Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

October 16, 2011

At first I was going to give Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica the skip since I’m not into magical girl series. However after reading a few brief statements and comments from here and there over the internet, saying how this show is controversial, I decided to have a look have it. You know humans. If it’s something clean and pure, you wouldn’t want it. But if it’s tainted and corrupted that will make heads turn, yeah, you bet there are going to be lots of busybodies. How unfortunate that I have fallen into this category. At least for this series.

This show was controversial enough to even earn the attention of the legislators and even a threatening warning to ban the series! I guess that is what got me intrigued. What could be so controversial that a magical girl series will even be banned from the TV? After watching the series, though in my opinion I won’t consider anything to be controversial, I’d rather say that this series is not your typical magical girl series. If you have seen many magical girl shows, you would know the happy-happy atmosphere even during tense and ‘dangerous’ times. However Puella Magi Madoka Magica (as it is also known as) is dark, grim and depressing. Yes, you have been warned. Hope is only a facade because what lies beneath it are the shocking and untold truth that magical girls will face as their fate. It is truly shocking, I tell you. So if you’re expecting heroines to defeat the villains with a happy ending, you can forget about it as this show is unlike any other magical girl series I know (that might be a premature statement as I do not watch many magical girl shows). Oh, for the record, this show’s final 2 episodes were delayed not because the legislators successful passed a bill to ban the show, but rather the March 22nd tsunami that hit the area which caused many animes airing that time to be postponed. So it may take a month later to air the final double episodes together but they finished it.

Episode 1
Madoka Kaname runs through a maze-like black and white corridors and convoluting stairways till she opens a door at the end and finds herself in a devastated world. She sees Homura Akemi taking on a giant cog but is overwhelmed. Kyuubey tells Madoka that she has the power to change and wants her to make a contract and become a Puella Magi. Madoka wakes up and to her relief thinks everything she saw was just a dream. After waking her mom up, dress up and having breakfast, Madoka goes off to school. She meets her friends, Sayaka Miki and Hitomi Shizuki along the way and they talk on stuff like being popular among boys and love letters. I don’t know but the classes her looked like glass cages! Anyway their homeroom teacher Kazuko Saotome seems to be ranting on fried eggs. Turns out she’s just been rejected by her boyfriend. Then she introduces a new transfer student: Akemi. Madoka is surprised to see her. She becomes quite popular with some of the classmates. Since she isn’t feeling well, she excuses herself to the infirmary and wants Madoka to lead her since she’s the class nurse. Madoka tries to be friendly like praising her name but she gets annoyed and asks her if her life is precious and that if she loves her family and friends. Of course she does. Akemi tells her to be who she is and not somebody she isn’t or else risk losing everything. Akemi continues to excel very well in academics and sports. During lunch, Madoka, Sayaka and Hitomi talk about Akemi. When Madoka mentions that she dreamt about her, Sayaka laughs it off and starts teasing her. But Hitomi thinks she may have met her before but doesn’t remember. Kyuubey is seen been chased by Akemi. Later Madoka and Sayaka are at the music store when Madoka hears a voice in her head pleading for help. Following it to a section under construction, she sees a badly injured Kyuubey. She is surprised to see Akemi, who wants to leave Kyuubey to her. However she can’t do that because she doesn’t want her to do anymore cat abuse since he’s totally injured. Sayaka uses the fire extinguisher as distraction so they can escape. Suddenly the hallway changes into a different creepy environment. The duo are scared because they’re being surrounded by hostiles (cotton balls with moustache?). Thankfully they are saved by Mami Tomoe who is grateful that they saved her important friend Kyuubey. She then transforms and blasts all the hostiles with her awesome magic infinite gun firepower. The scene returns to normal. Akemi confronts Mami. Mami mentions about not wanting to get in her way to catch the witch that fled and won’t kill her. After mentioning that she doesn’t want to get into unnecessary trouble, Akemi leaves. Mami heals Kyuubey who is grateful towards the duo. He knows their names and has a request for them: He wants to make contracts with her to be Puella Magi (magical girl).

Episode 2
Madoka wakes up thinking it’s another dream but this time sees Kyuubey sitting by. So it’s not a dream. She remembers being invited to Mami’s apartment with Sayaka where she lives alone. Mami showed them a Soul Gem, a jewel born when a girl contracts with Kyuubey which is their power source and proof of being a magical girl. Though Kyuubey is able to fulfil any of their wishes. In exchange, they have to become magical girls and fight witches. The explanation continues with witches who are totally opposite from magical girls. They are born from curses and spread despair as opposed to magical girls born from hope and spread wishes. Plus, humans can’t see them and they hide themselves within magical barriers. So if you’re not careful, you might get lost in their labyrinth and never make it out. Mami wants them to think carefully before becoming a magical girl since they’ll be risking their lives. She thinks their wishes have a chance to be granted since Kyuubey chose them. She also invites them to come with her for a witch hunt to see what they’ll be up against with. They ask about Akemi’s case so Kyuubey mentions that he’s being targeted. The reason why she confronted Madoka was to reduce the number of magical girls being born. You see, killing witches have its own rewards but when the competition increases, there are chances of clashes. Madoka and Sayaka head to school the next day with Kyuubey tagging along. However nobody else but them can see the cat and can communicate via telepathy so Hitomi gets suspicious of their acting. She panics when she thinks they advanced a lot in their forbidden love.

In class, Mami assures the girls that Akemi won’t pull any dangerous stunt to hurt Kyuubey since she’s in public. During recess on the rooftop, Sayaka isn’t sure what her wish should be. But she laments that other people should be given this kind of chance instead of them (flashes of a guy in hospital comes to her mind). Then Akemi confronts them. She asks if Madoka has already become one. When Madoka ponders the kind of wish she has to become a magical girl, Akemi walks away and didn’t reply. Madoka and Sayaka meet Mami at the cafe before their witch hunt. Sayaka brought a baseball bat just in case while Madoka a sketch design of her magical girl outfit. Huh? Mami uses her Soul Gem to trace fainting footsteps of the witch that attacked them earlier. She mentions that a witch’s curse have the most impact around crimes, accidents or deserted places for suicide as they suck life force. The Soul Gem gets stronger as they spot a lady jumping to her death off her building. Mami uses her magic to slowly float her down. They see a witch’s kiss mark on her neck. Then they head inside the building and enter the portal to the labyrinth. With the girls sticking close to her, Mami shows them the veteran she is taking out enemies till she reaches the witch (she’s one ugly mother blob!). Mami pulls off flashy gun moves and finishes the witch off with her big mother revolver. Erupt Finale! The scene returns to normal as Mami shows them a Grief Seed, the witch’s egg. One of the rewards using this is that it replenishes the magic of the depleted Soul Gem. Mami then tosses the Grief Seed towards Akemi and intends to share it with her. However she refuses since it’s her win and throws it back to her. In the aftermath, they help the suicide lady back on her feet and Madoka thinks of becoming a helpful person like Mami.

