Yuri undertones

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This section may contain major spoilers!

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

Aside from its story and characters, the show gained popularity among some fans for its "yuri" (also known as "shoujo-ai" among Western fans and "Girls' Love" among Eastern fans, meaning romantic relationships between women and girls) subtext. Many yuri-loving fans tend to see pairings between the girls, usually Homura x Madoka and Kyouko x Sayaka. This page will try to explain what lead them to this conclusion (and what "evidence" there is in canon).

Contents

About yuri

File:Knm bandage blood.jpg
This scene with the bloody bandage evokes the idea of the red string of fate.

The scene where Madoka gives her ribbons to Homura is considered to be a good example of yuri subtext, but unless one is familiar with its significance, the meaning can be lost to someone who is unfamiliar to it. This section will try to explain to those who are unfamiliar when it comes to yuri. To understand how important the context is let us start with the example like the ribbons Madoka gives to Homura. To someone who doesn't know yuri, this wouldn't mean anything.

However, if you're a yuri fan, you recognize that as a reference to the scene that started the yuri shipping fandom for one of the most iconic/famous Mahou Shoujo yuri couples, Nanoha and Fate from the "Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha" franchise. There is a strong possibility that this was done intentionally because Shinbo directed both the Nanoha and the Madoka anime series.

For comparison you can follow this link to observe this scene where (while it's nice to watch it all and see the similarity in long embraces and talk of friendship, just skip to 4:40) you can notice their similarities:

  1. giving of ribbons
  2. stating the ribbons will be a way to remember the other person
  3. a promise they'll meet again.

This parallels what Madoka tells Homura as Madoka gives her the ribbons. On a side note, the red ribbons could be a symbolic reference to the 'red string of fate', people who are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other.

The importance of context is also true with the nearly identical pose for Madoka and Homura's naked embrace in space to one of the most iconic scenes known in yuri (as an example of how well-known this pose is, on /u/ there is a thread dedicated to nothing but this scene redone for dozens of yuri shipped couples, of which 95% are pure fanart because to see this actual pose in an anime or manga is actually quite rare). This original embrace was first aired in "Kannazuki no Miko", one of the most well-known couples in yuri fandom. They share many parallels to Homura and Madoka. In "Kannazuki no Miko", the character of Chikane is very similar to Homura in being tall, dark-haired, competent, totally willing to sacrifice herself for another girl, etc. whose ways are mysterious to the sweet, naive Himeko (who Madoka resembles). As it turns out, Chikane is the one who remembers her shared tragic fate with Himeko of repeating the same cycle of lives together over and over again (a cycle that always end in tragedy), with Himeko only discovering the full truth of their connection just before they are to be parted again, because they need to sacrifice themselves to save the world. And when this happens, Himeko gets to choose how she wants the next world to be remade, e.g. whether they are to forget about each other; or be able to remember their past memories and meet one another again in the next world (she chooses the second option). Another clear reference to yuri is from the classic, "Yami to Boshi". Hazuki is the Homura-like character (tall, long dark hair, fighter, obsessive etc.) who obsessively travels across different worlds to track down her pure-hearted, sweet Hatsumi (Madoka-like character). They finally meet in this otherworldly place outside the rest of the universe, and Hazuki confesses her feelings to Hatsumi, only to find out Hatsumi is a god and so they cannot stay together. Hatsumi uses her god-like powers to reset Hazuki's world so she's suppose to forget her, but Hatzuki seems to have a vague recollection anyway, and yes, there's also a vague promise of meeting again one day.

So with that context of the similarity of these two couples, the embrace is basically hitting home the point of "yes, yuri fans, we're comparing these two to 'Kannazuki no Miko' if you haven't already noticed." Again, this is done intentionally (much like Episode 9 similarities to the well-known anime series "Revolutionary Girl Utena", because of the yuri Utena symbolism). The studio (SHAFT), director (Shinbo), character designer (Ume) and among others on the production staff, are well-known for being very genre-savvy about yuri, and intentionally putting in yuri-subtext in their anime on a regular basis.

Viewers of the series may see something different in the anime, their views will always be subjective to themselves (to yuri and non-yuri fans), however, it doesn't change the symbolic meaning behind the pose in Episode 12 naked space hug (to yuri-fans at least) nor the similarities of Homura and Madoka's situation to that in "Kannazuki no Miko".

On a side note, there are few other small samples of yuri subtext but they are minor and numerous to detail completely. Several samples can be found throughout the rest of the article. Also, for completion sake, it is required to inform that the space hug symbolism could also be a reference other famous yuri scenes in anime (plus Diebuster, Lain, EoE too; however, those scenes are considered to be too ambiguous for interpretation).

