Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie [Shinpen]: The Rebellion Story

Being a magical girl is still suffering

The suf­fer­ing con­tin­ues…

My inter­est in active­ly dis­cussing Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca died down sig­nif­i­cant­ly dur­ing the past cou­ple of years. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the orig­i­nal ani­me series and enjoyed watch­ing both of the Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca The Begin­ning Sto­ry and the Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca The Ever­last­ing Sto­ry films, but I was­n’t a crazy enough fan for the series in the vein of, say, Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion that I was super excit­ed with see­ing the same sto­ry played over again. Espe­cial­ly since (for exam­ple), unlike Rebuild of Evan­ge­lion’s con­stant diver­gences that make it clear that it’s a new story/continuation, the first two Mado­ka movies were just recaps of the same 12 episodes of the ani­me series. There was noth­ing real­ly new to talk about aside from the spin-off mate­ri­als, so the wait for Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca The Rebel­lion Sto­ry was killer because I real­ly want­ed to know what was gonna hap­pen after the TV ani­me’s con­clu­sion.

That said, I was real­ly excit­ed to see this film. Part­ly because (again) “YAY, NEW MADOKA CONTENT”, and also, I had this feel­ing that Gen Urobutch­er was­n’t exact­ly fin­ished mess­ing with the audi­ence. I’ve described the orig­i­nal ani­me as a series with no shock absorbers, and I went in expect­ing this to be the same case. I thought I was pre­pared for the inevitable shock, what­ev­er it was.

But I was wrong. I let my guard down. 「残念だったね。」

Ikuzo minna! OOOOOOOH!

「行くよ~皆さん! おう!」

The film began on a very con­fus­ing note for me because of the obvi­ous dis­con­nect with the set­ting and char­ac­ters in com­par­i­son to the con­clu­sion of the orig­i­nal sto­ry. Saya­ka was alive and well, Kyouko was attend­ing school, Kyu­ubey was being a cutesy Poke­mon-speak mas­cot (the lit­tle bas­tard was still pret­ty creepy imo), a mini Char­lotte-now-called-Bebe was Mami’s Artemis to Madoka’s Luna, and course, Mado­ka was there. And all of the Puel­la Magi were work­ing togeth­er to defeat the Night­mare (not Wraiths), com­plete with hen­shin sequences and *Sen­tai-styled fan­fare. All while liv­ing reas­sur­ing and hap­py lives.

CAKE

The cake chant will for­ev­er be stuck in my head

Now, we all know the appeal of Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca is the heavy use of fairy-tale hor­ror ele­ments (com­bined with sur­re­al imagery) and “grim­dark” char­ac­ter-dri­ven dra­ma. But that’s not to say this almost hap­py-go-lucky take of Mado­ka in a typ­i­cal mag­i­cal girl set­ting was­n’t good fanser­vice for the amount of time it was there. I mean, damn, Saya­ka was frig­gin’ break-danc­ing in her trans­for­ma­tion sequence.

Still, if you had any stan­dards for Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca at all, you’ll imme­di­ate­ly real­ize that an expla­na­tion for the strange, almost Else­world-like set­ting was just around the cor­ner. Espe­cial­ly with Kyu­ubey’s face occa­sion­al­ly fill­ing up the screen for a few frame (some­what resem­bling a sub­lim­i­nal mes­sage — do you want to be a Mag­i­cal Girl?).

Dawn of the Dead

舞え舞え 巫
頭の飾りを打ち振るい
焔見遣って踊りゃんせ

HOLY SHIT I'M CREAMIN'

Kin­da’ break­ing the flow a bit here, but I’d real­ly like to com­ment on how gor­geous the ani­ma­tion is and how well-done the fight scenes are. In par­tic­u­lar, the *Homu­ra vs. Mami gun fight has got to be one of the best ani­me bat­tles I’ve seen recent­ly (not count­ing the clas­sics, of course). I know I’m being kind of tough here, see­ing as this is a film, but dammit, Samu­rai Cham­ploo’s fight scenes were just as nice as this and that was a TV series, so… yeah — Kill la Kill’s fight scenes have NOTHING on Mado­ka. There, I said it. Hype vs. Hype. Bring it on, bro.

