Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 5

Another depressing week of Mahou Shoujo antics as Kyuube cements his place in the evildoers hall-of-fame alongside the likes of Gendo Ikari and Takeuchi from Bokura Ga Ita (ducks) . One thing I can truly say – Sayaka may be close to breaking the all-time record for death flags for a single character.

This series definitely ranks alongside Fractale as a kind of Trojan horse, packing something sinister and depressing in the guise of something else. Like Clain, Madoka is a true innocent caught in between two evil forces here – in this case, Kyuube (whose motives are still unclear, but whose evil is not) and the witches. I don’t include Homura as an evil force because as tsun as she is, it’s clear she’s one of the good guys – doing her best to spare Madoka from sharing her sad fate. It’s more obvious than ever that the contract is a spin on Faust, the sale of one’s soul – and though there were happy times this week with Kamijo seemingly recovered – miraculously – and playing the violin, even there a sense of wrongness and eventual despair was pervasive. As sure as I am that things will end badly for Sayaka, I’m just as convinced they will for Kamijo.

As for the new Puella Magica in town, the rapacious Kyouko, she has a different sort of relationship with Kyuube. Like everything and everyone else, he sees her as a tool to help get him what he wants – Madoka’s soul. So when she interferes in Sayaka’s first witch-hunt (actually a mere familiar) and starts a duel to the death, Kyuube stays on the sidelines, fretting about how there’s nothing he can do to stop it. Unless, of course, Madoka should have a wish she’d like to make – then she could stop the fight. Madoka is about to do just that – and Kyouko just about to end Sayaka – when Homura appears at the last moment and saves her. Kyuube must be pretty pissed about that, one assumes…

I could see this going in a couple of different directions from here. We could just go further and further in a death-spiral of depression, with Madoka becoming a Puella Magica and Sayaka dying and Kamijo’s hand falling off and the world generally being in a state of ugliness (this is Gen Urobuchi after all). Alternatively, we could just end up in a world where there’s hope – where the reason Kyuube wants Madoka so badly is that she represents a threat to him and his magical child prostitution racket unless he brings her over to his side. Is she the Luke Skywalker to his Emperor? It’s possible – I’m put in mind of the scene in “Revenge of the Sith” when Anikan and Palpatine are talking at the opera (easily the best scene in the prequel trilogy) and the old bastard is extolling the virtues of the dark side to make “miracles” happen. Like Palpatine, Kyuube appears to prey on his victim’s attachments to others and fear of loss, and those are pretty effective arguments. Here’s hoping Madoka ends up more like Luke and less like Anikan.

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