Another reason QB chooses very young teenagers for his magical girls? They're less likely to think their wishes through and choose something with long term or far reaching consequences and more likely to make an impulsive decision for immediate gain or stopping momentary pain. That way QB doesn't have to expend large amounts of energy and gets plenty in return.
For recruitment quantity and energy extraction from emotional wishes, teenager are probably the best age group to go for. Children would be more easy to recruit since they'd be even less likely to ask questions about the deal and just go in for a wish, plus they'd have few or no reservations about trusting a Ridiculously Cute Critter like Kyubey. However, their wishes would probably have less emotional attachment to them and more focus on physical gain so so the Incubators wouldnt get that much energy out of them. Kids are also known for being resilient, meaning they'd probably be less likely to fall into the Despair Event Horizon needed for them to fall into witches. On a more horrifying note, children wouldnt fare too well against witches either dying quickly or becoming too frightened to fight. Adults, on the other hand would fare better in a witch fight, but they would be harder to recruit since they would be less trusting and more suspicious of Kyubey's cutesy design and more prone to asking questions Kyubey would rather not divulge answers to.
Why is Madoka such a ridiculously hesitant, cringing Shrinking Violet? Because Homura wished to be someone who could protect Madoka. Madoka was noticeably more confident in the first timeline, so she had to be made weaker and more of a damsel in distress to fit Homura's wish.
It gets better: Madoka is the same girl she always was; Homura's wish hasn't changed her at all. She became confident by becoming a Magical Girl and finding a direction for herself. Homura's wish is granted as soon as she goes back to the beginning of the loop, before Madoka makes the contract, but like all the other wishes, it doesn't necessarily stay granted. That's why Homura can only avoid falling to despair herself by stopping Madoka from becoming a magical girl; once she does, she becomes too strong to be protected, and Homura's wish falls apart.
More specifically, her wish was to redo the month she spent with Madoka by having her as the protector and Madoka as the protected one. During that time, Homura was able to keep Madoka alive and safe. It's only when Walpurgisnacht appears at the end of the month, that Madoka dies or turns into a witch.
The very first track played at the very beginning of the series (first episode, when Madoka sees Homura fighting against Walpurgis) is the series ending. Why would they play the series ending at the beginning of the series ? Maybe to indicate that Madoka's dream was just the end of another doomed timeline ?
In fact, this is hinted at much earlier. The second episode starts with a "dream" about Mami saving Madoka and Sayaka from a witch, which is obviously a memory/recap of the previous episode. The first episode's "dream" also actually happened to Madoka in the recent past, right before Homura's last time reset.
Here's a one regarding the physics of the show - In my Physics class, This Tropette learned about entropy. To put, entropy is a measure of disorder in a system - The more entropy there is, the less work there is. What does Kyuubey renforce the concept of? Entropy. And, what happens when a Magical Girl is at maximum entropy? They're either depressed or out of magic, and they become witches. In other words, if a Magical Girl has little work and is at maximum entropy, they become Witches, which releases lots of entropy (or, energy) into the world.
Some more regarding the physics of entropy: When Homura makes her contract, (with the wish to go back in time and protect Madoka) Kyubey says that her wish has "prevailed over entropy". It seems like this is just a reference to the fact that the magical girls in general defy thermodynamics with their power, but with Homura, it makes sense in another way: one of the reasons time travel is said to be impossible is that, because the entropy of the universe cannot be decreased, going back in time, (which would logically reduce entropy of the universe) is impossible because it defies the laws of entropy.
Possibly an obvious one, but Mami is killed when her head is eaten by Charlotte. Even with a monster chomping on her, I wasn't entirely convinced that Mami could die from just that (Homura was crushed by an entire building and still lived), until I realized something. Magical girls die when their Soul Gems are destroyed. Where does Mami wear her Soul Gem? On her hat! Chances are, one of Charlotte's sharp teeth smashed Mami's Soul Gem while chomping on her.
This has been confirmed by the first movie. A new shot was added which shows her soul gem shattering.
Homura's wish was to redo their [Homura and Madoka's] meeting and protect Madoka. Her wish was not to save Madoka, if Homura actually succeeded in saving Madoka her wish would be void because then Homura would not longer have anything to protect Madoka from. Madoka would not need protecting, therefore, Homura could not protect Madoka. The phrasing of Homura's wish not only put her in a time-loop but it also ensured that it would be a perpetual time-loop because any action she could take to break the loop and actually save Madoka would consequently stop her protection of Madoka which would void her wish. [Madoka's wish stopped the loop because it overrode Homura's wish: quoting Kyubey "It's a treason against the wish itself"]
In Charlotte's barrier, there are messages in runes about Mami and Homura (who is called by her nickname, Homu Homu). There's a possibility that Charlotte knew about them because both of those girls were in hospital for a time (Mami from her parents' car crash - even if it were just for simple medical checkups - and Homura from her condition).
Homura has lived lifespans in the same month period and stayed sane. She's completely dedicated to Madoka in ways normal psychology cannot begin to describe. Even if she were to fight the good fight against the demons for centuries; this would be ''easy'.
In episode 8, when Homura threatens Sayaka with death, why does she raise her empty hand (presumably to use her inferior magical bolt attack rather than one of the firearms which she obviously prefers) to Sayaka's chest, rather than her soul gem (which is in her hand, on the ground)? Simple: she wasn't going to kill Sayaka at all. What Kyoko interrupted was a failed intimidation attempt in the hopes that she could force Sayaka to use a grief seed.
Take another look at the silhouettes in the ending-theme. Mami's silhouette is the only one sitting down (likely a reference to her death in episode three), and Homura's can be seen turning after Madoka's and reaching for her as she walks past.
A witch that manipulated people's minds no less. Now Kyoko hasn't done that, but the real witches have!
Actually, Kyoko did do that. She had a Charm Person ability as her bonus power.
He's definitely right, especially with the reveal that in the PSP game, Kyoko can, depending on your actions, turn into a witch.
As of Episode 8, Homura's magic power has been confirmed as Time Stands Still. Now consider the relevance of a wish for time to stand still in Goethe's Faust... For those who don't know, Faust's bargain with Mephistopheles says that if he ever wishes for time to stand still in a moment of perfect happiness, his soul would be forfeit.
This is driven home further in a later rebroadcast of episode 10. Madoka's witch name is revealed to be Kriemhild Gretchen. Gretchen was Faust's lover, who went crazy and died. Homura, with the aforementioned time powers, is desperately trying to save Madoka from dying and/or becoming a witch. Subtext much?
Homura's case is actually a vicious inversion: Faust's condition is a moment of perfect happiness because that means he has stopped advancing: "When on an idler's bed I stretch myself in quiet. There let, at once, my record end!" In episode 11, we learn that Homura must always move forward, or her soul will be forfeit...in a moment of perfect despair. "Then bind me in thy bonds undying, My final ruin then declare! Then let the death-bell chime the token...The clock may stop, the hand be broken, Then Time be finished unto me!"
Confirmed by the lyrics of the ending theme: "I am the sleepless tomorrow/I will move forward in order to attain/The miracle of the two of us meeting" Meaning that Homura would've been stuck in this loop forever, if it wasn't for Madoka's wish.
The mysterious runes appear to be messages from the witch, or her familiars. Translated, they often seem to be like a Madness Mantra. Considering the ultimate origins of witches from fallen Magical Girls, they probably are a Madness Mantra.
The runes are phrases in cryptic German. You know, like the original story of Faust.
Sayaka's theme, 'Decretum' starts with bells, but the main instrument is a violin. What does Kamijou play, again?
In fact, the opening theme, 'Connect', has a violin solo in it. It makes sense considering how the violin plays a pivotal role in the story. That itself becomes Fridge Brilliance, since if the theme song is the series summed up, the violin solo sums up Sayaka's arc taking a chunk of that series.
For a long time, this troper thought that "Puella Magi" as a mistranslation, the product of someone at Shaft not brushing up on their dictionary skills enough. Given the Japanese title of the show, this troper still isn't certain that that isn't the case. But one thing that's starting to sway this troper away from that point of view is remembering that 'magus', the adjective in question, has a double-meaning - it may obviously be the root of 'magicus', whence we get our word 'magic' and all words related thereto, but it itself originally meant 'wise' i.e. the wise men of primitive tribes or of priesthoods, who naturally cultivated a certain air of mysticism around them and, thus, magic. Now to return to 'Puella Magi'. Given that 'Magi' is an adjective which doesn't agree with anything else in the title, it should be taken to mean 'of the Wise Man'. Or, alternatively, 'of Wiseman'. Now whodoes that remindyou of...?
'Puella Magi' at face value: Puella=Girl, Magi=Magic (not quite, see above, but close enough.) But depending on the context 'Puella' can mean 'Slave' and 'Magi' can mean 'Deceiver', making the title's alternate translation: Magical Madoka, Slave of the Deceiver.
With the revelations of episode 9, the relative emotionlessness of Homura becomes Fridge Brilliance It is revealed in Episode 9 that Puella Magi are essentially giant entropy defying power plants for a sufficiently advance Alien species. The more emotions a Puella Magi lets up to the surface, the more energy they produce. If Homura was to allow her emotions of the fore instead of repressing them, she would essentially be giving in to Kyubey.
Episode 10 shows that she's actually distancing herself from the horror of watching everyone die over and over again.
Another possible (partial) reason suggested by Episode 10: most "mundane" aspects of the "Groundhog Day" Loop (for example, the questions that Homura gets asked on her first day) stay largely the same from loop to loop—so Homura is living through a lot of the same conversations over and over, waiting for the more pivotal events of the loop—and so she only seems to really react around Madoka.
Kyubey says he wouldn't be surprised if a Magical Girl ever succeeded in reviving another. Of course he wouldn't. He can't feel emotions, he just said so.
This would also make Elsa Maria Sayaka's Shadow in terms of Jungian Archetypes.
Her witch's card states that one must experience the darkest anguish in order to defeat her. It's when Sayaka accepts herself as a zombie, as shown by her intentionally shutting off her sense of pain, and therefore unable to be with Kyousuke that she is able to kill Elsa.
Why are there no Magical BOYS? In most countries, boys are socialized to release their negative emotions through aggression like fighting. Girls are socialized to let it stew or act out verbally. For Kyubey, who is trying to run a system that requires to fight Witches and creates them from grief/sorrow to create energy to end entropy, girls are just much more efficient. Or it can simply be that Madoka Magica is a Deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre, it's pointless to put boys as fighters.
Boys are also taught to actually want concrete, direct things for themselves that they can use to benefit others, rather than being taught that they'll be rewarded for thinking of others ahead of themselves like girls are. The girls except Madoka all wish for huge, largely vague and abstract things that benefit others, thinking that they'll reap the much simpler, indirect benefits they really want, but since Kyubey has no emotions and can only seek to profit by granting the wish in its most literal form, it's just that much more efficient to only use girls.
Suicide statistics also play a role. A teenage girl is more likely to commit suicide as a long drawn out attention seeking gambit(you could interpret Sayaka's breakdown as a cry for attention from Kyosuke). A teenage boy is less likely to try but more likely to succeed (a genuinely suicidal boy is more likely to just shoot his soul gem and be done with it). Considering witch transformations rely on the target's depression getting to dangerous rates without the soul gem being destroyed, the former is much more efficient.
Considering Incubators are basically a space equivalent of an amoral Corporation it actually makes a lot of sense that they'd aim exclusively at girls for magical potential. From a purely business point of view it would waste a lot of time and resources to recruit both magical girls and boys with not a lot of pay off for the few magical boys that did give off a lot of magical potential, and although not every girl would give off a lot of magical energy themselves, there would be enough to single them out, again from a purely business perspective. Kyubey says outright that adolescent girls are their target demographic because as a whole, they suit the Incubators' needs best. Eliminating the half of the species is just easier than devoting the resources to hunt for magical boys; would you rather look for a needle in a haystack, or a pincushion?
Kyubey implies that without the incubators human society and civilisation would never have happened - we'd still be living in caves - so it's not impossible that girls being socialised to be more emotive was a tactic to try and increase the power of their emotions and thus the amount of energy they would produce. To use his own example this is kind of like how we have selectively bred livestock to maximise yield and/or quality.
Kyoko is a constantly seen eating something and the food is her obsession. Because she and her entire family had fallen in poverty, and nearly starved. Real people were known to have food-hogging manias after prolonged hungers, particularly the young survivors of World War Two.
Further, Kyoko never gets fat! 1) It would be harder for a fat magical girl to fight. 2) A soul gem is a magical girl's power source. Maybe they don't need to eat at all since Kyuby has removed their souls from their bodies and changed the structure of their bodies. Sell your soul, get a wish, and weight loss!
Episode 10 doesn't have an opening animation, instead diving straight into the plot and staying there. At the end of the episode, the opening plays. Nice way to drive the point home, guys!
Look at the lyrics of the opening after watching Episode 10 and it clicks. The song was sung from Homura's perspective the whole time
And look at them again after Episode 12: They now beautifully describe Homura in the new world. The "unforgotten promise" is no longer Homura's promise to save Madoka, but Madoka's promise that they'll meet again.
The time loop also explains why Homura has been doing so well in school and gym class.
Also, go watch episode 1 and compare with episode 10, the part where, technically, Homura leads Madoka to the nurse's office ...and vice versa. Shaft actually bothered to synchronize them. In episode 10 you can see how Madoka calls her "Homura-chan". In episode 1, Madoka calls her "Akemi-san" and you can see Homura frown for a moment and ask Madoka to call her "Homura". You can notice some other things Homura is not very amused with after watching episode 10. It just makes you feel bad for the poor girl...
Episode 3. After her nighttime conversation with Mami, Homura looks very pained, complete with Hidden Eyes. You would be that way too if someone who was your mentor in a previous timeline thinks of you as an enemy and doesn't wish to speak with you anymore. Heck, most of Homura's interactions with Mami are this. Giving Mami back Gertrud's Grief Seed? She doesn't want Mami to become a witch. Saying that Madoka's talent is a problem? In the previous timeline, Madoka became a witch that could end the world. Her refusal to explain these things to Mami? You saw what happened in the third timeline.
