Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica 3 – Apocalypse Now

Ever feared going to the doctor?

The blogosphere literally exploded with really interesting things to say about Madoka after episode 3, which really is no surprise considering just the force of one particular event that happened during the show. And if you haven’t watched Madoka 3 yet, I highly recommend you stop reading, and go watch it, because that singular event needs maximal impact. But let’s take a step back from that event, and consider… Oh I don’t know… Everything else that happened.

This week’s episode tackled a new topic in comparison to the last two episodes. I brought up the idea of choice, and what it essentially means to be a mahou shoujo in my previous post, but this week added a new dimension to the conversation: wishes and dreams, and in particular what it means in relation to being a mahou shoujo.

Now the idea of choice was kind of up in the air last week, but I think that the revelation about Mami this week really slams it home. The fact that Madoka and Sayaka have to choose whether to become mahou shoujo or not is central to what’s going on here. I hate to sound like a broken record, but we’re now 3 episodes in, and the protagonist still isn’t a mahou shoujo. I mean seriously? I came into this show expecting a cute pink outfit and moe girls fighting the evils and crimes! That’s pretty much what the damn promotional art told me! Where is that?

Where are my rose-colored mahou shoujos???

Well the lack of an immediate switch from normal girl to mahou shoujo really emphasizes just how difficult and painful the decision is. But the interesting part here is just how easy it was for Madoka to decide to be a magical girl. She’s the sore thumb sticking out among a sea of far more rational people. The presentation of her character brings into focus the kind of person that becomes a mahou shoujo girl, and who the genre is geared towards: the normal person.

I mean let’s consider her rationale for becoming a mahou shoujo. She wants to be good at something and help people. Isn’t that a simple mentality? Even so, it’s a mentality that everyone has. After all, who wants to be normal? It’s the normal people who’re the weird ones! Right? Well let’s think about what it means to not be normal, framed in the mentality of a mahou shoujo.

… Well that’s actually kind of hard at this point, mostly because the problem here is just how ambiguous the contract is. Is there a time limit to the contract, or do they have to be a magical girl forever? Is there a limit on the wish you can make? Can you bring Mami back to life? What the hell is Kyuubey anyway? He says at one point that there are no “rules” barring a wish from affecting another person, so what the hell are the rules, and where do they come from?

Will we end up seeing THIS? (Image credit to meltyMAP)

These questions are all floating around my head, but in the typical world of mahou shoujos, it’s really a non-issue. You’re pretty much forced into the role of the mahou shoujo, with little say on your end. Sometimes you really don’t want to be a mahou shoujo, but you end up doing it anyway. A common story element in a lot of mahou shoujos is a sort of “act first, think later” mentality, where the rules of the world are explained after the girl becomes a mahou shoujo. It’s flipped here in Madoka Magica, which really highlights the question that other mahou shoujo shows don’t really ask: What does it mean to be a mahou shoujo in the first place?

For some, it means being a warrior of justice so to speak. Or maybe it means doing the right thing. Or maybe it’s a way to find out what you really are in life. Ok, great. Now those are the positives of being a magical girl. What about the negatives? Well…

This could happen…

Yes that does suck to say the least. But it does really point out something that really has to be emphasized, and emphasized hard. Being a mahou shoujo is serious stuff. The impact really is decreased in other shows, mostly because the positives tend to wash out the negatives, but Mami’s death came in fast and hard. And that’s important to emphasize this fact. We can kind of brush off what happens in the middle of Nanoha or Sailor Moon because it’s pretty much a good end. I really don’t think that we can brush off Mami’s death. Of course, I may have to eat my words by the end, but I get the feeling that we won’t forget this singular event.

And part of the reason why is, I think, because of just what Mami didn’t get to experience. For her entire life as a mahou shoujo, she’s been alone, and just when you think that she’s finally found a companion, the rug gets pulled out from underneath us. It’s a really wonderful bait and switch, and it was only really possible because it was the mahou shoujo genre. We don’t expect anything like what happened to actually happen in this genre so early. It just… doesn’t happen.

So what does it mean? In essence, it means that the world really isn’t as clean as it seems. And this really is an important part of the narrative, however obvious it may seem. In fact, there have been subtle clues pointing towards this fact. For example, in all of the Witches’ labyrinths so far, they’ve always mirrored the area that they’ve enclosed, but as the Witches subvert more of the area, the environment completely changes. For example:

The hospital environment when Sayaka enters.

The environment around Charlotte’s cage.

By the time Madoka and Mami enter, it’s now a combination of sweets and hospital.

And after a while, it’s become all sweets.

Of course there are other examples of this as well, such as in the beginning of the episode where the lamps are present in both worlds. In episode 2, the Witch’s labyrinth initially looked like the broken building area, but when you got to the Witch’s lair, everything changed. The exception here is episode 1, where the world seemed to already be completely subverted, but the consistent patterns in episodes 2 and 3 still convince me nonetheless.

And this, I think, is also the significance behind the Faust quotes seen in episode 2. It’s been a while since I read Faust, but people just looking at the story as a deal between Faust and the devil are missing half of it. The reason why Faust makes the deal with the devil is because he thought that the world was completely ugly. Is there anything beautiful in this world? He doesn’t think so, so he challenges the devil to convince him otherwise. As you can tell, the situation here is completely different. For Madoka, the world is already as beautiful as it can be. She’s rather the opposite of Faust.

The world is wonderful isn’t it?

In that case, what in the world are these Faustian quotes talking about? It’s possibly a giant red herring, but assuming otherwise, I believe that they refer to the dichotomy between the mahou shoujo and the witches. The witches deconstruct the world, and the mahou shoujo build it back up. Ok, now that’s even MORE out of context than all the theories flying around about the parallels between Kyuubey and the devil, but it’s the best I got. Honestly, I’m having a hard time trying to connect Madoka Magica and Faust, mostly because the parallels just feel too weak for me.

