good songs despite being so young and continue to impress with the release of their second single, Connect, in early February. And after listening to it, I found it to be a major improvement over Irony.

“Connect” mirrors the anime rather nicely. When ClariS first enters, accompanied by the piano, the entire package hints at a deep melancholia arising from the tragic events that happen in Madoka.  But the mood picks up shortly after once the violin and the other instrumentals enter with a sweet feeling and the duo’s vocals convey the hope and the power of friendship that shines through the desolation. It’s an opener fitting of the main character, Madoka, a kindhearted girl who genuinely cares about her friends but who lacks the self-confidence and proactiveness to take things into her own hands. Her feelings do grow more confident and the vocals and instrumentals follow suit, bringing out an earnestness, which makes the song really heartwarming and catchy. The extra expressive effort ClariS puts into their delivery is the icing that makes for a great start to their latest album.

“Dreamin’,” as you might expect, puts you into a dream world, one that’s cheery and carefree through the instrumentals, making it a total 180-degree turn from the surreal witches’ mazes which populate the anime. The song’s catchiness is comparable to “Kokoro no Inryouko,” though there are some rough edges to watch out for. In the first 12 seconds, the arrangement feels a bit messy with the electronica being slightly off tune with the vocals, but it covers itself up shortly afterwards. Despite these issues, “Dreamin’” grew on me after several listens.

Lastly, “Kimi to Futari” is about friendship and enjoying life to the fullest. The song is rather soothing while maintaining a degree of appeal through the lyrics. The lyrics tells a story about the relationship of two girls and their experiences, poignantly conveyed through the accompanying piano and bass. A hearkening to the past is heard around 2:33 to 2:50 where you hear girls giggling and talking in the background and perhaps works in evoking the happier times Madoka had with her friends.  Needless to say, this little touch fit well with the song’s cheerful mood.

Overall, I enjoyed Connect a lot since they have improved, demonstrating that they’re no one-hit wonder.  While there are a few rough edges in “Dreamin’,” their performance in this album, on the whole, was very sweet. It all goes well with the atmosphere packed in Madoka Magica, where everything looks so grim, and I welcome ClariS’s expression which functions as the ray of hope that will grow to become a miracle that resolves everything. The girls have demonstrated a lot of potential thus far and their singles will hopefully continue to get better and better so that they may grace us with a wonderfully career trajectory that will go on for years to come.

Rating: Good

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica OP – Connect

About the author

chikorita157 Guest Contributor for Anime Instrumentality Blog... I have a strong preference for Japanese, Classical and Video Game Music. I am the author and owner of Chikorita157's Anime Blog.

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9 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. MkMiku says:

    I’m not a fan of the ED, but I really like the OP theme. Ah! Now it’s stuck in my head. It reminds me of “My Soul, Your Beats!”, but maybe it’s just the piano.

  2. Sorrow-kun says:

    I’m the opposite of MkMiku, I like the ED a lot more than the OP. It’s a neat tune, and I agree that ClariS have a lot of potential, but it doesn’t “fit” with some of the later eps the same way it did when it opened the earlier eps. More recently, it’s followed some really dark moments, and the slightly lighter tone of the song creates some real mood whiplash at times.

    That piano Youtube vid was neat. :)

  3. chikorita157 says:

    @MkMiku
    It’s one of those shows that the feelings of the songs are drastically different, thus causing a different preference. Fractale’s Op/ED Has a similar feeling, but not nearly A’s dark as Madoka.

    Also, I’m a big fan of Kalafina, so I liked both the OP/ED… Both Magia and Connect are equally as addictive that I overplay both of these songs.

    @Sorrow-kun
    I agree with your statement… While the OP is good, after Episode 3 it feels out of place. While it’s not like the Sora no Woto ED “Girls be Ambitious”, which is very catchy and make the dramatic things give a bad feeling. In a way, it does has a mixed feeling effect. Then again, its the weakness of choosing the wrong mood of the song and anime together. Nevertheless the single is definitely an improvement over the first one.

    • I’m really kind of torn where this single is concerned. It’s probably ranks around the same nebulous area that Irony occupied. That is, it’s good vanilla J-pop, but the downside is that… it’s vanilla J-pop. Because of that, there’s sort of a mixed record going on. Sometimes, this single really resonates with me and I don’t mind listening to it. At other times, my mind just tells me that it’s all been done before. Still, it beats Justin Bieber I guess (oh I did NOT just go there!) :p

  4. chikorita157 says:

    @zzeroparticle
    I suppose since after hearing so many JPop songs, it’s pretty tough to find something unique underneath it all. While the songs are catchy, it could potentially feel generic. The only thing you can only look at is the singing talent to judge the quality of the songs. It’s not necessarily a bad thing… but it’s a sticking point.

    As for Justin Bieber, I don’t know him because he is mostly popular with the tween crowd, just like Twilight and they have two things in common. They are the pool of mediocrity and fuel for haters… Heck, I’m one of those people who think that anything is better than Justin Bieber since he is so overrated.

  5. Aftershok says:

    I’m almost too keen to write this off as unimaginative standard J-pop, but there’s just enough there to put it a cut above in my book. The song isn’t nearly as repetitive as many j-pop songs, and there’s some real thought and variation put into the backgrounds. The string soli and the bridge and outro sections were pretty impressive in that they’re actually unique sections and not just copypasta’d from other parts of the song.

    Also, the song has a reversed piano effect leading to the string intro after the intro vocals. I think reversed piano effects are neat.

  6. magnum says:

    looking at the lyrics after seeing ep 10, I just realized that the entire song is sung from Homura’s POV

    • @magnum
      Good connection there! It’s not surprising that once again, Kajiura weaves the lyrics to match the anime’s plot and hopefully this wasn’t a happy coincidence. Can’t wait for the last two episodes!

  7. Yi says:

    I’m with Sorrow-kun too. I like the ED much better than the OP. The OP’s not bad, but it’s a bit vanilla.

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