|She was eeeeeeeeeeevil…|
I suppose I should mention that there are major spoilers in this review, so don’t read it if you haven’t seen the episode…
The third episode of Madoka was certainly interesting. Of course, being uninteresting was never an issue with this show – like most of Shinbo’s work it was intellectually engaging from the beginning. I’m not sure if it made any headway towards emotionally engaging me, though.
I will say this – seeing a mahou shoujo decapitated is a definite first for me. No “magical girl armor” for Mami – that was one helluva exit. She certainly sent up enough death flags to where it wasn’t a total surprise, but it’s still shocking to see a loli’s head bitten off. I don’t remember that happening in “Nanoha”.
So this is definitely setting up as a discourse on good & evil and manipulation. It struck me right from the very first that Kyuubey (definitely) and Mami (probably) were not all they seemed at best, pure evil at worst. There’s some doubt about Mami though I suspect she quite literally had a bit of a deathbed conversion there. She seemed a willing participant in Kyuubey’s manipulation right up to the end. And there can be no reasonable doubt that the little vermin is pulling all the strings here. That smile never left its face even as Mami was being killed, and all it talked about was pressuring Madoka and Sayaka to make their contracts. Only Homura’s intervention saved them from having to do so, not that they seemed especially grateful.
I can’t help but wonder if that death is going to take – “Miracles” is in the next episode title and both Madoka and Sayaka have wishes to burn. Kyuubey is certainly keeping the heat on them to sign the deal and despite the horrors they’ve seen and the cautionary words even from Mami, there’s no indication either will back out. Homura will certainly keep trying – it’s Madoka she seems especially worried about – but it’s inevitable from the title alone that they’ll give in sooner or later. Sayaka at least has some indication of what (who) she might wish for, but it seems to be that this show is starting to take on the character of Bokurano than anything else. Kyuubey has an agenda and I suspect all the little girls it uses up to achieve it are purely disposable.
Last thought – the visuals were interesting as always with this show, but I thought this maze was the most interesting one yet. The motif was pharmaceutical products and sweets, and the which a sort of jack-in-the-box eating machine. All in all, it was effective as being creepy and disturbing.