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Post Reply Madoka Magica and why I don't like it as much as everyone else.
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Posted 4/19/14
I don't think it was the "shock" that drew me in to the show. I had heard that it was "dark" by the standards of the genre, but decided to check it out. Dark for dark's sake isn't good, there has to be some reasoning behind it.

For me, I happen to be one of those "Madoka Magica is amazing!" types -- I'm a big fan of the show. It put my emotions through the ringer as I was watching it. It' tells a really good story (if you watch it again, you might notice the structure is that of an arc of one of the characters every three episodes), and I thought the ending was our lead giving her version of redemption and salvation. In the course of the show, although all the elements were familiar, they presented them in a way that made them FEEL new.

The animation of the show was another factor, in particular that of the witch worlds. Again, different isn't always "good," but the animatino made us feel like we were in a different world and drew me in.

I honestly hate when shows get this much hype, because you're bound to be disappointed in the end. I kind of take each show as it comes. Some of my favorite shows are the ones that get all the hype, but I also like seeking out the shows that don't get as much notice, too. Hype, if you'll pardon my phrasing, is overrated.
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Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
So Madoka made the choice in the other time line while not knowing anything either. That's 3. Even after the girls made their choices, they still don't have any curiosity until events start to unfold naturally. They don't think, not even a little. For a series that attempts to add realism via consequence this is a problem.


Why should they think about the consequences before they happened? What "red flags" were brought before before things started to happen? They knew they had to fight witches before hand, so the danger for that was there that they knew about anyway. They just though that they had to hunt witches in exchange for their wish coming true. WHy would they ask questions about things they clearly didn't expect would happen, like turning into witches? Why would they think that they would turn into what they are fighting? Or that their souls would be leave their bodies? Is that something people are supposed to know about going in? I am just curious as to what you wanted them to ask in this situation.

As for Madoka in the other time-lines, we don't even know what she wished for, but knowing her character, she probably wanted to just help people by fighting the witches. Cause that is what she tends to do.



Then we are in agreement. You do not know what 'tricking' is.


Trick
Noun
A crafty or underhanded device, maneuver, stratagem, or the like, intended to deceive or cheat; artifice; ruse; wile.

How is that not how Kyubey operates again? A defense of "you didn't ask" is not a real defense. :/


Perfectly relevant. Gaining magic powers and a free wish from some unexplained mystery entity with unknown goals is exactly equivalent to signing a mortgage agreement with a bank that is trying to make money. Brilliant work here.


It is brilliant. Cause Kyubey is doing the same exact thing. Except instead of money, he wants energy. Also, as far as teh girls know, Kyubey just wants them to fight witches in exchange for their wish, because that is ALL he tells them. Kyubey NEVER says more than he has to, because it won't suit his needs otherwise. How is that any different from anything a bank or corrupt politician does? This is WORSE though, since he is doing it to CHILDREN. Not full grown adults that should KNOW BETTER. Even more awful for the fact that most of these girls need a miracle to get what they need.


Kyube is a guy with a candy bar, saying "get in the van". The fact that all sorts of flags aren't being raised immediately with these kids is silly. Even after taking the candy, there is a startling lack of situational awareness on the entire cast that sours any realism that was added by having consequences in the first place ala deconstruction. You on the other hand are buying into this hook line and sinker because they're drawn like children, when in reality they are 14. Yes legally children, but capable of understanding that you don't get something for nothing - especially from entities seeking to make contracts with children. So good on the makers for choosing the art style so wisely and LOL on you for abandoning reason.


No. This is not a guy with some random candy bar. This is THE DEVIL offering you something IMPOSSIBLE to have in exchange for your soul. Of course, in standard Faustian Bargain standards, the deal maker only says what the desperate person in question WANTS to hear in order to get what he wants. They are told what they wanted to hear and that is the only information that matters. They were told this: Fight witches and become a magical girl in exchange for this ONE THING you desperately need right now. What were they supposed to do?


How old were you when you stopped believing in the magic fairy? I wouldn't be surprised if you still believed.


I don't know. If I was a 13 year old girl and a magical rabbit showed up speaking about witches, magical girls, and wishes coming true, I think it would re-evaluate my thought processes on magic. :/
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Posted 4/19/14



Orga777 wrote:
Why should they think about the consequences before they happened?