Episode 3
Sayaka is seen visiting Kyousuke Kamijou in hospital and gives him listen to a rare violin CD she got. Madoka and Sayaka follow Mami on another successful witch hunt but this time there is no Grief Seed. As explained, these are familiars of witches but needs to be taken care of or else they’ll turn into one. On the way back, Madoka asks Mami her wish so the latter explains she didn’t have much of a choice then. Seems she was dying in a car accident when Kyuubei popped up. If given a choice, she would’ve liked to think carefully about it. Sayaka asks if wishes can be grant for other people. Though it is possible and there have been cases like that, however it ended in tragedy as the wish wasn’t clear. Mami continues to warn about doing so because she doesn’t want them to regret it later. Back home, Madoka admires Mami so Kyuubei tries to persuade her to be a Puella Magi by saying that she is the most talented girl he’s ever seen. Their conversation is interrupted when Madoka’s dad calls her to help her mom who is drunk and just came back from drinking with her company. She asks daddy why mom works hard so he replies that though the company she works for isn’t her dream company, the satisfaction to overcome her problems makes it as though she’s living her dream lifestyle. Elsewhere Akemi confronts Mami at the park and the former is bent on stopping Madoka from being a magical girl. Mami knows that Akemi has notice Mami’s incredible power and thinks she’s just jealous. They agree that this will be their last amicable ‘talk’ together.

Next day, Madoka and Sayaka spot a Grief Seed that is about to transform, stuck on a building. Sayaka plans to stay and keep watch and wants Madoka to go call Mami. Kyuubey decides to stay by Sayaka. Once Madoka rushes off, the Grief Seed activates and they get absorbed into the labyrinth. Inside, Kyuubey says if she is able to make a wish, she can turn her into a Puella Magi now but Sayaka still wants to think it over. Madoka returns with Mami and they enter the labyrinth. However following close by is Akemi. She wants to take on this want but Mami doesn’t trust her and ties her up in her spell. As they walk along, Madoka tells Mami that she looks up to her because she herself lacks talent in lots of areas. Mami brushes it off and says that she isn’t someone to admire and was just acting cool. Plus, being a magical girl means you’ll get injured and no time for anything else. She adds she is all alone and has no one to turn to and that being one isn’t good. However Madoka says she isn’t alone now. Mami feels happy that Madoka is willing to fight alongside her. With the Grief Seed starting to move, Mami transforms and blasts the little enemies (doughnuts?) along her way to the witch’s lair. She encounters the witch in the form of a doll and plans to finish it quickly with her Trio Finale cannon (one huge revolver mother!). However another creature appears out from the doll’s mouth and comes up too close to Mami for her to make any counter attack, catching her off-guard. Then it bites her head off!!!! OMG!!! NOOO!!! The girls start to shiver in fear. Kyuubey wants them to make a wish now but they’re too scared to even move. With Mami’s demise, Akemi is free from her spell and goes into action, defeating the witch for good and saves the girls. As they return to their world, Akemi warns them that this is what they’ll get if they become one. Akemi takes the Grief Seed while leaving the duo still in shock and paralyzed.

Episode 4
Sayaka goes to see Kamijou but he isn’t in. The nurses say he is taking lots of examinations in the rehabilitation room. The nurses also mention how Kamijou was an accomplished violinist before the accident. Even if he is able to walk, he may never use his fingers again. Sayaka laments why bad luck had to befall on him instead of her and ponders what would he think if she wishes for him to be healthy again. Madoka still couldn’t get over Mami’s death and cries in front of her family during breakfast. Sayaka and Madoka are still depressed about what happened in school. They feel like they’re living in a foreign land though everything else remained the same. Madoka further breaks down when she mentions she can’t become a Puella Magi and each time she thinks about Mami’s death she feels afraid. Kyuubey mentions that this area was long Mami’s territory but it won’t be long before others will take over. He decides to leave to find others who will contract with him since he can’t force them to be one and regrets that he got them involved in this. Madoka pays Mami’s empty apartment a visit and continues to shed tears of regret that she’s weak. She meets Akemi outside. She is glad Madoka took her advice. Akemi explains she has witness countless deaths like this. Since Mami has no close relatives, it’ll take some time before anybody realizes that she’s missing. Even so, since her body died in the other world, her status will always be considered as a missing person. Madoka is sad that nobody realizes how Mami has been fighting for herself. Akemi adds that Puella Magi enter into contracts for their own wishes so it’s normal to not get noticed or remembered. However Madoka is adamant she will remember Mami and even Akemi. Akemi appreciates her kindness but feels that by being kind, she’ll get into bigger troubles.

Sayaka visits Kamijou and she talks about orchestra music that they both like. However he thinks she’s trying to torture him by listening to music that he can’t even play now. He gets so upset that he smashes the CD till his hand bleeds! He is saddened that he can’t use this hand anymore. In fact he can’t even feel anything with it. Since medical science is not that advanced, it’ll take a miracle or magic to heal it. Sayaka gets her resolve and says miracle and magic do exist. Kyuubey is seen sitting by the window. Madoka is on her way home when she spots Hitomi. She is shocked to see a witch’s mark on her neck. Furthermore, there are lots of other depressed people making their way to a warehouse. Hitomi says that they’re going to a ‘better world’. To Madoka’s horror, she sees the people mixing a deadly potion that could kill everyone. She takes action by throwing the pail out of the window. The disgruntled suiciders corner Madoka as she locks herself in a room. Unfortunately she enters the witch’s lair and is absorbed into the labyrinth via familiars (round-faced cupids?). Floating aimlessly inside it, she thinks this is her retribution for her sins for being a liar and coward. She is going to be torn apart by the familiars when they are slashed away. Madoka is surprised to see Sayaka in a cape as she finishes off the witch and brings normalcy back to the world. Then Akemi confronts them. She doesn’t look very happy. Meanwhile Kamijou realizes he could move his hands. Elsewhere, Kyuubey is seen talking to another Puella Magi, Kyouko Sakura. He tells her that a new magical girl he recently contracted has taken this territory. Kyouko isn’t happy about it but isn’t going to let a rookie take this perfect area under her nose and plans on defeating her.

