Madoka Magica Episode 12: My Best Friend

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My Best Friend
わたしの、最高の友達
Script Gen Urobuchi
Storyboard Shinsaku Sasaki
Episode director Yukihiro Miyamoto
Animation Director Jun'ichirō Taniguchi
Mika Takahashi

Summary

This section may contain major spoilers!

Please refrain from reading if you are not yet familiar with all the latest media released.

The episode starts with Madoka comforting an injured Homura, telling her that she finally understands what Homura had gone through and promising to take care of everything, despite Homura's anguish at the prospect of seeing Madoka become a witch. Madoka then stands up and, at Incubator's urging, finally makes her wish: "I wish to erase all witches from existence before they're even born. Every witch in the universe, from the past and the future, with my own hands". As promised by Kyubey[1] her wish is granted and she becomes a goddess, breaking the Incubators' system at the same time. The next half of the episode is an in-depth animation of said transformation.

The first sequence is a short discussion with Kyouko and Mami: Mami warns Madoka of the consequences of her wish, while Kyouko encourages her in her usual forceful way. Madoka is then seen travelling through space and time, healing defeated magical girls (among which we can see historical figures such as Anne Frank, Cleopatra, and Joan of Arc).

The consequence of her becoming a Magical Girl quickly follows the "rescue" of the other magical girls: due to her wish, the laws of nature have been altered, and the old world will be put to an end in order for a new one to take its place. Homura witnesses the Earth being swallowed in despair from the moon, where she also sees Madoka's soul gem, now the size of an asteroid, travelling through space.

The gigantic soul gem collapses into a Grief Seed and Madoka's new planet-sized Witch form is unleashed: However, true to her word, she erases her own Witch self from existence. The resulting paradox removes Madoka from the universe.

The cosmic sequence continues with Madoka losing her physical humanity to become a force of nature, detached from mankind; however, she is now suspended in interdimensional space, in contact with everyone and everything. After a sequence highly open to interpretation, she finally parts with a tearful Homura, giving her her ribbons as a souvenir with the promise that they may meet again.

The scene cuts to an audition where Kyousuke is playing Charles Gounod's Ave Maria. In two of the seats in the audience are the spirits of Madoka and Sayaka. Madoka apologizes for causing Sayaka trouble, and says that she believes her sacrifices were not in vain. Sayaka responds that she only wanted to hear Kyousuke play one last time, as many more would come to see him in many years to come; she states that she has no regrets and that she believes Hitomi (who is hiding behind the curtain watching the performance) and Kyousuke will be a happy couple, and that while it still hurts a little to see them together, she cannot hold it against them anymore. The two get up and depart, and the scene cuts to Kyousuke as a famous violinist; as the audience applauds for him, he is struck by a memory of the hospital and says Sayaka's name.

Mami and Kyouko, now alive, fight a creature together (revealed later to be a "demon"), and find that Sayaka had used the last of her magic to help Kyousuke and thus disappeared from existence. Mami reflects on how the fate of a magical girl is to disappear before they can cause grief; Homura, wearing the ribbon and thinking of Madoka, says her name and starts crying, and it is revealed that nobody in this world remembers Madoka but her. Homura later sees Tatsuya drawing a picture of Madoka in the sand; she talks to Madoka's parents and find that they also have no memory of their daughter, though she seems to manifest as Tatsuya's imaginary friend. Junko comments that the name Madoka feels nostalgic.

Homura then discusses her story with Kyubey, who says that it's possible everything Homura went through could be her imagination, and there would be no way to prove otherwise. However, he remarks that the concept of harvesting witches for energy would be more efficient than the new method: because there is still grief in the world, it manifests in the form of demons that the magical girls must fight, who upon defeat drop cube-shaped pieces much like Grief Seeds. Homura reflects on the new universe, thinking that this corrupted, grief-filled world is what Madoka seeked to protect -- but she will never forget Madoka's wish. She then leaps upon the demons, extending wings of light from her back and carrying a bow and arrow.

After the credits, Homura walks through what looks like either a wasteland or a barrier towards a bunch of demons. Black wings sprout from her back, containing distorted images that resemble those of a witch's barrier; Madoka's voice encourages her, and Homura springs upon them to fight.

And with some hopeful words, Puella Magi Madoka Magica comes to an end.