Homura and Madoka

Episode 11: Love Confession or Pledge of Friendship?

Déjà vu

Fans are divided with the significance of this scene. Fans of yuri see it as Homura's love confession to Madoka and a promise to protect her life. Those who believe in the power of friendship see it as Homura's pledge to protect her most precious friend, Madoka, against a cruel fate. Fans of yuri see it as Homura promising to risk her life for Madoka's sake, even if it is an unrequited love or one-sided (Just like Kyoko's case).

Is this scene depicting a powerful moment of friendship against all odds? Or is this Homura's attempt at a love confession where she promises to protect Madoka's life with her own life? Some believe this is a powerful love confession scene.

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 gives Madoka a hung.gif
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.

The erotic undertones are confirmed if someone notices the similarities of Homura's house with Utena's school. In particular the infamous nude drawing scene in the movie, where Anthy draws a naked Utena and then rips off her clothes along with her secret [1][2]. Information boards in the same style can be seen in Utena's classroom as well. [3]- UtenaxAnthy is one of the greatest yuri couples and whose relationship is debatable (especially in the TVseries they are shown more like friends than lovers).

Episode 11 Images

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.

Episode 12: Yuri End?

"Magical girls make hopes and dreams come true, after all. I'm sure if it's small enough, a real miracle just might happen. "Isn't that right?"
--"Madoka, don't go!"
"I'm sorry. I have to go meet up with everyone else. I'll be able to see you again someday. So until then, we'll be apart for a little bit."
--"Madoka!!"
- Madoka not saying "goodbye" but "see you later" to Homura.

The Yuri subtext is strong on this one

Just like the ending with Kyoko 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 Kyoko 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. Kyubey 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.

Madoka giving ribbons.gif
  • 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. There are fans who point out that the nature of Homura and Madoka's relationship can be expressed as "親友" (shin-yu or best friend) which is generally different from romantic relationships.
    • Then again fans like to present their evidence of the existence of yuri subtext as a possibility.
    • 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, who also refer to each other as best friends. 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.
    • Previous timelines (and Drama Cds) indicate that there were times when Homura was able to maintain a close relationship with Madoka. But with each reset, Madoka's feeling for Homura grew distant as key events started to change with each iteration, so their mutual feelings for each other that once existed in previous versions started to grow further and further apart (at least from Homura's perspective). In an interview with Urobuchi, he indicates that it required Madoka to acquire godlike powers to finally fully understand Homura's feelings and her resolve to save her. But this outcome comes with a price for they must be separated once again. According to Urobuchi "in a sense it is a cruel story". (even Urobuchi thinks he was too cruel).
    • 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.
  • 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.

Episode 12 Gallery Analysis

Manga Difference: The Miracle

The Manga shows an additional scene that brings closure to the Madoka and Homura character. We don't know how their meeting was possible, if their encounter is taking place within the (yuri) Afterlife, or if it is the result of a Miracle. All we know is that Homura finally reunites with Madoka, only this time Homura has been reverted to her original self (Moemura). It has been interpreted as a symbolic attempt to start over their relationship for their journey to the unknown.

One possible explanation as to why Homura's image and character was reverted is that Homura was always full of insecurities, that the tough exterior was a necessity to create a mask to cover her grief over the death of Madoka. Now that Homura has been freed from despair she reverts back to her old self, to a time when Madoka and Homura had their strongest emotional bond together before she ditched her glasses and braids. Some have interpreted the "Cool Homura" (or Badass Homura) image as something Homura associates with her time of bad memories and difficult struggles. Now that her struggle is over Homura ditches her cool image and she reverts back to her old self so she can continue her relationship with Madoka where it was left off.

Official HomuMado Pictures

Fanart response to HomuMado

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.

HomuMado Trivia

  • Yurifans call Homura's affection for Madoka as the "Homulust".
  • This yuri pair is usually called HomuMado by fans, indicating Homura to be the dominant in the relationship and Madoka to be the submissive one. Sometimes fans of yuri create or see a role reversal on this pair, in which case the pair is labeled as MadoHomu or also known as the "Reverse Homulust".
  • The premise of the story in Hanokage's comic in Puella Magi Madoka Magica Anthology is that Homura built a simulation game to interact with real life people and of course Homura uses it to interact with a virtual Madoka.
  • Ume-tentei is not above adding yuri subtext in her Madoka doujin.

