SF Debris: Madoka Magicka: Rebellion

The story of Madoka and her magical girl friends continues in this feature film. The five of them are fighting nightmares but something is wrong, they’re supposed to be fighting wraith, who replaced witches, who- I think this is turning into Inception, actually.

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  1. Sayaka being compared to a raspberry is also an injoke, since Sayaka’s voice actress also voiced Miki Aono/Cure Berry in Fresh! Pretty Cure, whose signature fruits was the Raspberry.

    • Every entry in the cake song is them having fun, though I think only Madoka and Homura’s are plot relevant. Mami’s cheese because she’s been eaten by Bebe, Kyoko likes apples and comes from a church, and Sayaka voiced another blue magical girl with a sword named Miki.

      I wish they’d translated the word “split” for Madoka as a melon instead of changing it to “sliced,” though. Would have made the connection more obvious.

      • The pumpkin Homura mentions is a Foreshadowing clue to the truth, as pumpkins are associated with Halloween, and what kind of women are associated with Halloween?


  2. I loved the ending. Was a bit unsure about it at first but then after I’d had time to think about it, I was like yeah that actually totally make sense for Homura character. I love things that make you think (as long as after you’ve thought about them, it make sense within the context of the story). She sacrifices everything for Madoka including her sanity and her soul. I totally agree with you about her not quite being a witch but not quite being a magical girl either, she’s part of both but in the end the part of her that was a witch has still driven her completely mad. It is a sad ending and quite a dark one but sad/dark endings are not bad in and of themselves.

    I also agree that the series now feels incomplete. The first 12 episodes were a perfectly self contained story and honestly I would have been quite happy if they ended up there. I genuinely didn’t think that they’d be able to continue the story in a way that lived up to the originals but blow me down if they didn’t go and do just that. Rebellion is amazing in every sense of the word and whilst I don’t feel comfortable saying it’s a better story than the original, I am more than comfortable saying it is at the very least on par with it. That being said whist the first 12 episodes were a perfectly self contained story, Rebellion has left us with more that we need to know. The story can not end like this, we need more Puella Magi Madoka Magica!!! 🙂

    • It sure shocked me when I saw it, but in hindsight it makes sense that a fanatic like Homura driven to despair into her witch form would pull off something like that. Re-watching the flower field scene between Homura and Madoka sure helped understand the decision.
      And about this being an incomplete story: From what I’ve heard one of the main reasons we got this twist ending was because they decided in the last moment that they can continue the story now, so we should get another movie (series?) sooner or later. Let’s hope for sooner! 😀

      • To be honest if it takes them another 3/4 years I’d actually be happy with that, as long as it maintains the incredible standards that it has done so far! 🙂

  3. Bravo analyzing all of that. The franchise being obsessively stuffed with foreshadowing and nods to everything makes it damn fun to pick at no matter where the plot ends up.

    The teacher’s been foreshadowing stuff since the TV series, warning her students about guys like Kyubey stalking their eggs and not becoming a jealous zombie. Her midlife crisis is somehow in tune with the universe but also makes sure she’s brushed off by students and viewers alike.

    That popping lizard shows up in a bunch of places including engraved on Homura’s new gem and wearing a crown in the end credits. It could represent the Salamander, a firey lizard that constantly burns and renews itself. Or the basilisk, the king of serpents that hatches fully formed from a chicken egg. Or it could just be subliminal Kool-aid advertising from our reptilian overlords.

  4. I think the thing with Sayaka and Nagisa having their witch forms on hand was a bit of a Carl Jung/Persona reference. The heart stab to summon Oktavia was the tipoff for me that maybe Atlus was getting a nod, but it also makes sense, considering that the witches tend to be the dark and suppressed parts of that girl’s subconscious made manifest. Ex. Sayaka’s longing for Kyousuke while pretending she just wanted to be a hero of justice.

    Given that Sayaka could pull out Oktavia even after returning the power to Madoka, it seems more like Madoka’s Law of Cycles power was more about getting the girls to accept their despair and shadow (such as in ep 12’a concert scene), rather than Sayaka having Oktavia available only because she had Madoka’s power at the time

  5. To be honest… I have mixed feelings about this movie. On the one hand, the art is nice to look at and the story’s interesting… but that ending? I was fine with how the show ended on a bittersweet but satisfying note. The movie, while having a bittersweet ending as well, to me just feels empty and hollow, as how it came about feels morally bankrupt (Though I understand why Homura did what she did… I can’t help but feel a bit dismayed. That may be due to my own hang-ups and biases towards happier endings, though.) And while I love the show to death… I’m part curious and part dreading whatever happens next…

  6. During the bit with Mami, Homura, and the tea party, Mami actually figures out something’s up before she goes to the kitchen. If you look at the first video at the 20:46 mark when Mami is going to get more tea, you can see the yellow ribbon that she attached to Homura before the fight scene as she walks by, which is before Homura even transforms.

