here. Crossover theories are here. Meta theories are here.
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I Knew It (Confirmed AND a major plot twist)
Homura isn't actually traveling to the past. She is either making alternate timelines or she is actually traveling to alternate universes.
Magic, even Kyubey's magic, is The Corruption / Witches are failed Magical Girls.Confirmed, except witches are "matured" magical girls. But now officially Jossed after Madoka makes a wish that causes a Cosmic Retcon. Magical Girls are no longer doomed to become Witches as of Episode 12.
Kyuubey recycles grief seeds from witches into soul gems for magical girlsGot it completely 180, but still a major plot point.
In the magic cycle: Human wish consumed by Witches, Witches consumed by Magical Girls. Magical girls are indeed powered by wishes, but Kyubey just lied about the critical part of the picture.
Kyuubey is a hive mind
Kyubey is not his name. It's QB, and it means something.It's too obvious, but it might be just obvious enough. Kyubey actually stands for QB, and not in the cute sense. QB means something in German or Latin, perhaps Faust related, that we aren't recognizing yet.
Homura is a time traveler (CONFIRMED!) on a mission to Set Right What Once Went WrongIt is increasingly obvious that Homura is from the future. She possesses so much knowledge she has no way of knowing otherwise (Madoka and Kyouko's full name, Kyubey approaching Madoka, how a Magical Girl loses control of her body if her Soul Gem is over 100 meters away, a major upcoming battle). In Episode 6 it is made clear that she is here to stop a bad event emerging two weeks later, and once her mission is completed she will leave. If Kyubey of the future granted her contract, that would explain why Kyubey of the present doesn't know if she's contracted with him or not. (as the present Kyubey did not, it will be done in the future). She stated that becoming a magical girl and dying is not reversible, which could mean she tried to make a wish reversing them, but was told by future!Kyubey that it was impossible. However, going back in time is possible, so her wish is to go back and prevent her loved one from making that mistake in the first place. Making a contract this way grants her the power of teleportation as her main ability. It is highly possible that Homura is Madoka's daughter or other blood relative, which explains her immense magical potential. Her mission to save her mother could also create loads of drama (such as her disappearing if she succeeds due to time paradox).
Homura hasn't been using her real power for a reasonSo far we've haven't seen her use her magic except maybe once when attacking Kyubei. She's been seen carrying a shield and used bombs to kill Charlotte (not very magical) but we have yet to see her pull out or use her bow. She's probably been conserving her magic, or is reluctant to use it knowing its corrupting influence.
Kyubei's contract requires constant renewal.If Kyubei is indeed evil, it makes little sense to simply fulfill a girl's wish if she could simply refuse being a magical girl at any point after the wish has been fulfilled. This system of become-a-mahou-shoujo-for-a-wish would only be effective if the wish could also be undone at any point. In essence, Kyubei holds the sustained fulfillment of the wish as hostage, and the power entrusted to the girl is proportional to how badly she wants that wish to remain true. Alternatively, the wish may also be inverted, with Kyubei being able to turn both one's greatest dreams and worst nightmares into reality.
Kyubey, or someone equal to him, is creating the Witches.According to Kyubey, Witches are born from curses just as Puellae Magi are created from wishes. What's implied here is that the Witches made a negative wish in exchange for power, in the same way that those who become their opponents make positive wishes; both make contracts, it would seem, and quite possibly with the same people. Alternatively, if the magical girls and the Witches are created by two opposing factions, Kyubey himself must have an opposite number.
This is a Cosmic Horror Story.It gets all the trappings of the genre.
Homura Akemi has already traveled to the past and failedPerhaps this isn't the first time Homura Akemi has traveled to the past. Maybe she has failed before in convincing Madoka not to become a magical girl. That would explain her emotionless-like behavior. She has failed so many times that nothing surprises her anymore. She's failed enough times to make STATISTICS on when and where Walpurgis Night will happen. Confirmed as of Episode 10.
The dream from episode 1 actually happened.Related to the above theory, there is a possibility that the "dream" that Madoka had in episode 1 was actually reality, but Homura used her time manipulation powers in order to turn back time as much as she could without becoming a witch herself, making these events feel like a dream to Madoka thanks to being suddenly jerked back in time by a couple of weeks in an instant.
Every time Homura rewound time, Madoka became more depressed.Madoka can be pretty grim for a girl her age with no major problems — she always worries about being good for nothing and feels that she will grow up to be nothing but a burden to others (and her character song is pretty depressing). We didn't see that much of her in the first timeline, but she seemed more cheerful and optimistic. If Magical Girls are powered by emotion, then it would make sense that becoming more powerful would make her more emotional. So, with every iteration of the time loop, Madoka becomes not only more powerful, but also more desperate for a purpose in life and more willing to sacrifice herself. Nice Job Breaking Her, Homura.
Madoka will cheat Kyuubey out of his prizeBarring further revelations, it seems death is the only way to prevent a Magical Girl from becoming a witch. So Madoka will save the world and then kill herself.
Madoka is the Final Boss.Kyoko and Homura talk about dealing with "her" on the Witches Sabbath. QB keeps trying to get Madoka to turn into a Magical Girl. Magical Girls are larval witches. Combine all that together, and you get QB on the verge of getting the strongest witch in history.
Madoka will use her wish to Set Right What Once Went Wrong... at the cost of her own life.According to Cubey, Madoka has extraordinary potential as a Magical Girl. Thus, she could use her power to perform a Deus ex Machina, restoring everything to the way it once was, and creating a world devoid of Magical Girls and Witches. However, as the world she wished for was one without magic, this would erase her from existence. Homura knows this, which is why she tries to stop Madoka from becoming a Magical Girl. This is represented when she asks Madoka why she must "constantly sacrifice herself".
Kyubei will become a Karma Houdini
Madoka's eventual powers will be straight Reality Warping.With all the in-universe buzz of her incredible power, I'm waiting for Kyubey to pull an Evangelion-esque "now that you have unlimited power, change the universe how I see fit".
Confirmed (Confirmed in universe or by Word Of God)
Confirmed elements that were not a "huge part" of the story.
Someone very important to Madoka is going to die.
Homura is this universe's equivalent to Sailor Nothing.Working off of that the entire series is a deconstruction of the Mahou Shoujo genre with Homura trying to stop others from repeating her mistakes.
