A World in Rhetoric

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Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica 9 – Shatter: The Musical

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Long Synopsis

Twisted reality

Sayaka’s transformation into a Witch is complete resulting in a monstrous knight/mermaid creature. Kyouko unable to understand the situation which has occurred, saves Sayaka’s original human-ish body and is helped by Homura’s time magic in escaping the barrier. Homura explains the situation to Kyouko and to Madoka who bumps into them while walking on train tracks. Sayaka has become a Witch as her Soul Gem has transformed into a Grief Seed. The unavoidable fate of all who become Puella Magi.

Time Machine

Homuras Soul Gem

A Shadow Appears

Madoka heads home and mulls around on her bed when Kyubey approaches and explains his true motives behind the Puella Magi system. Kyubey and his ilk are aliens from places far off in space who seek to use the emotional energy from concious life such as humans to counteract entropy, that is the diminishing level of energy in the universe as it is transformed. When Soul Gems become Grief Seeds, they emit large amounts of this emotional energy which Kyubey or the Incubators collect.

Soul Supernova

This cycle thus continues with new Puella Magi to hunt the Witches that spawn from the old Puella Magi, with the supposed benefit of saving the universe from destruction due to lack of energy. Madoka criticises the sheer cold logic behind the Incubator race’s reasoning, their race, unable to generate emotions, simply can not understand human standards. Madoka ends the conversation by labelling the Incubator race as the enemies of humans. Kyubey leaves, but not before dropping his last business line, ‘If you feel like dying for this universe, just call us.’

The girl believed she could be saved.

Kyouko attempts to maintain the heat in Sayaka’s human-ish body when she is interrupted by Kyubey. Kyouko questions Kyubey is there’s a possibility of reverting Sayaka back, which Kyubey answers ambiguously, saying there’s no known method nor is there a precedent for such a thing occurring. Since the existence of Puella Magi is illogical, something as illogical as reverting Witches back into Puella Magi could thus ‘logically’ occur. Kyouko decides to go through with her plan, persuading Madoka to skip school to join her in reverting Sayaka back. Madoka’s absence is noticed during school by Homura who skips school to track them down.

Shiny

Kyouko and Madoka during their search for the Sayaka Witch, discuss Walpurgisnacht which Kyouko confirms as an event which an extremely powerful Witch descends upon the city to no doubt cause large amounts of devastation. It’s a Witch which is powerful enough that neither Homura nor Kyouko can take down alone and Homura and Kyouko’s ‘alliance’ is based loosely on defeating that Witch. As the two stroll into Witch Sayaka’s barrier, Madoka questions her uselessness again in dealing with Witches which provokes a retort from Kyouko. How Madoka, someone surrounded by a happy family and friends could simply throw away it all just to become a Puella Magi for the sake of being one. Kyouko reasons only the truly helpless and have no choice should carry such a burden. She ends the discussion by saying if Madoka one day must fight because she truly has to, she should consider the possibilities then.

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As they enter into another corridor, Witch Sayaka notices their presence and the barrier accelerates into the main area which resembles a giant concert hall with several figures playing hellish violin music in the background.

Oh Sayaka, how you have fallen.

Facing the music.

Madoka attempts to communicate to Witch Sayaka, to help her remember her previous life, but it only serves to draw attacks from the Witch in the form of hurling giant metal wheels.

Unlimited Wheel Works...

Crushing friendship.

Kyouko defends Madoka from the attacks and urges her to continue calling to Sayaka. The Witch’s attacks intensify which injure Kyouko. Madoka runs out to protect Kyouko and is grabbed by the Witch. Kyouko unleashes an attack which severs the hand grabbing Madoka. The Witch slices the ground which causes everyone to fall into another concert hall. Madoka is rescued by Homura while Kyouko noticing that Madoka is safe urges Homura to continue to protect the thing most important to her.

The Concert from Hell

A Kiss of Destiny

Kyouko summons another barrier and several giant spears to shield what she does next. Unwilling to let Sayaka spend the rest of her days in darkness, Kyouko dies along with Witch Sayaka by shattering her Soul Gem which causes an enormous explosion. Later on, Homura understanding the nature of Kyubey asks him why he didn’t stop Kyouko from needlessly sacrificing herself to save Sayaka, given the impossibility of doing so. Kyubey states that Kyouko’s death achieved a great step in his plan in turning Madoka into a Puella Magi. With Walpurgisnacht only a few days away and with only Homura left to defend the city, Madoka would have to become a Puella Magi to stop the city from suffering the fate it did in the dream. Homura replies again that she would never let a thing happen.

Expire together.

Thoughts on the Episode

This was a less dark episode in terms of mindscrew but still pretty dark. We’re now down to two as both Kyouko and Sayaka’s Witch die. Overall it’s another good episode, the highlight for me being the visuals, themes and designs of Witch Sayaka’s barrier and of Witch Sayaka herself.

Shatter

Kyouko’s death, if you’ve been following speculation and theories was not surprising, nor was it surprising in the way she died. Like Mami, she was changed by meeting one of the two, in this case Sayaka and became affected by her ideals which ultimately bring her downfall. Although Kyouko dies, her death redeems her humanity as she tries the impossible. She really was originally a caring and nice person before the cynicism of the world of Puella Magi took over. It’s just too bad there wasn’t so much time for her to shine, because she’s a rather likeable character in the end.

A Prayer of Hope

Sayaka’s Witch form is called Oktavia von Seckendorff, and is extremely disturbing. Her introduction was a train lovers nightmare and the scream which the Witch emits when Kyouko rescues Sayaka’s original body was suitably disturbing. Like the original Puella Magi it wields a sword and wears a cape but bears little resemblance to the girl who wished for the attention of the boy she loves. As a mix between a mermaid and a knight, it represents a cruel twist of her noble ‘knightly’ ideals of justice and her drowning despair into grief. Her barrier, if you read the runes on the Puella Magi wiki, seems to yearn out for Kyousuke’s attention and there’s a small scene at the end which shows a violinist similar to Kyousuke (although he has white hair). Her barrier isn’t as whacky as Charlotte’s or Gertrud’s but the hellish music playing in the background and the giant shadow of the conductor really pull through with the reminder of the horrifying nature of Witches, or in Kyubey terms a soul brimming with negative emotions. Overall, Sayaka’s transformation and Witch form is certainly one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever had the joy to watch.

Blackened Dreams

Kyubey finally comes clean (as much as we’re willing to believe that he’s come clean) on his motives. Despite his whole saving the universe insistence, it really is immensely cruel to think that the sacrifices of girls and the torturous journey they go though is worth the emotional energy which counteracts entropy. He manipulated Kyouko into believing Sayaka could be saved, indirectly leading to her death just to force Madoka in the future into a contract. We know for now that’s he an alien, he’s completely emotionless, has many bodies and completely lacks understanding in human values. When you think about it, these attributes on a person are actually quite frightening (minus the multiple bodies). Able to deceive you, lie to you at will for your benefit, unable to understand human concepts of death, soul and love. Willing to murder you essentially for their own benefit. Kyubey is also probably unable to understand the side-effect of having Witches run rampant in human society and the infection they cause. It makes me wonder what exactly is the technology his race developed which allows for the extraction of souls and quite possibly all the other technology they’ve developed and the planets they might have left in ruin in their quest to ‘save the universe’. Well, the Inkyubeytor race can’t possibly be the doomsday race of the universe now can they?

Signing off,

Steel

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