Madoka's doodles of everyone's magical girl outfits were astonishingly accurate, probably because she's seen them all before.
Fate/Zero references. It is obvious due to Gen Urobuchi is the script-writer of this series (and author of Fate/Zero) and there are indirect references with some of the characters and abilities. (For example, with exception of her Always Save the Girl trope Homura Akemi is THE Kiritsugu Emiya of the story.) The timing is perfect for this anime to begin as the Fate/Zero anime is still in the works; this is maybe considered a very indirect and distant preview despite Fate/Zero is worked on by a different studio.
On that subject, check out the excerpt from the afterword on the Quotes page. Now, considering the reference to the heat death of the universe, it's not that much of a leap to connect it to Madoka. But then consider the next part: he talks about how the only way you can get a really happy ending is via a force that can do the impossible and reverse the decline of the universe, and someone purehearted enough to really believe in the inherent goodness of humanity. This story has both.
In Episode 10, why was Madoka so much more powerful in the last loop? Because a mahou shoujo's powers depend on the wish she makes, and she made a much more powerful wish that time around. In all the other loops, Madoka contracted at the beginning of the cycle; judging from the main timeline, her wish at that point would have been a throwaway like cake or just being a mahou shoujo. If she followed Kyubey's suggestions in the last cycle, she would have wished for power: to save Homura, to defeat Walpurgisnacht, or even to change fate.
As the first Drama CD reveals, her very first wish was to save the black cat she is holding in the opening after it was run over by a car. She is just that good-hearted. Of course, such a small wish does not give her much power.
Why does Kyubey, a Starfish Alien, Hive MindedEldritch Abomination, look like an adorable mutant cat thing with big floppy ears? (I mean in-universe, not just because Cute Is Evil) His form was designed to appeal to teenage Japanese girls; it's a trick to help him lure his victims. The Cat Smile was chosen as the "cutest" expression, but due to his difficulty with emotions, he doesn't know what it should be in different circumstances, and leaves it the same to be on the safe side. The main thing that makes him seem a bit creepy in the show is the way his voice and expression never change no matter what's happening; show a still screenshot of him to someone and they'll usually go "D'aww!" Which is exactly what he's aiming for.
Also, it does help that there are magical girl anime in Madoka's world too, which probably made it easier.
On Madoka's finale and Faust. Goethe's Faust (Part 1) ends with Gretchen dead but in heaven. "The Little Mermaid" ends the same way. Makes sense that Sakaya and Madoka ended up like that while Homura (Faust) lives.
After Episode 12, the scene in the opening where older Madoka transforms younger Madoka makes (a little more) sense. Older Madoka is Goddess-Madoka - she gave Homura her ribbons, and this is the self that defines Madoka as a magical girl.
Back when Kyubei's intentions were first revealed, I posted a Headscratchers entry about why, if he's trying to maximize efficiency, he didn't just make factory farms. In episode 11, he reveals that the Incubators have been influencing the development of human society since prehistoric times. So what's a city but, well... his form of factory farm?
This is taken a step further when you consider Kyubei's speech about meat. He conjures up an image of non-factory farms where animals can graze out in the countryside. It implies that his species sees the ENTIRE WORLD as one big farm, with the "free range" animals being people who live outside cities.
This also explains why he only showed Madoka images of free-range cattle as a city-dweller, he sees her as a factory farm animal. Showing those images might hit a little close to home. It's consistent with Kyubei's style of telling the truth but leaving the worst parts out.
There's also the point that, if Incubators are looking for maximum efficiency, they need their livestock in situations that will provide that energy. If a 'factory farm' existence is all one knows, then there is little to hope for. The resulting despair/Witch-creation would not be of much use to Kyuubey's kind. They need the tragic accidents, the misguided love triangles, the random unfortunate incidents, to provide something more substantial. And if he's to be believed, then they've indirectly engineered human civilisation to their needs through allowing, in part, emotional humans to be themselves.
In episode 9, after explaining his motivations to Madoka and getting blown off, Kyubey leaves with a rather insensitive admonition, "If you ever feel like dying for this universe, just call us." Cue episode 12: Madoka ended up doing exactly that
For those who don't get the Incubator reference, this might count as Fridge Brilliance: Incubation is the process in which someone sits on an egg to provide warmth, and thus hatch it. Note how the Soul Gems are egg shaped and become Grief Seeds when enough despair has been put into it. So Kyubey, short for Incubator, warms, or looks over the egg-shaped gems, until they "hatch" into Grief Seeds.
Apparently, he still refers to himself as an Incubator in the new world; perhaps the term actually refers more generally to one of the elements of incubation, that is, the trapping of heat in one place; referencing their professed goal of halting entropy.
It was not initially planned that way. They were to be aired earlier, but the showing was delayed by the massive tsunami. Which tsunami hit very soon after after the airing Episode 10 where Walpurgis is first shown, apart from the Episode 1 dream. Gives "scary" a whole new meaning...
Some Madokas from alternate timelines died in partially water-submerged areas. It even caused some fans to speculate that the original Walpurgisnacht ending was intended to be somewhat tsunami-related and the studio had to delay airing and redo the final episode because it all suddenly went real. (And more than once Kyuubey was photoshopped in some real tsunami footage.)
Before the unpleasantness of what happened to Mami in Episode 3, she said Madoka should just wish for cake if she couldn't think of anything good. Seems harmless and counter to the gravitas of the other wishes/the push from Mami and QB to not take the wishes lightly. Now think back to the concept of equal hope bringing about equal despair and Episode 11, where QB actually explains what makes magical girl potential to Homura. Given that it is predicated on the amount of misfortune the girl is burdened with, as well as the hope brought by said wish, wishing for cake is the best idea under the original system! Due to the circumstances, Madoka could do better, but for any normal would be magical girl, cake is the best choice. Might be Fridge Horror if you think about why QB was so stringent on the girls not making frivolous wishes.
Definitely is Fridge Horror or at least Fridge Irony if you know that Charlotte, the witch Mami is about to fight, DID wish for cake- she wished that she could eat cheesecake with her dying mother one last time.
It's shown that witch's runes only appear inside of their barrier, and whenever a witch is introduced, it is shown with its name, with the website being updated later. Thus it makes perfect sense to not know Walpurgis Night's name, she never had a barrier in the first place!
We never see Homura using a Grief Seed, even though she seems to carry a few of them around (and going by episode 3, she's definitely not giving them to Kyuubey). Seems like Fridge Logic, right? But Homura has infinite magic as long as she believes she can save Madoka. That's why Kyuubey knew her Soul Gem would darken the second she realized she couldn't beat Walpurgis Night. It's pretty much been frozen in time since she made her wish!
Expanding on this, why didn't Kyouko turn into a witch after her father's rampage? Because she still believed in him to some extent. And because the despair must be equal to the wish, that's why Sayaka transforms when she knows she can't be with Kyosuke...and why Mami had a Freak Out in the timeline where Homura told them the truth. She realized that since her wish was pretty much wasted, she would become a witch soon, and she decided it was better to die before that happened.
An alternate explanation is that Homura is just super-efficient: She uses conventional weaponry, and her shield uses its own fuel to stop time. She might not need to use any of her soul gem's magic when she fights. She does sometimes use energy attacks, which would explain how she ran low when fighting Walpurgis Night in one of the past timelines — though that could also have been despair creeping in.
Let's see... Homura makes a deal with the devil hoping to protect the girl who matters most to her in the world but discovers that USING her powers would bring her closer to her own damnation and resorts to conventional guns and explosives as a loophole. Does that remind you of anything?
Notice that Madoka's Soul Gem in episode 12 and the symbol on Kriemhild's Grief Seed in Episode 10 are both shooting stars. If you don't understand, what do people do when they see a shooting star? Make a wish.
In episode 11, Kyubey tells Madoka that he doesn't understand why humans get so upset over a single one of their kind dying when there are billions of people in the world. He's not just being callous; due to his Starfish AlienHive Mind status and inability to feel or comprehend emotions, he literally doesn't understand how the loss of an individual could affect another individual, because to him individuals are just components of a whole. He can't concieve of how it would feel for a human to lose someone they care about, or why they would care about the death of others they've never met.
Episode 1 starts with lines which seem nothing but a cruel deception both in and out of universe closer to the end of the series... until you see that they basically describe the ending.
Kyubey (talking to Madoka): "If you give up it will be the end of everything. But you have the capacity to change fate. This unavoidable destruction, this sorrow - you can change it all. That's why you have this power."
Madoka: "Are you telling the truth? Can someone like me really do something to stop this? Can I really prevent everything from turning out this way?"
Kyubey: "Of course you can! Form a contract with me and become a magical girl!"
Moreover, because Homura is still a magical girl despite having made a contract in a separate loop and thus can communicate telepathically with Kyubey, there's nothing stopping him from taking memories of those alternate timelines in HER head and using those as "premonitions" for the other girls. Thus, the worse things get... the easier it is for him to trick the girls into contracts that escalate the conflict one level higher each iteration.
Along with the many tropes this series deconstructs, it also deconstructs City of Adventure. Why would the city the main characters live in have so many witches for them to deal with? Because Kyubey's there.
Perhaps I'm overthinking it, but why is "Connect" used as the ending in the final episode, and why are the last two episodes missing the dark and scary ending theme? Because Madoka is fixing things for the better—of course the dark ending theme isn't there, and of course it's replaced with a more optimistic song!
It also means that since everyone is now living in Madoka's witch-free universe, everyone can now have a new beginning.
In episode 12, most people seem to miss that Madoka's wish covers more than the elimination of witches, probably because Kyubey's reaction breaks it up. The second part is perhaps more important than the first: "I don't want any of the girls that have fought witches until now — all the magical girls who believed in hope — to cry. I want them to remain smiling to the end. I'll destroy any rule that stands in my way. I'll change them all. This is my wish, my desire." For this to come true, none of the girls who would have become witches can end in grief and wishes can no longer come with an equal amount of despair. We don't get to see how this changed any backstories, but Sayaka dies a hero, and witch-winged Homura is smiling in the epilogue. The magical girls of the new world are probably best described by Madoka herself when she meets Homura in the space between worlds: We just have to believe. Magical girls make hopes and dreams come true, after all.
When Madoka offers Kyouko her hand to shake, Kyouko laughs and instead gives her a candy bar. At first this seems like Kyouko being.. Kyouko but when you consider Kyouko's attitude towards food you will realise that that giving Madoka that candy bar was Kyouko showing Madoka that she had her deepest respect.
Following that same line of thought, Kyoko's "advice" to Sayaka on how to get the man she wanted can be seen in a very different light. Despite never having watched it, this troper once read that in Sailor Moon, one of the sailors gave relationship advices to another Sailor. Considering what PMMM is, it's very easy to see Kyoko's advice as a darker reflection of this kind of situation. Which means that when she came up with the nice idea of breaking all of Kyosuke's limbs to render him helpless and dependent on Sayaka, she wasn't trying to mock her. It was probably the first genuine gesture of friendship Kyoko had done towards Sayaka!
In a huge tie to "The Little Mermaid", Hitomi represents the princess that the prince goes for instead of the mermaid. This explains why she has feelings for him.
The meramid's and Sayaka's motivations for making their prospective Deal with the Devil are also inverted. In Anderson's tale, the meramid became human for the prince to fall in love with her in order for her to gain a soul so she could attain eternal salvation in Heaven since mermaids are soulless and undergo Cessation Of Existance when they die. Sayaka became a Magical Girllater, a mermaid witch, giving up her soul (though she was unaware of this at the time)in order for her to attain Kyosouke's love.
In Episode 7, Kyouko gives Sayaka advice and tries to get her to see things her way. Sayaka refuses to listen and walks away, causing Kyouko to become extremely pissed off. Why does she get so mad? According to a magazine article she was once a Charm Person who could persuade others to see from her point of view, but lost this ability from the shock of seeing her father go crazy and kill her family. It must be incredibly frustrating for her to have others ignore what she says.
In a way, it does work. Although Sayaka rejects Kyouko's ideals, she does understand it.
Word of God (as seen here) reveals that Mami's wish was "to connect lives". —It's a mistranslation, but the phase "connect lives" can still apply to Mami given her rolein the show. She was introduced saving Madoka and Sayaka from a witch. Episode 10 reveals that she along with Madoka saved Homura from a witch in the first timeline. Also she once acted as sempai to Kyoko before the latter became cynical according to the 3rd CD drama. The spinoff Kazumi Magica further expands this by showing that Mami saved Kazumi who would in turn save the other girls who would form the Pleaides Saints and even emulate Mami's attack style and habit of Calling Their Attacks.
In the third timeline, why did Mami restrain Homura before shooting Kyouko? Well, along with the Fridge Horror below, Mami probably knows that Homura can't use her abilities if she's being restrained and that said abilities would make it difficult for her to kill the others and herself.
We learn at one point that Kyubey's race considers emotion to be a mental disorder. What happened when Madoka declares her wish and Kyubey goes into all-out Villainous Breakdown mode, the only real time we ever see him express more than a superficial amount of emotion? That's right - the full implications of the wish drove him mad. Oh so satisfying!
Homura's quote from episode 1: "With kindness comes naďveté. Courage becomes foolhardiness. And dedication has no reward. If you can't accept any of that, you are not fit to be a magical girl."
Sayaka was a very kind character, and believed in Black and White Morality for the entirety of her arc, however, this led her to make some very stupid decisions.
Mami had so much confidence in her abilities that, when Homura tried to help her, she merely brushed off her advice, leading to her death.
Kyoko was very dedicated to her family, and wished that her dad's church would have believers. Her reward? When her dad found out, he called her a witch that manipulated people's minds and killed her entire family, including himself.
As for Homura, She's the only person who remembers Madoka, and has to live with knowing that her actions removed Madoka from her life altogether. The Rebellion Story shows us what happens when Homura's dedication finally meets its limits.