Because of how fishy the situation is in the first place. I've been explaining how it is not even related to consequence. Simply asking why he is doing this, and what his relationship is to the witches and how he is able to do the things he does would have made everything clear. And none of those questions have anything to do with consequences, just curiosity, and children are far more curious than adults.


Orga777 wrote:
What "red flags" were brought before before things started to happen? They knew they had to fight witches before hand, so the danger for that was there that they knew about anyway. They just though that they had to hunt witches in exchange for their wish coming true. WHy would they ask questions about things they clearly didn't expect would happen, like turning into witches? Why would they think that they would turn into what they are fighting? Or that their souls would be leave their bodies? Is that something people are supposed to know about going in? I am just curious as to what you wanted them to ask in this situation.

Now you're just rambling. Please avoid crapping out blocks of rhetorical questions.

They're dealing in supernatural events. To take everything at face value is moronic. It's been years since I watched so I can't remember the details. However I would ask
- Why he was gifting powers and granting wishes.
- Where do the witches come from - To be fair i think they do ask ask this, and he basically says from 'curses', yet no one wonders who offers the curses if he does the wishes? wtf.
- What is his relationship to the witches
- Could i give up the wish to cancel the contract
- How does a soul gem work?
- If you're capable of granting these powers, why not do the fighting yourself.

I would obviously have followup questions as well, and these are well after a year of being acquainted with the material.


Orga777 wrote:
It is brilliant. Cause Kyubey is doing the same exact thing. Except instead of money, he wants energy.

It's a terrible analogy because it conflates the mundane and common with the extraordinary or rather impossible, as we know it. Banks also disclose every fact in writing. So it is not the same thing. It is exactly the opposite thing, further cementing how poor this analogy is.


Orga777 wrote:
Also, as far as teh girls know, Kyubey just wants them to fight witches in exchange for their wish, because that is ALL he tells them. Kyubey NEVER says more than he has to, because it won't suit his needs otherwise. How is that any different from anything a bank or corrupt politician does? This is WORSE though, since he is doing it to CHILDREN. Not full grown adults that should KNOW BETTER. Even more awful for the fact that most of these girls need a miracle to get what they need.

You're trying to use the fact that Kyubey doesn't tell them anything with out them asking as a defense when it is the core problem, and a failing with the characters who are old enough to have legitimate questions. He tells them everything they ask about. All they have to do is ask. I think the reason are so willing to forgive this is that they're drawn like young children, when they are in either in high school or the last year of middle school. People just completely forget the level of thinking they would have at their actual age.


Orga777 wrote:
No. This is not a guy with some random candy bar. This is THE DEVIL offering you something IMPOSSIBLE

There, You said it perfectly. He is offering the impossible, and none of them wonder how or why.


How old were you when you stopped believing in the magic fairy? I wouldn't be surprised if you still believed.



Orga777 wrote:
I don't know. If I was a 13 year old girl and a magical rabbit showed up speaking about witches, magical girls, and wishes coming true, I think it would re-evaluate my thought processes on magic. :/

Exactly, you would re-evaluate. It would change your outlook on everything, and you would have a shit load of questions. Questions you would ask. Specifically how and why. Also, how long does it take for them to ask how a rabbit can talk or have magic powers? This is basic exposition and no one seems to care.
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Posted 4/19/14

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
Kyube is a guy with a candy bar, saying "get in the van". The fact that all sorts of flags aren't being raised immediately with these kids is silly. Even after taking the candy, there is a startling lack of situational awareness on the entire cast that sours any realism that was added by having consequences in the first place ala deconstruction.


That's... a pretty ridiculous comparison. But you haven't seen it in a long time and both you and Orga have gone into flamewar mode, so for some concrete information, here's what actually happened when Kyubey tried to get himself some contracts:

Mami - Agreed immediately, because she had just been in a car accident and was about to die. Regrets not saving her parents, who died in the crash.

Kyouko - Was even younger than the others when Kyubey showed up, and her family was starving because her father's church lost its followers and everyone thought he'd gone crazy. She wished for his followers to come back. (Ironically, when he finds out, he really does go crazy.)

Homura - Signed up after the first friends she'd had in years (or possibly ever) were killed by a ginormous monster, wished to save one of them. Was borderline suicidal even before that happened.

