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Characters / Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Kyubey and the Witches

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Voiced by: Emiri Katou (Japanese), Cassandra Lee Morris (English), Inmaculada Villalonga (Spanish)
"Let's make a contract."
A small, cute creature that communicates through telepathy. His duty is to form contracts with girls where they will become magical girls and fight witches in exchange for any one wish. He is intent on contracting Madoka due to her immense potential.

He's working torwards the fulfillment of a mysterious, overarching goal which is slowly unveiled as the story progresses.

  • Adorable Abomination: Given that he's from a species of Starfish Aliens with Blue-and-Orange Morality, reality-warping wish-granting powers, and Resurrective Immortality to the point where he can eat his own corpse seconds after being killed, yeah, he qualifies.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Though they don't mean any malice, they'll still leave humans to die if they meet their quota. So much for the relationship being mutually beneficial.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Homura. They've been fighting for a long time. Technically speaking, Kyubey doesn't have any particular malice toward's just that he really, really wants Madoka to make that contract so he can get all that delicious anti-entropy witch energy from her turning into Kriemhild Gretchen, and Homura would very much prefer that Madoka stays alive.
  • Art Evolution: Kyubey's original design gave him large pupils, making him look cuter and more similar to a standard magical mascot. The smaller red eyes with relatively small pupils of the new design give the creature a somewhat eerie Thousand-Yard Stare, befitting his Lack of Empathy and his alien mentality.
  • At Least I Admit It: In Episode 11, Kyubey points out that humans are just as willing to disregard the feelings of their livestock as the Incubators disregard the eventual despair and death of magical girls for the sake of The Needs of the Many.
  • Auto Cannibalism: Eats any body that dies; technically they're all himself.
  • Awful Truth: Kyubey's go-to weapon. Kyubey never lies except when he describes his kind's relationship with humanity as mutually beneficial when it's quite obviously really parasitic and so long as they meet their quota they don't care what becomes of humanity; he doesn't need to when the truth is that much more horrible. The little monster's a genius at using it to break his marks down, leaving them either desperate and prone to making contracts or nihilistic and ripe to become witches.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: As the Jack Ass Genie who guided young girls to their doom and was perfectly content to leave Earth to die once he completed his quota, his biggest hope was for Madoka to become the most powerful magical girl to create the greatest energy burst once she witched out. In the end, Madoka did become a magical girl... and her wish was to erase all witches from existence, including the release of energy Kyubey harvested once the girls crossed the Despair Event Horizon. In the new timeline, the magical girls are saved by Madoka and Kyubey is stuck with a system that gets him way less energy than before.
  • Benevolent Genie: He grants a wish with no strings attached and (usually) to the spirit of the wish, any unintended consequences usually result from people not thinking their wish through, as opposed to interference on Kyubey's part. In some cases, he will even warn a magical girl candidate against a particular wish if that wish is directly negated by the results of the wish. In Kazumi Magica, he warns Kazumi about what he sees as the pointlessness of her wish; she wished to be human but as soon as the wish was granted she would turn into a magical girl, and thus no longer be human.
  • Big Bad: Unusually the show's conflict begins in truth with a morally neutral problem (called entropy) that threatens their entire world. The incubators step up into the role of the main villain through their manner of dealing with it. Then Madoka rewrites reality and he doesn't have to be evil anymore, but that's at the very end of the series... Until he becomes one again anyway, because there is no need for a reason more complicated than that it is profitable.
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: Kyubey and his race seem to operate in an extremely rational Hive Mind. They view emotions as a mental sickness, and do not consider not telling every part of the truth as lying. Simply put, their only concern is to offset the heat-death of the universe.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • He literally can not comprehend why humans would care if their souls have been ripped out of their bodies or not. In Episode 7, Homura states that "human values don't mean anything to it". Then in Episode 9 it reveals that "they", the heavily implied Hive Mind don't have any emotions, bizarre alien ones included. Indeed, emotion is considered to be a mental illness among his race.
    • He also genuinely does not understand why the girls end up so traumatized by the death of their fellows or why they see it as reprehensible; on a planet with seven billion inhabitants, the deaths of a few are virtually inconsequential. What, can't they make new friends or something?
    • Eating himself doesn't bother him at all. Given his overall goal of defeating entropy, it makes sense he wouldn't just let a pile of perfectly good energy go to waste just because he used to inhabit it.
  • Break Them by Talking: His usual tactic is enforce despair by breaking a girl's self-confidence through words. It ends up backfiring when he attempts it against Madoka, since he inadvertently gives her the necessary information to make a wish that can derail his plans.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Something doesn't involve magical girls hunting Grief Seeds? Then Kyubey doesn't have an opinion on it.
    • Did you just throw away your friend's Soul Gem? I'd like to help you, but first let me explain why throwing that thing away is crazy.
    • A massive Witch has been born and will destroy the whole earth in a matter of days? Good luck fighting it, I just harvested enough energy to meet my planetary quota.
  • Catchphrase: "Make a contract with me!"
  • Cats Are Mean: His form is highly ambiguous, but his body and the way he moves seem to invoke a cat-like imagery (possibly a ferret instead — see Weasel Mascot below), and the things he says and does... he may not think he's being cruel, but everyone else disagrees.
  • Cat Smile: It's creepy as hell due to its face being stuck semi-permanently in this expression. Whether this is its intention is a matter of much debate.
  • Culture Clash: Kyubey and his race don't seem to make that big of a deal of having one's soul moved into a Soul Jar. Sayaka does, and it is implied that many other magical girls did, too. With Kyoko it is more than implied.
    "It never fails. Whenever I tell you humans the simple facts, you always react the same way. It makes no sense at all. Why are humans so sensitive about the kind of container their souls are housed in?"
  • Cute Is Evil: More amoral and without empathy than evil, and definitely cute. You know you wanna pet him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the alternate universe created by Madoka, he remarks that it'd be cool if magical girls could become witches, but even he has to admit that in that universe, that's not possible.
  • Deal with the Devil: He offers to grant the girls any wish in exchange for becoming a Magical Girl Warrior and spending the rest of their lives fighting witches. The Faustian references are numerous, although not always obvious (e.g. Mephistopheles being a Ridiculously Cute Critter). In the end, they become what they fight against.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: He has "many bodies" and can reincarnate himself instantly. The drama of him getting beaten up (and killed, then beaten up again) by Homura in the first episode was, presumably, an act to get Madoka to sympathize with him. In addition, his method of clean-up in a new body is to eat his own corpse.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Replace "child" with "animal", but he looks cute and endearing on purpose to tempt girls into making those contracts.
  • Determinator: Once Kyubey knows you're a magical girl candidate, they'll stop at nothing to make sure you make a contract with them, even if they have to visit you frequently to do it. For added fun, the more potential you have, the harder it will be to get them to leave you alone.
  • Dissonant Serenity: In the anime, he always keeps his Frozen Cat Smile and he almost always talks cheerfully in both versions regardless of context, only demonstrating any degree of distress a few times. He recognizes that his voice should show distress in situations of obvious danger, like when he's running from Homura, and, as later revealed, can also sound surprised but more nuanced emotions are too alien for him to mimic them convincingly. Justified because he's a member of an alien race which is unable to feel any emotions (the ones that do are considered mentally ill).
  • Doing In the Scientist: Kyubey isn't a magical creature, but an Sufficiently Advanced Alien trying to prevent the heat death of the universe (supposedly) by breaking the second law of thermodynamics. He does this by warping reality to perform genuine miracles and draw out the magical potential in human girls so he can gather the energy generated by their emotions, which are not governed by any kind of science and thus suit Kyubey's needs perfectly.
  • Eldritch Abomination: He's a Cosmic Entity with Blue-and-Orange Morality who maintains the cycle of Magical Girls in order to stave off the heat death of the universe.
  • Emoticon: /人◕‿‿◕人\
  • Enigmatic Empowering Entity: He's a strange creature that grants magical power to human girls. Ostensibly, he wants them to fight witches but his motives are his own to understand.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He never forces anyone to make a contract because the Incubators "treat humans as sentient". He loves to take advantage of opportunities in which the magical girl candidate has little choice but to make the contract, and he certainly doesn't believe in the idea of informed consent, but he never ever holds a metaphoric gun to their head.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He politely tricks girls into becoming liches.
  • Flaw Exploitation: A common tactic of his to get young girls to make contracts with him, mostly by making them feel useless. Of course, his own flaw is that he can't understand humans' emotions, which comes back to bite him. See Break Them by Talking above.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: It's heavily implied in the series, and all but outright confirmed in Rebellion, that Kyubey's cute appearance is just a facade that he uses to endear himself to the girls he manipulates. The Incubators' true appearance is likely far more alien.
  • Frozen Face:
    • Kyubey's face is normally frozen in the Cat Smile described above but there are exceptions to this, such as in Episode 2 when Kyubey takes a bite of an omelette. It also closes its eyes at times, probably when it's supposed to be a smile.
    • Also averted in the manga, where it has more facial expression.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Their glowing red eyes are often the only visible feature on their shadowed figure and they have brought doom to many easily manipulated little girls.
  • The Heavy: The villain moving the plot forward with contracts and despair...
  • Heel–Face Turn: This is very unusually subverted for many reasons. The first one is that following Madoka's wish and the rewriting of reality, he/they no longer needs to be a manipulative mastermind. Secondly he/they doesn't change in the slightest, he/they just doesn't have the motivation in this world. Thirdly he ultimately chooses to re-rewrite reality anyway out of greed in the movie and goes back to their old scheming ways.
  • Hive Mind: Kyubey, according to an interview with Urobuchi.
    There are many bodies, but only one consciousness. Therefore, even if you kill the body, there isn't any sort of damage. Killing one is just like pulling out a single strand of hair. The scene where Kyubey eats his corpse was a scene that came in after the early stages of the script; I was trying to write Kyubey as something that humans can't relate to. Imagine what your response would be if one of your compatriots had just died.
