How does it feel to be present at the birth of a phenomenon?
That’s what it feels like with Madoka Magica. Deserved or not, intended or not, it seems the zeal for this series has transcended fandom and become obsession. The “Church of Madoka” has, as ofthis writing, 2300 members on Facebook. Gen Urobuchi woke up Thursday a writer, and went to bed a prophet.
I asked in my wrap-up what Gen Urobuchi’s intentions were with this series. While it was a semi-rhetorical question, in light of the fascinating turn things have taken since the finale aired I think it’s an increasingly interesting one. I have no idea if Urobuchi is a Christian or not, but I don’t think there’s any question that – unlike, say, Neon Genesis Evangelion – the Christian imagery in the last two episodes was specific and intentional – right down to the airing of the finale on Good Friday. Madoka became about as literal a Jesus figure as a fictional character can be without overtly claiming the title. I guess that makes Homura the Archangel Michael, the leader of God’s army.
This show is interesting in that the fan reaction to it has, almost from the beginning, been part of the show – at least if not more interesting than the show itself. Some of the “Madoka is Jesus” stuff is intended at least partly tongue-in-cheek, but it’s undeniably struck a nerve. And there’s certainly no denying that the show has become tremendously popular – DVD/BD pre-orders were off the charts and some retailers have already sold out of the initial pressing. The month-long delay in airing the finale seems to have only increased the intensity of the fans. I guess this is the biggest anime success story since Haruhi Suzumiya, which also spawned a semi-serious religious following. I think this is the better series, though not a great one – but that seems beside the point now. Madoka Magica is a force of nature unleashed on the world and it will surely be milked for every possible penny, just as Haruhi has. That’s the true religion of the entertainment business.
She died for your sins, Bitches – and don’t you forget it.