Just as I predicted in my last post that the Kaede, Rena, and Momoko would play a continual part in Magia Record, episode four comes along and focuses instead on a new magical girl. The others do help at first, though, discussing various rumors like the Chain Witch. Advised by Mitama, Iroha goes to a Chinese restaurant for help, where she meets the cheerful Yui Tsuruno, who is eager to help.
Yui, however, is only able to provide assistance by setting up a meeting between Iroha and another magical girl who is also investigating these rumors which have become reality. Turns out, the third party is Yachiyo, and she’s none too happy to see Iroha again.
The trio consider the possibility that just as some were held captive by the Chain Witch, Ui might have been taken by the Seance Shrine rumor, which claims to connect one to the past person he or she wants to see again. Yachiyo knows of an ancient shrine story about a woman who lost her lover, and who prayed (and then sacrificed others) to be reunited to him, and feels that it may be connected to the Seance Shrine. The trio finally discover which of the shrines is the correct one (with a short, witch-fighting detour along the way), and Yachiyo and Iroha makes wishes to see their loved ones, entering a witch-like realm where they see the objects of their desire.
The episode plays with the idea of the past’s connection with the present. Seance Shrine is supposedly about going back to the past you lost, and Yachiyo castigates Iroha for wanting to relive the past, to which she counters that it’s not that at all—for Iroha, she’s searching not to protect her precious memories, but because Ui is lost now. It’s a strong response from Iroha, who has yet to prove her mettle in the series, but here again shows both her determination and her selflessness. I admit that on occasion, I consider the past and imagine myself reliving it knowing what I know now, but it’s never for the sake of others; my imagination wanders as I ponder on how I could make my life better.
I think Yachiyo is like me. In this episode, we get hints of why she acts like does—just as with Homura, it’s not simply her personality. Her past friendship with Yui (apparently broken by something out of their control) and her desire to see a girl name Mifuyu have put her in such a place. As such, I wonder if Yachiyo’s questioning of Iroha is because she feels like I do—she wants to change the past to help herself, to bring herself out of pain and into a better state. The appearance of Mifuyu may tell us more about what happened to Yachiyo in the past.
We also might discover more about Ui. At this point, we know next to nothing about her disappearance. But I assume that Side Story Magia Record, even if it’s not as complicated as Puella Magi Madoka Magica proper before it, has something up it’s sleeve. Nothing is at is seems. And that could mean that Ui is not who she seems—perhaps she’s become a magical girl herself; perhaps she’s the one trying to save Iroha; or perhaps she doesn’t even exist at all.
Only Little Kyubey seems to know—and he’s ain’t talking.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record can be streamed on Funimation.