Madoka Magica Episode 11: The Only Signpost Remaining

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--"Why does she go that far to fight?"
"It's because she still seeks hope. I imagine if it comes down to it, she'll nullify this timeline, like she has done in the past, and continue fighting. She'll continue to repeat this meaningless chain of events having come out none the wiser. Giving up and no longer moving forward holds the same meaning to her now. The moment she's convinced that there's no way for her to change your fate, that all of this was pointless, Akemi Homura will lose to her despair and change into a Grief Seed. She knows this for herself. That's why, to her, there is no choice. It doesn't matter if she even has a chance to win; she has no choice but to fight."
--"You're saying that she has no chance for salvation as long as she holds hope?"
~ Kyubey and Madoka.
The Only Signpost Remaining
最後に残った道しるべ
First airing 21 April 2011
Script Gen Urobuchi
Storyboard Tomohiko Itou
Episode director Kotono Watanabe
Animation Director Shin'ichi Miyamae
Toshiyuki Fujisawa

Contents

Summary

Homu tells madoka.gif

The episode opens with Kyubey talking to Homura in her apartment. He has guessed everything about the nature of Homura's magic and wish, and comments that Madoka's great magical power developed precisely because of that wish. By repeatedly going back in time, Homura inadvertently caused the creation of several parallel universes centered around Madoka; the accumulation of karma from each timeline manifested itself as Madoka's magical power. In this manner, Kyubey says, Homura has created an "ultimate witch."

The media report that the dead body of Sayaka has been found in a hotel room, with no trace to a possible cause. Madoka, along with other classmates, attends her funeral (including Kamijou and Hitomi). When asked by her mother whether she knows anything about the cause, she says that she doesn't.

Kyubey talks to Madoka in her room, expressing that he does not understand why humans can experience the death of a single person with so much emotion, and tries to explain the behavior of his race. He makes a comparison to humans raising animals for their meat, calling it an "ideal symbiotic relationship." However, he admits that the comparison is imperfect as Incubators actually recognize humans as sentient lifeforms. He then proceeds to show Madoka the "common history of mankind and Incubators," revealing that some well-known historical figures (e.g., Cleopatra, Himiko, and Joan of Arc) were in fact magical girls[1]. He refuses to admit his own fault in the cruelty of the magical girl system, claiming that the wishes of girls in question are to be blamed as any wish can be twisted by its own logic. He even comments that if Incubators never came to the Earth, humans would "still be living naked in caves."[2]

Junko Kaname and Kazuko Saotome meet and talk about the death of Sayaka, as well as about Madoka's change in behavior. Kazuko says that this all happened during Sayaka and Hitomi's "fight" over Kamijou and mentions that this is rather hard on Hitomi as well. A very depressed Junko blames herself for being a terrible mother, not being able to help her daughter during a hard time; Kazuko tries to comfort her saying that Madoka needs more time to handle herself and that Junko should believe in her.

Madoka visits Homura's house, where she asks her if it is really not possible to defeat Walpurgis Night alone, as Kyoko said. Homura denies Kyoko's words, but Madoka finds it difficult to believe her. Homura then reveals her true identity and history to Madoka, hugging her.

Walpurgis Night comes. All civilians have been evacuated because of an intense storm, thought to be a supercell; it is revealed that the storm was caused by Walpurgis, who is so powerful that she does not need to hide within a barrier. Homura starts to fight the witch using a large number of weapons, including rocket launchers, explosives, and a petrol tanker. However, the witch withstands her attacks, and even starts sending familiars to further attack Homura.

Madoka leaves the main hall of the shelter where her family was evacuated in order to talk with Kyubey. He avoids giving a clear answer on whether or not Homura can defeat Walpurgis Night by herself, persuading Madoka to go see it herself. He also comments that Homura is able to fight because of her hope, which can always be sustained: in the worst case, she can turn back time and try again. Losing her hope would mean turning into a witch; as long as she has hope, there is no escape from her ultimate fate. "Just like all magical girls throughout the history," he remarks.

She proceeds to go outside, but is stopped by Junko. Madoka tells her that she is aware of all the people caring for her, but there's something only she can do to help with the disaster befalling the city. She asks her mother to believe in her, and Junko eventually lets her leave.

After several desperate but unsuccessful attempts to defeat Walpurgis Night, Homura runs out of time[3]. Homura is about to lose hope, realizing that going back in time would only make things worse. Her Soul Gem is near total corruption. Before she can become a witch, however, Madoka grabs her hand and tells her not to worry, with Kyubey in the background. The episode ends with Homura telling Madoka not to do what she's about to do, and Madoka apologizing to her.

The Power of Love and Friendship

Did Homura trigger a Death Flag?

A powerful scene that could determine the outcome of the Series. Fans and observers believe this scene depicts a tender moment that tries to reaffirm the the power of friendship and sees it as Homura's pledge to protect her most precious friend, Madoka, against a cruel fate. The emotional build up tries to depict a powerful moment of friendship against all odds. Can Homura save Madoka's fate or will Urobuchi's cynicism win at the end?