At the end of episode 3 after defeating Charlotte who'd just killed Mami, Homura states that 'This is the end of a Magical Girl. Cue a shot of a teacup smashed by a Grief Seed symbolizing Mami's death. At first, it simply seems that Homura was refering to how MagicalGirls were bound to die horrible deaths by witches. Until after episode 8 we find out that MagicalGirls who dont purify their Soul Gems become witches. Looking at that scene again, this troper realized that Homura was subtly hinting at the darker nature of the Puella Magi system. -spinindiamond
Kyousuke's song choice (Ave Maria) might be a bit odd, but then you realize that the song was in a short that also had Walpurgis Night as a plot device. In the finale, he plays it after Walpurgisnacht was taken care of, much like how the song was played after Chernabog hid away.
I might remember wrong, but wasn't Ave Maria also the song he played when Sayaka took him to the roof for that impromptu concert? I saw it as a call-back to that, since both times he plays that song, Sayaka is calm, first reassuring herself that it was worth it and the second time remembering that she really only wanted to hear him play again. Not to mention that when he finishes Ave Maria in front of the jury, despite Hitomi waiting for him, he mutters Sayaka's name, as if he felt her presence in the audience.
Next time you watch the series, check out Madoka's room, particularly the arrangement of stuffed animals and shelves. In episode 9 in particular, during her conversation with Kyubei, the arrangement of the room changes over the course of a single scene. Sloppy animating, or is this conversation taking places repeatedly, identically, in several different timelines?
Just what are the demons from the new universe? Well, when Madoka became a Puella Magi, she created an infinite amount of hope. As has been proved numerous times throughout the series, the amount of hope a Puella Magi makes will be equal to her despair, usually resulting in a witch. But there are no more witches. Madoka's goodness created an equal amount of evil, thus resulting in the demons.
Everything that happens in Episode 1 is important. Do not miss any part of it. For example:
The chairs in Madoka's mother's room: It's a Shout-Out to Bokurano that's eventually echoed in Episode 9, when Kyuubey is revealing more of the Awful Truth.
Madoka deciding what ribbons to wear: Madoka's last mortal act is giving them to Homura, who in Episode 10 has been shown to like red headwear.
Hitomi's bashfulness over Sayaka teasing Madoka: Hitomi and Sayaka are in love with the same boy. Hitomi's behavior is overcompensating for hoping Sayaka prefers Madoka.
Homura re-writing her name on the board: In the first timeline, the teacher didn't write it in Kanji. Homura would like that to stay the same.
Homura being good at everything: Not only has she done all of this before at least four times, but she no longer has her heart defect to bother her.
Sayaka wondering if Homura gets Moe off of how she treats Madoka: Homura herself used to be quite the moeblob, before the series happened.
Homura using purple energy bolts as an attack, even though her real abilities are more efficient. She doesn't want Kyuubey to know what her real abilities are.
In 10 and 11, the ending isn't shown. This is symbolic, implying The End Is Nigh.
Homura uses her powers to correct her eyes, despite not having healing powers. How? She knows her body is a corpse, and restoring a body is something that any magical girl can do; Kyouko uses her Soul Gem the same way Homura does to keep Sayaka's body from decomposing. In other words, she's restoring her sight by healing her ocular degeneration.
In the original Japanese title, the styling of the logo makes the first character able to be read as "廃怯" or "wavering" instead of "魔法" or magic, making the title "Hesitant Girl Madoka Magica".
Likewise, much like mahou shojo, or magical girls, become majo, or witches, the hesitant girl or hai-kyo shojo will become a haijo, a girl who abolishes.
In Episode 7, after having her advice rejected by Sayaka, Kyoko is shown furiously taking bites out of an apple. Now, Kyoko's Berserk Button is wasting food, so she chooses to eat the apple to vent her frustration rather than crush it in her hand, which she would've accomplished given the way she was squeezing it as Sayaka walks away.
Related is, in Episode 9, we see her gobbling up lots and lots of food from her apartment[/]hotel room. She already figures she's going to die in the battle, so she's making sure none of her food stores go to waste - note that her fight against Oktavia and the buildup to it are the only scenes in which she's not eating anything.
Homura's given name is usually a surname, while her surname is usually a given name. This makes her name sound like it's being spoken in western order and gives her a foreign feel right from the get-go. Turns out, she is a foreigner to this timeline. Likewise, the other characters all have surnames that are usually given names, so they always sound like they're speaking informally to one another even when they're not which is foreshadowing to how close they were/will be in other timelines.
This troper wondered why Mami who could supposedly conjure guns out of thin air use her ability to create modern guns such as machine guns or assault rifles instead of smoothbore muskets that could only fire once. Then she read an article in which Urobuchi stated that Mami's original and primary magic was creating ribbons. The Mami route in the PSP Portable game shows that she started off with using her ribbons as whips and only started using firearms after reading up on gun mechanics to which she shaped her ribbons to look like guns. Muskets were probably the simplest model she could make with her ribbons since modern firearms would require rifling that would be nearly difficult to adjust her ribbons to not to mention being more complex. If the mechanics and physical makeup of a weapon are needed for its creation, then it would explain why the majority of Puella use traditional weapons such as swords, bows and arrows, spears,etc., instead of more modern weaponry such as bombs.
Mami is using rifles (the rifling is visible during her Freak Out in episode 10). Still, the point of using simpler weapons stand: Mami's rifles are single-shot rifled muskets of the flintlock and matchlock types. Even if the propellant is smokeless powder and not black powder, she's still using a simpler weapon than any breech-loader.
While rewatching the show this Troper came to a realization: all the soul gems are the same colors of the eyes of the magical girl who hold them, right? And what are eyes, but windows to the soul?
You want to know how many times Homura has fought Walpurgisnacht? Enough times to have mastered the timing/placement of all that hardware she uses. She knows exactly where to hide the V2 rocket launchers, the fuel truck, the tanks, etc, all likely done while she was off screen over the course of each timeline. Heck, she knew exactly where Walpurgisnacht would land after being Tomahawk-missile'd, so as to stack hundreds of individual claymore mines for maximum damage. The impression this troper received was that she's done this fight, over and over, so many times that she has all the timing down to an almost reflexive level, and each time it's not enough.
More of a meta example, but read through the Heartwarming and Tearjerker pages. It's almost as if every sunny moment in the show needs to be balanced out by a related or following dark moment...
Minor, but at her entrance in Episode 1, Mami's protective powers cast unusual color patterns on the girls and her Soul Gem had jittery flowers blooming over it... stylistically similar to witch powers, particularly a barrier-barrier comparison.
Compared to the other girls' fancy and colorful outfits, Homura's Puella getup is more plain, lacking in frills and adornments befitting her stoic, no-nonsense personality it also ties into her orginal Shrinking Violet personality.
The fact that her uniform is almost entirely greyscale aside from some very sparse purple highlights also reflects that she was in mourning when she made the wish.
In the third timeline of episode 10, Mami snaps after learning that Puella Magi turn into witches. She decides that it's better to die instead of turning into a witch and tries to kill her friends before committing suicide. Although it seems that Mami had completely snapped and was killing with no thought, this actually isn't the case. First she ties up Homura, who cannot use her time stopping magic while restrained. Next she shoots at Kyoko's soul gem; Kyoko posed the most threat because she was the most aggressive and would likely act quickly after Mami attacked; by restraining Homura, she could not use her magic. And finally, Mami left Madoka alone, which was ultimately her downfall. Mami likely knew that, because of Madoka's timidity and her admiration of the older girl, she wouldn't attack. Mami wasn't insane; although she went mad from the revelation, she was very much calculated and in control of her actions!
Why is it that the semi-official magical parameters only specify Madoka's stats for the first three timelines? It's so that the exact number of timelines Homura has been through will intentionally remain ambiguous.
Why does Kyouko react so strongly to the Awful Truth about the Soul Gems? As a (possibly former) Christian she'd be very concerned about the fate of her immortal soul.
When Kyubey grants Homura's wish, he says "Congratulations; the power of your wish is such that it's overcome entropy." One of the consequences of entropy is the "arrow of time"—the reason why travel to the past is theoretically impossible. Homura's hope/despair about Madoka literally allows her to violate physics.
Why is Sayaka's costume so revealing (at least by average middle schooler standards)? Because her wish is to help the person she loves - to attract a boy.
Many people have asked why, in the last episode, Kyubey didn't simply refuse to grant Madoka's wish, since it could have negative consequences for him and his race. The answer is actually pretty obvious: he lacks the authority to deny someone a wish, especially someone with such a ridiculous amount of stored emotional energy. Many times throughout the series, he mentions things that he isn't allowed to do (like suggesting wishes) and talks about his "role" and assigned "quota" in the magical-girl-generating business. Despite people blaming him for all the bad stuff that happens, he's just a Punch Clock Villain who probably thought the wish, like all other wishes before it, would backfire and he'd earn himself a promotion. Either way, he's all but incapable of making that sort of decision; from his Hive Mind viewpoint, he's not allowed to do it in the same sense that your arm isn't allowed to punch random passersby without your permission.
Look at these traits : Superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning/manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, emotionally shallow, Callous/lack of empathy, failure to accept responsibility for own action. Don't they just match Kyubey's personality perfectly? These are the standard traits for sociopathic personality.
This one may be a bit obvious, but: "Walpurgisnacht" is the name of a European festival that takes place exactly six months away from Halloween (or All Hallow's Eve if you prefer), which is April 30th. Offhand mentions of the date in the series and some math show that April 30th is very likely the date during the final episode. In other words, Walpurgisnacht is fought during Walpurgisnacht!
It was revealed in the Different Story manga that Kyoko had illusionary powers as a result of her wish, but lost it after her father committed Pater Familicide. You could also say that Kyoko lost her illusions after she became disillusioned with acting idealistically as a Magical Girl.
Ever noticed the placements of the main casts' Soul Gems when they become magical girls? It turns out that this has something to do with their character. To elaborate:
Mami's Soul Gem was located on her head. She's the most experienced and calm Magical Girl, and usually the one who acted as a mentor. it was the moment that she lost her composure by being reckless, or as they say "lost her head," that she literally lost her head courtesy of Charlotte.
Sayaka's gem was located on her Navel. She's impulsive and rash when it comes to decisions, or she "acts on her gut feelings."
Kyoko's gem is on her chest, because her wish was for everyone to listen and believe her father's teachings, or for "people's hearts to be swayed" by the teachings of her father.
Madoka's gem is also on her chest; she's The Heart of the group.
Homura's gem is on her left hand. Her power is to stop and turn back "the hands of time." Why her left hand? In analog clocks, the left hand is usually the minute hand and when adjusting time, people usually move the minute hand.
A bit more sinisterly, the left hand is the 'bad' hand, is where we derive the word 'sinister' (sinistra, left), which is related to treachery, betrayal, and general nastiness IN certain cultures, it's the hand you use for 'dirty' things. It means she is not to be trusted, and foreshadows her betraying Madoka.
Madoka's Soul Gem, when transformed, is a teardrop. When she becomes a Magical Girl in episode twelve, her wish includes her desire for magical girls not to cry anymore, and the declaration that even she has no reason to fall into despair... and it erases her (and her own tear shaped gem) out of existence. When she reaches her Ultimate form, not only is it white with pink/red accents (and thus bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Kyubey), it's adorned with five of them...one for each of the friends she's left behind, including her own! She literally took their tears onto herself.
In one of the timelines shown in Episode 10, Sayaka is reluctant to work with Homura because as a melee fighter, she's afraid that she'll get caught in one of Homura's bombs. When she becomes a witch, the thing that kills her is in fact, one of Homura's bombs.
How did Mami know that Walpurgis was coming in the original timeline when it was said to be impossible to predict when and where it will show up? Oriko of course. She wouldn't become antagonistic until Madoka's witch form becomes powerful enough to threaten the planet and Madoka won't go witch in that timeline. Oriko wouldn't help them because she would know that Mami and Madoka would take care of it without her help.
The ending illustrates exactly how Kyubey's magic overcomes entropy. Wishes create an equal amount of happiness and despair, which balance out to zero, but the despair doesn't have to negate the same happiness that came with it, only an equal amount. Madoka creates enough despair to destroy the world and enough happiness to create it, so she uses the despair to destroy the old world, leaving the better, happier one in its place.All wishes do that, just on a much smaller scale.
Kyouko's barrier power. Given her [[Jerkass personality]], her having this power doesnt seem to make sense at first if you subscribe to Personality Powers. Later when preparing to take down Sayaka's witch form in a Heroic Sacrifice to buy Homura and Madoka time to escape as well as prevent Sayaka from Dying Alone she mentions to Homura how important it is to find something important and protect it and that she's been looking for one for a long time, so her barrier power does make sense. In addition, it could also be indicative of her shielding herself against the trauma of her father killing the rest of his family and himself.
Episode 10's Oktavia is said to be based on guitars and not violins, also her familiars look very much like Hitomi. As in the fridge logic section implies that in this timeline, Kyosuke played the guitar. This is reinforced by the fact that Oktavia's barrier looks like a stage for a rock concert, complete with colored lights, backup dancers (the Hitomi-look-a-like familiars), and smoke.
I never understood how Homura's time magic made it possible to follow Madoka into the ether, as it were, but then it hit me: Madoka didn't just change the laws of the universe, she caused a time paradox. That is why Homura is able to go as far as she does, AND why her constant time-looping hinges all that energy on Madoka: she's paradox-proof. Her magic prevents her from causing temporal paradox! If she had been able to protect Madoka from contracting before her sand timer ran out, she would have erased her own reasons for becoming a magical girl and caused a paradox in whatever new timeline she'd created, so her time magic alters fate and displaces it from Homura in order to prevent her from doing exactly that. Madoka made her wish in such a way that disregarded time altogether; Homura's explicitly meant going back in time to try again. Homura's real wish could never have come true.
