Tear Jerker: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
You know you have a sad anime when the eponymous character is crying in the first few seconds of the opening.
With a Magical Girl
cast in a Cosmic Horror Story
it is no surprise that Puella Magi Madoka Magica
would have Tear Jerkers
Spoilers ahead, read at your own peril!
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- The whole damn series is, by design, one big tear-jerker.
- The despair to which all of the girls die or are turned into witches.
- Mami is killed the moments after she is finally told that she will always have a friend and that her lonely existence will end.
- Sayaka's grief in being able to heal the person she loves but in return finds herself unlovable and unnoticed (in comparison to Hitomi who was already getting love letters and Madoka who is purported to have more talent as a magical girl than Sayaka ever will) and dies together with Kyoko, who lost her family in attempting to be selfless and became single-mindedly selfish as a result.
- Homura, whose actions in attempting to save and protect Madoka have protected no one at all, culminating in her ultimate despair.
- Madoka's witch is heartbreaking as well. Kriemhild Gretchen, the witch of salvation whose nature is mercy. "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." Oh Madoka...
- It's bad (and horrifying) enough that Anne Frank was a Puella Magi. The theories that the Witch Uhrmann may have been a dog used in an Incubator experiment who just wanted love from humans and couldn't understand why people (and Incubators) did so many terrible things to her take this show's tear (and fear) quotient continually higher (and makes you wonder about Urobuchi's mental landscape).
- Another speculation on Uhrmann's identity is worse. Some think she was a magical who witched out because a dog was receiving more attention than her, and chose the form of a dog to try and attract attention.
- Madoka's sacrifice was undoubtedly her defining moment and Crowning Moment of Awesome but the fact that she was also partly motivated by her lack of self-worth is hugely depressing. How Kyubey picks at her insecurities to turn this into near-self-hatred (and in most timelines, the Witch that destroys the world) not only makes you want to give her a hug, but makes you come away from the show thinking dammit, no one deserves to feel that worthless.note
- The show's possible message is that if something's too good to be true, it probably is; even if you only want to selflessly help someone (or humanity in general). Also the Family-Unfriendly Aesop that helping others may only hurt you, and that idealistic belief in The Power of Love, The Power of Friendship most certainly will. note
- See this top 10 list of saddest moments in Madoka Magica.
- Homura's magical girl career is a tearjerker itself as she tries so hard to save to save Madoka from the fate of being magical girls, only to fail and be forced to repeat the circumstances that led them to their demise, thus turning her into the aloof, stoic girl that we know. Her expressions alone when she tries to keep her cool, stoic nature while deep inside she's actually crying and pleading Madoka to not make the contract for her own good. How her warnings always are ignored by the others, leading to another failed attempt to save them. She sums up her plight with the phrase "Dedication has no reward."
- Not helping is the Fridge Horror of seeing her confrontations with Mami in the earlier episodes. Mami used to be the senior she looked up to, just like she is with Madoka.
- Like most things in this show, equal parts heartwarming and tearjerking is: Ultimate Madoka's existence, in light of Madoka using Sayaka's grief seed to save Homura, and then begging her to go back and prevent Madoka from becoming a magical girl. When Madoka finally does make the contract she says that if someone tells her it's wrong to have hope, she'll tell them they're wrong every time, but we know that she's only able to say that because Homura erased the timeline where Madoka regretted ever making her wish and becoming a magical girl in the first place, and fell to despair. It wasn't what she wanted, but Homura really did save her.
- Everything gets worse when you realize that the main characters in this series are middle schoolers.
- Mami's death, as well as any mention of it in the subsequent episodes. Madoka crying the next morning during breakfast because she's so lucky to be alive is particularly heartwrenching.
- Mami's advice to Madoka before she fought Charlotte and died got her, as it was seen as Mami's last words and wishes to Madoka before her heartwrenching death.
- Her final thoughts make her death even more heart wrenching. As she fought her way to Charlotte, she was very happy now that she did not have to fight alone and thus finally ending her long solitary fight against witches. Sadly, it was not meant to be.
