Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Episode #8

February 28, 2011 at 7:55 am Leave a comment

The descent to darkness is never a fun spectacle. The grief, the anger, the pity, the pain, all those negative emotions just flying out of the screen as the viewers observe the torturous path Sayaka has to go through. If the previous episodes of this series feel like we are on a roller coaster, then episode 8 is the start of the derailing, where it’s a complete free fall from now on.

The latest episode devotes a lot of screen time onto confirming quite a number of speculations the online community has conjured up in the past. Even if we don’t get the full picture yet, we gain more insight in regards to this world, namely the soul gem system and Homura. We know more about Kyubey’s nature, another one of his hidden information, and his freaky physical characteristics is also revealed. Homura received tonnes of character development in this episode, her motivation, her desire, and her limits are shown on screen.

However, the main focus of this episode is Sayaka. Following from the psychotic breakdown at the end of ep7, she never recovered. What comes up are a series of self pity, self hatred, and self torture. I have to stress again that as a 14year old girl she went through a lot of emotions and pain in the last 4 episodes. Those series of events which bombards her sense of identity didn’t allow time to make her stronger, instead crumbles her will to live as her world falls apart around her.  She never has the time to recover before the next assault happens to her. Coming into this series as a cheerful optimistic girl who “is too lucky to have nothing to wish for herself”, her downfall is quite painful to watch.

Sayaka, like any other fallen heroes, has a personal flaw. She’s described as a straight on hotheaded person who likes to take blunt approaches. If it’s your generic heroes plot she’s the protagonist to look up to. However that’s not the case here. Urobuchi threw at her series of highly damaging scenarios that just compounds one after another. Her stubbornness doesn’t allow her to actively ask for aids, not helped by the fact that Madoka is the only person that she can really open up to. The scenarios Sayaka went through is not your everyday events that you can just talked to your normal friends about. Madoka, however, is powerless at the same time due to the fact that even though she’s been in the midst of events, she doesn’t personally feel the pain of being a zombie herself. Sayaka went through both physical and emotional pain within this short timespan, and it’s not easy to deal with. She even lie to both herself and her best friend.

The final scene though, is one of the best I’d ever seen. The script, the music, the direction is really great. The epiphany of Sayaka’s struggle, her last flourish, the final stage of her transformation from a cheerful girl to her final destination, is just so mesmerising and full of emotion. I have to applaud for the selection of the production team here, they really worked out an awesome synergy between themselves, and we are seeing one masterful piece. The story arc of her struggle is almost at the end, and I really wish Urobuchi gave her a fitting farewell. The title of the episode once again proves to be the most memorable line in the episode. What people are expecting to happen is happening now, just a couple of episodes later in order to build up characters.

On a side note, the character continues to develop in the series. Homura revealed the secret fragile side of her under that cold exterior. Her emotional breakdown is kind of cliche but unexpected at the same time. She’s no longer the robot, but someone who’s putting up that face for anther reason. The relationship between Sayaka and Kyoko, from initially having grudge with each other to Kyoko understanding Sayaka the best, is quite interesting. Kyoko’s character grows from “someone who don’t care about anyone” to a carefree person who is looking after someone that is making the same mistakes she did before. Her affections towards Sayaka sadly cannot be rewarded as the development of the story does not allow them to have peace. She’s the best source of help Sayaka can get, sadly by the time she arrives it’s already too late.

It’s one thing when things are not going your way. It’s completely another matter to lose your identity and your purpose. This series really hits well with the emotional level, and I’m hoping for a big crescendo here. The roller coaster is at the free fall stage, and I’m loving it for the experience.

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

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