Homura's wish to be able to go back in time allowed her to rewrite the past all the way back to before she and Madoka met.However, Madoka is able to remember echoes of that timeline and recognize her/had her dream due to her own great magical potential. She still hasn't realized the truth yet/is subconsciously rejecting the implications due to how badly that would traumatize her.
Homura is a Forgotten Childhood Friend of MadokaSo far, it looks like Homura knows a lot of things of Madoka - her naivete, her ditzy-ness, and how she'd do anything to save her friends. However, Madoka doesn't know anything about her. Why? Because Homura is a Forgotten Childhood Friend that Madoka doesn't remember. Probably that was Homura's wish - that Madoka would forget about her. Maybe Madoka found out about her secret when they were children, and wanted to become a magical girl as well. Homura, probably shocked by something like the death of someone she appreciates, just like what happened to Mami, and didn't want Madoka to go through the same thing, so her wish was that Madoka would forget about her being a magical girl. However, Kyuubee granted her wish literally - Madoka forgot about Homura being a magical girl, but she also forgot everything she knew about Homura.
Sayaka......Is gonna do one of two things, now that her mental health is starting to deteriorate at a giant's pace.
Madoka Magica is set in the future.
The magical girls compete for Witch poaching grounds.The darkness that clouds Soul Gems isn't something that comes from using magical girl powers or anything supernatural, they just naturally decay over time and turn dark. It's not a vicious circle of use magical powers to fight Witch —> pollute soul gem —> collect Grief Seed —> use magical powers to fight Witch, it's a constant treatment for what is essentially a disease. This is why a magical girl can't stop being one, because if they stop hunting Witches for Grief Seeds, the slow natural deterioration of their own Soul Gems will eventually turn them into Witches themselves.
Homura had her best friend or many friends that was/were once magical girl(s).May be the casualties were way too high that's why she refused to make friends knowing that would only harm everyone she cared. She may be the Insufferable Genius herself but she can't save her friends eventually, which explains her mental issues and attitude towards other characters.
Magical power is also a person's life forceHow does one ensure that your magical girls do what you ask them to? Make it so that they need to defeat your enemies to survive. Without grief seeds, a magical girl will eventually run out of power and die. In other words, once you start being magical girl, you must defeat witches or you will die.
Kyubey is an alien
Assuming the Prologue events are a Flash Forward, Kyouko is also going to dieIt's pretty damn likely now that the Prologue is a Flash Forward, seeing as the trainstation where Sayaka turns completely into a Witch has the same black checker pattern as seen in the beginning, along with the rest of the Sayaka turns into the Prologue Witch theory, along with the hospital shots and general similarity... Think about it this way:
Assuming that Magical Girls can become witches, the witch then embodies something relating to its former life as a human.In this case, Gertrud was a loner who liked flowers (and men with mustaches), Charlotte was a Big Eater (and might have had an eating disorder), Elly/Kirsten was a Hikikomori who stayed on the computer all day, and Elsa Maria was a practicing Christian. For the record, familiars are said to grow into copies of the original witch, so basically familiars turned witches are clones. So, if Sayaka is the witch in episode one, her theme will relate to hospitals, classical music (which she learned for Kyousuke), or unrequited love. Expanding on this:
The random gibberish isn't gibberish.Later, Word of God will provide a translation of the random symbols and phrases the various monsters and witches are shouting out. It will turn out to be one of the most important things to understand about the series — for example: perhaps the monsters in episode 1 were shouting warnings about Kyubey.
Homura's special abilityconsists solely on Time Stop. The time traveling/"Groundhog Day" Loop was her wish, and the ability is the result of it. She can't teleport, her use of it for short intervals (maybe about 3 seconds) make it look like Flash Step. (Although this WMG should be kind of obvious as of episode 8, but there is yet to see if she has any other special abilities).
Homura's powersHer powers are a source of much discussion right now whether it really is Teleport Spam, or time stopping powers.
... This already happened in Homura's timeline.This is why she's so hesitant with Madoka at the start, and why she made so many warnings with her about not becoming a Magical Girl Read: Witch in Training and staying true to herself. Madoka's the True Final Boss. The entire series is Madoka's Start of Darkness. Only since Homura changed the past, QB didn't get a chance to ensnare Madoka, and this time things are going a different way.
Kyuubey will wait until it's impossible for her to save anyone to change Madoka into a Magical Girl.After the events of episode 9, we know that Kyuubey doesn't hesitate to have people killed in order to shove Madoka towards becoming a magical girl. Following on the WMG that the dream from episode 1 was a flashforward (or something) to Walpurgis Night, Kyuubey gets Madoka to wish to be a magical girl to save Homura, but waits until it is simply too late for her to save Homura to go through with it. Having lost all of her friends, with the possible exception of Hitomi, Madoka becomes a magical girl and instantly succumbs to despair, providing Kyuubey and co. with the energy they wanted, due to her immediate transformation into a witch.
This show will have a Downer EndingBecause Signature Style Gen Urobuchi is writing it
Kyubey will be Hoist by His Own PetardThis is why in the other timeline, he granted Homura's wish to travel back. Witch!Madoka is the Spiral Nemesis, erm, so powerful she can end the universe. Of course, Homura doesn't tell the current Kyubey anything because why should she? He's part of the problem, and she thinks he wouldn't believe her.
The Black cat in the opening doesn't appear in the anime and is merely symbolic.Nearly everyone is familiar with the typical witch and black cat pairing, so the black cat is just representing it. The cat first appears with Madoka, and she is perhaps crying tears of joy/relief over not turning into a witch when she fully expected to turn into one (this part of the opening might take place after the Walpurgis Night). The cat is possibly with her because she IS supposed to turn into a witch after turning into a Magical Girl, but somehow, she doesn't turn into one. Perhaps due to Homura's meddling. The second time the cat is shown it's sitting on Sayaka's lap. Is it symbolizing the relationship between witch and cat by favoring her over the other girls? Coincidence? Black cats also represent bad luck. In the opening with Madoka, perhaps it is protecting her from the bad luck of turning into a witch, which might be foreshadowing of the final result - perhaps something will happen and stop Madoka from becoming a witch. Perhaps Homura will bring an extra Grief Egg with her to the past, and will use it on Madoka's Soul Gem when the world is saved? Homura IS good luck to Madoka - if Madoka wasn't nice to Homura, then Homura wouldn't be trying to save her and she would have perished or turned into a witch. In the opening, Madoka is holding/hugging the cat. She is showing it kindness, which might cause it/luck to favor her. Perhaps like karma? On the other end of the spectrum, the cat is seen with Sayaka. Sayaka isn't shown to be petting the cat, or paying any attention to it. She's indifferent to it. She also is the unluckiest of the girls, having used her wish on someone who possibly doesn't return her feelings (as far as she knows). She also dies every time-line, and is turned into a witch.
