Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Episode 10
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, or “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, is a twelve-part weekly television series aired between January and April 2011, and original series developed for television. Madoka is your average middle school girl, until one day she is approached by a magical familiar, to form a pact to become a “magical girl” and fight the forces of evil and darkness. But despite normal “magical girl” stories, it doesn’t turn out to be all happiness and friendship, bright shiny colors and sparklies; instead, Madoka finds herself dealing with such angst-filled issues as death, suicide, isolation and murders.
Note: Spoilers likely from this point onwards.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: Groundhog Day as Homura relives Walpurgis Nacht over and over again; This shit is fucked up and bullshit.
Episode Summary: A shy, weak and unconfident Homura enters school, where she is befriended by Madoka. As Homura falls under the spell of a witch, she is saved by magical girls Madoka and Mami. But when they are killed in the awesome destruction of Walpurgis Nacht, a disconsolate Homura forms a pact with Kyubey so she can go back in time and save Madoka. Returning back to the day she leaves the hospital and returns to school, Homura relives the same couple of weeks again and again, trying to save Madoka from her fate. Each time she fails in a different way, each time gaining strength and confidence and skill, until finally reaching the starting point of the first episode.
My Impressions: Would it really be an incredible cop-out to essentially say this episode is an anime version of the movie “Groundhog Day”? Because, for lack of a simpler description, that’s exactly what it is. Homura is stuck in a feedback loop, repeating the worst slice of time imaginable again and again as she tries to “get it right”…not even knowing if there is a way to do that. In one iteration, everyone dies as the city is destroyed around them; in another the true nature of the magical girls leads them to turn on themselves, killing each other; in another Homura tries to take out Kyubey before forming a pact; in another a dying Madoka saves Homura from becoming a witch; and in the worst one of all, Madoka becomes a magical girl, wipes out the Walpurgis Nacht in one awesome blow, becoming the most awe-ful magical girl ever but knowing she is also destined to turn into the most powerful witch. All Homura can do is look on and despair, endlessly repeating the cycle in the hopefully-not-futile hope there is a way out.
In this episode maybe five iterations of the same cycle are shown, but really we don’t know how many times Homura has been forced to relive the terrible events. A hundred times? A thousand? More? For comparison to the aforesaid “Groundhog Day”, one blogger estimated Bill Murray repeated that same day a few thousand times, at least eight-plus years. How long has Homura been stuck in this feedback loop?
Slowly over time, Homura completely transforms from a useless coward into an Isako-like powerhouse, becoming strong, confident, powerful but also cool, calculating and emotionless. That certainly did not happen in just half a dozen iterations, she’s been fighting Kyubey’s designs on Madoka for a very long time. She has essentially given up herself and the driving force of saving Madoka (and therefore the world) has become all she knows. And now, Kyoko’s gone, Sayaka’s gone, Mami’s gone, all that remains is Homura to face the looming Walpurgis Nacht, knowing full well that the only person that could save the day is Madoka, and knowing full well that course of action can only lead to death and destruction as well. This shit is fucked up and bullshit, alright.
The verdict: – Awesome, totally awesome.
For more information:
- My earlier reviews:
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- If you like this series, you might also like: Alien Nine, or Red Garden.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Wow. This episode… might be the best episode of the entire series so far. I absolutely loved it. It was beautifully animated, perfectly paced, and it gave such great insight into not only Homura’s character but the others as well. I must be the luckiest anime blogger in the world to have picked this show as her first.” – Sea Slugs!
- “There are quite a number of epic shows, but rare is the one that manages to transcend that to the annals of legendary. SHAFT promised a lot for this episode, and oh boy did they deliver on that promise. And more. And securing the show’s ascent in to legendary status. At least by my book. ” – Kurogane’s Anime Blog
- “Holy crap, what an episode. We’ve finally gotten to Homura’s past and BY GOD is is awesome.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “Oh hell yes, this is exactly what I’ve been waiting for, and with top notch production quality to boot. For the longest time, we’ve known almost nothing about Homura’s past, which is why I’m so glad this episode went into a lot of detail regarding how she became who we know her as today. Grade: 4.6/5” – Emory Anime Club