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Magical Girls and German Poets: Let's Watch Madoka Magica
Hylarn

[table of contents]
I Can't Rely On Anyone Anymore
Episode 10 - I Can't Rely On Anyone Anymore

This episode has far fewer Shout Outs than the last one, and is about half as gay. Still going to be footnoting things, though. Additionally, as the episode itself is broken into the various timelines Homura has been through, I'll be numbering them in bold

Iteration One

We open on Homura introducing herself to the class. She has her hair in braids, wears glasses, and is nervous to the point of stuttering. Following Homura's awkward self-introduction, Saotome-sensei explains that Homura had been sick for a long time because of her heart disease

A bit later, Homura is getting swarmed by the other girls, much like in episode one. Except that she's not handling it well, and ends up getting saved by an oddly confident Madoka (who's voice sounds odd after nine episodes of depressed Madoka). Apparently Homura needs to take medicine in the nurse's office every break. On the way over, they have basically the same conversation as in episode 1, except with the confident one and the nervous one being opposite. And the "keep being Kaname Madoka" scene is replaced by Madoka telling Homura to act cool, to match her name

We get a few brief scenes of Homura utterly failing to pull off the things she did in episode one

After school, Homura is walking home, depressed by her inability to do much of anything. She ends up walking into Izabel's1 kekkai... and hears voices agreeing with her depressed thoughts, suggesting that she die. Either Izabel can talk or it's an effect of the witch's kiss. Anyway, she eventually notices that she's wandered someplace weird. The whole thing looks like a mashup of famous pieces of art, Izabel herself resembling a painted version of the Arc de Trimuphe. Her minions, called Michaelas, are animated sketches of humans. Just as the Michaelas are getting close to Homura, Mami and Madoka show up blast everything. Turns out Madoka is a Magical Girl in this iteration!

We move over to Mami's place. The girls are discussing things over cake. It seems Madoka made the contract about a week earlier. She's been getting better quickly, and Mami thinks she'll be a pro by the time Walpurgisnacht roles around

Speaking of Walpurgisnacht2, the episode skipped straight to it. Madoka is preparing to fight it, even though Mami just got killed. Homura would really prefer Madoka to be alive, but Madoka wants to protect everyone. Before going off to fight the witch, Madoka tells Homura that she's glad she was able to become friends with Homura and save her. She feels that it made becoming a Magical Girl worth it

One scene change later, Madoka is dead, though the Walpurgisnacht seems to be as well. Homura is not happy about this. She ends up contracting with Kyuubey, wishing to redo her meeting with Madoka. She she wants to protect Madoka instead of being protected, but I'm not sure if that's part of the wish, or would have an effect if it is

Iteration Two

Homura wakes up in the hospital in a scene oddly similar to one in the OP. We get a shot of her calendar. It seems she travels back to the day she is discharged, but only returns to school about nine days later

So, next scene is Homura returning to school. Immediately after a much more confident self-introduction Homura tells Madoka that she's also a Magical Girl, and looks forward to fighting alongside her. Madoka responds by blushing

After school Homura shows off what she can do to the other girls. She's really not very good at fighting, and managed to dent a barrel all over, but ruins the golf club she used and wore herself out

We see her making bombs at her place, which does not look like a freaky clock thing

And we cut to the inside of another kekkai. This on is Patricia's, and consists of clothelines hung with serafuku strung across the sky, while school desks fall from somewhere offscreen. Patricia is a giant (as in, several stories tall) schoolgirl made entirely of arms. She shoots her minions from her skirt as an attack. Said minions are called Mathieus, and are the lower halves of schoolgirls wearing ice skates

So, our group of magical girls takes on this witch by having Mami use her ribbons to create a road for Homura, who stops time and throws a bomb up Patricia's skirt. We get a cute scene of Mami and (especially) Madoka being impressed by Homura

Cut to Madoka writhing in pain in the shallow water caused by the Walpurgisnacht. Her Soul Gem has become a Grief Seed, and she a witch. Specifically, Kriemhild Gretchen3

Iteration Three

Homura is shaken up by recent revelations, and resolves to tell everyone

Unfortunately, Sayaka doesn't believe her, and accuses her of conspiring with Kyouko. This ultimately leads to the suggestion that Homura should get weapons other bombs

So she does. By stealing them from what appears to be the yakuza, while time is frozen

And it's time to kill Oktavia again. Her kekkai resembles a stage this time, and her minions (which she shows little care for) are Klarissas, which stongly resemble Hitomi4. Oktavia herself looks slightly different. So, the fight itself starts out pretty similar to the one in episode 9, even with the dialogue, but Homura decides to end things before Madoka got hurt

