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View Poll Results: Madoka Magica - Episode 09 Rating
Perfect 10 91 52.00%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 36 20.57%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 29 16.57%
7 out of 10 : Good 12 6.86%
6 out of 10 : Average 4 2.29%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 0 0%
4 out of 10 : Poor 0 0%
3 out of 10 : Bad 1 0.57%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 0 0%
1 out of 10 : Painful 2 1.14%
Voters: 175. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-03-21, 11:45   Link #581
hyperborealis
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Originally Posted by Ascendant View Post
Speaking of the concept of "balance", why is it that QB's race can break balance and get energy out of nothing? IMO because they aren't getting energy for free. Their actions cause more suffering and deaths than they bring happiness. In fact if left unchecked, they eventually drive the planet into extinction. They are getting energy from human suffering. They only think they are getting energy for free because they lack emotion and thus empathy to understand suffering. The MG system does not handle "karma" naturally and represents a perversion of balance.
QB says that somehow MGs are exceptions to the second law of thermodynamics: they are magical, and can inexplicably violate natural law. As he tells Madoka, "We were looking for energy that wasn't bound by thermodynamics. / And that's when we discovered the magic of the Puella Magi. / [...] Your souls are an energy source that counters entropy." The energy from MGs is a free lunch; in harvesting it, QB is getting something for nothing.

QB's words suggest that this energy quotient derives not just from magic, but from human emotions in general: "Our culture developed the technology / that converts the emotions of conscious life forms into energy. / [...] We evaluated many other species in this universe, / and finally found you, humans. / If you consider the population and emotional power of humans, / the emotional energy that one person generates / increases as that person grows. / Your souls are an energy source that counters entropy." Here QB is talking about the human species, the souls which all humans possess, and the emotions that humans, not just MGs, generate.

The suffering of young girls comes into this since it so happens that "above all, / the fluctuations of hope and grief in girls in their second growth phase [ie puberty] is most effective." The transition from magical girl to witch correlates with an emotional charge whose magnitude just happens to be the maximum that humans can generate. That's apparently why QB is in the MG salesman business, and why he doesn't hang out among little old ladies playing bingo or something.

Now, in parallel to the law of matter and entropy is a karmic or cosmic law, where wishes are accompanied by curses, where happiness here is balanced by suffering there. It is in this karmic, rather than thermodynamic sense, that one can speak of balance. Since Kyoko, Sayaka, and Homura all make statements which attest to this idea of karmic balance, I think it is an idea which the anime is proposing in contradiction to the basic premise of mahou shuojo shows: that a random girl--call her the protagonist of an anime--suddenly is granted magical powers and is able to accomplish magical miracles without any cost whatsoever.

So, is QB violating this karmic law? Well, he seems to think he's off the hook: when the girls challenge him on the downside of being a magical girl, he says that he fulfilled his side of the bargain by granting their wishes, and that they made a free choice to become magical girls in the first place.

That's baloney. He's tricking them, by withholding information that he knows would be critical in their decision. And the choice to harvest the energy of the MG-witch transition is his; he could if he chose go after the less-efficient energy of the little old lady bingo games.

So, yes, I think QB has incurred a massive debt on the karmic balance scale.

So, the question becomes: is there an exception to karmic law in the same way that there is in Madoka's world an exception to the natural laws of thermodynamics? Do we live in a world where nice guys finish last, and mean guys win by being mean without ever paying a penalty?

You tell me.
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Old 2011-03-21, 12:08   Link #582
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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
QB says that somehow MGs are exceptions to the second law of thermodynamics: they are magical, and can inexplicably violate natural law. As he tells Madoka, "We were looking for energy that wasn't bound by thermodynamics. / And that's when we discovered the magic of the Puella Magi. / [...] Your souls are an energy source that counters entropy." The energy from MGs is a free lunch; in harvesting it, QB is getting something for nothing.

QB's words suggest that this energy quotient derives not just from magic, but from human emotions in general: "Our culture developed the technology / that converts the emotions of conscious life forms into energy. / [...] We evaluated many other species in this universe, / and finally found you, humans. / If you consider the population and emotional power of humans, / the emotional energy that one person generates / increases as that person grows. / Your souls are an energy source that counters entropy." Here QB is talking about the human species, the souls which all humans possess, and the emotions that humans, not just MGs, generate.
No, I think that QB meat that magical girl's energy (magic) is energy from emotions in general, as he never makes a distinction between these two concepts, rather the latter (emotions = energy) is an explanation of the former (magic).

From what he says, I don't think there's such a thing as a magical girl per se, just human girls who's emotions become energy that isn't bound by the natural laws of the universe (aka magic) when they make a contract with QB.
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Old 2011-03-21, 12:14   Link #583
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While I do respect the views of others here, I do think that the concept of "balance" has perhaps been overblown a bit in some interpretations of this anime.

