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YMMV: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Examples

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: The series is supposed to be about hope ultimately triumphing over despair, and the need to hold onto hope, even if it's after a long, long road. The characters turn into witches when they give up hope, and in the end, Madoka becomes hope itself. However, it could also be interpreted as "think before you act, and trust reason over emotion — or for best results combine both, using logic and reason to accomplish a morally sound goal".
    • Most of the series sees immature and irrational characters getting screwed over by an emotionless Manipulative Bastard because they don't think things through. Meanwhile, he's winning - he is accomplishing his goals.
    • Mami Tomoe, who usually fights in a calm, measured manner, dies when she starts fighting more aggressively and recklessly, allowing her emotions to get the better of her and focusing on winning the battle quickly for her friend (and arguably putting on a show for said friend) rather than winning safely.
    • The ultimate triumph of Madoka becoming the living embodiment of hope happened because Madoka Kaname took the time to gather all the information she could, get the full picture, and then use that information to make a well-reasoned wish to solve as many of the problems as she could.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Some suggest that Madoka's self-sacrificial nature comes from a sense of self-worthlessness. Madoka's Image Song adds to this, with lyrics indicating her as a Stepford Smiler.
      But the truth is I'm not really that strong.
      Both the scenery and the city are the same as always
      Even though I expected nothing would change,
      I still think I'm the only one who is small.
    • Many (all?) Witches are implied to have very tragic back stories. Because of this, several people like to Draco in Leather Pants them, especially Charlotte. Charlotte's scene: as told from her perspective.
    • Is Walpurgisnacht laughing or crying?
    • Sayaka Miki: A self-absorbed girl who thought she was entitled to someone's romantic love and threw a cosmic tantrum when denied? A normal girl who was caught up in horrible crap and simply was unable to handle it? Or both?
    • Kyosuke Kamijou: Is he a stuck-up, painfully Oblivious to Love jerk who is too wrapped up in the loss of his musical ability to appreciate his friends' well meaning gestures, or similar to Sayaka, a Broken Bird who's been denied his life's dream and sees himself as useless (especially since Japan has less societal tolerance for the disabled), or a little of both?
      • Similar to Hitomi, his actions in the PSP game have exacerbated this debate; after he finds out what the MG process did to Sayaka, and calls her a "disgusting monster" to her face... on the other hand, the Bonus Route goes the opposite end, with him approving of Sayaka being a Magical Girl.
      • A Different Story shows that had Sayaka waited just a few more days, Kyosuke would have thanked her for all the time she had spent taking care of him at the hospital and admitting that he should've done it sooner.
    • There is a hefty fandom subset that believes Kyubey planned out the ending despite the fact that it goes against his character of being canonically emotionless and thus having no sympathy at all for the magical girls that are turned into witches. He even mentions that witches would be a more convenient way for him to collect energy.
    • This essay offers another view of Kyubey:
      Kyubey isn't the devil. Kyubey is the society we live in, which takes up and preys on young girls at vulnerable times in their lives, and asks them to be perfect. Society asks girls to fight against evil, the icky, awful, and impure, and it keeps asking until we say yes. Yes to being beautiful, and perfect, and good, and pure, and sweet, yes to being a nice young lady, yes to fighting everything that is bad and evil and dangerous - to fighting the things that threaten us and our friends.

      Except there's a catch. We're fighting ourselves. What they don't tell you, society, or Kyubey in this metaphor, is that there is no way to prevent yourself from becoming what you started out fighting. You lose, in this scenario, every time. At some point, a young, "emotionally volatile" girl grows up and becomes a woman. One day, you hit puberty, or maybe you haven't yet, and someone leers at you, or looks at you wrong, or calls after you and you are suddenly made aware of the fact that being a woman is dangerous. Growing up means something incredibly different for girls than it does boys.
    • Homura Akemi: A courageous, selfless heroine who seriously needs a hug after everything she went through, or a creepily obsessive Stalker with a Crush who only did everything she did to feel entitled to Madoka? While a lot of the show's fans interpret her as the former, some detractors think she's the latter. Some of her fans who believe in the former even jokingly dabble in the latter, making her a Memetic Molester. See also Rebellion.
      • Furthermore, was her wish to redo time to protect Madoka out of a genunine desire to save her best friend or simply to validate her own existence? This can also generally apply to all her actions afterwards.
      • And was Homura really doing a good thing by wishing to redo time to save Madoka, especially since that Madoka had already accepted that she would die defeating Walpurgisnacht?
    • Kyoko's behavior and her motivation for following Sayaka around surprisingly makes a lot of sense if you imagine that she has a one-sided crush on Sayaka.
