One of the aspects of Puella Magi Madoka Magica that made it so bleak is that the characters were all on their own, and it becomes increasingly apparent that their sponsor for being Magical Girls actually cares very little for their well-being. Similarly, one of the things that made Saya no Uta so depressing was the humans having seemingly no chance against a powerful entity from outer space.
The Unlikely Ally is a crossover fanfiction between the two that asks: what if one of the Drones/bodies in Kyubey's Hive Mind broke away and decided to actively help the main characters? Originally, it was as straightforward as that. However, as the story goes on, things start happening that hint at a greater mystery and scope to the conflict than originally thought.
Originally published on December 29, 2018, The Unlikely Ally is a reboot of an older fanfiction (which can be found here) by fellow fanfic author InGodzHandz, who gave permission for author Jalaras to make a reboot using the concept of their original fic.
Currently, the Fic is ongoing.
It is crossposted on three different websites, links are here:
Archive of Our Own: https://archiveofourown.org/works/17728160/chapters/41823968
Jalaras has also produced some fanart for the story, which can be found in the same DeviantArt Folder as the fanfic chapters. Direct Link is here: https://www.deviantart.com/lordgodsservant/gallery/69107440/The-Unlikely-Ally
This page and story contains unmarked spoilers for the Anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica! It is highly recommended that you watch the show/movies before viewing either!
- Acid-Trip Dimension: The Witch's Labyrinths, as in canon.
- Homura and Key's encounter with Saya in chapter 3 doesn't do this per se, but her sheer otherworldy feel makes the hospital ward she's in evoke the same feel as a Witch's Labyrinth.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: In addition to gaining emotions and individuality, Key also gains an interest in human entertainment. While the girls are attending school, Key stays at Mami's home with Nagisa to watch movies and shows with her.
- Alternate Timeline: Obviously as the story appears to take place in one of the time loops that Homura went through, though with the difference in this one being that Key has joined her and is actively trying to help her.
- Becomes one to Saya No Uta and Slender: The Arrival by simple virtue of adding in the Madoka Magica characters to their stories. Things aren't likely to turn out as they originally did in either respective property.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Madoka and Sayaka argue about the way the latter treats Homura, Sayaka asks her best friend if she is not in the least bit bothered by the fact that Homura won't trust them with her secrets. Madoka tries to argue otherwise, but she can't really bring herself to disagree with Sayaka, though she still argues that it doesn't excuse Sayaka's hostility towards Homura.
- The Atoner: Key seeks to atone for his actions as an Incubator drone by preventing girls from turning into Witches and purifying the existing Witches to free them from their torment.
- Awful Truth: Discussed in-universe as Key wants to tell the other characters the fate of Magical Girls as soon as possible to better prepare them. Homura however, having tried this tactic already and having it fail, is less enthusiastic. Homura only goes along with it after Key tells her that Mami was willing to listen to him and points out his ability can mitigate the revelation, and even then she is still prepared for the worst.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Played With: Key only agreed to drain despair out of a Witch for the sole goal of gaining another Magical Girl’s contract. This however, resulted in his gaining individuality and the capacity to feel emotion. It’s not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the word, but Subverted as he is extremely grateful it happened to him.
- Also possibly with Homura as she likely has wanted for awhile for some element to give her an advantage and break the time loop. Key is near perfectly suited for this given his abilities and knowledge of Kyubey and Magical Girls in general. The main thing is, he's still and Incubator, the same kind of creature that is the source of all the suffering that she's endured. It's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Lampshaded in Chapter 11. When Key reveals that he made a contract with Joan of Arc, Mami and Ryoko are stunned to learn that Key had actually met a famous historical figure and turned her into a Magical Girl.
- Being Good Sucks: Just because things are more hopeful in this story does not mean that it’s going to smooth sailing for the characters.
- Berserk Button: As of Chapter 3 Saya seems to hit Key’s as she tries to eat Homura and he responds by throwing the equivalent of a fireball at her. His appears to be harming of anyone he considers close to him.
- Big Bad: Kyubey is in full form as the manipulative little weasel he was in canon. That said, as in canon, he doesn't usually try and be active unless it involves getting contracts. On one occasion, he even gives some useful information because it doesn't impede him and might solve the problem of Saya sooner for both him and the main heroes.
