Re-take: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie III: Rebellion

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie III: Rebellion

Evil or pure love?

Finally got my Rebellion blu-ray, completing my collection as promised. Obviously, a great chance/excuse to rewatch it again, this time in the glory of blu-ray quality. As with all great movies, rewatching gives a totally new perspective to the movie contents as well as affirming my convictions for Homura’s choices in the movie.

Going straight in to the biggest question of the movie, why did Homura choose to “desecrate” Goddess Madoka at the end? A lot of interpretations have been thrown around but the foremost is probably the “selfish love” vs “selfless love” ideal, in which Homura just wants to possess Madoka for herself. I do agree with the “selfish” vs “selfless” aspects, but I don’t agree with the idea it’s just Homura’s one-sided desire. Let’s take in the facts one by one right before the “desecration” happens:

  • Homura knows that the real danger to everyone is the Incubators. This is the fact established in the TV series and also further expanded in this movie. In fact, the whole movie is set in the midst of an Incubator experiment where they intend to observe and subsequently interfere with the “Law of the Cycles”.
  • Homura’s wish all this while is protect Madoka. It was never really about other people, although Homura still cares about the other Puella Magi albeit never on the same level as her affection towards Madoka.
  • Homura has already become a Witch within her Soul Gem. She knows there is no hope of reverting back to a Puella Magi anymorethus she will not be able to continue protecting Madoka from any further experiments by the Incubators. 

So taking in account those points, I believe Homura was never planning on doing what she did in the first place. She was just still desperately clinging on to the wish and desire to protect Madoka, even if it meant going to the extremes of using the Witch powers she hates. She probably took a massive gamble, by using her knowledge that the power of a wish could even contain enough power to reform the universe. Instead of using the power of a wish however, she used the power that is born during the change from a Puella Magi to a Witch to do the same thing instead.

Additionally, she specifically separated the “information of Madoka as a human being” from the “Law of the Cycles” so that she could continue to observe and protect the most important person to her. It’s never stated that the “Law of the Cycles” have been overwritten or removed, but I personally believe that Homura did not overturn Madoka’s wish. After all, she does love Madoka for what she is. This is alluded at the final dialogue between both of them quite clearly.

Her existence in the new world probably also serves as an guiding post for Homura herself, to never lose sight of her wish and her own self. Remember, at this point, it can be said Homura has already become a Witch, even if she has managed to overwrite the universe with her own “world”, theres probably no guarantee she might lose herself in despair again and revert to becoming a Witch again.

One more factor is probably Homura and Madoka’s night conversation in the flower field, where Madoka tells Homura that “going away from everyone” would be a very painful thing for her to bear. So, keeping that in mind, Homura is also granting Madoka another chance to be with everyone again.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie III: Rebellion

The true reason why Homura rewrote the world.

What really made me go for the interpretation above is watching the difference between the final version and the special “first take” version included in the Blu-rays. The “first take” version is clearly much more… extreme and gives a sense of finality, in that Homura has succumbed to the madness born from her own desire towards Madoka. The final version, however, is much much more nuanced and clearly implies Homura is still quite in control of her own self and the awareness of what she’s doing. It’s even stated that the production team did not want the finality the “first take” presents. 

Keeping all that mind… Rebellion is truly a Homura movie from start to finish and the utmost expression of her love towards Madoka. I don’t personally think that Urobuchi, Shinbo and co. wanted to make Homura go “out-of-character”, but instead this is the extension of the love that Homura has held for Madoka at the end of the TV series. Even if it meant losing her own existence as a Puella Magi, even at the cost of becoming something she hates, her overriding objective has always and will ever be protecting Madoka. It’s really love so strong, so pure… so scary… and I’m amazed yet again at how this movie was made with such a massive “twist” yet still be a true sequel to the legacy of the TV series.

If the TV series ultimate message was “Never giving up hope even at the bleakest of moments”, the movie message is probably to “never give up ever, even if the worst has already happened”. Sounds the same, but the nuances are different and leads to different choices.

tl;dr Rebellion is the ultimate expression of Homura’s love towards Madoka, HomuMado fans rejoice!