    • Is Hitomi a bitch who directly caused Sayaka's death? A generally decent person who made an insensitive remark at exactly the wrong time? Was she really in love with Kyousuke, or was she just trying to help her friend confess? On a less serious note, many wonder if she's actually in the Transparent Closet.
    • SF Debris has much to say on the subject. You can read about them on his page.
  • Applicability: It has been object of academic analysis, like in this essay: Remember Madoka: Trangressing the Magical Girl.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: At first exploited by starting off as a mostly normal-looking cutesy Magical Girl show. However, after the Late-Arrival Spoiler of it being a Deconstruction, it got played straight.
  • Awesome Music: Now has its own page!
  • Base Breaker:
    • Opinion is split on Kyubey. He's either a disgusting, irredeemably evil monster, or an adorable, yet nightmarish, Magnificent Bastard with admirable goals.
    • Madoka herself, for not accomplishing much for most of the series despite being the main character, although Episode 10 and onwards justify the entire matter, and show that she was an active, asskicking protagonist in previous timelines before Homura determined it was too dangerous for her. However, she redeemed herself to a portion of the fanbase for ending the magical girl-witch cycle, but the ending itself is an entirely different matter.
      • There are also those who believe Madoka to be a Mary Sue due to the implications that she is the most powerful character in the series, again, despite not doing anything. However, just like many other tropes in the series, this is deconstructed, explained and justified to hell and back; again, Homura is the one to make Madoka more powerful with every timeline, and it therefore becomes even more crucial for Homura to prevent her best friend from becoming a magical girl. Or so it seems.
    • The characters involved in the Sayaka-Kyosuke-Hitomi Love Triangle are controversial as people have different opinions on who was to blame for the tragic results.
    • Sayaka herself has garnered divisive opinions. Depending on the fan, she's either a very well-done and sympathetic tragic character, or a whiny White Knight who felt unnecessarily entitled to Kyosuke's love.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: After Homura's backstory is told in full in the second movie, we're treated to a reanimated opening of "Connect" in the middle of the movie.
  • Broken Base:
    • The ending made some people thrilled for being the most perfect ending that absolutely fits the themes and tones of the series, and left others wanting to kill Shaft for making a non Grim Dark cop-out ending and Madoka a Jesus figure and making them wait weeks for it.
    • The announcement of The Movie trilogy.
    • Urobuchi's plan to continue the franchise with a new show.
    • Inevitably, the English dub.
    • Aniplex USA being the licensing company for the series.
    • This series as a whole is one big Love It or Hate It among the anime community (see Hype Backlash below), enough said.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • Mami/Charlotte is a little too popular. Even Ume Aoki seems to ship it!
    • Mami/Kyoko used to be considered crack, because they never met during the story proper. Then the 3rd Drama CD revealed Kyoko and Mami used to be very close friends before Kyoko's family died. Later the manga The Different Story expanded upon their relationship. Now they're one of the more popular pairings.
    • Mami/Homura, despite the fact that both girls have little in common. Homura and Mami were on friendly terms... until Mami snapped and tried to kill Homura, followed by Homura's Break the Cutie moment.
    • Mami/Kyubey.
    • Witch!Madoka x Giant Naked Rei
    • Sayaka x Homura has been gaining steam despite these two having the most openly hostile relationship with each other and an inability for them to get along (much to Madoka's distress).
  • Counterpart Comparison: With Episode 10's revelations, comparisons of Homura with Rika Furude have increased. Rika's "Groundhog Day" Loop? It created a witch.
    • As noted here, Homura shares a lot of similarities to Bayonetta, from their color scheme, usage of circular emblems and firearms they use.
    • The All There in the Manual revelation of Kriemhild Gretchen's motivation of "creating heaven" has led to the typical comparisons with Neon Genesis Evangelion. Specifically with the Giant Naked Rei that starts Instrumentality.
    • Mami, to Drill Sgt. Marimo Jinguuji. Both blonde-haired mentors who got their heads bitten off, signalling their respective series' shift into darker territory. The author of the ongoing manga serialization of Alternative recently decided to do a little shout out back.
    • The upcoming movie trilogy has brought Evangelion comparisons. Although most fans are saying it will be like the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, a closer look at the trilogy suggests something more like Evangelion: Death and Rebirth followed by The End of Evangelion.
    • The process of becoming a magical girl is much like the fates of the girls in Red Garden: the girls inhabit lifeless bodies and must fight monsters when summoned as the result of a curse.