And man, that CLOCK OVER/TIME OUT-esque effect with all of those bul­lets sud­den­ly being shot every­where after Homu­ra’s time stop mag­ic wore off… I love it when­ev­er they pull stunts like that in order to add some spice to the back­drop of bat­tle. The sound­track is deli­cious too — Yuki Kajiu­ra is a great com­pos­er all-around and I love her work on var­i­ous video games and ani­me, but when it comes to Mado­ka bat­tles, damn is this some of her best stuff. The BGM dur­ing the Homu­ra vs. Mami fight, for exam­ple, was a mix of her famil­iar orchaes­tra + tense Kaji­u­ran chant­i­ng and an awe­some gui­tar riff. I’m not much of a music crit­ic, but I know awe­some when I hear awe­some.

what a tweest

Oblig­a­tory B movie sex scene

what a tweest

SUFFERING

So yeah, back to the plot, I thought it was a pret­ty cool twist that the fake world was actu­al­ly a witch labyrinth cre­at­ed by Homu­ra, who turned into sort of a pro­to-witch because Kyu­ubey want­ed the chance to use her as an exper­i­ment to observe and con­trol the Godoka’s pow­ers (Mado­ka was already on her way to pick up Homu­ra appar­ent­ly). Ear­ly fore­shad­ow­ing with the very… strange cit­i­zens of Mitak­i­hara was a pret­ty nice detail too, so the witch labyrinth thing was eas­i­er to pre­dict, in com­par­i­son to the rev­e­la­tion that it was all Homu­ra’s doing, due to all the red her­rings.

Sayaka is so badass now

This is where I kind of start to let my guard down. For one, Mami actu­al­ly had her head between her shoul­ders and was FINAL VENT’ing the hell out of every­thing with Tiro Finale. And with the fan-favorite Char­lotte (Nag­isa Momoe) and Saya­ka join­ing in the fray along as Madoka’s wild cards, hav­ing full-con­trol over what appears to be sim­i­lar to their witch forms, I got a tad engrossed with the excite­ment and was actu­al­ly some­what con­fi­dent that our entourage of Puel­la Magi would end up sav­ing Homu­ra and end­ing the day on a hap­py note, because there was so much hope here.

Saya­ka and Kyouko get some heart­warm­ing les­bian exchanges and the new cheese-obsessed addi­tion to the team (Bebe/Nagisa) added a light­heart­ed dynam­ic. Plus, we have Mado­ka, who had pre­vi­ous­ly rewrote real­i­ty and became a god, on our side. How the hell could this even go wrong, I thought?

i am so high right now

i am so high right now

Sim­ply put, I was too gullible… and a fool…

this is gonna be terrible

After a long ordeal and stand­ing vic­to­ri­ous against the Incu­ba­tors, Mado­ka regains her mem­o­ries as Godoka/Madokami/Ultimate Mado­ka — the Law of Cycles lead­ing Homu­ra’s soul to pass onto her realm much like Saya­ka and Nag­isa (as well as every oth­er Mag­i­cal Girl that exhaust­ed their ener­gy sup­ply).

Sounds like a rea­son­able end­ing, right? It’s in the spir­it of the orig­i­nal ani­me end­ing: where despite the mas­sive amounts of suf­fer­ing Mag­i­cal Girls go through, Madoka’s resolve will help them avoid a tru­ly trag­ic end­ing and car­ry a light of hope. Here, Homu­ra was able to over­come her grief and be reunit­ed with Mado­ka as she dies… right?

Then I real­ized there was about twen­ty-to-thir­ty more min­utes left of the film. Huh, what. No.

aw shit

Aw shit.

NO WAY

NOPE

My poor Godoka

THE. SUFFERING. CONTINUES.

And here’s where the movie real­ly takes an inter­est­ing turn — Homu­ra turn­ing face. A turn that, frankly, has left me com­plete­ly and utter­ly shocked. I thought I was pre­pared, but I clear­ly was­n’t.