Episode 5
A flashback sees how Sayaka contracted with Kyuubey and receives her own Soul Gem. Hitomi seems to be her normal self in school. She doesn’t have any recollections of what happened except waking up with a bunch of strangers. Later at a slope, Madoka and Sayaka talk about the latter becoming a magical girl. Sayaka mentions she has no regrets being one but should’ve realized and been one earlier because it would be scarier if she lost both Madoka and Hitomi. Sayaka visits Kamijou and he’s surprised that his hand is healed. He’ll be staying a while in hospital since the doctors want to do more tests on his sudden healing. She wheels him up to the roof where the staffs organize a party for him. They give him a violin and he starts playing. He hasn’t lost his touch and the sound of the strings brings tears to Sayaka’s eyes. Madoka meets Akemi and she has a request: She hopes she and Sayaka can be friends and also it’ll be easier and safer to hunt witches together. However Akemi tells her the harsh truth. With kindness comes naivety, courage becomes foolhardiness and dedication has no rewards. That was how Mami lost her life. Madoka gets upset for her talking back about Mami. She further warns about Madoka’s wish for Sayaka to stay safe: Forget about her. Once someone becomes a magical girl, there’s no hope in saving them. It’s like trying to bring back the dead. The contract requires that they sacrifice everything for a single hope. That’s why Akemi has given up on herself and other girls. But no matter how much she has sinned, she must continue fighting. That evening, Sayaka is going on her first witch hunt patrol. Madoka wishes to follow her and promises she won’t be in the way. Using her Soul Gem, they trace a witch’s familiar down an alley. Sayaka transforms and fights the crayon-sketched bratty familiar with her swords. The familiar escapes but they are prevented from chasing it by Kyouko. She doesn’t understand them of wanting to go after it since it doesn’t drop Grief Seeds. Sayaka believes it will kill someone if left alone so Kyouko tells her off to let it be then till it becomes a witch. Or else it’ll be like killing the goose with the golden egg. Kyouko doesn’t seem to care about other lives except but her own interest. She mocks Sayaka’s crappy justice ideal and they both clash. Obviously Kyouko is more powerful and hits Sayaka away. However due to Sayaka’s wish of healing somebody, she too has regenerative abilities. It isn’t long before they clash weapons again. But of course Kyouko being the veteran fares much better. Madoka starts going hysterical that 2 magical girls are fighting each other when they’re supposed to be allies. Kyuubey notes he can’t do anything to interfere but hints the only one who can stop them is another magical girl. Yeah, he wants her to contract with him now. Confused and desperate Madoka is going to take up his offer but Akemi again cuts in, avoiding Madoka from becoming one.

Episode 6
Akemi knocks Sayaka out in episode 6 and faces Kyouko. She makes a wise decision to back off. Akemi isn’t pleased that she has to repeat many times her warning not to get involved. If they insist, she’ll have to use any means necessary. Sayaka back home heals her Soul Gem with a Grief Seed but Kyuubey says she needs to find another one to purify her partially corrupted Soul Gem. A pure Soul Gem will allow her to do anything without worrying too much on using too much magic. Sayaka notes that Mami didn’t have much trouble with this and wonders if she’s a genius. Kyuubey agrees but also mentions that there is another genius who can surpass that: Madoka. He thinks Sayaka can convince her to be one but she doesn’t want to get her friend involved. Kyouko is playing Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade when Akemi comes up to her. She says Kyouko can have this city since Sayaka won’t be able to handle it. Plus, she’ll handle her personally and wants Kyouko to stay out of it. However Kyouko wants to know who Akemi really is.  Her reply is that Walpurgisnacht will arrive in a week’s time. If Kyouko wins, she’ll leave this city. Madoka sees Sayaka trying to trace the familiar that got away. She is worried about her friend but Sayaka’s words are full of anger. She views Akemi and Kyouko as selfish magical girls not caring for the lives of others. Plus, when she became a Puella Magi, it’s not to hunt witches but to protect the one she loves. Madoka is saddened that her friend has change and all Kyuubey can say is that Sayaka has become reckless and in this state, she won’t be able to defeat Akemi or Kyouko. That night, Madoka can’t sleep so she goes to talk to her mom about wanting to help her friend in need. The more she does things right, the worse she becomes. Mom tells her about the harsh facts of reality but there is one way she can help. But it’s going to be messy. That is, to get things like and making the mistakes for her. But she may have regrets or wanting to give up.

Sayaka learns Kamijou has been discharges so she goes to visit him at his home and could hear him practise his violin. Then she spots Kyouko behind her. She knows all about Kamijou and mocks her stupid decision to contract with Kyuubey for another person. She crosses the line by suggesting Sayaka could make him all hers by smashing all his limbs and making him completely useless. And if she can’t do that, she’ll gladly do it on her behalf. Sayaka won’t forgive her and wants to finish their duel. Kyouko agrees but to do it somewhere else. Meanwhile Kyuubey goes to warn Madoka that Sayaka is in trouble. Madoka arrives on the bridge to see them preparing to face off. Akemi is also there. Since this isn’t what they agreed, Akemi plans to settle with Sayaka herself first. Can’t take this any longer, Madoka grabs Sayaka’s Soul Gem and toss it down the bridge. It lands on a moving truck. Akemi quickly goes after it as Sayaka collapses. Kyouko grabs Sayaka and to her shock, realizes she is dead. Madoka starts crying over what she has done and it seems Kyouko is also pretty clueless on what’s going on. Pestering Kyuubey for an answer, the cat explains magical girls can control their bodies within a 100m range. Which means, in Sayaka’s case, the Soul Gem is the real her and that body is just an empty husk. When a girl contracts with him, his job is to extract their soul and turn it into a Soul Gem. During fights with witches, humans’ body are prone to damage (therefore their bodies are just ‘hardware’). For easier use of magic, he turns their soul into a new compact form (which is their body that they know of). Kyouko is upset that they’ve become something like zombies. But Kyuubey thinks it is convenient as they can fight witches better than in fragile human form as they are invincible (the magic repairs their body again and again). So long they have their Soul Gem. Noticing the surprised look on their faces, Kyuubey is puzzled he gets this reaction all the time. He wonders why humans have problems with where their souls end up. Inconsolable Madoka stops crying when Akemi returns and puts Sayaka’s Soul Gem back in her palm. Slowly her life returns but she is oblivious to what happened.