    • Sayaka's dealings with Kyubey can bring to mind Anakin Skywalker's dealings with Darth Sidious, seeing how they both end up becoming deluded fanatics who do what they do for the people they love and fall to the Dark Side, becoming hideous monsters in the process. Luckily, like Vader becoming Anakin in the afterlife, the same thing happens to Sayaka when Madoka takes her away.
    • The concept of being a Magical Girl is quite similar to the life of a geohound in Grandia II. They are both thankless, dead-end jobs which involve killing monsters with some kind of weapon or another. Both are taken up due to terrible circumstances surrounding the person accepting it. (Ryudo in his own story also says at one point, that he works best alone even if he's up against a ton of monsters; so do most Magical Girls.)
    • Some comparisons with Kamen Rider Ryuki given that Madoka's plot is arguably a giant love letter to it.
    • Madoka's Heroic Sacrifice in the finale and over torment throughout the series has caused some comparisons with Usagi, particularly the latter's manga incarnation.
    • The concept of Witches could very easily be compared to the entire plot of The Halloween Hack. Both have Eldritch Abominations born from despair, psychedelic worlds that envelop them and represent everything that led to their downfall, monsters let loose into the real world as a result, and a "hero" whose job is to kill the one(s) behind said monsters roaming around.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Between the characters' unwillingness to listen to each other and the overall hopelessness, some viewers wonder why they should care. See the variant mentioned on the main page and this trope's page.
  • Death of the Author: It has been stated that Shaft made the opening without input from Urobuchi or any of the other writers and that it carries no real meaning. Fans still believe that it does (for example, the black cat featured in the opening and the resulting witchery in-series). Given that Word of God has now explained the cat, this may be Ascended Fanon.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Magica Madoka Veneficus Puella is one example.
  • Designated Protagonist Syndrome: Madoka is subjected to this because she's a more or less ordinary girl (until the finale, where she ascends to godhood) in a cast of Badass magical girls with dark backstories and/or character arcs. As the story goes on, we find out exactly why; the series is fully aware that Madoka is less interesting, and it's a good thing for her that she is.
  • Die for Our Ship: A portion of the fanbase now despises Hitomi for confessing to Kyosuke and, unbeknownst to her, breaking Sayaka mentally and emotionally which turned her into a witch and thus killing her and the person who Mercy Killed her. It's full of Moral Myopia because the major part of her haters insist on how Hitomi's worth and goodness as a person relies solely on renouncing her own happiness, when Sayaka has the exact some flaw on her end—in fact one of the lessons of her arc is that renouncing your own happiness leads to bad things.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Kyoko is a cynical, antisocial Social Darwinist prone to Ax-Crazy moments and allows familiars to kill people so they can become Witches that produce Grief Seeds. She mocks Sayaka's wish and goads her into fighting. (She starts to show a softer side after learning the Awful Truth and then trying to speak to Sayaka)... but the fandom adores her. This was from before her genuinely Dark and Troubled Past was revealed.
    • Some of the actual witches; it's understandable given The Reveal about witches being fallen magical girls, but the fans were Moe-ifying Charlotte (i.e., the witch who ate Mami alive) long before any of that.
  • Ear Worm: "Sis, puella magica!" is one of the most haunting and memorable melodies of the show.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Mami and Kyoko - the two least important Magical Girls to the overall plot (and the only ones not to qualify, or pretend to qualify, as The Hero), but the second- and third- most popular characters in many circles, behind the inevitable Homura. This may be why both of them got A Day in the Limelight in the Puella Magi Oriko Magica spinoff.
    • Out of all the witches, Charlotte has a respectable amount of fanart despite appearing for all of two minutes. Even though she's an Eldritch Abomination, many fans find her adorable; having a face that wouldn't look out of place next to Hello Kitty helps with that. The biggest reason for her popularity is likely her status as the Knight of Cerebus — most of the artwork of her is with Mami, albeit usually under a more benign setting. Also, with the revelation that witches are corrupted magical girls, there's now fanart popping up depicting what Charlotte might have looked like as a human.
    • A nameless, faceless classmate was the subject of an image macro, captioned "Poorfag is poor", because she was the only student who had no laptop. When the Blu-rays were released and the fans got a better look of "Poorfag", her popularity soared.
    • Another background character, a boy nicknamed "Failurefag", also became memetic, sitting behind Madoka while slumping in apparent frustration.
  • Epileptic Trees: These started sprouting just after the first episode. Some of those were right and some of them that were right qualified as Poison Oak Epileptic Trees right off the bat.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Madoka sacrifices herself for humanity in the final episode and becomes a goddess. The episode first aired on Good Friday. note 
  • Evil Is Cool/Evil Is Sexy: Kyoko.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • When Madoka gets worried about Sayaka's well-being due to the latter's strong sense of justice, Madoka's mother tells her to do something wrong to balance it out. While the qualifier she adds makes it valid advice (that it's easier to recover from mistakes while you're still young, and learning to pick yourself up will be a valuable skill as an adult), this advice might be what possessed Madoka to snatch Sayaka's Soul Jar and throw it off a bridge above a freeway.
