"I want you to form a contract with me and become magical girls!" - Kyubey, Episode 1.
|Voiced by||Japanese: Emiri Katou|
English: Cassandra Lee
Italian: Loretta di Pisa
Cantonese: Wong Wai Zu
French: Pascale Chemin
Kyubey (キュゥべえ Kyūbē) is a "messenger of magic" (魔法の使者 mahō no shisha) who grants the wishes of young girls, but in exchange contracts their services as magical girls. Girls who form a contract with him are tasked to defeat witches — bizarre entities that feed upon the hopes and dreams of normal people. Kyubey features prominently as a character within the entire Puella Magi series.
Kyubey is a small cat-like creature about two feet long (including tail). His entire body is covered in often clean, white fur. He has what appear to be four ears; two that resemble an average cat, pointed and up, while the other two appear as long tassel-like appendages that split into three sections at their tip. The tassels fade from white to pink and have three red dots horizontally before the splits. they also bear a pair of floating golden rings.
Kyubey's face is his most well known feature; two beady pink and eyes with dark maroon irises and a tiny, omega-shaped "cat mouth". Due to Kyubey's method of telepathic communication, his face remains almost completely unmoving except for blinking and consuming food. This unmoving face is often a source of fan stigma involving Kyubey "staring into one's soul".
On his back is an egg-shaped red oval. In episode 6, this oval flips up, like a trapdoor to act as a receptacle for grief seed fragments.
In the anime, Kyubey has not been evidenced to bleed, however, when injured, he has red matter underneath his fur. When he is shot by Homura several times, Kyubey's body does not seem to contain organs, only solid red. Whether this is artistic censorship or an actual attribute of Kyubey's anatomy is yet unknown.
In the anime, Kyubey's body often makes noises like a plush toy when squeezed or pressed against, suggesting that he is soft and cuddly, at least physically.
In Oriko Magica, Kyubey takes on even more of a "plush toy" appearance than before. Now, his sharp tipped tassel ears are soft and curved, lacking the pink gradient and red spots. His magical hoops have moved further up his ears and his front legs appear to have shortened.
Kyubey is an alien known as an "incubator". Because of this, he, like his race, cannot exhibit emotions of any kind. As a result, Kyubey often appears cold, calculating and scheming; traits that make him appear villainous in the series. Kyubey, however, only seeks to achieve a goal; to preserve the universe from entropy. To meet this goal, he takes all means logically efficient and reasonable; namely creating Puella Magi. Initially, Kyubey appears enthusiastic to help the Puella Magi in their quest, offering advice where applicable, however, as more of his true motive is revealed, either by him or others, Kyubey becomes progressively more passive and observatory in manner (although this could be because he has no advice left to offer).
Throughout the series, Kyubey is often accused of trickery and deceit by turning girls into Puella Magi, and subsequently witches, treating humans as energy livestock under the guise of being a miracle granter. Although this can easily be understood, Kyubey states that he never intended to "trick" Puella Magi, but simply leave out traumatizing subtext in order to make the process more appealing to a potential Puella Magi.
Kyubey uses certain speech patterns that indicate he may see himself as superior to the magical girls; the lack of honorifics, the use of the pronouns "Boku" (僕) and "Kimi" (君) and the misuse or overall lack of polite verbs suggests that he is either rude or very casual towards the girls. However, due to his emotionless nature, and the fact that he is an alien, Kyubey may simply not understand the need to be polite, as opposed to being direct.
