Nooo, Kyouko!!!! She went out with a spectacular bang, so I can’t say I’m disappointed though! Now all that’s left to see is whether the creators will be able to outdo themselves in the finale, and given this episode, that may prove difficult. But now they should have plenty of time to develop Homura and Madoka, who have largely been left out so far, since they’re the only ones left.
The second half of this show, particularly the battle scene, was simply beautiful. Shinbo’s style really worked out well here, with the orchestral music in the background, the concert hall, Sayaka’s crazy-awesome new form, Kyouko’s spear skills and Madoka’s crying. Everything just really came together in that scene – the animation, music, and voices, and blended together perfectly.
Another (of many) things this show does quite well is manage to keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I don’t think I’ve anticipated the next episode of a show so much since watching Code Geass (well, it certainly did have other flaws, and let’s pretend the second season never happened). This is how you do a tragedy – something you know will be so terrible that you can’t look away. It manages to inject hope up to the point where you can believe that things could turn out all right, such as when Kyoko and Madoka head to help Sayaka, only to dash that hope with an even darker fate than before. Yet in spite of the dark fate of magical girls, we must conclude that all is well and hope overcomes despair, as Kyouko overcomes the darkness in her own soul and reaches out to Sayaka and Madoka.
If I had to nitpick, however, I was disappointed in Kyuubey infodumping all the secrets about his nature to Madoka. I feel they could have drawn this out a bit later to the end of the series. It seems that now there are few unanswered questions, except Homura’s past. I don’t doubt that there will be more surprises as we go along, but they could have found a more interesting way to reveal everything. Plus, aliens are lame. Things that walk in the darkness on Earth are way scarier.
In which Sayaka turns to the dark side and Homura goes on a shooting spree.
As we head towards the climax the pace is picking up and the pieces of the mystery are beginning to fall into place. It seems that magical girls are indeed the material for witches, if not something worse, as Sayaka seems as if she may have skipped the familiar stage entirely and become much more powerful than your typical witch. Kyuubey is the “Incubator” of witches / magical girls as everyone’s been expecting for a while now.
The “Homura is a time traveller” theory turned out to be correct as well, although it doesn’t seem like Homura is Madoka herself as I had theorized. Madoka would definitely have cared about Sayaka more than herself. She’s probably someone we and Madoka haven’t met yet, since otherwise Madoka would recognize her. Another interesting possibility is that Homura could be Madoka and Sayaka’s mutual friend (Hitomi), although this would need to involve a large change in appearance.
Homura’s development (and Kyoko’s) took an excellent turn this episode in the scene where Homura tried to kill Sayaka. I (and most other people watching, I’m guessing) assumed that although Homura put on a tough act of not caring about magical girls (esp. Sayaka), she actually did care quite deeply. It’s kind of a rule that the quiet ones are generally not what they seem. So it was quite refreshing to see that Homura actually did mean what she said, and really could care less about Sayaka. Which is, unfortunately, why she’s done such a terrible job so far at preventing Madoka from becoming a magical girl.
Kyoko’s reaction in this scene was excellent as well – the roles ended up being completely reversed based on my initial impressions of the characters. I suppose the rule for this show is that the loud ones aren’t what they seem.
But by far the best scene of the episode was when Madoka was just on the verge of becoming a magical girl, only to be interrupted by a bullet storm from Homura. Kyuubey eating his own corpse was just the perfect icing on the cake!
In which Sayaka has a heart to heart talk with Kyouko, Kyoko eats an apple, and Sayaka does something she probably shouldn’t have.
What on earth did Sayaka do to herself at the end of the episode? It was great how they made everything black and white in the witches world so you couldn’t see, even though there was something wrong with her that seemed quite obvious to Madoka. Kyuubey’s hints at the beginning of the episode do not seem to bode well for the state of Sayaka’s soul.
Kyouko turned out to be quite a sympathetic character as well in spite of her eagerness to fight. When she was first introduced she seemed like more of an empty character, brought in to play the role of an antagonist and bust out some crazy dance moves, but now she has quite a bit of depth. The creators did the same thing with Sayaka as well and it turned out excellent. In the first episode I thought she was just some minor side character – so many shows have the friend from class who are there only to either give the main character some tie to the real world or for comic relief. And yet now it seems like Madoka has been thrust into the role of a side-character.
And what a twist, with Madoka and Sayaka’s mutual friend turning out to like the violin boy as well! It did seem to come out of nowhere though – I wasn’t even aware that the two of them knew each other.
This leaves us at quite the cliffhanger for next week though- will Sayaka confess or not, and what was Kyuubey’s suggestion that she listened to? Regardless, things are going steadily in the right direction – downhill.
Damn, I really didn’t see that one coming. So it turns out that the souls of magical girls are transferred from their bodies into their gems, and the bodies are just shells which shut down when the soul gets a hundred meters away. Apparently Homura knew this as well but didn’t tell them – one would think this would be a good way to convince them not to become magical girls, no? Even Kyoko wasn’t aware of this, and it seems like she’ll be a bit less combative for the time being. We also learn that Kyuubey eats the grief seeds after they absorb the darkness from the gems (souls) of the magical girls.
Kyuubey also seems to have some ideas as to who Homura is. My current crackpot theory: Homura is actually Madoka, who made a wish to stop people from becoming magical girls (including herself and her friends, and maybe Mani too) and was able to go back in time to fulfill her wish. Hopefully the truth will be even less predictable.
It seems like Mani isn’t actually dead too since her gem wasn’t broken. I wonder if Homura has her gem, or does Kyuubey? And we still don’t know what the other purpose of the grief seeds is for magical girls. We know that Kyuubey eats them, but why do Mani and Homura want to find them? Sayaka didn’t seem to benefit from Kyuubey eating the grief seed. I guess they want more power, but still, it seems there is something more to it…
Madoka’s mom gave quite the pertinent advice this episode. Although Madoka’s best idea at doing something bad was pretty laughably non-bad. But the effects were certainly quite good…
In this episode Madoka worries about how Sayaka has become a magical girl. Sayaka, meanwhile, celebrates the recovery of her friend’s hand, and begins a hunt together with Madoka for witches. Yes, they are both idiots. Sayaka is attacked by another one of Kyubey’s magical girls, and Madoka almost becomes a magical girl to help her out but Homura arrives in the nick of time.
Overall, this episode was pretty enjoyable, but I did have to suspend my sense of disbelief a few times. First of all, why are Sayaka and Madoka so stupid? Madoka is no good in a fight so why would they decide she should come? And second, Homura’s goal is to stop Madoka from becoming a magical girl, so why does she tell her so bluntly that Sayaka is going to die? This doesn’t exactly encourage her not to become a magical girl… Also, when they were crossing the bridge, the way three cars in parallel passed by them at the same time on each side of the road was just ridiculous. Although I’m not sure why this bothered me so much.
The fight this week was simply spectacular. Magical girls need to fight each other more often and just forget about the witches. And Kyubey was a bastard as usual. Perhaps the most interesting thing that was revealed this week is that Kyubey doesn’t know about Homura. The strange part is that he doesn’t say he didn’t make a contract with her, but that he doesn’t know whether or not he made a contract with her. My theory is that it has something to do with Homura’s wish. Maybe it is something to do with saving magical girls. Also, the question of why the girls need grief seeds still remains to be answered.