  • Humans Are Insects: To Kyubey, it's more like they're cattle. When Madoka asks him if he cares at all about the Magical Girls who've suffered because of him, he responds by asking if humans care about all the cows and pigs they raise and slaughter for food. Also, despite his apparently civil nature toward people and claims that the cycle with Magical Girls and Witches will save everyone, he declares Kriemhild Gretchen to be humanity's problem in one timeline, since the incubators have met their energy quota.
  • I am a Humanitarian: Part of his job is to dispose of used up Grief Seeds by eating them. Considering what Grief Seeds are, and its relationship to Soul Gems, this might also count as Your Soul is Mine!. He also ate his previous incarnation which got swiss-cheesed by Homura, to recycle the protein and flesh.
  • Invisible to Normals: Only magical girls or magical girl candidates can see him.
  • Ironic Echo: When trying to persuade Madoka to become a Magical Girl, he often states that her potential is so great that any wish could be granted, and that she could even become a god if she wanted. He even repeats this moments before Madoka finally does make a wish, and is suitably horrified when she uses it to do just that.
  • Irony: He's been getting away with turning magical girls into witches by witholding so much information. But to the girl that he wants the most to be a magical girl? He blabs too much and she turns it all against him.
  • Jackass Genie: "Want to become a magical girl and have your own miracle? Great! Make a contract with me." "Oh, and, uh, it'll only cost you your soul and end with you dying. It's either that or you becoming the very thing you fight through sheer, eventual despair. Toodles!"
  • Just Desserts: Does this to himself in Episode 8 after Homura executes him with a fistful of dakka.
  • Karma Houdini: Along with the rest of the Incubators, he suffers no punishment for all the trickery he/they have done other than a less convenient business model and all of his mustache-twirlingly-evil actions were undone by the Cosmic Retcon. Interestingly, in the new timeline he's implied to be on better terms with the magical girls, or at least his behavior is more benign. As such, he doesn't have any karma to suffer for, since he lacked his original motivation for being cruel.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The scene where Kyubey makes Sayaka "experience real pain" just to prove a point makes it clear that he is at the very least completely lacking in empathy. The point had to be made, but was it really necessary to keep the pain on for half a minute? This could or could not be relevant to The Plan. His entire goal is to have the girls fall into despair so they can become witches. His KTD moment was his way of reinforcing leading Sayaka to thinking "I done screwed up!" and witchifying her.
    • A much greater Kick the Dog moment comes during one of the timelines in Episode 10, when Kyubey leaves the whole planet Earth to die at the hands of Kriemhild Gretchen because the human race has outlived its usefulness — despite the fact that entropy has not stopped growing. This is justified, however. It is implied, and confirmed in the portable game (which features an alien magical girl), that the Incubators "farm" many planets beyond Earth, so Kyubey is not exactly killing the golden goose. Presumably, the amount of energy he collected from Kriemhild's creation significantly exceeds the "expected" amount normally collected from a sapient race before it eventually gets wiped out by infighting or natural causes, and perhaps even the amount that could possibly be collected from the human race even assuming it survives all the way up to the Sun collapsing and becoming unable to support life.
  • Kitsune: His design and demeanor certainly evoke this, right down to his name.
  • Lack of Empathy: Knowing that Kyubey has been harvesting the energy of countless adolescent human girls' despair for millennia, Lack of Empathy is pretty much the job requirement. Also, as noted in the Kick the Dog example, Kyubey isn't above outright torturing the girls to prove a point.
  • Laughably Evil: Kyubey's complete obliviousness to human morality, standards and emotions can come off as quite funny sometimes.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: The magical girls' ultimate fate as witches is terrible, but it is indeed preferable to the whole universe eventually dying. Double-subverted in Episode 10, when Kyubey is shown to be perfectly willing to doom humanity to extinction once the energy quota is fulfilled, but even that is a lesser evil, even if from a very callous and cynical (and possibly very short-sighted) point of view.
  • Leitmotif: "Sis puella magica!" is generally considered one for him and the series as a whole.
  • Literal Genie: Played with. Kyubey will grant any wish on the exact terms that it is made, whether it's for something as small as a cake or as fantastic as going back in time. He does not purposefully misinterpret or corrupt the wish — whatever you wish for is exactly what you get. The problem is that the girls all too often wish not for what they really want but for what they think will get them what they want, and their wishes often have consequences that they don't or can't think through before making the wish. What makes it this trope is that Kyubey is not only aware of this, he is in fact counting on it.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": This is if we take the fact that he is an incubator. If rendered in Japanese speech, incubator would be roughly pronounced as I-n-kyuu-bee-taa. In other words, an incubator (inkyuubeetaa) named Kyuubey.
  • Magically Binding Contract: He makes contracts with girls to become Magical Girls. Notably, his contracts are entirely verbal and are without any form of fine print mentioning the downsides and side-effects, meaning that they aren't actually legally binding under most systems of law, despite being magically binding. He also will always follow through on his end of the contract. Always. Unfortunately, while he gives the girls exactly what they wanted with no Literal Genie side-effects, the girls don't wish for the right thing in the first place. Given that one of the anime's main themes is that a truly Selfless Wish doesn't exist, this isn't surprising.
  • Make a Wish:
    • Kyubey will grant a candidate one wish in return for them becoming a magical girl. He does not look for the worse interpretation. His explanation for bad things happening to wishers is that the power of the Wish creates equal parts despair and hope. (Like a magical version of two particles coming into being in vacuum fluctuation; both negative and positive thus equaling zero.) He cannot stop someone from making a wish that he wouldn't want them to make, and he can't force anyone to make a wish either.
    • Rather than exploit Jerkass Genie, he simply gives them exactly what they asked for because what they ask for is never what they actually want. The girls are never honest with themselves about their desires, every selfless wish has a selfish motive behind it, and the despair sets in when they realize that their selfless wish being granted did not guarantee their selfish desire being granted as well.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He may have trouble understanding human values and emotions, but he's very good at exploiting them. He asks the girls to make a contract with him at the exact moment when they'd have the most difficulty refusing and he will abusively call you, even if you refuse his offer. While his claim of never lying is indeed true per se, he knows exactly how to twist his words and withhold information in such a way that he that he still technically tells the truth, but also tricks the girls into actions that help him further his goals while making things worse for themselves.
    • One of the best examples of this is after Sayaka falls into despair and transforms into Oktavia. Kyoko asks it if it's possible that her Soul Gem can be recovered, that she can be reverted to Magical Girl, if not human. It replies "It's never been done before," with the obvious implication that it might be possible, just that no one has ever managed to pull it off. After Kyoko sacrifices herself to take out Oktavia, Homura asks Kyubey the same question, and its answer is a blunt "No, it's not possible."
  • Meaningful Name: Incubator, one who incubates young witches into mature ones. Also, Questing Beast, as in the Perlesvaus.
    • The word incubator comes from the Latin word note  "incubare", meaning 'to lie upon'. Another similar word that derives from this is 'Incubus', a male demon that lies upon a woman at night, causing their dreams to get perverted and witches to be born.
  • Mentor Mascot:
    • Inverted. At first he looks like your standard Magical Girl cute critter mentor, until we find out that he views the girls as expendable power sources and it's in his best interests to make them as miserable as possible... because it will mean gaining energy to save the universe. In other words, Kyubey looks like a Magical Girl familiar but is actually a Magical Girl villain, right down to turning humans into monsters to harvest their energy.
  • Metaphorically True: More or less everything that comes out of his mouth. While never technically lying, Kyubey makes it a point to only speak in half-truths, and he consistently refuses to acknowledge the very concept of lying by omission, despite it being exactly what he is doing. When pressed, he responds with either confusion or incredulity; after all, it's their fault for not asking him the right questions in the first place. He eventually tortures Madoka with the whole truth after Sayaka's funeral. Though it was probably not supposed to be torture but an explanation and a way to prove a point, from his point of view — being someone who wouldn't see why she would feel tortured by it.
  • Mysterious Backer: He's a creature that our heroines know nothing about but accept Magical Girl power and wishes from.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: His Info Dump toward Madoka — aka the one who he wants to become a magical girl the most — about magical girls' role in the history of humanity and his own confirmation that any of Madoka's wishes can be granted (including one where she could become a god) are what inspire Madoka to make her Cosmic Retcon wish.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Of the Can Only Kill Part Of Him kind. An exact replica of it comes to eat its corpse after Homura riddles it with bullets in Episode 8. It claims it has unlimited number of substitutions. Word of God says he instantly creates a body from surrounding Mana.
  • The Needs of the Many: He argues to Madoka that the cycle of witches and magical girls are necessary to keep the universe from dying out, and it even has the side benefit of helping humanity to advance as a species, so he can't understand why she objects over the relatively few lives it destroys. When Gretchen threatens to destroy Earth, he has no problem with applying this reasoning to humanity as a whole. The implication the Incubators would do the same to as many lifeforms as possible completely defeats their own justifications, as it means their goal is the longevity of the universe for the benefit of only themselves or no one at all.
  • Never My Fault: Refuses to or is unable to acknowledge that almost every problem the magical girls face is a direct result of him failing to mention vital details of the contract, with the excuse that they never asked. He is furthermore unable to acknowledge that intentionally leaving out said details unless asked directly constitutes a deception.
  • No Biological Sex: Most fans default to referring to Kyubey as "he", but the character doesn't have any physical sex. In the Japanese dub he refers to himself with "boku" so it's safe to say that if he isn't male he is pretending to be for the sake of brevity.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He's plenty active but none of it is fighting; 100 percent manipulation.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: The stated goal of the Incubators is to lower entropy of the universe to make it last longer. How? Create magical girls and witches to unleash energy, of course! Once he gets his quota, the planet Earth and everyone on it becomes expendable. At its most successful, their plan would make the universe last as long as possible, but remove any benefit this would give to anyone besides themselves. And since Kyubey/the Incubators are effectively just one entity, it is even more blatantly selfish.
  • Obliviously Evil: Downplayed. He knows that humans disapprove of his actions but he doesn't understand why they disapprove. From his prespective, he's saving the universe.
