Episode three of Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record is the conclusion to the events of the last episode, in which Kaede and Rena’s bickering leads to dangerous encounter after Iroha temporarily joins their team to try to find her sister Ui in the mysterious Kamihara City. And while the plot doesn’t move along as quickly as in the previous episodes, this one does bring us a variety of interesting notes according to four R’s: Reckoning, Reconciliation, Resolution, and Revisiting. That last “R” is by far the most exciting, but we’ll save that ’til the end of this post.
First, the Reckoning. The girls decide to team up with Yachiyo, who is at her most Homura-like in this episode, cool and mean as her prototype, to try to get to the bottom of the witch rumor and save Kaede. Yachiyo is in no mood to bring Iroha along, but after the group visits MItama Yakumo, the “Coordinator,” who not only counsels magical girls but has the ability to empower them by touching their soul gems, they enact their plan. The girls realize that they need Rena to genuinely apologize to create the conditions for the witch to again reappear, but Rena is unable to be authentic; luckily, the strong feelings she posits, even negative ones, are able to lead the girls to encounter their foe.
When spirited away to fight, Iroha comes across Momoko, who begins to speak negatively of Rena—however, as Kaede points out when she reappears shortly afterward, that’s actually Rena in disguise. Rena places some blame on Kaede for being too quick to resolve arguments, but ultimately she understands that the problem is within her; no matter how hard she tries, Rena is unable to become vulnerable enough to admit fault.
However, ultimately the girls are able to reconcile. Kaede has lost the bitterness she felt when the two last argued, and Rena fumbles through an apology, though it is meaningful and heartfelt. I have someone close to me who is like Rena, and that helped me appreciate her struggle. Kaede understands it as well, that Rena trying to apologize is an apology in itself.
So friendships are repaired, and thanks mostly to Momoko and Yachiyo, the witch is destroyed. Except, as Yachiyo points out, the “witch” probably wasn’t a witch at all, adding further to the mystery of the city. The girls will certainly keep investigating, and I think as this episode demonstrates, will continue to be an important part of the show. There was an opportunity here to kill off a character or to spend less time with the team and more with Iroha and Yachiyo, but the emphasis on the entire group remains. Indeed, the episode proper ends with Rena disguising herself and finding information at the hospital about Toka and Nemu, two genius young girls that were friends of Ui’s once and hospitalized with her, affirming a dream that Iroha had about the trio. It seems that Rena is now also friends with Iroha, helping to resolve the personal conflict beginning in the last episode.
But most excitingly, we get a glimpse after the credits of my favorite magical girl—Mami Tomoe. Yes, finally a revisiting by one of the original cast (Kyubey notwithstanding) as she takes on a task by Kyubey to investigate Kamihara City; the little demon isn’t able to do it himself because he literally loses consciousness when crossing over the boundary. Mami doesn’t want to do so either for fear of stepping on the other girls’ turf (Is it inevitable that she classes with the Homura lookalike?), but the rumor of witches gathering to lead to a collection of all grief seeds is too disturbing for Mami to lay aside, and so, she now jumps into the mix. And I can’t wait to see what comes of this!
Interesting, also, is the reappearance of the young Kyubey, who leaps on Iroha’s shoulder near the end of the fight sequence before disappearing. Could he be Ui’s Kyubey? We don’t have many clues to go on as of yet, though I have a feeling that with this episode being so light on plot development, we may learn a lot more next week.
In the meantime, it was enough to enjoy a full minute or two of Mami in her glorious return. I also sat back and really took in the ED this week—I’ve enjoyed quite a few EDs from new anime this season (the one for In/Spectre immediately comes to mind), but I think this one is best: It’s emotional, beautifully designed, and featuring a song by our girls, ClariS. You literally could not improve on it.
Do you like the ED as well? What did you think of Mami’s reappearance? I’d love to hear your feedback below as we continue to work our way through this season!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record can be streamed on Funimation.