Runes

See Runes of episode 12

Observations

  • Once again, this episode used Connect as an ending song. However, there was no animation sequence, as instead the credits rolled in black on a white background.
    • This episode doesn't have a proper opening either.
  • This episode ends with a sequence showing first the backs of Madoka, Kyouko, Sayaka, Homura, and Mami followed by the silhouettes of all Puellae Magi which appeared in the anime -- even those which were only shown in their witch forms. After that, Madoka´s ribbon falls, and her soul gem is shown for a second.
  • According with some fans the end of Episode 12 is considered a "Lain" ending. Madoka is the Jesus figure, Homura is her prophet, and Kyuubei is the Devil (analogous to the Temptation of Christ). Others have dubbed the ending a "Reverse Evangelion" ending. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, all of humanity becomes a higher being except the protagonist(s), while in Madoka's ending, the protagonist becomes a higher being while everyone else maintains a regular existence.
  • Even if there are no witches in the world, the Puellae Magi have to fight against demons now. Therefore Kyuubey can still gain energy to fight against entropy.
  • The Incubators have been on the earth since the stone ages. According to Kyuubey, humans would still live in caves if his species had not granted girls' wishes over time.
  • Madoka has changed the laws of the universe, thus changing the Puella Magi system and humanity's relationship with Incubators: Witches do not exist on that world as spent Soul Gems disappear mysteriously before they can curse the world. However, curses continue to haunt humanity in the form of Magical Beasts or demons of unknown origin; it is the role of Puellae Magi to defeat these monsters, gather their curses in the forms of small cubic fragments, and have them harvested to slow the effects of entropy. Puellae Magi who overexert their magical powers will die (or disappear), so they must use the dark cubes to purify their Soul Gems before that happens. Apparently, Homura and Kyuubei now have a better relationship in this new reality because of the new nature of the universe. Since Incubators cannot harvest Grief Seeds (as they do not exist), they cannot harvest despair for it has no effect on fixing entropy; Kyuubei admits that if it was the opposite, the nature of Incubators would be totally different.

Other Puellae Magi

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.

Speculations

  • Cleopatra and Joan d'arc were magical girls. ...perhaps Anne Frank too?
    • There is one sequence where a girl inside a train cargo is wearing a yellow star, fans assume she could be Anne Frank as she shares some similarities. (See Above)
  • Though Madoka purifies every curse before it bears a witch, still there must be a causal kickback of each wished miracle. Curses accumulate in Madoka's gem but she can interrupt even her own corruption. One possible origin of demons is those wandering despair, and it should lead as followed; as Puellae Magi increase (whether in number or power), so do demons.
  • Mami discribes the process in which Puella Magi vanishes as "円環の理 (Enkan no Kotowari: Law of Cycles)", roughly corresponding with the name of 鹿目まどか (Kaname Madoka: Vital Circle).
  • There are many speculations regarding the ending. One camp says that Homura is living in an apocalyptic future after a thousand years has passed (the actual year is unknown), whereas another says Homura is actually inside a barrier. Another theory maintains that Homura is about to die, as she can feel Madoka's presence and hear her voice; this would mean that Madoka has come for Homura's Soul Gem before it can cause harm on the world. (However, as Homura was with Madoka during the destruction and recreation of the new world, Madoka may simply be using their special bond to encourage Homura to do her best.) There is also speculation that Homura is carrying Madoka's spirit with her, as indicated by the strange wings she possesses and her new magical bow (similar to Madoka's magical weapon). Some suggest that the epilogue was left open ended for the possibility for a second season or maybe an entirely new series.[2]
  • According with fans Madoka has become a Bodhisattva. Instead of a deity, she is a person who abstains from potential Buddhahood and perfect enlightenment in order to help others attain Nirvana. Another way to see it is that Madoka has become a type of Valkyrie for the Puellae Magi, collecting their Soul Gems to be purified so she can lead them to their final rest in Valhalla. Because of Madoka's white wings she looks like an archangel; it is possible she fits the role of the angel of Death. In the Roman Catholic tradition St. Michael is both an archangel and the angel of death, whose role is to carry the souls of all the deceased to heaven.

Platonic Love or Yuri End?

The Yuri subtext is strong on this one

Just like the ending with Kyouko and Sayaka, there is speculation with fans regarding Homura's relationship with Madoka and her willingness to sacrifice it all for her. On this new world Sayaka dies but she has no regrets, and Kyouko laments her death just when they have become friends (fans have interpreted this in many ways).

In Episode 10, we learn that Homura was willing to create new timelines for all eternity just for Madoka. Once she learns that each new time line she creates only makes Madoka's fate into becoming a witch stronger, Homura starts to have doubts, but also becomes more resolute to save Madoka from her fate. Kyuubey contests that Homura's hope is a trap, and that it is only a matter of time before despair consumes her. In Episode 11 Homura and Madoka have a conversation in which Homura confesses everything to Madoka: she professes her love for her, as well as how important Madoka is to her (this has been interpreted as a love confession, but others see it as a sign of deep friendship). At the end of Episode 11, Homura is tempted to travel back again for a "do-over," but she stops and gives up, knowing that it was her fault that Madoka now carries such a heavy cosmic karma. She realizes that the more she travels back in time the more certain it is that she will fail, as Homura has created a powerful reservoir of despair-based energy from different timelines -- all of them concentrating on Madoka. To end Madoka's suffering and her own, Homura comes close to becoming a witch; however, Madoka stops her and tells her to never stop hoping.