  • Oh, Crap!: "It violates the laws of karmic destiny! Are you trying to become a god!?"
  • Omniglot: Besides Japanese, Kyubey also speaks fluent French, English, Egyptian, Dutch, Norwegian, Swahili and you-name-it-he-speaks it. After all, known victims include Jeanne d'Arc, Cleopatra, Anne Frank, Viking and African children, not to mention countless others presumably from every nation across Earth. If ever he's forced to change jobs, Kyubey would make a lucrative career as a Professor of Linguistics.
  • Omniscient Morality License: The Incubators use the powerful emotions given off by Magical Girls and witches to counter entropy and prevent the heat death of the universe. They ultimately consider humanity expendable.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: The Incubators are a Sufficiently Advanced Alien race using extremely advanced technology to deal with the problem of entropy, and think of abstract and mystical concepts like the "soul" in terms of "a cluster of nerve cells", and tend to view existence almost entirely in Cold Equation terms. Kyubey is a very much a science fiction problem (with a dash of Cosmic Horror Story for good measure) in a magical girl setting. No wonder the girls (and the audience) find it so darn difficult to understand him!
  • Perpetual Smiler: It's VERY creepy because it remains this face in the face of horror.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Kyubey disapproves of Madoka killing Sayaka, be it ever so inadvertently, in her attempt to stop in-fighting amongst magical girls, and he even rebukes her for doing something "that's crazy." It was a waste of a perfectly good Soul Gem! He has standards in the same way that a person who objects to throwing away a half-eaten sandwich has standards. It's a waste.
    • Kyubey doesn't approve of needless sacrifices. He notes in Episode 9 that he would have stopped Kyoko had her death been meaningless (but didn't because her death served the purpose of forcing Madoka into contracting). Compare to the second-to-last chapter of Kazumi Magica, where he warns Kazumi about what he sees as the pointlessness of her wish (she wishes to become human, and he points out that once she becomes human she will immediately become a Magical Girl; as he sees it, this will essentially cancel out the wish).
    • Post-Cosmic Retcon, Kyubey is much more forthright about what becoming a Magical Girl means. Fundamentally he's the same being with the same goals, and he doesn't care about the Magical Girls or humanity in general any more than he did in the original reality, it's just that under the new system, a Soul Gem overloading just means he's down one demon-hunter in exchange for absolutely nothing, so it's now to his benefit to be honest.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Normally cute, but in the right circumstances, they can be terrifying. Eeep...
    • To be a bit more specific, they're actually a Double Subversion. They subvert the trope at first by not having any significant means of attack, leaving a lot to be desired in terms of defense, and the fact that only Magical Girl candidates can even see them means both guys and non-magical girl candidates probably won't ever realize they exist. The double subversion happens if you're a magical girl candidate, at which point they'll stop at nothing to force you to make a contract with them, growing more persistent the more potential you have, and also having a good knowledge of just what to say in order to get you to make the contract.
  • Regular Caller: He's always the one making the Call to Adventure but the call is on reversed charges and international prices and there's a lifetime contract.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Who wouldn't want to make a contract with something this cute? Word of God says this is intentional to hide his true nature.
  • Satanic Archetype: He turns out to be this. A contractor who promises to grant wishes and desires to girls in exchange for souls- an exchange which will inevitably lead to damnation for the girls who accept. He's often seen trying to tempt the local Messianic Archetype, Madoka Kaname. It has an angelic appearance, much like how the Devil is often depicted. It's also heavily based on Mephistopheles, hence the cute, animal-like appearance. A few fans even call them "The White Devil."
  • Spanner in the Works: He convinced Kyoko that Sayaka could be turned back into a magical girl, leading to both of their deaths, which left Homura without anyone who could help her fight Walpurgisnacht. It's very unlikely, however, that Homura would've beaten Walpurgisnacht with just Kyoko's help.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Kyuubey, Kyuubee, Kyubei, and QB are also floating around out there.
    • "Cubey" was also a short-lived proposal since producers said that the "kyu" is as in "cute".
    • "Kyubey" seems to be the most official, though, since it has been used in official promo materials and moreover, most fansubbers and scanlators actually doing the show are spelling it like this.
    • Its name is also spelled quite bizarrely in original Japanese. It's half in katakana, half in hiragananote , with an additional bonus for an unconventional use of small-sized katakana.
    • It turns out that "Kyubey" is short for "Incubator". Presumably, they don't Romanize it as "Cuba" because that suggests a completely different pronunciation.
    • The runes in Episode 11 spell it as "Qbey". Which turns out to be completely accurate due to his intentions.
  • The Sociopath: Kyubey (and his species by extension) convinces girls to form dangerous contracts with him, which will end up turning them into the very Eldritch Abominations that they're meant to fight. He doesn't lie, but he dodges around the concept of informed consent by leaving out crucial aspects of becoming a magical girl until the unfortunate contractors get a first-hand experience, excuses it by saying You Didn't Ask, and is utterly incapable of understanding why the risks of becoming a magical girl troubles his contractors. As long as he's met his energy quota, he doesn't care what happens to the Earth once the magical girls turn into witches. Kyubey is an interesting example as his species lacks emotions- thus, while he's trying to keep the universe running with the energy he collects, he cares not who gets harmed as a result of his actions as long as it's not him. This backfires on him when his attempts to turn Madoka around to his way of thinking give her the info she needs to thwart him and his system.
  • The Spock: Incubators take "logic" and The Needs of the Many to such extremes that it makes them a villainous version of the trope. Earth can blow up and he/they will not care as long as energy is collected.
  • Starfish Aliens: He's a freaky alien, and it explains why his moral compass is completely out of whack, his creepy cheerful expression and his powers.
  • The Stoic: Of the "say something horrific without any emotions" variety. For example, his serene speeches in Episode 12. He calmly explains what's going on to Homura and seems to be more concerned about Madoka's fate, even when the Universe ends around him and he's already figured out that very soon he will cease to exist, to be recreated as a different version of himself.
  • Super Empowering: His job is granting powers to potential magical girls. It's quite pushy about that and it doesn't give you a run-down of your powers, either.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Homura has probably "killed" him dozens of times by now, but it never sticks.
  • Tin Man: Claims to be non-emotional, but displays emotion constantly. While some of that is probably an act to trick the girls, even when talking to someone who knows better he displays smugness, gloating, exasperation, and a very dark sense of humor. Even his explanation that his race is unemotional has a distinct sarcastically-patronizing sound to it. Of course, his exact statement is that his race considers emotions a mental illness, so it's possible that he's just gone nuts and doesn't realize it.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Kyubey's goal is to stave off the heat death of the universe, which he does by dooming teenage girls to lives of suffering and eventual transformation into Eldritch Abominations that kill plenty of innocent people — and potentially entire planets — in the process. His determination to extend the universe's life as much as possible, at cost of any amount of lives, begs the question of who would ideally be left to benefit.
  • Troll: Kyubey's actions seem conspicuously chosen to frustrate everyone he talks to. He does it to get more emotional energy out of the magical girls before they turn into witches or to speed up the transformation process.
  • The Unfettered: For Kyubey, no sacrifice is too great if it means saving the universe from heat death. Effectively enslaving humanity, torturing teenage girls and turning them into witches, and causing mass suicides are all in a day’s work, and it can’t even comprehend the value of individual life.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Kyubey's tendency to speak in half-truths and withhold information whenever possible make it difficult to tell how much of what it's saying is accurate. The story with the Incubators and Entropy could be the honest truth...or it could be just one part of what they're actually doing with the energy created by Witches and Magical Girls. We simply don't know. For that matter, the idea that he doesn't lie comes from Kyubey, and he states it in a way that leaves considerable wiggle room at that. His claim that his species is the reason humanity has civilization similarly has some serious holes in it.
  • Villainous BSoD: He panicks when Madoka wishes to erase witches from existence. This is made all the more poignant because Kyubey's race views emotions as a mental illness, so Madoka's game-changing wish literally made Kyubey lose his mind.
  • Villains Never Lie: If lie is defined as "saying something that is definitely and entirely untrue" then he has never lied. However, he deliberately invokes Exact Words to deceive.
  • Walking Spoiler: As you can see. Even saying what Kyubey actually is, is a massive spoiler unto itself.
  • Weasel Mascot: We do mean weasel, in the figurative sense.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His reason for stoking the magical girl vs. witch conflict is to harvest the magical energies that are created and use them to stave off the heat death of the universe.
  • White and Red and Eerie All Over: He has pure white fur and red eyes with a red, egg-shaped marking on his back. He's also an amoral Eldritch Abomination whose goal is to trick the girls into becoming magical girls for the purpose of having them eventually fall to despair and transform into witches, as part of his plan to prevent the heat death of the universe.
  • Wicked Weasel: Well, a weasel-like creature that engages in trickery.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Kyubey never lies about anything and will happily tell the truth if asked directly. It even seems offended at the idea that someone would accuse it of lying. It does however have no problems with exploiting all the wiggle room it can, such as leaving out vital information in its answers if it thinks it would be to its disadvantage to reveal said information, invoking You Didn't Ask every chance it gets, and even if someone asks it the right questions, it will still try to weasel around it by carefully wording its answers in ways that makes them technically true, yet also misleading.
    • When Kyoko asks if there is any way to return Sayaka to human form, Kyubey states that there's no precedent for it. It's an answer that is technically correct but also baits Kyoko into believing that there could be a way.
    • In Episodes 9 and 10. In 9 he states that his actions would preserve humanity's future among the stars. However, he phrases it in such a way that it doesn't reveal whether he cares if humanity goes to the stars or not. We find in Episode 10 that he does not care one bit about humanity or Earth, as long as his energy quota is reached, and an alternate timeline version in 8 dismissed the end of the world as "humanity's problem" after it filled said quota by unleashing it.
  • You Didn't Ask: Constantly invoking this is his MO in a nutshell. While he never outright lies, he also frequently goes out of his way to not tell the whole truth either if he can get away with it.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Gives one on occasion, as far as he/she/it can actually express approval. The one he's speaking with definitely feels shame as a result.
    "Excellent work, Homura. You've made Madoka the most powerful witch ever."