Sayaka and Kyoko

"Don't worry, Sayaka."
"It's lonely being by yourself."
"It's fine. I'll stay by your side, Sayaka."
- Kyoko Sakura dying with Sayaka Miki in Episode 9

Anime and Yuri Subtext

It is common to find yuri subtext on the Mahou Shoujo genre, sometimes it develops into shippings or pairings created by fans, even if it was not part of the creators original intention. The creators of the show may have been aware of this phenomenon so they decided to exploit the same yuri subtext phenomenon when it came to the relationship between Kyoko and Sayaka. However, the yuri subtext mostly comes from Kyoko making it one-sided; while it is officially recognized that Kyoko has feelings for Sayaka, it is uncertain what types of feelings they are. Fans would argue that Sayaka just never had the chance to return these feelings, and Kyoko was never really good in articulating them.

Many fans point out that the reason these two are paired up together is because of their opposing personalities. Sayaka and Kyoko differ not only philosophically but their personalities are bound to cause clashes; yet they are not that dissimilar once you study these characters. Sayaka is an idealist who pursues the path of a hero of justice, she wants to emulate Mami as an example of an ideal Puella Magi. To Sayaka the gift of being a Puella Magi was something sacred to be used for good only and not for selfish acts. Kyoko on the other hand is more of a rogue who would only use her powers to satiate her base desires. Kyoko scoffs at the idea of using her powers to help others, instead she believes a Puella Magi should only help herself (even at the expense of others). To Kyoko there are no rules except her own.

This unlikely pair started out as enemies and Kyoko was close on killing Sayaka, but as the story progressed it was Kyoko who took the first step to close their gap of distrust. Kyoko even went so far as to explain to Sayaka her painful past and to why she believes Sayaka is making a mistake with her life. But Sayaka refuses Kyoko's advice and subtly proclaims she will be a better Puella Magi than her, that she will still follow a righteous path. Sayaka's arrogance at first seems to anger Kyoko (it is not known if she is angry at Sayaka, at herself, or both) but this doesn't stop her from continually pursuing Sayaka to stop her from furthering her mistakes. (Some fans like to suggest that this moment would have alienated any other character from trying to pursue a friendship with Sayaka, yet it seems to have an opposite effect with Kyoko).

Soon the roles are reversed in Episode 8 and 9. Sayaka finally admits that deep down she was no different from others, that she had selfish desires that were never fulfilled and that she regrets her decision on becoming a Puella Magi (like the love of a boy that went unfulfilled, or the jealous regret of saving a friend's life). She starts to see society as a selfish group who would only exploit others with no remorse for those who suffer. Sayaka finally understands that her decision brought nothing but unhappiness and regrets on her part. Betrayed by the world and by her ideals she soon falls into despair and darkness. It is because of this event that Kyoko soon starts to reveal a different side of her.

With the loss of Sayaka, Kyoko starts to reclaim back her older self. She admits to Madoka that there was a time she used to idealize stories of love, friendship, and courage but she abandoned those ideals when she lost her family. After seeing Sayaka's despair, Kyoko decides that she wants to save her and get the old Sayaka back. Kyoko was putting her faith on romantic ideals, a move that many would like to point out as being irrational and dangerous (even Kyubey agrees such a notion is illogical). Once Kyoko realizes that there is no way to save Sayaka, she decides to sacrifice her life so they could both be together. That way Sayaka wont be alone anymore. There is a division among fans regarding Kyoko's decision to die with Sayaka. There are those who say Kyoko did it as an act of love (the tragic yuri pair or maybe an act of friendship), others say Kyoko knew that even if she did survive it would only be a matter of time before she became a witch so she wanted to end her life her own way (a self sacrifice with practical motives). However, the reason that Kyoko would give up her own life to avoid becoming a witch looks a little unstable, as there is a scene in the episode where what appears to be the souls of both girls, colored respectively in blue and red, embracing each other tenderly before disappearing for good. By this logic, it is unlikely that Kyoko will make one last attempt to reach out to Sayaka before they both faded away if she never saw Sayaka as someone who is more than just a friend, and that the only purpose of her death was to escape her eventual fate of being a Puella Magi.

To fans that support the yuri relationship, the reason that they find this pair strong and attractive is because they want Sayaka to be with someone who can love her and protect her. Kyoko was the only character who understood Sayaka's true nature (and her pain) since Kyoko admitted to her that she saw a fragment of herself in Sayaka. Kyoko was also the only one who chased after her to the bitter end, no matter the obstacles or how obstinate Sayaka was, Kyoko was still there for her. Last but not least, another strong indicator of Kyoko's feelings for Sayaka is shown in the last episode of the anime, where she is the only one who takes Sayaka's death the most personally, in spite of trying to brush it off as simply because they "finally had a chance to become friends". Kyoko fits the perfect role as Sayaka's protector and savior.