  1. amado Said,

    May 4, 2014 @ 12:04 am

    there was actually an interview btw, where they asked about how it could still be continued.

    forgot the actual lines as well as the link, but urubochi replied something like “oh yes indeed, sayaka is the only one who could oppose homura. she may become the protagonist if the series is still continued at that point”.

    yay for me :D

    oh and the movie helped fuel my sayakaXhomura ship.

  2. CrimCrusader Said,

    May 4, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

    Is it really considered love if said love is forced on someone else?

    Oh, and Homura’s actions in the final portion of the movie reminds me of Chikane’s actions in Episodes 8-12 of Kannazuki no Miko…

  3. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    May 4, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

    I don’t think Homura actually “forced” anything on Madoka’s feelings though.

    And yes, Homura going down the path of “evil” is really just similar to how Chikane wanted to sacrifice herself instead of Himeko, and tried to make Himeko hate her etc. etc.

    At least we don’t see Homura forcing herself with flutes on Madoka though.

  4. CrimCrusader Said,

    May 5, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

    Unfortunately, hearing the 1st take version has led me to dread this possibility in the 2nd Season….

    ….the possibility of Homura committing yuri rape on Madoka.


  5. amado Said,

    May 6, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

    well there’s similarities with the two series, but the difference though is that homura didnt actually try to make madoka dislike her.
    homura realized that madoka didnt approve of her decision, thus she’s accepted that the two of them will end up clashing in the future when.

    its more like an unintentional effect rather than intentional on her part, she did seem somewhat shocked with madoka’s choice before she put on back her stoic expression. probably expected her to be completely happy.

  6. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    May 6, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

    I think her surprise probably came from the fact she didn’t expect Madoka to suddenly be able to manifest her “Law of the Cycle” connections in her own “world”.

    In a sense, she probably also felt she misunderstood Madoka, as she still went for the “right” choice after the flower field scene confession (of sorts).

  7. anonon Said,

    May 7, 2014 @ 6:15 am

    Kurogane, you’re back! I knew it was worth checking your blog every week in clinging desperation!

  8. DocAstaroth Said,

    May 7, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

    When I see the movie I couldn’t help but think about Touma Kamijou and how he would react. Especially after the events of New Testament 9 where he learns that “saving everyone” has to include yourself or it is meaningless.

    Point is, the end says “Bad End”, but everyone is alive PLUS ONE.

    The actual bad end is ONLY for Homura and this is that makes me sad. She may save Madoka, but can she really expect to be Madoka happy, if her best friend must suffer for it?

    By the way, in case of a second season: GIVE ME GOD FORMS OF ALL THE GIRLS!

    Let their emotions be purified: Hope, Love, Loyality, Justice, Wisdom and Cheese Cake!

    (Nagisa is really, really cute…)

  9. Sheba Said,

    May 19, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

    So in the end, Homura shows Fate Testarossa what it means to be the biggest lesbian stalker fangirl wwww.

  10. CrimCrusader Said,

    May 23, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    The many emotions written in Homura’s face in the final portion of the movie had made me think that she has become 100% yandere.

  11. Keyante Said,

    July 1, 2014 @ 8:37 am

    I want to watch the movies so bad if only it was online

  12. Andrew Said,

    July 6, 2014 @ 6:39 am

    The one disagreement I have with the “pro-Homu” side is that that may not have been the real Madoka during the flower field. Remember this was a world bending to Homura’s desires with everyone’s minds wiped. Madoka may just have been saying what Homura wanted to hear.

  13. CrimCrusader Said,

    July 6, 2014 @ 10:43 am

    Madoka herself had earlier gave her memories to Sayaka and Nagisa in order to fool Kyubey while in the barrier.

    As such, the nature of Madoka’s words to Homura in the flowerbed scene actually stem from the fact that Madoka herself has no recollection of the events from the TV Series or the Compilation Movies owing to Madoka transferring her memories to both Sayaka and Nagisa.

