「それが絶交証明書」 (Sore ga Zekkou Shoumei-sho)
“It’s Proof of the End of a Friendship”
This episode convinces me that newbie director InuCurry knows what they’re doing. Or at least, has the ability to create visual direction for storytelling.
This is interesting because the first Madoka was all about symbology and having teams of discussion boards breaking down the meaning of witch runes or clock face, but this episode is pure cinematography. It’s like something they’ll show during Film 101 as a textbook example of directing groups.
Sypnosis: Iroha remembers her wish to save her younger sister Ui from disease. Kyuubey tries to dissuade her, but she goes to Kamihana City to investigate. Yarn Witch appears, along with three new magical girls. Akino Kaede (Ohashi Ayaka), Minami Rena (Ishihara Kaori), Togame Momoko (Komatsu Mikako). Momoko seems to be their de facto leader, gives very Mami-like vibes.
What’s striking is how the SHAFT frames the relationships in each scene. It sets up a visual language of body expression and shifting alliances based on where each character is positioned in relation with each other.
In the Yarn Witch labyrinth, the camera frames them as a single team unit, to the point that they join powers.
Momoko and Rena protect and defend, everyone is positioned in the same frame. Without telling us though exposition, SHAFT is showing us that they’re focused as a single unit.
Then it cuts to the Coordinator’s Room, which is a magical girl clubhouse/hospital. Our trio has returned to their normal selves. Momoko stands away, while Rena and Kaede share a bench showing closeness.
When it comes to helping Iroha, Kaede takes lead as the most social of the trio. Even though she’s the weakest, she stands in front of Rena. Rena moves further away, and Iroha is now centered to form a new trio between Momoko and Kaede.
Unsuccessful at the hospital, the girls retreat to Gauncho’s Fast Food. The moving, colourful background of the cafe is like a witch’s labyrinth. Tensions rise, misunderstandings occur — Rena and Kaede face off — and the group is broken. Foreshadowing much?
Tensions explode. Over the shoulder shots (typically used to convey closeness) have them looking away. The frame shatters. Kaede’s eyes are obscured by the witch-like fast food images, while Momoko can’t see. When Kaede tries reaching out again, she is cut by bars. The birdcage becomes prison bars.
This visual framing adds to the dialogue, which feels real and is absolutely superb — If you ever want to know how middle-school girls’ sound like, this is it. Watching this I had a terrible, terrible flashback of being a teenager and cry-yelling until my ex-bestfriend and I got kicked out of a KFC… …. ｡｡ﾟﾟஇ‸இﾟﾟ｡｡
Back to MagiReco, there comes the second mystery about the Chain Monster. The Chain Monster (what a lovely, evocative name; like email-chains and rumour-chains) is about breaking friendships. Terrifyingly, we see the rumoured stairs reflected in Kaede’s eyes.
The sound effect of the rattling chains is just wonderful. To hear before seeing, knowing that the Chain Witch is just lurking behind, waiting for the right moment — The Chain Witch appears when they finally reconcile. In a tearful reunion, Kaede doesn’t let her friend go.
No matter what, I’ll keep apologizing until we’re friends again! Kaede says.
ED: 「アリシア」 (Alicia) by (ClariS)