Sayaka - Is very reluctant to sign up, and discusses the fact that other magical girls probably had much better reasons to go through with it. Eventually does it out of desperation because she's in love with Kyousuke and can't stand seeing him suffer, but he can't be cured without magic.

Madoka - Also very reluctant despite being the most naive of the group. Mami almost convinces her to do it, but then she dies; after that, Madoka only tries to make contracts to save her friends' lives.
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Posted 4/19/14

kotomikun wrote:


Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
Kyube is a guy with a candy bar, saying "get in the van". The fact that all sorts of flags aren't being raised immediately with these kids is silly. Even after taking the candy, there is a startling lack of situational awareness on the entire cast that sours any realism that was added by having consequences in the first place ala deconstruction.


That's... a pretty ridiculous comparison. But you haven't seen it in a long time and both you and Orga have gone into flamewar mode, so for some concrete information, here's what actually happened when Kyubey tried to get himself some contracts:

Lol, yes. It is difficult to create a comparison between sinister magic gifting rabbits and real life. The situation I suggested is a suspicious stranger bearing gifts, and I think that fits.


Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
Sayaka - Is very reluctant to sign up, and discusses the fact that other magical girls probably had much better reasons to go through with it. Eventually does it out of desperation because she's in love with Kyousuke and can't stand seeing him suffer, but he can't be cured without magic.

Madoka - Also very reluctant despite being the most naive of the group. Mami almost convinces her to do it, but then she dies; after that, Madoka only tries to make contracts to save her friends' lives.


That actually helps a lot. Madoka, and Sayaka are the 2 we're allowed to see presented with the contract. So the 2 characters that do have the choice to become magical girls in current set of event, fail to ask all the right questions, and have just a startling lack of awareness anyways. This for me made it a very frustrating show to watch. Questioning the believability of character choices in relation to the core premise can sour an entire series. And that is the case for me.
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Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
That actually helps a lot. Madoka, and Sayaka are the 2 we're allowed to see presented with the contract. So the 2 characters that do have the choice to become magical girls in current set of event, fail to ask all the right questions, and have just a startling lack of awareness anyways. This for me made it a very frustrating show to watch. Questioning the believability of character choices in relation to the core premise can sour an entire series. And that is the case for me.


Adding to that, Madoka and Sayaka do ask a lot of questions... to Mami. Which makes sense--she's a human, much more likely to be trustworthy than some weird talking ferret, and has plenty of experience with magical girling. This only backfires because Mami doesn't know about the nastier aspects of the contract.

See, for me, it's the opposite problem. I can't take fiction seriously if the characters make perfectly reasonable, carefully thought-out decisions all the time, because real people aren't like that. Everyone thinks they're too smart to make a stupid or impulsive choice until it happens, and then they try to blame it on something else, and eventually it happens again. Flawlessly reliable rational thinking bordering on prescience is a bigger fantasy than magic. Hindsight is 20-20; foresight isn't.
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Posted 4/19/14

kotomikun wrote:
See, for me, it's the opposite problem. I can't take fiction seriously if the characters make perfectly reasonable, carefully thought-out decisions all the time, because real people aren't like that. Everyone thinks they're too smart to make a stupid or impulsive choice until it happens, and then they try to blame it on something else, and eventually it happens again. Flawlessly reliable rational thinking bordering on prescience is a bigger fantasy than magic. Hindsight is 20-20; foresight isn't.


I don't hold it against the girls for making the choices they do with the information they have. I hold it against them for being satisfied with the information they're given under such extraordinary circumstances. Which ironically effects my suspension of disbelief more than the idea of magic powers and such.

If they had asked the questions and Kyube lied, we would not be having this discussion at all, and I probably would have enjoyed it more.
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Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
Because of how fishy the situation is in the first place. I've been explaining how it is not even related to consequence. Simply asking why he is doing this, and what his relationship is to the witches and how he is able to do the things he does would have made everything clear. And none of those questions have anything to do with consequences, just curiosity, and children are far more curious than adults.


You see, they kinda cover this a bit in the series, though. He is doing this to get the witches. There doesn't have to be a connection between him and the witches, and nor does he have to say anything on that matter. Kyubey is pretty damn good at twisting words for his goals.