As a side note, it’s entirely possible that Madoka’s views on the world might actually change because of this event, which would be interesting to see, but then it ends up matching up even less with Faust so…

I mean really, if you can see this and still be fine… (Image credit to kamekichi27)

But moving on, all of these elements indicate something rather crucial to me that really isn’t apparent in a lot of other mahou shoujo series: the Witches are part of this world. It might just be me, but it’s extremely rare for a mahou shoujo series to let the “magical” world and the “real” world overlap. Often times the magical part of the world is set in some other reality, or even if it does touch reality, it never subverts reality. I’m not sure if I’m phrasing this right, but put it this way: When was the last time in mahou shoujo anime that you saw something fundamentally wrong with the world? The only one that I can think of is Princess Tutu, but that series doesn’t even pretend that it’s trying to be grounded in some sort of reality.

The message here in Madoka seems to be something that I don’t recall seeing before in mahou shoujo series, in that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world. It would explain the apocalyptic dream sequence at the beginning of episode 1, and it would also be a pseudo-explanation as to why the show appears so dark. Also, I get the really strange feeling that that was the theme with Charlotte this time around. What may seem all nice and pretty and easy… Isn’t really on the inside. (By the way, if you extrapolate this to Kyuubey with no evidence, I will get angry at you.) And who’s the only one who can save us from ultimate destruction?

… … We’re screwed.

And as an end note, I rewatched this episode multiple times while writing this post, and now I’m at the point where watching the last parts of this episode literally frightens me. I’m not sure what happened. I think the reality of it all hit home…

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  1. Posted January 24, 2011 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    One thing that you seemed to have glossed over is the issue of Wishes, at least in the context of Madoka’s dark world of magical girls. Given the conversations spread over this episode (and some of the last one), especially the one between Homura and Mami, one gets the feeling that wishes, especially selfless wishes, have a real danger of screwing the wisher over in unforeseen ways.

    Nevermind that the said wishes are granted by the ever-smiling, yet oh-so-creepy Kyuubei.

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      The reason I ended up not really talking about wishes is because I got sidetracked and wanted to keep it at a reasonable word count.

      But more than that, the idea of how wishes play into Madoka Magica… There’s little to be said as of now. I’m pretty sure that we’re supposed to infer that Mami’s wish was to stay alive, which is a counterpoint to your feeling that selfless wishes screw over the wisher.

      Really, we only have one example of what a potential wish is, but what Madoka Magica is questioning is not the nature of the wishes, but of what you’re willing to give up to fulfill them.

  2. Posted January 24, 2011 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    I thought one of the two would make a contract, or that the black haired girl would come in to help at the last minute… but Mami’s head gets bitten off. The two girls then become shocked and don’t do anything helpful (so much for wanting to be useful to the world).

    Ever since the topic of wishes came up I kept thinking about “be careful what you wish for”, especially with the black haired girl (Homura? I’m bad with names) being against Madoka and Sayaka making contracts with Kyuubey. I would say the safest wish to make is to protect your real world from anything that happens in the magical world, and keep your relationships intact.

    Also… Mami is as skilled in Gun-Kata as the crazy guys in MazinKaiserSKL or Dante with Ebony&Ivory. A mahou shoujo is comparable to Dante. What the heck.

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      That’s what was pretty interesting about what Madoka Magica did. If you were expecting a normal mahou shoujo anime, I think that this death came as a shock. Then again, I don’t think that anyone was expecting a normal mahou shoujo anime lol…

      Like I said in my above comment, the real issue at hand here is what you’re willing to give up for your wish. Are you willing to give up essentially your life to be a mahou shoujo and to get your wish?

      And also side note about Homura, she hasn’t made any indication that she wants to prevent Sayaka from becoming a mahou shoujo, only Madoka.

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        Yeah I wasn’t expecting a normal mahou shoujo anime, but still I was going WILL THEY REALLY DO IT? PLEASE? It’s kind of interesting how nowadays seeing main significant characters killed interests me so much o.O it’s awful but just pulls me in. I think this is one of the first shows I’ve seen that kills an important character so early. Kamina (Gurren Lagaan) took like 10 episodes, Lockon (Gundam 00) took forever and was replaced by his brother who looks JUST LIKE HIM. Even Shiki took a while to kill off / turn important characters (not counting Megumi who became important AFTER she was turned). It’s just that people always get saved at the last minute.

        What I was trying to say was can you wish to NOT give up the rest of your life but still be a mahou shoujo. Preserve the status quo.

        Oh yeah looks like no one cares about Sayaka (sort of). I wonder what Homura’s real intentions are though. Is she just trying to get rid of a rival or is there something else.

        Oh and I hate how Madoka has the talent to be the most powerful mahou shoujo Kyuubey’s ever met = =. She seems like a dimwit, and I don’t like this trope in anime. If it’s something like just a few girls are compatible then that’s fine, but an advantage above others before even starting? I prefer something like Code Geass, where Lelouch’s geass isn’t specially powerful but he utilizes it to it’s full potential to achieve his goals.

        • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          I hate how Madoka has the talent to be the most powerful mahou shoujo Kyuubey’s ever met.

          It’s the most idealistic that become the most terrifying when they turn; a firm conviction that power is being applied for good serves to greatly amplify it, and Madoka’s sort of innocence is the perfect breeding ground for that.

          I suspect this show will not go there, but it would be nice if that is what Kyuubey is alluding to.

          • Posted January 25, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            Well the reason why seeing main characters get killed off so early is so appealing is because it’s just an uncommon occurrence, plus main characters are many times more developed than other characters, so you feel both like a real person has died, or you’ve made an emotional attachment to that character already. Plus just seeing that event makes you kind of expectant, because such an event HAS to be a major plot event right?

            And as for this:
            What I was trying to say was can you wish to NOT give up the rest of your life but still be a mahou shoujo. Preserve the status quo.
            That really isn’t the mentality that people like Madoka have. They truly want to be a mahou shoujo for their entire lives. You can call them naive, but that’s just how they roll. Also doing that kind of calls into question the very nature of being a mahou shoujo in the first place. You only want to help people for a short while, then give up? That’s not what a mahou shoujo does.

            Oh and I hate how Madoka has the talent to be the most powerful mahou shoujo Kyuubey’s ever met = =. She seems like a dimwit, and I don’t like this trope in anime. If it’s something like just a few girls are compatible then that’s fine, but an advantage above others before even starting? I prefer something like Code Geass, where Lelouch’s geass isn’t specially powerful but he utilizes it to it’s full potential to achieve his goals.
            But that’s the whole point. Only girls who are pure of heart and really innocent can become mahou shoujo in the first place. Being a mahou shoujo is kind of like a bildungsroman. You need that dim-witted/naive person in the first place to be the mahou shoujo. It doesn’t work any other way. If you have it another way, then you’re doing something like placing an adult in a story of a journey to find himself. Then the story really has no point.