    • The major lesson of Sayaka's arc, and wish-making in general, is that people are ultimately selfish in what they want, and that pretending otherwise only leads to suffering.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A given considering the nature and tone of the series, which makes it something of a Base Breaker among the Magical Girl genre's fandom. Its fans not only quarrel with the fans of traditional Magical Girl shows such as Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure, but also the fandoms of fellow dark shows such as Princess Tutu and Il Sole penetra le Illusioni.
  • Fanfic Fuel: The premise and setting gives a lot of fuel.
    • Magical girl OCs as Kyubey made contracts with a lot of girls before the main narrative.
    • There's plenty of stories on the magical girl forums of the canon witches.
    • Homura's constant timeline jumping also leaves people to wonder what she did in offscreen timelines.
    • The finale provides fanfics with a post-Madoka world and how people deal with it, and the vague nature of the demons that replaced the witches. Some fans also ignore that Madoka's little brother Tatsuya eventually forgets about her in some fanfics.
    • It's popular to speculate about what Hitomi would be like as a magical girl, as the possibility never comes up in the series, and it also provides a good way to kill her off so that Kyosuke and Sayaka can get together.
  • Fan Nickname: Godoka or Madokami, Homurika
    • Also, Moemura, for Homura before she became a magical girl.
    • Add to that Hommando after the fight scene in episode 11.
    • Kyoko's name is easy to mispronounce as Anko due to the ambiguous kanji. This eventually ended up as her nickname.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Madoka and Homura. Even the author acknowledges it in an omake at the beginning of Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story.
  • Fountain of Memes: Kyubey. Just type his name into Google and see what comes up. If that isn't enough, he even has his own page on Know Your Meme.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Several of note given the series wide appeal:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Rewatching early episodes is kind of uncomfortable in light of certain events.
    • Kazuko's wacky ramblings about her failed relationships. In the first episode she warns the girls about men who judge women by the eggs they can prepare. Incubator turns out to be exactly that kind of guy. In Episode 4 she goes off on a tangent about biological eligibility having nothing to do with finding or pursuing love. Unfortunately Sayaka is in no state to listen and only gets worse. It's also possible that, in light of what happens to Sayaka, her frustration, instead of something to be taken lightly, might be a symptom of deep depression.
    • In Episode 2, the line "Don't worry, I won't lose my head in front of my future juniors" is said. Just guess who said that and why it was a very wrong thing to say.
  • Faux Symbolism: There is no way that Homura could be Faust, Madoka couldn't possibly be Gretchen, and Kyubey representing Mephistopheles/Satan? Patently absurd. There are outright quotes, and symbols referencing Faust.
  • Gateway Series: Along with Attack on Titan, this show has become one of the biggest introductions to anime for many newcomers to the medium in recent years.
  • Genius Bonus: This show is crammed full of it, from the Shout Outs to obscure 19th century literature and musicians, mythological references, Faust quotes, and coded runic fonts. Sometimes you have to pause and zoom in on a tiny portion of a frame to find some of them.
    • Physicists will laugh when they realize that Kyubey is Maxwell's Demon.
    • The outside of Homura's house is reminiscent of a locale in the video game Shadow Of Destiny. Some of the possible titles used before they settled on the final one were The Day and Night of Walpurgisnacht, Days of Walpurgis, and Time Adventure. Sounds like a regular Shout-Out, no? The game is about a man who travels back in time to prevent his death multiple times, which it turns out is very similar to what Homura is trying to do with Madoka.
    • The witch Oktavia von Seckendorff who was once Sayaka. Her name comes from Karl Siegmund von Seckendorff, who composed for "Der König in Thule", the poem that appears in Goethe's Faust, as well as wrote a book called "Das Rad des Schicksals" (The Wheel of Fate). Oktavia fights by throwing wheels, and the word "Schicksal" appears in her labyrinth. Also, the Wheel of Fate (or Fortune) is a tarot card which symbolizes "possibilities, opportunities, new developments, sudden changes"; a rather apt description of Sayaka's life after meeting Kyubey.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: One of the only magical girl series that has a decent sized fandom in America. On a character level, Homura is really well received in the US (and for Higurashi fans).
  • Glurge: Some people think that Episode 12's ending message falls under this, mostly due to the implications of such a message.