They're dealing in supernatural events. To take everything at face value is moronic. It's been years since I watched so I can't remember the details. However I would ask
- Why he was gifting powers and granting wishes.
- Where do the witches come from - To be fair i think they do ask ask this, and he basically says from 'curses', yet no one wonders who offers the curses if he does the wishes? wtf.
- What is his relationship to the witches
- Could i give up the wish to cancel the contract
- How does a soul gem work?
- If you're capable of granting these powers, why not do the fighting yourself.


These all have answers.
1)He gifted the powers to people that have "potential" to fight witches. He says this clearly to all of them.
2) Indeed. He says witches come from curses due to negative desires, which is the opposite of magical girls. He tells this to them straight up. He has no obligation to tell them all teh details because that would be meaningless. In his mind, he already told them the truth, and by a technical standpoint, it IS the truth. However, it lacks very important fine print that most people wouldn't be able to pick up on anyway. especially if you are a kid.
3) Why would Kyubey even have a relationship with the witches? From what he tells the girls, he is tasked with finding the ones that have to kill them. The assumptioon can easily be made that his duty is to do only that, and in exhange for them fighting for him, he grants them any wish they want. He spells this all out in Epsidoe 2.
4) If I remember right, I think it is explained that wishes can't be undone. I guess it would only be able to be undone by another wish. The price of a miracle, I guess.
5) How the Soul Gem works? He says this too. It gives them the power to fight witches by turning them into magical girls. he has no obligation to reveal any more information than that.
6) That question is just silly. Just because he has magic powers, that does not mean he has the fighting capability to take on other magical beings. There is no reason for the girls to ask this.

You are also assuming that the girls are in the proper state of mind to ask these questions. Remember this. Mami, Kyouko, and Homura all made their wishes because they had no choice. Sayaka wasn't going to become one at all, but she couldn't bear to see Kyouske like he was any more, and made the pact because she also had no other choice. You see, Kyubey goes to people that want something that is unobtainable in any other way. You assume that they would just let that chance pass them by when they can have a miracle instead. Also, Mami was the one training Madoka and Sayaka and showing them how this all works. SHe has been a magical girl for years with no clue or hint that she would eventually turn into a witch. Why wouldn't they be able to take her experience at face value that the only danger they would face is fighting the witches themselves?

I

t's a terrible analogy because it conflates the mundane and common with the extraordinary or rather impossible, as we know it. Banks also disclose every fact in writing. So it is not the same thing. It is exactly the opposite thing, further cementing how poor this analogy is.


Which is why it is even worse. It is harder for people to understand the impossible, and the truth can be hidden much easier. People are tricked with a lot less in real life (despite, as you say, everything is in writing.) The principle however, is the same. They tell you what you want to hear, the minor details, and obscure the bigger picture to get what they want. Except ehre, there are no alternatives since a miracle can only be done by Kyubey's magic. You either take it or leave it.


You're trying to use the fact that Kyubey doesn't tell them anything with out them asking as a defense when it is the core problem, and a failing with the characters who are old enough to have legitimate questions. He tells them everything they ask about. All they have to do is ask. I think the reason are so willing to forgive this is that they're drawn like young children, when they are in either in high school or the last year of middle school. People just completely forget the level of thinking they would have at their actual age.


They are SECOND year middle school students. Which is about eighth grade in Japan. They are around 12-14 years old. Both Mami and Kyouko became magical girls at even younger ages than that. Also, that is still very much a child that obviously does not know how the real world works at all and are very impressionable. Even more so when you are desperate for something. Not only that, but they did ask all the questions that any normal child that age would ask. And kyubey answered them all "honestly." Mami was also there with her years of experience with no reason to doubt what was being said. So, your problems just don't add up right, here.


There, You said it perfectly. He is offering the impossible, and none of them wonder how or why.


The how is because magic can do anything. The why is because he needs them to kill witches. He gave them the "honest" answer, and there was no reason to question it any further than that. I don't see what you are seeing.


Exactly, you would re-evaluate. It would change your outlook on everything, and you would have a shit load of questions. Questions you would ask. Specifically how and why. Also, how long does it take for them to ask how a rabbit can talk or have magic powers? This is basic exposition and no one seems to care.