The prologue dream in episode one is subject to Plot-Based Voice CancellationThis is what is meant by Word of God saying "...please watch the first episode before episodes 11 and 12. It'll totally look like two completely different shows." The most obvious example of Plot-Based Voice Cancellation in the dream is when Homura cries out right to Madoka, but no sound is heard from her. Another example is later where Madoka grabs her ears, as though something is talking and she doesn't want to listen. It could be that she just doesn't want to listen to Kyubee, but she seems to be covering her ears after he's done speaking, when we see the lights flash. As such, it's possible she's covering her ears because another character is talking to her, one she doesn't want to hear from. Who? There are a few possibilities but one that stands out is the Prologue Witch, and likely through telepathy. The witch trying to communicate with Madoka would explain why it just seems to sit there after defeating Homura. This might mean that there's a case of One Dialogue, Two Conversations going on. It looks like Madoka is speaking to Kyuubey, but she might actually be talking with someone or something else.
Madoka is going to become a True Magical GirlBy rejecting Kyubey the entire series, at the very end when it's needed (namely: to beat Kyubey), her magical power will come out on it's own, leaving her the only one with the power to fight him. Kyubey is intervening and desperate to trick girls with magical potential because by doing so he can control them.
The show will have a Decon-Recon Switch
Charlotte wished for cake.Like Madoka, all Charlotte wanted was to be a Magical Girl, so she wished for cake (making Mami's advice to Madoka an Ironic Echo) but when she realised exactly what she'd gotten herself into, she decided she hated cake, and started eating cheese instead of desserts. That would explain why she can create cake out of nothing (she did just that when she made her contract), but she can't create cheese.
Sayaka is destined to become a witch in every timeline where she becomes a magical girl, but only because she will never confess her feelings. Kyosuke isn't stupid, and Hitomi agreed to let Sayaka have her shot at him before she took hers. If Sayaka had just been completely honest with him about being a magical girl and the reasons she became one, he would have believed her, and maybe even admit he loved her too, and he would have been able to keep her from falling from despair.
Walpurgisnacht is a result of a Fusion Dance when a hell of a lot of witches will congregate to start the apocalypse.On Walpurgis Night, many or all of the witches not defeated or eaten by Kyubey will combine and try to destroy the world. The resulting creature is the "it" Homura is trying to defeat. Expect them...having the world go up in flames. That, and they influence a lot of people with their witch-kisses to go insane and destroy everything. Still with fire. After all:
Jossed (Confirmed as being incorrect by canon)
WMGs that were later proven wrong by events in the show.
Kyubee doesn't have that many different bodies.Just a couple at a time; and when one dies he needs to recover the biomaterial through consumption to create more. His casual talking was a bluff to prevent further bodies from getting killed; he pretended it didn't matter.
Sayaka is going to become a Self-Made OrphanShe is slowly losing her sanity, and back in the fridge entry, it is suggested that Puella Magi are fated to be alone because their loved ones die sooner or later in a very convenient way. How will Sayaka end up alone? Simple! When she goes insane, she will kill her own family!
There is more than one Kyubey.Kyubey doesn't appear to have any teleportation powers, yet it always manages to be there at the most convenient moment for him to try to make a contract with the girls. Considering Kyubey's telepathic abilities, it could very well be achieving this by controlling multiple bodies at the same time or by constantly communicating to other Kyubey in order to track each individual girl, waiting for the right moment for one of them to appear. Due to the fact that Kyubey are Invisible to Normals, it could very easily tell the others to hide from the prospective mahou shoujo while it is talking to one in order to maintain the illusion that there is only one Kyubey. This theory also prevents an otherwise unavoidable time paradox in the "Madoka is Kyubey" theory and explains why Homura gave up on killing Kyubey after it meets Madoka for the first time.
Mami can't die. As in, literally can't die.Call this denial if you will, but if Mami's wish was "I don't want to die", in correlation with the above theory of Kyuubey as a Literal Genie, then Mami might've wound up Nigh Invulnerable, with a Healing Factor, or with Resurrective Immortality. Either way, she may show up in a few episodes, unharmed at best, or missing her head and shambling around like a zombie at worst.
Mami is evil.(Jossed with extreme prejudice in Episode 3) Or at least has less than good motives. She has half closed, droopy (yet strangely stern) eyes, which since that other anime used it with a memorable villain, has become a villainous trope in Anime.
Mami is farming Madoka, raising her to later fall and become a Witch.(Unlikely, given Episode 3) Observe in Episode 2, when Homura refuses to do something special with the evil plot coupon after it's been drained/filled, something that Mami says is a good thing, that the Magical Girls are willing to fight each other for... but she refuses to do herself. Are witches merely Magical Girls who absorb too much magic? Is this the result of a "wish"? Is Mami merely trying to get Madoka and Sayaka to embrace magic so she can later kill them for their plot coupons?
The Witches aren't monsters, but the humans can't perceive their true form.The series is a tragedy. The witches are based on truth — i.e., accepting reality, whereas the Magical Girls are based on fantasy — i.e., denying reality. Unfortunately, all the witches are seen in the inverse of A Form You Are Comfortable With, possibly due to Kyubey's influence.
Only one Puella Magi can have her wish.Whichever Puella deals the finishing blow on the Big Bad will be granted her wish. Any other Puella Magi will die immediately.
Homura made a "Selfless Wish" and it worked out very poorly.Homura is the girl they used as an example of why Selfless Wishes are very bad. Homura made a wish for someone else, who promptly betrayed her, leaving her trapped as a Magical Girl.
Kyubey is actually stuck in some sort of And I Must Scream situation.If Urobuchi is telling the truth about Kyubey not being evil, maybe there's another reason for what he does and why his face never changes expression. Maybe someone is forcing him to do all these things, only allowing him to say so much, and his face can't change expression.
