Weeks past the tweet and blogfest that was Puella Shoujo Madoka Magica episode 12, I felt the need to add one more piece to the already-considerable pile of writings about the finale. While I’ve already discussed Christian motifs of the episode, and others have commented extensively on its various religious aspects, I wanted to focus on one particular scene in episode 12. It lasts only two to three minutes, but it’s likely to be remembered by most who saw the show. Why?
Because it was awkward.
At least it was awkward in that it was unexpected. The scene I’m talking about is the one where Madoka embraces Homura, with the two clothed in nothing but glittery shadows (you can see a shot of the scene at Ambivalence, or is it ambiguity?).
While the scene projected yuri overtones for the show and the girls’ relationship (forgive me if I’m wrong, but I understand the genre in terms of how John at AnimeNation defines it), I want to focus on the spiritual transformation that occurs within Homura in the scene. It’s a strangely innocent and pure scene – both girls are in their natural states and it is talk of friendship that dominates, not of lovers.
Homura represents all of the witches; while we don’t know what the other witches did in their lives, besides accepting the contract (original sin as it were), we know what Homura did. Besides agreeing to Kyubee’s conditions, she also continued to try to save Madoka, in turn weighing her friend down with burdens and changing her. By this point in the episode, Homura is defeated again and is a wreck, not only from suffering time and time again, but forcing Madoka (in other universes) to do the same.
But Madoka, now godlike, sees what Homura did. She sees Homura’s actions. We connect with Homura because she is like us – someone lovely and with good intentions, but who often gets it wrong. And the Christ-figure Madoka sees this as well. She embraces the “sinner” Homura and lets her know that it’s all going to be alright – “it doesn’t matter how much your errors ended up hurting me,” Madoka is saying, “I will still give up my very life for you.”
That’s love. That’s grace. That’s the power to lift up the suffering to unimaginable heights.
There’s a small bit of dialogue toward the end of the scene, when Homura questions Madoka – why would she do this? Madoka ensures her best friend that it’s going to be okay. Homura, now believing in Madoka, is at peace. She has accepted her god.
And with that, a three-minute yuri scene has presented the Gospel message.
It’s scenes like this and the show’s overpowering message of hope that makes Puella Shoujo Madoka Magica powerful and moving in addition to being creatively fulfilling. It is the story of Christ as played out by teenage magical girls.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica Finale [END] (apprivoiser.wordpress.com)
- Paved with Good Intentions: A Reflection on Homura Akemi (reversethieves.com)
- Despair and Hope in Puella Magi Madoka Magica (ambivalen.wordpress.com)