Friday, 28 January 2011

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Episode 4

To say that the previous episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica featured a twist in its tale would be an understatement, and given that shocking finale it's hardly surprising to find this fourth episode focusing heavily on the fallout of what has just happened.

Of course, Mami's death is reacted to differently by both Sayaka and Madoka, with the former doing her best to carry on regardless as though nothing has happened while the latter simply can't shake the feeling that she's to blame for her friend's demise and is thus reduced to a tearful wreck throughout the day.

While it seems as though Mami's fate has put paid to either girl's desire to make a contract with Kyubey, allowing him to walk away and say his goodbyes, the story is far from over here as we see both individuals continuing to show some kind of interest in the possibility of becoming a magical girl.  For Madoka herself, this is inadvertently brought out further to some extent by Homura as Madoka sings her praises for protecting the town, even if that isn't necessarily Homura's explicit goal.  For Sayaka however, her primary motivator is still the possibility of having any wish granted, and this is what looms large as her relationship with the debilitated Kyosuke comes to a desperate head... at the very same moment that Kyubey reappears on the scene, funnily enough.

Come the end of the episode we have ourselves one new magical girl, who has her first foray into the field courtesy of a witch-induced mass suicide attempt which eventually leaves Madoka drawn into another one of those surreal magical worlds which is becoming the show's tour de force.  Still, it looks as though things aren't going to get any easier, with the news of Mami's demise seemingly setting up a turf war between magical girls in the town she once patrolled.

Although nothing could really top the raw emotion of episode three's climax, this proved to be arguably an even more dark and intense instalment of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  Emotionally, this entire affair was in a low, depressing place, which slowly morphed into something altogether more desperate, whether it was Madoka's desire to protect people or Sayaka's yearning to help her friend where medical science was unable to.  Of course, this all played into a fascinating series of events all in all, with Kyubey once again at the centre of all of the mystery, suspicion and pivotal moments, while the results of Sayaka's decision looms large over future episodes already with barely a word spoken about it.

With so much to chew on, speculate over and consider, I think it's fair to say that I'm going to be sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next episode once again, from a series that is fast looking as though it might be this decade's defining magical girl series before that decade has barely begun.

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