Those who have the most magic potential are also the most easily corrupted.The more powerful you are, ironically, the more likely it is that, as you gain control of your powers, you will fall into hate and despair and turn into a Witch. Hence Homura's fear of Madoka becoming a Puella Magi — once her potential is unlocked, she could become the strongest Puella Magi ever or the most dangerous Witch ever, and it all depends solely on Madoka's strength of will, on whether she's determined enough to resist the temptation of despair. (Oh, that's reassuring...)
Hitomi is actually a magical girl too.She actually knows that Madoka and Sayaka are thinking about becoming one too, and that's why she was so worried about their trip to the mall. Her green hair is actually rounding out the four main colors. Also, her name is made of the kanji for "purpose" and "benevolence".
Witches...Are created whenever someone makes a wish to become a Magical Girl. The person who makes the wish will get to be a Magical Girl, but their negative emotions, regrets, doubts, or anything like that are used to form a "curse" of sorts, allowing a Witch to form at the same time, based on the negative feelings of that person. And yes, I did this get this idea from Kingdom Hearts.
Kyouko ISN'T going to kill Sayaka.Because Sayaka and Madoka Are going to use The Power of Friendship to defeat her instead.
Hitomi is actually...Already a witch, as an alternative to the above, or at least The Big Bad. She only told Sayaka that she is in love with Kyousuke to provoke her into going insane. Sayaka will turn into a witch, like the theory above, creating another servant of Hitomi. Remember all those times that Hitomi was too busy to be with Sayaka and Madoka? She was actually off creating other witches' familiars/witches. Remember when Madoka found Hitomi with the group of people wanting to commit suicide? Hitomi had actually been the witch doing that, trying to create more witch power with all those lives, and simply put on an act for Madoka.
Even if Sayaka confesses, Kyousuke will not return her feelingsAs a cruel twist, she musters up the courage to confess only to learn that he loves music more than he does human beings and be Friend Zoned. Or he has someone else in mind.
Homura is the real enemy.She doesn't want Madoka to become a Magical girl because Madoka will foil her plans. She let Mami die, she has shown to be able to teleport so why didn't she? She let Sayaka become a Magical girl so that Madoka will be dissuaded from being one since Sayaka has taken that role. She even comments about leaving Sayaka since theres no hope for them. All the good things she's doing is just to keep Madoka from suspecting her.
Kyubei isn't evilKyubei isn't evil but is so alien he can't understand what he's doing to the Mahou Shoujo. In episode 6 he seems genuinely concerned with keeping Sayaka from being killed by Kyoko but also genuinely confused by the distress caused from learning that "soul gem" isn't a euphemism.
Witchs are Well-Intentioned Extremist, Magical Girls are inherently evilWhat is truely the ultimate deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre? Let them be Villain Protagonists without realizing it until the very end. Humans that were targeted by witches deserved to die. Witchs hunting human is somewhat a heavenly effort to kill off bad humans to keep the human race from destroying themselves. On the contrary, Magical Girls is a creation of the evil beings to combat the balance so that the human race will be filled with more suffering, which is their source of power.
Kyoko became a magical girl through MamiKyoko seems to know Mami and even has a bit of respect for her. Mami managed to convince Kyoko to become a magical girl, hoping that she would have a companion. Kyoko, however, didn't want to but was thankful to Mami. plus her wish was cake or something similar to it which would explain her appetite.
Kyoko will farm Sayaka into a witch.She will fail in killing Sayaka in their duel due to Homura's intervention and decides to take a different approach: letting Sayaka fight with witches so she has to use magic and corrupt her Soul Gem, then Kyoko will kill-steal her. Then, as a catalyst to force the transformation, she'll do something like, say, completely break Kyosuke's forearm.
Kyubey will die.Because as far as Magical Girl subversions go, the death of the mascot character would be an interesting one, and it'd force the girls to go forth without his advice (however sketchy it may be) or his communication channel. Also, any mysteries revolving around his true nature would be left unanswered... and it's even possible that without him, the girls' wishes no longer work. It'd definitely be an interesting twist. As Homura was already seen trying to kill Kyubey, his intentional death at the hand of one of the girls would be more probable, but a completely unintentional death (being eaten by a Witch) would be interesting.
Sayaka wont kill anyone as a witch.Or at least the main cast. It's not like she became hateful and crazy,She just went into deep despair. Then one of these will happen:
Kyubey was once a Puella Magi himself.But something happened—either a wish went wrong or someone was seriously pissed off—and he was turned into that. Just a possibility.
Homura is Madoka's pet cat, made human by a wish to save Madoka's life.
You know that little black cat Madoka's holding in the OP animation? Ever notice how it's never seen around her house or even alluded to in the show? The cat was Madoka's pet, at some point in the past or an alternate timeline. Something horrible happened to Madoka - grave illness or death - and her cat, desperate to save her owner, made a wish to Kyubey. Madoka's life was saved, but, in order to fulfill her contract, the cat was made into a human Puella Magi and ran away from home. She fought witches on her own, but Kyubey (executing witches for some unknown reason or for personal gain) begins pressuring Madoka to make the same contract - by showing her the suffering of Akemi Homura, the human identity her old pet has assumed. Homura still cares about Madoka and wants her to live happily, even if she can't be by her side any more, so she confronts her and tells her not to take the bargain. This is why she's in pursuit of Kyubey: he's ruined her life, and she doesn't want him to ruin Madoka's too. If this keeps up...
Homura's reason to like Madoka...After she makes a contract, Madoka frees all magical girls of their problems, while reviving Mami and returning Sayaka back to normal. Sometime after this she meets and adopts Homura (she'd be an adult and Homura a child; Homura who lost her parents is infinitely grateful to Madoka, however Madoka has a hard life since as Kyouko said something along the lines of equivalent exchange between hope and despair, meaning Madoka by saving everyone would lead a horrible life. Homura realizes this and asks Madoka to stop, but Madoka doesn't, then she asks to become a different kind of mahou shoujo, one that doesn't need soul gems, and can time travel to prevent Madoka from becoming a mahou shoujo, Madoka grants her wish, but prohibits her to trave to the past. This is all stopped when Madoka's soul gem is consumed by darkness and turned into a grief seed, having no magical girls to take grief seeds from, Madoka's soul gem is eventually taken by darkness. It is then that Homura decides to time travel to the time before Madoka makes a contract with Kyubey.