          • Posted January 26, 2011 at 12:14 am | Permalink

            Yeah I like a lot of uncommon/unexpected stuff. Like a girl kicking a boyfriend flying into the gate because he was giving up.

            And as for this:
            What I was trying to say was can you wish to NOT give up the rest of your life but still be a mahou shoujo. Preserve the status quo.
            That really isn’t the mentality that people like Madoka have. They truly want to be a mahou shoujo for their entire lives. You can call them naive, but that’s just how they roll. Also doing that kind of calls into question the very nature of being a mahou shoujo in the first place. You only want to help people for a short while, then give up? That’s not what a mahou shoujo does.

            I say rest of life as in…. be a mahou shoujo and not have your relationship with your family go to hell.. or something like that I guess. If that’s possible.

            So the more innocent, the more power Madoka has. Still sounds weird to me.

            Off topic, are/were you a literature major or something? Having read Faust, and using bildungsroman (I had to wiki it up).

          • Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            Ha I bet you liked Angel Beats then? :P

            Now that’s beginning to feel like a compound wish, which is almost certainly illegal :P. Even still, doing that would mean basically that you’d have to somehow make more time for yourself, because that’s supposedly the impediment that mahou shoujos face.

            Sounds weird? Maybe. But it’s just how it goes :P

            I’m not a literature major. I just read Faust out of interest, and I’ve just seen/heard the word bildungsroman thrown around in classes and such, so I just know it :P

          • Posted January 27, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

            I liked Angel Beats because of the OP song and that Tenshi is cute >..< just watched it and there are several things I want to point out or hope you point out in your post.

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 5:09 am | Permalink

        Faust in background\
        Faust = contract with devil

        Kyuubey = Devil???????

        It doesn’t seem likely now, but I think it’s a possibility for a complete face-heel-turn later on.

        • Posted January 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          I quote from my post:

          It’s been a while since I read Faust, but people just looking at the story as a deal between Faust and the devil are missing half of it.
          It’s not a good comparison by any stretch of the imagination. It misses the point of Faust. It’s not a story of a good soul being corrupted. It’s the story of a bad soul trying to find something good in the world that he feels doesn’t exist.

          • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

            I never read Faust, and don’t really have the time/motivation (college; when I’m free I try to stay clear of anything that taxes the brain).

            Maybe Faust relates to the witches, since the lines showed up in a labyrinth? The nature of the witches isn’t fully explained yet, this may be part of it.

            Or it could be that the creators just decided to find some line from a dark piece of literature. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I don’t know much about the people who animated this, so I don’t know how much thought they put into details like this.

          • Darkfireblade25
            Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            But the fact that all the weird stuff is in German sure raises a few pointers dontcha think? :/

          • Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink


            I can’t think of a good way to connect Faust to the witches, at least not with our current knowledge of them. It’s an interesting thought though.

            And the Faust might all be a red herring. It’s actually somewhat possible.

            Just because weird stuff exists doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s significant. It might just be something placed in here to screw with our minds, though somehow I doubt that that’s the case.

            As to whether the Faust quotes will actually turn out to be significant… Well we’ll see.

  3. Fenrir
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    In a twisted way, Mami’s suggestion of a cake to celebrate became true.
    The witch’s place was like a gigantic cake with sweets and pastries. Indeed suitable to celebrate…
    to celebrate her death.
    And what’s a celebration without fireworks?
    Rest assured, Homura provided em.
    Alas, tea could not be provided. The cup broke during the celebration spilling its reddish liquid tea content……

    All in all, it was one hell of a celebration..

    Also, the more I look at Kyuubey’s expressionless face, the more I think of the Millennium Earl (D.Gray-man)….

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s such a twisted interpretation. No. Just no. >.> I actually do have a rational reason for rejecting it, but just no.

    • Dr. Mason
      Posted January 25, 2011 at 12:57 am | Permalink

      I think the really twisted interpretation possibilities are in interpreting the girls’ wishes. Mami alludes to the fact that the wishes must be worded specifically, or else they may be interpreted very differently than the wisher’s actual intent. I think this episode shows us exactly how twisted/ morally ambiguous Kyubey could be.

      In this episode, we learn the circumstances of Mami’s wish. She was in a car accident, and we’re led to believe that she’s dying. It’s (more than) inferred that she wished to live in exchange for her magical girl duties. But what was her wish exactly? Well, we know that she survived up until Charlotte. And we know that right before she was killed, she and Madoka agreed to become actual friends and fight together. We also know that Mami lived a very lonely life prior to this “partnership.” She lived alone and couldn’t make friends (though she obviously wanted to). Even further, look at the accident scene. She is the ONLY person in the scene. She was alone, and has been ever since.

      I think her wish was “I don’t want to die alone.” Up until Charlotte, she was completely and utterly alone and she handled the witches seemingly with ease. But as soon as she teamed up – once she wasn’t alone anymore – well, let’s just say the contract was performed to completion.

      … Or maybe the fact that she was killed once she found happiness and friendship was just part of the law of dramatic irony, or just to make her an even more tragic figure. But something about Kyubey really raises red flags, so this interpretation gives me some justification for the intuition. Deny the obvious; uphold the inane! haha

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        How do we read that the witch’s name is Charlotte? The characters that came up when the withc appeared match the amount of characters as Charlotte, and the 7th and 8th characters are the same and mirror the two Ts in Charlotte, but no matter how much I stare at them and turn my head around I can’t make sense of those weird characters.

        • anon234
          Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          The witches names are written in runes unique to the show. A few die-hard Otaku managed to translate them, as each rune corresponds to a German letter. At least, that’s what the nutbladder and gg sub comments say.

          • Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            I wish I knew how to read them >.<
            That's weird, I have gg subs but I don't see the name come up.