The relationship between Kyoko and Sayaka may have not been accidental or a tease but created to heighten emotional investments by the viewers. It is possible that this was part of the creator's intention to emotionally move groups of hardcore fans who support a SayakaxKyoko pairing, thus making their demise in Episode 9 more tragic (or as fans put it a "Yuri Tragedy" ending).

File:21354222 p8.png
Trivia: Prior to the mid 19th century, lonely delirious mariners referred to manatees as mermaids.
I am not kidding.
  • The Melusine Legend and Kyoko's Soul Gem: There is a Melusine legend that indicates that "a Melusina surfaces briefly every seven years as a beautiful woman or as a serpent, holding a small golden key in her mouth. Whoever takes the key from her will set her free and may claim her as his bride." In Episode 9, Kyoko undoes her hair and then uses her hairpin to pray, it is uncertain but it seems that her Soul Gem and her hairpin were fused together to create a new hairpin with a shape that resembles that of her father's religious symbol. After Sayaka's prayer she kisses the newly formed hairpin and tosses it into the air (before she destroys it with her spear), maybe as an offering to Sayaka to free her from her Witch form by sacrificing Kyoko's soul. The shape of the normal hairpin and of the Soul Gem fused hairpin looks like of a golden key. Sayaka's witch form could also be a reference to the Little Mermaid story.
  • The Legend of Unicorns and Magical Horns: During the Blu-ray version of Episode 9, there were wind-chimes depicting a Mermaid and a Unicorn. The unicorn is considered to be a wild, powerful, temperamental beast that could only be tamed by a maiden. A unicorn's horn is said to have the power to cleanse poisoned water and heal sickness. Another of its magical properties is the ability to lift curses and break illusions. It is suspected that Kyoko is compared to the unicorn because of its characteristics as well as the horn's magical properties. Both Kyoko and the unicorn are wild and temperamental creatures, free to roam and do whatever they want. Kyoko at one time had the power of illusion as well as the ability to break them ("shining light on illusions", according to a magazine article). The Unicorn's magical properties resides within its horn, and Kyoko's magical weapon is a spear. Fans speculate that Kyoko's spear could be a reference to a unicorn's horn. Another comparison is Kyoko's attempt to break Sayaka's curse during Episode 9. Since a unicorn's horn can magically cleanse poisoned water and the mermaid has connotation to the elements of water (in this case, the elements of water corrupted by the witch form), it could be interpreted as her attempt to purify its element back to its original form (in this case turn Sayaka back to normal). It is suggested that Sayaka is the maiden because she was the only one who was able to "tame" Kyoko. As Kyoko explained before, the only reason she got close to Sayaka was because Sayaka's idealism reminded Kyoko of her innocent, naive yet idealistic self.
  • The double-suicide is considered typical in romantic endings for two tragic lovers in Japanese storytelling. Many fans would point this fact as evidence for making this couple canon.
  • After the airing of Episode 9, yuri artwork of this pair exploded on Pixiv.
  • Kyoko addresses Sayaka by her first name only from Episode 8 and afterwards. Some suggest this is an indication of how important Sayaka is to Kyoko.

Manga Difference: The Yuri Afterlife

In the anime version when Kyoko dies in the explosion it is the end of her story. However, in the manga version after Kyoko dies we are presented with an image of Sayaka's back as she is sitting on the floor, presumably waiting for someone. Kyoko approaches Sayaka from behind her with an Umaibō in hand as a sign that Kyoko wants to start all over again with Sayaka (the same way she did with Madoka; and perhaps redo her offering of food in Episode 8). But Sayaka, wearing a mischievous expression, instead grabs Kyoko's hand and pulls her down with her. This has been interpreted as Sayaka accepting Kyoko's affection for her; it can also be interpreted as Sayaka's preference to have Kyoko on the menu over the Umaibō.

KyoSaya Official Gallery:

Fanart Reponse to KyoSaya

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.

KyoSaya Trivia

  • This pair is labeled as KyoSaya (or KyouSaya) by yurifans. Kyoko is seen as a tomboy who is usually depicted in the prince role and Sayaka as the tough yet feminine maiden.
  • Hanokage's comic in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica Anthology has Kyoko using Homura's game simulator to interact with a virtual Sayaka. Kyoko ends up playing the game for hours.
  • Ume-tentei ships Kyoko and Sayaka in her doujin.