That also explains why Homura is still a magical girl in the new universe, even without a Madoka in that universe to try and save by making the contract. She's still paradox-proof (hence why she still has her memories of Madoka in the old universe) when she goes to the new one, Ultimate Madoka just retcons the circumstances surrounding her fate to allow for her continued presence rather than erasing her to make room for the Moemura who would normally exist there.
Sayaka's swords are too big for her hands, and she often seems to have a hard time getting her fingers around the hilt. Why? Because a Puella Magi's weapons and outfit are based on what they think is cool - hence why The Cape gets a cape, the pastor's daughter gets a robe, The Ojou gets a ballgown, and the Emo Teen gets a longcoat. Sayaka's idea of a sword is the toy swords she would have played with as a kid, which are often oversized for a kid's hands.
Why can't Charlotte make cheese if she can make any dessert she wants? It's because she wished for one last cheesecake when she became a magical girl. She can't make anything with cheese in it because her wish still stands, and she can never have it again.
Ever look back to how Homura talked about how people will just disregard Mami and consider her missing and wonder just how she could put it so heartlessly? Well, in the PSP game, during an event in Mami's route where she witches out, Kyubey essentially explains that same point. Word for word. It practically makes sense that she said it so heartlessly because she was quoting a heartless (in the sense that he has no emotions) being.
Walpurgisnacht's description as the "stage-setting witch" is just a fancy way of saying that she's the excuse for the plot to happen: her approach (and finally presence) sets the stage for the action of the show.
If you somehow become capable of selflessness, you will cease to have a self.
The way that Sayaka acts, and a lot of the factors that caused her eventual fate, felt familar to me when I first watched it. I wasn't sure of it at first, but then I realized, Sayaka shares a lot of odd personality quirks with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder! Abandonment issues, mood swings, acts of violence, moments of extreme regret afterwards....
One neat thing I caught in the Rebellion movie is that this is the first time Sayaka calls out the name of one of her attacks, "The five Lillians!" A common meaning of the lily flower is, "As the flowers most often associated with funerals, lilies symbolize that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death." Just like Madoka has restored Sayaka's innocence after becoming a witch.
Also, another word for lily is yuri. There are five of them and ALL have had romantic or semi-romantic subtext with each other in different media...
After being a Magical Girl, the characters seem to have gotten physically stronger, an example being Homura breaking the district record for the high jump. After The Reveal of the true nature of being a Magical Girl, it hit me: Magical girls do become physically stronger because they lose the physical limitations of their bodies. They are Liches after all.
Homura is nearsighted, both literally and figuratively as she prefers the short-term over the long. Even when she fixes her eyesight post-Timeline 3 all her plans are focused on a single near-term goal (at least relative to Kyubey's timescale of billions of years).
Why he title of the show refers to Madoka, when after episode 10 it's made clear that Homura is the real protagonist? Heck, even the movie has Madoka's name when it's all about Homura. Because Madoka is literally the center theme of the show. While Homura is the star, Madoka is Homura's motivation. All she does is because of Madoka's well-being. It's also because everytime Homura turned back the clock, it added more karmatic energy to Madoka, to the point of making her have the power to be the strongest magical girl and witch. Everytime Homura returned in time, she made the universe focus more and more on Madoka.
There are tons and tons of Tarot references in the story, if you know where to look.
Episode 1 parallels the start of the Fool's Journey: Madoka meets Kyubey and Homura, not knowing anything about what's going on. the Fool (an innocent, stumbling into things she doesn't understand) meets the Magician (a figure of power that controls Heaven and Earth with knowledge of magic)and the High Priestess (a feminine figure of love, wisdom, serenity, and the holder of knowledge from an otherworldly source).
Mami dies in Episode 3, and the 3rd card is the Empress, associated with motherhood, beauty, and comfort, all of which are lost with her.
Episode 4, and the 4th card is the Emperor, associated with authority, responsibility, power, leadership, and inflexibility. Sayaka becomes a magical girl in order to restore Kyousuke's hand and take up the mantle of magical girl to protect Mitakihara. Also relevant: the people driven to suicide by the Witch's Kiss do so in a cult-like fashion, the extreme end of an abusive authority forcing them to act.
Episode 5, the 5th card is the Hierophant, associated with tradition, the status quo, education, experience, and formality. Homura tells Madoka that magical girls can't be saved because she knows what they really are, and is able to put a stop to Kyouko's (pragmatism) and Sayaka's (idealism) fight with her own knowledge rather than raw power (experience).
Episode 6, the 6th card is the Lovers, associated with both love and a choice between two divergent options. Madoka pleads with Sayaka to reconcile with Homura and Kyouko, but Sayaka refuses for the sake of her own ideals; on the other side of the coin, Kyouko agrees to help Homura against Walpurgisnacht.
Episode 7, the 7th card is the Chariot, associated with victory, motion, pride, and control. Sayaka starts losing control of her emotions, torn between wanting to uphold her ideals and bitterness that she can never be with Kyousuke; the forces pulling her forward are also pulling her apart.
Episode 8, the 8th card is either the Strength card or the Justice card, but Justice fits better; Episode 8 is when Sayaka's strength and her belief in herself as a hero of justice finally falters and she becomes a witch. In other words: both cards reversed. Octavia von Seckendorff has connections to the number 8 (eight syllables in the name, plus Octavia referencing musical octaves.
Episode 9, the 9th card is the Hermit, associated with solitude, guidance, introspection, and isolation. Kyubey comes to Madoka alone in her room, and explains the truth about magical girls, witches, and the Incubators to her, and since he eliminated Kyoko by sending her to die with Sayaka on a false hope that she could be saved, Homura is now the only one left to fight Walpurgis.
Episode 10, and the 10th card is the Wheel of Fortune, associated with fate, destiny, and cycles. We find out Homura has been reliving the past 30 days over and over again to save Madoka. Octavia von Seckendorff's appearance also recalls the Wheel of Fortune in her attacks.
Episode 11, the 11th card is either the Strength card or the Justice card, but Strength fits better; with no other options, Homura faces off against Walpurgis alone, shouldering the burden of her time-looping and its consequences by herself.
Episode 12 ends the series with Madoka becoming the Hanged Man: she chooses to become suspended between Heaven and Earth, giving up her earthly life and form in order to be forever a magical girl, eternally fighting the witch she will also forever be. This forces the world to be destroyed and reborn, with only Homura remaining aware of what happened, and making her the only person who has had to change with the passing of the world, thus becoming card 13, Death, the card of endings and new beginnings.
And finally, in Rebellion: Ultimate Madoka appears in Homura's labyrinth with Sayaka and Charlotte as her agents in order to bring Homura the reunion, peace, healing, and security she promises all magical girls as card 14, Temperance), and Homura rejects it and becomes card 15, the Devil.
Magical Girls can use telepathy to communicate amongst themselves and to potential M Gs, as shown by Mami, Sayaka and Kyoko, with only Homura and Madoka, even if it would been extremely useful such as the fourth timeline when she shouts at Madoka not to make the contract but is too far away to hear and episode 3, when she tries to warn Mami about Charlotte after the latter ties her up. Homura's lack of telepathy makes sense, though when you remember that Kyubey acts a relay for those thoughts to be broadcasted, and since Kyubey wants Madoka to make a contract it could block Homura's telepathic warnings. It may had even prevented Homura from telling Mami about Charlotte's true nature, hoping that Mami would either die or be pushed into a corner driving Madoka to contract.
In episode 2, Kyubey expresses astonishment that Madoka and Sayaka don't immediately contract, mentioning that every girl he appeared to had always been quick to make a wish. Sayaka, in a moment of introspection, replies that maybe its because she and Madoka had lived such privileged lives that they aren't in need of anything and wonder why they were chosen when there are plenty of less fortunate girls out there who would trade their lives for a wish. As the series and its spin-offs show Kyubey's MO is to show himself to girls at their Despair Event Horizon (Mami at the brink of death, Kyoko when she and her family were starving) when they see no other alternative, explaining why they were be so eager to contract, which is what Kyubey is aiming for and because wishes with high emotional attachment provide more energy for him and his kind. The reason why Kyubey is trying to coerce Madoka and Sayaka into a contract when neither is at an emotional nadir, is because Kyubey can sense enormous potential in Madoka and wants her to contract so that he can collect it. If Sayaka contracts, then it gives Madoka a motive for becoming a MG to help out her friend.
Kyoko's contract with Kyubey parallels the Tree of Knowledge story in the Bible. She gained knowledge of a cruel truth: that the world will break people with unprepared idealism and naivete. She also lost the place she called home, in a figurative sense (her family was gone). Her color motif is also red, like the fateful apple...and she also likes apples.
Kyouko's Biblical themes fit nicely with Sayaka's fairytale themes in that way. Kyoko takes a bite of the apple by becoming a magical girl: she becomes aware of good (puella magi) and evil (witches) and, as a result, loses her home and subsequently, she also loses her faith in God and descends into a life of sin and selfishness (stealing food, allowing innocent humans to be killed so she can get Grief Seeds, being violent and generally kind of a layabout). Sayaka, being the Little Mermaid, gives up everything for a love that, in the end, is unrequited, and without a soul, she can't go to Heaven... which leads to Kyoko to sacrifice herself to follow her into the dark at the same time she reconciles with God and finds enough faith to pray again, and she does it without crying; according to some versions of the story, the little mermaid becomes an air spirit after she dies and will gain a soul and go to Heaven, but must remain a spirit an extra day for every tear shed by a child. And, of course, Madoka's wish is for all magical girls not to cry and to always remain smiling to the very end... and Sayaka gets to go with her to Heaven.
Emotions considered a mental illness? That's not because feeling emotion is illogical; it's because it's a sign of individuality. Only an event on a cosmic scale, like, say, the universe being destroyed, would affect a large enough portion of the Incubators for the Hive Mind to register anything resembling an emotional reaction to it. To feel emotions for itself, an Incubator would have to be excluded from the Hive Mind, thus, an aberration to the others.
Hope is the desire and anticipation of something other than the current reality.. in other words, it is potential, something that could be. The contract simply converts "potential" reality into "kinetic" reality, thus adding energy to the universe and staving off heat death!
This troper thought for a moment as to why the opening is so happy and shows Madoka as a Magical Girl despite not becoming one until the end of the series. then it hit me, we aren't watching the opening for this time line, we are watching the opening to the show if it were the times Madoka did become a magical girl, hence the scenes and so on perhaps I'm wrong and it really is just to screw with expectations and make us think its a cute show.
Kyoko and Mami are pretty strong foils for each other, especially since they're Not So Different. Mami seems like a hero, while Kyoko seems like a selfish villain, but Kyoko wished for her family to be happy (by wishing for her father to succeed) while Mami wished to live and (by implication) leaving her family to die. Moreover, Kyoko actually becomes a more heroic character when she founds out the Awful Truth while that same truth is what cases Mami's breakdown. As a result, this highlights the fact that when Sayaka rejects Kyoko in favor of aspiring to be like Mami, she's really idealizing Mami into an unattainable goal, setting herself up for her own fall.
Why does Hitomi decide to tell Sayaka that she has 24 hours to confess to Kyosuke? At the beginning of the series, Sayaka is brash, decisive, and confident — the kind of girl who doesn't hesitate to act on her feelings, and the kind of girl Hitomi knows her as. Hitomi was likely banking on that, but she had zero idea that Sayaka's self-confidence was being destroyed by the revelations of her new life as a Puella Magi.
As with other ironies in the show, the nature of the powers of the four main magical girls are ironies in themselves. To elaborate:
Mami's main ability is the creation of ribbons. Ribbons, like strings, represent connections both with life (as with the nature of her wish) and with others, hence there is such a thing as the "red string of fate" that connects individuals. Sadly for her, she was unable to actually connect with others due to her Magical Girl duties, and any connections she tries to make are mostly severed due to circumstances beyond her control.
Sayaka gained the power to heal herself after wishing that Kyousuke be healed of his injury. Sadly, the one injury she cannot heal is her broken heart upon learning that Hitomi and Kyosuke became a couple, in addition to the fact that she felt Defiled Forever after learning the true nature of being a Magical Girl.
As stated in the Different Story manga, Kyouko can create illusions due to her wish of making sure everyone believed her father's words. All it did for her father upon learning this is to go mad because in his point of view, people believing him was not because of his words, but because of the illusion cast by her daughter to make people believe. She loses this ability once she becomes disillusioned with being a Magical Girl.
Homura gained the power to stop and reverse time. Yet in each reset she did, not only did she fail in her objective, she actually made things worse for Madoka. As pointed out by Kyubey, she tries hard because she knows failure is not an option and as soon as she gives up, her fate is only to become a witch. Long story short, time has already stopped for Homura the moment she made the contract, with no possible way of returning back to what she was, or going forward to a future without Madoka. She loses her time stop powers when Madoka rewrites the universe as soon as she accepted the fact that she has to move on without Madoka, thus starting her time again.
If a magical girl's soul is extracted from her body when she makes her contract so their body can become more durable, wouldn't that have made Mami's wish to live a waste since her body could have been more easily fixed after she made the contract.
It was indeed wasted, and she realised it the moment it was over, but also for another reason: it gave her the guilt of wasting the wish on herself when she could have saved her parents as well.
It is mentioned that those who die in a witch's barrier leave no bodies behind. Pondering this, it makes you wonder how many people killed by witches were presumed to be missing. Also, consider Magical Girls who turned into witches. Their families and friends think of them as missing and spend the rest of their lives looking of them never realizing that their daughter, sister, etc. has now become an Eldritch Abomination that feasts on humans. That missing 12 year old on the news report whose parents are begging to be found, probably skulking around in an alley sucking human souls and emotions assuming she hasn't been killed by a Magical Girl yet.
It makes perfect sense that the first despair victims of a new witch would be her family. It is much harder for the family of a disappearance victim to wonder what happened to their missing loved one than to learn she was murdered and get closure in time.
