Oh boy, this arc…
I must sound like a broken record but seriously, it is extremely hard talking about this show “spoiler-free”.
In previous episodes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sayaka has more or less been warned about making a wish on Kyosuke’s behalf. If there is a fallout to be made as a result, it has yet to surface. Right now, Sayaka is just happy to see her friend recover and gradually return to his old life. Things between the two of them also seem to have improved as Kyosuke apologizes to Sayaka for how he treated her in the last episode. Good on him I suppose though I can’t help but think the reconciliation would mean more if Kyosuke realized he was being a dick pre-miracle. He’s pretty much apologizing now that he got what he wanted.
That aside, Sayaka claims she has no regrets over her decision in general. Helping the boy she’s in love with? Being able to protect the city and her loved ones with her new powers? That does sound like a win-win on paper. If Sayaka has any regrets, it’s not coming to her decision earlier. She can’t help but think having another magical girl around could’ve helped Mami and prevent her death. While things are looking to be just fine for Sayaka, you can’t help but think that something will go south. The nature of wishes is evidently a prominent theme in this show and after seeing Mami get axed off, there’s precedent for the show subverting your expectations and taking its narrative in a darker direction. One can’t honestly expect that this aftermath is all there is to it.
Meanwhile, you have Madoka who is troubled by Sayaka’s decision in a couple of ways. For starters, what does this development say about her? Sayaka encourages her to not fret but the fact that her best friend ultimately bit the bullet does make her fear over becoming a magical girl look more indecisive and cowardly now. True to her character however, Madoka is more concerned over Sayaka. Knowing how lonely Mami felt and with Mamim’s death still fresh in her mind, she’s worried that Sayaka will ultimately suffer the same fate.
Wanting to do something about it, Madoka seeks out Homura and asks her to both be civil with Sayaka and help her out with combating witches. While Homura is admittedly the only person she could even talk to regarding Sayaka, the very notion of it sounds pretty vain. And sure enough, Homura bluntly tells Madoka that she can’t make any promises and Sayaka’s fate will be of her own doing. That said, the fact that Homura is willing to meet up with Madoka and hear her out is noteworthy. As stone cold as Homura is, Madoka is clearly someone who can get through to her.
Ultimately, Madoka decides to take matters into her own hands by tagging along with Sayaka’s witch hunting, much like how the two of them did with Mami. I’m a little stumped that Sayaka agrees to this arrangement. Surely she knows first hand the risk of bringing your powerless friend along for the ride. Last episode, she had to save Madoka’s life even. If anything, Madoka being away ought to put her mind at ease. Conversely, Madoka coming to this decision is perfectly within her character to do. Her wanting to accompany Sayaka despite knowing she has no way to defend herself and could very well die speaks exactly to what Homura said about her in the last episode. She’s far too selfless and empathetic for her good.
Around the time Sayaka faces the monster of the week is when the new girl formally shows up in the story. There’s more to this character than this episode lets on but the time being, she doesn’t exactly provide the most glowing first impression. She interrupts Sayaka’s fight with a Familiar and then telling her that it’s better to let it wreak havoc so that it’ll grow into a Witch and produce a Grief Seed. Immediately, the two are at odds with Sayaka taking ethical issues to what is essentially gaming the system while the new girl tells her she’s naïve. A fight naturally ensues between the two of them, effectively proving Mami’s comment that a lot of magical girls are territorial, competitive, and selfish. While her personality is leaving a lot to be desired, I can’t deny that she’s a damn good fighter. I love how her spear can be split off into several sections and be whipped around like a chain. There’s a wildness and overpowering feeling with the way she fights, a huge contrast to the gracefulness that Mami displayed when she fights. In a way, that conveys how experienced this character presumably is. She doesn’t pull any stops and just gets straight to assaulting her enemy.
Once more, Madoka is put on the spot on becoming a magical girl. She wants Sayaka and the new girl to get along and being a powerful magical girl would certainly help in halting their little bout with each other. Ultimately, Madoka doesn’t have to resort to that as Homura arrives in the nick of time to intervene. The timing of Homura’s arrival is certainly suspicious. She clearly doesn’t want Madoka, presumably Madoka specifically, to become a magical girl. Meanwhile, you have Kyubey who has the exact opposite intent, bringing up to Madoka that she could become a magical girl as a last resort in an earlier scene and then encouraging her to make a wish as Sayaka loses. I get that Kyubey sees great potential in Madoka but the frequency at which he brings up the contract to Madoka is bound to raise an eyebrow. There’s also another scene where the new girl asks Sayaka if Kyubey told her about how heroic it is to be a magical girl and if that convinced her to become one. She makes it sound like PR, really phony PR at that. That can chalked up to her being a cynical veteran but if I were you, I’d keep that comment in mind.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica on Crunchyroll, Funimation, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and VRV
Read my Puella Magi Madoka Magica reviews (page will be available soon)