  14. Hayate Said,

    July 11, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    new anime season man, u doing anything on that?

  15. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    July 11, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    Well, not much. A few shows are interesting so far, Aldnoah.Zero, Zankyou no Terror, Argevollen. Also got good ‘ol Prisma Illya I guess.

  16. CrimCrusader Said,

    July 16, 2014 @ 12:13 am

    I would also like to point out that Homura being experimented on by the Incubators is all too similar to Alma Wade’s situation from F.E.A.R. and Jack’s own predicament in Mass Effect 2

  17. Barty Jordan Androcles Said,

    July 18, 2014 @ 1:50 am

    Oh man…this article was so solid. That’s exactly how I feel about all of this. I’ve written two essays on their relationship after having seen this film (just finished rewatching it now actually, for maybe the sixth or seventh time). Aside from the horrifying and nostalgic obviousness of HomuMado essentially having turned into Chikane/Himeko and Utena/Anthy (not that anyone who knows anything about those couples wouldn’t in their right mind have denied that this was inevitable), I’ve come to the conclusion that their relationship is idealistically codependent and borderline abusive. However, with that being said, I don’t think its completely beyond repair.

    Back in December, I had said after my first time watching the film that it was my belief that the real purpose of this film was to deconstruct the relationship between Madoka and Homura. That’s right. They took apart the whole notion of them being ‘super loyal lesbian best friends’ and exposed the relationship for what it really is. MUTUALLY ABUSIVE, OBSESSIVE AND IDEALISTICALLY FLAWED CODEPENDENCE. The very notion of two friends who are confused and disturbed by their romantic feelings for one another due to circumstance and perception of the other, which is what causes them to try and‘control’ one another because that love is their weakness. That love is their curse.

    As I recall, the true wording of Homura’s wish was specifically ‘to redo my meeting with Kaname-san (turn back time) and become strong enough to protect her instead of her protecting me (find a purpose for my life by becoming stronger than who I am). Kyubey always grants these girls more than they asked for, but Homura just simply wanted to be loved. Then when everyone dies, she could have just ended it right there but she felt as if maybe she could give something back with that love she has by becoming the one who protects them instead of them protecting her. Then something good might come of it. I believe Sayaka says in this film: “Someone whose worked so hard for so long deserves a reward.”

    But Kyubey tricked Homura. He told her that her wish surpassed entropy. And while it did create a path for her to defy fate and make a miracle happen, there must be compensation. That compensation is that she is doomed to fail no matter what and will not gain true satisfaction until she has saved at least one of them.

    She pretty much latched onto Madoka. But with 100 timelines and counting, were all those fully dedicated solely to saving her? We don’t have enough proof of that. That’s why whenever anyone in this fandom says she doesn’t give a shit about the others I scoff at them. Have they ever considered maybe just maybe it was too much? And also, we haven’t seen enough timelines to even discern any of this. The various manga and PSP games as well as the drama CDs are suited for clearing all this up, but of course they aren’t accessible to every fan of the series. So there are going to be some who don’t realize this. Her problem is essentially the fact that the whole reason she made this wish was to become strong enough to protect and be protected.

    But as I said earlier, she does not have the willpower to believe in herself. Therefore, she fears that love because it is obsessive yet REAL.

    In truth, Madoka only became a God after Kyubey told her everything and taunted her with the notion that she has potential. Basically, the same thing he did to Homura whenever he told her that she was destined to become Gretchen with each timeloop. Even though the little fuck says he’s not supposed to influence wish making, he did flat out tell her that she could become God. What he did not say because either he didn’t remember or he withheld this information is that she could become an entity that represents absolute WILL or an entity of SALVATION, either one of which would make her a conceptual deity. They would be the same entities with different ways to achieve their desires. Madoka wanted to give magical girls the ability to choose their own path and accept both their emotions and thoughts so that they did not feel as if they were incapable of doing good for the world around them because she feels this herself.