  • Growing the Beard: If the first two episodes didn't already show stubble to some fans indicating this isn't the usual Magical Girl series, then Episode 3 should've done it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • It's unfortunate that Mami just so happened to wear her Soul Gem as a hair dec, since she loses it along with her head.
    • Mami tying up Homura in Episode 3. In the third timeline, after finding out that Magical Girls become witches from Sayaka turning into Octavia, Mami attempted to Mercy Kill the rest of the group to prevent the same fate from happening to them, by shooting Kyoko and tying Homura up, leaving her powerless to do anything and only being saved by Madoka killing Mami.
    • Madoka talking to Homura, Episode 4: "I get the feeling you're a veteran at this too...and I guess you've seen lots of people die horribly, haven't you?" Yes, Madoka, she has. Including you. This entire conversation is awful. It ends with Madoka promising to never forget Homura. Not only has she repeatedly "forgotten" her in multiple timelines, but everyone (except Homura) will also forget Madoka once she becomes God.
    • In Episode 2, Madoka asks Homura what she wished for when she became a magical girl. It's a perfectly innocent question that becomes horrible if you've seen the show to the end. In fact if you watch the show twice, the first few episodes just seem like an exercise in how much Homura can be utterly tormented by otherwise innocuous comments.
    • Look at these adorable pictures from Madoka's childhood after finishing the show.
    • In Episode 10, the Sayaka in a previous timeline asks if Homura can use any weapons other than bombs because she thinks she might get caught up in one of the explosions. Later in that timeline, guess how Witch!Sayaka is defeated?
    • In a more Meta example, Episode 10 featured the image of a destroyed and flooded Japanese city. Shortly after it aired, Japan got hit with a massive earthquake and tsunami.
      • Over late October and early November 2012, history repeats itself, as the International release of the Madoka compilation movies sees the US hit by Hurricane Sandy. Ouch.
      • Rebellion comes out, and a few weeks later the Philippines gets hit by a typhoon.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • Oktavia's scream. Nightmarish because it's Sayaka's voice.
    • The shrill high-pitched voice of the witch H.N. Elly in Episode 4.
    • Madoka's anguished scream in Episode 10, when she becomes a witch for the first time.
    • Walpurgisnacht's distorted laughter.
  • Het is Ew: The amount of fans who simply can't accept Sayaka devoting herself to a male love interest is staggering. Much of this has to do with them already devoted to Sayaka x Kyoko.
    • That, or people see Kyosuke as too much of an unlikeable asshole, who, among his other flaws, does not appropriately acknowledge Sayaka's feelings for him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Before the last two episodes were aired in Japan, one fan decided to make a trailer for a Madoka Magica movie in the style of an actual film trailer (watch it here). Months later...
    • One episode features Kyoko playing a Dance Dance Revolution-like game, to the tune of an arrangement of "Connect", the opening theme. Several months later, Dance Dance Revolution X3 was released, and it features a cover of "Connect".
    • There is a doujin involving Mami saved from her gruesome death by Guts (it's in the Fan Fic Recommendations page). Cue the English dub cast, it's announced that Mami will be voiced by Carrie Keranen, Casca's voice actress.
    • April 21, 2011: Episode 11 airs. Homura, having previously stolen a few truckloads of Type 88 antiship missiles from the JGSDF, fires them off at Walpurgisnacht. April 21, 2011: In Real Life, the JGSDF's 6th Surface-to-Ship Missile Regiment, which uses Type 88 missiles, is disbanded.
    • This series has been compared to Kamen Rider Ryuki. Over a year later, Kamen Rider Wizard was released, which was noted to have similarities to Madoka Magica. The series after that, Kamen Rider Gaim, has Urobuchi himself as the main writer.
    • This video features Homura in the protagonist's place during the first opening of The World God Only Knows. Cute on its own, but then the final arc of TWGOK comes along and it's all about using Mental Time Travel to create a Stable Time Loop and Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • HSQ: Almost every episode will leave you trying to comprehend what just happened.
  • Hype Backlash/Angst Aversion:
    • Knowing that the show is going to be a tragedy series can easily put people off, and if you aren't a fan of those kinds of stories, you aren't going to like this series as much as it fans will.
    • Hearing all the hype about this series as a Deconstruction of magical girls can be annoying to people that have already watched series that have done that (particularly since a noticeable portion of Madoka's fanbase has Small Reference Pools regarding the genre), on top of people who find deconstruction very irritating in the first place.
  • Idiot Plot: So much grief could have been avoided if the girls were more willing to talk things out with each other, and above all, ask questions. This is justified as the characters are mainly young girls who are barely teenage and selected by Kyubey for the wide range between hope and despair.
