A few months ago, I wrote a preliminary discussion of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ) and I noted that, at the time, almost no one seemed to understand my point. ^_^ I’m going to try again, this time without being clever about it.
The reason for magical girls is very simple. Teenagers desperately want to be grown-ups – to have people rely on them and to be mature and reliable. Unfortunately for most teenagers, they have neither the critical decision-making skills nor the life experience to make mature decisions. Young adults often mistake the trappings of adulthood (drinking, driving, sex) for real maturity (the strength to say “no,” for instance.) Magical girls are needed, Kyuubey understands, because magical middle-aged women would look at him and say, “You know, I have no reason to believe that you’re telling me all or even part of the truth. It’s in your best interests to keep this cycle going by your own admission, so why on earth would I take your advice?”
Kyuubey, like all good Lucifers, speaks mostly truth, and in some cases, the exact truth. Innocents are too innocent to parse the one from the other, or what the significance of that truth really is to them.
Any wish bound by logic can be twisted….
Well, duh, then…right? The answer is obvious.
So, Madoka Magica was very interesting to me. I very much loved the art used in the witch’s realities, and very much didn’t like the design of the people. If this series had character designs as beautifully done as the witches art and the buildings, most of the fans who loved it wouldn’t have given it the time of day, but, oh how gorgeous it might have been!
The ending was…what was the ending? Was it the expected ambiguity or was it writers that don’t know how to write a or are uncomfortable with a happy ending? Was it, in fact, a happy ending?
Here’s what I think – I think “end of the world” scenarios, like “Good” and “Evil,” are too much for human brains to really grasp. We assign funky art to represent Evil, because it’s easier than really establishing a new normality. We make terrible things the purview of Evil, because we can’t grasp that the selfishness of self-preservation is really what creates terrible things that other people have to live with.
Any wish bound by logic can be twisted….
The answer to that is, obviously, that one has to make a wish not bound by logic. Madoka did that.
In the world of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, it is established that this Good/Evil, Hope/Despair dichotomy runs the universe. Girls sacrifice themselves to stop this cycle, but only end up repeating it over and over. Until one girl wishes to stop the cycle before it ever begins. And you know…her wish comes true. But, it doesn’t stop the fact that the tension between Hope and Despair still powers the universe. So…did it work? Is Madoka a God, or is she still fairly limited in her ability to think outside the box?
What would you have wished? I know what I would have wished, but I’m not going to tell you. Wishes should be made in secret and not in front of Incubators. ^_^
And Yuri. Yes, Homura is clearly in love with her ideal of Madoka. An ideal, I can’t help but point out, who fails to live up to her expectations eternally. And yet she goes back again and again. Sounds like a lesbian to me. Madoka loves Homura like the Virgin Mary is supposed to love you. An utterly unsatisfying situation to me, but I was never the target audience for this anime. The target audience for this anime are boys who think magical girls are a good idea.
Art – 5/9 for character designs and “witches” worlds respectively
Story – 8 It’s not standing ovation-worthy, but it’s good for a conversation
Characters – 7 pretty much types, rather than fully-fleshed out personalities, but in 12 episodes of angst, there’s not that much time to bother
Yuri – 5
Service – This series is, by default, created for otaku. For the amount of time we stare at the girl’s legs – the zettai ryouki, specifically – 10
Overall – 8
I had initially wanted to watch the final episodes on Walpurgisnacht (April 30,) but life kept me from doing so. I’m almost glad I didn’t because, for an utter destruction of everything, this was a little disappointing, honestly.