Homura: There's no way I can tell you how I really feel.
Madoka: Homura-chan...
Homura: I mean... I mean... I'm living in a different time than you!
I've come from the future, you know?
I've met you over and over again, and each time, I've seen you die. How can I save you? How can I change your fate? I've been looking for that answer and that answer only. I've gone back and started from the beginning over and over again.
Madoka: That means... Huh?
Homura: I'm sorry. I'm sure you don't get any of this. I'm sure you're put off (disgusted) by all of this. To you, I haven't even known you for a month - I'm just some transfer student. But to me, you...
Each time I repeat all of this, the time you and I lived grows further apart--our feelings grow further apart, and my words stop reaching you. I think I lost myself a long time ago.
Madoka: Homura-chan...
Homura: My desire to save you: the first emotion I had that started this all. And now that I've come this far, the only star left that will help guide my way... You don't have to understand. My words don't have to resonate within you. But still, I beg you. Let me protect you.

This section contains fanart images

Everything in the following fan gallery is created, or the comments accompanying them are created, for entertainment value and should not be confused with actual canon events of the Puella Magi franchise.
After thousands of years of human progress, humans finally invent clothing. Also fire.

The same scene has a different interpretation with yuri fans.

Trivia

  • In the audio commentary for Episode 11, Chiwa Saito (Homura) found the confession scene to be touching and emotional, and left her with a huge impression. She confesses that she cried.
    • Aoi Yuuki (Madoka) found the scene to be amazing and filled her with emotions. Aoi Yuuki felt that her and Madoka became synchronized during the emotional scene. Aoi Yuuki believes that, surely Madoka would have accepted Homura's feelings.

Runes

See Runes of episode 11

Audio Commentary

See Also: Guidebook staff commentary from the Magica Quartet
The Only Signpost Remaining
最後に残った道しるべ
Commentary Aoi Yuuki
Chiwa Saitou
Eri Kitamura
Kaori Mizuhashi
Ai Nonaka
Emiri Kato

The 11th episode commentary has all six of the main seiyuu. All of the magical girls, plus Kyubey.

They have a lot of people, but not that much time.

Everyone's together, but in the show the mahou shoujo never join together like this.

First they start with Kaori Mizuhashi. She was thinking, "I want to watch this normally." They aired the last three episodes together, but she wanted to see the 11th episode on its own. Mami...died, but Mizuhashi got to play Takkun (Madoka's brother), as well as voicing Walpurgisnacht. It's quite a wide range, she says. From the little brother to the last boss!

Next they switch to having Eri Kitamura talk. This is during Sayaka's funeral. "Somehow it was on the news". But that was because of Kyouko, keeping her body fresh. Even if she didn't get to participate in this episode, she felt that it really stayed on her mind. Everyone around her was a fan of the show. Mami is the first big shock, but then Sayaka is the second big shock. She felt glad that she could give meaning to the work.

Next is Nonaka Ai. "Third Impact" (Evangelion reference), she says. She was surprised by her death too. Well, she came into the show after Mami was gone. They didn't get the chance to talk at all, although in the backstory and in episode 10 they did. In the other worlds, she wanted to say "Please let me have some tea".

Now for Emiri Katou. Once again, she said that she was glad she got to play the cute mascot character. But in the outline it didn't really say anything so she had no idea what kind of character he was. But while recording she became able to understand how he thinks. She didn't think he would be such an important character. With just her voice she could add so much impact to the character. That and everyone loves Kyubey. Such a good character she got.

Now they get to talk with everyone, Saitou wanted to ask some questions. Even at the auditions, Mizuhashi knew that Mami would die, but she had no idea why. But she wasn't against it. Normally, it sucks if your character dies, but she didn't feel like that. In the story, though, she almost lived because she died. She showed up again in episode 10 again, though Mizuhashi thought it'd be for another of her roles. She was quite surprised when Mami showed up in the story again. She felt moved by the sound of the muskets when they rescued Homura.

Next they go back to Kitamuri. Even when she was a mahou shoujo Sayaka was probably the most normal person. She's the most "green" character (note that she says aoi () which means both green and blue, and happens to be Sayaka's color); she was very inexperienced. She thought it was really great to play a character who develops so much over the story. There was her connection with all of the other magical girls which made it interesting. And then episode 8, "I was such an idiot", Kitamura thought "What good writing". On the other hand, compared to Tiro Finale, she kinda wanted a special technique for Sayaka. But she was really happy when she watched it. And then she enjoyed the scene with Miki Shinichiro on the train.

Then, Saitou cuts in to mention the scene where Homura and Madoka are in Homura's room. She felt like this is the most touching scene, where she finally talks about what she's gone through. Homura says so much but is worrying that Madoka will reject her feelings, but Yuuki said that both Madoka and her, the voice actress, were in sync and really accepted Homura's feelings very well.

Next they talk about Kyouko. Nonaka said that she hadn't played many rough characters like her, so she was very worried. But she ended up really popular with girls. She's rough on the outside, but warm on the inside. Emiri says that it's amazing that Kyouko would sacrifice herself for Sayaka...