I'm not sure if you meant family are figuratively or literally victims of the witch, but the latter interpretation makes a lot of sense. Plenty of girls probably succumbed to despair during their civilian life. The people nearest them in that case would most likely be family or close friends, either there to comfort them or inadvertently causing the break...
The magical girls? They're powered by Grief Seeds, the life force of the Witches they hunt. Witches that gain said life force by forcing humans to suicide.
One of the Puella Magi shown in the last episode is suspected to be Anne Frank. She gets saved by Madoka, but what if that didn't happen? Remember why Mami wanted to kill Charlotte? To prevent her from sucking out the life from already weakened people. Now, think of where that girl is going, and how many "weakened people" are going to be there.
Magical girls are powered by wishes. Mami comments to Homura on how much talent Madoka has...Or in other words, how many unfulfilled wishes she carries
The scene where we see Mami's shattered tea cup. If you ponder the color and viscosity of the fluid that's also there, and what fell onto the table a moment ago, you'll realize what else you are seeing in that scene.
Better yet, it's been confirmed that Charlotte is unable to create cheese. Now what colour is cheese again, and which Puella Magi has that as her theme colour?
Even worse, imagine if Homura didn't catch up: it could get buried in some foundation, with Sayaka's soul sealed away in stasis forever.
A huge Fridge Horror moment when you realize that Madoka NEARLY became a lich for CAKE.
Word of God has said that Charlotte's wish was '"To eat a cheesecake with her mother before she died"'. Her mother being a cancer patient who cant eat cheese due to chemotherapy. This results in almost instant despair and witchdom when she realizes she could have just wished for her mother to be cured. Now, think about all the opportunities Madoka would have after the hypothetical cake with Mami to really regret eating that cake in lieu of a better wish, the ending for example.
What happens if a Magical Girl gets another's Soul Gem while they don't have their own? For that matter, what happens if they get a Witch's Grief Seed? Kazumi Magica has a as arc villains a pair of Magical Girls who share a body, with different transformations and the ability to merge their power to boot.
Suppose a Magical Girl's body were to be completely destroyed like say incinerated but her Soul Gem were to remain intact. Unless someone destroyed it, then their souls would be trapped within unable to pass onto the afterlife.
Episode 8: Confirms that Witches are fallen Puella Magi. Sayaka becomes one by effectively committing mahou-suicide and not purifying her soul gem, at all. Combine that with the implications that destroying Witches to cleanse your gem will net a profit (at any rate, this seems to work for Kyoko), that effectively means that the only way for a Soul Gem to corrupt to a Grief Seed is for the Puella to let it happen. In other words, every fallen Witch has gone through the same level of trauma, pain and suffering that Sayaka did. How many Witches have we seen so far? Yep.
In fairness, they could have been familiars who grew into witches...but they likely still originated from a fallen magical girl.Cloning Blues, perhaps?
Don't forget, it's been stated that familiars have to kill someone (possibly consume their soul?) to become full Witches...
Alternatively, the symbolism surrounding Elsa Maria is very Christian-like, specially in regards to prayer and roots. Kyoko had a younger sister, Momo, who shared her suffering. She was seen praying in Kyoko's flashback◊, and there were root-like trees in the background. Unlikely, but what if Momo went through the same and ended up as a Magical Girl too?
After Homu-Homu shoots the hell out of of QB, QB returns in another copy and eats his own corpse. You would think this was done just to emphasize the creepiness, but fridge horror hits when you realize QB wants to obtain and conserve as much energy as possible to the point of eating himself as to not waste energy.
Another Fridge Horror in that scene: QB appears completely black save for the creepy red eyes. He won't even let light escape his being, QB is a black hole that sucks everything in.
Familiars become Witches themselves after consuming people. Familiars mature into Witches identical to the one they "budded" from. Multiple Charlottes, for example, is a very realistic notion.
Mami's victory against Gertrude and loss to Charlotte despite showing off in both fights are simple to explain if you think that Mami had faced another Gertrude before while Charlotte was a witch she hadnt faced. Against Gertrude, Mami gets Gertrude's attention by stepping on her flowers and aiming her shots to capture the witch at the right time, indicating past experience with the witch. The likely reason Mami didnt tell Madoka and Sayaka about this would be because it looked more impressive that way and she may had been thinking about Kyoko
Kyubey's explanation in episode 9. There's an entire SPECIES of those things. On. Our. PLANET.
The interaction of Puella Magi and Witches with their feeding habits is a long-established system. Now, think about how the first witches came into existence. That's right, most likely Kyubey's kin created them, or Puella Magi that matured into them, without providing anything to keep corruption at bay. Just like that.
Homura's power is to use a sand timer with about a month's worth of sand in it. By blocking the sand flow, Homura use her time-stop powers. However, the sand timer resets itself (and the world) when it runs out of sand, whether or not Homura wants to restart the loop.
It gets worse. If Homura can't control the loop, then the only way that she could succeed (other than what actually happened) is to find a satisfactory ending then immediately self-terminate. Still not bad enough for you? Homura probably wouldn't know that the first time. So first, she has to find a satisfactory ending, than watch it reset itself and then find it again (possibly involving another 100 time loops, because any tiny mistake could make it change) and kill herself immediately. Yeah, she really got the short end of the stick here.
In the fourth timeline of Episode 10, Homura decides to handle everything by herself. In her monologue, she revealed she killed all the witches, except for Walpurgisnacht. In that timeline's Walpurgisnacht, only two people remain: Madoka and Homura. What happened to the other Magic Girls? Homura killed them too, to make sure none of them mature into witches.
One of the Episode 10 Witches is apparently based off school uniforms. Thanks to the tone of episode (at that point in time), it looks pretty damn ridiculous, but when you stop to think about it...
Original Witches (non-familiar spawned copies) are grown out of fallen Puella Magi, usually due to them falling to despair about life.
Witches always have some way of stealing the souls of those who enter their Labyrinth; be it eating them (Charlotte), dragging them into themselves (Elsa Maria) or more exotic methods (such as Oktavia, for instance, who steals souls via her music). Up this Witch's skirt appears to be some sort of infinite orifice.
Given the uniforms, the above fact that witches originate from young girls, take note of the odd position the Witch appears to be in... and realise you're probably looking at a Puella Magi who fell to despair and turned into a Witch because of sexual abuse.
To make things even worse, remember how Homura killed her... by throwing a bomb up Patricia's skirt.
Each mahou shoujo's wish comes with a curse to balance it...and Mami wished to live.
In episode 10, Kyubei mentions meeting his quota for this planet. This would imply that Kyubei's species is working on other planets, with other species. What if Walpurgisnacht's already happened on other worlds? What if a witch can send familiars out to other planets? Has Kyubei's kind unintentionally created something on the level of Lavos?
There is more evidence that supports this, Itzli appearing in the PSP game is said to have come from the end of the galaxy, thereby effectively making her some form of Lavos. While not common knowledge due to being an endgame boss, the consequences are horrifying
Entropy. Kyubey kind of fudges the explanation in order to simplify it for Madoka, but the concept is very real. While there are at least a dozen ways for the universe to end before that, according to everything we've learned until now, entropy is what will eventually and inevitably do us in, even if all else fails. So, unless we can hop over to another universe - one with less sucky laws of thermodynamics preferably - we're all screwed in the long run.
As of December 2011, Wikipedia on entropy states: "The role of entropy in cosmology remains a controversial subject. Recent work has cast some doubt on the heat death hypothesis and the applicability of any simple thermodynamic model to the universe in general. Although entropy does increase in the model of an expanding universe, the maximum possible entropy rises much more rapidly, moving the universe further from the heat death with time, not closer."
Because Madoka's wish gave Kyubey enough energy, of course!
People are complaining about Kyubey having facial expressions in the manga, arguing that the reason Kyubey is so scary is because of his Frozen Face showing his Lack of Empathy. On the other hand, being able to show facial expressions makes Kyubey's job easier. After all, a girl might be wary of a creature whose face never changes. Kyubey's inability to feel emotions probably hasn't changed. Now he just knows how to fake them. It's also more of a pragmatic thing. A lot of the impact of his (lack of) tone of voice and absolutely still expression (even most characters with a Frozen Face move their mouth when they talk) is lost in the transition to a print medium. As mentioned earlier under Fridge Brilliance, he tends to look much cuter in still screenshots than he actually does in context, so the manga had to try to compensate for that.
Episode 11 Kyubey states that "emotion is a mental disorder on our world." Individuality Is Illegal on the Incubators' homeworld, so not only are there probably thousands of fully sentient Incubators trapped in asylums for "feeling", but the Incubators as a whole will never evolve emotion and thus have to keep leeching off the despair of other worlds.
It's also very likely that they're leeching off the despair of their own mentally ill. /人◕ ‿‿ ◕人\
Anja attacked Sayaka using the rubber balls, and Sayaka cut them in half.
According to her witch card, due to Kriemheld Gretchen's goal of ridding the world of misfortune, "The only way to defeat this witch is to make the world free of misfortune. If there's no grief in this world, she will believe this world is already a heaven." The only plausible way to do this is to make a wish to that effect... but Kyubey, if he even knows this would work, is not allowed to suggest wishes. He couldn't stop her even if he wanted.
Even worse, what if Madoka did wish for that? After all, Kriemheld Gretchen created a world with no misfortune, no grief . . . and no people.
In nearly every timeline Mami seems destined to lose her head. Either figuratively (by snapping) or literally (by becoming dessert).
Fridge Depressing, maybe. Why is Homura becoming so cold and standoffish, even to Madoka, after repeating the timeline? It's because Madoka's lack of confidence reminds Homura of her old self, from the first time she failed to save Madoka's life.
More Fridge Depressing: It has been established by Word of God that in every single timeline, Sayaka is doomed to contract and become a Witch (or in the finale, die fighting one). No matter what. That's right—Sayaka is unable to be saved. She iscompletely and utterly doomed.
Good news: This is only the case if she contracts. In the other timelines (case in point), she turns out pretty okay.
When a Magical Girl's Soul Gem shatters, she dies, and her body detransforms almost immediately. However, in Episode 3, it takes a small while for Mami's body to detransform after she's getting her head chewed off by Charlotte. Meaning, she was still ALIVE and possibly CONSCIOUS for a few instants while this happened! Brr.
So you think the ending is all fine and dandy with everyone happy, right? Well, here's the things that didn't get fixed from the old world. (Shouldn't add anything bad to the Already Bad World, but just so you remember this is still Puella Magi Madoka Magica we're talking:
Kyouko's father still went suicidal and killed her family.
Magical girls are still prone to disagreements, anger, etc. For instance, Sayaka and Kyouko still fought.
The death rate is still probably high.
Even in the new world, becoming a Magical Girl dooms a girl to a violent and probably short life.
There are demons everywhere!
It is heavily implied that Homura is about to die after the Credits. First we see her with white wings, then after the Ending with Witch-Barrier like wings. Also she is hearing Madoka's Voice, suggesting that Madoka will have to prevent the birth of a Witch again.
So Kazuko says that Hitomi feels bad about Sayaka's 'death'. What did Hitomi do right before that? Confess to Kyosuke, of course. The girl probably believes she accidentally drove Sayaka to suicide by doing that.
Worse, when you consider that her confessing to Kyosuke was the accidental catalyst for the already very deep-in-shit Sayaka's transformation into a witch.
The Manga's changes show some unsettling ideas. For one, look at the scene where Sayaka attacks Hitomi and Kyousuke. Consider that one, the author of the manga supports the theory that Sayaka killed those two men in the train, and two, you never see Kyousuke and Hitomi until the new timeline.
Oh, and no funeral scene would mean that in the Mangaverse, Weekend At Sayaka's is possible.
Another disturbing scene occurs when Homura is fighting against Walpurgisnacht and gets attacked by three familiars that take the shapes of Mami, Kyouko, and Sayaka. When you consider that Walpurginacht is an amalagation of the spirits of dead MagicalGirls, its possible that those werent familiars but the three other main characters under the control of Walpurgisnacht. To add to that nightnarish scenario, remember that Madoka also fought against the same witch in other timelines and may have also been treated to the same experience.
Worse. The Pater Familicide incident could be why Mami targeted Kyouko first — so she wouldn't have to witness a similar event again and why she didnt go after Homura first or the other long range fighter Madoka. Considering the third Drama CD, which reveals Mami and Kyouko's common past and tells things that happen quite a while before Homura starts the time jumps and time changing... it's very likely.
So according to Kyubey, putting too much corruption into a Grief Seed can revive a witch which is why he eats used up Grief Seeds. This is bad enough in that it means Puella Magi have to continually battle witches to keep The Corruption at bay with new Grief Seeds but think about what this means for witchturned!Puella Magi. Since the Soul Gems are the girls' Soul Jar and they can only be killed if the gems are destroyed and Grief Seeds are fully corrupted Soul Gems then defeating a witch doesnt kill it but only puts it into hibernation since the Grief Seed hosting the former Puella Magi's soul is still intact. In other words, The girl is still doomed to live out the days of her unlife as a witch unable to pass on. The only true way to end the girls' curse is to destroy the Soul Gem or Grief Seed. Kyubey, true to his nature of preserving resources could be collecting Grief Seeds to revive them later as foes for new contracts as well as prevent any Puella Magi aware of the Awful Truth from destroying them.
Listen to the song "Nux Walpurgis" from OST volume 3. While it plays in episode 11, Homura's gem is corrupting, but Madoka stops the process. But in the OST there is a longer version, and it perfectly fits the Homura transformation into witch.
Right after Mami's death, a distressed Madoka asks how many people Homura has seen die. Homura pauses, then says that she's seen more deaths than she could count. Considering the four main characters that are not Homura die every time loop, about a quarter of these "countless" deaths would have been Madoka herself.
The bizarre creatures at the end of the first episode (flying scissors and everything) say things like "Let's just cut them off" and "We present the roses to our queen" in their weird, screechy voices. Now think of what would've happened if Mami hadn't been there to save them.]]