  7. Funnily enough, I just watched this movie yesterday. And let me just say, THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS!

    When I finished the movie, I was a big ball of “WTF did I just watch?” in regards to the last 20 or so minutes (basically everything after Homura “slices the melon”). I tried doing some research online to help me sort it all out, but nothing I found made it anywhere near as understandable as you just did.

    I definitely agree about the need for a sequel, as this ending just feel… hollow for lack of a better word. From what I understand though, while Urobuchi stated a few years ago that they were considering a second anime series and/or more movies to follow Rebellion, I don’t think there’s been any solid confirmation of one.

    • Heck, he flat-out said that Rebellion would not be the end of the story. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-10-13/madoka-magica-story-will-not-end-in-3rd-film

      …Though the continuing lack of word on a sequel is somewhat worrying… Personally I feel like maybe they may have written this ending with the idea of making more, but no concrete plans as to what they would do… and then realized afterwards that, holy shit guys, we’ve completely written ourselves into a corner here! Which is why their stance seems to have changed from “Oh yes, there will definitely be more” to “No, Rebellion was totally meant to be the end of the story though we are still considering maybe doing something else with the franchise at some point”.

  8. Agree completely about the end. I’m okay with it as a conclusion to the movie, but not as one to the whole series. Though it’s going to be difficult to top the original ending.

    I do like how unlike certain other series’ with a protagonist who follows a similar path (*cough* Shakugan no Shana Final *cough*) they don’t try too hard to justify Homura’s actions and instead leave it up to the viewer to decide.

  9. The term is “shlick”.

    You’re welcome.

  10. I watched the reviews for the 12 episodes. I don’t think “law of cycles” was mentioned there and don’t really get what it is from this review either.

    Regarding whether Cuba lies, in the conversation about turning a witch back into a girl it says it can’t advise on that. Later it says that’s impossible. Apparently it can advise on that.

    What was the point in wanting Madoka to become a super powerful witch? In one timeline Cuba said they met their quota by then so they don’t need her grief seed. No magical girl is powerful enough to defeat her either so they can’t actually get her grief seed if they wanted it.

    Walpurgis Night didn’t need a labyrinth. Neither did Madoka, either as a witch or as a god. Yet as a demon Homura still needed to extend her labyrinth to envelop the rest of the universe. So she was both more and less powerful at the same time?

    • Also, how did Mami die? It’s not clear in the review that her soul gem was destroyed. Wouldn’t it have continued to animate her body after her head was lost?

      • Nothing what happened in Rebellion was in reality. It was Hamura labyrinth, and so everything what happened was created by Hamura as a Witch. But also her mind come in interference with souls of other girls, what Kyobey try use to track crack in Law of Cycles (Madoka).

      • 1. The Law of Cycles was mentioned in passing by Homura when talking with Kyubey at the end of the anime as the name of the phenomenon that shattered magical girl’s soul gems when they ran out of magic (i.e. right as they would turn into a witch).

        2. Kubey is a big fan of using partial truths to manipulate people. He wanted Kyoko to die fighting against Octavia so instead of telling her that it was impossible for a witch to be cured he just told Kyoko that it had never been done before.

        3. The incubators gather energy twice from witches. Once is by eating a grief seed that has been used to purify a soul gem, as you mentioned. The other time is during the magical girl->witch transformation. The more powerful Madoka became the more energy would be given off during her witch transformation.

        4. A labyrinth’s main purpose is to protect the witch and to facilitate in the collection of despair. Walpurgisnacht and Witch!Madoka don’t need a labyrinth because they are already nigh invulnerable and are powerful enough to not need the help with despair collecting. Goddess Madoka doesn’t need a labyrinth because she’s basically a primal force of nature fulfilling a single task, the destruction of witches at their moment of birth. Devil Homura needs a labyrinth not for protection or despair gathering, but because enveloping the universe in her labyrinth is what allows her to continually bend reality to her whims, a necessary power for keeping everyone’s memories and abilities suppressed.

        5. In her Magical Girl form, Mami’s soul gem takes the form of a hair brooch. Thus it was destroyed when Carlette chewed down on Mami’s head. The anime didn’t draw attention to this fact because we weren’t supposed to find out about the true nature of soul gems until a few episodes later.

        • Exactly. Though I have alternative theory about how this process work (3)

          Kyobey have power to alter reality but as emotionless creature he didn’t have desires, and so was incapable to use own power. That is why he use humans as conduit for that, allowing them fulfill the wish and so expanding universe (what was his goal).

          But problem is human psychology! Point is that we are constructed in a way that fulfillment of wish is far more important then wish itself. When all our wishes are fulfilled we are in fact contrary to popular believes unhappy instead bliss. That is why rich Western society is commonly more depressed then society on road for that. In practice far more efficient way to be happy is to have tons of small goals instead one big.