Mysterious magical beings who feed on the despair of humans. They employ minions known as familiars, who, if left unchecked, can grow into duplicates of the original witch. It is a magical girl's duty to slay witches and collect the Grief Seeds they drop. All witches reside in private pocket dimensions known as barriers which reflect their broken psyches. The only known exception to this rule is the colossal Walpurgisnacht, who is powerful enough to simply impose barrier-like properties onto reality instead of retreating into an alternate space.
  • All There in the Manual: There is a lot of information about each witch that is only found on the official website. It also provides information for witches that haven't been seen in the show. The You Are Not Alone guidebook also alludes to or outright states several of the witches' wishes.
  • Almighty Idiot: "Witch" and "sane" may as well be antonyms - when a magical girl turns into a witch, only a few remnants of her mind will remain, distorted into a thing that only follows barely comprehensible motivations and impulses. Implanting a witch's kiss seems to be the most strategic thing they're capable of, and even then, it's unknown if they choose to plant them or if they just happen as a side-effect of the witch existing.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: All witches try to kill people. They do have bizarre motivations at times, but that doesn't really affect their actions either way, just their internal thoughts... if they even have any. It's implied that they do, although as mentioned above, these thoughts are warped at best and barely coherent at worst.
  • And I Must Scream: Implied in the TV series. When agitated, Oktavia has a red silhouette strikingly similar to Sayaka's form overlapping on her visage, which does nothing but literally cry its eyes out.
    • A lot of the witches seem to be in very unpleasant situations. Roberta is surrounded by male caricatures who annoy her, and Charlotte can summon any food except for her favorite.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The eventual fate of every magical girl not killed in battle is to be consumed by despair and turn into a witch. The blackening of the soul gems show how much time there's left before this happens. The only way to stop this is to spend the rest of your life battling witches to have a steady supply of grief seeds to siphon off despair into, or be killed by external sources like Cleopatra, Anne Frank and Jeanne d'Arc were.
  • Art Shift: As per their Lovecraftian vibes, most of the witches and their barriers are usually animated in a style that is completely different from the main style of the anime, to every witch her own style.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: This is presumably what happens to them all at the end of the anime, thanks to Madoka rewriting the universe. In fact, all magical girls (including ones in the past) never become witches in the first place...they just vanish instead, smiling peacefully, and possibly joining Madoka Out There.
  • Asteroids Monster: The familiars are effectively part of the witch. If a familiar is separated from a witch, it can grow its own Grief Seed by causing suffering to other humans and become a copy of the original witch. As magical girls need Grief Seeds to maintain their powers, some unscrupulous ones leave familiars alone to get more Grief Seeds.
  • Always Female: Witches are always female. Because they are all former magical girls.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: A magical girl transformed into a witch is implied to be unable to properly pass on to whatever afterlife exists in this world. During the conversation in the Afterlife Antechamber in episode 12, Mami and Kyoko (who died when their Soul Gems were shattered) appear so they can talk to Madoka, while Sayaka (who became a witch) does not, even though she was killed by Kyoko after she witched out. Part of Madoka's wish involves creating a heaven that she can take magical girls' spirits to just before they witch out, preventing this from happening.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: While they all feed off misery and suffering, their actual motivations for doing so range from malicious to just bizarre. Some of them even have good intentions, like Elsa Maria and Gretchen.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
    • Witches that fight alongside their familiars (Gertrud, Elly, Elsa Maria) fare far worse in combat than witches who mainly fight solo (Charlotte, Oktavia). Meanwhile, Demons in the new world hunt in packs, and seem to be far weaker and more uniform in appearance than witches.
    • Completely averted by Walpurgis Night. Both the Witch and the familiars seem to pack a pretty impressive punch. Also, it's unknown whether Kriemhild Gretchen plays it straight or not, as her familiars are never seen.
  • The Corruption: Inverted. Magical girls purify their Soul Gems by placing the darkness that grows inside of it into Grief Seeds. However, doing it too many times can allow the witch to regenerate. The trope is then played straight when it's revealed that Grief Seeds are fully corrupted Soul Gems.
  • Creepy Doll: Some of them look like this.
    • The Klarissas, Oktavia's familiars in Episode 10. They're just there to cheerfully dance around the witch that commands them, with creepy smiles on their faces and possessing limbs that look like they can be snapped with a single touch...
    • Also, Charlotte's original form.
    • Daniyyel and Jennifer, Kirsten's familiars.
      • Kirsten herself looks something like one, as we see when Sayaka sends her flying out of a computer monitor.
    • Albertine, as revealed in the official PSP game, somewhat resembles a giant female clown doll.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Generally on the receiving end, but a few, such as Charlotte to Mami and Walpurgisnacht to everyone until Madoka wishes her out of existence give them.
  • Cypher Language: The odd runes appear to be messages from the witch or the familiars. Often they seem like a Madness Mantra. Oh wait, they are.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: While not stated outright, something must have screwed them up.
  • Deranged Animation: All of the witches' barriers/labyrinths are animated this way, in sharp contrast to the rest of the anime. It is more pronounced with some witches more than others (notably, the very first one, Gertrud), but all witches (and their familiars) are animated this way.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crossing this is what turns Magical girls into Witches.
  • Eldritch Abomination: All the witches are horrific mind bending monsters that twist local reality into an abstraction of their own bizarre mind. In fact, they visibly have a completely different artstyle when compared to everything else, just to emphasize how otherworldly they are.
  • Emotion Eater: Witches feed off human suffering.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Cute girls becoming terrible monsters.
  • The Fair Folk: Some of them are described as acting in the fashion of inscrutable fairies. It's ultimately averted as they are former magical girls.
  • Fallen Heroine: Every witch who isn't a familiar-turned-copy was a magical girl who allowed her Soul Gem to fill up with The Corruption, causing it to break and become a Grief Seed.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: They can be on the giving or receiving end, and often give as good as they get.
  • The Final Temptation: The Different Story and Magia Record show that when a Magical Girl's Soul Gem is about to reach its limit, the girl's Witch form can appear to the Magical Girl and try to tempt her into falling into despair. Shown with Candeloro, who appears to Mami and tries to convince her to become a Witch.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: They're fallen Magical Girls who used up their Soul Gems or fell into despair.
  • The Heartless: Said to be born of curses. The curses of magical girls.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The Witches seem to bleed gallons, though the color of the bleeding is different from one another, when cut by sharp implements; Kirsten's monitor (but not Kirsten herself) bleeds dark green when Sayaka smashes her out of it, Elsa Maria's blood is bright red when Sayaka beheads her, while Oktavia's hand spews bluish black blood when Kyoko cuts it off to save Madoka.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Averted. As Homura demonstrates, military-grade firearms are enough to destroy them.
    • Played semi-straight with Walpurgisnacht, as Homura throws what basically amounts to enough firepower to destroy the city (in fact, her salvo is responsible for most of the initial property damage in Episode 11) and it doesn't even have a scratch afterwards. Since an army's worth of arsenal is insufficient while a team of magical girls stands a chance, it stands to reason to assume that Walpurgisnacht heavily resists non-magical attacks.
    • Most likely played straight with Kriemhild Gretchen. Homura didn't even try to attack the world-destroying witch. This may also be Justified, as Gretchen used to be Madoka.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Fitting with their surreal theme, quite a few Witches use very strange weaponry. Literally the first thing Gertrud (the first Witch seen in the anime) does against Mami is to throw the sofa she's sitting on at her. The crown, however, goes to Oktavia van Seckendorff, who fights primarily by throwing wheels at her enemies. This is far more effective than it has any right to be.
  • Invisible to Normals: Witches and their familiars cannot be seen by people who haven't been "chosen" by Kyubey to become Magical Girls.
  • Ironic Hell: A witch's personality, powers, and barrier often combine to form a sick subversion of her magical girl counterpart's wish. For example, Charlotte loves sweets and can create any sweet she likes save for her favorite (cheese and cheesecake), and lives in a cross between a candy shop and a hospital. Side materials strongly imply that her wish was for cheesecake, when she could've wished for her mother's disease to be cured.
  • Meaningful Name: Several of the witches have names that relate to themselves.
    • Charlotte is a type of dessert. Elsa Maria brings to mind a biblical prayer. Oktavia is based off of a musical term. Gertrud is the patron saint of gardeners. Kirsten resembles a computer monitor, and so she has an "online handle": H.N. Elly. And Walpurgisnacht is the name of a real-world European festival during which legends state that witches gather together.
    • The biggest one? In written Japanese, the characters for "witch" (魔女, phonetically pronounced "majo") are found in the characters for "magical girl". (魔法少女, phonetically pronounced "mahou shoujo"). Put another way, "magical girl" can be read as "young witch".
      • That translation isn't even necessary, as witches are females that use magic. In other words: Magical Girls.
  • Meaningful Rename: The witches have different names than the magical girls they came from.
  • Mental World: A Witch's Labyrinth very much reflects the persona and psyche of the witch who makes it her home.
  • Mercy Kill: To kill a witch is to let a poor and broken girl die in peace. Madoka does this on a cosmic scale by making them Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence; witches are still created when a Magical girl loses her will to live and is consumed by darkness, but nobody understands where they go or what happens.
  • Mind Control: Witches and their familiars are capable of this by imprinting the "witch's kiss" on them. A human who is being controlled by a witch will have a magic mark somewhere on them.
  • Mind Screw: All of the witches and their barriers and minions are meant to be confusing because of their own tortured mindscape.
  • Mook: Their familiars.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Every Witch and everything associated with them is drawn in a different art style from the rest of the show - sometimes, they aren't even hand-drawn at all. Charlotte does double duty by having the Witch herself drawn in Thick-Line Animation, while everything else in her barrier is constructed out of paper cutouts.
  • One-Winged Angel: Witches are the true expressions of a magical girl's soul and powers, and therefore, stronger than the magical girls they spawn from. As Kyubey puts it, Magical Girls are called such because they are young Witches. Sayaka, who was shown to be the weakest among the five main characters, became a legitimate threat upon becoming Oktavia, and Madoka, who was an above average magical girl, turns into a world-destroying abomination upon witching into Gretchen.
    • Clipped-Wing Angel: Ironically, despite this, it appears that an average Magical Girl - even a newcomer such as Sayaka - can utterly body a Witch like H.N. Elly. There may be something to be said for having a human mind and resolve over a cluster of pure pain and rage that knows only misery and likely wants to be put out of said misery.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: We only know them by their witch names. Eventually, we find out what Charlotte's original name was.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Witch designs vary from fairly standard (Elsa Maria) to eccentric (Oktavia) to nightmarish (Patricia) to cutesy (Charlotte). Walpurgisnacht in particular takes a few glances to figure out what she's supposed to be.
  • Pocket Dimension: Witches can create these; they're bizarre areas, to say the least, and it keeps the more elaborate fights out of view of normal people.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The apparent result of a witch's kiss, judging from the two times that the effects of a kiss have been seen.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: While it isn't known whether witches have this mindset or if they're just mindless magical meatbags of grief and suffering, they seem to do a good job of bringing innocent people to their deaths. Basically, each witch is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, albeit on a usually miniaturized scale of destruction. Unfortunately, a few witches are powerful enough to influence the environment outside of their own barriers, thus shaping a few of the main obstacles in the story.
  • Ret-Gone: Madoka's wish in the finale makes it so that the witches are deleted from existence and replaced with a different kind of monster altogether, so that the Incubators can still gather energy for their mission while not bringing misfortune to the girls.
  • Self-Duplication: Familiars can become a copy of the original witch.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: Since they came from magical girls, whose powers vary based on their talents and wishes, witches can appear anywhere on the scale. Most fall under the Inadvertent category, but the stronger witches - such as Walpurgisnacht and Kriemhild Gretchen - can fall under High or even Infinite levels.
  • Soul Jar: The witch's Grief Seed, left behind after their death. A Grief Seed is capable of regenerating the witch, which is why Kyubey devours them before they reach that point.
  • Stellar Name: All the witches and familiars appear to be named after celestial objects found in the solar system. Take a look.
  • To Serve Man: Quite a few of the witches, specifically Charlotte and Elsa Maria. For the former, she turns into a giant worm and eats Mami alive, starting with her head while the latter believes eating those who get to close to her barrier is "saving" them.
  • Tragic Monster: All of them, since despair is what made them into witches in the first place.
  • The Unreveal: All There in the Manual example. Three of the witches described on the website are never seen in the series, and it doesn't show Walpurgisnacht's name.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: By default, happens to any magical girl who discovers the truth about witches—that they are former magical girls.
  • Voice of the Legion: Demonstrated to be a common trait among the few witches capable of proper vocalization, such as Walpurgisnacht or Oktavia von Seckendorff.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about some witches such as Oktavia without revealing that they are corrupted magical girls.
  • Was Once a Man: All witches are either corrupted magical girls or the mutated familiars of those witches.
  • Witch Species: Ultimately averted. They are all corrupted magical girls instead of a true species.