I was suc­cess­ful­ly duped. You win, Urobutch­er.

Akuma Homura

Mind you, this is the “good” kind of shock. I real­ly like how thought-pro­vok­ing this end­ed up being. And it end­ed up explain­ing the movie’s sub­ti­tle, “Rebel­lion”, as well — Homu­ra dethrones Mado­ka by “steal­ing” her pow­ers as well as her role and essen­tial­ly rewrites the Law of Cycles with her own rules — the “dev­il” to the god, through more of a fall­en angel in this regard.

Ake­mi, no, Aku­ma Homu­ra has com­plete­ly for­sak­en Madoka’s self­less wish­es and rules for the uni­verse in order to ben­e­fit her “love”, her love that desires for Mado­ka to live a nor­mal life in total hap­pi­ness, com­plete­ly dis­re­gard­ing the sym­bol of hope Mado­ka had pre­vi­ous­ly been to the Puel­la Magi. Had her Soul Gem been taint­ed to the point where she no longer had the capac­i­ty to put the sake of oth­ers before her self­ish desires? Or has she real­ly snapped, with her pre­vi­ous bat­tles through time being dis­re­gard­ed by Madoka’s will­ing­ness to sac­ri­fice her­self again and again for the sake of oth­ers? How “evil” is she now?

Just how bad is the world she’s cre­at­ed? Is it a new real­i­ty using Madoka’s Law of Cycles, or an ampli­fied “Witch Labyrinth”? Judg­ing by the imagery, it’s prob­a­bly the lat­ter.

levels of nope

[tatakae inten­si­fies]

As some may already know, Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca always had par­al­lels to Kamen Rid­er Ryu­ki (of which Urobutch­er was a fan of). Homu­ra, whose focus as a sto­ic-on-the-out­side deuter­ag­o­nist dur­ing the orig­i­nal run of the ani­me mir­rored Ren’s role in Kamen Rid­er Ryu­ki, shared some traits with the main antag­o­nist, Kan­za­ki Shi­ro, as well. Kan­zaro Shi­ro desired to save his lit­tle sis­ter, so much that he was will­ing to reset time and restart his bat­tle royale mul­ti­ple times to get his results, even if it went against his sis­ter’s wish­es. The guy was obsessed and dri­ven by broth­er­ly love. Not so much dif­fer­ent from Homu­ra’s inten­tions dur­ing the tele­vi­sion run, how­ev­er, she was nev­er an antag­o­nist up until this point.

Now that she has become the main antag­o­nist of the Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca canon, total­ly upstag­ing the creepy emo­tion­less Incu­ba­tors, it’s come full cir­cle. She’s so obsessed with Mado­ka that she’s will­ing to dis­re­gard Madoka’s ideals just so Mado­ka can live hap­pi­ly. In a way, she’s also sim­i­lar to Ryu­ga, Shinji/Ryuki’s dark mir­ror coun­ter­part, in that she’s a deity that’s the com­plete oppo­site of what the main pro­tag­o­nist rep­re­sents — the “dark” oppos­ing Madoka’s “light”.

YUI

At this point, I don’t know if I want anoth­er con­tin­u­a­tion or not. This movie, along with its hor­ri­fy­ing twist and Shaft’s dis­turbing­ly sur­re­al imagery, was just down­right superb, so much that I think it’ll be a dif­fi­cult feat to top it. But this devel­op­ment is so open and inter­est­ing that it just tick­les my curios­i­ty on how the sto­ry could con­tin­ue, espe­cial­ly since it’s heav­i­ly hint­ed at the end that Mado­ka has the capac­i­ty to even­tu­al­ly regain her mem­o­ries and pow­ers as a god — tru­ly putting Homu­ra against Mado­ka as ene­mies. Only time will tell — heck, I’m still try­ing to recov­er from how insane this movie was.

Thank you, Shin­bo and Urobutch­er.

AHAHAHAHAHAHA

P.S. Kyu­ubey’s suf­fer­ing amus­es me great­ly.

Best girl

Dou­ble P.S. Char­lot­te’s now my favorite Puel­la Magi next to Kyouko.

