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March 3, 2011

So now we know what’s up with Madoka. We know that the whole magical girl/witch game is just some elaborate energy harvesting. Yeah, sure it makes sense and all in the context of this shit, but there’s two problems with this:

  • It rationalizes a situation that was far more interesting because it was irrational.
  • It’s just plain fucking stupid.

Kyubey is no longer a scary, imposing figure because of this. We now understand that he’s on Earth to help stem the tide if dissipating energy in the universe. Magical girls play off of the emotions of young girls, have those emotions boil to the point where they become witches, and then when another magical girl kills one of these “matured” witches, massive amounts of energy are released into the universe. The catch is that Kyubey claims that this is creating a net gain of energy, and therefore halting the universe’s inevitable deconstruction over billions of years.

This makes Kyubey some sort of force for the greater good, but it also makes him sympathetic. He’s an alien, not unlike the sort of shit we see in the likes of Star Trek and other “hard” sci-fi series– the sort that is looking out for what’s right in the universe but comes at it from a coldly logical perspective. He’s willing to make sacrifices to ensure a better future for the universe as a whole and doesn’t mind if that means a few innocent souls get fucked over in the process.

This is a perspective that we can understand. We might not agree with this notion, but we get where that mindset is coming from. But in understanding Kyubey’s side of the story, we’ve lost that hopelessness and meaninglessness that had been prevalent up to this point in the series. I don’t mind that Kyubey is working for a greater good, but he’s working for a greater good that can be boiled down to a few sentences. That robs his character of the mystery and foreboding that made him so fascinating. Now he’s just yet another Vulcan wannabe that’s clashing with Madoka’s Kirk– the classic “logic vs passion” debate that we’ve seen since forever.

And really, do we need yet another Q vs Picard situation? Do we need that in anime? We already get plenty of this in anime as is it, with characters droning on and on about the virtues of passion and emotion and gut feelings and all that noise. Do we really need this series, which seemed to be doing a few things differently (or at least differently enough to be pretty interesting) up to this point, to go down the same “you don’t understand what it’s like to FEEL” route? Are we gonna have Kyubey finally realize the error of his ways? Will his heart grow three sizes as Cindy Lou Madoka cures his cold-hearted ways?

I’m hoping this series is better than that, but by the mere insertion of such possibilities I’m not so sure of that anymore.

So yeah, Kyubey has become Q-Bay, and he’s just working his alien schemes on Captain Jean Luc Madoka and her Number One Lt. Homura.

That’s… pretty damn stupid, dudes.

Also: All that said, the fight between Sayaka and Kyoko was FUCKING AWESOME. Not as awesome as Kyubey eating himself, but it rocked. Shame it had to come after all these lousy “revelations” that pose as development and depth when it’s really just a rehash of every other script of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But I’ll still watch the damn series. Maybe they’ll pull off some twist. Maybe Kyubey’s was laying some bullshit on Madoka and trying to trick her into thinking she would be working for the greater good.

I don’t know. Whatever. At least we’ll still have headless Mami to remind us of the good times.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 8:06 PM

    Found a spoiler. In the ep after next, Madoka finally becomes a magical girl for the greater good. But then…

    Kyubey: I lied.

    Thus redeeming the series.

    Otherwise, it boils down to this: It’s like knowing how the trick works in a magic trick, thus reducing the magic to mere science and sleight of hand.

  2. March 3, 2011 10:24 PM

    He’s still a total manipulative dick. To Kyubei, human lives are pointless, and being a human is pointless. He’s consuming them for his survival. I mean, yeah, it was a bit of a dumb moment, but I figured it was something like that since he’s been eating the grief seeds. It didn’t make him sympathetic so much as revealed he did have a stake in making her a magical girl.

    What I’m more interested in is if Madoka is going to be forced into being a witch i.e. is there no hope for her and she’s just doomed at the end like the rest of them were, or will Homura save her. Is Sayaka right, and it really is all just hopeless? That’s what matters to the series to me.