Yuri Kyoko Trivia

  • Every seiyuu is gay for Kyouko.
    • Aoi Yuuki (Madoka) claims Kyoko to be her waifu with extreme infatuation.
      • Aoi Yuuki (Madoka) declared her love for Kyoko in Magical Girls Tea Party CD and her desire to marry her in the audio commentary for Episode 5. Ai Nonaka questions her choice and informs her all she ever does is eat. Aoi Yuki is ok with this and declares she would just adjust.
        • In same comentary Chiwa Saitou (Homura) sounds annoyed, some suggested perhaps she is jealous. But the question is, jealous of whom?
      • Aoi Yuuki (Madoka) goes even more gaga for Kyoko in the audio commentary for Episode 7, "The one I love, it's Kyouko-tan." "Kyouko-tan is the absolute best!" "it's like she isn't trying to be cool, but she's still REALLY cool."
    • Chiwa Saito (Homura) is gay for Kyoko too.
    • It turns out that Ryouko Shintani (Hitomi) who is the guest for the Episode 7 commentary, is another one that's gay for Kyouko too. "I love Kyouko."
    • Eri Kitamura (Sayaka) is the Seme to Kyoko's Uke.

Mami and Kyoko

The Senpai and Kōhai Relationship

"Thank you, Mami-san. Please take care of me!" - Kyouko Sakura, Drama CD 3.

"I already told you. I have no intention of using my magic for anyone else’s sake. That’s why we can’t fight witches or familiars together. But… If something were to happen to you, you would still share a grief seed with me. I can’t stand the thought of abusing your kindness." - Kyouko Sakura, Drama CD 3.

"I’m not your enemy! After all… After all, you were… the first magical girl who shared the same ideals as I did!" - Mami Tomoe, Drama CD 3.

Fans suspect that Mami seduced Kyoko with promises of cakes.

In the Drama CD, titled Farewell Story, Mami and Kyoko's first meeting is detailed. The two fought witches together, and Kyoko even introduced Mami to her family, reminiscent of a girl bringing home a prospective spouse to meet her parents. Their early relationship could be described as between a senpai and kōhai (as Kyoko and Mami themselves describe it), but yuri fans suspect there is more to it. Sadly, Kyoko never calls her senpai the much coveted title "Onee-sama".

After Kyoko's family tragedy she tries to leave Mitakihara, intending to work alone. She had lost her "Rosso Phantasma" ability (named by Mami), and got injured by a witch. Mami, worried about Kyoko, doesn't want her to leave, as she had grown very attached to the younger girl. But Kyoko refuses to listen to her so they both end up fighting each other and Kyoko wins. Kyoko warns Mami that she wont be merciful next time; she leaves while Mami cries over her loss realizing that she is alone once again. Before Kyoko leaves, she reassures Mami that she will meet other girls who are suited to her expectations. In the anime timeline, they never meet again. Kyoko only returns to Mitakihara after Mami's passing, which may imply that she regretted her past actions and wished to avoid another confrontation with her former senpai by entering her territory again.

Some fans suspect that the reason Kyoko fought with Mami was so she could end her relationship with her early, before it turned ugly. It is indicated by Kyoko that if they continued to stay together, they would only fight and bicker with each other because of their differences in their beliefs, and perhaps end up hating each other in the process. Others suspect that because Kyoko lost her secondary power, she feared that she would be putting Mami at risk, so she didn't want to become a burden. Perhaps Kyoko was afraid that Mami would also end up dead because of her, just like her family was.

Fans suspect that Mami's interaction as a senpai with Sayaka and Madoka was a bit distant, and that Mami might still have carried the lingering memory that she shared with Kyoko and feared it would become painful if she got too close with her new kôhai. Another possibility is that Mami feared she would be alone again once Madoka and Sayaka saw how difficult the world of a Puella Magi was; or maybe Mami was still hopeful that Kyoko would come back to her.

KyoMami Trivia

  • According with Kyoko's mother, Mami is the first "friend" Kyoko ever brought home. The significance is clearly important for yuri fans.
  • The fan name for this pairing is KyoMami, but MamiKyo/MamiKo is acceptable as well.
  • It should be noted that in Oriko Magica, while their interactions in chapter 3 weren't particularly friendly, they don't seem to be in bad terms either. Given their status as magical girls and their differences (which in most cases may lead to fights or competition for the Grief Seeds), it could be suspected that they decided to maintain an unspoken truce.
    • It should also be noted that despite Kyoko's distance from Mami, she (along with Yuma) came to her aid when Kyubey told them of the situation, implying that Kyoko still cares at least somewhat for her former senpai.

KyoMami Official Art

Fanart Response to KyoMami

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.