  • I Knew It:
    • Episode 6: Soul gems are Soul Jars.
    • Episode 8: Homura is a time traveler and uses time-based powers, spoiler:witches are fallen Magical Girls, and Grief Seeds are their former soul gems. Sayaka becomes a witch.
    • Episode 9: Homura's powers manipulate time, and she is not from the present timeline.
    • Episode 10: The presence of time loops confirmed, along with the Prologue of Episode 1 being the endgame of the previous iteration.
    • Episode 12: Madoka's wish was to change the Magical Girl system.
    • From the very beginning of the series there was speculation that Kyubey is evil. Whether you can say that or not is left to the watcher's interpretation.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Kyubey's reasoning that involved science. Mentioning anything about entropy in /a/ would cause an argument. Even if two characters died in that episode.
    • Don't ask whether this show is a Deconstruction or not unless you wish to start a Flame War.
    • The debates over whether the proper term is "magical girl", "puella magi", or "mahou shojo" will go on forever.
    • Mentioning this series on /m/ will get... interesting reactions from toku fans who note similarities with Kamen Rider Ryuki.
    • Calling Puella Magi Madoka Magica a "feminist" series will cause lots of fights on Tumblr. Particularly, people will argue about Values Dissonance regarding Japanese vs. white feminism, Death of the Author, and the validity of Gen Urobochi's comments when he compares magical girls to Al-Qaeda.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Even people who haven't watched the show at all know that Charlotte dropped a bridge on Mami.
    • An interesting case with Kyubey. If you've heard anything at all about this show, the first thing you're likely to have heard is that Kyubey is the ultimate evil of everything that exists and should die in a fire. Ironically, it's not as simple as it sounds.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Kyoko. Her father founded a new church, but the general public dismissed his teachings as heretical, so Kyoko used her wish to brainwash the crowd into believing in her father's religion. After he found out about this, he became crazy and killed the whole family. Probably the only reason Kyoko survived was because she was a lich by that time. Yep, she had to live through a lot of crap in her life... but it still doesn't justify how much of an ass she was at the beginning and neither does it excuse how she's used to bash Madoka.
    • Sayaka is also a hopeless girl who becomes a magical girl out of eagerness for Kyosuke's love. Though despite the fact that the aforementioned decision ends up being her own fault, at the end of the day, she's just a teenage girl who didn't deserve everything that happens to her.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Madoka x Mami, Madoka x Homura, Madoka x Sayaka, Madoka x herself (the last one comes from the opening animation). It's slightly hilarious that the trope namer is Doctor Faustus.
  • Les Yay: Has its own page.
  • LGBT Fanbase: While PMMM is popular with yuri fans of all genders and sexualities, it seems to have picked up an unusually large fandom of lesbian and bi/pansexual women. This may be because the relationships between the heroines are treated seriously, with Les Yay used for drama and plot advancement much more than it's used as fanservice.
  • Love to Hate: Kyubey. Most of the fans would love to see him die horribly, yet he's also a Fountain of Memes and the source of much humor and entertainment in the fandom.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Kyubey's line in Episode 9 cemented him as one in many fans' eyes.
    Kyubey: So, if you ever feel like dying for the sake of the universe, call me! I'll be waiting.
  • Magnum Opus: Considered by many to be the finest work by writer Gen Urobuchi, as well as the best anime from Studio Shaft and director Akiyuki Shinbo.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Goddess Madoka.
    • Junko Kaname is a Memetic Badass Normal. She's among the few characters (from all media) the fandom assumes can take on Homura on even footing.
  • Memetic Molester: WARNING: All the links below are NSFW.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Memetic Sex God:
    • Mami, or more specifically, her breasts. They have their own wiki page. The fandom also keeps Mami's ribbons in mind...
    • Homura's amazing hair flips can turn any girl homusexual in 6 seconds flat.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • At one point during the show's airing, Yuki Kajiura tweeted that her mother had decided that the dark, dread-inducing ending song "Magia" was a good workout song.
    • The fans who want to make a contract with Kyubey.
    • Sayaka's interest in Kyosuke is oddly similar to that of the "nice guy" archetype, expecting Kyosuke to love her in return for doing something for him. It's seen as romantic rather than the proper Deconstruction it is.
  • Moe: The promo materials made it look like the "adorable Magical Girls have cutesy, sugary, light-hearted adventures together" type of Moe, but it turned out to be the "adorable Magical Girls have terrible things happen to them, cry a lot, and desperately need a hug" type of Moe.