Episode 7
Sayaka expresses disappointment that Kyuubey never told them this but he says they never asked (which is true). Plus, he thinks it is easier if they didn’t know. Just like how Mami never found out. He then proceeds to demonstrate the kind of excruciating pain she would feel by touching her Soul Gem. Sayaka’s stomach starts to hurt so bad that she can’t do anything but squirm on the floor. Because their body and soul are separated, they are able to fight and thus Sayaka able to withstand big blows from Kyouko. See, this is the price you pay in order for your wish to be granted, right? As Sayaka skips school, Madoka talks to Akemi about Kyuubey’s ‘cruelness’. But Akemi doesn’t think Kyuubey thinks what he is doing is cruel because human values don’t mean anything to him. Plus, he regards this as payment for the miracle. Apparently Akemi knew all of this along and past records show that nobody would believe her even if she said a word. She wants Madoka to forget about Sayaka as she is beyond help and not confuse between gratitude and responsibility. How can Akemi be so cold, she asks? Well, she’s no longer human. Kyouko pays Sayaka a visit and wants to talk to her. Walking along, they talk about reaping what they sow. At an abandoned building, Kyouko tosses an apple to Sayaka but she throws it away. This causes Kyouko to be enraged and grabs her by the collar, warning her never to waste food or she’ll kill her. Once she realizes, she puts her down. Kyouko narrates this place is once her father’s church. He’s an honest guy but one day began preaching differently from the main church. Though it wasn’t wrong or bad, people refused to listen to him and slowly left him. Kyouko couldn’t stand it anymore and made a contract with Kyuubey so that people would listen to him. Next day, many flock to her dad’s church and her life as a magical girl against witches began. But when he found out about her secret, he became upset by the fact that the people didn’t came and believed on their own will but via magic. The ironic part was he called her a witch who manipulated people’s mind. Then he got drunk and mad and ended up killing the entire family and Kyouko is the only survivor. Her wish destroyed her family. Her wish without understanding people made everyone suffer. Since then, she vowed that this power is only for herself. She’s telling her this because she reminded of herself doing the same mistakes. She doesn’t want her to live her life with regrets. Sayaka apologizes for her misconception on her but doesn’t regret making a wish to help someone because if she does so, those feelings will become fake. Since Kyouko couldn’t answer how she got those apples, Sayaka can’t appreciate the things she gives her. Plus, she’ll fight in her own way and if she feels she is getting in her way, feel free to kill her. Sayaka returns to school the next day. Her happiness turns to depression when she sees Kamijou limping his way to class in crutches. Later Hitomi talks to Sayaka. It’s about love. Who? Hitomi tells her a secret that she’s been keeping from them a long time: She likes Kamijou. She wants to be honest with her feelings and have no intention of stealing anything from her. Since Sayaka knows him more than she does, she’s giving her a day’s head start to leave no regrets, whether she wants to confess or not. After that, she’ll confess to Kamijou her true feelings. That night as Sayaka goes out on another witch patrol, she sees Madoka waiting for her. But Sayaka breaks down after saying Hitomi is going to take Kamijou away and that there’s nothing she can do. Akemi and Kyouko watches Sayaka in action taking on a witch. She seems like a heartless and cruel zombie, enjoying every beating she gives the witch.

Episode 8
Sayaka could even give the Grief Seed to Kyouko, claiming that she doesn’t owe her anything and that they’re even. Madoka accompanies a weakened Sayaka at a bus stop. She is worried of her condition. But Sayaka despises her current form in which her useless body is just a lump of stone to defeat witches, a walking corpse pretending to be alive. Madoka still wants to make her happy but Sayaka tells her off to fight witches herself since Kyuubey mentioned she has more talent than everyone. She doesn’t want her sympathy or playing innocent with her lectures. Sayaka runs off and even if those words were harsh, deep down in Sayaka’s heart, she knows she crossed the line and hurt her friend. Meanwhile Akemi and Kyouko are seen discussing the possible appearance of Walpurgis when Kyuubey appears. He’s here to tell them that Sayaka is exerting herself faster than expected and her body is exuding a cursed air. If nothing is done, something far worse will happen even before Walpurgisnacht arrives. He knows Akemi knows about this too. That is, Sayaka’s Soul Gem has become too corrupted. Madoka realizes Sayaka never returned home and goes looking for her. Sayaka is seen spying on Hitomi having a nice chat with Kamijou. Each time she thinks about this, her mind starts growing crazy and she just slashes anything in her path due to jealousy. Then Akemi confronts her and wants her to use the Grief Seed to purify her Soul Gem. However Sayaka kicks it away and intends to be a different magical girl than everyone as she’ll help people without rewards or her own benefit. When Akemi says that she is dying, she’s fine with it since she won’t have to kill witches anymore. Sayaka continues to call Akemi a liar with empty words since she knows Akemi isn’t really here to help her. That’s when Akemi snaps at her that she’s hurting Madoka badly. She admits that she isn’t here to help here but simply doesn’t want Madoka to watch her fall. But if she intends to hurt Madoka anymore, she’ll kill her right now. Before she can do that, Kyouko holds on to Akemi to prevent her from doing her secret technique and let Sayaka escape. Akemi drops a grenade so Kyouko has no choice but to let go as she vanishes.

Sayaka is in a train overhearing a couple of jerks planning to dump their girlfriend. She gets upset the kind of world she is trying to save and turns into a corrupted form. Madoka continues to search for Sayaka but meets Kyuubey at the park. Kyuubey once again tries to convince Madoka to contract with her, saying that her powers may even cause greater miracles or rewrite laws of nature. This means that Sayaka could even return back to her human form again. Madoka won’t mind doing it for Sayaka’s sake and even considers that wish worth her soul. Just before Madoka could accept, Kyuubey is suddenly covered with several bullet holes. Gosh! It’s Akemi with a shotgun! But for the first time we see Akemi showing more emotion than usual. She even breaks down in tears! She’s sad that Madoka plans to sacrifice herself or use her life for something meaningless. She’s trying to get the message across that there’ll be people who will be sad if she’s gone. Akemi gets weak on her knees as Madoka ponders if they’ve meet somewhere before. But Madoka apologizes and goes on her way to look for Sayaka. We see Kyuubey in a replacement form as he eats up his old busted one. Since he has been killed twice by her, Kyuubey deduces that her technique is time control magic and isn’t from this timeline. Akemi on the other hand knows his true form and his scheme. She is adamant to change Madoka’s fate and won’t let his plan succeed. She calls Kyuubey’s full name: Incubator. Kyouko finds Sayaka at the train platform and talks to her. Seems Sayaka is already at her limit and has lost it. She laments her fate as a magical girl. Whenever someone becomes happy, she has to suffer.  Her Soul Gem is now corrupted as it bursts, blasting Kyouko away. Kyuubey narrates how growing young women are called girls. Therefore it’s only proper that for those who are turning into witches should be called magical girls. Oh dear.

