Puella Magi Madoka Magica – The Ending
I’ll say it now, this post is my thoughts on the Madoka Magica series in general and the ending in particular. It’s no way the full review, but just to provide some insight into the ending that seem to confuse a lot of people despite we all saw it coming. It will CONTAIN SPOILERS.
What makes this whole series so interesting is that it’s not just a deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre. It’s about searching for hope in the middle of the great despair. It’s about finding your original passion even if the world is against you. The series breaks down the genre, and rebuild it once again in the last episode into something new.
Urobuchi slapped the usual formula of “young girl obtaining great power to help other people” in the face. Starting off with the sacrificial ritual of Mami, to the complete mental destruction of Sayaka, Gen Urobuchi asked a lot of questions regarding to the usual template. It’s never going to be a smooth ride, and Madoka as the observer sees all of the tragic experiences throughout the course of the series. She saw the hardship, the tear and sweat and even blood. Yet, she still makes the choice to dedicate her existence for it.
The focus is never “don’t ever sign the contract”. It’s “don’t sign the contract if you don’t have something to fight for“. What Madoka prayed for is not for the termination of the system, but to provide salvation to those magical girls who had worked so hard to fight for their sense of hope. Prior to her determined decision, she never had a good of a reason to make the jump. We never know what ticked her over as the story did not elaborate on that aspect. However, we do know that it’s Madoka’s choice, and the path she chose after witnessing and knowing all those information. She had heard Mami’s confession, seen Sayaka’s tears, and know of Kyouko’s resolve. Even when Homura brought out the fact that by becoming a mahou shoujo Madoka will become the witch that destroys the world she still is determined. The only difference is, Madoka’s purpose is now no longer trivial, but to become the one that saves Homura and subsequently all the Mahou Shoujo that saw their dream crushed.
In ep12 Madoka received her notebook, the symbol of her original passion, back from Mami. In ep9 Kyouko mentioned how she discovered her dream of being a magical girl of hope from looking at Sayaka. We have to remembeer that Kyouko first became a Mahou Shoujo to be the warrior of justice, to be the one helping her family. Even at the end of the world Sayaka remembered her initial intention, her state of mind, of saving someone. The world may be against them, but it’s the trial they went through, the determination and looking back and reaffirm themselves that their efforts weren’t just an illusion, that makes the characters shine. Even if their wishes don’t turn out the way they wanted, at the bottom of things Kyouko, Sayaka and even Mami signed the contract to become a mahou shoujo.
Urobuchi had been hinting for the overwhelming power Madoka has. From the “You will be stronger than Mami”, to “you may even become god if you sign the contract”, to “your witch will destroy the world”, it’s no surprise that to break this suffocating darkness a miracle is needed. A miracle so strong that it can even rewrites the law of the universe.
However, the new world is still not perfect. Even if Madoka has the capability to change the world, she still acknowledges the sweat and tears every magical girls went through and doesn’t want them to be to waste. She didn’t wish for an Utopia, that’s what her witch does. Instead she solely prays for the salvation of the magical girls, so that their soul would not be trouble by becoming the one they hate. She become a concept, a concept of hope, a dream of being able to protect others.
Did Homura also achieved salvation? Her role in this story is to protect Madoka and to prevent her from making the mistake. Ironically it’s her mission failure that allows Madoka to acknowledge her work and her hardship. Homura has to continue on in the new world, not as a protector of Madoka, but a protector of the world that Madoka watches over and loved. Her soul is no longer stuck in the endless chain of infinite loops. Even in solitude, she knows that Madoka is watching over her.
To quote another fellow blogger here. The ending of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is not a Happy End, it not a Bad End. It’s merely a True End. It’s not whether the world is against your or not, it’s about return to your root and not regretting the decision you made. Forget all the distractions, forget all the non-important parts. The message is quite simple.
Guess Urobuchi did become a warrior of love and hope after all.