Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 4

After last week’s shocking episode, MSMM takes us on a different journey of darkness this week. This was emo, but generally in a good way – a depressing, bleak ep full of foreboding, death flags and an overarching sense of impending doom.

It appears, at least for now, that Mami really is dead and isn’t coming back. Madoka has – at least for now – decided to heed Homura’s advice and avoid becoming a Puella Magi. She’s by far the most broken up about Mami’s death – breaking into tears at home, at school and at Mami’s apartment – where she runs into Homura. Kyuube appears to back off Madoka, but Sayaka seems to have reacted to Mami’s death with anger rather than sadness. Her visit to Kamijo doesn’t go well – angry at his fate, he lashes out at her for “torturing” him by forcing him to listen to music and cuts his hand smashing his MP3 player. Coincidentally (Ha!) Kyuube shows up outside his hospital window at that very moment, like a vulture on a telephone wire.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil!

That’s not the only coincidence at work here. After having rejected Kyuube, Madoka suddenly finds herself caught up in a wave of “zombies” all wearing the witch’s mark – including Hitomi. Brainwashed, they’re heading towards an empty factory in apparent intent to commit some kind of ritual suicide. Madoka tries to stop them and eventually finds herself trapped and surrounded by angry zombies, then pulled into a witch maze being pulled apart by fiendish little cherubs. Sayaka shows up just in time to save her – having signed her soul away to Kyuube. Kamijo wakes up at the hospital, miraculously able to move his fingers, and a new magical girl shows up in town – Magical Kyoko (To Love Ru, anyone?) and she appears to be pissed about the new girl inheriting Mami’s territory. She and Kyuube seem pretty chummy, too.

I can’t imagine Kyuube will have many defenders left after the events this week – it’s pretty clear he’s a ghoul manipulating little girls for his own still dubious ends. Sayaka, alas, is a victim of her own feelings for Kamijo. I can’t imagine his recovery is going to end well – I suspect Kyuube is something of a monkey’s paw when it comes to wishes. Whether Kamijo’s recovery is a false one or whether, being recovered, he leaves Sayaka rejected and in despair I can’t say – but it’s not going to end well for her. Pretty much every death flag in the cliche hall of fame has been raised for the poor girl and things are almost surely going to take a turn for the worse for her.

As for Madoka, she’s still free of Kyuube’s curse for the moment. She seems to be the big prize the little demon wants but Homura is a formidable opponent, and determined to keep Madoka out of his clutches. Madoka seems totally out of her depth here – she’s sweet and kind and very naive. In other words, a perfect sap for Kyuube. Why she’s so important to him I don’t think we can say, yet – but I can’t imagine him giving up until he has her soul. This series has the feel of a tragedy in the making at this point, a locomotive headed in a very bad direction with no brakes.

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