In the ninth episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyoko enlists Madoka’s help in trying to save Sayaka. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Madoka Magica.
No, this just isn’t fair anymore.
I held on to the hope that there would be a way to save Sayaka.
Between the three girls left, I figured that they could combine their knowledge and talents and come up with a way to rescue her from becoming a witch. Given that we finally get to see Homura’s time manipulation, I assumed that this was an advantage. It was something.
Even when Kyubey revealed his true identity and intentions, I knew there had to be a way for these girls to dismantled the system they’d been fooled into participating in by this creature. Oh my god, I can’t stand being so wrong anymore. WHAT IS THIS SHOW?
I wanted to first talk about the implications of the full story that Kyubey gives us. Here, the show takes on the idea of a few suffering for the masses. It’s a classic story of doing what’s best for the Greater Good, but the writers twist it to also be a commentary on consent and terror. I imagine that you could trace the magical girls all the way back to the very first one, and she was the one tricked into starting this endless cycle of misery. For the Incubators, this situation is simply of numbers, science, and the end justifying the means. It’s clever, then, that the writers make this species literally emotionless, as it’s the only way it makes any sense that a creature would be unable to exhibit any sort of empathy at all. It’s why he demonstrated such carelessness earlier when he spoke to the girls about how their bodies were nothing but shells. He dismissed their despair because to him, it is inconsequential int he grand scheme of things.
Thankfully, the show wastes absolutely no time in portraying this as a truly horrible thing. And look, y’all, I love this so much. I don’t think fiction should stray from upsetting, triggering, or horrific content. And I certainly don’t need characters to spell out, like, SOCIAL JUSTICE 101 in the script or anything. But with an issue as precarious and so poorly dealt with like consent, it just makes me so happy that the writers allow the characters to be so utterly furious about being violated. It says that this is not okay without it being like an encyclopedia hitting you.
It’s also fascinating to me that Kyubey is a bonafide villain, but he has no idea he is evil. He thinks he is being moral (in his sense of the word) and just in treating teenage girls like energy capsules. That doesn’t mean I sympathize with him at all. No, I still despise his cutesy fucking face, and I hate him forever. Oh my god, how do you defeat a villain that has “countless” lives? How do you disrupt a system that’s so horrifically stacked against you? How do you find hope amidst such terror?
Initially, I thought the developing friendship between Kyoko and Madoka was the answer. Kyoko’s character development in particular seemed to be the key. This girl, jaded by the life she’d suffered through because of FUCKING KYUBEY, was finally learning to open up to people. She was finally willing to help someone, despite that it had no real benefit to her. She wanted to help Madoka just because. Do you realize what a huge moment this is? She chose to go into Sayaka’s labyrinth at her own expense.
My god, the art design for Sayaka’s labyrinth is just incredible. It’s clear now that each witch creates a world that’s a twisted representation of their subconscious. Here, Sayaka replicates the music hall where she first saw Kamijo play, only now there’s a full orchestra playing at her command. Her weapons are music and notes. She is living out her fantasy in a terrifying, warped alternate reality. And it takes Kyoko seeing this to understand why Sayaka tried so hard to be a good magical girl.
She was lonely. She didn’t want to feel alone anymore.
So in a moment of pure empathy, Kyoko realizes that she probably set Sayaka on this path towards self-destruction, so she offers Sayaka the one thing she needs: company. She gives herself to Sayaka just as Homura arrives to save Madoka. Kyoko, in the most selfless act of her entire life, destroys her own Soul Gem and Sayaka in the process.
They’re both fucking gone. I can’t. I’m still numb from this. I didn’t even tear up when I watched it. I just couldn’t believe it. Kyoko made a comment to Madoka earlier that perhaps this would be a story about conquering injustice. But in the final moments of “I’d Never Allow That To Happen,” we discover that Kyubey let Kyoko go to her death to manipulate Madoka into becoming a magical girl, so that she could later turn into the most wicked witch imaginable. Homura says she won’t allow that to happen, but can she risk it? Will Madoka refuse to become a magical girl if that means her city gets destroyed by the Walpurgisnacht?
This is severely fucked up, y’all
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