It’s a tale as old as time: Murderous A.I. hunts its victim. The victim befriends the A.I. and teaches it about humanity. The A.I. learns to love and rebels against its master. A.I. dies sacrificing itself for its human friend.
In a lovely little episode, Magia Record goes full Terminator 2, but instead of an android sent through time, it’s an Uwasa that learns the value of human love. Ai (an AI program turned into an Uwasa apparently by the Wings of the Magius) contacts Iroha to ask her to enter the Endless Solitude, a dimension where only one living person can be present at a time. Currently there is the “Invisible Girl,” Sana Futaba, who because of the pain she endured after her mother remarried asked to become invisible as part of her magical girl wish; she has named and befriended Ai, who has over a month’s time come to love her.
Sana’s struggle is certainly relatable—so many of us (especially during our teenage years) feel isolated and alone. Sana’s loneliness is exacerbated her mother’s remarriage and a family, including mom, that’s rejecting her. She feels guilty and buys into the painful words from a family that isn’t a family at all. The Endless Solitude she falls into seems rather like a dream come true, a place where she can feel guiltless and “make” a friend from square one. And so Yachiyo remarks that Iroha should be prepared to find a Sana who does not want to leave.
Iroha does arrive (with a push from Little Kyubey), forcing Sana to confront the situation: She’s going to lose Ai and be forced back into a hurtful reality because Ai has determined that it’s best for her. Before that can happen, a new enemy, Alina Gray, arrives to try to stop Ai’s deletion and in fact, to reprogram her for further use; the Iwasa’s power, however, is able to temporarily boot Alina. This an interesting scene: an Uwasa, up until now shown to be brainless as the witches, makes the choice both to rebel against the Wings of the Magius and to love.
Ultimately, Ai turns into a realistic girl form herself and tells Sana that only she can kill her. This isn’t exactly true: Ai had called first Iroha in to kill her, and I think that’s still possible. Ai, however, wants Sana to be the one to make the final blow because it would be her choice to both save her friend from becoming something horrible and to save herself from giving into loneliness. Ai understands love far better than an AI should, better than humans; her sacrifice will almost certainly transform Sana’s life.
Only four episodes remain in the series—besides advancing the Wings of the Magius storyline a bit, I’m not sure this episode does anything particular for the plot, which leads me to believe the climax won’t be anything spectacularly complex. But if it’s anything like this pretty little episode, I’ll take a simple climax—as long as it’s full of the same heart.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record can be streamed on Funimation.