The witch of wǔdàn. Her nature is abandonment. A witch who eternally wanders with hollow footsteps within the fog. She can no longer remember what the horse that always accompanies her was.
Magia Record Description
The Doppel of abandonment. Its form is a Wǔdàn. The master of this emotion doesn’t trust her Doppel’s enigmatic power, borrowing its weapon in order to bear arms by herself. Judging by this Doppel’s abilities– manipulating mist, producing illusions, using suspicious hypnosis magic– one may imagine that its master only sees it as a loathsome reminder of her past. Nevertheless, her Doppel holds the past regrets that she stowed away in the depths of her emotions, and despite being suspicious of it, she allows it to assist her somewhat in attacking once it’s been summoned. Also, the candle holder that runs around while carrying the master appears to be a separate individual from the fluttering robe; the latter is the Doppel’s main body.
(This is the second version of the Doppel description. The Japanese text of the first version can be found the gallery.)
- Ophelia can be thought of as a headless horseman.
- Technically, the witch seems to have an eye below the flame, making Ophelia more of a candle-headed horseman. The impression of being headless is likely intentional, as the witch's "head" is flat enough to resemble a neck.
- In Kyouko's puppet show in episode 7, candles are strongly associated with her father. They appear next to him several times, most notably during a sermon. When she describes how he killed the rest of her family and hung himself, his puppet falls with its head consumed by flame and ignites the rest of the puppets.
- Ophelia's familiars are colorfully attired warriors, most of whom march around aimlessly. One has a dragon's head emerge from its neck for a powerful melee attack. Another has the ability to summon melee familiars by ringing a bell, and a long-range fire attack. The two reflect the hybrid abilities of Kyoko who possesses both strong melee abilities and range abilities with her weapon.
- The ringing of bells have their place in religious ceremonies, rituals and traditions. In the Eastern world, the traditional forms of bells are temple and palace bells, small ones being rung by a sharp rap with a stick, and very large ones rung by a blow from the outside by a large swinging beam. The bell used by the familiar is a Suzu bell, that is traditionally used to summon kami.
- There are various colored fish swimming in her barrier. They are part of the scenery and not actually familiars. Fish have various symbolic meanings:
- Early Christians used a fish symbol to represent the Christian faith.
- In Buddhism, fish can represent abundance and fertility, or living beings who practice the dharma need have no fear to drown in the ocean of suffering, and can freely migrate (chose their rebirth) like fish in the water.
- Adaptability, change, and transformation in Greco-Roman, East Indian, and Norse mythology.
- Goldfish are associated with fortune and wealth. One of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism is a pair of goldfish, representing the state of fearless suspension in a harmless ocean of samsara.
- Ophelia is fought on a narrow, confined area blocked off on either side by her barriers, somewhat reminiscent of the alley where Kyoko fought Sayaka in Episode 5. It allows her to maximize her use of Rosso Fantasma (previously a lost ability to Kyoko) to create duplicates of herself. These duplicates are not purely illusionary. They are capable of powerful melee attacks. Ophelia can transform into a spear for a long-range attack.
- The walls and floors of her barrier are largely unadorned and lined with dark red bricks.
- It is suggested that the symbolism of the unicorn represents innocence. The fact that Ophelia is riding a horse, instead of a unicorn, has been speculated that the horse represents the loss of innocence and nobility. The image ingrains the idea that the unicorn has lost its horn along with its splendor and that it has become a regular equestrian animal.
- If a unicorn is a symbol of purity and grace, then this may imply Kyoko lost both before she turned into the witch.
- Ophelia's witch kiss looks like a heraldic banner.
- How Kyoko becomes Ophelia is described in her game route (expand for story spoilers).
- The official website for Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable refers to Ophelia as the witch of wǔdàn (武旦). A wǔdàn is a fierce female warrior in traditional Chinese opera.
- The spear was the symbol of the god Wodan and the most common weapon in Germanic armies; it was cheap to produce because it didn't need much iron and most types could be used for both stabbing or throwing. Most Germanic horsemen carried a shield and a spear though the footmen sometimes carried multiple spears; at the start of a battle these were thrown at the enemy and the last one was saved for close combat. According to Tacitus, the Germans were able to throw these spears immense distances.
- The name Ophelia is derived from the Greek οφελος (ophelos), meaning "help". This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem 'Arcadia'.
- Ophelia of Shakespeare's Hamlet was a young woman who had a famous and highly romanticized suicide. While she lived, Ophelia's main conflict was between obeying her father or her love interest. She had a fear of intimacy and eventually went mad under the pressure of her father's death and her lover's rejection of her. Kyoko lost her family (her father being the driving force behind that) and was spurned by Sayaka.
- Ophelia's famous death scene is represented in various paintings, including one painting by Millais.
- Shakespeare readers have interpreted the Ophelia character to be linked to the idea of regret, corrupted innocence, and unrequited love.
- Horse meat is known as "sakura" in japan, which is also Kyoko's last name.
- Ophelia's familiars are based off the rokurokubi, a type of Japanese supernatural creature that look like normal humans by day but gain the ability to elongate their necks at night.
- The rokurokubi are related to the nukekubi, a similar monster that detaches it's head completely. This may tie into Ophelia resembling a headless horseman.
- Ophelia might be based off the Little Matchstick Girl, since it is written by the same writer of the Little Mermaid, Sayaka's witch form, Hans Kristian Andersen.
- Ophelia also appears in Mami's Heart Pounding Tiro Finale game.