We were raised in LA, by and large, and to an Angeleno, nothing says you've arrived like a big fancy-dress premiere at one of the classic old cinema palaces. It's just de rigueur. Something one does.
The Madoka premiere at the Egyptian was therefore something to savor. Something that said we'd made it, that this was a perfectly reasonable and mainstream thing. More, having the head of SHAFT and the producer there was another sign -- that they care about us overseas, that we're an important market.
And we certainly care about them. At the end, after the movie, they were besieged by fans wanting to shake their hands, penned in and unable to escape. Feel a moment of pity. But admire them, too, in their massive and fulfilled ambition. After all, Madoka is, in and of itself, seriously aiming to be the Evangelion of its generation.
Expand on that a little. Consider SHAFT -- reasonably successful, but still constrained by their budgets, and I would argue, somewhat restrained creatively as well. They produce stuff based on popular properties and apply their own spin to it, but up until Madoka, they were still looking for that work that defines them as a studio.
Now, of course, we have no doubt. It pulled together all of their tendencies -- Shinbo's directorial excesses, their emotive animation, the brilliant character designs and softly charming voice work -- and it was received with love and admiration.
We greeted it, you might say, with open wallets. It sounds cynical, but I genuinely think the spinoff media are excellent. Just look at the movie program guide, with its wraparound, embossed, die-cut cover. Full color. Interviews. Sticker on the outside. It's posh, and frankly well-worth the 12 dollars it cost at the theater. I don't begrudge SHAFT the rewards of their labor.
After all, with the money from Madoka, who knows what they'll do? They've proven themselves to be brilliant and crazy, and even if they've occasionally failed, even their failures are worth watching. And they won't always fail.
(Incidentally, ANN has a transcript of the discussion, if you're looking for something more newsy. This article is just about our feelings on the matter.)