Madoka Magica Character Tribute – Tomoe Mami
In the spirit of counting down to arguably the most anticipated belated finale of the 2011 Winter season, I’ll be doing daily posts recapping my thoughts on this incredible journey that is Puella Magi Madoka Magica. If you haven’t yet got up to ep10, please stop right here, as this article will contain a lot of major spoilers. Today I shall explore the character of Mami, one that was once misunderstood greatly yet captured the heart of many viewers.
“I’m not Afraid of Anything Anymore”
Tomoe Mami, the mentor. She appeared at the end of the first episode acting as a guidance for both Madoka and Sayaka in their exploration in the hidden world of a mahou shoujo. She is kind, sweet, caring, strong, and knowledgeable. The image of her sharing afternoon tea and cake with her students is one that many viewer cherishes and regrets not to treasure it sooner. Mami is practically everything you can wish for as the mentor into this fascinating yet terrifying world.
At the same time there’s a sense of bad aura surrounding her. Perhaps it’s because the scriptwriter is the famous Urobuchi, fans knew that there’s darkness lurking behind that image of perfection. In the first 2 episodes, people knew that there is got to be something wrong with it. Nobody can be this perfect. Questions remained. Why is there hostility between her and Homura? Why is she really wants to bring Madoka and Sayaka into this risky business? Most importantly, why is her house so emtpy?
Numerous people, including myself, were blinded by the illusion that is mistrust. The answer is rather simple. There’s no cynical plots, there’s no sinister inner personalities. Most of all, she’s just another one of those flawed individuals. Her tragic past, and the harsh nature of the profession that is being a mahou shoujo, created her strong exterior shielding the weak person inside. A lonely girl wishing for someone that understands her hardship. Simple, yet effective. Her confession in the third episode, although cliche, is still strong considering the context. At the tenth episode, her mask broke down and the mentally broken side of her is revealed to the viewers. She symbolises this series quite well in this regard, as in that even when it might look to be bright and shiny, inside it’s all sad and depressing. Her insecurity from the possible alienation from the other normal people can only be healed with Madoka’s presence. What we’d seen to date is just her trying to act strong, as she is shown to have one brittle personality; One good hit and the strong exterior is gone.
To this date (ep10), Mami still has the best character design, the best transformation scene, and most importantly the most badass solo combat sequence there is. No one can forget the great dungeon fight in episode 3 when she single handedly destroyed those minions with ease. SHAFT brought out their ace animator for the job and it just looks wonderful. Her elegant way to finish off a fight with a cup of tea is both fitting and ironic considering what happened to her in the end. The confidence Madoka, and to some extent the viewers, placed in her is phenomenal. If not for that mishap Mami would still carry the same aura as Kamina in TTGL, the one that you look up and depend on. In some way she suffers the same fate as Kamina, the series will not go on if she’s still around caring for the protagonist.
Mami’s death is one many fans lamented and cried over. It came across as a major shock to a lot of people. People anticipated upcoming dark twists, but very few predicted her brutal and undignified demise. As the result, pixiv was bombarded. Thousands and thousands of her fanarts popped up in the memories of Tomoe Mami. In some way, her death allows us to see the grim nature of Urobuchi’s world, and sets a precedent for many things to come.
An elegant fighter, a caring motherly figure, and most importantly, that beautiful smile. You will be sorely missed. Tomoe Mami.