Episode 9
Sayaka turns into a witch and absorbs them into her labyrinth. Akemi is there to freeze time while she takes Kyouko (who is carrying Sayaka) out. Once Madoka reunites with them, she is shocked to hear when Sayaka’s Soul Gem turned into a Grief Seed, she became a witch and died. Akemi further explains the inevitable fate of magical girls. When their Soul Gem gets tainted and turns black, they become Grief Seeds and then a witch. Kyouko gets upset when Akemi continues to say about carefully handling and ridding Sayaka’s body or else it will cause them trouble. Is she human? Well, none of the magical girls are. Madoka becomes depressed as Kyuubey pays her a visit to explain things. Now this is an eye opener.He explains the word ‘entropy’. In short, the universe is losing energy as some energy is lost when it changes form. They’ve found a way to harness that energy via Puella Magi using the conscious life form’s emotional power. Though Kyuubey’s species discovered this method, they are unable to experience emotions. They search the whole universe high and low and stumble upon humans who are supposed to have great emotional powers and are a good energy source to counter entropy. So teenage girls are the most effective when they’re in their second growth stage (hence the mahou shoujo thingy). When their souls burn out in the Soul Gems and turn to Grief Seeds, they emit great amount of energy and it is thus the incubator’s job to collect that energy. So they’re just expendables who will die for them? Kyuubey explains the vast different cultures in the universe that consumes energy every moment. Madoka finds it hard to believe this stupid reason has caused the death of her pals and now she thinks he is their real enemy. However as Kyuubey noted, they only make a contract when they agree. What about being deceived? Well, Kyuubey can’t understand what it means and deduces humans regret a wrong decision based on a misunderstanding and tend to hate the other party (which is true). Can you understand all this? Well, same reason why their species can’t understand us. Kyuubey crosses the line when he says there are 6 billion humans and growing each second and doesn’t understand why they make a big fuss over a loss of just 1 life. He insists that their sacrifice is for the greater good. He hopes that in the future Madoka will become the strongest Puella Magi and then the strongest witch so that they can get an immense amount of energy. He departs with a reminder “If you feel like dying for the universe, feel free to call me. I’ll be waiting”. LIKE HELL! NO WAY!!!!

Kyuubey then visits Kyouko who is trying to warm Sayaka’s body with her Soul Gem. She asks if there’s any way to get back her Soul Gem and his reply is none as far as he knows. Madoka skips school because Kyouko wants to talk to her. Seems she wants her help to save Sayaka. She doesn’t want to give up till they’re sure they can save her or not. Sayaka has a theory that though Sayaka has turned into a witch, perhaps deep down inside her she’s still human. She hopes talking to her especially her close friend will bring her out to her senses. Then instead of dropping a Grief Seed at the end, maybe a Soul Gem will appear. Madoka agrees with her plan. Walking along, Madoka wonders if Akemi will help but Kyouko wouldn’t place her hope on it. She feels they’re more like making temporary alliance to defeat an enemy they can’t beat alone. That enemy is Walpurgis, an insanely powerful witch and will be in this town in a few days. They enter a construction area and into Sayaka’s labyrinth. Madoka wonders being useless like herself is a coward so Sayaka assures that she doesn’t need to become a magical girl since she’s surrounded by amazing people like her family with a convenient life. She feels only those with no choice should put their lives on the line. To others it’ll be a game and just screwing around. There’ll come a time when she’ll have to fight no matter what and should save her thoughts for that. Sayaka notices their presence and the girls are moved to the core (in the midst of an orchestra?). And Sayaka is a… Knight-cum-conductor-cum-mermaid? Madoka uses her voice to plead to Sayaka to stop and remember as Kyouko fights off the wheels that Sayaka throws at her. Seems everything fell on deaf ears as Sayaka even attacks Madoka while Kyouko takes a beating. Akemi appears to catch Madoka. Kyouko knows what she has to do and entrusts Madoka’s safety to her. After Akemi escapes with unconscious Madoka, Kyouko powers up and vows not to leave Sayaka alone and be by her side. She pierces her own Soul Gem and a huge explosion occurs. Back in Akemi’s place, Kyuubey couldn’t believe Kyouko tried to save Sayaka. So why didn’t Kyuubey save her? He thinks her fall had a greater meaning and wasn’t a meaningless sacrifice. Seeing that Akemi is the only Puella Magi left to face the Walpurgis, she wouldn’t even stand a chance. To ensure this town is safe, Madoka has to become a Puella Magi but Akemi won’t allow that.

Episode 10
This is how it all began. It’s like a different time and universe. Akemi was a very shy bespectacled and braided new transfer student in Madoka’s class. She has returned after a long spell in hospital due to her heart disease. Yeah, Sayaka is still alive too. Friendly Madoka guides Akemi to the infirmary and she gladly makes friends with bashful Akemi. However Akemi doesn’t excel well academically and in sports so much so some students taunt her. On her way home, she ponders that she is useless when a voice tells her to go and die. She unknowingly steps into a labyrinth. Before she gets killed by familiars, Madoka and Mami step in to save her. Kyuubey tells Akemi that they are magical girls who hunt witches. Once that is done, Akemi is invited to Mami’s apartment whereby Madoka tells her she just became a Puella Magi a week ago while Mami is the veteran. Then Walpurgisnacht comes. Mami is dead and Madoka is the only one left who can defeat it. Akemi knows she won’t even survive but Madoka knows that and as a Puella Magi, she must protect everyone. Akemi wants them to run away together but Madoka is happy that they became friends and that it’s worth becoming a Puella Magi. In the aftermath, we see Akemi crying besides Madoka’s lifeless body, wishing that she had lived instead of sacrificing and protecting her. Kyuubey shows up and offers a contract if she would risk her soul for that. Since he is able to grant her wish, Akemi’s wish is to protect Madoka and redo her meeting with her. The contract is form as Akemi gets her Soul Gem and goes back in time when she’s in hospital. When she is discharged and becomes the new transfer student, the first thing she did was go up to Madoka and proudly proclaim that she has become a magical girl and wants to work hard together. Right in front of class! Akemi undergoes training and witch hunting with Mami and Madoka and though she can’t use her time control effectively yet, she does some tweaking here and there. Then Walpurgisnacht came and the same thing happened. Madoka’s Soul Gem becomes a tremendous Grief Seed. Akemi then went back in time again.

This time she tries to tell the rest (including Sayaka) about Kyuubey’s deceit but Sayaka think she’s trying to pull a fast one. Because Akemi has no other weapons than her time control, she starts ‘stealing’ all sorts of firearms and store them in her time-space (I guess that’s why she’s able to whip out weapons from nowhere). Then the scene changes as Mami, Madoka, Kyouko and Akemi fight Sayaka who has turned into the witch. Akemi reluctantly kills Sayaka and throws them out of her labyrinth. Distraught of what just happened, Mami suddenly shoots Kyouko’s Soul Gem and kills her! She panics at the thought of all of them becoming witches so she might as well kill themselves! Before she could kill Akemi, Madoka kills her. Grief-stricken, Akemi tries to cheer her up and save their strength for Walpurgisnacht. That came and this time both girls are lying defeated, close to death. Madoka uses her Grief Seed to heal Akemi’s and wants her to go back in time to save her from her stupidity of being tricked by Kyuubey. Akemi promises to go back in time and do so no matter how many times it takes. Madoka has 1 more wish before she dies. She doesn’t want to become a witch so Akemi with a heavy heart kills her. The next time she goes back in time, Akemi has become hard-bitten. She casts away her old look and adopts a cold outlook since no one is going to believe the future anyway. She is able to kill Kyuubey just before he is able to make contact with Madoka. Akemi even warns Madoka to turn down any offer of anyone promising miracles. Akemi goes on a witch hunting spree and is resolve she will depend on her own and kill all the witches. It’s Walpurgisnacht again. Akemi is close to defeat. Just like that opening dream scene in episode 1, Madoka is distraught so Kyuubey offers her a chance to change fate by becoming a magical girl. Akemi pleads as hard for her not to become one. Seems it fell on deaf ears because in the aftermath of Walpurgisnacht, Kyuubey mentions her transformation was awesome and destroyed Walpurgis in just 1 hit. Akemi knows her fate will still be the same but as Kyuubey mentions, as the strongest Puella Magi, she will also become the strongest witch and bring destruction to this planet! The best part is, Kyuubey thinks this is not his problem since he has gathered enough quota for his energy collection. WTF???!!! So what now? Yeah, go back in time. Again and again and again. Akemi is seen chasing and firing shots at escaping Kyuubey in that under construction section at the music store. Madoka picks up that badly bruised cat and her eyes meet Akemi’s. Akemi doesn’t mind getting lost in this labyrinth as long as it’s for her sake.

