So naturally, Sayaka doesn’t take the news of her soul being separate from her body very well. Kyubey gives the same explanation he gave to everyone else last episode though this time around, he does demonstrate what advantage such an arrangement would entail by using magic to emulate the pain Sayaka would feel if she got injured during combat and her soul was still connected. Even though the advantage is made crystal clear, to subject Sayaka to such pain just to prove a point is rather cruel (especially when you consider the episode’s ending). Worse is the fact that Kyubey doesn’t even consider it as cruel but rather just the most efficient way in showing the tactical advantage he’s been talking about. More and more, it’s becoming clear that Kyubey is hardly an ally to our main characters. He’s far too disconnected from their personal feelings to be considered one. No wonder Homura doesn’t like him.
Speaking of Homura, there’s another scene between her and Madoka. Madoka expresses her objections over the severing of a magical girl’s soul and body while Homura argues that a price is bound to be paid, especially when making a wish as miraculous as Sayaka’s. It’s funny; even though Homura antagonizes Kyubey, she’s not thinking too dissimilar from him, viewing things logically and as a matter of fact. Homura seems to be aware of that fact even, as she admits to Madoka that she doesn’t see herself as human anymore. That said, keep that admission in mind for later. It’ll come into play when we learn more about Homura.
In meantime, you know have Kyoko who seems to have a slight change of heart towards Sayaka. Rather than try to beat the other one up, she takes Sayaka to a church that belonged to her father and tells the latter her life story in the hopes of convincing Sayaka to change the path she’s on. The shift in tone is a bit sudden though I suppose Kyoko must’ve cooled off and is feeling sympathetic after what’s happened last episode. Perhaps while doing so, she realizes she and Sayaka aren’t so different. Thing is, Kyoko’s father was an excommunicated and radical evangelist (whose views the show wisely keeps vague) and Kyoko’s wish was for people to become his followers. When her father found out about the truth, he suffered a breakdown and, save for Kyoko, killed himself and his family. Suddenly, you realize why Kyoko is so selfish and dislikes Sayaka. She herself made a selfless wish and it completely backfired on her. Because of that, she’s selfish so that the only one she has to worry about is herself and she dislikes but also relates with Sayaka because the latter reminds her of her past self.
Even though Sayaka admits that she has misunderstood Kyoko, she refuses the message her peer tries to impart to her and still wants to be the selfless, heroic magical girl that she strives to be. That decision is to be expected but instead of coming across as the better person in the room, Sayaka sounds stubborn and stuck up instead. Frankly, she’s adhering too closely to her ideals, right down to the fact that she refuses an apple Kyoko offers her on the presumption that Kyoko stole them. Kyoko doesn’t deny that but even so, you have to admit that this is really darn petty. It just rubs you the wrong way.
If not idealistically, Sayaka is starting to experience a fallout on a personal level. After being warned so many times by the others, Sayaka is seeing her wish backfire as the person she wished for drifts away from her. Kyosuke has returned to school but Sayaka hesitates to talk to him. Now that she’s a magical girl and knowing that she’s not exactly human now, Sayaka fears she can’t have a normal relationship with him. While I think Sayaka could maybe pull off a relationship with Kyosuke if she plays her cards right, there is a reason why Mami was a loner and we see with Kyoko how the truth eventually finds it way out. One can’t blame Sayaka for feeling so hesitant and hopeless. Meanwhile, you have Hitomi revealing to Sayaka that she’s in love with Kyosuke and plans on pursuing those feelings if Sayaka doesn’t, which she gives her one day to do so. It’s pretty out of the blue; I mean, this is the first time we’re even hearing about Hitomi’s feelings towards Kyosuke. Hell, if she really likes him like she claims, how come she didn’t visit him in the hospital like Sayaka did? I think this detail would feel more natural if you had both Sayaka and Hitomi visiting Kyosuke together. That said, I do see what the writing is going for. Kyosuke drifting away from Sayaka is already the expected outcome but it’s an even bigger blow for Sayaka’s own friend to muster the courage to take things further, courage that she realizes she herself lacks.
The ending certainly puts on an ominous note with where Sayaka’s character arc is heading. The girl gets injured while fighting a witch but presses on, even as Kyoko offers to help, with complete disregard for her physical wellbeing because her body is nothing but a shell now. The direction for this scene is superb; I love how everyone is in silhouette, especially with Sayaka as it puts huge emphasis on her wide smile to convey her descent into madness. Not only does this scene set in the inhuman nature of magical girls but it also further Sayaka’s fear that she can’t be a normal girl with a normal life, let alone in a normal relationship with someone.
You know, as horrifying as Mami’s death was, at least she suffered quickly. I don’t think we can say that Sayaka has that same kind of luxury.
Thanks for reading!
Read my Puella Magi Madoka Magica reviews (page will be available soon)