- Homura screaming and thrashing as Mami leads Madoka further into the labyrinth, both completely unaware of how dangerous Charlotte is.
- The scene with Kyosuke and Sayaka in Episode 4 really heartwrenching. We learn how bitter poor Kyosuke is for no longer being able to do something that meant the world to him, and our hearts go out to Sayaka as she desperately tries to console him. The scene really punches you in the gut when you find out what happens to Sayaka later in the series.
- After Mami's death, Madoka swears that she'll never forget her (since Magical Girls don't leave a body if they die in the witch's barrier, and Mami had nobody to remember her by). That by itself is depressing, but the exchange after that is even harsher in retrospect:
Homura: Mami Tomoe is lucky. She'd be happy to hear that. How I envy her.
Madoka: I won't forget you, either! I swear I'll never forget you, Homura, and how you saved us yesterday. I'm always gonna remember you!
- When Madoka and her mother talk into the night and her mother asked her to grow up faster so they can drink alcohol together... *sniff* It becomes even sadder when you consider what happened in the final episode. *sob* They will never get to drink together...
- Scenes with Madoka and her family become tearjerkers when you watch the end and you realize just what she was giving up when she made her wish to erase every witch from the past, present and future, and ascend to a higher plane of existence at the cost of retconning her from existence. In this Crapsack World these are the only times we ever see a parent-child interaction since the rest of the girls' parents are either dead or missing: Mami's and Kyoko's parents are dead in Kyoko's case, her father went crazy and killed the rest of the family before committing suicide, Sayaka's are never shown until her funeral in Episode 11 and Homura is implied to be an orphan as no mention of her parents is ever made.
- The bit where Sayaka claims that Homura doesn't give a damn what happens to her, only Madoka...and Homura confirms it.
- After Sayaka contracts and she's hit with misery absolutely equal to the happiness that Kyosuke will have thanks to her wish. This is what ultimately leads her to become a Witch.
- Aforementioned quotation, along with a tear dropping into her soul gem, breaking it and turning into a grief seed, was too poignant, even when you were expecting it.
- Eri Kitamura, Sayaka's voice actress, said in an interview that she and Aoi Yuuki (Madoka's voice actress) sobbed during the episode's recording.
- At the beginning of the episode, Madoka tries to convince Sayaka to stop fighting recklessly, resulting in the latter snapping at her for claiming to sympathize with her while doing nothing and tells her to become a Magical Girl if she really wants to understand what she's going through before storming off. This scene is tragic for a couple of reasons: 1) Up to then, Sayaka had been adamant about Madoka not contracting which shows just how much the stress of being a Magical Girl has gotten to her. 2) Madoka's Heroic Self-Deprecation worsens as a result of this because her best friend told her she's useless. 3) This is the last meeting between Madoka and Sayaka before she turns into a witch so there is no reconciliation.
- The scene can also be compared to Sayaka and Kyosuke's scene above in Episode 4. One girl sees her Childhood Friend falling into grief and despair due to losing an important part of them (Kyosuke's violin playing ability and Sayaka's humanity) and tries to console them only for said friend to lash out at her for 'supposedly' looking down at them driving said girl to make a contract with Kyubey just to see said friend happy again. The only difference is that Homura was able to intervene in Madoka's case.
- Homura's absolutely heartbreaking breakdown after she saves Madoka from making a contract with Kyubey. "Why... Why must you always sacrifice yourself?"
- Even worse, Madoka runs away during her breakdown. It's partly because she wants to find Sayaka and partly because she is freaked out by Homura's words and how they're coming from The Stoic of the cast. This leads to Homura begging for Madoka to come back.
- Harsher in Hindsight (see Episode 10 below). "Always". Homura has already seen Madoka die at least four times; no matter how hard she tries to change Madoka's mind again and again it always ends the same way. The word Kyubey and Homura use is... countless.
- Kyoko desperately tearing into her food, as if everything will be alright if only she eats enough. There was a time in her life when everything being all right depended on her eating enough. She eats more in this one episode than she does in the entire series.