- Big "NO!"!: Key gives a minor one when Sayaka attempts to get him to make a contract with her.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Due to it’s non-visual medium, the text at times gets a bit more detailed with the natural consequences of fighting than the anime did.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Played With as Kyubey is as eldritch as his canon self. However, Key is the same species as Kyubey, yet he managed to find a way to gaining emotions and considers Kyubey abhorrent.
- Saya is a partial example as she definitely is rather otherworldly but seems to have become more humanlike as time went on.
- Bizarre Alien Psychology: Kyubey's canon Hive Mind and lack of empathy is contrasted constantly against Key's individuality and ability to empathize.
- Brown Note: Just like in the source material, Saya's appearance inflicts this on people who see her, though it's less severe on Key and Magical Girls who have been mentally hardened by their experiences in the Witch's Labyrinth. Kyubey explains that this is because she isn't native to their reality and has entered it in a way her universe's laws of physics still apply to her. Key can provide mental support to people on his Psychic Link to keep them from going insane from this trope.
- Cliffhanger: Chapter 3 ends with, despite their best efforts, Mami apparently succumbing to her Canon fate. The chapter cuts immediately after the act itself.
- Chapter 17 ends with the girls and their allies stranded in a forest at night ... with a certain thin faceless man for company...
- Cool Big Sis: Mami, unsurprisingly, still serves as a good big sister figure to her friends, but this is especially prominent in her relationship with Nagisa. Nagisa enjoys spending time with Mami and notes that she's like the older sister she never had.
- Cooldown Hug: Downplayed. Nagisa is saddened by the death of her mother and misses her very much. When Madoka notices that she is starting to cry and trying to hide it, Madoka gives her a soft hug to comfort her.
- Crossover: Other Madoka Magica works aside, it slowly becomes one with Saya no Uta as the story goes on.
- And come Chapter 17, Slender: The Arrival comes into the picture as well.
- Cute Is Evil: Kyubey as in canon, but subverted with Key who is a rogue drone from the Kyubey Hive Mind who's noted as looking far more emotional and relatable than Kyubey. The main feature is facial features that actually allow the expression of emotion rather than Kyubey's blank pupil eyes and static mouth.
- Cuteness Overload: Lauren reacts this way when Key makes himself visible to her, leading Key to awkwardly thank her. Lauren regains her composure when she remembers she has company.
- Deal with the Devil: Key refuses to make contracts anymore to avoid unintentionally doing this.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: In Chapter 4 Mami and Nagisa have a civilized and comforting conversation with something called Marethil, who is portrayed as an Eldritch Being with power likely outsripping all of the other characters. His conversation with Key in the flashback section is more “get ahold of yourself” but still ends on a nice note for those involved.
- Divided We Fall: A major part of the story as of the first few chapters seems to be Key trying to get the main characters to avert this. This makes sense as in the show, they were competing for limited resources, but as of Chapter 4, it's revealed that Key's ability to purify Grief Seeds and Soul Gems negates this limitation altogether.
- Dramatic Irony:
- Kyubey spends his tenure when the girl's still trust him telling Mami, Madoka, and Sayaka that Key is mentally unstable and in need of treatment. As per Kyubey, he's not lying from his own perspective. He does succeed in coloring the girl's views of Homura and Key for a while.
- When Key refuses to turn Madoka and Sayaka into Magical Girls due to not wanting to risk a Deal with the Devil, Sayaka tries to argue they can help, only for Homura to warn her that her wish can be Secretly Selfish and backfire on her in the worst possible way. Sayaka angrily asks her about what she knows about her and her dreams. The readers already know that Homura has already seen what happens when Sayaka makes a contract with Kyubey and what she would normally wish for.
- Dream Intro: Used frequently. The Canon one with Madoka witnessing one of Homura's failed fights against Walpurgisnacht is used, but this time, all of the main girls (sans Homura who lived it) have the dream. Others are used at different points to possibly give foreshadowing.
- Easily Condemned: Because of Homura's cynicism, she is quick to assume that Key, Mami, and Nagisa have abandoned her in the woods, not knowing that the three can't see her and Key's telepathy is being messed up by Slender Man's presence and he can't contact anyone unless they’re close by.
- Easily Forgiven: When Key reveals to Mami that he was the Incubator Drone that turned her into a Magical Girl and that he wanted to make amends for taking advantage of her, Mami just hugs Key and thanks him for coming back and helping her. Madoka, Sayaka, and Nagisa all eagerly share the same sentiment with Key and don't hold his past actions against him. Justified, since as far as they're concerned, Key is an entirely different person from Kyubey after he gained emotions and his own individual personality, and his act of helping them and saving Mami and Nagisa are all the proof they need.
