Madoka Side Story Magia Record, Episode 8: Crossed Signals

Episode eight begins with Iroha transferring into Kamihama Middle School as she continues her search for her sister, Ui. While there, she tries to meet up with Kaede, who in unresponsive; instead, Iroha runs into Rena, who tells her of two rumors: an invisible girl whose quiet responses to classmate eventually lead to her disappearing entirely and the endless solitude, some unknown entity whose nature has been scrubbed off the Internet. Iroha hears a third rumor from Tsuruno (who has by the way hired Felicia to work at her restaurant) about an electric wave girl whose calls for help can only be heard from underneath a tall radio tower.

There’s a tonal shift in episode eight. It’s a bit creepy and unsettling for a variety of reasons, one being a lack of warmth exhibited by Iroha’s friends. Kaede not answering Iroha is out of character, and while we can judge by how Iroha’s texts transform and Rena’s surprise at being texted as well that this is a rumor at work, it’s still unsettling, as is Yachiyo’s unwillingness to share everything she knows, again bringing to mind Mami’s earlier warning to not trust her (In this episode, by the way, Mami shows up in the shadows at a critical point to help Iroha). The electric wave girl rumor is also discomforting, particularly when the spam messages turn more aggressive, particularly in their cries for help.

There’s not a lot of physical action in the episode—the team, and particularly Yachiyo, make quick work of the witch Tsukuyo sics on her. Instead, this episode of Magia Record is more about deepening mysteries. I think we’re at the tipping point now as the rest of the series should unravel all the mysteries, those mentioned earlier and others emphasized in this episode, including who the magius are, who Sana Futaba (the electric wave girl) is, and what happened to Ui and her friends. In this episode, we get a quick flashback showing Ui and her two friends, but strangely enough, four girls are mentioned in the scene—Who is the fourth? And what happened to them? Was is a tragedy, and is that connected to Ui’s disappearance?

But perhaps the biggest mystery is who Iroha herself is. Besides her iron will in trying to find her sister, we don’t know much about her. Where does the ability to turn into that witchlike creature come from? Is she involved at all with her sister’s disappearance? And where are her parents? The last question really haunted me in this episode—Madoka’s mom was such a looming presence in the original series, yet Iroha’s seem absent or gone.

I hope we get answers to all these questions, though I wouldn’t mind having my mind twisted for a couple more episodes before that happens. And if we get more episodes with the same chilling tone, I’d be happy, too. A little creeped out, but happy.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record can be streamed on Funimation.

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