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Ha ok. Now that’s a possible interpretation of things. “Be careful of what you wish for” is certainly a rather common theme in literature. Then again, if the story does end up turning out this way, you just gotta wonder how witches and the dream sequence in the beginning plays into everything. After all, who/what was Homura fighting…? Furthermore, what’s Kyuubey’s goal in all of this then? This must be some really twisted plot then considering that it seems like Kyuubey has nothing to gain from screwing with a mahou shoujo. Unless you think that he’s just a sadist. But then that’d just make this a pointless show now wouldn’t it?

  4. NitroX72
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    I’ve been wondering, what if Kyuubey isn’t evil, just too naive/stupid as a sentient non-human to understand the consequences and impact of the rules? Maybe it’s something similar to Kampfer, where the familiars don’t have any motives at all but their “higher-ups”? Yeah sure so I’m just trying to look at all of this with rose-tinted glasses but hey, a theory’s a theory.

    • Julian
      Posted January 24, 2011 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      He doesn’t necessarily have to be evil; just motivated by interests outside general “goodness”. Consider his position; he recruits young girls to fight unreal abominations that cause death and mayhem. His job, primarily, is then to prevent said death and mayhem, or to put it another way, to re-establish order. Mahou shoujo are tools which accomplish that goal. Given this conclusion, I would suggest that his interest regarding the girls lies in recruiting as many strong mahou shoujo as possible, and that he chooses his behavior to accomplish this.

      Consider this as well; he has potentially been doing this for a very long time, and while Sayaka and Madoka were first shocked then mournful over Mami’s death, he remained focused and on task. He has lost mahou shoujo before, and he has seen them die before. He isn’t unaware of the consequences and caught up in the romance of it like Madoka because this is what he does; it is his life. He chose to recruited Mami when she was on the verge of death. There is a hardness to Kyuubey which, so far, has only been hinted at, and it isn’t necessarily unjustified.

      • Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Hey clearly Kyuubey has a code of morals. After all, he appears to follow some set of rules. If he truly was out to get as many strong mahou shoujo as possible, he’d be throwing down suggestions for wishes left and right and coercing them. He instead leaves it up to the girls to decide. Clearly he at least has respect for the girl’s right to choose.

        • NitroX72
          Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          But the question still stands of why he isn’t recruiting as many mahou shoujo as he can? Apart from Madoka’s supposed potential, why isn’t Kyuubey going around scouting for potential mahou shoujos? This I can’t think up of an answer to :/

          • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

            I mean the simplest reason that I can think of is that not all girls have the potential to be a mahou shoujo. Perhaps he’s part of a greater collective of “scouts” to find mahou shoujos, and he’s localized to this area, though that seems like it’d be far too expansive for this show.

        • Marigold Ran
          Posted January 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          Just because you have morals, doesn’t mean you’re good. There is lawful good, but there is also lawful neutral and lawful evil. Or he could have a sense of morality that’s completely different from humans.

          • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            I think you meant that just because you have rules doesn’t mean you’re good. And that’s certainly right. But the thing is that if you follow rules, but you’re evil, then you must have a reason for following the rules in the first place. The original suggestion made by Julian is that his only motivation is to get mahou shoujo to contract with him, which implies that he would do whatever he needs to achieve that goal. Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a reason as to why he follows a set of rules and is evil, so it’s hard to really make any assumptions based off of that.

        • Julian
          Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

          It may be that constantly suggesting wishes is prohibited by some rule he operates under. One of the few things made clear so far in the series about the nature of the Mahou Shoujo contract is the importance of the prospects themselves choosing. Perhaps Kyuubey’s restraint in suggesting wishes is a part of this; perhaps the wish must come from them, or be especially heartfelt. Or perhaps he is prohibited from presenting the deal in all but the most general way; in folklore wish-granters can often be broken into two groups, the “Demons” who can only present you with the terms of the deal, and can,at most, only indirectly induce you to take it, and the “Jinn” who do everything in their power to seduce and trick you into making the wish.

          A last possibility is that Kyuubey is simply patient, and doesn’t need to make a hard sell. When Homura confronts Mami alone for the last time, Mami says of Madoka and Sayaka, “They were chosen by Kyuubey. They’re involved.” That’s a rather final statement. My initial understand of this line was rather innocuous, that “Kyuubey made them involved when he chose them”, but the more I watch of this show, the weightier every word seem to me. It’s speculation at this point, but what if she really means something like, “Kyuubey’s already chosen to be interested. There is no escape for them.” Admittedly, these are translations, perhaps the ambiguity isn’t present in the original Japanese, but if it is, it could be a real possibility that Kyuubey’s initial offer locks prospects into weirdness, making the decision to stay normal increasingly difficult, or that once he has found a prospect he keeps tabs on them, always ready to make an offer when they are desperate.

          As to the issue of morals, I wasn’t meaning to suggest that he has none, only that his primary moral “good” could be recruit strong mahou shoujo/Exterminate witches efficiently/Saving the World from Chaos. Eisenhower may have regretted every death under his command, but that didn’t stop him from sending in the men.

          Anyway it’s 12:17 here and I need some shut-eye. This series has so much to think about!

      • NitroX72
        Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Well, this certainly makes much more sense than my guess, hahah. In that sense he’s not evil, but just desensitized? Or diligent in that “don’t let emotions get in your way” kind of deal?

        • Julian
          Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          That’s sort of what I was thinking; he’s got a job to do, it ain’t pretty, but it needs doing.

          Of course, at such an early point in the series Kyuubey could develop in all manner of ways. All we know right now is that he’s cute, hard to kill, and really wants those wishes.

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Somehow I don’t think that he’s really that naive. I mean he’s shown quite the capacity for rational thought. If he is rather naive, he hasn’t shown it yet.