The rose garden witch with a distrustful nature. She holds roses dearer than anything else. She expends all of her power for the sake of beautiful roses. Despite stealing the life-force of humans who wander into her barrier to give to her roses, she loathes the thought of them trampling the inside of her barrier.

  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: She and her familiars have butterfly wings. The "death and rebirth" part makes sense when you consider that she was once human, and was reborn as a Magical Girl (a lich in this setting), then as a witch.
  • Combat Tentacles: She uses vines, but same idea.
  • Expy: While it's subtle and only relates to her appearance, her body shape is extremely close to common depictions of Cthulhu. A shapeless, flabby body, a head with what seems like tentacles hanging down from it, and a pair of wings (though hers are butterfly wings instead of the batlike wings Cthulhu is usually drawn with). Whether it's intentional or coincidental it's a good foreshadowing of the Cosmic Horror Story nature of the setting early in the series.
  • A Father to His Men: It's subtle, but it seems the reason why she dislikes people entering her barrier is because they tend to step on her familiars. Gertrud was pretty mellow until Mami deliberately squished her smaller Adelberts under her feet. Also, when Mami starts unraveling her traps on her Anthonies, she panics, drops all of her roses, and starts running toward Mami to save her familiars, despite knowing it to be a trap.
  • Green Thumb: Her "head" looks like a deformed rosebush and she uses vines to slap intruders around.
  • Mascot Mook: Although Kyubey's the mascot of sorts for the series proper, Gertrud's Anthony familiars are sort of mascots for the witches. For example, in the last episode, when Madoka saves all the magical girls and their witches, she is shown petting an Anthony to represent what she's saved.
  • Starter Villain: The first witch to appear in a proper showdown with a magical girl, excluding Madoka's dream at the beginning of Episode 1.
  • Porn Stache: Her Anthony and Adelbert familiars have these. In the case of the Anthonies, Gertrud puts these 'staches on them.


The dessert witch, with a tenacious nature. She desires everything. She will never give up. Though she is capable of creating infinite amounts of any dessert she desires, she is unable to make the cheese that she loves most. One could easily catch her off-guard with a piece of cheese.

  • Ill Girl: Charlotte's labyrinth gives off this is vibe, with her Polina familiars resembling nurses and Word of Dante claims she was one, though it's contradicted by some of the official material for her prototype where it states her mother was the Ill Girl.
  • Killer Rabbit: She's the cutest thing in the show and outside of her witch card lacks the usual shading of witches, but then she turns into a giant Monster Clown caterpillar and eats Mami alive. Even then, her super flat artistic style wouldn't leave her out of place in a Sanrio franchise or one of Takashi Murakami's artworks.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Her killing Mami is the first major sign that Madoka isn't a regular magical girl show. Unusually for this trope, she's killed off at the end of the episode she appears in.
  • Lethal Joke Character: On the outside, Charlotte may not look like one to be taken seriously, but in reality, as Mami infamously found out the hard way, she's not one to be trifled with.
  • Level Ate: Being the witch of desserts, she has a barrier mostly made of sweets.
  • Minor Major Character: Like most witches, Charlotte is just the Monster of the Week for episode 3, and yet her debut not only paints her as a Knight of Cerebus, but also reveals a harsh reality of the situation: If the girls do even one slip up, they're goners, as Mami found out.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Her name can be pronounced both with and without treating the "te" at the end as a separate syllable.
  • One-Winged Angel: Charlotte does this and becomes a giant worm.
  • Retcon: Preliminary material released in several guides and The Stinger of the final episode showed that in her magical girl form, in a rarity amongst her kind Charlotte had a dress and pigtails that highly resembled that of her witch form's, and wielded a staff with a top shaped like candy or her familiar Pyotr. It is suggested that she immediately witched out shortly after her wish was granted when she realized she could have saved her terminally ill mother instead of wishing to eat one last cheesecake with her. The only trace of her lore and design of her human life in canon is Nagisa's love of cheese.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese. She loves it, but it's the one delicacy that she can't create. Her familiars Pyotr and Polina are tasked with locating cheese and nursing it respectively.
  • Wolverine Publicity: She gets as much merchandise as Kyubey, and is a major character in Rebellion.