Too cute

(I mean, c’mon, look at that. Too cute to be a bad guy, where­as Kyu­ubey was try­ing way too hard to be lol­sug­oikawaii and ends up being the most sus­pi­cious)

*JPN note: The five Puel­la Magi (the orig­i­nals, exclud­ing Bebe) refer to them­selves as the “Puel­la Magi Holy Quin­tet” (no Japan­ese what­so­ev­er). If I recall cor­rect­ly, the Japan­ese ver­sion of Puel­la Magi Mado­ka Mag­i­ca always referred to the Puel­la Magi as “mahou shou­jo” (Mag­i­cal Girl, which is usu­al­ly sub­ti­tled as Puel­la Magi in Eng­lish subs), so this is the first time the word “Puel­la Magi” is actu­al­ly used.
*Afore­men­tioned fight scene:

4 thoughts on “Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie [Shinpen]: The Rebellion Story

  1. I don’t think that Mado­ka and Homu­ra will ever fight. They are now bal­ance of the uni­verse, Yin and Yang. This phi­los­o­phy was so obvi­ous­ly stat­ed in the post-cred­its scene with every­thing cut in half — the hill, Moon, one chair. Urobuchi Gen went dis­re­gard­ed the whole Mado­ka-Jesus theme, because up to Rebel­lion the uni­verse was unbal­anced — Mado­ka was a god, a Good, but the Evil was Kyu­ubey, witch­es, chaos, death, curs­es, despair and every­thing those god­damn poke­mons could invent or “exper­i­ment”.

    Now, on the oth­er hand, the lit­tle creep­er was beat­en, kicked, and all “evil” things were in con­trol of Homu­ra, while all good things con­trolled by Mado­ka. Accord­ing to Yin & Yang there is some good in evil and evil in good. Those are Homu­ra’s love and Madoka’s wish to live nor­mal life (which she said after for­get­ting she is a god now). After Homu­ra’s stunt fate of the uni­verse is now in con­trol and no one will ever be abused like they did before.

    That is the best end­ing I could­n’t even dream of hap­pen­ing. I love what Homu­ra did because she proved she can change Madoka’s lone­ly fate and destroy Kyu­ubey’s plan at the same time. Not to men­tion she will not allow any evil to get out of hand — i.e. there are no witch­es nor wraith to ter­ror­ize world of ado­les­cent girls.

    1. @Kin­za Dat­teri: The Yin-Yang bal­ance seems like an inter­est­ing take on things. What both­ers me though is Homu­ra men­tions there being Wraiths (the com­ment about her “destroy­ing” the uni­verse once all the Wraiths have been defeat­ed), and Saya­ka being wor­ried about the fate of Mag­i­cal Girls now that Homu­ra ruined the Law of Cycles. They did­n’t real­ly leave it up in the air whether or not Mag­i­cal Girl still exist­ed in Homu­ra’s uni­verse. What you said makes lit­er­ary sense and it’s an awe­some way to look at things, but some things about the end­ing just does­n’t line up some­what.

  2. I admit that I haven’t seen any of the Mado­ka movies out of lazi­ness, although I think it’s best to wait for all three to come out so that I can watch them in one sit­ting with­out wait­ing in sus­pense. I can’t wait until I find the time to see what Urobuchi did this time around. This also reminds me that I still have to yet watch the Chu­u­niby­ou and the 2nd Nanoha movie to watch yet.

    1. @chikorita157: Yeah, that’s def­i­nite­ly always a good idea. Get­ting a hold of all the movies and watch­ing them in one sit­ting saves the sus­pense of all the cliffhang­ers. For some rea­son, I always kill myself with these movies (Rebuild includ­ed) by being impa­tient and watch­ing a movie when it comes out and then being… impa­tient about the next movie. I’ve actu­al­ly just fin­ished the Chu­u­niby­ou movie a few days ago — be pre­pared because it’s *most­ly* just a recap, though it has some new bits that set up the sec­ond sea­son. It’s times like that where I wished I was liv­ing in Japan as to expe­ri­ence every­thing in order. =/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.