          But what about despair part? Problem is that when wish is fulfilled Magical Girls are left with nothing as they most likely discover hollowness of they desire. That lead to despiser and so wish from hope is replaced by wish born from grief. Problem is that Kyobey as being without desires don’t see meaning of exact wishes, only they raw power. For them witch is as much gain as anything else even if they aren’t nothing more then twisted force of destruction what end up on stack on end. That is why he push on that process even if it was totally pointless in any way.

    • Ascended Madoka is the Law of Cycles, it is discussed extensively in the last episode.

      The Incubators don’t harvest Grief Seeds, only magical girls need those. The Incubators get their energy from the moment a magical girl’s hope turns to despair and they transform into a Witch.

      Grimhilde Gretchen, Madoka’s Witch-form did need a Labyrinth, it just happened to encompass the entirety of Earth. Walpurgisnacht was most likely in a situation between Labyrinths; Witches certainly can leave them and make new ones.

      Mami died because she carried her Soul Gem on her hat, and that got mogu mogu’d by Charlotte along with the rest of her head.

      • Oh, and Incubator is a lying liar who lies. He can give advice, but that doesn’t mean that he will if he doesn’t want to.

        • Kyobei is so well crafted because he don’t lie directly, he “dispenses the truth” what is form of manipulation but not a lie. Lie is when you give someone false information, Kyobey don’t do that just ignore important details if you don’t ask correctly.

          • 1) It’s clear that Cuba has seen magical girls respond to learning what becomes of them in the past. And it realizes that were information presented up front they wouldn’t have agreed. Thus it knows to get them to agree, there has to be a misunderstanding about what is being offered. Therefore tricking them. Claims of not understand the concept of tricking you are an outright falsehood.

            2) Saying it can’t advise and that there is a possibility that Kyojo could restore Sayaka’s soul gem. Then later saying it knew all along this this was impossible to do. Another falsehood.

            Both from the episode 9 review.

          • 1) But you still forget that he don’t understand emotions. He know that Girls react negatively to some informations, but that don’t mean that he understand why they do that. Thous it is not clear that he see own actions as tricking. Most likely he try to be nice, and fact is that when you ask proper questions he would provide you truth, so clue of problem is that people themselves jump to conclusions tricking themselves.

            2) You of course understand that logic don’t work on shortcuts? If he know that most trial to restore witch failed, but he don’t know all exceptions he can obviously dump all statistic data confusing debater, but also depending on questions both “he can’t deny such possibility” and “most likely it is impossible” could be correct answers. And he newer said that it is impossible for sure, you see exact case of jumping in conclusion.

          • And I would forget:

            In one of discussions when he compare humans to cattle he state clearly that he at least about agreement. This dialog show not only that he in fact don’t need do that outside of “being fair” but also that humans are hypocrites, seeing his actions as worst then what we do ourselves eating stake.

            Fact is that Kyobey could simply force humans to do what he want, and so his actions from his point of view aren’t considered as evil. He is simply just inhuman, and he don’t understand consequences of his actions outside what is logic.

          • *eating steak

    • Law of cycles is irreverent as Madoka crush it, so they didn’t need mention it.

      As for point of changing Madoka in witch. In fact grief seeds aren’t important, Kyobey simply contain those.. or reuse (treat = more girls). In fact most important part here is wish what is power by itself, but as “wisdom” of story say “bigger hopes lead to greater grief” (because that how human psychology work). Madoka becoming a superwitch is result of Hamura wish what lead to multiplying of one Madoka wish (what in end was strong enough to crush whole system). From Kyobey point ow view it was a jackpot and creation of unstoppable witch was just a result, but because it wouldn’t destroy reality but just Earth it was price worth to pay for him. Hamura wasn’t more powerful then Madoka, everything what happen was a labyrinth by itself.


  12. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    This seems like a very interesting anime movie and sometime I’ll have to watch the series and the two movies before this one. Good job on the review. It’s very heart warming to know that the one girl will do anything to have her four friends stay safe and wanting them to stay happy. She fears for them and doesn’t want them to get hurt. But it’s also interesting how Madoka was thinking in her mind that the teacher would say that stuff who knows she might have been saying it or it might have been real. I like also how you can still sprinkle jokes in here even though your trying to be serious I respect that you found sometime to make jokes. Also with that hitler thing at the end made the review totally worth it(even though I didn’t know that was gonna show up but still that’s good). Keoka in those shorts too was awesome and she was hot.

    • thespecialneedsgroup

      Hitler sort of became a running gag in the Madoka reviews. I’ve also been expecting Janeway to weigh in on Kyubey’s machinations–expressing her admiration, I’d assume–but so far she’s only shown up to call Chuck a homophobe.

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