Homura is actually Madoka from the future.She's come back to the past, wanting to stop Madoka from going down the same road again. The dream Madoka had demonstrates the time loop aspect. Madoka sees Homura fighting and dying, so becomes a Magical Girl to help, but in the end it loops back around. In this theory, Kyubey and Mami are the villains.
Junko Kaname (madoka's mom) is Homura AkemiAn alternative theory regarding Junko's possible role in the story. Junko's motive for stopping Madoka from becoming a mahou shoujo would be either to stop Madoka's future death after Maokda protected her from a witch as a mahou shoujo, or to stop Madoka from being corrupted into a witch that kills the rest of her family and goes on to possibly destroy the world and her wish to Kyubey would be to prevent Madoka from ever being a mahou shoujo, and gets sent back through time as a result, probably to the time when Kyubey first knew about Madoka, which could have been as soon as when Madoka was born, as opposed to when they first made contact, which would explain how experienced Homura is as a mahou shoujo, as she would have had 14 years to practice and be de-humanised from having her soul and body separated, explaining her comments in episode 7. As it was a transportation wish, she gets teleportation as an ability. The Kyubey from Madoka's present hasn't actually formed a contract with Junko at this time, which explains his comments about her forming, yet not forming a contract. The magic potential that Madoka has may very well be in Junko as well, seeing as they are blood-related, which would explain her power. Furthermore, there doesn't appear to be an upper age limit to being a mahou shoujo that we know of, and it is likely that if an older person becomes a mahou shoujo, the ageing process gets reversed in the process in order to make their bodies more able to battle. Also, Homura's beauty and intelligence get commented on positively by those around her, just like Junko's and they are both pretty cold and distant in personality, further strengthening a possible link between the two. Sure Junko is more cheerful, but pretty much anyone would be more cheerful than someone who has spent 14 years as a mahou shoujo, with all of the despair that being a mahou shoujo brings.
Madoka is the Big Bad aka. the Witch. Kyubey is her lackey.In the opening fight, Homura didn't scream from the pain - she screamed when she saw Madoka. Also, the Witch's intervention later was awfully convenient for Madoka. Per the OP, her older self will be very nice to Madoka, even if she happens to be evil (or broken?). This doesn't mean she'll be nice to anyone else. Madoka may try to avoid this fate, but fate is fate..
The witches are eldritch horrors from out of spaceThe interface screw is there to protect us from their SAN-draining effects. It also affects the girls, naturally.
Homura is an alternate SayakaThis would explain everything. Her general disdain of Sayaka is the usual I Hate Past Me stuff. Her obsession with Madoka is because she's her best friend. And her eyes are blue when she's at her most emotional in episode 8. Oh, and it'd make Urobuchi's statement about Sayaka being the real heroine technically true.
Homura is not who she says she is.Now that we know that Magical Girls' souls are separated from their bodies, it's a possibility that a Magical Girl can use her Soul Gem to possess a vacant body and take control of it. Expanding on this, it could be that Homura (or her body, at least) is being controlled by a different magical girl. This may be why Homura talks to everybody as if she already knows them, yet nobody recognizes her.
Kyubey is Future MadokaHere, I found an interesting theory: M.Ruri theorizes that "Kyubei is Madoka from the future and is more of an anti-hero than evil." Or so she says. Because I still think that even if it is, Kyubei is still just creepy....
Homura is in a Ground Hog Day Loop triggered by Madoka's wish
Homura's wish was to be the best MG, Sayaka will wish for power, Madoka to help others.
Homura is one of Madoka's descendents, possibly her daughter.Or rather, a descendent of a differerent-timeline's Madoka.
Homura is actually literally travelling backwards in time from the future.For her, the last episode is actually the first episode, and the first episode is chronologically last for her. So instead of being cold in the beginning to being emotional, she is actually emotional to start with, and gets increasingly cold and uncaring as she goes further back in time.
Kriemhild Gretchen isn't the name of Witch-MadokaIt's a Red Herring: Kriemhild Gretchen is the name of her familiar, which is so powerful it gets runes of its own. Yeah, it's unlikely, but it's WMG so why not?
Homura's family and/or friends have all been killed by the Big Bad.The Big Bad is the kind of villain who goes after the heroes' loved ones in order to threaten them and/or ruin their will to fight, and he/she/it probably did so right in front of her. Which is why she's trying to turn Madoka away from the hero's path - becoming a hero puts at risk everyone and everything that you love, and as the audience knows full well, Madoka has a lot to lose in that area.
Homura's wish was to escape from an abusive or otherwise bad family situation.Episode 5 reveals that a magical girl's abilities are related to their wish, so it make sense that Homura's ability to teleport shown in eps 1 and 3 would result from her wanting to get away from something. It would also explain why Homura was so upset when Madoka said she liked her name - it could be that she hates her family name, or maybe Kyubei went Literal Genie on her and killed her family, giving her Survivor Guilt.
Homura became Magical Girl as a result of someone's wish.In episode 5 Kyubei asked about Homura's making contract with him, answers along lines She did and she didn't. It's rather ambiguous answer. So maybe, Homura was friend with a girl sharing Madoka's idealistic views (well, pre episode 3 idealistic views), who thought being Magical Girl is great, fun and games, so she wished Homura was Magical Girl with her. Then Reality Ensues, original Magical Girl bites the dust (or is bitten to dust) and Homura is left in the witch slaying business alone and bereft of initial benefit of having her wish granted. It wouldn't be hard to see how this would result in her cynical view of Magical Girls
Homura's wish was to be popular.Sayaka notes the improbability of someone being very beautiful, very smart and very athletic. When Mami takes a jab at Homura, she tells the girl that she is doing something "a bullied child would do," and is rewarded with visible tensing on Homura's part. It's reasonable to conclude that Homura used to be an unpopular, picked upon kid, and wished for popularity and to be liked on receiving Kyube's offer.