- First Time Feeling: Key becomes overwhelmed when he gains emotions for the first time, which leads him to start noticing everything in his surroundings that Kyubey would have ignored due to it not being relevant to his mission. Key notes it felt like he was sleepwalking his entire life and he's only just woken up for the first time.
- When Key first hears Homura mutter Mami's name, he almost stumbles on his feet. He also bears a shocked look on his face to see Mami herself, goes out of his way to save her in the fight against Gertrude despite Homura's orders to stand back unless it's necessary, and tries to warn Mami about Kyubey as soon as possible, even when Homura tells him she's a lost cause. It turns out that Key was the Incubator Drone that made a contract with Mami after she got into a car crash, and even though his connection to Kyubey's Hive Mind is severed, he still bears memories of what he personally experienced (including the girls he contracted with) and he wanted to help Mami to make amends for taking advantage of her and turning her into a Magical Girl.
- When discussing what to do about Saya before she becomes a bigger threat, Dr. Ryoko notes that one of the more peaceful solutions would be for a Magical Girl candidate to wish that Saya became human, only Homura to shoot that down. Chapter 22 has Kyubey approach Yuma and Saya and offers to make a contract with them both, meaning that this idea may come to pass after all, just not in the way Ryoko suggested.
- Freak Out: Mami's canon one to finding out the truth behind Witches is a big motivator for Homura to keep the other girls in the dark, something she enforces on Key. She only agrees to tell them when it seems that there might be some mitigating factors to prevent it. Even then, she's shown to be ready at a moment's notice to stop Mami if she displays any sign of trying to Mercy Kill the others. Homura is completely shocked when Key is able to prevent such a thing from happening, though Homura is still wary of potential freak outs in the future.
- From a Certain Point of View: Kyubey continuously talks about how Key is mentally ill and how much he wants to help him. He’s not lying since, from his perspective, Key is mentally ill and needs correction. Key disagrees . . . vehemently.
- Frozen Face: Key is a notable aversion as he has normal eyes and mouth that move in time with his emotions. It's noted as making him more relatable than Kyubey.
- And, naturally, Slender Man has this by virtue of not having a face.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Lampshaded in Chapter 8, when Kyoko becomes horrified at the realization that she's spend so much time with Yuma that she stopped using normal swears.
- Heel Realization: When Key gains emotions for the first time and becomes an individual capable of feeling empathy, Key can only react with horror and remorse now that he finally understands the pain that humans go through because of the Incubators. It takes some encouragement from Marethil for Key to decide to work on atonement.
- Heroes Gone Fishing: When Key is asked to watch over Nagisa, the two of them usually watch movies together, partially because Key has also gained an interest in human entertainment.
- Heroic BSoD: Homura goes through this when her shield is destroyed following the encounter with Slender Man, to the point she's unresponsive even when in the presence of Oriko.
- Hive Mind: The Incubators as confirmed by Canon Word of God are explicitly show to be a Hive-Minded race. Specifically, Kyubey is shown to be the only individual consciousness in their entire race. Here, Key is so far the first and only Incubator who has broken off from the Hive Mind and become an individual with his own personality.
- Horrifying the Horror: Saya ends up on the receiving end of this twice. When Saya tries to eat Homura, she ends up invoking Key's ire as the latter burns her and threatens great harm on her if she dares harm another human, scaring her out of the hospital. It's also shown that Saya is utterly terrified of Slender Man, as Dr. Ogai's journal entries revealed that he had encountered the Humanoid Abomination and it drove Saya to run away.
- Humanity Ensues: Saya takes on a human form after making a contract with Kyubey and becoming a Magical Girl.
- Humanity Is Infectious: A literal example ends up contributing to Key's origin. Key, back when he was an emotionless drone following Kyubey's will, drains the negativity out of a Magical Girl about to turn into a Witch just so he can convince her friends to make contracts with him. This ends up leading the drone to gain emotions and true individuality for the first time, and thus allowing the drone to become more human in personality.
