Madoka Magica Episode 1: I First Met Her in a Dream… or Something.
"I came here because I have a favor to ask of you both."
"I want you to make contracts with me and become magical girls!" ~ Kyubey
|I First Met Her in a Dream… or Something.|
|First airing||7 January 2011|
|Episode director||Yukihiro Miyamoto|
|Animation Director||Ryouma Ebata|
14 year-old Madoka Kaname has a dream in which a dark haired girl is struggling against an evil force.
As Madoka wakes up and goes to school that morning, the very same girl, Homura Akemi, enrolls in her class. Even stranger, Homura seems to know Madoka and later confronts her in the hallway about whether she cares for her friends or not, saying she should not try to change her life, lest she risk losing everything.
After school, whilst visiting a record store with her friend, Sayaka Miki, Madoka hears a voice calling for help. Following it to a floor under maintenance, she finds a small creature named Kyubey being attacked by Homura. As Homura insists that she hand Kyubey over, Sayaka helps Madoka and Kyubey escape by discharging a fire extinguisher on Homura.
While fleeing, they are caught in a strange illusion and approached by strange creatures. However, they are rescued at the last second by another girl named Mami Tomoe, who transforms into a magical girl and defeats the creatures, dispelling the illusion. After allowing Homura to escape, Mami heals Kyubey, who tells Madoka and Sayaka he intends to form a contract with them to make them magical girls.
See the Runes of episode 1 page for decryption of the messages the witch and her familiars wrote in runes.
|I First Met Her in a Dream… or Something.|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The commentary recording happened around the time episode 9 aired, so the seiyuu happen to know some things that the viewers don't. This includes things that they themselves didn't know during the episode recording. Each week, they were given the scripts shortly before recording, and had little idea about the plot or different characters' roles. They didn't even finalize the scripts until the week of, worrying the actresses a bit. It's pretty interesting that they had to act without even knowing why your character is supposed to be feeling one way or another.
They talked about how they got their parts during the auditions. Yuuki said that Madoka felt like a natural fit, and made a big impression on her. Well, a character really ought to make an impression on at least their seiyuu, so you can take it with a grain of salt. Kitamura said that she had tried a bunch of roles during the auditions, but Sayaka felt fairly similar to her.
Saitou actually was trying out for roles other than Homura, though. If you're familiar with her earlier roles in other anime, she often used a high squeaky voice, while her first well-known Homura-type character was Senjougahara from the Monogatari franchise. Her first impression was that it would be a difficult role, but even though she has two different personalities and hidden motivations, she certainly turned out to be a perfect fit.
They next commented on the school: it's a coed school, but the cast was mostly girls so they had to make all sorts of low "uehh"s to fill out the general sound profile of the classroom.
Then, they talked about Homura, who is really quite the enigma in the first episode. They say it seems like she's going to backstab you or something. She turns out alright though. Also, they note how Madoka is really passive and melancholic, rarely smiling. Yuuki was told "always crying" for how to act.
Another aspect of it they talk about is the character writing in general. Although when Hitomi is on screen at the restaurant, they all exclaim 'scary!' but they say that everyone in the series is a nice girl. Madoka, for example, is one of those people who you would say "She's a really nice girl", in a very natural way. Gentle, always thinking of others, but at the same time she runs away (a lot), which is certainly a very realistic thing for a middle school girl to do. Not so much of the "I must fight to protect!" deal from her, which makes her feel very human.
Sayaka is a bit more of that, though, kinda over-confident, cocky, and doesn't like to lose.
Finally, they talk about Mami, who is really cool here but at the same time seems really suspicious. (Also, they comment on how Shaft changed the shading and effects in her entrance scene between the TV airing and the BD version).
References to Faust
The very first shot of the series after the curtains rise is a title card that reads (in runes) "Prolog im Himmel". This is the title of the Prologue of Goethe's Faust, in which Mephistopheles and God make a wager over the soul of Faust. The runes underneath the title read "2011".
After Madoka and Sayaka run away from Homura, four Anthonies are seen "speaking" or singing moving streams of runes which form a quote from "The Hexeneinmaleins" in Goethe's Faust. This quote is a basic magic spell demonstrated to Faust on his first visit to a witch. It describes a 3x3 numerical grid where each row and column adds up to 15. Here is a translation of the passage.
Du mußt verstehn!
Aus Eins mach' Zehn,
Und Zwey laß gehn,
Und Drey mach' gleich,
So bist du reich.
Verlier' die Vier!
Aus Fünf und Sechs,
So sagt die Hex',
Mach' Sieben und Acht,
So ist's vollbracht:
Und Neun ist Eins,
Und Zehn ist keins.
Das ist das Hexen-Einmal-Eins!
This you must ken (understand)
From one make ten,
And two let be,
make even three,
Then rich you'll be.
Skip o'er the four!
From five and six,
The Witch's tricks,
Make seven and eight,
'Tis finished straight;
And nine is one,
And ten is none,
That is the witch's one-time-one!
Inside the witch's barrier, cut-out rings containing German text appear which can be assumed to be quotes from Faust like a similar ring in episode two.
Please also refer to the Madoka Magica and Faust page for in-depth analysis and speculation on references to Faust found throughout the series.
During class, Homura is presented with advanced algebra problems and solves them in a seemingly effortless, well-practiced fashion. Mitakihara Middle School's coursework is well above the normal middle school level, and some even appeared on the prestigious Tokyo University's entrance exam. See the Mathematics of Madoka Magica page for details and solutions.
Madoka lives in a futuristic house that features cutting edge architecture, a colossally spacious bathroom with digital screens that display currency exchange rates, and other high-tech amenities. See the Madoka's House page for details.
Numerous changes were made between the TV and BD versions of the episode, as is common in SHAFT anime. See revisions for this episode for details.
Episode 1 first aired on Thursday, January 6 2011 at 25:30 JST (Friday at 1:30AM JST) on MBS.
Many fans have noticed that in the original broadcast, all the background music (most notably, Magia played during the prologue scene) is played slower and at a lower pitch. In the AT-X version (and reportedly the webcast version, too), this was corrected, causing the need for the tunes to be edited differently to fit the video. Some fans prefer "Magia (slow version)" and have uploaded it to YouTube.
Checkerboards and Chains
Although it may be coincidental, "dark scenes" within Episode 1 include many chains and checkerboard patterns, symbols usually associated with Black★Rock Shooter.
Episode 1 end card, by Hanokage
Homura's introduction to the class
Sayaka complaining about Homura
Mami holding her soul gem in her first appearance
Old specula comparing Sayaka to Walpurgisnacht, an idea now proven wrong
- Live watching threads featuring reactions to the episode as it aired:  and 
- More information about the link between Madoka Magica and Faust
- The math problems (with solutions) Homura solves in the episode.
- Translations of the witch runes appearing in this episode.
- Revisions made in the BD version of this episode.
- The ending sequence added in the BD with the song See You Tomorrow.
- The features of the house Madoka lives in.
- The anime's opening, Connect.
- Madoka Magica Episode 1: I First Met Her in a Dream… or Something. summary at official website (Japanese)
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