Kirsten / H.N. Elly
The box witch with a covetous nature. She is a staunchly reclusive witch. Anything she covets she locks away within glass. The thoughts of her prisoners are laid bare, but one without thought can strike her without problems.

  • Girlish Pigtails: Very long ones, actually reaching the ground in front of her.
  • I Have Many Names: H.N. Elly is her "computer handle" while Kirsten is her real name.
  • Hikikomori: Her description says she's reclusive, and the presence of a "computer handle" evokes the feeling of somebody who socially interacts on a computer indoors.
  • Mass Hypnosis: She was capable of spreading her witch's kiss to a rather big number of persons, and is the only witch so far to have done such feat.
  • Near-Villain Victory: H.N. Elly is just a random witch that Madoka encounters by accident, and yet she's also the only witch who's come the closest to actually killing (or at least imprisoning) Madoka, the only candidate capable of defeating Walpurgisnacht.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: According to the guidebook, her labyrinth contains the mysterious words, "I have only one wish. Box up that memory."
  • Lonely Doll Girl: A Hikikomori witch with two doll familiars.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Her familiars take the form of oddly doll-like angels with perpetual smiles.
  • Punny Name: One possible meaning of her online moniker is Handle Name Elly.
  • Subliminal Seduction: In a rarity for her kind, Kirsten speaks two full sentences via backmasking, apparently regarding one of her own memories before becoming a witch.
  • Telepathy: She's capable of seeing into people's memories, and displays them in order to torture her victims.
  • TV Head Robot: She hides her true form inside of a floating TV monitor with her twintails affixed to the sides, almost like wings.

    Elsa Maria 

Elsa Maria
The witch of shadow with a self-righteous nature. She continually prays for all of creation and drags all life equally into her shadow without breaking her posture. One hoping to defeat her must know the blackest anguish.

  • All-Loving Hero: Side materials show that Elsa Maria wants to "help" people "equally, all impartially."
  • Assimilation Plot: She views absorbing people as "saving" them.
  • Church Militant: Elsa Maria from Episode 7 acts like one, praying to an object that looks a lot like Catholic monstrance.
  • Dark Is Not Evil/Light Is Not Good: Invokes both tropes to varying degrees; she is apparently a practicing Catholic and constantly prays for the salvation of everyone around her. She's also a Living Shadow and accomplishes said salvation by consuming and assimilating anyone who gets too close.
  • Dark Messiah: Views herself as such, as she constantly prays for the world while sending out her shadows and familiars to kill whoever gets in her barrier.
  • Knight Templar: Being self-righteous, Elsa Maria thinks that her actions are the only way of saving the world, as she believes that magical girls aren't doing enough.
  • Living Shadow: She and her familiar, Sebastian, are both shadows.
  • Losing Your Head: In Sayaka vs. Elsa Maria's fight, Sayaka chops Elsa's head off. It's still not enough to kill her, so she goes Attack! Attack! Attack! on her until she dies. It's even creepier in the Blue-Ray version since Elsa bleeds in that one.
  • Nature Hero: Her shadow powers manifest as vines and huge trees sprouting from her back, and Sebastian seems to be comprised of various animal shadows. Seeing on how religious her barrier is, it makes sense, as she's trying to emulate the Garden of Eden.
  • One Degree of Separation: Maybe. She's often thought to be the witch form of Kyoko's younger sister, based on the religious imagery within her barrier.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: She's a giant Living Shadow seen praying to a bright red monstrance.
  • Shadow Archetype: Elsa Maria's self-righteousness mirrors Sayaka's, as both strive to be a force of good and justice for the world.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Absorbs people in order to "save" them.

    Oktavia von Seckendorff 

Oktavia von Seckendorff
The mermaid witch; it is in her nature to fall in love. Looking for the feeling that moved her so long ago, she moves with the entire concert hall. Her fortune only turns under the weight of memories and no longer moves toward the future. Nothing will reach her any longer. She will come to know nothing more. She simply allows no one to disturb her minions' playing.

  • Alien Blood: Blue, as seen when Kyoko cuts her hand off.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A gigantic mermaid knight.
  • Attention Whore: Several of the lines in her barrier are some variant of 'LOOK AT ME'. Considering the fact she's the Witch form of Sayaka, who had spent Kyubey-knows-how-long trying to get Kyousuke to love/look at her with no success, it's clear where this is coming from.
  • Background Music Override: Her theme, titled "Symposium Magarum," is played in-universe by her Holger familiars.
  • Bad Boss: She seems perfectly content letting the wheels she summons plow over the Klarissa familiars. Perhaps it's because they were made in the likeness of Hitomi.
  • BFS: Oktavia's weapon is an enormous sword. It looks like a massive version of Sayaka's sword, for good reason.
  • Blob Monster: She is occasionally accompanied by a red silhouette made of some goopy material, which seems to be her true form underneath her bulky armor. Her Klarissa familiars appear to be made of the same stuff.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Parallels "The Little Mermaid". As Sayaka, she sacrificed her soul to win the love of Kyosuke, only to fall into despair when he fell in love with Hitomi.
  • Hanging Judge: Innocent or guilty, you walk into her labyrinth, you're dead. Her only onscreen victims, however, are criminals (which she likely killed as Sayaka) and magical girls, who are capable of defending themselves somewhat.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: On the receiving end from Madoka. Sadly, it doesn't work.
  • Improbable Weapon User: If she's not swinging her screw-you sized sword at you, she's summoning and throwing wheels instead.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Symbolically. Sayaka believed herself a "hero of justice", and when she becomes Oktavia she dons knight's armor and a three-eyed helmet.
  • Locomotive Level: Aside from the large concert hall, her barrier is initially depicted as a distorted train station, with rails streaming across it.
  • Love Hurts: She was born as a result of Sayaka seeing Hitomi confess to Kyosuke, alongside the sheer pain of failing to gain the love she longed for so long.
  • Madness Mantra: "LOOK AT ME" is repeated many times in Oktavia's barrier.
  • Meaningful Name: "Oktavia" alludes to "Octave," a musical scale, and a sad reminder of how she used to love music as Sayaka and how her unrequited love for a musician led to her fall.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Closely resembles a giant, armored mermaid, with her giant sword also bringing into mind the image of Melusines.
  • Minor Major Character: While she's strong enough to force a magical girl - Kyoko - to perform a Mutual Kill with her, Oktavia's still another Monster of the Week like all the other witches. However, her short presence reveals three fundamental truths to the cast:
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Okay, the third one is kinda redundant, considering the true nature of Witches, but the trope's still at play since Oktavia's essentially a giant, three-eyed knight mermaid orchestra conductor.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids:
    • She and her familiar both. Oktavia is the mermaid witch because the story of her Magical Girl (Sayaka)'s downfall has parallels with the original Little Mermaid.
    • Holger performs music which steals the souls of the audience.
  • Songs of Solace: Oktavia has an orchestra of Holger familiars (who look like Kyosuke and play the violin), who play a melancholic, if grandiose waltz. She won't allow anyone to disturb their playing.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: She wears a heart-shaped high collar and the end of her mermaid tail is shaped like a broken heart. The former represents the feelings she held for Kyosuke as Sayaka, while the latter obviously represents her feelings once he gets together with Hitomi instead.
  • Third Eye: On her knight's helmet. Appropriately enough for a Witch based on an oceanic creature, it makes the helmet look more like a deep-sea diving helm than a typical armor helmet.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In a very dark way. Sayaka is shown to be the weakest magical girl out of the five main characters, so her becoming a witch makes her stronger and more dangerous. She even forced Kyoko to perform a Mutual Kill.
  • Tragic Monster: Even moreso than most witches, since we actually see the events that led up to her becoming what she is. As Sayaka, her heart was broken when Kyousuke fell in love with Hitomi, and her spirit was equally broken by the revelation that becoming a magical girl had led her to put her soul inside a Soul Gem, in effect becoming a zombie.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Within seconds of appearing, she lets out a bestial scream in Sayaka's voice. The effect is horrific.
  • Vocal Evolution: Oktavia's first few screams are in the voice of her old self, but the next time she's encountered, her voice has shifted to a more traditionally monstrous sound, suggesting that a Witch only retains their original voice in the early moments of their existence.
  • Water Is Womanly: The mermaid witch who fell in love, with minions who conduct a melancholic waltz.


The artist witch. Her nature is vanity. Without a slightest doubt, she believes her existence is blessed. Wanting someone to see her work, she often interferes with the human world. However, within her barrier only exists works that you have probably seen somewhere before. To defeat this witch, just bring a well-known critic with you.


The class representative witch. Her nature is to remain an onlooker. Using the spiderlike threads which she vomits forth, she created a school for herself alone within the sky of her barrier and endlessly acts out an ordinary daily student life there. If you ring the going-home bell, this witch will likely return to her house somewhere.