Episode 11
Back to where Kyuubey confronted Akemi in her place, Kyuubey deduces that she repeated this feat countless time in several parallel worlds to change the possibilities so that it’ll suit the way she wants. He also has a theory why Madoka is considered to have the greatest Puella Magi power.  In short, due to Akemi’s multiple time travelling, each time linking the different timelines causes the different Madokas to focus on this one here and thus increasing her power. So thanks to Akemi’s intention of saving her friend, she has raised Madoka into a powerful witch. Well done. Oh sh*t. Sayaka’s body has been reported to be found in a hotel as her friends attend her funeral. Shocked Madoka is paid another visit by Kyuubey at home. She thinks he’s cruel. But he relates the same theory if she ever thought about the cattle that are raised for human consumption. Which is true! However Kyuubey thinks they do not treat humans as cattle as they negotiate and accept them as they are. He then proceeds to show Madoka how humans and Incubators have shared this relationship throughout the ages. Countless girls have made contracts and got their wishes fulfilled but it ends with a curse.  It’s just a repeated cycle but because of it, mankind is able to survive and advance through each era. Now we know why witches were burnt at the stake in the olden days! Now we know why Cleopatra managed to seduce 2 greatest men and contribute to their downfall! Madoka thinks that he betrayed the girls’ trust but of course Kyuubey’s version is that if the wish doesn’t fit within their reason, this gives birth to some kind of distortion. Kyuubey continues that the thing called emotion in their culture is called a mental disorder. But they are surprised when they find humans having their own individual feelings and yet managed to coexist. And if they have never came to this planet in the first place? We’d still be living in caves. Oh my. So humans are able to advance due to Incubators’ technology (besides their imagination and wish of course)!

Madoka goes to see Akemi and talks about Walpurgisnacht she learned from Kyouko. Unlike other witches Walpurgis doesn’t need a barrier to conceal herself. Akemi gets emotional and suddenly hugs Madoka, saying she met her countless times and saw her die each time. She wanted to find a way to change her fate but the more she repeats the circle, the more she feels their timelines are drifting apart. Each time she felt lost but she hang on to the hope of saving her and that is the thing which kept her going. She pleads to Madoka that she wants to protect her. A huge storm is brewing as everyone including Madoka’s family takes refuge in a shelter. This storm as expected is Walpurgis as Akemi waltzes right into it and starts her huge epic battle. Whether it’s firing her infinite bazookas or ramming inflammable trucks into it, in the end she still couldn’t beat it. Kyuubey talks to Madoka about Akemi’s futile attempts in this losing battle. Each time she repeats this, it will bring her closer to despair and thus closer to becoming a witch. Madoka wants to go to her but her mom stops her (even slapping her when she remains stubborn). However after lecturing back about doing the right things, etc, I guess mommy had to let her go and believe in her daughter. Akemi is badly injured and pinned down. She thinks of going back in time but the thought of worsening Madoka’s fate has her in doubts. Her Soul Gem is close to being corrupted when she feels Madoka’s hands over hers. To her horror, it looks like Madoka has done the inevitable. Is sorry going to cut it?

Episode 12
Well, not exactly yet. Madoka finally understands and thinks she turned out this way because Akemi always protected and looked over her all this time. Madoka makes her wish to Kyuubey: She wants to erase every witch, past, present and future before they’re born with her own hands! Kyuubey is surprised that this wish of hers is like a treason against the wish itself and it’s as though she wants to become God! Yeah, even surpass Haruhi. But can Kyuubey ever turn a wish down? Yup, he has to fulfil it no matter what. A flashback sees Madoka in Mami’s room with Kyouko. Mami is saying how she has to fight forever locked in every world, past and future, destroying witches for eternity so much so dying seems to be an easier choice. Madoka doesn’t mind it so Mami says that she’s going to become hope herself. A hope for them all. Madoka transforms and with her awesome rose arrow powers, transports to every world and magical girl to free them of their curse, bearing all of the misfortune herself. Even the mighty Walpurgis falls. Akemi wakes up in space and as Kyuubey narrates, Madoka’s magic went beyond time so space is getting reorganized according to Madoka’s new laws. They see a huge comet supposedly all the despair that Madoka is shouldering. Though the amount of hope equal to creating a new universe was reached, it can also mean an equal despair to end the universe. Madoka fights the despair that is engulfing the planet. The great blast (Big Bang?) causes her life to have no beginning or end anymore. Meaning, there’s no proof or memory left of her existence in a world. Her existence shifted to another plane and became a mere concept. Nobody will be aware of her nor will she interact with anyone as she ceases to be a person in this space. Akemi feels sad that Madoka’s fate is worse than death. However Madoka says she can see everything in all worlds, past and present. Because of that, she got to understand how Akemi struggled so hard for her in different timelines. She is glad to have a great friend everywhere. She’s not afraid of being alone because she’ll be with everyone everywhere forever (that’s scary). Akemi fears of forgetting her so Madoka thinks it’s too early to give up and gives her hair ribbons to her in hopes she won’t forget her when she returns to Earth. Since she has to go meet her other friends, she hopes they will meet again.