Other

Mami and Madoka

A somewhat less popular pair due to Mami's lack of appearances for most of the series. In Episode 3, Madoka tells Mami that she wants to become a magical girl because of her admiration of Mami (admiration of an older sister figure is very common in yuri-themed works). Mami discourages her at her first, saying that she is not someone to admire because despite her trying to appear as a strong mentor, she is weak and lonely. When Madoka tells her that she will stay by her side, Mami is brought to tears. The two hold hands and face each other, and Madoka tells Mami that she really will stay with Mami and fight together with her. During the battle with the witch afterward, Mami states in her internal monologue that she has never been happier while fighting before, and that she no longer has any fears, no doubt due to joy from Madoka's confession. This attitude combined with overconfidence ultimately leads to Mami's untimely demise, but nonetheless many fans saw Madoka's confession and Mami's reaction as evidence of yuri feelings between the two girls.

In the first timeline of episode 10, Mami and Madoka fight as a pair and rescue Homura. Some fans believe that, because Madoka was already close with Mami before meeting Homura, Mami and Madoka were a couple in that timeline.

Love triangle style scenarios in which Mami and Homura compete for Madoka's affection, occasionally with Sayaka brought in as well, are somewhat common in fanworks.

The fan name for this pair is MamiMado.

Fanart Reponse to MamiMado

Homura and Mami

A somewhat less popular pair due to Mami's lack of appearances for most of the series. In the first timeline of episode 10, Mami and Madoka fight as a pair and rescue Homura. Much like the other girls, Homura seems to admire Mami and she is sad the first time she dies. They seem to be good friends, but not as much as Homura' friendship with Madoka. However this clashes in the third timeline, in which Mami breaks down after knowing the truth of the Puella Magi and kills Kyoko and then wraps Homura with ribbons in order to kill her, but she is killed by Madoka. They are enemies in the other timelines, likely by Kyubey's interference.

Love triangle style scenarios in which Mami and Homura compete for Madoka's affection, occasionally with Homura ignoring Mami in order to be with Madoka.

The fan name for this pair is HomuMami.

Fanart Reponse to HomuMami

Kyoko and Homura

"Man, you’re so mysterious. And so, can we win against Walpurgisnacht?" - Kyoko Sakura, Drama CD 3.

"We will win. The two of us can do it!" - Homura Akemi, Drama CD 3.

"Kyoko..." - Homura Akemi, Episode 9.

A somehow less popular pairing. From past experience, Homura believes Kyoko may be the only ally left to help her in stopping Walpurgis Night. They are often seen talking or discussing plans in Homura's house. Their relationship is more of a partnership than friendship. Homura is saddened after Kyoko dies in order to not leave Sayaka alone, in both the anime and manga, but she denies it by saying that she just didn't wanted Kyoko to lose face, although her expression shows otherwise. However this seems to be onesided, since Kyoko doesn't consider her a friend. Curiously, she is the only other person Homura calls by her first name, besides Madoka. There is evidence that they had interacted on a more personal level in prior timelines, when at the start of episode 6 Homura says, "I'm on the side of those who maintain their composure and I'm the enemy of idiots who initiate fights needlessly. Which are you, Sakura Kyoko?" It triggers a strong reaction from Kyoko, where she asks Homura if they'd ever met before.

The fan name for this pair is KyoHomu.

Fanart Reponse to KyouHomu

Sayaka and Madoka

"You're cute, but I won't let you become popular with the guys. You're going to be my wife!" - Sayaka Miki declaring Madoka to be her waifu in Episode 1.

In the Episode 1, Sayaka says that she will make Madoka her wife. After watching them communicate telepathically in Episode 2, Hitomi thinks that they are communicating simply through eye contact and must have become a couple, which she calls forbidden love. The two maintain a close friendship for most of the series.

The light novel, "Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica NitroPlus Novel", explores Madoka's early childhood and her first encounter with a tomboyish Sayaka.

The fan name for this pair is SayaMado. "Forbidden love" is occasionally used as a nickname for this pair and Madoka yuri in general.

Fanart Response to SayaMado

Homura and Sayaka

"She should not have agreed to the contract. That was my mistake. I should have kept as close an eye on her as I did on you." Homura Akemi, Episode 5.

"Madoka, what are you going to do after you get there? [...] I don't know why Homura is fighting against those things. But there is no way you can help, Madoka. You'll just slow down Homura. That's why...I'll go help her!" - Sayaka Miki, Puella Magi Oriko Magica, Chapter 7.

This pairing is mostly considered a crack pair, due to the fact that the relationship between the two changes, according to Homura's attitude during the timelines, because Sayaka judges based on first impressions and makes rash assumptions. When she first saw her, in Episode 1, she though Homura was pretty. However, after Homura's actions after Mami's death, she believes that Homura waited for Mami to fall in order to get the Grief Seed and distrusts her. In Episode 5, a concerned Madoka asks her to protect Sayaka as much as possible, since she became a Puella Magi. But Homura refuses to do it. However, she expresses a bit of regret of not protecting her before, since in the other timelines, she met Sayaka when she was already a Puella Magi.

