Friday, 22 April 2011

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Episode 11

Every once in a while, something emerges that plants its seed in the history of the medium it represents, and occasionally that seed's growth is only strengthened by entirely unrelated events which wrap around it.  You could well argue that this is the case with Puella Magi Madoka Magica, as a series that had already gripped so many come the end of its spectacularly delivered tenth episode only saw its stock grew in the wake of delays and real-life disaster.  However, its work is not yet done, which brings us to the first half of this double-bill which is the show's finale.

After the trip through Homura's history that was episode ten, we return to our present for this penultimate episode complete with all of the pain which that entails, most notably the funeral of Sayaka whose death is little more than a brief headline on the news before it moves on to other things... a brief scene that ties into Kyubey's continued insistence that worrying about a single human being is illogical compared to looking at the big picture, a point which he illustrates by demonstrating and arguing the effect upon human kind of his own race's meddling in human affairs in the name of generating energy.

By this juncture, Kyubey also seems to have figured out the true cause of Madoka's vast potential as a magical girl, with Homura's constant recycling of time in an attempt to save Madoka ironically giving rise to her greater peril in the first place.  To complete this bleak outlook, Madoka's mother also frets about what is happening to her daughter, as she realises that she is going through something that she is simply unable to help with... in short, her child is growing up, as Madoka's teacher points out to her.  So, onwards we move into Walpurgis Night, and Homura's desperate attempts to ensure that this time she gets it right, even explaining her actions to date to Madoka as she works to save both her and the city with far less interest in her own well-being.  As the episode closes however, it seems as though she's failed once again...

While nothing could really match the near-perfect execution of episode ten, and that long wait for this instalment has perhaps tempered the upwards curve of excitement for the series as a whole, this is nonetheless another well-executed and emotion-packed piece of work that ties Homura and Madoka's fates closer together while summing up the despair and darkness surrounding pretty much everything at this juncture - Kyubey's talk of human history benefiting from the actions of his kind is really secondary to the relationships between Madoka and Homura and, perhaps more importantly, a rapidly maturing Madoka and her mother.  So, the scene is set for the grand finale to Puella Magi Madoka Magica - but first, my breakfast...

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