They really liked all of the characters though, even Kyubey. He never really gets shaken up ever. Because of this though, Katou said that it makes it easier to see it from other characters' perspectives.

Now they lapse into episode 12 spoilers. They were surprised at the HomuKyubey ending. Kyubey was Homura's biggest enemy, but at the end there's no reason for them to be antagonistic anymore. She was killed a lot, but at the end she finally got to live as a normal mahou shoujo' mascot. She didn't know at the beginning not to have emotions, rather just being told to act cute. But now she's glad she didn't put too much emotion into it.

Back to spoilers, they're discussing the ending.. Mizuhashi wonders exactly when Madoka realize she was going to have to disappear. She was already resolved to do that, because she wasn't disturbed when Mami told her so. She also talked about how the only person she really made remember her was Homura. Kitamura felt like she really want to see the opening animation scene. She was glad they got a bit of a good ending. When Nonako was watching, she kept thinking, "I want her to beat Walpurgisnacht!"

They finally asked Katou. She felt like she was able to accomplish everything she wanted to do. He's a bit like the villain, but Kyubey himself isn't actually a villain. It was a short work, but they want it to to keep going on.

Initial broadcast and delays

Lying bitch.jpg.jpg

This episode was scheduled to air on 17 March 2011 but has been pulled due to the 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami. On April 10, 2011 it was announced that Madoka was scheduled to resume its broadcasting on the 21 of April 2011 and it would air the last two episodes back-to-back.

  • MBS (Kansai area): 11th & 12th episodes on Thursday, April 21 at 26:40 (effectively Friday, April 22 at 2:40 a.m.)
  • TBS (Tokyo's Kanto area): 10th, 11th, and 12th episodes on Thursday, April 21 at 27:00 (Friday, April 22 at 3:00 a.m.) TBS had preempted its airing of the 10th episode due to its news coverage of the earthquake.
  • CBC (central Japan): 10th, 11th, and 12th episodes on Sunday, April 24 at 26:45 (Monday, April 25 at 2:45 a.m.).


Differences in Broadcast Versions.jpg

Here are the differences noted between the initial broadcast and the follow-up broadcast:

Translation by symbv from evageeks forum:

  • -Addition of the image on the monitor in the weather forecast center
  • -Addition of the annoucement of a patrol car that was cut in the tv broadcast
  • (symbv: it said the time was 7:30am and a very unusual weather condition has approached so everyone was advised to go to designated shelters. This explained why Madoka was wearing school uniform in the shelter scene)
  • -The scenes in the shelter were put back while it was self-censored in TV
  • -The shaking and dimming of lights during the fight against Walpurgis Night was put back
  • -The wounded Homura scene was fully shown
  • (symbv: this explained why Homura could not move at all and was thus helpless against WN)


Censorship

Despite the long delay, the initial version of the episode, which aired on MBS and TBS, was censored while compared to the one that was later shown on Nico Nico Douga and other web streaming sites. Omitted were few shots in the shelter, showing an exact replica of a satellite map made after the 2011 Sendai Earthquake, and a closeup shot of Homura's leg broken under a rock with shadow (as a form of censorship) removed.

Gallery

Production errors

Even though Shaft had an extra month to check the quality of the episodes, the TV broadcast had at least one production error.

Production Notes

Screenshots

The battle against Walpurgis Night

Kyubey's history lessons

Other references

Fanart

This section contains fanart images

Everything in the following fan gallery is created, or the comments accompanying them are created, for entertainment value and should not be confused with actual canon events of the Puella Magi franchise.

Miscellaneous

Annotations

  1. Due to a magical girl's magical potential being linked to the level of causality they would effect on their world (e.g. a queen whose actions could decide the fate of a nation would make a more powerful magical girl than a common schoolgirl whose area of effect is considerably smaller). Homura's resets link multiple parallel universes together with Madoka's fate as their center, augmenting the amount of effect she would have on them. Also, with every reset, Homura would force yet another parallel universe to be centered around Madoka, thus further adding to her potential power.
  2. Some observers are wondering what was the point of Kyubey's monologue as it feels like he is just repeating himself in his utilitarian speech and his inability to understand humans. What they seem to forget is that Kyubey is trying to convince Madoka that the magical girl's sacrifice has been beneficial not just to Incubators but to mankind as a whole, to deny it would be hypocritical. But there is also another reason for this, anyone who wishes that the Incubators have never been created or arrived to Earth to establish the magical girl system runs the risk of undoing centuries of human progress. Such a wish would be tempting but it is not without risks.
  3. Homura's timer runs out of sand during the battle against Walpurgis and without it she doesnt have the power to stop time, leaving her with the only option of reversing her timer and travel back in time to do it all over again.

External links

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Episode 10 I Won't Depend on Anyone Anymore Madoka Magica Episode 11: The Only Signpost Remaining The Only Signpost Remaining Episode 12 My Best Friend
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