Because you can’t be a child anymore with that stuffed animal…
It appears that we’re shifting gears here in Madoka Magica, away from the witches and now onto this tension between mahou shoujos. These past two episodes have highlighted the differences between the 3 mahou shoujos, 1 dead mahou shoujo, and 1 potential mahou shoujo. They’re all wildly different in their mindset, and it’s nice to see a lot of development given to every single one. At the same time, the plot is charging forward full speed, and with Walpurgisnacht only a week away, it imposes a rather short timeline on all the events that will happen and have happened. So before accelerating full speed into the plot, it’s probably a good idea to just reconsider some overall trends in Madoka.
I think it’s very, very clear now that Madoka is a full on reversal of the Mahou Shoujo genre. There was a lot of debate earlier about how Madoka Magica adhered to a very cliche plot, though with the end of episode 3, that kind of just flew out the window. You just have to hand it to SHAFT in terms of how hard they were trying to keep this all covered up, by trying to not release the fact that Urobuchi was working on the script to the public, and how Urobuchi was actually trying to change his image, etc, etc. What a troll.
In fact, remember how many people spent a lot of time looking at the architecture of the “clean and proper” real world as compared to the dirty world of the witches? The lighting and architecture in the show have taken on a much, much darker tone. We’re beginning to lose the clean and proper world in favor of the gritty one. The world has changed to reflect the characters’ mindsets. No longer is the world clean, even childish. It’s now the dirty, gritty, mature world.
Anyone remember this?
Well it’s now this… With warped walls.
But the path that the episodes have taken after 3 focuses far more on the characters than the episodes before it. The witches have, in a way, faded into the background, with even the episode 4 witch essentially being one that causes introspection, though the symbolism of that witch is still rather confusing. In fact, I don’t expect the witches to take a proper role again until Walpurgisnacht actually happens, what with all the mahou shoujo drama that’s going on right now.
And the character commentary has far, far outweighed any sort of real plot progression from happening. In most other mahou shoujo shows, the shows are fundamentally plot driven. In other words, it’s some external force that’s pushing the characters to do something. Madoka Magica is now fundamentally character driven, in that the actions of the characters are driving the show forward, with Kyouko and Sayaka taking front stage in the past few episodes. And this method of storytelling first and foremost is meant to analyze the reaction of these characters as they’re placed in this world.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t launch into some episode 6 discussion with Sayaka. She’s pretty much the one no one cares about, a little bit like the Ruiko Saten (from Railgun) of the show, though that isn’t the best comparison. But Sayaka isn’t experienced and apparently has no innate talent compared to everyone else in the show. She’s the one with the most angst as well, especially due to her new responsibilities as a mahou shoujo, amplified so much more by her fundamental altruistic beliefs.
The incompatibility of her views with essentially everyone around her came to a head in this episode, as a lot of the episode centered around her conflict and friendship with Madoka. At the core of their beliefs, Sayaka is focusing on the differences between herself and the others around her, while Madoka is looking at the similarities. Madoka sees that they’re all human, witches are not, they’re all mahou shoujos, witches are not, etc, etc. Sayaka sees essentially the polar opposite, though curiously enough she fails to see the differences between her and Kamijo. It was rather subtle this episode, but it’s rather clear now that the situation here is a very, very one sided love, considering how Kamijo didn’t bother to tell Sayaka about anything before going back to his violin. Sayaka doesn’t seem to realize this, as she’s blinded by love and the such. At the moment she doesn’t mind, being just absorbed by his music, but the conversation with Kyouko brings this one sided love into clear focus.
He doesn’t really love you. You’ve been chasing after him the entire day. The only way to make him yours is to break his arms and legs. Then, he’ll have no way to resist, and his only option is to give you his body, soul, and heart. Yeah ok not really. That’s only the sort of stuff that you’d see in something like extreme guro NTR. But why is it that this result is undesirable? I mean his soul and heart are intact right? That’s all that’s needed for a human, right? Not really.
Such a clear nod to Descartes here in his formulation of the dualism between the soul and the body. The body is a machine. Only humans have souls, and that souls interact with bodies through the pineal gland. If you want to take it one step further and extrapolate his theory to Kyuubey, well, animals have bodies and pineal glands, but they lack a soul, and thus they can’t feel pain. This is obviously false, but I’m going to assume that this is “close enough” to the truth that we can begin extrapolating tons of stuff because of this.
No, I did not just take a satirical jab at the Madoka-Faust connection. But on a more important level, the ripping out of souls and placing them into more solid containers is practical. Is it heartless? Depends on how you look at it. Well what’s the problem that we have with it? Is it because we have this sort of “unity” complex where we feel that anything that isn’t inside of us isn’t part of us? Is it because we can’t possibly view our souls as an “object”? Or is it just because it’s different? I’ve seen many people just describe this act as “heartless” and that’s all they’ll say. I still don’t get why it’s heartless though. Why does it revile you so? Why does it revile Kyouko so? I mean you’re still human. You have a soul. You have a body. You have a heart, a mind. In fact, you can regenerate your body, heart, and mind. Why do you care then? When you think about it, it sounds like a pretty good deal now doesn’t it?
Why aren’t we thankful towards Kyuubey then? He’s doing us a service. Eternal youth, able to enjoy DDR and Pocky every day, still having our school lives, what’s the problem here? Eternal youth sounds pretty damn good don’t you think?
Let’s dance the day away!~ Dog Drug Revolution!!!
On the other hand, though, being a mahou shoujo isn’t really “eternal youth” as you would think of it. The responsibility is pretty big, and the reality of being a mahou shoujo this episode hit really hard, especially when put in context of the conversation between Madoka and her mom.
Damn that’s pretty depressing…
The reason why she could give the “advice” that she gave Madoka is just because Madoka is still a child. Make those mistakes for Sayaka. You can still afford to mess up as a child, and then you can learn to fall down. Because when you’re an adult you won’t have that chance. Well unfortunately there’s just one small detail.
Yeah, well, Sayaka isn’t really a child anymore. She’s taken on adult responsibilities and an adult mindset. And when you’re an adult, mistakes kill. Mami made a mistake. Sayaka/Madoka made a mistake. This isn’t your happy go lucky land of “anything goes” anymore. But Madoka is still stuck in the childish mindset, and the only reason she chooses to take action in this episode is because of the advice her mom gave her. After all, she’s pretty much been an observer for the majority of the series. But maybe it’s time to take action. Because your friend needs it. Homura needs it, though she may not know it.
But that would mean taking on adult responsibilities. Can you handle it Madoka? That’s the question. When you’re a child, and confronted with the realities of being an adult, what do you do? Do you accept that “being an adult is only as fun as it is tough”? Or will you escape away from reality? On the one hand, Madoka professes to want to take a drink with her mother. Drinking in and of itself is an act comparable with Kyouko’s food binge. She knows how to enjoy herself as an adult. But Madoka and Sayaka don’t have this ability yet. They might want to drink with the adults, but it’s impossible for them as they currently are.
Especially not if you’re reading stuff like this!
Will Madoka ultimately gain this ability? That’s the question that Madoka Magica asks right now. It’s the story of a young girl who has to grow up. To what extent can she actually grow up and retain her childish mindset? Well we’ll find out…