While most of the story is Lighter and Softer
compared to other entries in the series, there are instances that remind us that, yes, this is still the universe where girls sell their souls for a wish and risk themselves turning into monsters.
- The early parts of Chapter 5 of the Main Story tackle's Iroha's Friendless Background which causes her to space out at times. Despite her cheerful front to her classmates she wasn't particularly close to anyone and Iroha reflects on what was wrong with her. The rumor she and the gang tackles relates to this. She later learns that Sana, a magical girl who disappeared willingly entered the barrier of the Rumor of the Anonymous A.I. out of loneliness. Iroha concludes that Sana had it worse than her. The fact that Sana wished herself to "disappear" due to abuse and neglect is a tearjerker itself.
- Chapter 6 of the Main Story reveals Yachiyo's backstory. Turns out, Yachiyo and Mifuyu had another childhood friend named Kanae Yukino. A softhearted punk guitarist who acted as The Kirk of their little group, Kanae died protecting Yachiyo and revealed to her friends the truth of the magical girls' Soul Gems. Disheartened but still determined to survive, Yachiyo and Mifuyu made another group. Mel Anna, Yachiyo's bright-eyed fortune teller junior, died turning into a witch in front of her friends. Yachiyo, who thought that she's a Doom Magnet, begun pushing her friends away. Mifuyu went into half a year angst-inducted delirium until she found out about the Wings of Magius and the Doppel. Momoko felt betrayed by Yachiyo's apathy and left to stake her own claim in Kamihama. Tsuruno, who wasn't there when Mel died, was left confused of why her group suddenly shattered. When Iroha arrives in Kamihama, there's almost no trace that these girls were friends; Yachiyo is a bitter hermit, Momoko is hostile toward Yachiyo and actively slandering her, Tsuruno is desperate to bring her acquaintances back together, and Mifuyu is an antagonistic magical girl.
- Mid-way the chapter Mifuyu convinces the Iroha and the gang, but except for Yachiyo to attend to "study session" so they could at least give an idea regarding their motive to "save" magical girls. Mifuyu talked to Yachiyo in private causing her to become her cold distance self again and expectedly the Magius's session was a ploy to brainwash Iroha and the group if they don't voluntarily join. They were sucessfull in brainwashing Tsuruno, Felicia and Sana. Iroha then tearfully had a flashback of her first meeting with three realizing the Magius broke the bonds she has forged. It doesn't help that Yachiyo despite seemingly came to help Iroha is still acting cold towards her.
- The end of Chapter 6 and then Chapter 7 has Momoko decide to tell Rena and Kaede the truth about Magical Girls becoming Witches. Rena breaks down for a while and cries harder than she ever has before, but Kaede completely shuts down, locking herself in her room for days. Its only when Rena intentionally starts an argument with Kaede to fire her back up that Kaede begins to recover.
- Expanding upon the reveal in Chapter 6, in Chapter 8 Mitama, Yachiyo and Momoko decide to tell the truth about Witches to every Magical Girl in Kamihama. Although everyone is obviously shocked and distressed, a few reactions really stand out.
- Rika begins to fall into despair, realizing that she had literally sold her soul for nothing and figuring that this was punishment for her selfishness. She even tearfully apologizes to Ren for stopping her from committing suicide. It's only Ren's emotional support that manages to pull her out of her despair.
- Aimi, normally a comedic relief character, is devastated when she finds out, crying that she could never be with her beloved crush if she would turn into a Witch one day and possibly kill him. Kokoro manages to give her a Rousing Speech, which in turn encourages Ren to give her own support to Rika.
Side Stories and Events
- Ren's entire backstory:
- Ren being bullied for being shy and having difficulty speaking in social situations is something that many readers can relate to. By the time she gets to middle school, the bullying has become so vicious that Ren decides to kill herself. Mid-fall, however, she realizes that she doesn't want to die, and when Kyubey offers her a contract she cries out that she wants to live.
- Ren gets her hopes up when Kyubey tells her about how Witches spread negative emotions, and that they may have been responsible for her bullying. And Ren actually manages to defeat the Witch controlling the bullies, causing her bullying to stop. But Ren begins to realize that she can't eliminate all of the malice in Kamihama, and the thought of other people having to go what she went through breaks her all over again.
- By the time that her sidestory begins, Ren is so broken that she's decided to kill herself again, having given up on the world and believing that she doesn't deserve to live if she can't help anyone. Even when Rika catches her, she just apologizes for being heavy.
- The ending of Rika's sidestory, which in many ways is extremely similar to the ending of Sayaka's character arc in the original anime series. Having realized that her spur-of-the-moment wish had brainwashed her girlfriend and broken up a great relationship, Rika decides to break up with her girlfriend and get her back together with her forgotten ex-boyfriend. Although Rika is glad that she could fix her mistake, she's still heartbroken that she could never truly have her friend's love, and sees this as confirmation that she doesn't deserve love. Even Hinano is moved to tears by it all. When Rika tells her story to Ren in Ren's own sidestory, it's clear that she hasn't gotten over it.
- Sanas side story in a nutshell is a cruel mixture of Hope Spot, Alone in a Crowd, and Yank the Dog's Chain. To further elaborate:
- The story begins with showing Sana's abuse and neglect from her family. Despite her best attempts, her father, mother, and two step-brothers treat her as a nuisance at best and a useless idiot at worst. Finally, part 1 ends with Sanas stepfather telling Sana that she is unworthy of the Futaba name and will no longer be a part of the family. Sure makes looking at her last name in-game all the more depressing, huh?