Kyubey getting a free energy lunch at no cost seems to strongly suggest that even if there is a "balance" in the world of Madoka Magica, it doesn't apply to everything. I don't think that it applies in a karmic sense, for example. If it did, Kyoko and Sayaka should have built up a lot of "good karma" from their objectively heroic acts and deeds, and met with much better fates than they did.


I think that there may be an emotional balance in the world of Madoka Magica. That, on the whole, happiness and sadness; joy and suffering, must exist in equal quantities. And here we see why Kyoko and Sayaka fall so far: Both had great moments of joy at certain points of their lives, due to their wishes.


And that's why Kyubey gets an exemption from any such system of emotional balance. He has no emotions.


If there is an emotional balance in this world, then that might bode well for Homura and Madoka. They've gone through a lot of suffering for a long time now (especially Homura).
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Old 2011-03-21, 13:25   Link #584
hyperborealis
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
No, I think that QB meant that magical girl's energy (magic) is energy from emotions in general, as he never makes a distinction between these two concepts, rather the latter (emotions = energy) is an explanation of the former (magic).

From what he says, I don't think there's such a thing as a magical girl per se, just human girls who's emotions become energy that isn't bound by the natural laws of the universe (aka magic) when they make a contract with QB.
The relation between magic and emotions in QB's conversation is not clear. As you say, he seems to speak of them interchangeably. First, he talks about the magic of MGs: he says his species was "looking for energy that wasn't bound by thermodynamics. / And that's when we discovered the magic of the Puella Magi." Then he makes a parallel statement about the emotions of humans in general: "Our culture developed the technology / that converts the emotions of conscious life forms into energy. / [...] We evaluated many other species in this universe, / and finally found you, humans."

So I think you are probably right, and that we can infer from this juxtaposition, where QB talks about magic and MGs and emotions and humanity without distinction, that MGs magical power derives from the general human capacity for emotions.

Since that is the case, I don't think your second inference holds: that is, that human emotions are only available as an energy source to QB in the specific cases of magical girls under contract to him. His language is categorical, referring to humanity as species, and specifying the general maturation of humans as correlated to the increase in the energy potential of humans. He singles out girls in puberty as the most "effective" source of human emotional energy, which implies that the general expression of human emotion is also effective, only less so.

But I can see why you do say that, since QB does talk initially about the magic of MGs as an energy source specifically. So your second inference may still be right. QB's language is confusing--I would be reluctant to build too much of a case on this confusion, especially in a translation.

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
While I do respect the views of others here, I do think that the concept of "balance" has perhaps been overblown a bit in some interpretations of this anime.

Kyubey getting a free energy lunch at no cost seems to strongly suggest that even if there is a "balance" in the world of Madoka Magica, it doesn't apply to everything. I don't think that it applies in a karmic sense, for example. If it did, Kyoko and Sayaka should have built up a lot of "good karma" from their objectively heroic acts and deeds, and met with much better fates than they did.


I think that there may be an emotional balance in the world of Madoka Magica. That, on the whole, happiness and sadness; joy and suffering, must exist in equal quantities. And here we see why Kyoko and Sayaka fall so far: Both had great moments of joy at certain points of their lives, due to their wishes.


And that's why Kyubey gets an exemption from any such system of emotional balance. He has no emotions.


If there is an emotional balance in this world, then that might bode well for Homura and Madoka. They've gone through a lot of suffering for a long time now (especially Homura).
Very nice.

Last edited by CrowKenobi; 2011-03-21 at 23:55. Reason: The "EDIT" button is your friend...
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Old 2011-03-21, 13:46   Link #585
Kazu-kun
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Since that is the case, I don't think your second inference holds: that is, that human emotions are only available as an energy source to QB in the specific cases of magical girls under contract to him. His language is categorical, referring to humanity as species, and specifying the general maturation of humans as correlated to the increase in the energy potential of humans. He singles out girls in puberty as the most "effective" source of human emotional energy, which implies that the general expression of human emotion is also effective, only less so.
I don't disagree with this. I just wanted to point out the "contract" is what turns emotions (not only human's, but of any species capable of emotions) into magic (energy that isn't bound to natural laws), and so magic itself doesn't really exist; emotions turned into magic due to a contract with QB exist.

But yeah, I agree the subject of the "contract" doesn't necessarily have to be a girl (or even human). QB singles out human girls because they're the most effective source of emotions, as you said, but it could be any other being capable of emotions.
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Old 2011-03-23, 00:31   Link #586
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Good points everyone. I agree that the only "balance" suggested by the words and experiences of the characters are that of happiness and sadness, and of wishes and curses. However I can't help but feel that this balance is a little off. Does each contract really bring happiness in equal proportion to the suffering it causes? I don't believe so. Of course it's difficult to quantitatively measure "happiness" and "suffering", but imo the destruction of a city or the planet is an objective indication of a net decrease in happiness. Is the production of usable energy from this process incidental? Or is there a cause and effect relationship?

