「最後に残った道しるべ」 (Saigo ni Nokotta Michishirube)
“The Only Way Left”
Wouldn’t it have been funny if SHAFT had only aired Episode 11 this week? I think I might have died from an aneurysm rupturing if I knew I had to wait another week for the last episode.
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「わたしの最高の友達」 (Watashi no Saikou no Tomodachi)
“My Best Friend”
In a world where the final outcome will always be one where someone loses, no one will ever feel that they have completely won. It’s that feeling that pushes certain individuals to strive and move toward finding that one possible solution to conquer a never ending vicious circle.
For those a little out of the loop with so much time between these last two episodes, let’s have a quick recap. Mahou Shoujos are created for the sole purpose of being used as energy sources. The amount of energy that a prepubescent girl outputs when becoming a Mahou Shoujo or a Witch is great enough that other societies wish to capitalize on it. This huge amount, which is enough to save the universe from literally running out of energy (which is happening), creates the surprising problem of how to harvest all this raw energy. Unlike like how our own civilization capitalized on the labor of those deemed “inferior”, I think that Kyubei’s actions aren’t nearly as bad. While conveniently forgetting all the major drawbacks of becoming a Mahou Shoujo and trying to push their hand in his favor, he always offered them a choice. Please note, that I don’t condone this at all. I personally hate the Old Kyubei and all of his cold hearted tactics. But from the point of a rational and emotionless being, I can understand where he’d be coming from. It’s like asking if sacrificing a part of society to save the whole is worth it — is it?
As the past eleven episodes have clearly illustrated, there is a huge drawback to becoming a Mahou Shoujo — you become a witch when you give up hope or run out of power. Effectively skipping death entirely and rampaging around the earth as pissed off as you were when you died until a Mahou Shoujo takes you out of your misery. Looking at this situation as a whole, Madoka’s wish is such an amazingly noble and selfless one that it’s hard to believe I never saw it coming. I don’t know about you readers, but I was sitting straight up peering into the monitor, waiting for her to utter her wish. I personally wanted Madoka to somehow become a Mahou Shoujo without falling into Kyubei’s trap, and boy does it feel good to watch how she not only managed to beat him at his own game but effectively changed the rules of the game entirely! With such spectacular scenes to match an amazing final battle, SHAFT really outdid themselves this time.
In a totally unprofessional manner, I will admit I was bawling toward the end of this final episode. Not just because Madoka was gone, not just because Sayaka was still gone, but all of that in combination with knowing most of Homura’s hard work was worthless and the fact that the entire world lost their memories about Madoka was enough to push me over the edge. The final ten minutes hit me in a way that I never saw coming. Watching Homura clearly remember Madoka was bad enough, but watching Kyoko, Mami, and even Madoka’s own mother not remember her? I was scrambling to find my tissue box.
At the same time, as I was trying to peer through the tears, it was amazing to see just how different the world had become after Madoka’s wish. Kyubei becoming somewhat less evil in morale terms, demons pestering the world instead of witches, and Kyubei collecting small curse boxes instead of grief seeds — because Mahou Shoujo’s don’t become witches anymore!
Who would have thought that one season ago, Madoka would end up being the show of the season? While I’m sure that people would beg to differ, I still consider Madoka one of the shiniest gems from the winter season. With a combination of different themes, a great cliffhanger every single episode, and a story that constantly has you questioning what’s going to happen next, what more could you ask for? An even bigger surprise has to be that SHAFT was the studio who created such an amazing story. Taking on the task of creating an original story about a Mahou Shoujo, I’d have to say that they succeeded in delivering everything they said they would. Who would have thought that after a month hiatus, the last episodes still had such a huge impact?
In terms of characters and story, with only 12 episodes Madoka managed to flesh out enough emotion from me that I was dying at the end of the last episode. By dying, I’m trying to politely say that I was crying my eyes out. It wasn’t the type of tears that came out of my face when I was watching Clannad ~After Story~ and Ushio and Tomoya finally became a true family, but they still started to flow out on their own accord and I couldn’t stop them. I think it was from everything building up that really hit my heart. From the relationships between all of the main characters to all of Homura’s attempts to save Madoka from becoming a witch — something in there really got me good.
As I was still a little disappointed with that not 100% happy ending, I’m still pleased with everything I got. I think all the impact the story had would have completely disappeared if Madoka got to have her cake and eat it — something that others shows should really take note of. While I still would have loved to watch Madoka magically appear alongside Homura, knowing that she still exists and is always at Homura’s side was enough for my weak little heart to handle. But besides removing witches (and Grief Seeds) from the world, I thought it was nifty how the battle for a Mahou Shoujo still continues. Fighting the demons that inhabit the world instead of witches felt like a nice finishing touch — what fun would a world without a little magic be anyway?
On the Takaii-meter of how much I would recommend a show to someone, Madoka is one that I think anyone will enjoy. For those looking for something that redefines a genre (in a good way) and wants to experience a story that constantly has you on your toes, Madoka wins hands down. For those who want a little emotion and story development, it’s in there to. For those of you looking to bag on a show, this one is for you to — if only to act as a punch in the face to open your eyes. I’m happy that I had the opportunity to blog such an amazing show, and I hope that everyone had a fun time reading my posts. I can’t wait to read all the comments you have, as well as any theories that you have swirling in your mind. While I have been busy and haven’t been able to reply to as many as I would have liked to, I still read every comment.
“Don’t forget. Always, somewhere, someone is fighting for you. As long as you remember her, you are not alone.”