Friday, 4 March 2011

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Episode 9

Given her journey into the depths of depression and despair throughout the past couple of episodes, the writing was pretty much on the wall for Sayaka come the ending to last week's instalment, leaving it as little surprise that her transformation into a witch is completed as episode nine begins.

Despite the danger involved, Kyoko decides to rescue Sayaka's limp body from the aftermath of this transformation, before finding herself helped out by Homura whose arrival is as timely as ever.  Of course, the next step is to deliver the bad news to Madoka, which Homura does in her usual matter-of-fact tone while also revealing that final all-important fact about being a magical girl, that being that your Soul Gem will turn into a Grief Seed once it is sufficiently tainted.

This naturally leads on the next inevitable question... why?  Kyubey duly delivers the spiel to Madoka here, calmly explaining that humans are turned into magical girls and then allowed to become witches by an alien power simply to act as their power source - in essence, magical girls are little more than human batteries with emotion for lithium, and with Madoka as a potential Duracell Ultra Plus Supreme in the eyes of our emotive furry friend.

While Sayaka's death appears about as cut and dried as you can get, Kyoko refuses to give up on her fellow magical girl, hoping that Madoka's voice may awaken the real Sayaka within the witch that now exists in her place.  Thus, the two of them journey into the heart of Sayaka's dimension of grief in the hope of somehow restoring her humanity, but to no avail - again, Homura has to step in to retrieve Madoka before it's too late, while Kyoko's fate is the final seal upon the brief love-hate relationship she enjoyed with Sayaka.

It's really hard to know what more there is to say about Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but this episode proves if we didn't already know that it's a series that most certainly isn't afraid to pull its punches and reveal the full, brutal consequences for the action of each character.  This makes for as dark a viewing experience as you can imagine even without Kyubey's emotionless, chillingly logic-based way of thinking, while these final episodes look set to offer up some near impossible choices for both Madoka and Homura - choices that look likely to reflect the dream sequence which opened the entire series, which itself offers up some intriguing possibilities for what is about to be revealed in the weeks to come.  Whatever else it has left up its sleeve, at this juncture I can't imagine it doing anything but further strengthening the impact of this already incredible series.

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