Look, they were almost all killed in a witches boundary field literally seconds before Mami showed up to save them. Kyubey being able to talk would be less strange than that whole situation was. Mami was there to explain to Sayaka and Madoka how it all worked, too. If Mami, with her years of experience saw no faults in what Kyubey was saying (and she has no reason to do so since she had to make her wish spontaneously to survive AT ALL) then why would two other people question anything else when the expert was sitting next t them?
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Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:
If they had asked the questions and Kyube lied, we would not be having this discussion at all, and I probably would have enjoyed it more.


But what questions would you expect them to ask? "Oh, by the way, are you going to rip our souls out of our bodies, or make us turn into the very unholy abominations we're fighting?"

Given the circumstance of having a genuinely honest and seemingly knowledgeable human explaining and demonstrating what being a magical girl is like, and the deal seeming relatively fair on the surface (get magic wish, but you have to fight demons indefinitely), it makes sense that they wouldn't be overly suspicious. If Kyubey had just waltzed up to them out of nowhere and demanded a contract, they probably would have asked a lot more questions. He knew that, so he had them encounter Mami instead, and made himself look like the victim of an assault by Homura. It's like a good cop / bad cop scam, with an added bonus of the good cop believing the bad cop isn't bad. People fall for those sorts of tricks all the time.
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Mami death was imo perfect and we already got enough info on who she was. She was shown to be a caring role model, a force of justice, and a veteran magical girl and her reason for becoming a magical girl. Her death set the pace for the show and showed Madoka and Sayaka the consequences of becoming a magical girl and the tragedy that occurs upon your death. They wanted to make this a dark deconstruction of the magical girl series and to do this they had to let everyone know early that this is how this series was going to go. Therefore her death was perfectly pace and showed everyone just how this series was going to go. You suggest that they should of extended the series since her death felt rushed but what else is there to develop about her? Did you want 10 more episode of school life, witch killing, and cake eating? I really don't think there was really anything else for keeping Mami alive. I guess your argument might of been that keeping her alive longer would make her sacrifice have more impact?

I think the character of Madoka and their desire to become magical girl are pretty relatable. Children/teenager are rather emotional unstable and take life for granted a lot of the time. I believe many at one point in their lives believed that they would be willing to sacrifice their own life if they can stop world hunger (or sacrifice their own lives for the greater good). I myself once had a thought like this and looking back at myself I felt rather silly ever considering this. Or just simply getting magical power and becoming a super hero, I am sure all of us sort of dreamed of that possibility when we were younger from being influenced from super hero and anime. This is just my take on it
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Posted 4/19/14

kotomikun wrote:
This is a common criticism, but I just don't understand where it's coming from. All of the characters have hidden depths behind their archetypes, and go through more growth (not always positive growth) and development than the vast majority of anime characters, even in much longer shows. What do you want them to do that they didn't do?

I can sort of understand not being able to empathize because most of them committed major avoidable screw-ups, but, well, it's a tragedy. That's what happens in a tragedy--people make dumb mistakes, as they do, and things go wrong. Homura made the biggest mistake of all, since she inadvertently caused most of the tragedy through her own stubbornness. The lesson (a lesson) from the show is that you can't only rely on yourself or expect to do everything perfectly, because you'll just burn out and fail. Anyone who has ever made any missteps in their life ought to be able to relate to that.


What makes a character is neither depth or development. Those are two keys to some great storytelling, but they have little to do with character. The same goes with flaws, strengths, beliefs.... they're tools for storytelling. People are more vague than this.

I'm going to use GTO as an example. Great Teacher Onizuka is a great show for different reasons. Onizuka himself has no growth. He's a completed character whose prequel/original Manga, involving Onizuka's coming of age during High School, is where you get development.
But GTO was the breakaway hit here. It's all because of Onizuka's character, and he's fucking swimming in it. He's a person, through and through. Sometimes he fucks up, sometimes hit hits a home run. Other times, he just makes stupid jokes. No lesson needs to be told, he's just living his life.

The characters in Madoka Magica don't simply live their lives. They're living in a story. Houmura is as tragic as she is engineered. She doesn't simply make mistakes, she makes story mistakes.

I feel like I"m doing a really really bad job of explaining this.

The characters don't feel realistic. At no point during Madoka Magica do the characters react in such a way to express themselves or their characters. Something happens to Madoka, and she questions it. Things happen and she makes friends. These people are now her friends, so she must protect them. She makes some mistakes, but learns a lesson from these mistakes. It's all calculated engineered plot. Their are no wasted actions within the life of Madoka.