Seems like a lot of witches or their minions like to eat or mutilate corpses. That means many witches or their minions probably ate the corpses of their own human forms.
Which even has precedence, considering Kyuubey also eats his own corpse, and the witch/magical girl system is the creation of the Incubators.
I kind of wondered why Hitomi, arguably one of the most happiest girls in the show, got a witch's kiss so easily. Doesn't having a witch's kiss mean that you were depressed enough to be vulnerable to it, or at least have depressing thoughts? But then I remembered that Kyousuke's hand was healed in the same episode, the episode that Sayaka became a magical girl. Considering that Hitomi wanted Sayaka to confess to Kyousuke first, did she somehow hear about Kyousuke getting better (maybe from Sayaka herself before she saved the day?) and, not only thought about but feared of the consequences of the Love Triangle, thinking it would harm their friendship? Given how she decided that Sayaka should take the initiative when she got better, probably because she wanted her friend to be happy, what was she planning originally? Was she thinking that if she 'got out of the way', her friend could have their crush all to herself and then everybody would be happy...?
Adding to or even besides that, she has loads of extracurricular activities, like traditional dance and tea ceremony. It's likely she has a lot of pressure on her.
In one of the alternate timelines in Episode 10, Mami tries to commit triple murder-suicide after finding out the fate of a Puella Magi and starts by attacking Kyouko first, by destroying her Soul Gem. This implies that Mami in that timeline knew that Puella Magi were the equivalent of liches.
Seeing as Sayaka still turned into a witch, Mami probably found out the same way we did in the main storyline.
A girl who wins a fight but gets a serious injury may be already dead. Her fighting ability is severely downgraded, lowering the ceiling on the strength of witches she can fight. She'll use up more power compensating. If another girl is interested in her territory, they'll lunge at the opportunity. If the injury is serious enough, she may be forced to get medical treatment. And imagine if she's trying to keep a civilian life! "No big deal, Mom and Dad, I just tripped and ripped my arm off." This logic applies to a lot of settings, but it seems more depressing for this one; imagine the terror and mounting desperation of a prepubescent or teenage girl as these consequences hit her. Now imagine the effect it has on her soul gem.
In the end, Madoka tries to make a fairer system by wishing to destroy all witches in the past, present and future in every timeline which results in Magical Girls passing away to Magical Girl Heaven instead of turning into soul-sucking Eldritch Abominations. Now who's to say that no one's tried to 'fix' the system before, in which case, the Puella Magi system we've seen in the show is probably a better system than a previous one. Think about it. For a supposedly emotionless species, the Incubators seem to have a set of rules they abide by for all it entails them such as having the girl consent to the contract of her own free will instead of mind-controlling them, no Blantant Lies and no suggesting wishes. It's possible in earlier times, the Incubators had no problem outrightly lying to the girls instead of just leaving out details or being Jerkass Genies to twist the girls' wishes so that they would fall into the Despair Event Horizon sooner. Soul Gems probably came about from someone wishing for the death rate of Puella Magi to decrease when it became apparent that new contractees were getting killed off on their first witch hunts.
Witch hunts nothing; if a wish can create the demons, it can create the witches. Originally there probably were no Magical Girls or witch fights at all, and the Incubators collected power more... directly. I'm thinking the whole thing started out as them playing Jerkass Genie, offering wishes and corruping them much worse than the current results of the wishes (which, unless I'm wrong, play off natural consequences to twist them rather than deliberate Jerkass Genie -ery to make them go wrong), for an on the spotDespair Event Horizon. Someone probably figured out the system (somehow), and made a wish which created the Magical Girl, Soul Gem, and Witch system.
That wish would have probably been something along the lines of "Incubators cannot emotionally or physically harm, or manipulate to their victims (the to-be Magical Girls) directly". Hence the lies through omission (cannot directly manipulate), inability to suggest wishes (cannot directly manipulate again), comparatively less corrupted wishes which seem to come true at first (cannot directly emotionally harm). So where did the idea of Witches and Magical Girls fighting them come from? The Incubators needed a way to harm the Magical Girls emotionally and put them under pressure, without the ability to totally and directly corrupt their wishes, or directly hurt them physically or emotionally. Forcing them to fight Eldritch Abominations using up the power of their good emotions, leaving only depression, about fit the bill. Why give the Magical Girls special abilities, Soul Gems, and Grief Seeds? Because putting them in battles with no way to survive or recover comes under "direct harm". If the Soul Gems inevitably became fully corrupted over time, that would be direct emotional harm (because it's due to the Incubator's actions), but if there's a chance to cleanse them through Grief Seeds, it's not direct, because it's the Magical Girl's failure to cleanse their Soul Gem, not the effects of the Incubator's actions, which harms them...
According to Word of God, a Puella Magi whose body was destroyed and did not the truth about Soul Gems would witch out immediately due to despair of dying. In episode 3 when Mami dies her head containing her Soul Gem is bitten off and chewed destroying her Soul Gem. Had her Soul Gem been located anywhere else on her body, she would have likely witched out due to shock, also leaving Madoka & Sayaka to deal with two witches.
It's possible that the original Puellae Magi (as in Cleopatra-age original) were given powers to fight evils that weren't witches, like rivalling armies or some such, and perhaps weren't granted a wish in return. And then they became witches, starting the cycle we all know and love.
So, unless Madoka did something would keep the Incubators from abandoning planets, it seems like Earth is still screwed because Kyubey will still leave when he reaches his quota and then it will actually worse than before because magical girls will run out of numbers but the wraiths won't.
I've always wondered how Kyubey seems to always be at the right place at the right time so that he'll be able to offer a girl a contract to become a Magical Girl, like for example in Mami's case, where she literally didn't have a choice on the matter. [[spoiler: After the reveal that Kyubey basically is a Hive Mind with a lot of spare bodies, it dawned to me; Kyubey uses his spare bodies to scout for girls who have the potential to make a wish as a solution to a desperate situation. Since he's Invisible to Normals, he can choose to show himself to a chosen girl if he thinks she is in her most desperate hour, so that he'll have no problems making his offer.
Kyubey doesn't tell magical girls about the real nature of Soul Gems; he only tells Madoka because he's exploiting her low self-esteem and guilt to get her to make a contract. Sayaka, Homura, and Kyouko have a reason to always carry their gems (Sayaka because she loves being a heroine, Kyouko and Homura are basically homeless), but what if they didn't? What happens to a Magical Girl who walks too far away from her Soul Gem as she goes about her day? How many parents have come home to find their daughter's corpse in front of their mailbox, and a cute glass egg figurine on her nightstand upstairs?
Imagine if Sayaka had left hers in her schoolbag and left it in Kyousuke's room when she took him to the roof...
How many people lost jobs or got court marshaled for all the military hardware Homura steals?
Forget the military, Homura stole from the Yakuza! How many people got mutilated or murdered because the boss thought they were stealing their very expensive custom guns and ammo?
Rewatching the part in the first episode when Madoka first happens upon Kyubey is a little chilling considering what Madoka's original wish was.
In case you were wondering, it was to save a cat that had been run over by a car. Not her cat, or anyone's pet just a common stray. Now consider that Kyubey could've been able to manipulate Madoka into wishing him healed by faking dying or serious wounds. The series would've been shorter.
On a similar note, Mami binding Homura with her ribbons in the third episode after the latter warned her not to go after Charlotte. In episode 10, its revealed in a previous timeline after Sayaka turned into a witch and was killed, Mami promptly went crazy and attempted to perform Murder-Suicide on the cast by starting with tying up Homura so that she couldnt use her Time Stop powers and killing Kyoko. so Homura probably thought for a moment that Mami intended to shoot her dead especially in light of their last conversation. And even if she didnt, being bound again would still conjure up some unpleasant memories.
Kyubey's modus operandi is essentially finding young girls at their most desperate, coming to them in an appealing shape while offering them something, allowing them to become increasingly emotionally unstable as he exploits them, only to repeat the cycle with other girls once the original girl becomes something barely resembling the way she was prior to meeting him. This pretty makes the show "Stranger Danger: The Anime".
Especially since the transition of magical girls into witches is explicitly referred to as what happens when magical girls mature; in other words, he moves on when they get too old for his needs. Pretty much the whole show can be viewed as Madoka's grooming.
Madoka Online offers us a new story in a new timeline, with MC/PC/OC as a new magical girl with an outstanding potential, potential Homura sees as the key that could help her save Madoka. All good there, but as per the series things start to get out of control, and Homura repeats timelines in order to use PC's power. Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize Homura is doing the same she's doing to Madoka, this time to you. Since her focus in the next timelines is is to use PC's potential to save Madoka she's basically dragging the character as another center of the universe, making her hold karma just like Madoka. This may be seen when Homura, after starting a new timeline, meets with PC again and her power is in the same level it was when before she started over, and not only that, it is growing. PC is another Gretchen in the oven.
In the alternate timelines shown in episode 10, Mami seems to survive a lot longer than she should, seeing as she dies in the major timeline in episode 3. The first time through, she lives up until Walpurgisnacht arrives, and in another, she lives at least long enough to see Sayaka become a magical girl and, subsequently, a witch. But in the timeline of the actual show, she dies very early on. Why? Because of the timelines in which we see Mami, that's the only one in which Madoka was not also a magical girl. Because Madoka distracted her from Charlotte as a civilian instead of assisting her as a magical girl, Mami died. When Madoka thinks that she could have saved Mami if she had made a contract, she's entirely correct.
In the PSP game, you can find Quitterie, a Witch who wears a Kyubey mask. This, and the description of her card ("She is the remains of a magical girl who gave up everything to fight for the universe. She believes that she is saving the universe even now.") seems to indicate that her believed everything that Kyubey told her and maybe she let herself turn into a Witch believing it was the right thing to do.
She probably wouldn't have been able to bully regular people too much without exposing the truth about magic to humanity... but what about weaker magical girls? A cruel magical girl could easily bully a new or weak one into giving up her collected grief seeds... or a cruel magical girl who knew the Awful Truth could cheerfully drop some knowledge on her less-experienced juniors and harvest their Grief Seeds as they become witches.
In the first timeline, Mami already knows about Walpurgisnacht and she wants to make sure Madoka is prepared to fight her when the time comes, but in every timeline shown after that, Homura is the only one who knows about her before she arrives. Why? Because Walpurgisnacht is always Kyubey's ace in the hole for getting Madoka to make the contract. Before she becomes a magical girl, in every timeline, Madoka sees herself as being nothing special. Presenting her with a chance to save the entire city from a terrifying witch is enough to convince her to make the contract, so originally, Kyubey drops the name Walpurgis on her to convince her over the last issue. Even in the final timeline, Kyubey is using Walpurgisnacht, alive and in the flesh, to pressure her into it.
Consider the sheer scope of Kyubey's powers. He has the power to change the shape of the human soul, to such a degree that his species has developed an established program for removing a soul from a body, forcing it into the shape of a cute trinket/jewelry piece, and from it, extracting the trappings of a magical girl: a color theme, a weapon, an icon, and an imaginary outfit, all of it done to make the whole concept more attractive to girls. This is a universe where magical girls pre-date homo sapiens. How much of human civilization was not just influenced, but modeled after the workings of the Incubators on humankind?
I always wondered why people act like Hitomi is such a bitch for wanting to confess to Kyosuke, but then something dawned on me: she seems like a bitch because she's acting in a really in-character way (polite, restrained, offering Sayaka the first chance at it) to do a really out-of-character thing (ruthlessly giving Sayaka a single school day to confess before confessing, the very day she finds out Kyosuke is a prodigy violinist again) utterly confident that the oblivious, dense, incredibly busy boy in question will end up her boyfriend, even though she apparently never visited him in the hospital... and he does. It's not outside the realm of possibility, but consider how Hitomi was acting in the epilogue at the end: hiding behind the curtain, shy, hesitant, nervous that Kyosuke's audition might not go well. Doesn't sound anywhere near the cold opportunist anymore, right? What if Sayaka's wish made Hitomi fall in love with him?
A minor thing that gave me chills at the start of an early episode. Mami finishes off a familiar in a routine kill, and Sayaka casually comments 'It seems we've only been getting duds lately' (or something similar)- as in, only familiars and not witches. But on watching the show a second time, the thought occurs: if Mami had not been killed and the situation had gone on, she would have been expending magic with no Grief Seeds from a witch to renew it. If her gem turned critical, she could have witched out and potentially killed both Madoka and Sayaka, the girls she so desperately wanted to befriend. True, Mami has more magical talent than most, but the possibility could have been there even if they became a team and the show followed the traditional magical girl route.
Also, consider Mami's attitude. Her desperate loneliness leads her to try and conscript Madoka and Sayaka to become magical girls. With the normal connotations of what a magical girl is, it doesn't seem that bad. But then we found out that the danger is all too real. If you substitute the phrase 'magical girl' for 'mercenary' or something similar, Mami's character can be cast in a very different light. Needless to say, comparisons of Kyuubey to a kind of trafficker also hold up pretty well.
Kyoko's father declaring her a witch after seeing her using her powers makes horribly sense for two reasons: as an Anglican priest he's more in contact with European culture than the average Japanese, and thus may know of the ancient belief that red hair was a hint that a woman was a witch; to a Christian (and those of the Protestant faiths in particular), a witch was someone who did things beyond human abilities thanks to a Deal with the Devil (an evolution of the pre-Christian belief that magic came from enticing supernatural entities to help), and Kyoko most likely told him how she got her abilities. It also explains him killing himself, his wife and other daughter and sparing Kyoko: he was seeing himself as already Damned so it made no sense for him to stay on Earth, and killing his wife and other daughter meant keeping them outside of the Devil's reach, but he may also still have had the hope Kyoko could redeem herself and escape Damnation.
I hate these "why didn't any of the girls think of (I-think-I'm-clever wish)?" things. They didn't think of it because they never had the whole story on what wishes can do and what magical girls actually are, and they all had some form of personal desire that they wanted before Kyubey approached them, or he wouldn't have offered in the first place. The only person who finds out before she makes her wish is Madoka, and she makes exactly the kind of reality-warping wish everybody wants to think the other girls should have been made. The show and the supplemental material go over all the reasons magical girls don't make those kind of wishes.
