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 anymore, thus 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.
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!