Now looking from the angle of the "taint". When a MG uses magic (doing work), the Soul Gem obtains some taint as a result. Even more energy is produced when the taint reaches a level sufficient to birth a witch, which represents a surge of negative emotion. QB's words do suggest that positive emotion also produces energy, but the entire process has a definite overall trend towards the negative. In thermodynamics there are processes that result in a localized decrease of entropy, but accompanied by a greater increase of universal entropy (life is a good example of this). Could the MG system be an analogue of this? i.e. fortune followed by greater misfortune. Again, is the production of energy incidental to this process, or a result of it?

From QB's words we see that he himself does not fully understand the MG system. There might be catches to it that he is not aware of, or sees as irrelevant. Perhaps I am taking "balance" a little too literally, when it's supposed to be simply a loose concept of cause and effect, meant to portray a certain philosophy instead of as part of some quantitative description of metaphysics, and it really is as simple as emotion = energy (does that mean happy drugs + teenage girls = free energy? ). But hey they brought up thermodynamics as a plot device...
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Old 2011-03-23, 08:24   Link #587
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Does each contract really bring happiness in equal proportion to the suffering it causes? I don't believe so. Of course it's difficult to quantitatively measure "happiness" and "suffering", but imo the destruction of a city or the planet is an objective indication of a net decrease in happiness.
Not for the "countless civilizations", they are freaking happy with the ton of energy harvested. It could probably let them make luxurious huge starships that use a sol system's sun output every minute, just like those horrible mileage cars like the bentley/maserati/etc.

And if the countless civilizations are 100:1 to humanity, well on the universal happiness scale, its all good.

Then again happiness has never been used to define anything but the human emotional state.
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Old 2011-03-23, 22:47   Link #588
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Not for the "countless civilizations", they are freaking happy with the ton of energy harvested. It could probably let them make luxurious huge starships that use a sol system's sun output every minute, just like those horrible mileage cars like the bentley/maserati/etc.

And if the countless civilizations are 100:1 to humanity, well on the universal happiness scale, its all good.

Then again happiness has never been used to define anything but the human emotional state.
I can buy that, but then, that still means the MG and earth in general are getting shafted, which is really what I'm getting at, that what's happening in the show is not true balance, at least not in the sense that the MG are reaping what they sow. It is not some natural karmic system to be accepted. It is simply a case of someone benefiting at the expense of someone else. Maybe that's not the writer's intention, but it's what I see.
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Old 2011-04-17, 23:39   Link #589
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sigh...Kyoko turned out to be one of my favorite characters
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Old 2011-04-18, 03:56   Link #590
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Not for the "countless civilizations", they are freaking happy with the ton of energy harvested. It could probably let them make luxurious huge starships that use a sol system's sun output every minute, just like those horrible mileage cars like the bentley/maserati/etc.
*Imagines a very contented Kyuubey driving a Bentley*
Kyuubey... you friggin' bas... >_<

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sigh...Kyoko turned out to be one of my favorite characters
+1 there, pal...
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Old 2011-05-18, 01:02   Link #591
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Watching this episode i was sad that Sayaka couldn't be saved. And i couldn't stop crying when Kyouko sacrificied herself so they wouldn't have to be alone anymore. Then i noticed the yuri undertones....to me at least.
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Old 2011-05-18, 10:26   Link #592
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Just a speculation..

I think one of the reasons (not saying it is the only reason) why Kyouko put her soul gem in the way of her final attack is to make sure she doesn't turn into a witch later on. Because if her soul gem would be destroyed, it can't turn into a grief seed anymore.
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Old 2011-05-18, 11:00   Link #593
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yeah, it seems so. She chooses to die together with Sayaka rather than live a lonely life that will end in death or witchhood anyway.
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Old 2011-08-13, 14:21   Link #594
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Akemi's dramatic posing was definitely reaching epic proportions in this level and it's a little unfortunate that some of it had to happen during the scene where Madoka was grieving the loss of Sayaka. See the problem is whenever Akemi does her dramatic posing, head tilting etc. I start to chuckle and when that happens during a scene that is supposed to be really sad it's a little bit of a mood killer. IMO the scene where Akemi and Kyoko are talking should have been somewhere away from where Madoka was cradling Sayaka's body, but what can you do.