Once Madoka defeats the Witch version of herself, she creates a paradox: Madoka has become a deity of sorts, but at the cost that Madoka the person ceases to exist in her own world. Homura is not happy with this outcome, but Madoka promises to Homura that she will always be there for her, and that she hopes that one day they would meet again.

  • It is indicated that in the original Japanese lines at least, there is no Yuri expression. The relationship between Madoka and Homura can be interpreted as being important friends to each other.
    • Then again fans like to present their evidence of the existence of yuri subtext as a possibility.
      • First, I would not reject any possibilities in alternative fictions by funs.(even if I surprised how you like to Yuri!) I just point out there is no expressions in original episode as I feeling.
      • The feeling expression of their faces are clearly different between 2 scenes in the figure. I feel this figure looks a contrasting comparison of Yuri-possible(left) and non-possible(right) samples. Sometimes, in particular at the recent animes, "friendship" is emphasized. The best friend "親友(shin-yu)" like as relationship between Madoka and Homura, is generally is different from romantic relations.
    • Aside from the Utena reference in episode 9, other evidence yuri fans have included the following: The similarity to the KnM pose during the Homura and Madoka's extended nude embrace scene in episode 12. The gift of red ribbons from Madoka to Homura, which is similar to director Shinbo's prior work of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha between Nanoha and Fate, a favorite pairing among yuri fans. Some fans suggest the red ribbons may also represent the red string of fate, as "two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place or circumstances." Yuri fans also believe that Homura's single-minded, ceaseless desire to do anything for Madoka goes beyond friendship.
    • Fans have pointed out that Kalafina's full lyrics of Magia, from the second verse to the last chorus, has been interpreted as a love song from Homura to Madoka. The verses to "Connect" (コネクト, Konekuto?) by ClariS, playing at the end of episode 10, also strongly indicate this is sung from Homura's perspective.
      • You may
  • Yuri fan art depicting this pair have already existed for a while but it has increased after the airing of Episode 12, you can find most of them on pixiv.

The New World

The new world is the same as the old but with few changes: there are no more witches, Puella Magi don't become witches when they die, and despair won't transform them into witches. The whole Puella Magi system used to collect energy to stop entropy has been altered. Now Puellae Magi really are "girls of justice" fighting demons to stop spreading curses; conveniently, those curses become dark energy cubes, which recharge Soul Gems and slow down entropy. Madoka has become a deity whose role is to collect and purify spent Soul Gems before they become Grief Seeds, thus allowing magical girls to die without cursing the world. However, while she now shoulders the burdens of Puellae Magi, she does not shoulder those of the world, which is why curses are still rampant: human nature has not been altered, and to do otherwise would have required the eradication of all human emotion to erase all evil. The issue of entropy has not been fixed, either, but the new system solves it without sacrificing the souls of the girls or forcing them into a contract that will cause them despair and regret. Because of these new changes the relationship between humans and Incubators has been radically altered: for one, they are more friendly and respectful toward each other.

Initial broadcast and delays

This episode was scheduled to air on 24 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.).
  • The fact that this episode aired during Good Friday, and the similarity between both events, led to jokes and far-fetched speculation from the fanbase.


Images

Annotations

  1. Normally such a wish would be impossible to fulfill as stated by Kyuubey, "Your wish is near impossible! Though it might just be possible because of all the world lines converging on you." The system as it is set up would normally reject granting such a wish as it has to be proportional to a girl's cosmic karma or power (actually, it is possible that the wish would be granted as Kyuubey is still contractually obligated to grant any wish, but it would instead go unfulfilled as it would fail to meet the required energy input to attain the desired output). Normally a girl like Madoka with an ordinary life would only be allowed to attain an ordinary but still powerful wish, but in Madoka's case it is an exception because she is an anomaly. Usually people with large karmic burden are historical figures that posses a destiny that could change history, but even at that level it would still be quite literally impossible for such a wish to be fulfilled as it would fail to meet the energy requirement to have such a powerful wish granted. It is thanks to Homura's countless time travels that Madoka has accumulated such a large reservoir of cosmic karma, the amount was unprecedented enough to grant her a wish that was powerful enough to rewrite the current laws of the universe that concluded with a paradox. This is an event that literally goes against all odds of ever repeating again. No other girl in history could have such a wish granted, not unless their power/karma was proportional to it, and that doesnt happen naturally.

See also

A FAQ about the ending

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