  5. Julian
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s the devil, but it is rather obvious that Kyuubey’s only concern is getting Madoka to make a contract with him, and that something beyond what has been explicitly stated by the characters is going on here. That it is the only thing he ever talks about, and that he twists ever conversation about anything else to that topic as quickly as possible can be seen in the dialogue. Slightly less obvious due to the presentation of the show is that he neglects all other mahou shoujo and potentials to spend all his time with her. When Mami finds Madoka and Sayaka, she refers to them as if they are equals, and in her scenes with them she consistently acknowledges both of them. Kyuubey stays as near and responsive to Madoka as possible, only acknowledging Sayaka when she speaks directly to him, or interacts with Madoka. Nor should we consider this a recent development. When we first meet him it is in Madoka’s “dream”; the next time we see him Homura is trying to kill him. Even here he chooses to psychically call for Madoka, a powerless human girl, to save him; Mami only stumbles on the altercation because she was passing by and sensed the labyrinth. There’s no reason to think that Kyuubey was living with, or even associating with, either of the older Mahou Shoujo before this. When Mami dies, what is his immediate suggestion? That Madoka and Sayaka make deals with him even though, given his mental link to all mahou shoujo, he knows Homura is near.

    I could expand on this more; really this series has so much to think about in it, but this comment’s long enough. The only other thing I would add is that anyone asking you to make a contract who doesn’t explain its conditions to you as a matter of course isn’t terribly trustworthy, no matter how cute and fluffy they are.

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      You make some good points there about Kyuubey. I mean after all, he did “choose” to involve Madoka. Then again, he chooses to “involve” her, but not to the point where she’s essentially forced to contract with him like in Nanoha or Sailor Moon or Heartcatch Precure or something. I mean if his goal is to get Madoka to be a mahou shoujo, then he really isn’t doing a good job anyway. After all, the reason that Madoka came up with to become a mahou shoujo seemed to develop independently of whatever Kyuubey says/does.

      Also, there’s no indication that Kyuubey has a mental link to all mahou shoujo. He’s never initiated contact in any form. It’s always been someone else to talk first, and then Kyuubey responds. Also, even if he didn’t know that Homura was near, I think it’s a rather reasonable response to ask for a contract given that, well, you’re going to die if you don’t.

      • NitroX72
        Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        About Kyuubey “choosing” Madoka, I think it’s because of her potential as a Mahou Shoujo. It may seem two-dimensional, but consider Madoka’s mindset about the whole thing. She’s willing to become a mahou shoujo unconditionally. Mami on the other hand had no choice, and doesn’t like being a mahou shoujo, while Sayaka was fighting hard to come up with a wish compelling enough to justify becoming a mahou shoujo. Homura doesn’t seem to like her duties either. Essentially, Madoka is the only one out of the four to like the idea of being a mahou shoujo, and she is the one with the largest potential. Not a coincidence, I’d say. I think it’s their moral qualities leading to those mindsets that determine their potential, and it’s the reason why Kyuubey chose Madoka. That mindset would determine her power as a mahou shoujo, and is also the best mindset for being one. As for getting Sayaka involved, maybe it was because she had already seen the labyrinth and Mami and couldn’t leave her out? I don’t know, Kyuubey is a tricky bastard.

        Sure, most of this is pure guesswork, but it makes sense to me.

      • Julian
        Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t he say in ep one that he basically acts as a router for the Mahou Shoujo’s telepathic communications? Maybe I misunderstood the dialogue :/

  6. anne
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    i’ve watched this ep a couple times now and agree, it leaves you feeling deeply disturbed. in previous eps, it seemed kind of dark, but this ep really just gobsmacked me.

    i get the feeling there’s a whole lot more wrong here, not just kyuubey. maybe kyuubey is the herring? there still remains the question of, what *are* the witches, really…?

    there’s something truly frightening about trying to fight something you cannot even understand.

    • Julian
      Posted January 24, 2011 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      And notice where we’ve seen them so far; a construction site, a run-down, collapsing, abandoned building, and a modern, clean, well-lit hospital. All places where death could happen.

      • Posted January 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        Wait what? Death that happens in a modern, clean, well-lit hospital? Last I checked this isn’t the 1800s. Unless you mean sick people or something… I mean to be honest, a clean hospital is a far cry from a construction site and an abandoned building.

        • NitroX72
          Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

          It is still a hospital, and no matter what cause many people still die in them. People being rushed in after an accident, people hospitalised with terminal illnesses, people undergoing risky surgery, etc. Julian’s point still stands.

          • Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            The problem here is the completely different atmosphere. If you compare shots of the hospital vs a construction site/rundown building, you’ll notice that first, the architecture exemplified in both cases are polar opposites, furthermore, the color schemes are also polar opposites. It’s just inconsistent.

  7. Aikun2012
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    …. That clown pic frightened me… it really did… Good god, it’s been a while since I’ve felt scared…

    Anyways, I thought this post was great… I still dunno anything about the Faust-Magical Girl connection, but it’ll probably come out of the box sometime… I really wanna see ep 4 already… I want Mami back… and I want badass fights…

    But really… I’m probably not gonna get it, and I’m gonna have to stick with the oh-so-frightening plot that just creeps over my mind, feeding off my very fear…

    A Magical Girl Series that scares me!?!?! Who’d have guessed?

    I still love it and will follow this series for its originality and uniqueness. (Still miss Mami though <:( ……)

    • Julian
      Posted January 24, 2011 at 5:18 am | Permalink

      Witness the power of Shinbo and Shaft! But seriously, look at what these guys did to high-school romances in MariaHolic, “harem hero”/supernatural teenager stories with Bakemonogatari, and Big Brother-Little Sister stories with Dance in the Vampire Bund. Deconstructing tropes to get at the often disturbing meat within is what they eat when they go home at night.

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        To be fair, those were all manga/Light Novel adaptations. This is SHAFT/Shinbo’s first original animation in a while. With all the other shows, the deconstruction and plot wasn’t conceived by SHAFT/Shinbo, but here it is.

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      The next episode is titled something like Magic and Miracles, so I think she’ll return somehow. The show often says the 4 mahou shoujos in the opening too if I remember correctly, and Madoka can probably use her wish to bring her back (Mami used her wish to come back from the brink of death, so that seems possible). There’s probably going to be a catch though, probably something serious.

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink

        Heh well we’ll just have to see… Who knows, maybe the inclusion of Mami in the OP is a red herring too, or maybe she’s there to constantly remind us of the fact that she’s dead. You never know~

        • NitroX72
          Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Well Madoka needed an actual wish to become a mahou shoujo in the first place, what could be more fitting than the revival of Mami? Although, I have a gut feeling that something’s going to be missing from the OP in the next episode…

          • Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            Now that would be an interesting cut, considering how Mami plays into the ED as well. She’s placed in the middle of it, so cutting her out would be a bit… Strange lol.