Kyubey is an Incubator, a member of an alien race dedicated to counteracting the effects of (and possibly negating) entropy: the principle that energy output is always less than energy input, a fact that is presently causing the universe to slowly die out. In order to achieve this, Kyubey collects raw energy from a source that seems to be excepted from entropy: the emotions of girls in their second growth stage (14-18). To harvest this energy, Kyubey forms contracts with teenage girls, trading one wish for their servitude as a Puella Magi, magical girls who use their powers to defeat the evil witches, who then drop grief seeds. The energy produced during this process is then harvested by Kyubey through unknown means. Kyubey does not reveal, however, that Puella Magi turn into witches after falling into despair, which are then fought by other Puella Magi, creating an endless cycle. Because of this, Kyubey is often seen as the true antagonist of the series, despite the fact that his justification is that he is saving countless other sectors of the universe in doing so. Kyubey's goal during the course of Madoka Magica is to turn Madoka into an incredibly powerful Puella Magi, who will then destroy Walpurgis Night and become the most powerful witch, Kriemhild Gretchen, a process which apparently produces obscene amounts of energy, at the expense of the human race (as there would be no Puella Magi able to defeat the most powerful witch).
In Kazumi Magica
"We Incubators don't have individual consciousnesses. We belong to a single consciousness." - Kyubey, Kazumi Magica, Ch. 21.
Kyubey appears in Chapters 2, 4, 5, 14, 20 and 21 of Kazumi Magica.
- In Chapter 2 Kyubey appears as a silhouette along with Madoka as Kaoru explains magic to Kazumi.
- In Chapter 4 Kyubey is seen at the very beginning of the chapter, sitting next to Jubey as they watch the Pleiades Saints. He cryptically asks if things will go better "this time".
- In Chapter 5 Kyubey's role is expanded. He appears briefly when Yuuri becomes a witch, similar to the end of Episode 8. He then further appears in the extended flashback of Yuuri's and Airi's backstory. First he contracts with Yuuri, and then after Yuuri becomes a witch and is killed by the Pleiades he explains exactly what happened to Airi, culminating in her contracting with him. When she contracts, he tells her that "Your wish has surpassed entropy." Kyubey also tells Airi about the Pleaides Saints when she asks who killed Yuuri. During the entire chapter, Kyubey either appears as a shadow or in the shadows. It's quite clear that he is manipulating Airi, and that he is ultimately responsible for almost all of the subsequent events in the series beyond simply contracting magical girls to become witches.
- In Chapter 14, Kyubey's face is seen as Satomi realizes the truth of where witches come from after watching Michiru become one. He is also seen watching from above (like Niko and Jubey, who can be seen a few panels before) while Satomi reveals the truth of the clones to Kazumi and forces them to fight one another.
- In Chapter 20, Kyubey appears in person when Umika and Kaoru call for him, having recovered their memories of Incubators, which were suppressed by a spell cast by Umika.
- In Chapter 21, Kyubey reveals that Incubators don't have individual consciousnesses. They are like a network terminal connected to one single consciousness.
- Strangely, Kyubey "wanted" to talk to Juubey, it wanted to talk to another of his kind, even if it was man-made.
- It's implied that in all of the flashbacks from previous chapters, any appearances by Juubey were actually of Kyubey. This suggests that Kyubey was manipulating Airi and Kanna in order to make them go after the Pleiades Saints.
In Oriko Magica
"What a shame, huh?"
"Well, I found her. I found Madoka Kaname." - Kyubey, Oriko and Homura. Puella Magi Oriko Magica, Chapter 6.
- In Chapter 1, Kyubey contracts with Oriko, who tells him of Yuma, another Puella Magi candidate he should try contracting. He later tries to convince Yuma to contract with him, but is stopped by Kyoko. Kyoko then learns from him about the recent murders of Puella Magi. When he appears again, speaking with Oriko, he claims that human emotions are unfathomable to him. Oriko replies that he should learn to appreciate them, as they give him what he desires.
- In Chapter 2, he successfully contracts with Yuma after Kyoko is attacked by a witch.
- In Chapter 3, he tells Mami about the recent murders of Puella Magi. He says that the most recent victim told him the murderer was a "black Puella Magi," and not a witch.
- In Chapter 5, Kyubey discusses the identity of the black magical girl with Mami, and told her he never mentioned Kirika because he had no proof it was her. He discovers Oriko's plot to kill Madoka before she can contract and eventually become a witch, and tries to stop her.