Now, that tells a really good story. But that does not make characters. Characters are filled with wasted actions and horribly boring or lessonless moments. Look at American Adult Animation in general, that's about characters. Look at American T.V. shows. Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones. All shows focused around the interactions and motivations behind characters. Dexter doesn't want to get caught, Rick want's to survive, Tyrion wants to get laid, Walter wants all those things.

Japanese Storytelling is generally about stories over characters, while American Storytelling is focused on Character interaction over stories.

Madoka Magica exemplifies this in it's own way. It's a series of events leading to an ending, like a play.

Sayaka Miki is a favored character of mine. Her motivations and logic are all short sighted and she's punished for them. Her character was a victim of the plot. Making the wrong choice wasn't something she simply did, it's something that damned her. She never learns from this mistake, she never said "woops, I done fucked up. That kinda sucks eh?" she simply wallows in the suckiness of that sucky decision.

Even Digimon properly created characters. Highly stereotyped group of children audience-fill ins....but they were characters.

It's not their actions that makes them unemphatic. It's how the show responds to those actions. The show harshly punishes failure without proper regard to it's characters. It matters not what happens or how light or dark it goes, it's simply not the actions people would take. They're not people, they're robots and tools, they exist to serve a singular function and are dropped upon completing their goals.
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Posted 4/19/14

Orga777

You see, they kinda cover this a bit in the series, though. He is doing this to get the witches. There doesn't have to be a connection between him and the witches, and nor does he have to say anything on that matter. Kyubey is pretty damn good at twisting words for his goals.


Yes to get the witches. He has no motivations beyond that and no history whatsoever. He just *poof* came into existence along with these witches in order to fight them.


Orga777
1)He gifted the powers to people that have "potential" to fight witches. He says this clearly to all of them.

I meant why, him. Obviously someone has got to fight those witches! They're evil and stuff.


Orga777
2) Indeed. He says witches come from curses due to negative desires, which is the opposite of magical girls. He tells this to them straight up. He has no obligation to tell them all teh details because that would be meaningless. In his mind, he already told them the truth, and by a technical standpoint, it IS the truth. However, it lacks very important fine print that most people wouldn't be able to pick up on anyway. especially if you are a kid.

There isn't fine print. If a kid ask where a chicken comes from and you say an egg, the next question is always where did the egg come from...


Orga777
3) Why would Kyubey even have a relationship with the witches? From what he tells the girls, he is tasked with finding the ones that have to kill them. The assumptioon can easily be made that his duty is to do only that, and in exhange for them fighting for him, he grants them any wish they want. He spells this all out in Epsidoe 2.

If he doesn't have a relationship with them how is he equipped to help people fight them. Why does he care about fighting them when people die of sickness and other things all the time and he doesn't help them, the very same things that witches do.

Orga777
5) How the Soul Gem works? He says this too. It gives them the power to fight witches by turning them into magical girls. he has no obligation to reveal any more information than that.

Saying that soul gem gives you powers is not describing how it works. It's like saying what is magic and someone answering magic. Even most tv shows that deal with magic have a system to describe how it works.

Orga777
6) That question is just silly. Just because he has magic powers, that does not mean he has the fighting capability to take on other magical beings. There is no reason for the girls to ask this.

It really isn't. If he can give them powers to fight witches why cant he give himself powers and grant his own wish. If he can't or won't its worth knowing why. This is covered in pretty much every hero story ever told. Why the hero has to do something when the person that explains their destiny cannot.


Orga777
SHe has been a magical girl for years with no clue or hint that she would eventually turn into a witch. Why wouldn't they be able to take her experience at face value that the only danger they would face is fighting the witches themselves?

I've never, ever, suggested something so stupid as "will i turn into a witch" is a valid question. They don't ask her important questions either.


Orga777
The how is because magic can do anything. The why is because he needs them to kill witches. He gave them the "honest" answer, and there was no reason to question it any further than that. I don't see what you are seeing.

This is the hilarious part. Magic does not exist. If you were suddenly told it did, that would answer all your questions? Magic can do the impossible, why? Because it fits our concept of magic from folk lore as in stories before science? Which is the funny part because doesn't everything he does eventually turn out to be science from his advanced race, ergo, not magic?