In Episode 6, she rushes to retrieve Sayaka' Soul Gem, after Madoka threw her away and brings it back to Sayaka in order to revive her. Like Kyouko and Madoka, she expresses slight concern for Sayaka in Episode 8. She even tries to reason with her and gives her a Grief Seed, so her Soul Gem woudn't have to be tainted. Sayaka rejects the Grief Seed and accuses Homura of putting up false pretenses and always lying to them. Homura changes her attitude and admits she is just doing things for Madoka's sake, knowing that Sayaka's actions will contribute to Madoka's fate, Sayaka seemes shocked and surprised and comments "This is all for her sake?" (only in the manga). Homura decides to kill Sayaka until she was rescued by Kyouko. She seemed unsurprised when Sayaka transformed into a witch, not out of concern, but her experience in the other timelines. She knew that everytime Sayaka contracts, she becomes a witch and she couldn't be saved. In the Episode 10, in Timeline 3, Sayaka still distrusts Homura's warning about witches, but they seem to get along lately as Homura seems sad the first time Sayaka dies.

However, in Oriko Magica, Homura befriends Madoka, Sayaka and Hitomi. When Madoka goes to save Homura (who is fighting against Oriko) by herself, Sayaka seems to be surprised that Homura is a Puella Magi, but she decides to go help her, considering Homura a friend. In the Drama CD 2, they seem to get along.

Despite this, it is heavily implied that her concern for Sayaka was just as a by product of all the attention she heaps on Madoka. Fans usually portrait Homura and Sayaka competing for Madoka. The fan name for this pair is HomuSaya.

Fanart Reponse to HomuSaya

Charlotte and Mami

In Episode 3, Mami gets her head bitten off by Charlotte. Despite this, a lot of fanart was drawn of Charlotte and Mami together, partially due to their inevitable association and partially because Charlotte is rather cute compared to other witches. Eventually fans began to draw human versions of all the witches including Charlotte, and would draw Mami paired together with the human version of Charlotte. The revelation in Episode 8 that magical girls turn into witches gave these human forms another meaning and the additional plot points of timelines and the witch-free world created by Madoka gave potential for Charlotte and Mami to meet in a less hostile context.

Also popular simply because the other four main characters are typically paired up together, leaving Mami alone unless paired with Charlotte.

The fan names for this pair are MamiLotte and (less common) MamiCharu.

Official Art

Fanart Reponse to MamiLotte

Homura and Clip Girl

An unnamed character known by fans as Clip Girl (Clip-san) (and sometimes D-chan, for good reason) suspected to have a school crush on Homura (apparently, she may be not the only one). Fans have noticed that she can't seem to keep her eyes off of Homura.

Clip Girl has long pink hair and a green hair clip, is very short, and apparently is the second bustiest girl in school (Mami being the Queen of Mammies). She is friends with the light brown pigtailed girl in 3F, and was with her when she invited Homura to the cafe, presumably hoping for a date.

Other Couples Fanart Images

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.

Oriko Manga

Kirika and Oriko

"Kirika, if you weren't here, I would be really broken." - Oriko Mikuni to Kirika Kure, Oriko Magica, Chapter 3.

"Love is infinitely finite, so I'll devote myself infinitely to her." - Kirika speaking of Oriko, Oriko Magica, Chapter 4.

Gallery: Manga Pages

Fanart Reponse to KiriKo

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.

Other Couples Fanart Images

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.

Kazumi Manga

Umika and Kaoru

Umika and Kaoru are always seen together and even their attacks and transformations are combined. However, the evidences of a romantic relationship between them starts in Chapter 1, with a note that Kaoru and Umika left to Kazumi states that they're out dating, but there are no boys around them. When they were trapped by the bookmobile witch and the Pleiades went to save them, they seemed okasy and told the Pleiades not to rush in finding them. Curiously, when they first met (after they were dragged to a witch barrier by Kazumi) Umika rushed to protect Kaoru despite the fact they were strangers by that time.

Manga Pages

Saki and Mirai

"You hurt my Sakiii!" - Mirai Wakaba, Kazumi Magica, Chapter 9.

Mirai appears to be very attached to Saki. Mirai is seen clinging to Saki, and also seems gleeful at the fact she's paired with Saki and Kazumi in their search. This seems unnoticed by the fans until in Chapter 9, Saki was slightly hurt by the witch form of Nico's spare and Mirai went berserk, thus killing the witch. However it seems to be onesided by Mirai's side, since Saki seems to be more attached to Kazumi than her and Mirai is clearly jealous of Kazumi, as seen in Chapter 12.