Kamijou is seen playing his violin to the judges as Madoka and Sayaka watch. Madoka mentions that this future would disappear and probably not how she wanted but it was necessary to save her. Sayaka is okay is that and is just grateful that she is able to hear him play once more. She is glad that Hitomi ended up with him and is sure she’ll make him happy. After that, Madoka and Sayaka disappear. Seems to be an aftermath of Sayaka’s witch labyrinth from Mami, Kyouko and Akemi’s attack. Kyouko is upset that Sayaka’s fate has to end like this when they just became friends. Mami says their hope will bring misfortune to this world and that they must disappear before that happens. Akemi holds Madoka’s ribbons in her palm but the rest do not recall who Madoka is. At the park, Madoka hears Madoka’s little brother saying Madoka’s name. Talking with Madoka’s mom, she learns that it is his imaginary friend and wonders if this Madoka is anime character (are they trying to break the fourth wall?). Then we see Akemi talking to Kyuubey about all the hypothesis about witches, using humans’ emotion to gather energy, a faster way to gather curses and the likes. Kyuubey is fascinated with  her theories and hypothesis (truths as she insisted) and would be delighted if all that were true since it would be easier to harvest energy but mentions since she is the only one with her memories intact, it’ll be hard for her to prove it. Even if there aren’t witches born in this world, it doesn’t mean there are no curses. The distortions of this world change form and attack people from the darkness. So instead of witches, we have towering white demons (digital men in robes?). Akemi narrates that all the sorrow and hatred will continue in this world that can’t be saved. Yet this world was the place Madoka tried to save. That’s why she won’t forget it no matter on and continue to fight on. Akemi takes on the horde of demons while a faint voice from Madoka gives her the strength to kick ass. That is one pair of badass wings she sprouts! Is she using Madoka’s weapon too? The final end screen quote: “Don’t forget. Always, somewhere, someone is fighting for you. As long as you remember her, you are not alone”. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll keep that in mind. So my life is safe because of Madoka? Oh sure, now that makes sense.

Always Read Between The Lines…
The whole affair is such a bittersweet and sad ending. This is definitely the grimmest and the darkest magical series that I have ever watched and I feel even there are many other magical girl shows out there that I have never seen, I bet that none will surpass this one. Basically everything here is just dark and grim. Part of the whole drama deals with depression, suicide, killings, hatred and very much the darkness of the heart. Probably that is what made is controversial in the first place. I must say that the concept and the story flow were pretty much interesting from how the energy is harvested and the inevitable and sad fate of magical girls. The mechanics of how it works was smooth so surprisingly a dumb guy like me could even comprehend how it all works when all the pieces of the puzzle is put together. So now we know why there are so many magical girl series out there. To help sustain the insatiable energy consumption of the otaku universe! Isn’t that why Sailormoon is such a popular classic? Isn’t that why the Pretty Cure series has so many spin-offs and is still currently running? Isn’t it a wonder why we have so many magical girls in the past like Akko, Sammy, Sally, Emi, Minky Momo and even present ones like Nanoha and Sakura and not get tired of them? Oh! This universe runs on the energy of magical girls! How cruel we all are! Thus it goes to show that everything that glitters is not gold.

It’s a sad thing that Madoka had to sacrifice herself to end the looping nightmare for every magical girl. But it is something she finally had the resolve to do. And plus, she isn’t actually quite dead in the end, because she became God and is watching over every one of us. Another reason why otakus will surely love the idea that their god is a magical girl. I have never known of a magical girl who didn’t become one right till the end of the series. Or at least in another timeline. But we weren’t certain about that till the later part. The way they portray Madoka’s dilemma to become one certainly gives off a tense and desperate feel as you have this uncertain feeling if she is going to really accept to become one or not. Besides, Madoka was once a cheerful girl and after Mami’s death, that’s when everything went downhill. She became indecisive, worried and confused. So much so that she’s the most vulnerable character and she could just die anytime! Though she worries about her friends, but I feel that they grew more and more apart even if Hitomi did not have a part in this, it still affects everyone’s morale. Just like Madoka, Sayaka’s cheerful and happy outlook took a devastating turn after she contracted. She became obsessed with her own ideal of justice and eventually snapped after knowing her best friend will take away her only crush in life. Do magical girls have a life? You play with fire, you get burnt. So her worse fears that she’ll never be with Kamijou came true. She’ll never know whether he is grateful for healing him but I’m glad she managed to get over him in the end and leave him to her best friend.

Kyouko may seem like the antagonist at first but I feel that she doesn’t want others to make the same mistake like she did. Eventually she drew closer to Sayaka because she sympathizes with her but obviously it was too late because the latter had succumbed to being a witch. Akemi gives off an enigmatic feel from the start and you can’t help wonder who she is and why she is close to omniscient, knowing details of just about everything. I mean, if you have lived your life like Groundhog Day, only with some alterations, how could you not predict the next thing if everything in the end ends up being the inevitable? That flashback of how she turned from a girl with low confidence and depended on everyone else to somebody independent, kicks ass and hard boiled was a timely catalyst that shows this transformation of hers on why she is so bent on preventing Madoka from becoming a magical girl. With that, everything starts to make sense. But even if her own doing is the one that caused Madoka’s great power to increase, I’m sure even if she hadn’t lift a finger, I think Madoka would still end up being the next powerful witch. Thinking of which, isn’t that how Walpurgis came about? So the next powerful Puella Magi becomes the next greatest witch which will bring an end to all humanity. How ironic could that get?

It is hard to pinpoint Kyuubey as the villain of the series. Sure, he keeps pestering Madoka to become a magical girl and his words may have some rushing in it. But he did not force her as it is ultimately Madoka (and the other girls) who end up agreeing and making the contract. The offer to grant any of your wish come true is indeed tempting. In addition, he already said that he isn’t human to begin with and his species lack what we know and feel as emotions. So how can something not human understand the way humans think and feel? Definitely spot on. Kyuubey looks so creepy that it makes viewers paranoid if this ever-smiling cat has a hidden agenda in turning young women into magical girls. Besides, he could beat Cheshire cat to any smiling award because it’s like his smirk is a permanent fixture on his face. Have you ever seen him put on another expression? It’s like he is wearing a mask. But on and off, you’d see him blink so I guess the creepy part is just his little grin. To make it even creepier, the way Kyuubey stares at ‘you’ makes it feels like he is staring at your soul! Yikes! It’s as though he wants your soul too! Sorry, Kyuubey, I don’t fit your description as a magical girl since I’m a guy. Plus, I don’t really want to die for the universe. EVER! Kyuubey’s explanation and revelation of how everything works is a definite eye opener. It makes you think about your own case because some of those stuffs really do apply in our real lives. For instance, do we feel pity for the chicken that was slaughtered so that we can enjoy our tasty fried chicken meal? What about girls hitting puberty and adolescent age, they sure are an emo lot, aren’t they? So who is the real baddie here, you ask? I would say that everyone is a villain because of our own inner demons. Each one of us have our own selfish wishes and desires. No, don’t blame yourself yet. That’s normal being human. The girls have only themselves to blame if they become magical girls and then slowly into a witch. Of course from this view, I feel that this is a necessary balance to the world like yin and yang. With light there is darkness. With good there is evil. One cannot exist without the other. And since nobody is perfectly in either category, so you become a magical girl at your high point and a witch at your low point. Just like a rising pop idol becoming really popular before fading to obscurity. Makes sense, don’t you think?

