Never has that phrase carried that much weight
It has been a surprisingly hard thing to actually make myself sit down and start writing about the Madoka Magica finale over the past few days since it aired. Partially due to IRL concerns (job skipped out two months of my pay, company melting down), partially due to laziness and the rest due to me trying to organize my thoughts about the finale in a proper manner.
After taking all that time, I can definitively say I liked the ending a lot. I had a lot of mixed feelings initially after the Madoka livestream on Friday morning was over, but after the course of roughly rewatching both episodes 5 times, I’ve come to really like how Urobuchi wrapped up Madoka Magica.
Frankly, at first, I was actually expecting a whole lot worst from the finale, taking in to account Gen’s penchant for the grimdark, but the moment Madoka made her ultimate wish to Kyubee validated his claims about writing a ‘happy’ ending for this show. Make no mistake, despite the prices paid by everyone, this was very much a happy ending ultimately. A bittersweet, but nevertheless a happy ending.
Probably the biggest stroke of genius here is the specificness of Madoka’s wish… “To erase all Witches, past and present, before they were born. With my own hands.”
Best. Wish. Ever.
It was certainly a wish that carried upon a humongous price for her, as given that it was a wish that pretty much rewrote the laws of the Universe that Madoka Magica is set in (entropy concerns left aside). Not only did it remove the biggest and most horrifying aspect to the Puella Magi system, it also left the wishes that every Puella Magi intact. The genius in this is that Madoka could have wished for the abolishment of the Puella Magi system as a much more easier way to remove the corrupting presence of the Incubators totally, but Madoka realizes that most wishes were truly made in an earnest hope for a positive outcome. By not denying that system, by making such a wish, she pretty much made it clear that even in the presence of overwhelming despair, one should never ever lose hope and Madoka became, herself, the ultimate personification of that one principle she learned and believed in. In essence, she became a concept… a Goddess.
Our Goddess is an awesome Goddess
The second genius of that wish was by making herself in to a concept that can not be erased, she also allowed Homura’s wish to essentially be in effect indefinitely since Madoka cannot be killed anymore or become a Witch herself. Of course, I was also toying with the idea that Madoka, by elevating herself to Domain of the Gods, but erasing all her mortal presence, she also ‘reset’ Homura’s wish as well. However, given the fact that Homura herself was not affected through multiple time loops and her retaining of Madoka’s existence, I’m pretty sure her original wish is still very much in effect. The final scene as well also gave me confidence on settling with this interpretation, as Homura has taken on herself the job to continue her role as a Puella Magi and protect the world that Madoka gave herself up for.
Can’t end this show without the trademark yuri embrace
In another way as well, the fact that Homura continues to take on the responsibilities of being a Puella Magi can be construed as the “bitter” part of this ending, as she is eternally locked in to self-fulfilling her own wish to protect Madoka in the form of the world, and it is hinted at the epilogue that it lasts quite a very long time. Of course, there are other ways to see it as well, but as for me, that will be my own interpretation of the epilogue. In that sense, Homura’s dedication towards Madoka is really the most admirable thing of the entire show.
These wings are seriously badass though
Of course, the finale also had its less than satisfying parts for me. For one, Tatsuya’s residual recall of Madoka strikes me as rather weird considering he was not really a meaningful character in any sense throughout the series. The other plot hole would also be how Tatsuya’s image of Madoka is of her Puella Magi form instead of her normal look, which comes as really weird even more so when you realise that Tatsuya probably never saw Madoka in that form as well!
Another thing as well is the entropy angle the Incubators were playing at as the raison d’etre of the Puella Magi system was conveniently not mentioned until the very end, and even that as an indirect reference too. Then again, the entropy angle was quite bullshit in the first place so maybe not mentioning it was a good thing in the end.
Walpurgisnacht’s origins and existence was also not quite explained well enough too, considering how much of a major antagonist she was built up as. Of course, I guess having Homura go all out on her was worth her existence in the show, but dammit, could’ve had a better exposition for her! Well, that’s just nitpicking right now.
But all said and done, Madoka Magica really ended on a great note, with the tinge of bittersweet becoming the best spice of the show to date. This is a show I am glad I did not miss. The rest of the year has a really high bar to overcome now. Thanks for the great time, SHAFT, Urobuchi, members of #madoka and to TheFluff (you’re my internet hero!) as well.
Liked: It’s the BEST SHOW OF THE YEAR, GODDAMNIT.
Rewatch: Like, about 5 times already now?