Each of the deaths in Madoka Magica served important narrative purposes, so much so that very key plot points would have to be reworked without them.
Spoiler for Example, major spoiler:
Even with Kyouko, if she had stayed alive, it would have made the Episode 11/12 challenge facing Homura and Madoka seem less dramatic, and suspenseful. Also, one could have argued that Homura and Kyouko together should have been enough to defeat Walpurgis Night (since Timeline 1 Madoka and Mami were enough to defeat it).
Kyouko going out on a kamikaze attack on Sayaka also makes Sayaka's story a bit more powerful, as well as being excellent fuel for shippers.
So yeah, Kyouko's character death was a good call. And she's probably the least necessary of the three.
Another thing with Madoka Magica is that the time-loop and wish plot devices means that nothing is necessarily permanent, including a character death. So the door is always open for exploring characters further, and in a believable easily acceptable way given what Madoka Magica's universe has already set-up.
For example, nobody really objects to Sayaka being "back" in Movie 3. So in spite of what happened to her in the TV series, you can still explore her character further in spinoffs and sequels.
Spoiler for Valvrave comparison:
It's not as clear that this can be done with the Valvrave character deaths. Also, Valvrave simply had more named character deaths. It was over 12 in total. They start to feel cheap after awhile.
I see, thank you for the information. Unfortunately, you lost me while mentioning the other three girls. I did watch an episode of Saki (last of second season I think) but it didn't manage to pull me in due to me not liking Mahjong and the episode was so wierd on how she won (something mountain something).
In fairness to the others, I can understand why seeing your favourite competitor lose and not knowing why will cause cynism to kick in.
Half-way through J-SaiMoe 2013 (around Round 3 or so), the J-SaiMoe admins instituted a rule change. They claimed it was to deal with cheating (multi-votes and foreign votes). This rule change resulted in them throwing out a lot more votes than before, which saw a drastic vote decline for virtually all the competitors (though some were affected more harshly than others).
The rule change largely lacked transparency, as the J-SaiMoe admins would not release the voting codes for the votes that were thrown out. So what that means is that there's no way for tournament followers to check the thrown out votes, and confirm for ourselves if they were foreign votes or possible multi-votes. Basically, you have no choice but to trust that the J-SaiMoe admins are being fair and honest in the votes they choose to throw out. It is at least possible for them to now easily rig the tournament, and many openly speculated that they did just that.
The above is the basic facts of the situation, but now I'll share my personal opinion.
Personally, I don't think they rigged the tournament in anybody's favor, per se, but I found the vote decline for certain Saki girls to be extremely eyebrow-raising. I'm inclined to think that the J-SaiMoe admins were pissed off at Saki's degree of tournament domination in 2012, and the first half of 2013, and decided to "punish" them for it.
Nodoka and Toki, in particular, saw absolutely stunning vote declines. I found it hard to swallow, especially in Nodoka's case, as she's a seasoned J-SaiMoe veteran with some strong performances through the years.
But that's just my take. Some think that the tournament admins rigged it in favor of Madoka Magica (and in fairness, Madoka did have one pretty controversial victory over Kuroneko). I don't think they did, but then, I am a big Madoka Magica fan.
But in any case, what they did looked very sketchy, and eroded faith in the tournament. The vote totals were truly abysmal, with even the Championship final attracting fewer than 500 total votes.
So I saw that Madoka won some contest about 'moe', went to check the thread but there were people saying she won partly due to the small voting pool because of some decisions the organisers made. Could you explain to me what they did in the middle of the tournament to trigger such a reaction? I feel that you would be able to give me an unbiased answer yet you follow it closely enough to analyse what happened.
By the way, Sayaka winning second place also shocked me, but not unpleasantly.