There were just certain things that I thought over about but ended up confusing myself because well, I thought too much. For instance if Kyuubey’s species has the ability to grant just about anything, wouldn’t that make them like Gods in the first place? Maybe it’s their sophisticated technology or something but to even grant time travelling abilities? Even if there are multiple alternate universes, couldn’t they just grant the wish themselves for eternal energy to feed the universe instead of using magical girls? Also it’s like they’re disposable but yet indisposable. Each time when one dies, another one is quickly replaced and retains the memories and knowledge of the previous (perhaps by devouring the dead one). How do they know that one of their kind is down and out? Where the heck do they come from? However this replacement thingy doesn’t apply when Akemi does her time travelling since everybody’s memories are reset except hers. And with the absence of witches in the new rewritten world, it goes to show that evil is still a necessary and balancing force for good to exist. So I guess it isn’t possible if one makes a wish for true peace because somehow and somewhere evil still lurks albeit in a different form.

The action scenes especially when the magical girls go witch hunting, I’m not saying that they are outstanding in the sense that they are jaw dropping and will leave you in awe. But those who fight using unlimited firearms are interesting. I like Mami’s cool rifle blasting action. It’s like use-once-and-throw. And she can pick up the rifle from just about anywhere. Whenever she pulls off this technique, she seems to exude lots of confidence in her abilities as a veteran. I just wish that she had more screen time to show us more of those stunts before her untimely and gruesome passing. Akemi’s one is also not bad. The idea of keeping all her firearms in a different space and then whipping them out at any time proves to be quite useful at lots of times even if they may seem absurd and just impossible. Just like Mami, Akemi certainly know how to kick ass and do it in style. I guess that is what happens if you have gone on lots of witch hunting spree and seen too many deaths. Practice makes perfect? Too bad I just didn’t find Sayaka’s sword slashing any appealing, though. Seems generic. Kyouko’s lance that can turn itself something like multiple nunchukus was also interesting but if you ask me, I’d still prefer the gun totting ones.

Since SHAFT produced this anime, you can bet that the drawing and art will not be your conventional style. The designs of some of the buildings, monuments and structures give a feel that we are indeed in some alternate future. I would say that they are quite creative. Though we don’t have mindless words and comments scattered all over the screen like what SHAFT did in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Pani Poni Dash, the art differs when the heroines enter the labyrinth. You can tell with all the messed up montage and cuttings put together like as though it’s one big nightmare. Be it real time pictures or crayon sketches. Some of you may also have notice this. That the characters resemble very closely to those in Hidamari Sketch. That’s because the characters are designed by Ume Aoki, the author of the art-themed Hidamari Sketch series. So if you think you may have seen Yuno in Madoka or a hint of Miyako in Mami, don’t try to rub your eyes too hard. I just thought I could see that little green bug thing from Hidamari Sketch making a cameo appearance as either one of the messy montage or the familiars. Maybe it did, maybe it did not. Wasn’t paying that much attention anyway. On a trivial note, sometimes when the camera zooms up Akemi’s face at an angle, this kind of scene somehow reminds me of similar ones like Senjougahara in Bakemonogatari, another series that SHAFT produced. Heck, I don’t remember this clearly but I think there was one scene in this show whereby it reminded me of another familiar scene in Bakemonogatari. The one at the bridge top where Madoka threw down Sayaka’s Soul Gem, that scene looks nostalgically familiar to the one in Bakemonogatari’s Tsubasa’s scene at the electric poles with Araragi. But correct me if I’m wrong. It could be another scene or not. Coincidentally, Chiwa Saito was the seiyuu for both Akemi and Senjougahara. Is it really coincidence? Just like in previous SHAFT’s animes, the different end card illustrations from various people fills in the next episode preview instead of scenes from the next episode. Well, I would say that some of the sketches make them look pretty cute.

The voice acting is quite good and each character is portrayed to their utmost behaviour. Aoi Yuuki does a fine job in making Madoka sound like an insecure and vulnerable girl who could only helplessly watch her pals suffer the fate of being magical girls. This isn’t her typical goofy role like Ichigo in Yumeiro Patissiere or the commanding Mina in Dance In The Vampire Bund. Chiwa Saito wasn’t recognizable as Akemi at first since she didn’t put on her trademark voice that I would recognize like Rebecca in Pani Poni Dash, Stella in Arakawa Under The Bridge or Kirie in Girls Bravo. Still, she sounds befitting Akemi’s role as a cold and distant girl that has seen too many same deaths of her dearest friend. Surprisingly I could recognize Ai Nanoka as Kyouko. Even if she didn’t put on her antic-like voice like how she did in Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Koyomi in Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, she is still identifiable. It feels like she has matured. Kaori Mizuhashi as Mami was cool and calm so I didn’t really thought she was the voice behind characters like Miyako in Hidamari Sketch or Lili in La Corda D’oro. Likewise Eri Kitamura as Sayaka but of course I’m not familiar with her voice even after all these years hearing her as Rin in Kodomo No Jikan, Eve in Needless and Ami in Toradora. Emiri Katou as Kyuubey (Kagami in Lucky Star) is definitely one cool cat. There is no hesitation or doubt in Kyuubey’s words nor did he mince his words. They are direct and straight to the point even if it hurts. But like they say, the truth hurts. Can you handle it? Ryouko Shintani (Milfeulle in Galaxy Angel series) and Yuko Goto (Asahina in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu) are instantly recognizable in their respective roles as Hitomi and Madoka’s mom even if they didn’t go into their usual voice. The opening theme song is Connect by ClariS. Though it may sound like your typical lively anime pop, but I feel that there is a hint of sadness in it. I don’t know, half of the time I see Madoka crying. Are they tears of joy or sadness? My guts tell me it’s the latter. The ending song is creepy. If you are familiar with Kalafina’s style of music like the one in Kuroshitsuji II, then you’d be able to guess how Magia would sound like. Coupled in with the eerie shadowy animation and the pace of the song, I prefer to skip this part so as not to have any nightmares. As for the background music, the majority of them sound grim and depressing. Especially the ones with female church choir-like voices. It gives off a sad feel and sometimes a hopeless predicament for the characters. Truly depressing but befits the scene.

So it goes to show that being a magical girl is not all nice and everything spice. Being dressed in fancy clothes, holding a fancy wand with magical powers to save the world along with a cute magical pet all just seems sugar coated now. Hope is just a reason for them to carry out their magical girl duties. You can sure that my perception of magical girls will never be the same again. With each new or old magical girl, I’ll be suspicious if she really had an ulterior motive or will end up becoming a demon herself. And somehow every white cat that crosses my path seems to remind me of Kyuubey… PLEASE DON’T LOOK AT ME WITH THOSE EYES! Sometimes sacrificing yourself for the greater benefit of the universe as a whole may seem like a noble thing to do just like dying for your country. I’m sure many people won’t mind doing that if it wasn’t the fact that they will be facing a grim death. So yeah, you can bet that I won’t be selling my soul even if it’s an exchange to watch animes for eternity. Once again, would I die for the universe? LIKE HELL! NO WAY!!!