- Part 2 Yay! It looks like Sana made a friend, albeit a stray cat. However, based on the title of part 2 alone "She was my friend", the Foregone Conclusion is very obvious. Sure enough, one day, after looking for her cat friend (who had gone missing), Sana learns that someone from the health department came to get rid of all the stray cats. All she can do is sob.
- Part 3 As if things werent bad enough, Sana once had a human friend, a girl from her class. Things are looking up but one day her friend didnt stand up to the bullies tormenting Sana, and both girls grow apart.
- The conclusion of Shizuku's sidestory; Yachiyo and Iroha try to bring Shizuku into their group, but she rebukes them because she thinks she's a stranger among friends who had passed great trials together and she has no place among them. Shizuku then continues to drift aimlessly, possibly even fall into a dark path, not knowing what to do with her life - exactly like at the beginning of her story.
- Her story continues to the event "Whereabouts of the Feather"; it confirms that the "shady group" she pledges her service to is the Wings of Magius, and Shizuku gets brainwashed to better serve them. While there, she befriends two other Feathers, Ryou and Ikumi, who unlike Shizuku are not brainwashed. Seeing this half-lucid friend of theirs goes about her life doing a cause that she doesn't really put her heart on, Ryou and Ikumi take pity on her, break her brainwashing, and drive her out of the organization. If the two didn't do this, Shizuku would not be found and get evacuated and by the time Kamihama magical girls storm the Magius' base, Shizuku would be one of those faceless minions the heroes, including Yachiyo and Iroha, cut down.
- Homura's story in Valentine 2018 is a deconstruction of the What Measure Is a Mook? mentality of the Wings of Magius that was implied in Holy Mami's side-story. Homura befriends a nameless Black Feather who is pretty similar to her. Overworked by the Magius and without someone to confide with, the Black Feather curses her powerlessness for failing her wish to save a precious someone and for troubling Homura, before turning into a witch in front of her. Homura then kills the witch, crying bitter tears the entire way. The kicker is the witch is nothing but a Palette Swap of Candy the Stuck-out Ear Witch and the witch's profile says:
- Despite her name and appearance being unknown, we know quite a lot about her. Her base of operation is in Kamihama, but her parents' house is in Mitakihara. She was hospitalized and released around the same time as Homura, and there was a nurse who is kind to her. She's bullied quite often at school. She doesn't have other friends and Homura is the only one whose number is in her phone. She wants to be a hero just like in her favorite book. She's entirely devoted to the Wings of Magius' cause, believing her 'God' will bring salvation to the magical girls. It's implied that she attacked her bullies after they destroyed the chocolate she made for the nurse, possibly killing them, before turning into a witch. But it's exactly because we know a lot about her that her situation becomes very tragic; in the end, she doesn't matter.
Homura... I'm sorry... I'm sorry... Homura, Homura... I love you. I love you so much. I love you the way you are. I love everything about you. So, please tell me just one thing! Why do I have nothing!?
- This event basically demoralizes Homura, who had thought that she can be just like Madoka, whose kindness and friendship could pull her out of the chasm of despair. When she fails to save her friend, it serves as a reminder that she had always failed and she will always fail.
- Nagisa's side story. It's a Start of Darkness for how she turned into Charlotte.
- The reason Felicia is hellbent on killing witches is that her parents were killed by one. Even more, this was her own doing and her wishes caused her to believed that witches killed her loved ones.
- See You Tomorrow event is full of this:
- Seika who suffers from social anxiety was invited by her classmates to eat lunch together. Seika though delightfully surprised that people other than her childhood friends Mito and Leila invited her, was too anxious to accept the invitation. Her classmates gave up and assumed they were bothering her.
- Mito is actively being bullied by her classmates and calls her and her friends weird.
- The event is centered around the friendship of Mito, Seika, and Mito which is on the brink of falling apart as Seika who is already a magical girl attempts to keep Leila and Mito out of the magical girl life.
- Mitama's Side Story reveals Mitama's past. Mitama was a former student in Mizuna Girl's Academy. From Daitou, Mitama was admitted as a scholar. She befriended her more affluent classmates despite her coming from a poorer background . However one day, Mitama was pushed down the stairs by who she tought was her closest friend and bumped another student. The incident was reported to be intentional by the school paper and Mitama was asked by the school administration to dropout.
- To make matters worse when Mitama returned to Daitou. She was shunned by her classmates since she "failed" Daitou and everyone was "putting hopes on her". One even remarked how they feel sorry for her sister. This was the final straw which causes Mitama to snap exclaiming how she should start "fulfilling" people's expectations by asking for "volunteers" to get pushed down the stairs and threatening others with a fire extinguisher. Good thing her friend Kanagi helped her calm down.
- This wasn't enough though. Mitama was driven to misanthropy so much that she wished to Kyubey that she wanted to be the one that destroys Kamihama.
- Christmas at Mikazuki Villa narrates how Sana doesn't understand Christmas and it's implied that she was never given gifts or took part in her family's Christmas celebration. Felicia hates Christmas because it reminds her of her happy moments with her parents who were killed by a witch.