    Homura failed to understand this because she herself already went through all of that due to her constant looping. She pushed herself to distance herself from them. She switched roles with Madoka. However, Madoka switched their roles back. The miscommunication here is that Homura wants her to protect her….so that Madoka is alive and happy with HER. Otherwise, she sees no point in doing anything at all and would rather die.

    But believe it or not, Madoka is actually rather selfish herself. She clearly demonstrates in the Soul Gem world as the REAL Madoka (the real one being both the one from the first timeline AND Madokami as she physically exists as both due to the conditions of her wish) that the real reason she literally wants to protect Homura is because Homura IS POWERLESS. She keeps braiding her hair and acting all doting and protective toward Moemura because Moemura IS Homura. That’s where there is a problem. They both see each other in a certain way that prevents them from being true to themselves and each other about that love. Madoka wants the old Homura (the one who has a weak heart and no confidence in herself so she needs to be protected) back but Homura wants the old Madoka to never exist again and forget memories of that Madoka, who is the REAL Madoka. Their relationship is a virtual case of identity crisis mixed with miscommunication and desire. They don’t truly believe and feel that their perception of one another is even real in the first place.

    And that’s the true dilemma here. Although she understands and knows what she has been through Madoka still tells herself that cold and reserved person who forbids her to put herself in harm’s way for the sake of others is not her ‘Homura’. It also leads to a lot of uncomfortable as fuck psychology where you can arguably call the relationship borderline abusive because super powers and fates aside Madoka and Homura are literally the epitome of a romantic couple that tries too hard to make each other a certain way. They each believe the other is broken. Homura does not understand that Madoka’s love for her is the sole human characteristic she believes to be selfless but is actually that lust and desire to be her protector being suppressed with her sense of duty and righteousness. Madoka in turn does not understand that Homura sees no value in herself if Madoka is protecting her all the time but Homura still feels helpless.

    This is essentially what the ending is. It’s a rebellion against being forced back into a hopeless and abusive situation. But it gets turned on its head because Homura has matured. She has realized that she is in love with Madoka but this love is one that is as strong as the one that the REAL Madoka felt for her all those timelines ago. They lust after each other without even realizing it because they confuse love and duty with CONTROL.

    The perfect idealized budding lesbian romance between teenage girls that the fandom thought they were trying to show and believed would work out in the end…it doesn’t work like that in the real world. This whole experience has also made pretty much everyone feel as if they’re more human even when they supposedly aren’t. It is my belief that Homura becoming a demon is actually her taking Madoka’s place as GRETCHEN.

    If you were to read the articles on the Puella Magi wiki regarding Kriemhild Gretchen and Walpurgisnacht and compare them to how Homulily spawned in this movie, it makes a lot of sense that way.

    That is what is so scary about this. It adds to the whole notion that because they are as Homura said ‘living in different times from each other’, they do not really KNOW what the other is truly like anymore. Homura only remembers the Madoka she became cold toward in order to suppress her feelings because that is the only Madoka she WANTS to remember while Madoka remembers and loves the Homura SHE wanted to PROTECT in the first place. They have been using each other as emotional crutches.

    It’s not just Homura who feels that way. Madoka also believes this. The whole problem here is that they wish for a happy ending together but then they realize and wonder if it is really happy if they ‘lose their sense of self’ and ‘cease to exist’ as they truly are, not how they are seen by their loved ones?

    I simply do not think no matter how many times said month repeats that Madoka and Homura’s relationship is in anyway plausible and HEALTHY at this current time. It is not just because of the circumstances but also as Homura herself says ‘to you, I’m just the girl you met last month. But to me you’re so much more,’ it means that she doesn’t feel as if she has gotten a chance to get to know her and really appreciate her friendship and love no matter what form it takes because she does not know that Madoka thinks exactly the same way about the whole situation. I’m just amazed I hadn’t thought of it before.