Homura wished to be good at everything and loved, but now regrets it.This is why she is perfect at everything without even trying in the first episode, and why everyone is always asking her to hang out with them, but she refuses them. Before her contract she was never good at anything and often bullied, but the contract fixed this. Please note her reaction to Mami saying she was acting like a bullied child. For some reason she regrets her decision, and she wants to stop Madoka from making her mistake. This is why she told Madoka not to change herself. Her attempted killing of Kyuubey was as much revenge as an attempt to help Madoka.
Homura is KyubeyOr at least the member of the same species. She certainly shares his Lack of Empathy (where Madoka is not concerned), social graces of an alien and tendency to withhold information. It is not impossible that in the end Madoka vengefully wished for Kyubey to felt the same grief and despair she felt, and logically that required from him to turn himself into a human girl. And then getting so shocked by newfound emotions, that his new persona even travelled back in time to undo the whole plan. Even Homura's relative inability to manipulate people might be somewhat explained by feeling the result of such manipulations personally.
Madoka is not going to become a Puella Magi after allKyubey will keep tempting her into making a contract, but Madoka will keep being dissuaded via witnessing all the horror that it involves and, most probably, seeing the other Puella Magi fall like flies, one after another, until she's the only one left. After all, this is a Deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre. What would be the biggest, most demolishing hit to the genre? That the titular girl refuses the call! Yet what are we all expecting? (Myself included, I must recognize)? That Madoka becomes a Puella Magi! And so, Urobuchi and co. are trolling and will troll all of us to death with all the foreshadowing that will NOT get to be fulfilled.
Walupurgis night = enemies of Kyubee's race and/or their collection system
The cat in the OP is a direct result of Madoka's wish.In the scenes in which the cat from the OP appears, Madoka is always wearing her mahou shoujo outfit. The cat never appears when she wearing anything else, in the OP and in the show itself. This implies that the cat's existence may be directly related to the wish that Madoka will make to Kyubey in order to become a mahou shoujo, and if she doesn't make a wish by the end of the series, the cat will never appear in the show itself.
Madoka will have to fight, and perhaps kill, her own mother.Junko is a hard-hearted businesswoman; when Madoka asks her what she'd wish for if she could have just one thing, she immediately, almost unthinkingly, answers that there are a few people at work she'd like to see put out of the way. This is quite likely the very mindset that allows the creation of Witches - one can hardly doubt that, were she offered a contract, Junko would accept it immediately and, for all we know, throw herself into the battle against Magical Girls with gusto. Anything to get ahead in business.
Both our protagonists will be driven to make their wishes by Mami's death.Sayaka and Madoka have just been brutally cut off from someone to whom they were close (Madoka in particular). Each of them has another person to whom they're close, who's circling the drain: Kamijo's unspecified illness is slowly killing him, and Junko is working and drinking herself to death. Both our protagonists will think of these people, and then think of them winding up DEAD DEAD DEAD JUST LIKE MAMI — and that'll be what convinces them to make the contract, in spite of all Homura's warnings.
Madoka's wish will be to bring Mami back from the deadConsidering that she is one of the featured characters in the promotion material it would be very unlikely that she won't have any more screentime after episode 3.
The catch to Madoka wishing Mami back alive will be PTSD for Mami.Magical girls dying and coming back to life in magical girl shows are common. What never happens is that they don't suffer any mental or emotional effects from the trauma of their death. Mami will come back, but will have horrible PTSD.
Madoka's wish will be to revive Mamibut.... Kyubey will do just that, however, since Madoka never said anything about stitching her back together......
Mami isn't deadAs shown in episode 6, the magical girls' entire being is kept inside their Soul Gem and their body is merely an interface to the world. We saw Mami's body be destroyed... but did we see her Soul Gem shatter? This could open up a whole new can of WMG worms.
(as of Ep4) The Prologue is a Flash Forward to when Madoka accepts her ContractThink about it. What would be the ultimate subversion of the Magical Girl genre? The girl in question choosing not to fight. Combined with the theory that the Prologue Witch is also Sayaka, and things make a little more sense. If it is a Flash Forward, then Homura fighting Witches wouldn't be horrible unless that Witch was Sayaka. Kyuubei's and Madoka's comments also make a disturbing amount of sense in this context: "She's already made up her mind" and "No way, it can't end like this!", as well as Homura crying out when she spots Madoka. Homura was trying to take out Witch!Sayaka so that Madoka wouldn't be forced to do it. Madoka then showing up rather spanners this. There's also a possibility that Madoka holds the power to break the Witch / Magical Girl cycle, given Kyuubei's other comments about rejecting fate, which might explain why he's so pushy to get Madoka to accept his contract.
Homura will become a witchTo keep Kyubey away from Madoka, or as revenge for his turning her into a Puella Magi, Homura will try to (or succeed in) cursing Kyubey and become a witch.
Homura is older than she looksIf the previous WMG is correct, than it would go a long way towards explaining Homura's behaviour and skill. She's has learned from years of experience and has spent ages trying to stop other girls from falling to similar fates, or something along those lines. OR she has been constantly using her time travelling powers to return?
In order to save the world, Madoka is going to have to kill her own family.Madoka can apparently stop 'unavoidable destruction and death', but the entire setup is too blatant and obvious for that to be likely. Add Akemi's insistence that if she values her family and friends she'll stay as she is, and the fact we've seen nothing of Akemi's family, and it seems logical that these magical powers don't prevent the death and destruction, but simply redirect it to the loved ones of the caster. Akemi herself has experienced and is aware of this, which is why she is trying to act against her former allies. She's the true protagonist, painted as the villain by Kyubei and Mami, and Madoka has just been strung in totally unaware of the implications.
Madoka will turn into a Mahou Shoujo using future Madoka's Soul Gem.As hinted in the opening where a long haired Madoka embraces and turns Madoka into a magical girl. Long haired madoka = future madoka as implied by her 1) longer hair, and 2) bigger boobs. Also note that long haired Madoka is semi-transparent, indicating her body-less status. Now that it's been confirmed Homura is a time traveller and has Hammer Space powers capable of storing hand-held sized items. She probably brought future madoka's Soul Gem with her as her trump card on stopping whatever she wants to stop in this timeline. And she kept stopping Madoka from becoming a mahou shoujo because if Madoka's powers are really needed she can use future Madoka's soul gem to transform instead OR Madoka can lend her body to her future self to turn into mahou shoujo.