    • Two characters have won Saimoe Tournaments on separate occasions: Mami won in 2011 while Madoka won in 2013.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The fandom is divided on when he becomes an Acceptable Target (the infamous 'Everybody hates Kyubey' pool in Danbooru (NSFW) stands as eternal proof of this), but the most commonly believed Moral Event Horizon crossings are either when he mislead Kyoko into believing that Sayaka could be saved after turning into a witch which leads to her Heroic Sacrifice and leaving Homura as the only Puella Magi to fight Walpurgisnacht - all in hopes that Madoka would contract with him, or his casually delivered line asking Madoka to give his kind a call when she'd be ready to die for the universe.
    • Kyoko's father killing his entire family after finding out that his older daughter's wish was the only reason for his popularity, and then killing himself too. Kyoko survived but ended up bitter and amoral.
  • Narm:
    • Considering that Kyubey's "charm" is his Perpetual Smiler traits, his "Nightmare Face" from the manga (which he pulls when Homura calls him "Incubator") could come off as more overblown than truly scary, complete with Black Eyes of Evil. Kyubey's voice actor was unimpressed.
    • Mami's cute little hops with bended knees and pigeon toes before her Transformation Sequence were out of place.
    • In Episode 11, Walpurgisnacht is supposed to be a very dramatic fight... except for Walpurgisnacht having a super ultra high-pitched Evil Laugh.
    • A brief shot in Episode 8 of a crazed Sayaka showing her soul gem to Madoka whilst everything else is blood red seems out of place. It's no surprise that it was cut from the movie.
    • Charlotte's One-Winged Angel is a large worm that appears to be made out of candy and looks as though it has the face of a clown. It's something of the equivalent of Lelouch's pink sword in dramatic effect after it devours Mami.
    • The signature head-tilt can turn a serious and dramatic moment narmy given how unnatural it looks.
    • Homura breaking down and crying in the last episode as Madoka is about to fade away. The last few times Homura cried during the series, it was genuinely heartbreaking, and a real indicator of just how pear-shaped things had gotten. The last one, however, came out as a kind of "Eeee...EEEEHUEEEEEEeeeeEEEEeeeeEEEE". It was...well, just a touch goofy.
    • A similar example to the above comes in Episode 10. The emotional impact of Homura having to Mercy Kill Madoka can be completely destroyed by the sound that Homura utters seconds before pulling the trigger. ...If it doesn't have the opposite effect.
    • The movie version of Mami's death scene will probably be narmy if you speak German, because the background music is Ominous German Chanting that translates to "Cheese! Cheese! Where is the cheese?" (Bonus points for it being literally cheesy.)
  • Narm Charm:
    • In Episode 12, when Madoka makes her wish and out gambits him, the camera zooms to Kyubey making His Most Epic Face EVER. Unlike other cases, it works.
    • In Episode 10, during the scene where Madoka asks Homura to Mercy Kill her, Homura does a quick transformation... making a cutsey "Poing!" noise in the process. Only the fact that this is by far the most heart-wrenching scene in the whole series keeps it from being regular old Narm.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • A regenerated Kyubey eats the corpse of his body which Homura had just killed.
    • The manga version of Mami's death is far worse and more graphic.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • If all the fanart and official merchandise showing them together is any indication, Charlotte will be remembered for one thing and one thing only — killing Mami, and, to a slightly lesser extent, Mami will be remembered only for being killed by Charlotte. See the Memetic Sex God entry above for the other reason.
    • Thanks to a few memetic lines, Hitomi Shizuki is considered the patron saint of anti-yuri. Tell us, Hitomi, can girls love girls?
  • One-Scene Wonder: Charlotte's popularity is inversely proportional to her screentime.
  • Periphery Demographic: Despite being aimed at older males, the show has gained a large female fanbase due to it being a Magical Girl series. A lot of teenagers watch the show, too.
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: It has been said that, regarding an Urobuchi work, "Think out the worst possible logical scenario that can happen, and Urobuchi will top it." It turns out to be correct, many times over.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Witches are everywhere and they are responsible for suicides. What's worse, they are invisible to normal humans until you wander into their lair, wherein you will be killed in a horrific way. That friend of yours online that just killed herself? Could have been because of a witch. Wanna take that shortcut through the alleyway? Could walk in right into a witches' lair. You are never safe.
  • Replacement Scrappy: As any fic writer will tell you, compared to the witches, the wraiths are just kind of bland. Before the release of the movie Rebellion, it was expected that the wraiths would get more attention and exposition on in the movie, due to a lack of such from the end of anime; however, they do not make a single appearance in the movie, aside from mere mentions. Because of this, some have come to view wraiths as a pointless, filler enemy that really just ends up being there, because something had to take over the witches after they all were erased at the end of the anime.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Madoka enters the show as Shinji Ikari. She comes out as Jesus. Eventually we learn the truth about Magical Girls and the reason why Homura actively keeps Madoka from joining a career as a Magical Girl: it's a Deal with the Devil that involves transforming into a Lich for a single wish that you are very likely to screw up. Madoka became Genre Savvy enough in one of the timelines to make Homura promise to keep her from becoming a Magical Girl.