  • Animal Motifs: Her many arms, black clothing, the extra eyes on her Grief Seed (seen in the PSP game), and the many clotheslines surrounding her like a web are all evocative of a spider.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The part of her that still looks human has this with a short skirt and very small top.
  • Class Rep: Her witch type, and seems to fit the bossy type.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Played with. Patricia's form is just as weird as the other witches with her many arms, being headless and having hands where it's supposed to be feet, but if you remove the hands and add a head, she will look just as normal as a human. Her barrier is also just an endless beautiful blue sky with school uniform tops hanging on ropes rather than the more messed up barriers of the other witches. These fit with her I Just Want to Be Normal attitude.
  • Groin Attack: Homura defeats her with a bomb up her skirt. Considering that Patricia is analyzed to be someone having suffered from sexual abuse, this becomes much, much Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Her familiars simply consist of school uniform skirts, legs, and feet, with no upper bodies. This is why there are plenty of school uniform tops hanging in the barrier: the familliars don't need them for they have no upper bodies to put them on.
  • Handy Feet: Exaggerated to a literal extent. Full-body views of her show that while she has two legs, her feet have been replaced with two additional hands.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: She acts out ordinary school days in her labyrinth and has her familiars play the roles of her classmates.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Though the extra arms are for creepiness (and symbolism) rather than combat.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Strangely inverted, since she's this in comparison to the other witches. Most of the other witches are drawn in entirely different art styles from the rest of the series, but Patricia is by far the closest to that standard style, with the "only" thing really separating her from how the ordinary humans are designed being the bizarre and alien way her body parts are arranged. This fits considering her I Just Want to Be Normal nature.
  • Off with Her Head!: It's not easy to notice since her screentime consists of about 20 seconds, but full-body views of her (such as this one) show that she has no head.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Her school uniform is mostly black in color and topped off with a red bow.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: The above-mentioned Sailor Fuku ensemble, as well as the clotheslines in her labyrinth, which are strung with white sailor suits. She is the class representative witch, after all.
  • Starter Villain: In Magia Record, Patricia is the boss of the tutorial chapter and is fought by all five members of the Holy Quintet.
  • Trouser Space: She shoots her familiars and school desks out like bullets through her giant skirt.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Ringing the school bell makes her go away.


The birdcage witch. Her nature is rage. She continuously stamps her feet inside her cage, directing her rage at those who do not respond to her. This witch is extremely fond of alcohol, and her minions are also easy to burn.

  • Birdcaged: She's the birdcage witch.
  • Does Not Like Men: If something about her Gotz familiars' appearance, description and her own opinion about them is anything to go by.
    The birdcage witch's minion. His duty is to act with frivolous indiscretion. These birds that swarm together are idiotic men. Even though they are total good-for-nothings, they try to attract her attention by swarming around her feet and attempting to woo her. They are nothing more than objects of disgust to the witch.
  • Fan Disservice: Appears as a headless, armless, torso and legs wearing lingerie, with the ceiling of the very cage she’s imprisoned in topping off her neck.
  • Feathered Fiend: Her Gotz familiars are brightly-colored birds that try to hit on her, but she pushes them away.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Roberta likes alcohol. Her name could be a reference to the Aunt Roberta, a drink so potent it is perfectly capable of killing people who drink it.


The stage-constructing witch (alias: Walpurgisnacht / real name: unknown); her nature is helplessness. She symbolizes the fool who continuously spins in circles. The witch's mysteries have been handed down through the course of history; her appellation is "Walpurgisnacht." She will continue to rotate aimlessly throughout the world until she completely changes the whole of this age into a drama. When the doll's usual upside-down position reaches the top part of the witch, she completely roils the civilization on the ground in a flash through her gale-like flight.

  • All Your Powers Combined: In the manga, it's shown that Walpurgisnacht's "shadowy Puella Magi" familiars really are deceased Puella Magi - Sayaka, Mami and Kyouko are displayed among them, complete with their weapons... which might provide an explanation of how it accumulated so many witches and how it became so god-awfully strong.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Her constant laughter, which can often be heard as crying instead. Is Walpurgisnacht taking joy in creating her stage or is she mourning her own helplessness to stop the deaths?
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A gigantic harlequin clockwork doll floating upside-down in the sky.
  • Big Bad: In a "the main threat that has to be stopped" sense. She's neither a plotter nor a schemer due to her mindless nature as a Witch, however her immense power is the basis of the "Groundhog Day" Loop, when she kills off everyone but Homura in the first timeline and she goes back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. In every timeline, the fight with her is the pivotal moment, always ending with Homura resetting either because Madoka is killed trying to fight her, or because the fight with her causes Madoka to become a witch herself.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The reason it rampages? Is because it's trying to turn the entire world into a performance stage, and sees nothing wrong with obliterating everything in the way.
  • Boss Warning Siren: Walpurgisnacht has a special countdown when she finally appears in the final episode of the anime, styled after an old film countdown to match her theatrical theme.
  • Circus of Fear: Rather than stay contained within a barrier, she and her familiars wander around the world akin to a travelling circus troupe. Various trained animals pull Walpurgisnacht using strings of circus flags, and a personal army of clowns usually dance around the stage-setting Witch herself, who doubles as both the fire-breather and the apparent ringleader.
  • Colony Drop: One of her favored methods of attack is to hurl entire buildings at people using the wind. She can also light them on fire first.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: She's the strongest witch in existence who has crushed every Magical Girl that stood in her way. The only one who has successfully dealt the killing blow to her is Madoka Kaname, the strongest Magical Girl in existence. And even then, it's at the cost of Madoka either dying or turning into an even more fearsome witch.
  • The Dreaded: She is apparently well known among the magical girls and is appropriately feared for her reputation as being utterly unstoppable.
  • Expy: In the manga adaptation, she summons shadow doppelgangers of Mami, Sayaka, and Kyoko. Combined with her general demeanor and the fact that All There in the Manual calls her the witch of stage construction, she may very well be a reference to Type-Moon's similarly named Night of Wallachia.
  • Final Boss: Walpurgisnacht is a Magical Girl killing machine that is feared and wanted gone by all, and is always the final obstacle between Homura and the safety of Madoka.
  • Fisher Queen: Her mere presence causes humongous storms capable of ruining entire cities.
  • Fusion Dance: The website speculates Walpurgisnacht is this, but says nobody knows. Word of God confirms it, although adds that she started as a perfectly normal witch before "accumulating" others.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: It is defined by the threat it poses, and its motivations for destruction are very alien. Tropes Are Not Bad, however, because the threat it poses is a major catalyst for Homura's character arc.
  • Genius Loci: Those gigantic gears that make up her top(?) portion can unfold into a performance stage.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat: Walpurgisnacht wears a two-pointed hat evocative of this trope.
  • Hero Killer: She killed Mami in the first timeline, Homura makes a contract and has to reset time in order to not become one of her victims, and Madoka either dies fighting her or turns into a witch after the battle. She continually kills the main characters in every timeline, with the sole exception of Homura.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: As the strongest witch in existence, any magical girl unlucky enough to fight her is ultimately killed because she is tough enough to shrug off missiles, strong enough to create tornadoes, shoot devastating fire spells, and hurl skyscrapers at her enemies on a whim. It then makes sense that her nature is stated as helplessness since there is literally nothing one can do against it, unless of course, your name happens to be Madoka Kaname.
  • The Hyena: She never. Stops. Laughing. Not even as Madoka is shooting her out of the sky.
  • Immune to Bullets: She can apparently be defeated by a team of 5 or so magical girls (with tremendous casualties), but when Homura takes her on with an entire army's worth of arsenal, it does not seem to do any damage to her, implying that she may be immune or resistant to non-magical weapons. Although perhaps it may have to do with her symbolism of helplessness - a single person can never defeat her, because they have no one to rely on.
  • Improvised Weapon: Walpurgisnacht uses every object, even entire skyscrapers, in battle.
  • Invisible to Normals: Downplayed. Lesser witches need to hide within a barrier in order to prey on humans. Walpurgisnacht doesn't have to do that. The effects she causes, however, are seen by humans as a calamity of some sort such as a violent typhoon or a very strong earthquake.
  • The Juggernaut: A nigh-indestructible witch that throws skyscrapers and triggers gigantic thunderstorms. Homura has tried dozens of times to kill her and has failed every single time.
  • Laughing Mad: Her laughter is scary. A nice touch since her nature is "helplessness", laughing at everyone's feeble attempts to stop her. Although, at the time of her defeat, she still laughs - this time at her own helplessness.
  • Meaningful Appearance: The reason she and her aggregate familiars are modeled after circus performers is because Kyubey made fools out of each and every one of them by getting them to contract.
  • Meaningful Name: In Germanic folklore, "Walpurgisnacht" is a night where witches gather together and dance atop a mountain, fitting since Walpurgisnacht is a being created by the gathering of many different witches. The former is itself named after St. Walpurga, a Catholic saint who is invoked against storms. Which fits since regular humans perceive Walpurgisnacht as a gigantic storm.
  • Monster Clown:
    • Her design is partially modeled after a medieval jester or fool, which is most apparent from her two-horned cap, painted face, and constant laughter.
    • The shadowy familiars that represent the souls of magical girls that Walpurgisnacht has absorbed are stated in supplementary material to carry the duty of acting as clowns.
  • My Name Is ???: The Witch's true name is completely unknown, despite many magical girls calling her "Walpurgisnacht". Official sources confirm this with things like her card and Magia Record's own bestiary labeling her as "?????".
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Homura basically threw Japan's entire military arsenal at her, and she just let out a mocking laugh as she emerged unscathed, with not even her dress having suffered so much as a scratch.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: For most witches we're at least given their name as well as their origins, or at least some hints to it. This is not the case with Walpurgisnacht. All that's known about it is that it's a fusion of many witches. How did the fusions begin, and how do they happen? Who was the base witch that started it all? How long has she existed? Nobody knows - Walpurgisnacht simply is.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Walpurgisnacht is the moniker given to it by magical girls. As noted above, nobody knows what its true name is.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: As far as city-destroying Eldritch Abominations go; half of her is the dress, with the dress sporting a Showgirl Skirt to show off... nothing, because she traded her legs for the axle binding her to her clockwork underside.
  • Playing with Fire: Walpurgisnacht breathes fire, and is demonstrated to be able to light things on fire remotely. Excluding her power, it suddenly makes a lot more sense for Homura's artillery attacks to have no effect on her.
  • Reality Warper: Unlike other witches, she doesn't have a contained barrier. Instead, her presence seems to warp the real world into resembling a barrier.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Her name can be written as Walpurgisnacht or Walpurgis Night; in fact, the background paintings of her in Homura's apartment have both. The Hulu subs go with Walpurgisnacht, as does the English dub. As an aside, one of the songs relating to this witch is named "Nox Walpurgis", which of course is simply Latin for the same.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Her nature is listed as "Helplessness", which basically translates to her entire purpose being to utterly crush the hopes and dreams of everything in her path. This seems to explain why Homura could never defeat her, no matter how hard she tried. Conversely, Madoka is able to defeat Walpurgisnacht with ease because she either represents Hope (Puella Magi) or Mercy (Witch), and is thus her complete antithesis.
  • Technicolor Fire: Her fire is alternating shades of red, green and purple.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Her design. Her familiars also count due to their job description, being explicitly called clowns for performing on her stages.
  • Walking Spoiler: Amazingly enough, even the website doesn't reveal Walpurgisnacht's name, just listing it, and her familiars, as "?????".
  • Weather-Control Machine: "Living" variation. She has very deft control of her storm, capable of creating whirlwinds at will and lifting and hurling massive objects at her enemies with terrifying precision.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She's ultimately trying to turn the world into a performance stage so that no one will be unhappy anymore... which means killing everyone in the process.
    Excerpt from Episode 10's Production Note: "If everything is a play, no unhappy things will exist. It may be a tragedy, but it'll all be part of the script."
  • White Mask of Doom: It actually is her Eyeless Face rather than a mask, but it invokes the image.
  • Wolverine Publicity: She appears in merchandise and promotion long after her death.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: Her description states that this would be the result if she ever turned upright, wiping everything around her from existence in a flash of light, somewhat like a time bomb.