    What I really find interesting is how Madoka used to be the one who was more confident in herself and didn’t let her desires control her thinking even if she did have self-esteem and insecurity issues yet Homura uses her as an emotional crutch so you don’t really know which one of them is really ‘in control’ of the others in this relationship. Of course, Magica Quartet wasn’t up front about this because probably they didn’t even realize what they were implying with that constant role reversal and character being influenced by circumstances theme until they made this film.

    Right now, as it stands, Madoka and Homura may be immortal, but physically they are only 14 and a bit too young and emotionally fragile to be able to handle a ‘serious’ relationship.

    I feel that the only resolution here is really to start over and ‘redo their meeting’ like Kyouko and Sayaka did. A month was not enough even if it became eight-twelve years. They never truly got to know one another so they aren’t fit for a romantic relationship yet. Whether that means Homura going with Madoka to Heaven or them simply having normal lives outside of being magical girls and actually ‘dating’ simply depends on the circumstances. Kyouko and Sayaka took the time to re-affirm their relationship and we even see them acting intimately with one another and living together, so that means they’ve worked it out and matured in this way.

    And Mami became a mentor/big sister of sorts to Nagisa/Bebe/Charlotte.

    I feel like what Homura has done is given them a chance to fall in love naturally. She wants to forget about fate, forget about the world, forget about society and forget about their ideals and memories. If they really want to understand what the other wants and fix each other once and for all, then it is my feeling that the show must take the direction of the slice of life romantic comedy/drama scenario that Shinbo hoped to include in the sequel in the first place. Right now, given their conditions there is no chance or place for romance to begin with because that romance is being confused with friendship and CONTROL.

    That is why Urobuchi needs to leave the future of Madoka Magica to Shinbo, Aokiume and Shaft because it seems to me he can only write tragedy and not see the lighter aspects of a work. Only they can continue the story of Madoka Magica while still keeping it subversive so that it concludes in such a way that satisfies both the storyline and its themes as well as the audience and their expectations.

    I fully support this idea. Madoka and Homura are pretty much equals in terms of being celestial beings. Now all they need is to be able to accept each other not just as concepts and the objects of their desire but simply who they really are as people. It has to be a story about them falling in love without worrying about what others will think and how the world sees this happening and there has to be closure. Only then will they finally be able to accept one another and be happy together, free of fate and circumstance and any notions of being mortal or immortal. They have to stop thinking of love and duty as ideals and thoughts but as emotions.

    Since then and after having rewatched the film maybe 4 or 5 times, I’ve changed my thoughts on the ending quite a bit. I now think that Rebellion is a love letter from Madoka and (to) Homura for fans who have yet to embrace reality:

    I think fans seem to miss that at the very beginning of that scene in the field of lilies, Madoka strongly implied that Homura’s self-flagellation was hurting her with the lines, “Homura-chan, you shouldn’t go off by yourself. If you want, you can tell me what’s wrong. I may not be able to do anything to help you, but it’s much better than having to worry about everything on your own. It really hurts me to see you suffering so much and not be able to do anything about it.” For me, that is an echo of what she said to Sayaka when she was exhausting herself against witches and blocking out the pain with her Soul Gem against her and Kyouko’s pleas, “You’re lying when you say it doesn’t hurt…I can tell how bad you’re hurting just watching you! Don’t act like it’s okay to get hurt just because you can’t feel it!” According to Akiyuki Shinbo, “…The Madoka in this story is the real Madoka, who has lost her memories of becoming a god. She’s not a fake or Homura’s creation. What she says in the field of flowers is what she’s really feeling at the time. That scene may seem overly sentimental at first glance, but if you think of everything Homura does afterward, her feelings will come across more easily.” So Madoka’s feeling are pure and human just like herself in this scene, so does it really matter whether or not she had her memories?!

    In my honest opinion, no. Because to me, this scene is proof enough to show that she KNOWS Homura, she FEELS Homura, she SEES her and she LOVES her. And if she were to have said something that a normal human who didn’t want to see their best friend and eternal love suffer anymore would say in a heartbeat, and that trigged one of the most important memories within that precious person of hers where she said something that ultimately both solidified and contradicted exactly who she was as a person…is it any wonder that Homura would go back right to the beginning where the girl she fell in love with got the wishes she wanted without making a wish at all?!

