This week’s random rant has two purposes. First, I’ll explain exactly what I think happened at the end of the third Madoka Movie, Rebellion. By this time, explanations can be found anywhere on the web, but when it first came out, a lot of people had no idea what the hell actually happened. (My explanation may differ a bit from others, but the gist of it is the same. Besides, much is up to viewer interpretation, so my explanation is no more or less correct than others you might find.) Second, I want to explain why Homura’s actions and the results matter– in terms of important themes in the story, and also, implications for the character of Homura.
(Warning: after this point, there are spoilers for Madoka Magica Rebellion Story.)
Homura awoke from the world in her soul gem and found Madoka as the Law of the Cycle descending toward her. “We’ll be together always,” the goddess says. “Yes, we will,” replies Homura. But she doesn’t let herself be spirited away. She grabs hold of the goddess’ wrists, and her transformation begins. Homura realizes what Kyubey calls the final form of the magical girl, a monstrously powerful being with black wings. Homura calls herself a demon. She says her transformation is driven by passionate love for Madoka.
A series of colorful, trippy, and confusing visuals begin. It’s unclear, but it seems that Homura broke her soul gem, spread her dark power over the entire cosmos, and received a new magical item in place of a soul gem. In the next scene, the world has been rewritten, and the other main characters like Sayaka and Kyoko have been dragged into it. It’s a happy world, but it’s making everyone forget their true memories, and it’s keeping Madoka from joining with her true self, the Law of the Cycle, (AKA god). The real world is now much like the dream world from inside Homura’s darkened soul gem.
Homura essentially stole Madoka and made the world into a paradise for them to live in together– albeit a paradise that everyone was forced into. When Sayaka says that Homura interfered with the Law of the Cycle, the “demon” states she only took a small piece of it. This is key to my explanation. Homura didn’t kill god or anything like that. She only stole a tiny piece of god, and set up a world to live in with that piece. It’s the piece that she believes is the human girl Madoka, carrying the memories of the original, human Madoka.
The Law of the Cycle exists in all universes in all timelines, so it’s still functioning in all other world lines as the savior of magical girls. As for the world that Homura rewrote, there is no need for a savior for magical girls, because no new magical girls are being created. That’s because Demon Homura enslaved the Kyubey race to help her defeat the Wraiths that appear in every world. Kyubey is unable to make more magical girls. Kyoko and Sayaka live together and get along. Mami is able to live again and have a normal school life. Madoka is allowed to exist as a humble, timid girl, but is prevented from becoming one with god, her true self.
Why Does It Matter For Storytelling Quality?
Homura’s transformation and rewrite of the world serve to highlight three similar and powerful themes. The first is selfishness. Homura can’t be called a good person, perhaps, because she forced Madoka into her paradise world against her will. What Madoka really wants is to connect to her true self. By that line of thought, she is evil.
However, the second theme is “love is stronger than rules.” Even though Homura’s actions aren’t praiseworthy, they were motivated by her powerful love, which is literally stronger than god and all rules of the universe. The final form of magical girls, the demon, can only come about because of the deepest love. Since Sayaka, Kyoko, and Mami get to live happy lives now, you can say great good came of Homura’s love.
A related theme is “willfulness over acceptance.” Homura could not accept that the “real” Madoka became the Law of the Cycle and erased her original existence from all worlds. She could not accept that Madoka left her to become the savior of all magical girls. Homura was driven mad after 8-12 years of repeating the same month in different worlds, each time trying to save Madoka from becoming a magical girl. Rather than accept Madoka’s decision, Homura forced her own will on Madoka, even interfering with the goddess of magical girls.
Why Does It Matter for Homura Akemi?
Here’s the key point. This is a tragic ending. Homura has lost her mind, and the proof is something not immediately obvious to all audiences. She believes that the Madoka who came to her dream world was the “real” or original Madoka. In all likelihood, that isn’t the case. The real Madoka has already long since ceased to be. Her existence was erased the moment the original Madoka wished to become god. At least, that’s my interpretation.
The Madoka who came to the dream world was simply a tool of the Law of the Cycle, which developed some individuality from living in the dream world for a month or more, forgetting her true self, and having her memories tampered with. The Madoka that Homura stole is simply a copy of Madoka molded to be as much like the original as possible by the settings in the dream world. So, Homura isn’t living with the “real” Madoka. She deluded herself into thinking she is, and doesn’t realize the truth.
The ending of Rebellion Story is a mix of dark and light, happiness and tragedy. “Madoka” gets to live a peaceful life with her friends and family without ever having to fight. But she’s denied from joining with the Law of the Cycle. Kyoko and Sayaka can both be alive and happy together, but Sayaka’s true memories were erased. Homura is the one who suffers most. She must now defeat all wraiths herself, control the Kyubey race, and keep Madoka from remembering her true self. Worst of all, Homura’s belief that she is living with the “real” Madoka is a delusion.
This is Anime Rants. Thanks for reading! Sending good wishes to all my readers. Ja ne!
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