- Kyoko used to believe in stories about courage and love triumphing against all odds. Somewhere along the line, she forgot about them.
- Madoka's reaction to Sayaka's death, leaning over the body and crying into her chest.
- Kyoko desperately trying to preserve/revive Sayaka before Kyubey plants the idea of resurrection in her head.
- We see Madoka trying desperately to reach out to Oktavia von Seckendorff by reminding her of the ideals she once had only for her to be rewarded by her former friend attempting to crush her in turn. This is more jarring when you remember her first act as a Magical Girl was saving Madoka from a witch herself.
- Kyoko's Heroic Sacrifice/Mercy Kill on Oktavia von Seckendorff, saying she understands how horrible it is to be alone, and she won't let Sayaka die that way.
- Kyoko's thoughts as she's falling: "Hey God, if you're there... my life sucked so for once, please, let me have a happy dream." *sniff* This is the first time in a long time that Kyoko's cared about anyone other than herself. The last time she did a selfless deed was to sign her life away as a Magical Girl in exchange for granting her father followers; it resulted in Pater Familicide. Now that her attempt to change Sayaka back to normal has failed, she's dealing with the fact that she brought Madoka to a death trap and someone is going to die because of her again. The music makes it more depressing.
- Looking at the translated lyrics for Sayaka and Kyoko's duet (which is the special ending theme for this episode in the DVD version) will make you cry all over again.
- The image shown at the end of the episode while the song plays is devastating too. They are both submerged underwater. Sayaka, unconscious, is drowning and Kyouko holds her hand and looks at her with a faint smile. They're going down together. It perfectly captures the events of the episode.
- Oktavia's barrier is a cavalcade of meaningful tearjerkers. An armoured mermaid with physical armour where she had no emotional ones. The posters crying out for someone to notice her. Kyosuke hidden underneath the opulent front of the concert all to do with her, standing in a corner with his violin but never playing it the way she wants him to—for her.
- Kyoko's surname is Sakura, or Cherry Blossom. Aside from the red motif there was a small piloted missle employed by the Japanese during WW2 nicknamed Cherry Blossoms that were used for Kamikaze attacks against American battleships. Considering how Kyouko went out there's an odd parallel.
- Near the end of the episode... Homura laments her inability to defeat Walpurgisnacht. Lying in defeat she prepares to turn back time again... only to stop after remembering what Kyubey told her. Each time she goes back, she only makes things worse by making Madoka stronger, and thus her Witch. Kyubey has finally broken her by revealing that in attempting to protect Madoka, she has been ruining her. She can't stop because doing so would mean accepting that there is no hope, but if she goes on, she intensifies Madoka's descent and the destruction of the world. In the end, she loses hope... The music that plays during the scene takes this from a tearjerker all the way up to heart wrenching.
- Sayaka's funeral. Though sad it's not so much the funeral itself as it is the reality behind it. It shows us for sure that yes, Sayaka is dead. Consider also that funerals for Magical Girls are rare events since they don't leave a body when they die in the witch's barrier or that their bodies are never recovered when they become witches. Both Mami and Kyoko are dead too, but only Madoka and Homura are aware of it and so neither gets a send off. Sayaka only managed to get one due to Kyoko carrying her body out of the barrier after she became a witch.
- The conversation between Madoka's mother and teacher in this episode, combined with the conversation between Madoka and her mother in Episode 6. It really hits home how unfair it is that the characters have to suffer so much, when they're still children. These are not the stakes they should be playing with.
- It is more heart wrenching to watch because up until that point, Madoka and her mom are shown to have a great relationship and Madoka has always confided to her mom whenever she has something bothering her. Junko Kaname is distraught by the fact that she knows her daughter is troubled by something and the fact that Madoka isn't telling her about it means she can't do anything to help her daughter out.
- Homura confessing to Madoka that she's lived this last month over and over again trying to save her, but has failed every time. She sobs and hugs Madoka, saying she knows none of this makes any sense since, from Madoka's perspective, Homura is a stranger. Chiwa Saito (Homura's voice actress) confesses in the audio commentary that doing this scene made her cry.