    • Sayaka. In an /a/ poll she was the least popular of the five main characters as of Episode 10, but the hatred for her seems to have cooled since the show ended. This is likely due to her accepting her fate as a magical girl in the last episode.
  • Ron the Death Eater: A big part of the Fan Dumb took Mami's Freak Out in a horrible way.
  • The Scrappy:
  • Strawman Has a Point: As cruel as Kyoko's Social Darwinist outlook may seem, her belief that helping others would only lead to trouble is accurate in light of the series' universe. Both Kyoko and Sayaka's contracts came back to bite them horribly, Madoka's attempt to cheer Mami up by promising to fight alongside her distracted the latter in a fight, leading to her death, and finally the whole dark series began from Homura making a wish to prevent Madoka's death resulting in a progressively worse Ground Hog Day Loop.
    • Arguably, this even extends to Madoka's wish, considering the events of Rebellion.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • Some of the DVD edits haven't been well-received.
      • All Soul Gems have been changed from hand-drawn to Conspicuous CG. While this fixes the scaling problems the Soul Gems had all over the place in the first few episodes, it's.... conspicuous.
      • Mami's Soul Gem now has little flowers fluttering around it. These flowers also appear during her transformation and general use of her powers. It's both Narmy and unusual considering no one else's Soul Gems do anything similar.
      • Mami's apartment has been changed from having the most basic pieces of furniture and a blank hardwood floor to being decked out with pastel upholstery and stuffed animals everywhere. Detractors argue that the minimalistic version did a good job of highlighting Mami's depression due to complete lack of friends and family.
      • Among various architectural edits to the town, the school rooftop's chainlink fence was replaced with a very ornate white one. There would be no problem if they had re-drawn Sayaka's hand as she clutches the fence; the orientation of her fingers makes no sense with the new fence.
      • The Sayaka/Kyoko fight gets better shading, but in every other aspect the new artwork arguably looks worse than the originals.
    • Some of the changes in the movies are not well received, such the removal of certain scenes and changing of music. Apparently the focus of a broken pipe in an alley dripping water is much more important to the series than Mami's back-story.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Poor Mami. She's a Cool Big Sis and Lady of War who can summon a sky full of muskets. She dies in the third episode.
    • Just as she starts to get over her Jerkass tendencies, Kyoko dies.
  • True Art Is Angsty Not the case here. Despite all the trauma and hardship, there's an uplifting and positive ending.
  • Uncanny Valley: Kyubey's blank and never-changing expression makes looking at it's face, particularly when it is "talking" unnerving.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Kyosuke, noted under The Scrappy, even people that don't hate usually don't think he comes off as sympathetic since a decent chunk of his screen time consists of him being a Jerkass out of frustration of his injury. Realistic, yes, but people usually don't sympathize with somebody they don't see being anything likable.
  • The Woobie: Everyone in the whole series (aside from Kyubey) makes the viewers want to give them a big hug and tell them that all will end well.
    • Special mention goes to Homura for being an Iron Woobie. There's a reason her Fan Nickname is Homurika, you know.
    • Sayaka due to her heartbreaking breakdown, but also because Word of God has declared that she can't be saved in any timeline. Poor girl.
    • Kyoko's backstory implies she's an Iron Woobie herself. It's impressive she didn't immediately turn into a witch after her family was murdered by her freaking out father.
    • The witches themselves count as a Woobie Species because they're fallen magical girls.
  • Woolseyism: At the end of the series, in the original Japanese the new monsters that replace witches are called "majuu", which literally means "magical beast". The fansubs for the anime simply translated the world as "demon", but the official subtitles use "wraith" instead. Not only does the latter better fit their appearance, it also preserves an additional meaning in the original Japanese: the word "majuu" is very similar to "majo", the Japanese word for witch, reflecting the idea that the former are a replacement for the latter. In English "wraith" and "witch" also possess some of this similarity; they both start with "w", end in "h", and have an "it" in the middle.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not For Little Girls?: Hey, look at this show where the cast are all cute little girls who wear cute dresses and can do magic — did that girl's head just get eaten by that clown-caterpillar creature?! It gets worse from there.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The witch's labyrinths. These things look like they come out of Terry Gilliam's nightmares.


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