- In Chapter 6, he sends Kyoko and Yuma to help Mami defeat the witch that has put a barrier around Mitakihara Junior High, as well as stop Oriko, who has gone out of control. Despite both Homura and Oriko's attempts to hide Madoka from him, he finds her inside the barrier.
- In Chapter 7, Oriko uses the last of her life to shoot a piece of Kirika's witch body through him and Madoka, who was hidden behind him, through a wall. She kills the girl before she can contract, foiling both Homura and Kyubey's plans.
Kyubey also appears in Noisy Citrine, the prequel manga that focuses on Kirika Kure.
Additionally, Kyubey exhibits a power he hasn't shown before Oriko Magica: levitation. He is rarely seen standing on anything in the manga, usually preferring to float in mid-air.
Kyubey has a wide variety of magical abilities which he uses in his mission to counteract entropy. They are listed below
- Telepathic communication Kyubey communicates with Puella Magi and potential Puella Magi through telepathic communication, as opposed to verbal. Exposure to this apparently enables Puella Magi and potential Puella Magi to also communicate telepathically amongst each other when Kyubey is nearby.
- Invisibility Kyubey is invisible to everyone except for Puella magi and candidates. Normal humans do not seem to notice his presence at all, just as he does not seem able to communicate with them.
- Teleportation Kyubey has been evidenced to cross long distances in impossibly short time spans, the method for which is yet unknown, but can be assumed to be teleportation. In episode 10, he also fades into reality above Homura, which may be the visible manifestation of him teleporting.
- Wish granting Kyubey can grant wishes of young girls, no matter how wild and unrealistic they may be, in the same manner a Genie would. Kyubey only allocates one wish per contract and it is unknown if this ability is contract bound or he is able to use it at will.
- Energy conversion/collection Kyubey is able to collect energy from witch transformation and filled Grief Seeds through an unseen means. In Timeline 6, he collects it by magical girls dropping grief seed fragments into a hatch-like "mouth" on his red oval on his back. How he is able to transport this energy also remains a mystery.
- Soul Gem Creation Kyubey is capable of creating a small egg-shaped gemstone called a Soul Gem for each Puella Magi; he does this by pulling the Puella's soul out of their body and forming it into their Gem. This makes the newly formed Puella Magi capable of transformation into their "magical girl form" as well as increased agility, strength and pain threshold, at the expense of the original body turning into a puppet of the soul gem, and its feelings being numbed. Like with granting wishes, it is unknown if Kyubey can do this at will, or a contract must first be formed.
- Replication After being killed, another identical Kyubey will appear nearby to consume the remains of his predecessor. This Kyubey appears to retain most, if not all the knowledge of the last after consuming the remains. This may suggest a "hive mind" or cloning process. It may also reference that "cats have nine lives", as Kyubey resembles a cat (Kyuubi, being nine-tailed foxes may also be a coincidental occurrence).
- Soul Gem Stimulation As referenced in episode 7, Kyubey can create impulses of certain feelings on a soul gem simply by touching it. In Sayaka's case, he emulates a pike (probably mimicking Kyoko's) impaling Sayaka's stomach.
- Kyubey's speech patterns may have been used to give a "foreign" touch to Kyubey's speech, as this pattern emulates the typical way of speaking in other languages, such as English.
- It can also be interpreted as Kyubey treating personal names just as tags for identifying individuals, similar to a social security number.
- Boku is also used by girls, but this is uncommon in real life. In manga, anime and alike, this is often employed for girls exhibiting "boyish" personality traits. Such girls are called boku-kko (僕っ子) a western equivalent is a "tomboy".
- He will often flick his ears or roll around when teasing or being interested.
- In Madoka's new universe, he seems to have lost most of his knowledge and is very interested in what Homura is actually saying.
