Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 7

Eeeeee- eh, you get the point by now…

I feel like taking a break from the whole “Is Kyuubey evil?” nonsense for a while, but the little peckerwood just makes it tough. Not content merely to rationalize the fact that it murders little girls by spinning that it’s actually doing them a favor, it tortures her to prove its point. Yessir, what a prince of a being it is. Let the spin game commence anew.

As expected, the focus of the drama remains on Sayaka this week. The poor kid really doesn’t stand a chance, but she still keeps flopping around like a fish on the bottom of the boat, bleeding from the massive wound the hook made in it’s mouth. Kyouko reveals something of herself, but in the process even more about Kyuubey and his siren’s song. Yes, there’s a reason she’s always eating – she was always hungry as a kid because her Dad was a heretic Christian preacher gone bad, spewing his own gospel that the rest of the world rejected. Kyouko sold her soul in the wish that people would listen to his message, and they did – except that the old man found out why. He spurned his daughter as a witch (not a coincidental turn of phrase, Urobuchi-san?) and killed his entire family and himself – except Magical Kyouko.

This does serve to make Kyouko somewhat more sympathetic, as does her effort to push Sayaka towards avoiding her mistakes. But that part of the story felt a little forced, and the real interest in Kyouko’s sad tale is in what it says about her “miracle”. While this show is usually compared to “Faust” and that’s certainly valid, it often reminds me more of “The Monkey’s Paw” – and no more so than here. One strongly suspects that all of Kyuubey’s “miracles” are rotten at the core – not just because they kill the one who wishes (first the body, then the soul) but because, if selfless, they turn on the recipient of the miracle in the end.

It seemed obvious enough that this was going to happen with the Kamijou story some way, somehow – but finally we have a hint as to how that will progress. Turns out Hitomi is in love with him, too – has been for years. She’s willing to give Sayaka a chance to make the first move in acknowledgment of their friendship and the fact that Sayaka has been pining for the boy for even longer than she has, but her gift of a day’s head start is a hollow one. For Sayaka, in the best scene of the episode, describes why she can never pursue Kamijou – because she’s already dead. She can’t hug him or kiss him or do anything else except sit idly by and watch Hitomi steal him away. In a sense not only is Sayaka already dead but she’s already given up – in the final scene of the episode, she goes into battle with a witch seemingly intent on throwing her existence away, spurning Kyouko’s offer of help.

While we still don’t know the why of what Kyuubey is doing, we certainly know the what – it’s physically and spiritually destroying girl’s lives. There’s not much hopeful happening here – Homura may be a good guy, but the best she can offer Madoka in terms of advice is to give up on Sayaka, and there’s no hope inherent in that. Kyouko’s act is painfully transparent, as is the unhappiness that shows through it. The only real drama at this point is whether or not Madoka will succumb to Kyuubey’s manipulation eventually, or fall under the sway of Homura. Either way she seems destined to be a tool, a pawn in someone else’s game, unless the strange power Kyuubey seems to sense in her (or whatever mysterious knowledge Homura possesses) is enough to be a game-changer and break Kyuubey’s cycle of abuse.

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2 comments

  1. J

    One strongly suspects that all of Kyuubey's "miracles" are rotten at the core – not just because they kill the one who wishes (first the body, then the soul) but because, if selfless, they turn on the recipient of the miracle in the end.

    It's the old literal-genie game. Sayaka and Kyouko wound up miserable not because they made a selfless wish, but because they deluded themselves about what their "selflessness" really was. Sayaka wanted Kamijou's body fixed not for his own sake, but so that she could be happy with him; Kyouko did the same with her father's career.

    And Mami, God rest her, WARNED Sayaka about this — "Is it because you want him to be better, or because you want him to be grateful?" She would have been better off admitting that the wish was really for her happiness, and taking that into account. Neither she nor Kyouko did that, of course; instead of asking Kyuubey to make things better for their own sake, they just asked him to tip over ONE domino, in the blind self-assurance that all the others would fall in just the way they expected them to. Hey, it's a selfless wish, right? It'll make things all better and that'll be the end of it, right? It couldn't possibly make things worse for me, could it?

    It's not a selfless wish if your happiness depends upon the result.

  2. That's true, of course – and indeed, many so-called "selfless" wishes or acts are basically done out of self-interest. A cynical worldview, but true.

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