- You are all but guaranteed to cry when you see Madoka giving her heartfelt goodbye to Homura before she ceases existing on the physical level.
- The fact that Tatsuya and Homura are the only people who remember Madoka, not her other friends or parents, and that Homura is the only one who knows of her sacrifice and grieved for her. It's even worse if you stop to think about it for a while. Madoka made the biggest sacrifice in history. Because of her every magical girl who ever existed will be allowed a peaceful death, but in order to obtain that she must fight her own witch for all of eternity. Despite all of the pain she had to suffer in order to make that wish and all of the pain she has to go through to uphold it no one will ever know about what she did. Only Homura and her brother- who will forget it when he grows up- can remember her and Homura is the only one who knows of the sacrifice she made. Homura must now live Alone in a Crowd. To add insult to injury, we are shown Mami and Kyoko's confusion at Homura crying over some girl named Madoka. They will never know what Madoka did for them or remember the friendship they all once shared. That is the saddest thing of all.
- Even if you hate Hitomi you have to admit it's sad how she lost her two best friends; one who she can't remember and never will, and another who died fighting in order to keep the city safe. She's the only one of the original trio who survived the series. She's all alone now and she will never know why that is.
- Look at these pictures. It never happened and it never will. Madoka never existed so those photos were never taken. Her room isn't being used, everything she ever owned was never bought in the first place, her parents probably don't know who Hitomi and Sayaka are, Madoka never played with her little brother after he was born, and that last photo of Madoka simply walking hand-in-hand with her parents was never taken. What was once heartwarming has now been turned into a tearjerker about what could have been.
- Just... Junko asking Homura who Madoka is ("Is she an anime character or something?") after she recognizes Tatsuya's drawing of her. It was shown all series that Madoka just had such a great relationship with her mother, and now Junko doesn't know she ever had a daughter and never will because of Madoka's Heroic Sacrifice. All of those wonderful times Madoka had with her mother, her father, and her brother...they're all gone forever.
- The one with the green-haired girl who Madoka saved. Just looking at her, all alone and sobbing in despair, and makes you think of how many things like that are still happening in the world.
- Homura using a bow instead of her guns in memory of Madoka.
- According to Urobuchi, Homura technically failed. She didn't save Madoka; Madoka is the one who saves her. Again. To make it even worse, Madoka finally understands just how much Homura sacrificed for her, but only after she Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence. This makes her unable to repay, or hell, comfort Homura properly, as she can only spend so little time with her. Even Urobuchi thinks that he is harsh towards them.
- The last conversation Madoka has with her mother before she disappears from history and existence. Think of how close they were. Think of Madoka's last words. Junko will not only never see her daughter again, but she'll forget she ever had one.
- The PSP game reveals Mami's witch form. One word: Candeloro. It's heartwrenching to realize that even Mami succumbs to despair in one timeline or another. The fact that her familiars strongly resemble Madoka and Kyoko make it so much worse.
- Harsher in Hindsight when you realize that one of the reasons Mami's dark side tempts her into becoming a witch is that she can create familiars that will never abandon her like the real Sayaka and Kyoko did.
- Kyoko's witch form is named Ophelia. Considering the original Ophelia drowned and Sayaka's witch is a mermaid, the connection makes it all the more tragic.
- Now you can watch it in action! Poor Mami. She needs a hug. Badly.
- Poor Kyoko. "Sayaka, I understand now what you said before. This is...real..despair.."
- You can even turn Homura into a witch now!
- Watching Kyoko and her family spending time together, when you know the tragedy that's about to unfold.
- The first drama CD Memories of You. Especially the ending.
- The third drama CD, Farewell Storynote , gives us the details on the past relationship between Kyoko and Mami and it's really heartwrenching even on observation alone. Kyoko used to be an idealistic Magical Girl and the only friend Mami had. Then Kyoko's tragedy happened and she grew cynical and argued with Mami... until she decided to go on solo, then Mami desperately tried to make Kyoko stay with her. It ends with Kyoko beating the crap out of Mami, leaving her battered and crying over their broken friendship and her being all alone again...