Madoka is KyubeySee here
Sayaka will give Kyousuke a kissA Witch's Kiss, to be precise.
Homura will kill Madoka.Homura will be forced to make the very thing she didn't want to happen happen - Madoka getting hurt and/or killed.
The series will end with one final time loop.Specifically, Madoka will make the wish to go back with Homura. The last episode will be Madoka and Homura both awaking in the 6th timeline, this time both with full memories, and clean up the mess together.
Hitomi isn't in love with KyousukeNotice how entirely stoic Hitomi was when she told Sayaka that she was in love with him, how it only came up after she notices Sayaka's crush on him, and how she gives Sayaka a convenient 24-hour window for Sayaka to confess her feelings first. Chances are, Hitomi doesn't have any feelings for him: she's just trying to make Sayaka think she does in an effort to push the girl to make the first move. Too bad she doesn't know that the reason Sayaka's too scared to confess her feelings is because of the whole being technically dead thing..
Hitomi will become a magical girl.She finds out about Sayaka and feels she has to atone, even if it means she will eventually become a witch. Then, she and Homura fight Walpurgis together. Since Homura is now very experienced with her power and she now has someone to help whom we don't know the power capabilities of, we can't tell yet whether they would successfully defeat Walpurgis.
Homura is the cat......but instead of being the cat turned into a human, she will be transformed into a cat as a byproduct of saving the world, and Madoka will be forced to live with it.
Kriemhild Gretchen will somehow appear in the current timelineShe practically screams Sinister Silhouette, Brocken spectre speculation aside. Someone did suggest on this page that a future Madoka could come back in time. Didn't Sayaka also say something along the lines of "So there's another you who's insane?" in the first episode?
Madoka's supposed impressive power has nothing to do with natural inborn power.Instead, it has to do with her wish. At the beginning of the series, Madoka doesn't have much of a desire beyond "I want to become a magical girl" or possibly "I want to become a capable magical girl"; since magical-girl powers are related to the wish, Madoka would probably get a power boost to her natural magical girl powers. Thus, the time loop isn't just "things getting worse every time". In the first timeline Madoka had to work alone, and died. In the second timeline, Madoka had Homura help her, so while it saved her life, it turned her into a witch. In the third timeline, Madoka and Homura had taken on some grief, so it put both of them on the verge of becoming witches. Thus, in the fourth timeline, Madoka's capability to become an extra-powerful witch was due to the fact her wish was probably along the lines of wanting to defeat Walpurgis Night; having the capability to wield such power severely increased her power as a witch. Thus, the key to saving the universe - and protecting Madoka - would be in what exactly Madoka wishes for. QB likely knows a lot about what's going through Madoka's head and what she wants, hence why he sees "potential" in her.
Madoka will kill Homura
The series' end will put Kyubey in a sympathetic light
We will see another Homura time-rewindbefore the series reaches its conclusion.
Homura's mission will succeed but end up destroying the universe due to her reckless time travel for saving MadokaAnd the black cat come to stop this. This speculation sparked by Urobuchi's Twitter avatar being an action figure of the character Frank from Donnie Darko. Donnie Darko is a story about timeloop and saving the universe by resolving a time paradox.
The ending will be Kriemhild Gretchen absorbing everyone into her barrier into a utopia.The first of what I predict will be a ton of WMG theories all based on the recently released witch card. Madoka-as-Kriemhild will make her barrier into a perfect world, or at least a world where everyone is saved, and will absorb the entirety of Earth into it. That was what Kyubey meant by “destroying the world”. Thus, everyone will live in said utopia, and Kyubey will ignore it since he got his quota.
Kriemhild Gretchen will somehow merge with Walpurgis NightBased only off the fact that Kriemhild's apparent appearance in Episode 1 has Walpurgis Night's spell circle behind her. Of course, it might just be symbolic, but this is the series where things get worse. And worse.
Madoka's wish will be...No more magical girls.
The ending will be a Reset ButtonWith Homura going back in time until she gets it right.
The series well end with an Earn Your Happy Ending.If we go by Goethe's version of Faust, which this series seems to draw heavy influence from, it may have a happy ending, at least for Homura. Homura is essentially an Expy Faust, who forges a friendship with Madoka, who is an Expy for Gretchen. After seeing Madoka being killed, Homura makes a contract with Kyubey to change Madoka's fate, but inadvertently makes things worse for Madoka in progressive timelines. Eventually, in the final timeline, Homura will sacrifice herself to achieve a single moment of happiness, finally being able to protect Madoka. Like the original Gretchen, Madoka attains godlike powers without becoming a witch and uses them to save Homura, as a reward for her unending striving and because Madoka is just a nice girl like that. The series will then either end on a bittersweet note with Homura being the last magical girl alive, or a truly happy ending where the Reset Button is hit and Kyubey and witches never existed.
Homura and Madoka are in an endless loop of saving each otherSee how Madoka became weak through the repetitions Homura made, while she got a hang of her power and became even better each time? At the end of the current timeline, this means that Homura will defeat Walpurgis on her own (or almost on her own), then possibly become a Witch herself, if she doesn't die in the process. Then Madoka will ask for a wish that is very similar to what Homura initially wished, so she can save Homura from that fate. The loops Madoka will enter will strengthen her while weakening Homura, "ending" in her own death with Homura's original wish, and so on...
Homura will die in Episode 11...
Homura will fail and go back to the beginning of another loopBUT something will be different. Either she brings back something with her or someone retains memories of the previous time loop or something, anything that implies that her struggle is fated to continue, but she's getting close. The show ends, everyone gets trolled and they announce a Season 2 that allows you to buy the DVDs twice.
Homura's time travel abilities isn't limited to her teen years.Theoretically, she could actually travel back further into the past to, say, prevent Kyoko from becoming a Mahou Shoujo, save Mami and her family, prevent Kamijo's injury, and so on. She just never thought of it.
Madoka is the source of all witchesHow's that for a Genre Deconstruction?