            And we’ll see if wishes can revive people next episode…

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Heh there were actually some artists on pixiv that made Mami magically reincarnate through various means, but they all involved her head in some way, which were all tagged as R-18G, so I thought that it probably wouldn’t be wise to put any of those images in the post… I was thinking about it though.

  8. Posted January 24, 2011 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Since Madoka has nothing to wish for (other than possibly wishing Mami to come back from the dead), I wonder if she can wish the witches away… Its a win-win situation ^^

    and its not likely this will happen, but it’ll be interesting to see what would happen if either Madoka or Sayaka decides not to become a magical girl… Would Kyuubey let them go just like that?

    There doesn’t seem to really be a choice whether or not to become a magical girl. Once you’ve been shown the other world and all that ‘fighting for a good cause’ stuff, what are you gonna say to Kyuubey? ‘Thanks but no thanks’?. It is an illusion of making you think that you have a choice, when you actually didn’t have one to begin with..


    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      I thought about the wishing the witches away thing too, but since apparently none of any previous magical girls did it there must be a limit to Kyuubey’s wish or something.

      I agree about the illusion of choice. It’s pretty much everywhere in real life, where people expect you to do certain things because it’s right or the moral thing to do. You can’t not do it because of the negative repercussions on your image and relationships.

      • Posted January 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with walking away. We are talking about your life here.

  9. Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    After seeing this, my perception towards clowns have gotten a whole lot scarier, especially when they eat you. :o

    Anyway, I agree with the points you made about Madoka taking a more realistic, or rather harsh approach with the mahou shoujo series. The traditional genre is usually gentle and no consequences if a mistake is made. Mami in a sense is different since she is forced to become one and had no choice. Usually girls choose to become magical for a specific reason such as helping people. Unfortunately, Mami was killed after realizing she wasn’t alone… and can’t be shoved away for a long time…

    So yeah, I think Madoka is a darker and edgier mahou shoujo than we see in the past. It makes me wonder about Kyubei if he is recruiting girls just to see them in this horrible situation since he lacks emotion and the right of him forces a girl to become one.

    • NitroX72
      Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      I’ve had an irrational fear of clowns since childhood. Trust me, you weren’t terrified enough.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always found this clown-fear dynamic in a lot of people fascinating. It’s just something curious that I find that people are scared of the very things that are supposed to be funny.

      And we’ll just have to see how Madoka Magica develops in the next few episodes! :D

  10. Kit-A-Ron-Ron-Kat
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    This is not often that I watch an episode of any serie, then feel compelled to re-watch it entirely (without skipping some parts) after some time. This one however I had to. There are just so many things here…

    First let’s get the furball out of the way. Like everyone else I found him/it suspicious, but then I wondered exactly why ? I think he/it wouldn’t be half as suspicious if he/it was not able to speak, but the fact is that IT is not even remotely human. Now what did Oshino from Bakemonogatari say about Gods ? They are a sketchy bunch that don’t really care about humans and their problems. I strongly suspect Kyubey (or whatever its name is) is operating on the same level according to his own whims and set of rules (MystLord is right here, what the hell are these rules anyway ?), and it is unable to empathize with humans.
    Look at the scene when Madoka spots the Grief Seed. What is furball’s first reaction, does it try to lure the girls in to get them to contract under duress ? Does it suggest to call Mami to fight ? Neither, instead it just says “Let’s run away”, not really what I would expect from an evil minion with an equally evil agenda !

    Instead the plan to call backup came from Sayaka, with terrible results… One thing for sure, I would NOT want to be in Madoka’s or Sayaka’s place right now, especially not Sayaka’s to be honest. She is lucid enough to know that using a wish to bring back Mami (something I can see Madoka thinking about) would be not only stupid but downright cruel ; Mami’s life was tragic enough, never were the word “Rest In Peace” more fitting in my opinion than for her (your awesome Infinite Rifle Dance will be missed !). However, being lucid may not be enough to prevent Sayaka from feeling guilty about Mami’s death, and guilt can be a powerful force – not always aimed in the right direction though.
    Now as MystLord said, we are three episodes in but neither Madoka nor Sayaka are yet official Magical Girls. One cannot help but wonder what would be their motivation for it right now ? Vengeance is a moot point, as the witch that killed Mami is dead already, and in spectacular fashion might I add. As to Madoka, she said she wanted to be “like Mami” ; having witnessed first hand exactly what that entailed may make her reconsider her carreer orientation. Adding to that the fact they lost their mentor/teacher/friend and Homura doesn’t strike me as the kind to take any apprenctice, maybe staying put and sending the furball to the Lost & Found office is the best course of action ?
    My guts feeling tells me that it will come down to Sayaka. The “wish” aspect of the contract is the one thing that may push her to make such a deal, that and possibly wanting to atone somehow for Mami’s death by picking up her mantle. And if she does wish to have her friend healed, I wouldn’t be surprised if she adds a clause that he would forget all about her, as considering the Magical Girl life it really is the only reasonable choice.

    Last but not least, Homura is still an enigma wrapped in a mystery. When was the last time we got a Magical Girl that is LESS colourful after her transformation ? Her transformation colour theme looks like a blueish gray, and it was contrasting sharply here against the violently coloured witch lair. Also we could see her again frowning when noone was looking. Clearly under her cold demeanour she has lots of pent-up anger, and probably not all directed at the furball and/or the world. I am still waiting to see what is her story.

    • Posted January 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Ok, I got to your comment last because I looked at it, got scared, and skipped it :P

      I think that it’s hard to consider what Kyuubey is without looking at the witches as well. They are a real event, and who definitely have an impact on the world. That’s why I’m still pushing back against this idea that Kyuubey is evil.

      Also, I don’t think that it would be cruel to bring Mami back. Hypothetically speaking of course. Her life was marked by loneliness, and she died without really learning what it’s like to have true friends. In that case, it would actually be nice to bring her back so she can have that experience.

      The question is whether the girls will be too shell shocked to immediately consider becoming mahou shoujo or not. Probably not, but it’ll be interesting to see their thought processes after that traumatic event.

      And as for Homura, she’s one giant question mark, especially concerning some of her behaviors that we’ve seen in the show.