So anyway, this episode Kyubei finally spills out some more details. Apparently he sees all this as being done to prevent the impending collapse of the universe from running out of energy and that in order to collect th energy to prevent that from happening he started the magical girl system. Apparently this is also because the strongest form of energy comes from pre-pubescent girls.....okay I guess we'll go with this since it functions as a reason and works with the plot, but I can't help but sense a little plot contrivance in trying to tie this all up just the same. It's about as good an explanation as Nephrite from Sailor Moon's, "All humans have a period when their energy is at it's absolute peak and that's when I'll strike". Of course there it was different for everyone since people lead different lives whereas here it's emphatically stated that it's the lolis that have the peak energy output.

Anyway the real strength of this episode lies in getting to see how far Kyoko has come as a character. When we first me her she was basically a brat, but now I have to wonder if she was ever actually capable of delivering a killing blow to Sayaka. Even here when she was a witch she seemed hesistant and you can see the bonds that have developed between her and the rest of the group. Of course she also became the new sempai to Madoka, but that's typically a death flag (mostly in mecha, but often in any shows with action) and especially here when Mami and Sayaka have both died almost immediately after taking on that role. That leaves just Akemi now and I almost have to feel like she's completely doomed, but maybe her time powers can come in handy.

With Kyubei having seemingly already set everything up so it forces Madoka down the line of becoming a magical girl one has to think he's got it in the bag. Will that necessarily be a bad thing though? I think the solution lies in proving some way to him that there's an equally efficient way to gather the energy he needs ala Sailor Moon R's Doom Tree arc. It's time to start working a little more on logic rather than emotion, which has so far lead to nothing but tragedy. Perhaps that's the balance that's needed more than anything. Mixing Madoka's compassion with Akemi's logic and ability I'm sure they can come up with a solution in the final 3 episodes that'll salvage some of the situation.
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Old 2011-08-13, 15:12   Link #595
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So anyway, this episode Kyubei finally spills out some more details. Apparently he sees all this as being done to prevent the impending collapse of the universe from running out of energy and that in order to collect th energy to prevent that from happening he started the magical girl system. Apparently this is also because the strongest form of energy comes from pre-pubescent girls.....okay I guess we'll go with this since it functions as a reason and works with the plot, but I can't help but sense a little plot contrivance in trying to tie this all up just the same. It's about as good an explanation as Nephrite from Sailor Moon's, "All humans have a period when their energy is at it's absolute peak and that's when I'll strike". Of course there it was different for everyone since people lead different lives whereas here it's emphatically stated that it's the lolis that have the peak energy output.
The thing is with QB's explanation is that we know that everything the guy says is either half truths or lies with partial truths being somewhere in there. This episode is pretty much highlights that when it starts with him telling Kyoko that while it's never been tried, Sayaka might be saved and then going to Houmra and telling her it was impossible. As the QB defenders brigade might say, technically, he might have not told a lie to Kyoko, but going by what he said at the end, it's clear that he was stringing her down a path that would lead to her being killed while trying to save Witch!Sayaka, so that Madoka would have no choice but become a magical girl.

So, going by that and how he told none of the girls the many catches to being a MG (being a zombie, becoming a witch, killing your brethren etc.) Was what he told Madoka in that room the honest truth ... or was he trying to further confuse an already distraught young girl into doing what he wanted her to do, again like he had been doing since the start of the series?

If we think about it, since QB's MO is pretty much ''turn Madoka into a MG so I can have that latent energy she has'' and we have prove in this episode that he had been engineering things to go to the point where she had to become an MG, why exactly would he tell the truth at this point? How would he benefit from it? No, I think that what said, while it might have been an outright lie (but again, like some had pointed out, half truths (if that)) was meant to once again, insure that Madoka was on the way he set so she could become a MG. ''Call me if you want to die for the universe'' doesn't strikes me as someone wanting to be honest.
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Anyway the real strength of this episode lies in getting to see how far Kyoko has come as a character. When we first me her she was basically a brat, but now I have to wonder if she was ever actually capable of delivering a killing blow to Sayaka. Even here when she was a witch she seemed hesistant and you can see the bonds that have developed between her and the rest of the group. Of course she also became the new sempai to Madoka, but that's typically a death flag (mostly in mecha, but often in any shows with action) and especially here when Mami and Sayaka have both died almost immediately after taking on that role. That leaves just Akemi now and I almost have to feel like she's completely doomed, but maybe her time powers can come in handy.
Kyoko had grown up to be, I thought, the most well handled of the cast. Sure, every one of them is unique in their own way, and each ended up having a satisfying character arc, but I think that Kyoko who was the one who got to make the best usage of her time while on screen. Each scene she was in helped push her story and development more, and there wasn't a scene I though that was wasted on her.

She's my second favorite of the entire cast, right after Houmra and right above Sayaka.
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Old 2011-08-22, 04:40   Link #596
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*Imagines a very contented Kyuubey driving a Bentley*
Kyuubey... you friggin' bas... >_<



+1 there, pal...
Who cares mileage? Buy me a bugatti veyron and i am going to bang him to hell...

+2 there too pal...
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