Madoka Magica Character Tribute – Sakura Kyouko
Day 3 of our project, and today the focus will be on Sakura Kyouko. Initially came across as a malicious opponent, her character grew several layers as the series goes on. The strong, the carefree, and most importantly, the lone soul who’s searching for salvation.
“Can You Face Your True Feelings?”
The new character introduced after the death of Mami, the first impression is for Sakura Kyouko was not a good one. She had a sinister aura surrounding her, especially with the talk of “taking out the competitor” and that evil grin. It’s also not helped by the fact that the first encounter with the protagonist is also a deathmatch with Sayaka. She’s the enemy, the nemesis, the additional complication factor that the main girls will have to face other than the dangerous and lethal witches. She is simply dangerous.
Kyouko just defies what we traditionally thought what a mahou shoujo should be. She acts in the direct opposite to the great ideal that Mami taught to the protagonists in the first 3 episodes. She prefer to let the familiars to mature into witches before taking them out instead of removing them when they are still harmless. She doesn’t worry about the wellbeing of the civilians but instead focus on the grief seed farming. As oppose to the altruistic nature we got so used to in a mahou shoujo, she only thinks about herself.
However, just like every other characters in this series, Kyoko’s actions has often been misinterpreted. An unfriendly nature does not mean she has malicious intent. To put it in a different perspective, she’s just a veteran who got annoyed by the naivety of Sayaka. Contrary to her young appearance, she’s already quite experienced in this field. She knows what it takes to survive within this twisted system that’s based on the balance between grief seed and soul gem. To her, Kyouko just wants a secure way to constantly farming grief seeds while not to worry about anyone else.
Due to her misfortunes in the past, Kyouko has developed a cold exterior to her personality. Like many other characters we might have seen before, she does not allow herself to be emotionally invested in any other people, she does not want to screw up by helping other people. Nothing hurts more than to see your well-intended actions backfired and destroy your family. She starts to live for herself, and herself only. It would take a huge effort to change that.
The soul gem incident at the end of episode 6 changed all that. Kyouko starts to manage to see the pain Sayaka is going through. Instead of picking on the newbies, she starts to looking out for her. With a common enemy in Kyubey who deceived all of them, and Homura granting her free farming in the region, there’s no need to pick fights with someone that once stood between her and her loots. Even with the conflict in the ideals, Kyouko sees Sayaka as a friend, someone who is making the same mistakes as she did before, and she does not want her to suffer the same pain Kyouko had had earlier in her life.
Although it might not sound much, Kyouko starts to change. There’s a huge difference between the ways she operates before and after episode 6. Her behaviour of constant eating is also explained. Instead of it being a sign of Kyouko being carnivorous, it’s a trait of her not willing to give up on those that are precious to her. Her carefree attitude starts to appeal to the audience, and somehow to a lot of people, myself included, she just become an awesome character that’s so lovable.
Her final confession to Sayaka is a vow for to continue a relationship that was never replied, a salvation to her tortured and lonely soul, and finally a pledge for a company in her final journey. Kyouko sees Sayaka as a mirror image to herself, and during the short time she spent with her she starts to grow attached to Sayaka. Even when Sayaka seem to have lost everything, it’s Kyouko who is willing to sacrifice her soul gem’s purity in order to put in everything she can to help bring back Sayaka. When both Madoka and Homura had given up on the fallen idealist, Kyouko’s the only one that still believed, even when the hope is yet another illusion from the joker. Her soulgem was already exhausted from all the magic consumption. As they failed to save Sayaka she knew that her fate is also sealed. Her departure from the series is one that’s just so beautiful.
It will be hard to forget her ponytail, her wild yet calculated attitude, and her little fang. She’s always the confident one. Even when all seems doom and gloom she’s always the one that held her head high and tries her best to move forward. If Mami’s the motherly figure, Kyouko is the older sister that’s secretly looking out for other people. As for someone that once brought me chills with that grin, she turned out to be one awesome character with appeals that are maybe too complicated to explain properly. I just love her. So much.
May your soul be saved. Sakura Kyouko.