Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Episode #7

February 24, 2011 at 5:09 am Leave a comment

The latest Madoka Magica episode is not the most shocking, but at the same time could be said to be the darkest so far. We slowly sees the effect of the revelation from the past few episodes building up, affecting those that matters. Little things accumulates and their consequences really makes you question the tried and proven(?) concept of mahou shoujo.

What is a magical girl? People that were granted the mystical yet powerful ability of magic, and help the people in need with the so powers. Everything will be wonderful and magical, and it would be a fascinating experience for those young girls as they learn about justice and altruism while fighting those bad guys with friends by their side. Sadly, we are not watching any other magical girl shows. Like I had referred to several times in the past few weeks, Urobuchi does not believe in your typical happy endings. If you think something can go wrong, it will, even when the contributor did it in the best of their intentions. Think back when Mami stated that a life for a magical girl is hard, well, we are starting to see the effect now.

The focus of this episode splits between Sayaka and Kyoko. Sayaka is the pet in Urobuchi’s story. At the moment she embodies the role of the fallen/corrupted mahou shoujo, the one where everything just goes wrong. Mami is the shining light in the group due to her portrayal of your typical mahou shoujo sense of justice; fight for others, making good use of the 2nd chance you are given of for the humanity. Kyoko represents the other type of character, the one who gave up altruism due to her past history and manage to live happily.

What is your identity then? Where does your soul reside? With the concept of the extracted soul gem, does this body still belong to you anymore? Or are you just now an empty hollow shell losing it’s own identity? What’s your belief? Would you live by your belief then? If that’s the case what if your principle got shattered? There are three part of the human identity, the physical, psychological and spiritual. When you lose two of them and don’t have the third one to rely on, it would be hard to swallow, and this is what Sayaka is going through right now in this episode. It’s not the petty event that happens around her, but its their consequences and her realisation that she starts to question her own belief that’s most traumatic. To lost your body in order be an mahou shoujo and not following up to something you fought for, losing the idealisation of the world and realising you are not better than the one opposing you, it’s what causing her to break down. The huge pain she suffered both physically and mentally within this short time period places a lot of load onto her soul.

The idea of “the world is not as good as you think” is also explored here. Kyoko’s backstory exemplify what it is like to not been aware of how the world works. The idea of “doing the right thing the wrong way” once again explored here, only to have devastating consequences due to the method being used. The wish itself is fine, no corruptions there, but the use of the magic within the wish caused an unnatural and undesired feedback in which it is unacceptable to the people involved. Again, it is not your typical Monkey’s Paw scenario. It’s more about not understanding the others and trying to wish for their sake only for it to backfire. Not everything will turn out perfectly fine, and it’s a realisation those girls in the story must obtain in order to move on. The use of the medieval puppet show style when telling the story is quite interesting as well and adds to the mood.

At the moment the main theme in the series seem to be: “Being an adult sucks, and deal with it”. The world is not against you. However if you goes into the real world without thinking of the possible consequences you will be punished severely. The equal exchange system works at a more subtle level here. The final battle is not as dramatic in term of visual sense, but it’s oppressing and heavy even more so  than the previous ones, without giving you a break. The use of the dark silhouette really enhanced the atmosphere. You cannot see what’s going on the characters, but at the same time you don’t feel like seeing it.

At the moment the theory of “Sakaya = Witch in the first ep” seem to be more and more closer to the truth. Urobuchi already gave us a visual and graphical death early on in the series, and I’m so glad that he follows up with the death of the character’s soul in such an effect. It’s not the most surprising mostly due to the fact that the progression is so natural (with the additional unforeseen side development) , yet in terms of burden placed on the characters and the viewers this could be one of the heaviest so far. Once again, Kyubey is such a [insert profanity word here]. At the moment though, I fear for Kyoko’s outcome in the next episode. Looking back to the first two episodes, it seems so distant now.

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Entry filed under: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Tags: , , , , .

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