- Also with Saya to a lesser extent. Internal monologue shows that she is definitely more on the Eldritch side of Eldritch Abomination but that her exposure to the humans she cares about has affected her. Mostly it extends to her caring for those people, but she also has some encouraging thoughts about the value of humans overall. Also discussed as Dr Ogai felt torn on how she cares about him, with a part of him feeling like he 'ruined' her.
- I Hate Past Me: Key is shown to be deeply regretful and troubled by his past as an Incubator Drone, to the point he shows great dislike for the alien symbols Dr. Ogai wrote on the wall because they remind him of the harm he caused for the sake of an allegedly good goal.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Even after learning the truth about the Magical Girl system, Sayaka admits to herself that she still wants to be a Magical Girl, if only because she wants to help her friends out and is frustrated about not being able to do much. The only reason she hasn't made a contract yet is because she's still trying to figure out the right wish to make, acknowledging that a frivolous wish would backfire on her.
- Internal Reveal: Key reveals the truth about the Magical Girl system to Mami, Madoka, and Sayaka in Chapter 4. When Mami starts to fall into despair from the revelation just as Homura expected, Key saves her by draining the grief out of her Soul Gem, and revealing that he was the drone she made a contract with and that he's been seeking to make amends ends up completely subverting Homura's expectations when Mami instead thanks Key and regains the will to live.
- Intrigued by Humanity: After gaining emotions and individuality, Key starts see humans as amazing beings, which leads him to seek to help humanity to atone for his actions as an Incubator Drone. Key also shows a great interest in human entertainment, which leads him to watch movies with Nagisa during his free time.
- It's All My Fault: Mami and Nagisa are able to bond over how they blame themselves for the deaths of their parents because they made the wrong wish.
- Killer Rabbit: While Kyubey was deadly in how he made lopsided deals and psychologically tortured the main characters, Key is more traditionally powerful. He actually takes part in fighting Witches and seems to have a certain amount of ability to manipulate energy. The tentacles that come out of Kyubey's ears can also be repurposed by Key into sharp weapons.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As in canon, when Madoka talks about having a dream with Homura in it, Sayaka talks about them (Sayaka had the dream too in this story) being like Anime Characters. She then follows it up with several sarcastic quips that are things that actually happened in the original Anime.
- Leonine Contract: As it happens, it was one of these turning out in an unexpected way that gave Key the ability to feel emotion.
- Also turns out that he was the drone that gave Mami her canon one of these.
- Made of Iron: Key offhandedly mentions that he modified his body to be this, so he doesn't get torn to shreds whenever he fights.
- Meaningful Name: Key's name turns out to be one. He wants to be the Key to Kyubey's defeat, and thus chose the appropriate name.
- The Mentor: Ryoko Tanbo, at times, gives some much-needed comfort and advice to Mami. She seems to empathize a bit with how Mami feels pressured to always have a handle on things when they're dealing with Eldritch Abominations.
- Move in the Frozen Time: In chapter 16 Marethil no-sell's Homura's ability to stop time with seemingly no effort at all. He explains it as him being in-tune and sensitive to fundamental forces of the universe. This unnerves Homura greatly, though Marethil professes no ill will towards Homura, it's another in a long list of weird things weighing on the girl's mind.
- Must Make Amends: Key recognizes Mami as one of the girls he made a contract with back when he was an emotionless drone. This is one of the reasons he tries to warn Mami about Kyubey and the Magical Girl System as he wants to make things right between himself and Mami, regretting how he took advantage of her back then.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When the Incubator Drone that would become Key gains emotions for the first time, he is overcome with horror and remorse when he finally understands the pain he had put girls through by turning them into Magical Girls and condemning them to become Witches. This led Key to turn the girl he drained the despair out of back into a normal girl so she won't have to turn into a Witch. This event, along with Marethil's encouragement, led Key to become The Atoner by seeking to save as many Magical Girls and Witches from their torment as possible, as well as refuse to make more Magical Girls.
- Nice Guy: Key, as a result of becoming an individual who can feel emotions and empathize with others, proves himself to be kind-hearted and friendly when interacting with others. He wishes to atone for his actions as an Incubator drone, seeks to save every Magical Girl that has turned into a Witch, and actually goes out of his way to try and warn Mami, Madoka, and Sayaka about Kyubey as soon as possible, even when Homura is against it. In contrast to Kyubey's superficial politeness, Key's cordial and kind personality is genuine because of his emotions making him act more human. Key's kindness ends up endearing him to Madoka, Sayaka, Mami, and Nagisa, with Madoka even noting how Key's kindness is genuine when compared to Kyubey's surface-level politeness, and Oriko is utterly shocked when Key goes out of his way to save her life after she assumed that he's a threat due to seeing a vision of him destroying Mitakihara in his battle with Walpurgisnacht.