      • Kit-A-Ron-Ron-Kat
        Posted January 27, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Ahah, sorry about that wall of text (bad habit of mine when I feel enthusiastic) :)

        The witches are hard to categorize. They are definitely highly dangerous, lethal even as we have seen, but does that make them evil ? It could be a case of a misundestanding between radically alien beings (kinda like the humans versus formics war in Ender’s Game). By the same token I can’t really say Kyuubey is evil. Actually I would rather believe that “he could have a sense of morality that’s completely different from humans” as you said yourself in another post.

        As to bringing Mami back… running around daily fighting against monsters that can kill you in gruesome ways still seems somewhat hard to swallow if the only compensation is enjoying tea and cakes with friends – ok for (anime) girls that is serious business, but come on, she only avoided being eaten alive by getting her head bitten off first ! One possibility might be to bring back Mami as a regular human (and why not her family to boot ?) without memories of the whole Mahou Shoujo deal, but without the godamn 1st Edition Codex – Mahou Shoujo & Witches Ultimate Guidebook – to at least know the basic rules its hard to guess what the future holds for them.

        To sum it up: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT !!!!

  11. einnashe
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Two things I’d add:

    1) In Goethe’s Faust, the deal is that Mephisto will help Faust find happiness–but when Faust does, the devil will claim his soul. Now, just what happened to Mami? I don’t think it’s going to be a significant theme, but it brings into focus the idea that being happy is not something that happens as a magical girl in this show.

    2) Something I found interesting in this episode was how the choice of the wish was emphasized. In the same episode that establishes Mami’s life as the obvious wish for Madoka or Sayaka, two other issues are brought to our attention: Madoka’s mother, who despite enjoying the hardships of her work seems to be drinking herself to death and getting hit on by creepy old men at company parties, and Sayaka’s crush/boyfriend/idol Kamijou, who is sick in the hospital with another serious-yet-unidentified illness which threatens his happiness, if not his life. And then there’s Mami, who warns both girls away from using a wish for somebody else’s (in the scene, specifically Kamijou’s) sake. What does it mean to make a wish? What must be sacrificed to save anyone?

    As an aside, Kyubey is a creepy little bastard while drooling over Madoka’s potential, and it may come of interest that the text on the title card in the first episode has been deciphered as “Prolog im Himmel,” the first scene of Faust.

    • NitroX72
      Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Just a note: Kamijou’s “illness” IS identified in this episode. That is, a completely broken left hand he can’t move. It was bandaged up, and upon listening to the music tried and failed to do violin fingering motions. Obvious enough, isn’t it?

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        That doesn’t explain why he’s stuck on a hospital bed though. Unless it was the first week or two (which doesn’t seem to be the case), he should be discharged and allowed to live normally minus the arm’s functionality.

        • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

          I actually get the feeling that it is just his hand, or at least something related to his hand. If he were sick in any other way, he’d be able to play the violin.

          • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s something in addition to his hand, because when my arm broke I was let out of the hospital with the cast still on after a few days. When I had my first spontaneous pneumothorax (lung randomly goes poof) they stuck a chest tube in me and I was out before the end of the day.

            If it’s just the arm he wouldn’t be stuck on a hospital bed – but it might just be the anime going for dramatic effect I guess.

      • einnashe
        Posted January 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        The official site confirms today that Kamijou was injured in an accident.

        So yes, the most plot-relevant problem is his arm. He also probably has other injuries preventing him from leaving the hospital at this time.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      1) I’m not sure I follow the logic from the Faust legend to the bit with Mami. It doesn’t seem as though Mami’s wish was to find happiness. I mean she’s clearly been unhappy to a certain extent since the accident, which means that her wish definitely wasn’t happiness.

      2) Something that came up near the middle-end was a just compensation for being a mahou shoujo. Mami seemed especially concerned with getting a “fair deal” from Kyuubey to a certain extent. Maybe a better way to think about it is the converse, or: what wish is worth being a mahou shoujo?

      As for the card at the beginning of Madoka, that just really confuses me, because, well, there’s no corresponding God there as a counter to the “devil” of Kyuubey (if you want to view it that way). That might be a red herring, but we’ll have to see.

  12. BenA
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I must have been the only one who saw Mami looking so happyat having finally found friends, and thought:
    “Oh man, they are so about to kill her off”. They majorly telegraphed that bit if you didn’t limit your thinking to “normal” mahou shoujo.

    Sure, they don’t do it in Mahou Shoujo shows, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a cliché in other works.
    Of course, this does point to this being mahou shoujo layered over a grimdark depressing plot and world.

    • Marigold Ran
      Posted January 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Nope, you’re not the only one. It was obvious as heck.

  13. Darkfireblade25
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    This episodes raises more questions, or to be exact, bring into light the questions that already sprung up, but were not prioritized. Right now, the development of the story resides on the wish that Kyuubei would give in exchange for the contract. With Mami’s warnings of “be careful what you wish for in a hurried situation,” I think this foreshadows the dillema of the two protagonists in the next episode, aptly named “The Magic of Miracles.” How much magic do miracles have? Will they hastily wish for Mami’s revival, or for something greater? Can resurection even happen? The consequences of their decision in this critical point in development and the rules that confine them would probably greatly affect the future of the two girls.

    on a side note, I’d like to iterate how many of the tropes i thought of when I went through the scenes right before the death one.
    When it slomo-ed riiight before Charlotte touched Mami, I expected that Homura would magically appear out of Mami’s bindings and kill the thing, then proceed to finish it off with style and tell the main characters that “you think it’s easy being a magical girl huh? You would have died there if I haven’t saved your sorry @$$es. I hope this is a lesson you won’t forget” then leave. and then they would seriously contemplate their decision after and maybe arrive at the ridiculous conclusion that they coulda done it if they had been magical girls and they could saved each other JUST LIKE HOMURA DID and then turn themselves into magical girls anyway. or Mami could have MAD SKILLZ and whip out a gun to keep the mouth from closing REALLY REALLY FAST and then fight scene continues with or without Homura and with or without a dramatic speech from either/both protagonists to turn into a magical girl. OR even if the thing does eat her, u expect that it would swallow her whole and she would then have to shoot her way out or Homura magically comes along or either/both of the two girls would turn into a magical girl after a dramatic speech to save her or some form of Dux ex Machina does it. But nope. All those plot tropes avoided.