- It's more tragic considering the fact that Mami died a gruesome death... and ALL while probably thinking that her friendship with Kyoko will remain unrepaired, and Kyoko herself has become dismissive on her existence and death.
- Kyoko isnt entirely apathetic to Mami's death. In her first confrontation with Sayaka over killing familiars, she acts cocky and arrogant, but isnt hostile, until Sayaka snaps backs that people like Kyoko are the reason why Mami's death, causing Kyoko to drop the haughty mask and clench her fists, angrily muttering "Shut up," showing that Mami's death did affect her more than she let on.
- Listening to the Drama CD, young Kyoko sounds alot like Sayaka when she first started: an altruistic and idealistic Plucky Girl who looked up to Mami in the same way Sayaka did, except for the Calling Your Attacks. It's pretty depressing to listen to Kyoko energetically talk about how she wants to use her powers to protect everyone around her (at one point, she even questions if it's so strange to make a Selfless Wish), then flash to after the Pater Familicide to hear her bitterly proclaim how those attacked by familiars aren't worth saving and that she intends to only use her power for herself. The contrast between Kyoko's past self and present is heartwrenching.
- There's also the scene with Kyoko's family. Not only does the fact that they seemed so happy make their final fate even more tragic, but there's also the knowledge that while they were around, they gave Mami a brief taste of the happiness of having a family when they had her over for dinner, which proves that Mami also suffered as a result of the Pater Familicide.
- Because of a few changes, Different Story explores different elements to the Mami/Kyoko's dynamic. Like the reason that Kyoko, despite the bad break-up, is extremely protective of Mami. Kyoko sees Mami like family, specifically an older sister, and is willing to do a lot to see her survive... that includes the Heroic Sacrifice/Senseless Sacrifice Kyoko makes latter on. This is shown via a flash back before she fights Oktavia von Seckendorff; of a time when the two were a team.note
- Different Story shows why Mami was better off dying in Episode 3. The series consists of events (and Kyubey) conspiring to break her in every way possible, culminating in Mami succumbing to her inner demons and nearly becoming a witch, with Kyoko pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent it. Later, Mami is Driven to Suicide because she simply can't cope with the life of a magical girl any more.
- The fanvids and other fan-content for Madoka also have their sorrow-filled moments.
- Case in point: 魔法少女に花束を, or more commonly, A Bouquet of Flowers for a Magical Girl (English Subtitles). KOKIA's powerful vocals coupled with the abstract, symbolic imagery will fill you with sadness. The simple little glimpses of Madoka breaking into tears makes you simply want to join her in crying. The sequel, 私の太陽, translated as My Sun, once again leverages KOKIA's voice and the imagery of Homura visibly breaking down over missing Madoka, and will make your tears into a waterfall.
- This third video (English Subs), 【まどかマギカ】水底のマギカ【KOKIA】, featuring "I Believe" by KOKIA, will make you weep for Sayaka and Kyoko.
- This award-winning AMV, Mahou Shoujo Requiem, combines its powerful lyrics with some of the more emotionally powerful moments, all but certain to make you realise you still have a few more tears to shed. Little wonder it won so many "Best Of" awards from so many anime conventions.
- Rolling Homura is so fitting to poor Homura's plight, you just want to hug her and cry for her. You'll still cry for her sake when Madoka hugs her in your stead in the end.
- This MAD called Walpurgisnacht, initially comes off as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, showing a much less bleak possible route of Homura's many time loops. However, things don't end well... Every one dies (except Homura of course), and despite slight twists, all the deaths are depressingly familiar to those who have finished the show.
- Christina Perri has a song, "A Thousand Years," that is absolutely heart-breaking if you hear it right after you watch episode 10. Check the lyrics. Listen to the song, watch the AMV. Cry away!!
- This short doujin set in October 2017, six years after the series ends.
You sound really bummed out there. But I can help you cheer up.
/人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人 ——