Episode 12 shows that he can't actually refuse to grant a wish as Madoka essentially wishes for Witches to have never existed. He doesn't like it, but he's unable to actually tell her she can't do that. All he can do is point out the potential consequences.
Additionally, your magic has to be strong enough to grant the wish. Madoka was essentially powerful enough to get away with a wish to rewrite reality.
In the The Different Story manga (timeline?), Madoka's wish was for Sayaka to be resurrected. At that point, Sayaka had just turned into a witch and subsequently killed by Kyoko (Madoka was only told that she "was killed by a witch") but she was actually resurrected, still a magical girl (but with partial memory loss), and joined the Walpurgis Night fight.
Taking a page from Fate/Zero and Skyrim: "World peace" can be achieved by killing everyone, as Clavicus and the Holy Grail point out. In fact, as almost all magical girls aren't cosmic-tier powerful like Madoka, making their "wish power" far weaker, this would be the only way that "world peace" can be created within normal Madoka rules. Also, there's the whole emotional Equivalent Exchange thing: a wish like that has to have a corresponding curse, after all. This fiasco may have happened on another planet, thereby robbing the Incubators of perfectly good cattle, so they might actively discourage these kinds of wishes.
There's also the possibility that none of the girls Kyubey targets are the kind of person who thinks of "world peace" as a viable wish. Kyubey doesn't get anything out of a peaceful world, even if the girl in question has the magical potential to make it work; even Madoka, the strongest magical girl to ever exist, couldn't create a perfect world, only one that treated Magical Girls a little better. Long story short: it can't be done, and there's no point in letting a magical girl waste a wish that, even if it did work, would only defeat the Incubators' purposes.
With recent revelations in Episode 8, one has to wonder the following: Where did Charlotte's Grief Seed in episode 3 come from?
Charlotte's wish was to share a last cheesecake with her mother, who was in the hospital and dying. Kyubey granted that wish: she got a single cheesecake, and her mother died immediately after they finished eating it. The magical girl who became Charlotte fell into despair when she realized she could have wished for her mother to get better. Her Grief Seed is there because she witched out almost immediately after her wish was granted.
Alternatively, maybe the Grief Seed was disposed of there after another Puella Magi learned the Awful Truth, but had absorbed just enough of The Corruption to reform into a witch?
Maybe Kyubey put it there? Incorporating the WMG "It was all part of Kyubey's plan for Mami to die", The whole thing may have been a setup to force Madoka into a position where she had no other choice but to become a magical girl.
We know that familiar separated from original witch can grow grief seed of their own and become witches themselves. Maybe in the transition process, there's dormant stage, when new grief seed accumulates negativity to power familiar's new form.
A common theory holds that Charlotte was hospitalized, and that her wish was to be able to eat all the sweets she couldn't on her patient's diet. If she became a witch in the hospital, then naturally it would appear there.
Sayaka/Oktavia von Seckendorff, as well as the witch Mami tracked down in episode 2, show that Witches can 'relocate' their mazes. For all we know, it's possible that once a witch has drained an area, it turns back into a Grief Seed, transports somewhere else, sits dormant for a while, and then hatches after absorbing enough grief from the area.
Okay, so as of Episode 10 we know that Homura was sent back in time each time she fails to protect Madoka as per her wish. Now what's interesting is that she starts the new time line with her Puella Magi powers. So what would happen if she eventually snapped under the pressure of continuously trying and failing to save Madoka, and became a witch? Also, if she remained a witch through further time loops this would permanently lock her out of fulfilling her wish. What some sort of time paradox would result from THAT?
Her wish would most likely be voided, since witches are technically no longer magical girls and are no longer bound by the contract. Plus, it's the contraption on her arm that allows her to time travel, so either she loses it when she transforms, or the even worse alternative that we get a time traveling witch.
And Walpurgisnacht is speculated to be Homura, and it does make sence considering that for as long as witches exist, if she were to stay in one reality for long enough, she would change into a witch. And since Walpurgisnacht always arrives on the time of Walpurgisnacht, which is Homura's time of real despair, I wouldn't be surprised if this were true.
Jossed by the PSP game—she has a witch form, and it's not Walpurgisnacht. The elephants, parade floats, etc. that appear with it indicate a circus/festival performer, and are an explicit reference to the Walpurgis Night festival.
Actually, that's not what her wish was. Remember, the tragedy of the show is that the girls don't wish for what they really want, they wish for something they think will get them what they want indirectly. Homura's wish was immediately fulfilled after she became a magical girl, just like all the others: she didn't wish for Madoka to be protected, she wished to go back and do her meeting with Madoka over again. If she becomes a witch in a new timeline, there's no paradox at all.
Actually, that IS what her wish was. She wished to go back and do her meeting with Madoka over again as someone who can protect her (Madoka). The PMMM wiki shows her exact words to be: "to meet Madoka again, but this time as the one protecting her, not as the one being protected!"
That doesn't change anything, her wish is still granted immediately as soon as she goes back the first time, because she's a magical girl, but Madoka isn't because it's a week before she makes her contract, Homura is by definition the stronger of the two and immediately sets herself to protecting Madoka. She didn't wish for those circumstances to never change.
There's a horrible thought for you: in order to protect something, it needs to be be vulnerable to a threat. Wishing to protect something also means wishing that it be in danger.
So, why is Kyubey surprised to learn that Homura is time-traveling? And why doesn't he take any action to stop her from saving Madoka? He/They are the only things that give the girls their power he just doesn't remember it, so it shouldn't be hard for him to figure out that she's from the future.
The only power she habitually displays is stopping time, and before the reveal that could've simply been believed to be a teleportation-based power — she does have a Hammerspace buckler, after all — the time travel only comes up at a point wherein after its use no one else is going to remember it anyway. Also, remember that what wish a Puella Magi made is a key aspect that informs some of their powers. Without knowing what she wished for it's harder to extrapolate what she can do. Besides, he's done plenty to stop her from saving Madoka — he's put Homura in a Morton's Fork by letting Kyoko think she could save Sayaka and consequently sacrificing herself to help Homura escape with Madoka. Now either Homura faces down Walpurgis on her own — when that worked so well the last time — or she lets Madoka form a contract with Kyubey. And there is nothing about the former that actually prevents the latter.
Woah, I totally forgot about the Morton's Fork - my bad. But in previous timelines, he must must have seen Homura use her time-stop powers to place bombs and stuff, assuming Kyubey follewed them around like he sometimes did in the current timeline. I guess I assumed he would put two and two together (no memory of making her a Puella Magi and time related powers) and instead of being shocked, he'd be all, "Go ahead and try again, see how it works out for you. You'll become a witch eventually". Of course, he might have been bluffing, and this is another part of his horrible scheme.
Well, again, time-related is not an assumed given — from an outside perspective there's very little difference between Time Stands Still and teleportation powers. And before Episode 8 I don't think he really had as much solid evidence to go on; she'd been fairly careful about not mentioning the other timeline, and most of his previous interactions with her didn't exactly put him in a prime position to observe, what with him running or her keeping a low profile.
Why would Kyubey want to stop her? The more powerful the Puella Magi the more powerful their witch. He may very well see it as Homura looping again and again, getting stronger each time until finally she falls into despair at the futility of it after too many failures, at this time she is unusually powerful, mmm, delicious witch energy. So long as he thinks she'll never succeed it's actually beneficial for him if she keeps looping.
Homura's looping also made Madoka stronger if I'm understanding this right.
Short answer: An early reveal that Homura is a time traveler would weaken the impact of episode 10's development of her characterization.
Long answer: Even if Kyubey realized Homura's ability was a Time Stop and the implication that her wish would logically relate to time travel, it would be impossible to prove. Instead of plans specific to that possibility, Kyubey concentrated on ones guaranteeing that stopping the Walpurgisnacht was impossible unless Madoka contracted. It can also be inferred that even if he wanted to stop Homura, direct confrontation falls between undesirable and impossible. Killing Homura would reduce the amount of energy Kyubey could harvest but, having shown no offensive ability precludes option entirely. Additionally, there is no evidence he could affect her magic in order to stop Homura; meaning even if he could physically prevent her interference temporarily, once she could no longer change Madoka's fate, Houmra would simple hit reset. By having Kyoko remove her self and informing Homura that each time she traveled back to save Madoka increased how much despair she was destined to bear, Kyubey chose an opition that should have been checkmate. Unable to beat the Walpurgisnacht Homura would either hit reset increasing his energy gain from Madoka, or unwilling to cause her to suffering grow, Homura would lose hope and become a Witch.
Long answer bonus: the more times Homura hits reset to try and do something different, the more despair she accumulates and carries off to the next loop, making the situation harder to beat and creating MORE energy, more despair, and requiring Madoka's wish to be ever BIGGER in scope to try and reverse it, making an even greater endgame Earth-Shattering Kaboom as its ultimate conclusion. The only way out of this was Kyubey's inability to foresee final loop Madoka's Rules Lawyer wish making her absorb ALL the despair in the universe and saving HERSELF from becoming a universe obliterating force into a paradox so massive it forced the ENTIRE UNIVERSE into a Heroic BSOD and forcing a reboot with a new rule: NO WITCHES ALLOWED.
So now that the episode 10 witch cards are out, it seems that alternate!Oktavia's barrier is based around guitar and not violin. That makes very little sense.
Or it was alternate!Oktavia's way of screwing over the person who screwed her over, so to speak. Apparently, Hitomi wins in every timeline and alternate!Oktavia would prefer if she dance in the background, unimportant, while she takes center stage.
The whole "Entropy is lowering the amount of energy in the universe so we're tormenting little girls to make more" thing, while holding the plot reasonably well and functioning as an artistic subversion of the usual "power of love" or "harvesting energy" angles many Magical Girl series rely on.... is STILL a complete and utter load, simply because neither matter nor energy can be destroyed. The amount lost during conversion from one state to another doesn't just vanish, it simply isn't converted to the same state. What Kyuubey's doing is somehow adding more energy to the equation. Whether that would be a bad thing or a good thing notwithstanding, it's a bit jarring to hear that his race can warp reality but it can't understand basic physical laws.
What the magic is doing is healing the universe; the inevitable increase in entropy is rotting it. Energy is changing form without overall increasing or decreasing, as outlined by the First Law of Thermodynamics (Equivalent Exchange); according the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy), it will never be a 100% perfect conversion into work, with some energy changing from being localized to randomly dispersed (mostly as heat). It might make more sense if you replace "the universe is losing energy" with "the universe is ageing/decaying/degenerating until it becomes too old and inefficient to sustain life" (which is pretty much what the Heat Death is about), and "adding more energy" with "the souls of magical girls (who can of course symbolize youth and fertility) reverse the process of energy decay, returning energy to a better, less entropic form, and provide some sort of Philosopher's Stone for this universe in order to rejuvenate itself". Finally, the laws of Thermodynamics don't matter too much, because Magic could break whatever natural laws it wanted, which is why it's so valuable. It's basically Spiral Power.
It may be a bit of Fridge Horror, but isn't the Kyubeians' plan eventually leading up to the Spiral Nemesis? That was the first thing I thought of with the whole entropy speech.
Kyumina: "Go beyond the impossible and kick entropy to the curb! That's the Puella Magi way!"
Incubators are basically how Anti-Spirals would behave if the end of the universe involved Heat Death instead of a Big Crunch. By the way, both entities' agenda for saving the universe involve putting humans into absolute despair (in TTGL despair restricts Spiral Power, in PMMM despair enhances Magical Power).
Well, if they can warp reality, why would they need to understand basic physical laws? Though the explanation above is probably far closer to canon.
Eh, his explanation was likely dumbed down for Madoka. Enough to probably hide more truths.
Or maybe they needed to understand basic physical laws precisely for explaining it to us humans. Which makes sense since Kyubey's explanation could have come from a guy who just skimmed through a physics textbook; the gist is there, but it's not quite right.
The most likely theory is that the magic is capable of breaking the laws of thermodynamics, and Kyubey's Magical Girl system is simply the most efficient way to generate energy. I'm pretty sure that even Kyubey isn't sure how the magic works, but I don't think he cares as long as he gets energy out of it.
This point was actually Fridge Brilliance for this troper. Think about it: Kyuubey's race are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. Their reality-warping powers are essentially just very fancy technology. This means that they're centuries, maybe even millennia, ahead of us scientifically. Given that, it's incredibly likely that their understanding of entropy is very different from ours; or, to put it another way, even explaining it in such a manner that the most advanced physicists of our day and age would judge to be correct would be dumbing it down as far as they're concerned. Given this, why make a fuss about simplifying it just a little further to ease its consumption by little girls?
I think the correctness of it is unimportant. The main point of it is to drive home the idea: Kyubey is utterly alien, in a way seldom seen in fiction. He's not only emotionless, relentless in pursuing his goal, and a hive mind that cares nothing for one body, but even the thing he's doing in the story is incomprehensibly alien to any human being: the heat death of the universe is an event that's somewhere around 10^100 years away. In that time the solar system could be fully recreated, humans to re-evolve and the Sun to die more than 10^80 times. Yet he's here, today, working on postponing that date, and working personally with humans on their timescale. Just try to figure out how something like THAT thinks. Either that, or he's just a minor servant or the extension of an even greater eldritch horror. Alternatively, maybe the heat death is much closer than we think, and his race might be the only one that realized it. Now there's a scary prospect.
It's just that she desires cheese, but can only make desserts (i.e. her description makes it sound like the two are mutually exclusive when they're not). Maybe she can't actually make cheese-based desserts. Or maybe she can, but sweet cheeses don't satisfy her cheese cravings. Either way, I'm going to guess that this is one of those things that one isn't supposed to thinktoo hard about.
Japanese cheesecake is different from American cheesecake. The Japanese style has much more of a cheese flavor then the American style does. Which means it would be like eating fake cheese when all you want is cheese.