    • Jibun
      Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Towards your last part, you must have skipped over the thought that you DO hesitate in situations like that.
      No matter your training or ego.

      Mami had already used majority of her power, *note the gem getting dimmer* and seeing as her finishing move uses up a hell of a lot more of her power, she was already low on reserves to begin with.
      Thinking she’d just beat that little doll, she was completely relaxed (So were the others) and ready to move on, not expecting that it wasn’t the end.
      Look at her face as it’s about to eat her. It’s shock. She didn’t realize she was about to die, and thus, the thought – wait, I’ll magically spawn another massive ass weapon somehow without using the rest of my power to stop it from eating me – didn’t cross her mind.

      If you saw a giant clown, just about to bite your head off in 0.5 seconds – What could you do?

      • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        I think his point was just that a trope like that is commonly seen enough that it just came to his mind without too much rational thought. It doesn’t seem too rational when you think back on it, but considering how many times you’ve seen characters suddenly appear extremely aware of the situation, it’s certainly a trope that one might consider, even if for a brief moment, before disregarding it.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Makes you really excited for the next episode eh?

      And yeah, there are many ways that a deus ex machina could have happened, but ultimately the entire concept was rejected. It’s actually kind of funny that you actually thought about those tropes in the first place. I suppose that these tropes in anime are just that prevalent huh?

      • Posted January 27, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        Anime, movies, novels….

  14. Posted January 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I got surprised with the illustrations as I read this article on my Google Reader. Nightmare’s too much?

    By the way, this makes me wonder what will happen to the series *without* Mami. My waifu. Why she has to leave this instant?

  15. Posted January 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    “When was the last time in mahou shoujo anime that you saw something fundamentally wrong with the world?”

    Not anime, but, well… then. That is what Madoka most reminds me of. I keep catching myself wondering if someone involved has read it.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Hm I haven’t read it, but assuming that that’s a dark fanfiction of Sailor Moon…. There are actually quite a few of them floating around :P

      • Posted January 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        The author claims it is not Sailor Moon, or indeed any one show in particular. It does borrow heavily though.

        Do read it if you get a chance – everyone should :) It is one of only two pieces of fanfiction I’ve ever encountered that I would recommend without reservation.

  16. ~xxx
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The show has shown the dark secrets of our deep regression.
    The surreal surroundings has proved that this show is indeed it scary to be a magic girl.

    I had raised few questions especially when Kyubey is really trying to hurry Madoka and Sayaka to make a wish… Can’t he wait? Well, Mami has pointed out a clue that one must be careful on what kind of wish Madoka has to made so that she will not regret being a magic girl.

    I’m guessing that there is no resurrection at episode 4.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      The more mahou shoujos the better, right? After all, more people to help fight witches is a good thing. Maybe.

  17. Marigold Ran
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s still not grimdark enough, but it’s heading in the right direction. Hopefully this trend will continue.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Not grimdark enough? What needs to happen before they get satisfied? They all die by getting eaten? :|

  18. Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I bet Madoka wishes Mami back to life.

    (Because Mami’s shown in the opening credits with Madoka and Sayaka as Mahou Shoujo and opening credits tell all.)

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Of course, there is the question of whether that’s even possible with Kyuubey’s power. If it is… Well…

      At the very least I get the feeling that she’ll try.

  19. ahelo
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Kyuubey is EVIL.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      By the way, if you extrapolate this to Kyuubey with no evidence, I will get angry at you.
      Pffft I already know that you’re intentionally provoking me.

  20. anon234
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought, but I highly doubt Mami’s coming back. If you take a good look at the opening, Madoka is daydreaming about Sayaka and Mami watching her do embarrassing stuff, and as the thoughts flash by Madoka becomes depressed and cries, causing Kyubei to leave. In fact, throughout the entire opening, Madoka is either crying or looking depressed (the latter may just be the art style). I’m almost thinking that means Sayaka will die too.

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      She could also be crying out of embarrassment. Just saying. :P

  21. ewok40k
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Evidently Faustian “Deal with the Devil” trope is invoked in the series, implying Kyubei isnt all that cute and nice furball he seems to be…

    • Posted January 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Inconsistent with the quotes from Faust. The deal is not the part from Faust being quoted.

  22. Crusader
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    May Mami rest in piece.

    Kyubei seems to be going for quality rather than quantity for his victims not sure if the scary plush toy is the Devil or simply an agent of evil. While the selfless wish may end in tragedy perhaps it is because Kuybei needs the wish to be selfish and egotistical, since Pride is often considered to be the most insidious and likely the original of the seven deadly sins. Given that Madoka wants to be exceptional might be hinting at her being prideful.

    Mami might have been chosen for the the sin of despair while Sayaka is leaning towards lust/vanity, but time will tell. Mami will be missed and I have a feeling that this death is quite permanent. If nothing else it was shocking. At least Mami wasn’t really a bad guy in disguise and kind of turned a new leaf.

    As for Madoka being atypical magical girl there has been a divergence of sorts with the migration of male otaku towards mahou shoujo shows like Nanoha. Pretty Cure to a lesser extent but certainly the demographics have shifted to where there is a niche catering to males instead of the traditional shoujo audience. It’s really a moot point to compare the changes since the target demographic is different between Sailor Moon and Madoka. Thus the themes will differ along with visual styles.

  23. Posted January 27, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Wow! look at all these discussion comments going on o_o good job Myst :3 I haven’t watched the episode yet, the clown kinda scared me away >.>

  24. Nerem
    Posted January 29, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    This is late, but the reason why Homura grimaces everytime Madoka says her last name is revealed when she tells Madoka to call her just “Homura” – IE she wanted Madoka to talk to her like a close friend would, which goes along very well with the implication that Homura really cares about Madoka and knows her better then anyone. In the ED, she’s even reaching out to her.

  25. skyhack
    Posted January 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s too easy to blame Kyubey for everything, although he’s sacrificing virgins to the witches. Homura appeared to have nothing to do with Kyubey, other than wanting to kill his sorry ass.

    Methinks there are more “Kyubeys” out there.

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