After episode 10 aired, I wrote a post explaining why it was I liked Madoka Magica so much, before the final episodes went and balls’d everything up. My fear was that, for such a plot driven show with rather lame characters, a poor ending would diminish the overall impressions of the show a lot.And now, finally, we have the ending. The long of the short of it is: It didn’t fuck up. This was about a good an ending I could have hoped for.
There will obviously be spoilers.
Madoka Magica is about Hope. Or, for 11 episodes worth, the lack thereof. As soon as you entered the world of the Magical Girl, you had lost all hope of returning. You turned into a witch when all hope had been extinguished and you had given up on life entirely. That was precisely the message the show had been touting, even up until episode 11.I had theorised back after episode 10 that there was no method for Homura to ever save Madoka no matter how many times she reset the scenario. Madoka Magica totally ran with that and made that very fact what almost turned her into a witch. When she gave up all hope and disappeared into despair, she would become a witch. You can’t save someone from pure despair in the world of Madoka Magica. That’s the entire being of what a witch is. Hence why they couldn’t save Sayaka earlier on in the series. The series ended with Madoka becoming Hope itself. Her wish was to stop witches from being created ever. Nobody would disappear into the world of pure despair. Instead they would…die…
According to Madoka Magica, instead of wallowing in despair, you should commit suicide?
Except no, because You Are Already Dead.
This goes back to everything Kyubey said over the course of the series. Once you become a magical girl, you’ve given up your life. You are, from there on, dead. Kyubey’s speech in episode 11 explained exactly the reasoning why. The wishes granted by the In-Kyubey-tors are not within the realms of reason, so they pay for that with their despair. Madoka Magica stayed within the rules of this, even when Madoka went and changed the universe. I’ve heard people complain about the ending because magical girls still die, but doing otherwise would have gone against the cost of payment for the wish. She tweaked the results of the laws but not the core foundation of the magical girl contract, in that you pay for your wishes with, effectively, your life.
Woah, that post went a total different direction to what I was expecting. Either way, Madoka Magica kept their worlds’ themes and laws, and I have huge respect for the show to be able to do that. To be able to arrive at an ending that both fitted the worlds laws and without coming totally out of nowhere. It fit the show to a tee, and I’m amazed it was able to pull that off (even if the final episode itself was a bit clunky in its delivery). It’s about a good an ending I could have hoped for.
Never change Shaft. I really do mean that, never drop this crazy artsy side you have. Even back when you didn’t seem to know what you were doing with the art style (Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei), or your anime I really don’t like (Maria Holic), I’ve always loved how you try to do something different and imaginative. Also, thanks to the popularity of some of your recent shows, now other animation studios are starting to take a few leaves out of your books and embed some Shaft-esque eye-catches into their new shows. Long may that last I say. I’m long since bored of the talking head approach. Use what animation can do different to any other form of entertainment. What’s all the funnier is it was born out of cost-cutting methods, just like the so many other traits of anime have in the past. The incredibly smooth sci-fi world of Astro Boy that many future sci-fi series borrowed the same aesthetic from? Just a cost cutting method because smoother surfaces are easier to animate.
Little moe Viking girl! I got a good grin out of the magical girls through the ages montage. Cleopatra was a magical girl. Joan of Arc was a magical girl. Anne Frank was a magical girl, although god only knows what she must have wished for.
More than anything though, Madoka Magica was a wonderfully well told story. Possibly the best story I’ve ever seen told by an anime, with the exception of perhaps Berserk. I cannot give it any higher praise than that. Enjoy your nice comfy place amongst my top 30 anime Madoka. Always nice to know Japan can still entertain me this much.