- It would seem that Kyubey never lies but instead holds back important information, often under the pretense of no-one asking him. An example for this is episode 9: when Kyoko asks him if Sayaka can be saved, he only says that nobody ever tried to turn a witch back into a human being (which could in fact be true), rather than saying that it's indeed possible (which would be a lie, as he reveals to Homura at the end of the episode). However, Kyubey also tells Madoka that he is incapable of manipulating humans, which contradicts the reason why he allowed Kyoko to chase after Sayaka in the first place: he wanted her to be killed so that only Homura would be left to battle the powerful Walpurgis, thus forcing Madoka to become a magical girl. This is clearly an attempt to manipulate Madoka's actions, making his earlier statement to her a lie.
- Apparently Kyubey selects the right moment and the right time to appear to grant wishes to his victims, and he seems to await for the conditions to be perfect to secure a good level of energy. At first glance he gives the impression that he is coming to rescue his victims by allowing them a wish during their weakest moment. He probably can sense a great moment of despair and he awaits for the girls' state of mind to be in turmoil and ready to ask for a (selfish) wish. It is speculated that he does this to guarantee that their wishes will be selfish in nature so it would fail to meet their expectations. In doing so Kyubey secures a great amount of despair thus releasing a great level of energy.
- To our knowledge, Kyubey has thus far only accepted wishes that his species's technology can "grant:" the healing of a paralyzed hand (Sayaka), the rescuing of a girl trapped in a crushed automobile (Mami), mass mind-control (Kyoko), and time travel (Homura).
- While we don't know for sure the bounds of this technology or of his wish granting abilities, we definitely do know that Kyubey's species can't end the heat death of the universe on its own, meaning that Kyubey may not be able to grant the wish "Save the universe from entropy!" Kyubey most likely can't provide the catalyst necessary for such a wish to come true. He'd have to rely entirely on the magic of the girl in question, and so far as we know Madoka has been the only person he's met who might have the magical potential to rewrite the laws of the universe.
- No limits on wishes were stated. He hasn't failed to grant (or rejected) any wish on the first request, even though he was shown to have negotiated with Kagari in Suzune Magica due to the potential counterproductivity of her wish. (Was technology ever mentioned?)
- However, note, that wish granting may essentially be considered as an exertion of energy. Yet, magical girls generate more energy upon their deceit, therefore it is anti-entropy. To wish against entropy, all the energy in the universe would not suffice.
- Some fan speculation has arisen that the "Kyu" in Kyubey may be resemblant to a tag or identification number, just as Juubey has the number 10 affixed to "Juu" Kyubey is Number 9 in the series. although this would make sense, Kazumi Magica conffirms that the "Juu" in Juubey does not mean 10. Juubey, however is also not a "real" incubator
- In Chapter 21 of Kazumi Magica, Kyubey "wanted" to communicate with Juubey, even if it was man-made, as it wanted to connect with another of his kind. It is unknown if Kyubey's reasons were because it wanted to learn more about Juubey or if it was "feeling lonely".
- Kyubey's Name spelling is often a topic of argument amongst fans, the many various spellings in different texts have caused confusion as to its meaning
- His name is written in both Hiragana and Katakana as キュ(kyu)ゥ(u)べ(be)え(e), so Kyuubee or Kyuubey would be most accurate as a romanization.
- On the other hand, the fifth commercial has his name romanized as "Kyubey", which resulted in controversy. However, the lack of the extra u is probably just a use of the modified Hepburn system, which never accounts for extended vowels.
- Gen Urobuchi joked that the "Kyu" comes from the katakana of the English word Cute so it could also be Cubey.
- Episode 8 suggests that his name comes from 'Incubator', which would be romanized as 'inkyubeetaa.' In the same episode, it is revealed that he has multiple replacements.
- During Kyubey's dialogues in episode 9, he keeps saying "we", meaning that he isn't the only Incubator.
- Some fans of 2ch have taken to assigning the kanji 「九兵衛」 (Kyūbē, lit. nine protector soldiers or nine warriors in defense) to his name, speculating that like Doraemon (whose name can be written as 「銅鑼衛門」), Kyubey's naming might have been inspired by old Samurai dramas.