    • Landon permalink
      March 4, 2011 12:10 AM

      The problem is that he isn’t capable of dickishness. He doesn’t get those facets of human behavior, just like how Madoka can’t get the notion of “sacrificing for the greater good.” Kyubey doesn’t care because all he can see is the forest, while Madoka only really cares about the trees. Which, again, is the classic “rivalry” we’ve seen in stuff like Star Trek where the well-meaning alien does something that imposes on human ideals of individuality and emotion.

      Madoka sees it as being cruel, but cruelty implies that you’re doing it out of malice. If Kyubey was cruel, he’d do what he’s doing and enjoy it. Instead, he’s doing it because it’s the thing that needs to get done to make sure the world as a whole continues on. He’s just the machine doing the job.

      And all of that is something I can get. I get why Madoka feels it’s a terrible thing to do, but I also get why Kyubey feels that such sacrifices are needed under the scheme he presented. And that’s where my beef is: I understand Kyubey. What’s made Madoka cool up to this point is seeing Madoka and the other girls grasping at a situation they can barely comprehend and trying to make the best of it. Now that we know the stakes, all of that is gone. In a way, by giving the story meaning the story has lost all of the meaning it’s built up to this point.

      And because of this, the whole “Will she or won’t she” when it comes to Madoka becoming a magical girl/witch doesn’t have the same impact. We know what’ll happen if she becomes one, and we know WHY she would become one. That tension is gone. She either gives in and saves the day by sacrificing herself, she doesn’t but still manages to save the day, or she doesn’t give in and the world suffers. And now I don’t really have any interest where it goes from there. All the questions you posed had meaning for me one episode ago, but this episode ruined those questions for me.

      Assuming we got the full story here, that is, and I can’t help but assume that we have. It seems like the whole thing has been laid down, and all that matters is where it goes. Doesn’t make Madoka a terrible series, but as of this moment it’s gone from “AWESOME” to “eh.”

      • Son Gohan permalink
        March 4, 2011 9:00 AM

        I understand your concern but I’d rather have QB’s motives laid down NOW than hastily explained in the last ten minutes of the last episode, like many other series tend to do.
        With 3 episodes to go, now they can concentrate on Homura’s past and the Walpurgis Night problem.

      • March 4, 2011 1:11 PM

        I can see what you mean.

        But, eh I guess he’s still a dick without meaning to be? I mean just because he isn’t capable of understanding human behavior doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be able to understand the word no. I guess my main thing is I really don’t believe that Kyubei is putting the greater good above his own species survival, and still it’s his personal gain. It’s just everyone else benefits from his species surviving.

        Either way, no happy ending. But there never was going to be one.

        Btw, I do think you raise an awesome point though.

    • Landon permalink
      March 4, 2011 12:12 AM

      But yeah, I don’t expect everyone to react the way I am. I’m sure I’ll be in the minority here.

      • March 4, 2011 9:06 PM

        Again, it’s like knowing how the tricks work in a magician’s act. The performance (Madoka as a series) is still good, but the magic is gone.

        It isn’t a matter of Kyubey being a dick. It’s actually the complete opposite. He’s NOT a dick anymore. Where once he was amoral, mean, malicious and mysterious; now he’s just a robot.

        Also, the explanation was stupid anyway. STUPID. Because it has a major plot hole. Which is with almost 7 billion humans, all with emotions, you’re better off farming the ambient emotions rather than focusing so much effort on what’s essentially a drop in the bucket. Or hell, just go for people who are depressed or suffering from some sort of bipolar condition.

        Before, it was all mysterious and any plot holes were either forgivable or made for fun speculation. By laying out the truth in such a technobabbly way, it makes the plot vulnerable. Suddenly, we’re presented with a 7 billion sized plot hole.

  3. March 5, 2011 11:22 PM

    Not to mention that the plan to force Madoka to accept the contract is stupidly flawed. Madoka has to accept unless she’s willing to let thousands, if not millions be killed? In that case, why not just collect the energy from those thousands/millions of people rather than orchestrate all this just to get a girl whose worth, oh I dunno, let’s say Madoka’s worth 100 drops in the bucket. But if you collect a 1 drop of emo/angst per person from the thousands you’re about to get killed, you’d still be ahead.

    Science sucks because non-magical beings can’t do math.

  4. March 10, 2011 8:18 PM

    So Kyubei is harvesting energy and a liar. I still love him.

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