Orga777
Look, they were almost all killed in a witches boundary field literally seconds before Mami showed up to save them. Kyubey being able to talk would be less strange than that whole situation was. Mami was there to explain to Sayaka and Madoka how it all worked, too. If Mami, with her years of experience saw no faults in what Kyubey was saying (and she has no reason to do so since she had to make her wish spontaneously to survive AT ALL) then why would two other people question anything else when the expert was sitting next t them?


At the point when these questions were relevant they didn't know anything about Mami. She was just a girl that showed up. So using her as lithmus test for these others girls is kind of a joke. If I remember correctly there was something with the editting at this point. Time lapse where events weren't shown. Kind of an editing trick to soften the blow of this particular flaw where characters are suddenly taken out of the situation in which these questions are relevant. I should give them credit for that I suppose.
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Posted 4/19/14
Anyways, fun discussion.

I've clearly not bought into these characters and this world, where others have.

I admit defeat!
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Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14

I might be misreading your point of view, but I've been saving up this rant anyway so even if it's tangential:

There's a train of thought I see often with regards to Madoka Magica, where the viewer decides if an action makes sense in their mind and then affirms or criticizes the show because of it. But, without saying that's what's happening here, when it happens, it's a trainwreck of narrative logic. The actions taken by a character informs the character. Someone saying "I wouldn't do that" belongs nowhere in criticism, unless the story is actually about them personally.

Furthermore, a statement like "No one would do that" is just biased generalization.

In order to make this criticism there has to be a diegetic inconsistency. The action must not fit the character, or the character who would make that action must not fit the world, or the story itself should have not permitted the action, etc.; saying that "I wouldn't do that" is tantamount to saying "I would not have written that" and is a criticism of the writer, not the work. The implication being that the writer is dumb, when they actually probably wrote what they did for good reason.

Now if the accuser steps back and says "It took me out of the experience" that's a valid fact, but nothing more. At such a juncture it is entirely possible that the fault lies with the viewer, given that engaging with media is by definition an interpretive and participatory activity. If a person explains what in the work didn't work for them, that's not criticism, it's a simple explanation borne out of self-analysis. In effect, they are practicing criticism on themselves, not the work.

This isn't to nullify all criticism, it's just that a single text-to-self analysis is too vague (and is in itself only a commentary on the experience, not a bona fide criticism). If the work failed to effect an individual that is a failing, but it is not an extrapolatable one. The only nondiegetic criticism I can think appropriate is when someone musters an interpretation or theory of a work (or part of one), which is informed by textual evidence, which can then be criticized on realistic grounds.

In that event you are looking specifically at themes, and the work's commentary on reality and the human condition.


Of course, in that case the criticism is of the purpose of the work and how it meshes with the individual's perception of reality, rather than the work itself (which could be of exemplary quality, even if its chock-full of absolute stupidity or even more insidiously dangerous thematic elements like what is seen in ethnocentric propaganda). This is often the sort of criticism leveled at wish-fulfillment fantasies like Sword Art Online and, this season, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei.

In summary, this is why I think anyone who criticizes Madoka's wish is dumber than a bag of bricks (just kidding).


(Now, I just have to hope that everything I just said is actually smart. The alternative is quite embarrassing.) And just to reiterate, this is a general rant I've been stewing over with regards to Madoka Magica for a long time. It's not specifically directed at anyone in the thread, it's just a convenient outlet for it. If there are any flaws in my thinking feel free to point them out, I'm far from having a cohesive theory of narrative criticism I can work from when it comes to these things.

PS: Also, for the sake of full disclosure, I'm about 20 posts behind in this thread at the time of writing. XD


Edit: A third type of criticism would be purely structural; the translation of a story into a plot, decisions of viewpoint, parallelism, time and temporal order/duration, cause-and-effect relationships, the unfolding of progression in terms of function, the use of motifs, "similarity and repetition, difference and variation, development, and unity and disunity", etc.; it just didn't occur to me to mention it in context since this is where Madoka Magica, in my opinion, thoroughly excels.
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Posted 4/19/14

Man_Of_Leisure wrote:

Anyways, fun discussion.

I've clearly not bought into these characters and this world, where others have.

I admit defeat!


It is a good discussion. I feel like we will be going in circles if we continue this as well. So, this is the best point to just agree to disagree.
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