A necessary message for all the nice guys out there.
The corruption of the Ideal, and its restoration through hope: How the ending of Madoka Magica saves it.
~Spoilers for the end of the series~
Feminist readings of Madoka can be controversial in the world of anime criticism. Looking at the series closely, especially within the context of the Magical Girl genre, it is easy to see why. I propose however, that the problematic issues surrounding Madoka are deliberate to allow for their subversion in the conclusion of the narrative.
Magical Girl anime embody an important Ideal that we need to talk about. This genre, full of its empowered girls, is hailed by feminists as a saving grace in a medium that is often litered with problematic narratives. What makes Magical Girl anime so positive though? The strength, I would argue, is in how it upholds a feminist Ideal of the world. Women use traditionally feminine symbols (so often used as a source of weakness) as a source of ultimate strength. Women gain magical powers and then band together to triumph.
The Ideal then is this: girls are empowered, form a female centered communities, and triumph using hope and positivity.
Madoka is controversial because the initial set up is a complete corruption of this ideal.
Madoka is often called a “magical girl anime with a dark twist.” This is an apt description. The world that Madoka introduces is not the light, empowering magical girl ideal that we expect from the genre.
Girls are empowered but, with the rare exception of Mami, do not work together. Homura fights Mami. Sayaka fights Kyouko. Homura fights Kyouko.
Their stories do not end in triumph, but dispair. As Kyuubei says, girls become women, and magical girls become witches. In Madoka, womanhood is linked to despair and villainy. Becoming a woman is inevitably coupled with negativity and even evil.
Rather than the Ideal we expect from the genre, Madoka presents a world where girls are pit against each other and the world capitalizes on their suffering. Left at this, Madoka is an incredibly bleak and problematic world.
However, there are two characters who ensure that this broken system is not left to fester.
First we have Homura. We see, in episode 10, that when Walpurgis kills all of the girls, Homura rejects the “girl vs girl” culture of the magical girls. Homura becomes a magical girl for the sole purpose of helping Madoka. Of saving Madoka. Homura demands to replay the game again and again until she wins, spurred on by female solidarity and friendship.
However, when the game is broken, no amount of re-dos can fix it. Homura is still destined to fail again and again for as long as she has hope, and the end for her is still despair.
But Madoka doesn’t ask for a re-do.
Madoka changes the game.
Madoka’s wish is to prevent witches from ever being born, past present and future. In essence, her wish is to uncouple maturity from inevitable corruption, to separate womanhood from the expectation of evil.
And oh the changes that makes. Madoka’s accention to Godoka restores the Magical Girl Ideal.
You see, there is still pain and suffering in the world that is created in Madoka’s wake. But then, most Magical Girl anime does have room for struggle. Sayaka still dies for example. Wraiths cause problems in the world. There are battles to fight to be sure.
But girls no longer inevitably corrupt into witches. The world no longer capitalizes from their suffering. The girls are no longer pit against each other. We see Homura, Mami, and Kyouko working TOGETHER at the end, empowered by their symbols of girlhood, with HOPE awaiting them at the end of every journey. The Ideal becomes a reality.
I find Madoka to be a feminist friendly narrative because of these things. The ending confronts the broken system and fixes it. For that reason, I will always recommend it.
it’s funny how madoka thinks her pink ribbons are too flashy like girl your hair is fucking pink
you don’t believe in evolution? you think charizards are just born like that, punk?
Porbeagle shark embryo (3 months). The porbeagle is ovoviviparous, retaining the developing young within the brood chamber before giving birth to live young. The developing sharks obtain nutrients by consuming other fertilized eggs in the oviduct (oophagy).