- Noodle Incident: In the opening chapter, Homura mentions that at one point she wound up getting eaten by Walpurgisnacht and survived. No further information is given.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Key saves Oriko from a Witch's Labyrinth, which shocks her since she assumed Key was evil due to her vision of him fighting Walpurgisnacht. Unfortunately, before Key can get introductions in order, Kirika arrives and attacks him, thinking that he's trying to harm Oriko and forcing the latter to stop her from killing Key. While Oriko does save Key's life and heals most of the damage before running off with Kirika, Key still ends up traumatized from the attack.
- Not in Front of the Kid: A Running Gag has Sayaka and Kyoko having to censor their words in front of Nagisa and Yuma respectively whenever they were about to swear. This is humorously lampshaded when Kyoko is horrified to realize she spent so much time with Yuma that she stopped swearing.
- Not So Similar: When Ryoko finally reunites with Yui after Key purifies her Grief Seed, Homura thought their relationship is similar to her relationship with Madoka, since they both worked so hard to save them from their fate. However, Homura is shocked when Ryoko explains that Yui has decided to pass on, calling her out on giving up on her best friend. Ryoko explains that she isn't giving up; she wanted to save Yui from her state, and she has with the girls and Key's help. She's not going to force her to stay in the Land of the Living because she wants her to, she's going to respect her choice as a friend since she's made peace with what happened to Yui years ago.
- Once More, with Clarity: An In-Universe example in Chapter 4. While the reader already knows Homura and Key were only trying to stop Kyubey from making contracts with the girls and Kyubey is only putting on an act of being hurt, Madoka, Sayaka, and Mami were not aware of this and believed Kyubey's words about Homura and Key being a threat. After Key explains the situation, he shows his memories of the event, allowing the girls to see what really happened between the three and find out that Kyubey was never in any danger of getting killed due to his multiple bodies.
- Opportunistic Bastard: Kyubey remains this even when the plot starts to diverge from canon. When Key and his friends, along with Dr. Ryoko, try to take care of Saya before she becomes a bigger problem, Kyubey takes advantage of the situation by convincing Oriko's group to follow them when the telepathic connection has been severed, and while Oriko, Kirika, and Kyoko try to handle Slender Man and his corrupted human, Kyubey approaches Yuma and Saya and offers them a chance to become Magical Girls in order to gain the power necessary to save the people they care about.
- Painting the Medium: When a character’s voice is supposed to sound alien and Eldritch, the author will often bold the words and change random letters to capitals to reflect this. SomEThInG liKE tHis.
- Protectorate: Aside from Madoka for Homura, Key appears to view those close to him as this.
- Rogue Drone: Played With. The Incubators are less Hive Mind in the sense of "many minds fused together" and more "one mind, many bodies." Key's flashback does note that there is some autonomy when Kyubey is more focused on directly piloting specific bodies over others, but it's likened more to robots with extremely detailed and sophisticated programming than actual living creatures. Key qualifies for this by default as he has managed to gain his own personality and sapience outside of Kyubey's control. On the whole, mostly due to gaining a conscience along with individuality, he VASTLY prefers his life now as opposed to before.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When Key asks Ryoko Tanbo to tell him about Fuminori, Ryoko notes that would violate patient and doctor confidentiality, but because of the circumstances involving Saya and Fuminori, she decides to make an exception.
- Shout-Out: In chapter 8 during a conversation, Kyoko has trouble remembering Kirika's name and mentally calls her 'Kirito.'
- The Stations of the Canon: As of the first few chapters, in spite of the presence of Key, things have gone more or less the same for Madoka, Sayaka, and Mami. The writer's notes also acknowledge that Walpurgisnacht is a set event that will happen. The Writer's Notes also say that this will eventually be an averted trope.
- Chapter 4 aggressively starts the process of the Canon progression of events being averted, most notably, with Mami surviving and Nagisa being cured of being a Witch.
- Chapter 5 Zig-Zags the trope as it contains several of the beats of Puella Magi Oriko Magica but both blends it with The Extra Story as well as purposefully changing and averting a few of the events.