Manga Pages

Airi and Yuuri

"If you want to live, then I'll save you, no matter what." - Yuuri Asuka, Kazumi Magica, Chapter 5.

"My most precious treasure was taken away from me. That's why I'm going to kill their most precious treasure. You." - "Yuuri" to Kazumi, Kazumi Magica, Chapter 5.

Two girls, willing to sacrifice everything for one another. Is it romantic, or just deep friendship?

Airi and Yuuri Asuka started out as ordinary classmates. Yuuri, a very avid cooking fan, tried cooking for her entire class, but was sent into shock when one of the students claimed they had gotten food poisoning from her cooking. She did not return to school the next day, and Airi went to check on her and helped prove the student was lying to try to frame Yuuri. The two became very close friends.

Two years later, Airi was diagnosed with an incurable disease that would surely take her life. Yuuri asked a magical girl who saved her from a witch to cure Airi, but the girl told Yuuri that she should make her own contract. Yuuri followed her advice and made a contract with Kyubey to save her friend.

Yuuri and Airi remained close afterwards, with Airi believing that Yuuri cured her using a magical charm in the form of a spoon. They both loved food, and spoke of cooking competitions and going out to eat together (which could be interpreted as a date).

Yuuri eventually turned into a witch and attacked Airi. The Pleiades Saints killed her. Airi was so brokenhearted and mentally unhinged by this that she made a contract with Kyubey herself to take over Yuuri's life, transforming her appearance into her friend's and swearing vengeance on the girls who killed Yuuri, even though they saved her life. The newly christened "Yuuri" even has a magical girl costume that calls out to her lost friend: it heavily features stripes and a frilled skirt, which were what Yuuri commonly wore when in casual dress, and mimics Yuuri's magical girl costume's color scheme. Airi even mimics Yuuri's style of dress, which is very different from her own before contracting, while not transformed, implying that she tries to keep her friend alive in her heart even in everyday life.

By the time Airi reached the end of the life that Yuuri had saved, Airi had become obsessed with avenging her. Airi even rebuffed an attempt by her perceived enemies to clean her soul gem (similar to Sayaka's reaction to Homura's offer of help in the anime). Airi's witch form is a heart, with the ability to broadcast her memories: specifically, those of her past with Yuuri. The obvious symbolism in this (with a heart representing love, often of a romantic nature, in many cultures) indicates that Airi's feelings for Yuuri remained strong.

One can read into these facts two ways: a deep friendship where two girls are willing to give everything up for the other, or a romantic relationship where even the thought of living without her partner is enough to drive each girl to desperation and despair (the main qualification for becoming a magical girl).

Manga Pages and Official Art

Fanart Reponse to YuuriAiri

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.

Ayase and Luca

Manga Pages

Other Couples

Saki and Kazumi

Like all the other Pleiades Saints, Saki cares for Kazumi, and tries to protect her innocence and keep the awful truths of their work away from her.

Manga Pages

Kazumi and Nico

Manga Pages

Saki and Miyuki

Manga Pages

Gen Urobuchi's Views on Relationships in Madoka

In an interview with Black Past, Gen Urobuchi discussed his view of Homura and Madoka's relationship and his beliefs on same-sex relationships. Urobuchi clarified that while Homura's feelings for Madoka were present and unchanging throughout her timeloops, Madoka did not feel the same way prior to her wish, having only the experience of one time loop. Madoka made her wish not so much for Homura's sake but to save all mahou shoujo. However when Madoka made her wish, she learned about Homura's true feelings and only then was the bond between them established. Urobuchi even describes the circumstances of it is as a "little cruel" that it required Madoka leaving and becoming a goddess to understand Homura.

In talking about relationships in his body of works, Urobuchi revealed his beliefs about same sex relationships, "whatever relationship that could exist between male and female it should also exist between couples of same sex." Aside from the difference in body parts, he did not see a male and female relationship as special or unique. He believes that the same kind of love is possible between same sex couples as well. Urobuchi stated he may even write about a love relationship between two men in the future.

Conclusion

Because of the lack of evidence on-screen to establish Homura and Madoka as a canon yuri couple (or any other couple), the nature of their relationship is open to interpretation and debate. Even if we take into account evidence such as Urobuchi's views on sexuality, this relationship would not be considered canonical by the majority of fans unless official recognition is given in future body of works that raises the yuri subtext to text on their relationship. One can speculate that this interview could add more fuel to the fanbase to produce more fan works out of frustration now that they are aware of Urobuchi's personal views.


Magazine Articles, Interviews, Etc.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Official Guidebook "You Are Not Alone": An official guidebook with a compilation on a wide variety of information on Madoka Magica.