    Homura’s is not the one who is insane. WE, the fans ARE. Madoka wanted Homura to stop fighting, to stop destroying herself. It was hurting her even MORE than ANYONE could’ve possibly imagined, regardless of whether she HAD her memories or not. But no, we kept believing that she was strong enough to keep going, that she deserved to keep walking through hell just because we thought she could handle it. We were ENAMORED with her. We APPRECIATED who she was and what she stood for. And because of that, we IDOLIZED her. We DEIFIED her. Just like we claim Homura did to Madoka.

    And then, when she becomes something the opposite of her destiny, that extinguishes all of the idealistic constructs and viewpoints we had regarding her character, when she takes all of the world’s despair within herself and defies God in order to save her, what do we do?

    We DEMONIZE her. Because she has NOT become a being who is outside of the comprehension of human emotion and thought. Rather, she has become a being who is too PERFECT for encompassing such conditions and experiences as ONE individual form. Yet we were unwilling to accept this and forced her to carry on. Forced her to suffer longer. Just like Madoka did. Forced her to be the hero when all she wanted was to be herself. And the ONLY person she could do that with was Madoka.

    When Shinbo and Urobuchi said that the fandom contributed to ‘creating all of these characters’, they were oh so right. But that might’ve done more harm than good. This means that every perceived aspect of Homura’s personality and ideals was tainted with what fans who IDOLIZED her believed her to be: the strong, passionate, cold-hearted, stoic and devoted angel of God. So when Rebellion showed us that she was NONE of those things at heart, that all she ever lived for was Madoka, that the only reason she ever did the things she did was because she HATED her humanity, witch and herself overall but knew that she could learn to live with them if Madoka was there, that she failed time and time again to save the one person who made her feel alive and ended up destroying herself in the process…

    The fandom explodes. Time stops. Everything falls apart. Because they could NEVER hope to understand how she feels. They could NEVER hope to receive their happy ending, they could NEVER hope to see the character they IDOLIZED shine because she was NEVER meant to. She was denied the ability to exist as the person she wanted to be by the people who believed she should be SOMEONE else.

    She has REBELLED against the viewers perception of her. She is NO LONGER an object for viewer admiration. She is finally free. If how one person sees the world dictates what REALITY should be, and the fans dictated who SHE should be, then Magica Quartet have simply shattered the illusion that was the fans’ perception of her. Through them, she has broke the world’s shell and freed both her and Madoka.

    Anyone remember this exchange from End of Evangelion?

    “What is my reality?”

    ‘It is a continuation of your dream.’

    “But where is my reality?”

    ‘It is at the end of your dream.’

    Do you know why the runes “Wer traumt?” appear twice in this film? Once when she is prostrating before a bust in the likeness of her beloved and the last when we witness the beginning of her new world?

    Well I think I know “Who has dreamt?” all along. The fans. Homura has awoken from her dream. She has found herself and reality. She is alive.

    And we are not.

    If it is human nature to create a ‘heaven out of hell out of heaven’ from a beautiful mind and a fragile heart, only for such an individual’s desire and reason to exist to be undermined by all of those surrounding him who are guilty of the exact same crime…then truly, being human is suffering.

    But if the miracle of life is both a blessing and a curse, then nothing is eternal. There is always Hope and Love.

    Madoka and Homura have realized this, and for that reason alone, THEY have received their happy ending.

    But all of the Puella Magi and humanity who remain blissfully ignorant or belligerent toward the indomitable truth that ‘life is but a dream’ worth fighting for no matter how pointless it may seem?

    “Not yet.”

    Sorry if this post was overwhelming and rehashing some points that you already made, but I really just wanted to provide my two cents on your article. Later!

  18. CrimCrusader Said,

    July 20, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

    So long story short, Shaft and Magica Quartet are actually mocking us fans?

    I kind of figured that this would be the case…

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