- As of Chapter 17 the story seems to have driven completely off the rails as far as sticking to canon events. Several events of canon do happen, but the placement and context is usually played with. Similar to how the show would show 'echoes' of certain events through Homura's time loops.
- The Slender: The Arrival section of the story appears to be hitting the most notable beats of its story as it goes. Of course, the events of those beats tends to change a bit as we now have the Madoka and Saya No Uta characters thrown into the mix.
- Stress Vomit: Key ends up traumatized when Kirika attacks him, thinking he was trying to hurt Oriko. Although Oriko and Kirika do heal most of the damage, Key ends up vomiting in front of his friends after he forces himself to stand up.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
- A one-sided example between Key and Homura. Key is sincere about wanting to help Homura and also wants to be her friend, but Homura doesn't quite trust him because he's an Incubator, even if he has gained his own personality. When Homura starts keeping her distance from Key after learning he may become a bigger threat than Walpurgisnacht, Key can only feel upset and hurt about Homura giving him the cold shoulder for reasons he doesn't know.
- Homura and Sayaka are a much straighter example. Even after learning the truth about Kyubey and Witches, Sayaka still isn't fond of Homura and working with her because of the way she acts towards her and everyone else. Homura in turn still distrusts Sayaka, knowing that she wants to become Magical Girl and be helpful and has already seen how badly that backfired in the previous timelines she's visited.
- They Knew the Risks: When Madoka and Homura get into a small argument about going to investigate Saya, Homura tells her that they shouldn't have come in the first place, and Madoka argues that they all knew the risks and still chose to go anyway.
- Vagueness Is Coming: In Chapter 4 its said that things other than Kyubey and Walpurgisnacht are taking note of the main characters and may potentially become problems. Naturally, what these things are go unrevealed.
- Chapter 5 gives Oriko a vision of a bad-future like in canon, but while the events are clear to a point, its kept ambiguous how and why things might progress to that point.
- Virtual Soundtrack: Used frequently in the story. Naturally, most of the music used comes from Madoka Magica itself. But there's a generous helping of others such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ori and the Blind Forest, or Saya No Uta.
- Wham Episode: Chapter 22: Oriko and Kirika end up in the forest and meet Madoka and Homura. Also, Kyubey offers to make a contract with Yuma... and Saya.
- A Wizard Did It: LampshadedSayaka: How does the tentacle extension thing work?
Key: Explaining that would be long, tedious, and take up time that we probably don't have. Let's just call it 'magic'.
Sayaka: You can't just say 'magic' like it's a good explanation.
Key: Magic exists, your argument is invalid.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Just like in the first episode of the canon series, Kyubey pulls a trick like this when Homura and Key try to stop him from meeting Madoka and Sayaka, successfully coloring the girls' view of the former two for some time. When Key shows the events from his perspective to everyone and Madoka sees for herself that Kyubey was never in any real danger and in fact exploited her kindness, Madoka can only feel hurt at the realization that Kyubey manipulated her so easily.
- You Are Not Alone: Marethil affirms this in his goodbye to Mami in Chapter 4.
- Key does the same to Mami later on in the Chapter when she almost gives into despair after learning about the source of Witches.
- You Can See Me?:
- The Incubator Drone that would become Key expresses shock when a seemingly homeless man actually starts talking to him and reveals that he's aware of his presence, since only Magical Girls, or girls with the potential to become one, can see him normally. This ends up tipping off Key that man standing before him isn't actually human.
- Ryoko Tanbo reveals that she can see Key as well, a revelation that shocks Key, though he quickly realizes that Ryoko must have been a Magical Girl Candidate when she was younger.
- You're Insane!: When Kyubey confirms Key's revelation about Magical Girls turning into Witches, Sayaka and Madoka proceed to call him out for trying to trick them like that, leading to this exchange:Kyubey: I don't really know what you mean by 'tricking' you? I provide you humans with a once in a lifetime opportunity. The granting of a single wish is something that no human is ever afforded in their whole lifetime. So why is it that you humans become so unsatisfied when you don't fully utilize the opportunity, or that there's a price to be paid? It's not as though I take away what your wish does, even after you become Witches.
Sayaka: [snorting] You're insane, aren't you.
Kyubey: That's not a very nice thing to say. From my perspective, you are the ones who're dangerously unhinged. And yet here I am devoting my time to giving you all the benefits of becoming Magical Girls.