Junko (Madoka's Mother) is The Witch
Related the above, assuming Sayaka is the Prologue Witch, Walpurgisnacht is an event, and it happens to her.Homura's documents on Walpurgisnacht feature the Prologue Witch. There is heavy implications that Sayaka is the Prologue Witch, especially when you compare the trainstation's distinctive black/white tiles with the tile-based Labyrinth Madoka is in at the very start. Black and White themes also mesh rather well with Sayaka's views on morality by the end of it. Add the presence of the hospital, and the visual similarities people had already spotted, and you get this. Sayaka is the Prologue Witch. Walpurgisnacht is an event; something that boosts Witches. It happens to her. That Homura has pictures of Walpurgisnacht!Sayaka would also imply that the future she is from is after this occurs, and hence knows exactly what will happen to her. Which explains why she was so willing to kill her, though it does make her comments on not thinking to stop Sayaka becoming a Mahou Shoujo in episode four a little odd...
Sayaka...Is the witch from the prologue. I didn't come up with this theory, and I really, really don't want it to be true, but there is a lot of evidence pointing towards Sayaka being the witch from the dream.◊ Oh please do not let this be true.
Madoka is inescapably doomed to die/ become a witchafter arrival of Walpurgis Night, due to Homura's wish. Because, if you pay attention, successive timelines bend to ensure that end to the extent, that cannot be explained by Homura's actions at all. Even if we assume that Walpurgis Night is Homura's witch form and therefore always gets stronger whenever Homura does. In Timeline 1, Mami and Madoka already knew of Walpurgis Night by the moment of meeting Homura and were preparing to fight her, something that stopped to be true later. Sayaka only gets involved in the whole magical girl businness (before Homura contacts others!) in Timeline 3, right when the need to tear apart the forming team (that can possibly dogpile Walpurgis Night) by her self-destruction arises. In Timeline 4 Kyubey presumably takes considerable time to respawn, as he was rather easily stopped from making an early contact with Madoka, yet in Timeline 5 he starts respawning near-instantly. Overall, there seems to be evidence, that reality itself bends to ensure a bad outcome every time, at least to an extent of rearranging events disfavorably (and, theoretically, changes might go as far as changing the whole nature of magical girls to add extra "lose" conditions, although this is not likely, as Kyubey's words at the end of Timeline 1 suggest that at least his goals always were the same). The most likely reason for this is nature of Homura's wish, which shares the tragic flaws of both Sayaka's (wishing allegedly for the sake of another but with the real goal of validating herself through the approval of wish's recipient) and Kyoko's (wishing for what you believe another needs, without thinking of what the person that is supposed to benefit from the wish actually wants), therefore leading to unparallelled amounts of unintended consequences.
The black cat in the opening credits is her goalSimilar to Rika's calender in Higurashi, Madoka wants a pet cat (much like any child that age), and will receive it the day after the Walpurgis Night is defeated She is crying in the opening credits after opening her eyes and seeing it because its proof that she lived through the attack. It also might mean that she becomes a Magical Girl to defeat the Walpurgis Night.
Homura will die......for reasons related to her heart condition.
Homura will get a moment of perfect happiness that will make her want to stop time so she could experience it forever. At that moment, she will become a witchIt's an allusion to Faust. Specifically, the conditions under which Mephistopheles would claim Faust's soul
By the end of the series, there will be one and only one magical girl still alive.And she will take Homura's place as a Zen Survivor Stoic.
Homura would have been trapped eternally in time loop, had Madoka not pulled her Reset Button.Even if Madoka survives Walpurgis, Homura is tasked with keeping Madoka alive. So every time Madoka dies, even if by natural or normal causes, time will reset and Homura will have to go through the ordeal again, for all eternity.
Kyoukois the Devil. Kyubey and Kyouko are seen conspiring together at the end of episode 4. If the Faust allegory is consistent, Mephistopheles/Kyubey is in servitude to Kyouko/the Devil. That means Kyouko is the Big Bad.
Kyouko is older than she looksHow so? Her flasback hints that the time in which her dad lost his church, the family went destitute and she made her Selfless Wish happened LONG ago, in a time where there wasn't even electricity in Japan. Since they were Christians and lived kind-of peacefully in their faith until it got worse (if it was earlier, they would've been persecuted and killed for it), it's likely that Kyouko has been around ever since the Meiji era in which Japan opened its borders to the world. If this is true, then she's more than 100 years old.
The title character of the soon-to-be-released Prequel manga, Puella Magi Oriko Magica, will become CharlotteBecause the piece of promotional artwork marks her as a Token Mini-Moe, and she's seen with Mami and Kyoko.
Kazumi takes place after the anime, specifically after Madoka makes a reality-altering wishSpecifically, a wish to change the magical girl system forever. Part of the changes would include a way to turn witches back into magical girls. Note that the black cat in Kazumi chapter 2 resembles the one seen in the OP of Madoka (and in a piece of official artwork with Homura). Earlier guesses on this page say the cat could be a result of Madoka's wish.
Homura isn't going back in time physically, just mentally.Knowing Kyuubey, he likely decided to grant Homura's wish in Episode 10 in a way that wouldn't make her a threat, but would allow him to meet his energy quota. To make this even worse, I'll tie it in with the theories that Homura is Walpurgisnacht and that she was the real target all along. As others have noted, Homura's powers and home are linked to clockwork imagery, as is Walpurgisnacht. Because she is only travelling back in time mentally, her Soul Gem in the original timeline is becoming more and more corrupted, and she is unable to take action to cleanse it. After it becomes fully darkened, she becomes Walpurgisnacht, going back in time physically over and over, trying to stop Madoka from becoming a Magical Girl, unaware of the destruction she causes each time.
Walpurgis/the Prologue Witch is the witch HomuraMentioned several times before in other forms, but here's some food for thought. In each iteration, Walpurgis night appears to be different. Likewise, Homura changes as a person, growing both stronger and more desperate. In the grand finale, Homura wonders why she can never become strong enough to beat Walpurgis night alone, and it's because she's literally fighting a powered up version of herself as she is then. If, by definition, your witch is a stronger version of yourself, then Homura is doomed to fighting a losing battle, unless she has help. Making both herself and Walpurgis Night from alternate timelines - if Madoka accepts a contract, the despair will transform Homura, which she is trying to prevent.
The Crystal Gems are alien magical girlsPearl is a less insane and overly anxious version of Homura.
Kyubey doesn't make contracts with boys because they're more likely to be content with the outcomes of their wishes.
Wraiths are made from the released despair when Madoka saves a dying magical girl
You have some really great ideas. I can make any of them true.
All I need is for you to make a contract.
/人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕人 ——