Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rebellion Movie – Guest Review by Katrina C.

February 19th, 2014

This has been an amazing month for Okazu, new Okazu Heros and Guest Reviewers! And today, we welcome Katrina C. for the last of our Madoka Movie reviews…she’s taking on Rebellion, and I know a number of you really want to know how that turned out.  Rebellion is available on DVD or Blu-ray and there is a Rebellion manga, as well. So let’s had the stage over to Katrina! /Applause/

Beware, there be Spoilers here. 

Hello everyone! My name is Katrina. I write queer fairytales, stories and games over at Darkmooncity. Sometimes I also throw events where people can enact those games.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion is the continuation of the story after Madoka makes her universe-changing wish to stop magical girls before they turn into witches. It starts off with our dream team actually…being a dream team. All five of the Magical Girls are present and accounted for, fighting Nightmares, loving and laughing together. It’s kind of the moment we’ve all been waiting for…but wait.. How is that possible?

As the movie progresses and continues to darken, we see the world fall apart (again) and uncover what’s actually going on (again). And like the first series (or first two movies if you watched those instead), it sort of breaks our heart.

Let’s start with the bad. The big bad is and will always remain that Madoka is a shiny thing with very little personality. It’s even more evident in this movie that Madoka exists pretty much so Homura can idolize her. That’s it. That’s her role. I can no more understand Homura’s attachment to Madoka any more than I can understand my own obsessive first loves. Like to my own sixteen year old self, I can try to explain patiently over and over again… but Homura’s not listening. It lessens the story for me because while I lap up Homura’s angst, it’s flattened by the lack of personality in Madoka.

For lesser bad, a lot of timey-wimey cop-outs happen to explain why Sayaka and Bebe know what’s going on… Sayaka I kinda get because she’s dead but who the heck is Bebe anyway? After the movie, we had a lot of deconstructive conversation and pretty much decided the humanoid Bebe was essentially her pre-witch self from the timeline where she didn’t bite off Mami’s head. But that really fails to cover it. Despite her inexplicable presence though, Bebe was darn cute and creepy. We sort of huddled together waiting for her to think Mami would be a tasty treat again.

This movie goes in cycles which for the most part I was indifferent to. It’s an echo of things that happen in the series but it has a deliberateness that makes it tolerable and part of the atmosphere rather than terribly boring.

The good part about this movie is that I found it immensely satisfying on a level that I can’t quite explain. The Incubators were once again being shifty, horrible creatures and Madoka once again does her whole god-form transformation. Except this time as she embraces Homura to ‘save’ her, Homura rejects it and becomes the devil. She rewrites the universe differently than Madoka did, based on her own personal desires. I found it satisfying to see Homura change her fate and Madoka’s. So many years of watching Yuri stories that don’t meet a satisfying conclusion has put me firmly in the “Yeah, it’s messed up but at least she got what she wanted” camp. I think I had trauma flashbacks to Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito during the end of the original series as Madoka floated away to become god. I loved that Homura’s will stood – that despite Madoka’s role as the Pink Magical Girl Savior, we’re left with a darker ending than the series – Homura’s ending. And one that could essentially pull everyone back into a time loop. We could essentially argue that Homura’s decision brought us right back to the beginning – that this was the Devil’s story all along.

As an out, queer woman I still cringe away from the idea that Homura’s love is cast as impure against Madoka’s universal-I-love-everyone-so-we-can-never-kiss sentiment.. that the source of Homura’s pain is her impure desire and Madoka’s serenity is her universal Mother Mary approach… but I’ll still take it. I always liked the Devil better anyway.

Ratings

Art – 8 – Because this story takes place in a Witch’s Barrier.. and we all know the Witch’s Barriers are the best part.
Story – 7 – No one really learned anything.
Characters – 5 – Homura is the only actual character here.
Yuri – 8 – Because Homura finally comes out to say it. Love.
Service – 8 – Extra points because Mami is like 14 and I’ve seen shots of her breasts more times that I’ve probably seen my own. And I model naked. Think about that.

Overall –  7

Once again the creators of Madoka have shown us that while they can think critically about Magical Girl and Yuri tropes, they can’t think critically enough to escape those tropes. But that’s okay. They tried at least.

Erica here: I’m pretty sure that, should I watch this movie, I’d come to the opposite conclusions on most points, Katrina, so thanks for weighing in with your perspective! ^_^

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One Response

  1. Anon says:

    [spoiler warning]
    My interpretation of the movie is a little different. In the scene with Homura & Madoka in a bed of flowers, Homura discovers Madoka’s “true feelings” that she really doesn’t want to part with anybody. Homura then goes to achieve that for Madoka (so not really ‘selfish desires’).

    Homura is self-aware that she is re-writing the universe in a bad way to achieve Madoka’s happiness. She knows she’s doing bad things because Homura assigns herself the title of Devil. Of course Homura goes through with it anyways because of Love. Love > The Universe.

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