- 'QB' is short for 'Kyubey' in Niconico Douga. This name is also common on 2ch.
- For more information about energy, entropy and thermodynamics in general, see Thermodynamics.
- Kyubey apparently enjoys hot baths and human food, as evidenced in the second episode of the anime.
- Kyubey's appearance (and name) share an affinity to Kyuubi, Mythical Japanese foxes with nine tails. In folklore, Kyuubi were known to possess men and have them do the Kyuubi's bidding, a trait identical to Kyubey's desire to collect energy from magical girls.
- In the Drama CD "Sunny Day Life" Kyubey tries to convince to an exasperated Madoka that "he" doesn't see himself as male (in human terms) so "he" doesn't understand why "he" isn't allowed to be in the bathroom with a naked Madoka.
- On the Blu-ray commentary it was pointed by Gen Urobuchi that Kyubey has no gender.
- According to the Blu-Ray Episode 2 voice commentary:
- Kyubey was not based on any animal, just the concept of a "small mahou shoujo animal"
- When asked what animals were used as the basis for Kyubey's design, Ume Aoki was very cryptic because of spoilers.
- The only clue she gives is "coil". According to the drama CD interpreter, it's possible that it relates to the theory that Kyubey's design is based on the uterus. Supporters of this theory believe Kyubey's ears look like fallopian tubes. It could also refer to Incubator., which has a similar meaning to it. This interpretation was proven wrong in the commentary for episode 8, where Chiwa Saito explained that the truth that was hidden was that the marking on Kyubey's back is that of an egg, and that was the connection to Incubator. Considering he is an Incubator, this is not farfetched.
- A fanart meme tends to point out Kyubey's similarity to Hummy, the mascot of Suite Precure♪, the other (much more traditional, child-friendly, and optimistic) magical girl series that began airing in Winter 2011. Due to the closeness of their airing dates, this is likely a coincidence, but it has not gone unnoticed and adds to the series' postmodernist deconstruction of the magical girl genre.
- In an interview with NewType, Shinbo was thinking of giving lip-synching to Kyubey in the new world but Yukihiro Miyamoto said no since fundamentally Kyubey remains the same creature as before, only interested in energy efficiency, so he remains unchanged. Also in the interview it's stated Kyubey doesn't move his mouth to speak because he is communicating by telepathy.
- Prior to broadcasting, no one told the seiyuu (specially Emiri Kato) that Kyubey's mouth doesnt move, so she tried to properly lip-synch her lines. When they saw the first episode on the air, the seiyuu were shocked that they were tricked.
- Aoi Yuuki (Madoka), Chiwa Saito (Homura), and Kaori Mizuhashi (Mami) tried for the role of Kyubey. Saito was told her Kyubey sounded too stupid, and in Yuuki's part hers sounded too naive and that she was too cute for it (no surprise there). They all found the role for Kyubey to be too difficult and the Kyubey character too smarth for them.
- In the Audio Commentary for Episode 9, before reading the script or knowing the nature of the show, Emiri Kato (VA of Kyubey) was very happy that she was voicing a cute animal character.
- Gen Urobuchi comments in the Audio Commentary for Episode 12 that (the) Kyubey's presence is world wide (WWQB). This can be interpreted as that multiple Kyubeys are being used to contract and reduce entropy; and are not limited to just using one single incubator at a time. this would explain as to why kyubeys can consume dead predecessors. it may also suggest that instead of kyubey being able to teleport, there are simply several, each one assigned to go with a magical girl or clusters thereof, at a time.
- During the Sakura-Con 2012 panel interview, Urobuchi explains that Kyubey is not evil, it is his lack of human feelings that makes him scary.
- Kato Emiri's Data file
- Kyubey is Evil Theory
- This speculative philosophical essay deals with the nature of Kyubey's utilitarianism: Talk:Philosophical Observations