Kriemhild Gretchen
Witch of salvation. Her nature is mercy. She absorbs any life on the planet into her newly created heaven—her barrier. The only way to defeat this witch is to make the world free of misfortune. If there's no grief in this world, she will believe this world is already a heaven.

  • All There in the Manual: The final witch that appeared at the end of anime after absorbing a whole universe's worth of despair is not confirmed to be Kriemhild Gretchen, only referred as "Witch of Despair" in databooks. Although Word of God states that it is not incorrect to consider her another form of Gretchen, as she was also born from Madoka.
    The Witch of Despair. Her nature is direct petition. The mouthpiece for all the unfulfilled hopes of all spent magical girls. If a hope is born that can rewrite the universe, then at the same time, it is born from the mud of despair. Everlasting wailing fills her body, a continuously swelling, empty doll. At the end of a magical girl’s karma, this witch continues to swell to absurd sizes. And in the end, her body could even destroy the galaxy.
  • Antagonist Abilities: A rare cause, in that the ability isn't something she has herself but a side-effect of Homura's wish: Since her wish was about returning time to prevent Madoka from contracting and or dying, every time the timeline resets and Madoka gets stronger, so does Gretchen. For more information, see Equivalent Exchange below.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The only way to stop Gretchen without destroying her is to remove misfortune from the world, as she desires to create heaven on Earth. And in a more literal sense, as long as Madoka forms a magical girl contract, Kriemhild Gretchen will always be a potential dead-end for her other than death.
  • Apocalypse How: Kriemhild Gretchen brings anywhere from Planetary Species to Total Extinction, while according to Kyubey the Witch of Despair can cause Universal Physical Annihilation.
  • Assimilation Plot: Gretchen takes it to a global scale by gradually absorbing all life into her barrier.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Even at her smallest, she's a gargantuan shadow even bigger than Walpurgisnacht that may be based off the Brocken Spectre.
  • Celestial Body: Witch of Despair first appears as a comet-sized Grief Seed formed of the despair born out of Madoka's wish. When the comet hatches, the witch is so massive that Earth is only the size of her eyeball. We can't even see where her shadowy body ends.
  • Creepy Doll: What the Witch of Despair appears to be, if her description is any indication.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ultimate Madoka destroys the Witch of Despair with a single attack at the end of anime, before triggering the Retcon.
  • Dark Messiah: Kriemhild Gretchen is the Witch of Salvation. She intends to perform her idea of salvation by absorbing all life into her barrier, which are theorized to be a Lotus-Eater Machine or a Mercy Kill 'Em All machine.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: She normally appears after Walpurgisnacht is defeated if Madoka doesn't die in the process, can't pull a bigger jerk move than that.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kriemhild Gretchen, the Witch of Salvation said to bring the end of everything with her presence, is the witch form of Madoka, the magical candidate who was the last hope against Walpurgisnacht.
  • Enemy Without: The Witch of Despair is one to Ultimate Madoka, who is the only magical girl who is still around to face her own witch form.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Just as Madoka becomes more powerful whenever Homura resets the time loop, so does her Witch, growing in strength and size each time. It reaches its peak when Madoka takes on all of the world's grief and becomes Ultimate Madoka: quickly after that Gretchen/Witch of Despair emerged from her Soul Gem being several times the size of the planet. Fortunately Madoka can oneshot her by that point.
  • Foil:
    • Designed as a deliberate one to Walpurgisnacht. While Walpurgis represents "helplessness", Kriemhild represents "mercy". Walpurgis wants to eliminate unhappiness through a Kill 'Em All, while Gretchen is theorized to do it with either that or Lotus-Eater Machine. Even their visuals are done to contrast each other with Walpurgis being upside-down and Gretchen being right-side-up, described by Word of God as being reminiscent of a hourglass if you put them together.
    • Also to Ultimate Madoka. Their end goal is the same, as they want the people around them not to suffer, but Ultimate Madoka appears to dying magical girls and absorbs the darkness from their Grief Seeds, allowing them to naturally die in peace, while Gretchen ends life on earth by drawing it into her idea of a "heaven".
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Even more so than Walpurgisnacht, as Homura never even tried fighting it. In fact, her emergence basically spells "Game Over" for her.
  • Invincible Villain: Her simply existing causes the entire Earth to be put in danger, and since she usually comes right after the clusterscrew that is Walpurgisnacht, there's very little left that can help the remaining magical girls fight against her. At least Walpurgisnacht could be handled by multiple magical girls, and in certain timelines be one-shotted by Madoka. Gretchen? She's born from Madoka, taking out the only person left capable of stopping her at that point. It's quite telling that it takes Ultimate Madoka, a Physical God, showing up to be able to destroy her.
  • Living Shadow: A truly massive example, especially as Witch of Despair.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Gretchen is said to absorb all of the planet's life into her personal "heaven", her barrier. What this implies is unknown, but it's likely to be something like this.
  • Mercy Kill: A possible motivation. If her barrier does not actually put people into Lotus-Eater Machine and just straight-up kills them.
  • Mirror Match: Her "fight" with Ultimate Madoka is technically this, as they're both versions of the same girl.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Despite the detailed info we get for her in databooks, no one knows what is inside her barrier. Even her familiars, dubbed "minions of the Witch of Salvation", are never seen. We get to see a bit of its insides in the Portable game adaptation of the anime, but nothing about its nature, or what is happening there.
  • Post-Final Boss: Witch of Despair is this. Just as it was born, it quickly meets its end when Madoka executes her final wish in the present timeline, blowing it away with her arrow and erasing it from existence.
  • Rule of Symbolism: According to Word of God, Kriemhild Gretchen's shape resembles the lower half of an hourglass while Walpurgisnacht's resembles the upper half. Even when Walpurgisnacht is defeated by Madoka, she turns into the even stronger Kriemhild and restarts the cycle all over again, like an hourglass turning over.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Kriemhild Gretchen doesn't appear for more than a few seconds' worth of screentime due to Homura immediately resetting whenever the time traveler saw her, and yet she is the Witch that made Homura aware of the origins of Witches, and also plays a vital role in driving Homura's actions in the third timeline (as she desperately tries to inform the others about it).
  • True Final Boss: Due to Magical Girl Madoka being the only one who can defeat Walpurgisnacht, her Witch Kriemhild Gretchen inevitably emerges shortly afterwards, being just as if not more unbeatable as Walpurgis was.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's difficult to talk about her without exposing the origins of witches, as well as the fact that Homura is a time traveller. Also, the fact that she's the witch form of Madoka.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Wants to create heaven on earth by absorbing all life into her barrier.

Alternative Title(s): Puella Magi Madoka Magica 3


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