Madoka Magica Episode 4: Miracles and Magic Are Real
"Now that I think about it, I really didn’t understand anything back then. What it meant to pray for a miracle, or the price of one." ~ Sayaka Miki
|Miracles and Magic Are Real|
|First airing||27 January 2011|
|Episode director||Shin'ichi Omata|
|Animation Director||Miyabi Ozeki|
After Mami's death in episode 3, Madoka and Sayaka are both crushed and frightened. Madoka begins holding doubts about becoming a magical girl, and tells Kyubey that she is too scared to become one at that moment. She visits Mami's apartment, crying, only to meet Homura outside as she leaves. Meanwhile, Sayaka continues visiting Kamijou at the hospital. Kamijou learns that he won't be able to use his left arm ever again, and, out of frustration, becomes angry with Sayaka.
The same day, after Madoka has gone to Mami's apartment, she runs into Hitomi and discovers that Hitomi has a witch's kiss and is seemingly in a trance. Sensing a dangerous situation incoming, Madoka then agrees to follow her, only to find out that she was meeting others for a collective suicide. After stopping the process at the last second, Madoka then is swallowed by a witch's barrier.
The witch uses mind reading to demoralize Madoka with images of Mami's death, but Sayaka appears in the form of a sword-wielding warrior to rescue Madoka. She apparently used her wish to heal Kamijou, whose hand regained full function. Sayaka is now a magical girl, a fact that doesn't seem to please Homura.
The episode ends with the appearance of Kyoko Sakura, who intends to fight Sayaka for control of Mitakihara City.
See the Runes of episode 4 page for decryption of the messages the witch and her familiars wrote in runes.
|Miracles and Magic Are Real|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The commentary for episode 4 features the infamous mastermind Urobuchi Gen, also known as the UroButcher, who is known for his torturous treatment of heroes of justice and overall brutality.
What was he thinking when he wrote the story, they asked. He was told by the producer Iwakami that they wanted to do a 'deceptive' anime featuring Urobuchi and Aoki Ume. They decided from the beginning to make the series serious. It was originally conceived as mahou shoujo battle royale, where in each episode someone would die but they wouldn't have enough time or characters for that, so it turned out how it is today.
They then asked about the auditions. Urobuchi himself was the one who recommended the role of Homura to Saitou Chiwa, and he said that she really fit the "cool beauty" style of the character. He was actually the only person who knew the entire scenario in full at the time of the auditions. Regarding Madoka, he felt that Yuuki was the most natural, not forcing the role.
Next they talked about is the impression of the characters upon guys versus girls. Last episode with Mizuhashi Kaori they noted that the characters are really relatable to by girls, even though the writer is a guy? Is Urobuchi secretly a girl? His response was that "Well, if I couldn't write a girl's viewpoint, I couldn't do my job." His thoughts on whether male and female viewpoints are different...he said he didn't actually write it with males as the target audience; for guys, it's enough for there to be just a bunch of cute girls talking but you have to focus on the female viewers to draw them in. He tried to make it intentionally not too cute, or else it affects how well the characters can seem to be real people.
(I really think that's one of the best parts of the series. Tears come out because a real person might actually cry, not to be "cry cute". Real crying is not cute. By consciously avoiding that, it feels so much more natural.)
They also talked about how Madoka as a character is quite realistic; she hasn't toughened up yet and taken on everything. But instead, she has the most sympathy for the other characters. Yuuki commented that that felt like a really good fit for her; Saitou says that it's just like how Sayaka was a perfect fit for Kitamura Eri.
They eventually moved onto how every character has such a fleshed out situation that guides their behavior, like Mami's surprising depth and Kyubey's reason for what he does. Urobuchi said that whenever he would focus down on writing from each character's point of view, he would end up with more lines than was in the end necessary because he's more used to writing novels and VN's and this was his first anime script; lots of the context is filled in by the art and the voice acting. You don't need as many words in anime; you can show instead of telling.
When writing, he hadn't actually put much thought into what the acting would do to the characters; he was surprised at how well Mami was fleshed out in only 3 episodes, for example. He said that the sense of loss after her death was much greater than he had expected. He couldn't believe how convincing it was to watch what happened to Mami affect Madoka's and Sayaka's friendship as their reactions were different.
Saitou then commented that for her, this really was an extremely interesting work to act in. Much more involving, much more investment; they had to trust each other. Yuuki added that without being surrounded by people she trusts, she wouldn't be able to really put forth her most honest acting; as an actor you're showing every part of yourself, even the most dark corners of your personality, when playing a character in these stressful situations. For example, when Madoka's trying to run away from the zombified people in the warehouse, Yuuki is really showing us her most honest abject terror, and that means she has to trust and be comfortable with the people around her. (Personally, I find this to be one of the biggest differences between the acting in this show and others; the way the characters behave under pressure is so realistic and so convincing... There's more of that to come in later episodes.)
Saitou said that she had it easier because she had worked with Shaft many times before, so she was used to working with the recording staff and director and such. She was comfortable asking things a new person wouldn't, like "Why can't we see the whole script?" and "Why don't we get the script until the day of the recording?" and so on. Another interesting thing came up in conversation. Apparently, Inu Curry did pretty much everything related to the witch barriers; Urobuchi's script didn't have any of the events from inside. So it must have been pretty complicated getting everything to flow together.
Finally, both Yuuki and Saitou both finished up by expressing their love for the new character Sakura Kyouko... Ume Aoki-sensei really hadn't made any 'bad girl' style character before, but she turned out quite nicely.
- An outside view of the hospital is shown which matches a scene from the destroyed city in episode one.
- A group of people attempt to commit suicide by mixing bleach with a toilet cleaner that contains hydrochloric acid to generate chlorine gas, which is toxic and has been used as a chemical weapon.
- The witch said "It was very fun, let's go again. Next time with a Bentou" (今日は本当に楽しかったねえ、また行きたいね。今度はお弁当持って行こう) in reverse speech right before Madoka entered the witch's barrier.
- The Guidebook indicates Elly's labyrinth design as a Snowglobe. It has the line, "I have only one wish. Box up that memory." It states that when the Witch dies, the lights on the Christmas tree and merry-go-round short out. There's a 'basssh!' sound.
- In accordance with her wish to box up a memory, Elly examines Madoka's memories and captures them in her monitors. The screens show images of Mami and her death.
Elly's grief seed was not visible in the original TV version, leading to erroneous speculation that she was only a familiar, but it did appear in the AT-X and BD/DVD versions. See the episode revisions page for more changes that were made in the BD version.
The TV version showed detailed labels on the bottles of cleaning chemicals, but they were replaced with blank gray bottles in the BD version.
Episode 4 first aired on Thursday, January 27 2011 at 25:30 JST (Friday at 1:30AM JST) on MBS.
- A CD box labeled Mahler is a reference to the Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler.
- The CD box beside contains a picture of Johann Sebastian Bach, a German composer from Baroque period.
Episode 4's end card by Jin Kobayashi.
Sayaka becomes a magical girl
Madoka being held by Daniyyel and Jennifer
Elly uses images of Mami
Kyoko eating a biscuit
Comparison of scenes from the prologue in Episode 1 and the hospital in this episode
- Live watching thread featuring reactions to the episode as it aired: 
- Elly, the witch who fights Sayaka.
- Translations of the witch runes appearing in this episode.
- Revisions made in the BD version of this episode.
|Previous episode||Current episode||Next episode|
|Episode 3 I'm Not Afraid of Anything Anymore||Madoka Magica Episode 4: Miracles and Magic Are Real Miracles and Magic Are Real||Episode 5 There's No Way I'll Ever Regret It|