Nope. She wished for a last cheesecake, and her wish still stands: she can never have it again. The cheese she loves most is whatever cheese went into the cheesecake she wished for.
Kyubey claims its species is emotionless. Yet, they obviously care enough about their own existence to go through such great lengths to prevent entropy. Caring, even if it is only for your own survival, is technically an emotion.
Wanting to protect your own existence can also be derived from many logical means. Using some outer-world logic, he may have formulated it was more beneficial to exist than to not, or at least "most people would prefer to exist, so we shall cater to them".
Could just be instinct. Also, episode 11 reveals that emotions are considered a mental disorder to incubators. So some incubators might have had emotions, but were shunned for being different.
It is quite possible to have goals, and work to pursue them, without having emotions. Think artificial intelligence—an AI you program to strive for some goal will pursue that goal relentlessly, in fact relentlessly isn't even an applicable word because it won't even consider that ceasing to pursue it is an option, only changes in strategy. It'll pursue that goal with more vigor than any human. The incubators have the goal of prolonging the universe, presumably as a means of achieving the deeper goal of "keep ourselves and/or our creators and/or all life in the universe from being destroyed for as long as possible". The only way to make them give up would be to convince them that their approach will not work or that another will work better or possibly that some goal they hold even higher is mutually exclusive (not likely); any other appeal or factor of any kind will be useless. THAT is what a lack of emotions gets you.
In episode 8, when Homura turns Kyubey into swiss cheese,◊ he is shown to have been shot at least fifteen times. The largest magazine clips for handheld pistols only carry twelve bullets. Unless she used two guns or reloaded partway through, fifteen shots isn't possible, unless there's a recently made clip with greater carrying capacity that I don't know about.
It's a Beretta , which has 15 rounds (meaning she used every single one). Might actually count as a Shown Their Work, given the exactness.
So if all 15 bullets pierced Kyubey, then why isn't there any bullet-holes on the park bench?
Because they were all fired parallel to the bench.
Then how is it that Madoka was not reduced to a bloody mess seeing as she was sitting right next to Kyubey?
Hollow-point rounds tend to over-penetrate less.
The terminal ballistics of 9mm impacting an Incubator are unknown.
I've been thinking about it, and I think I've reached a conclusion: Kyubey's body is comprised of mana, he forms his bodies out of the ambient magical energy in the air (that's why he eats his corpses, so it doesn't get wasted). However, his body is also a portal for carrying Grief Seeds back to wherever they go to be used to combat entropy. Homura's rounds disappear when they go through Kyubey because they end up going through that portal, but the impact disrupts the body enough that the portal falls apart, leaving only the marshmallow-like flesh to be riddled with bulletholes before collapsing into edible mush.
This is explained. In episode 10 and 11, we see Homura using her Time powers to group her shots. She'll stop time; then fire, reload, then fire again however many times she has ammo; then start time again. To the outside world; all of her shots go off at the same time. It doesn't matter how many rounds she has per clip.
In episode 11, Madoka wants to go out into the storm to help Homura. Her mom, very realistically doesn't allow her, saying she should let the police or rescue workers deal with it. Madoka defends that they couldn't handle it. That right there would normally be a red flag, but one encouraging speech later, Madoka's mom seems to think a fourteen year old girl is more capable than an entire squad of adult men with rescue vehicles.
Junko is by this point aware of the fact that Madoka is hiding something important from her that likely caused Sayaka's death and has been causing her mood swings. Given Madoka's cryptic explanation of what she has to do, she rightly assumes that it's related to the same thing she doesn't know about.
Still, the cryptic explanation would make any realistic parent (deconstruction = realistic, not just Darker and Edgier) even more reluctant to let their children go off into danger. The only reason this kind of thing works in any other anime is because at this point the parent is aware of the child's powers or Mon traveling companions, so they know their child will be protected. Madoka on the other hand is still a normal fourteen year old and her mom doesn't know any different.
To quote the Puella Magi Wiki, "In Episode 6, Junko and Madoka had a conversation on how difficult it is to do the right thing, even when no one is in the wrong (per say). Junko's advice was for Madoka to be on the wrong against her friend to solve the problem, even if it means that her friend would hate her for it. In Episode 11 Junko confronts Madoka to stop her from getting into the danger of the storm, Madoka reminds her mother that she is a good girl and never does anything wrong but she tells her she needs to do this, a throwback to their earlier conversation. Madoka knows that what she is doing will worry her family, but she also knows that she must disobey her mother to save her family and her town. This conversation between Junko and Madoka earns her mother's trust."
We don't know how much the average muggle knows about Puella Magi. Considering the fact that many important historical figures have been contractees, it can be assumed that there's some general idea about something or other that happens with teenage girls and/or a general social rule that teenage girls should be left to their own devices. Junko knows Madoka's hiding something.
It's also been theorized that Roberta is the witch form of the School Teacher, which could give Junko even more reasonable suspicion that Madoka is a Puella Magi or is planning to become one.
Episode 6: The major Wham Line of the episode. Kyubey seeming surprised, calling Madoka crazy for "Throwing her friend" off an overpass. Seems reasonable until you realize that he KNOWS she doesn't know the truth, as he never told her. There's no reason for him to seem so surprised, or pose this statement this way, other than it being the most shocking way to reveal the truth about Soul Gems.
Kyubey may not have told the girls the truth, but the girls know that Soul Gems are important at least. He probably didn't think Madoka would actually take Sayaka's Soul Gem and throw it off an overpass.
Being a hive-mind creature, he's likely to have some problems keeping in mind that unless he's actually told other people about certain things, they just won't know them.
I would think that it being the most shocking way to make The Reveal was his reason: the way he reveals the truth suits Kyubey's goals quite well, as his phrasing of the news in such harsh (to a human value system) terms, yet without actually expressing disapproval as such, makes for maximum emotional impact on the girls, which in turn progresses the girls toward their eventual Witch transformations. Don't forget, while Kyubey's kind cannot understand what it's like to have emotions, they've had millenia of practice manipulating them!
It's possible that Kyuubey just sees the name "Soul Gem" as self-explanatory. His modus operandi revolves around the idea of You Didn't Ask because to him, it's all pretty straightforward; he probably just assumed it was as obvious to everyone as it would be to him, and was actually surprised that Madoka would throw a Soul Gem... but couldn't begin to care one way or the other why she wouldn't know better.
So, we know that no matter what, regardless of whether Madoka has made her Abstract Apotheosis wish yet or not, it is inevitable that a soul gem will either be destroyed or go dark. This applies to every single magical girl. Madoka, in the new system, is preventing darkened soul gems from becoming witches by bringing them to her magical afterlife instead. But she's a magical girl too, so won't her soul gem go dark eventually too? She wouldn't be able to save herself...
Except she does save herself. It's shown in the montage before the new world is created that her witch form engulfs the Earth, and an even bigger Madoka comes along to defeat her, so it can be assumed that she will be able to save herself at the end of time. There's also the fact she becomes the anthropomorphic personification of hope by the end. Wouldn't be a very useful personification of hope if she could feel despair.
I'm not necessarily saying she'd become a witch or fall into despair. But she does have only a finite amount of magic she could expend, right? And with no direct contact with incubators, she could still run out.
The truth of the matter is that she does become a witch... in the old system. The hope that creates the universe would lead to despair enough to destroy the universe. However, Madoka's wish was such that she would destroy every witch before it was created, including that one. In that moment, the system as it stands literally cannot be supported, and everything is rewritten.
Magic in this universe doesn't seem to have a limit for anyone. The only thing that seems to quallify as a limiter is the speed at which a Magical Girl's Soul Gem darkens. That itself has a few factors behind it, such as a Magical Girl's power potential (which is just the amount of despair they are likely to experience, or how important they could be to the universe) and their current state of mind (being depressed seems to speed up the darkening, as demonstrated by Homura in episode 12, when the realization of the consequences and futility of her actions makes her Soul Gem go from bright purple to almost completely corrupted in in just a few seconds). Also, the Incubators don't give them magic; that's something that they just unlock for the Magical Girls, and the Incubators are just there for questions, advice, Magical Girl candidate scouting, and Grief Seed collecting.
Magic always had a limit. Using it darkens a Soul Gem, and it's the only thing that can darken a Soul Gem now, because the hope/despair balance has been removed from the Magical Girl equation. Rather than "hatching" into a Grief Seed, it shatters when it gets too dark. Mami says as much, and that's how Sayaka dies in the new universe: she uses up all her magic rather than witching out.
Every time Homura goes back to the start of the loop, the previous loop is destroyed, and all the energy connected to that previous loop is channeled into Madoka... but those timelines are, at the moment Homura goes back, potential futures, not parallel timelines. That's what makes Madoka's magical potential so unbelievably vast: countless possible futures literally revolve around her, because her condition is what ultimately determines whether Homura negates them. In other words, Madoka is crammed full of 30 days' worth of the entire universe's potential energy every time Homura goes back to the start; all the magical girls are the same ones they always were, but the magical girls they could have become have been sublimated into Madoka's magic, never to fully exist.
She probably does need to heal her eyes every timeline (and undo her braids, probably) because she goes back to a point when she's sill physically Moemura. Souls don't seem to be subject to the effects of time, which might make for some pretty good Fridge Brilliance (because of course the power of the soul overcomes entropy, they're immortal, eternal things that don't change unless forced by Incubator technology) so it's more likely that Moemura's soul is absorbed by the Soul Gem because it's still subject to the Magical Girl Contract. ElfQuest has a really good line to explain that kind of thing ("Hold a candleflame to another and you realize they could never be anything but one; any fire is all fire, any spirit is all spirit. The blending takes up no space within a body.")
Wait a minute. In episode one, when Mami fights Gertrud, the witch has male minions. (At least implied to be male because they have mustaches and are called "Anthonies".) Now if they were to wander away from their witch and form a new witch, would it be a female or male witch?
Familiar-spawned witches are identical copies of their mother. The gender humans would arbitrarily assign the familiars seems irrelevant, as they reproduce more-or-less asexually.
Why does Kyubey think leaving around planet destroying witch is a good idea, because it seems like it would go keep destroying more planets and then we'd all be screwed.
Because Witches don't care about what happens beyond their Home planets. Kriemheld Gretchen is only concerned with saving humanity and making Earth a paradise. Once the planet is engulfed in her Utopia, she's complacent and still, radiating energy like a star of black magic.
If a grief seed absorbs enough soul gem pollution, it resurrects the witch. Ok. In episode 10, Madoka uses a grief seed to save Homura from becoming a witch, seemingly dooming herself. In these circumstances, wouldn't it be perfectly acceptable to allow the witch (in this case, Oktavia von Seckendorff, according to the design on the grief seed) to be resurrected? Homura is more than capable of re-killing the witch by herself. For that matter, couldn't a magical girl with enough combat prowess resurrect and re-kill a witch to get rid of her soul gem's pollution without cost?
Grief Seeds hatching into Witches again is, I'm pretty sure, entirely speculative. We never see it happen, I'm pretty sure no one ever says it will, and Kyubey's plan depends on him harvesting Grief Seeds once they're full. Given what we do know about how magic works, a witch that respawns can only have as much room to hold grief as it takes magic to kill her. At best, it would end up balancing to zero and the magical girl wouldn't gain anything.
The witch Charlotte hatches from a grief seed stuck inside the wall outside of a hospital (how it got there is another mystery), and it's not hard to imagine a witch re-hatching from a grief seed after it turns pitch black, like Madoka's soul gem-turned grief seed does right before she turns into a witch (in Episode 10's second timeline). Kyubey himself states that the laws of thermodynamics don't apply to Magical Girls. He also tells Sayaka that a witch could hatch from the grief seed she just used in Episode 6 if it absorbs more darkness, and that one of Kyubey's jobs is to eat grief seeds before this happens. Kyubey is incapable of telling lies, half-truths and misleading statements aside. It also doesn't seem right to say that witches absorb Soul Gem pollution based on how much magical power it takes to kill them when Homura has killed multiple witches without any direct use of magic.
A couple of things here:
A respawning witch would never be harvested. And since Witches are a leading cause of death and not Witching out for magical girls, allowing a witch to continually spawn wouldn't gain anyone anything.
Witches don't have to be defeated by magic specifically, but they can only take so much damage before they're killed and their Grief Seed can be collected; the Seeds can only hold so much Grief before they get full, but not all witches drop their Seeds when killed.
To add on to this, why does Homura say that she and Kyouko have to run away from the witch Oktavia von Seckendorff, if Kyouko is going to burden herself by carrying Sayaka's body? In episode 10, Homura slays Octavia by stopping time and surrounding the witch with pipe bombs. Why couldn't she have done that here? Would Sayaka's corpse vanish if Kyouko didn't physically carry it out of the witch's barrier before killing the witch?
The point is that Kyouko wanted to keep the corpse for sentimental reasons. She says as much: if Kyouko drops it, she and Homura can just waste Oktavia right then and there, but if they fight, it's gone for good, whether because the barrier collapses on it, or it gets destroyed as collateral damage.
This is confirmed in the PSP game, but it doesn't show whether or not the corpse would vanish if Kyouko was carrying it in her arms, as opposed to if it was laying on the floor of the labyrinth.
Except for the part where Kyouko does carry it out of the labyrinth and Sayaka gets a funeral. This isn't Fridge anything, this is answered directly in the show.
I don't think it matters. Oktavia is what's left of Sayaka. It'd probably be destroyed/disappear either way.
Episode 10:During our peek into some of the different timelines, we see the whole cast of magical girls together: Mami, Madoka, Sayaka, Homura and... Kyoko? Wait a moment. It is shown at the end of episode 4 that the only reason Kyoko came to Mitakihara was to claim the turf left by Mami's death. If Mami was never killed by Charlotte, then why is she part of the group?
It's shown in a spin-off manga that she often than not just buts into Mitakihara regardless of Mami's survival. Her death was just a reason for her in that time line.