So, after the fight everyone is a bit depressed. Then Homura gets bound by Mami's ribbons and Kyouko gets her Soul Gem shot. Turns out that Mami really, really isn't okay with magical girls turning into witches. Then Madoka blasts her Soul Gem before she can do the same to Homura. Madoka starts to freak the hell out, but Homura tries to cheer her up, saying that they could keep fighting, and take on Walpurgisnacht together

The next shot is of Homura and Madoka's wrists crossed, with their heavily corrupted Soul Gems lying in their palms5. Homura suggests that they become monsters together. Madoka responds by cleaning Homura's Soul Gem with the one last Grief Seed she had6. She asks Homura to go back in time and prevent all of this from happening, and specifically to save her from getting tricked by Kyuubey. Then as Madoka starts to transform, she asks Homura to stop her from turning into a witch. Homura does so

Iteration Four

Homura has newfound resolve, and decides to show that by healing her eyes with magic and losing the braids

Homura goes over to Madoka's place and, through the window, basically tells Madoka not to trust Kyuubey. We can see that she's already killed one. It seems Madoka somewhat remembers something, since she confusedly says "Homu...?" Could be a partial Fandom Nod, as well. This is SHAFT, after all

We get a monologue from Homura about how she'll solo everything. She kills the witch Roberta7 during this. Roberta is an armless, headless giant in a birdcage. Her kekkai is a vast expanse filled with her minions, Gotz, which are horrible rainbow bird men things. There are also some gears. Homura kills her with a machine-gun and a grenade. Not terribly exciting

So, Walpurgisnacht. It goes almost but not quite identically to what happens in episode 1. Whether this is supposed to imply that there's been multiple loops, SHAFT changed it's mind about certain things, or something else is a matter for debate. Oh, and we get to here what Homura was shouting. She doesn't want Madoka to make the contract. No surprises there

Naturally, Madoka makes the contract

A bit later, things are more devastated than usual, and there's a giant shadowy mountainin the background (which would be Kriemhild Gretchen). Kyuubey is impressed by Madoka; it seems she one-shotted the Walpurgisnacht and transformed into a witch. Kyuubey gives her about ten days until she finishes destroying Earth. Not that he cares, he just collected more than enough energy to meet his quota

Iteration Five

We see that part of episode 1 where Homura chases Kyuubey from her perspective, while she monologues about how she's willing to repeat all this over and over, if it's to save her only friend from despair

And the OP. Homura and Kyouko are added to the last shot. No other changes, not even the rain. Odd

Next: Episode11 - The Only Path Remaining
1Spelled 'Isadel' in the episode itself

2Looks noticably different in this timeline, compared to the dream in episode 1. Blue and white instead of sillouhetted

3There is a mythological Kriemhild, but she doesn't seem to have much to do with Madoka. It also means 'battle mask', and could be related to the ED. 'Gretchen' is much more straightforward: It's the name of Faust's girlfriend

4This leads me to believe that Kyousuke just isn't interested in Sayaka and would have ended up with Hitomi even if Sayaka wasn't freaking out about being a zombie. In this iteration Sayaka didn't believe what Homura told her, and yet she ended up hating Hitomi even more...

5This position resembles one used in Bakemonogatari, another Studio SHAFT series, between the lovers Araragi Koyomi and Senjougahara Hitagi

6Evidence suggests this could be Oktavia's

7There was a fair amount of speculation that this was Mami's witch form; Roberta is isolated, there are flower patterns on the floor, she explodes into what appear to be rifles... But the witch card reveals that Roberta is an eternally angry Bottle Fairy with issues about men
25th Mar '11 11:27:35 PM flag for mods
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Shorter version, moved here from the main page:

The timelines shown in episode 10 are as follows: the "origin" timeline is when Madoka became a Magi very early and saved Homura, with aid from Mami, from a witch; eventually, both die during Walpurgisnacht and Homura makes the contract that gives her time powers in order to save Madoka's life. The second timeline involves Homura joining Team Magi very early on, and they do great up until Walpurgisnacht; Madoka survives but the horror and pain she experiences causes her to witchify (which, we learn, gives her the power to destroy the planet). Timeline 3 involves Homura trying to let everyone in on the big witch secret early and uniting everyone under one banner, which sort of works until Sayaka's Despair Event Horizon breach; this causes everyone to break down, Mami tries to kill everyone out of despair, kills Kyoko, Madoka kills her, and then she and Homura fight Walpurgis and both nearly witchify before Madoka barely saves Homura; Homura then kills Madoka and travels back to Timeline 4, wherein she takes on everything, including Walpurgis, by herself using her now-incredibly-honed skills so that no-one else, especially Madoka, has to suffer. This is the dream from the first episode, and it still doesn't work, as Madoka becomes a Magi to save her and ends up witchifying again. Homura timejumps again, leading to the show's main timeline.

Vrock8 13th May 11
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