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Old 2011-04-08, 14:35   Link #1861
Akashin
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
See what I mean with "assuming too much"?? QB never told anything like that to any of the other girls. It's Homura's wish, specifically, what he says can overcome (not improve) entropy, which it does because it's time-travel.

Other than that, it's the energy released when a magical girl becomes a witch what he stated he uses to combat the entropy of the universe.

You want to think this two statements are related, but there's nothing pointing that way. It's just a baseless assumption.
To say that all wishes technically surpass (or going by your words, overcome) entropy isn't really assuming too much. Now, I do agree that it is strange that he says this to Homura specifically, and as such it is perhaps true that he was referring to her time travel specifically. But that's still a distinction that I feel is significant, since if we go by the idea that this line is a meaningless one that has no deeper meaning then this point becomes relevant.

Note for the record that I'm not disagreeing with you here; I'm just clarifying the point I tried to make earlier.

Last edited by Akashin; 2011-04-08 at 14:36. Reason: Making my words clearer
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Old 2011-04-08, 14:49   Link #1862
Sol Falling
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
See what I mean with "assuming too much"?? QB never told anything like that to any of the other girls. It's Homura's wish, specifically, what he says can overcome (not improve) entropy, which it does because it's time-travel.
In what sense do you mean 'any of the other girls'? How many other wish/contract scenes do you think we've actually seen? Is that remotely large enough a sample size to say that Homura's wish is unique and somehow different?

Quote:
Other than that, it's the energy released when a magical girl becomes a witch what he stated he uses to combat the entropy of the universe.
No, what Kyuubey said is he collects that energy. And you know what an explosion is? The opposite of collecting energy! Kyuubey doesn't use some random explosions to 'combat the entropy of the universe'. He has to collect it first.

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You want to think this two statements are related, but there's nothing pointing that way. It's just a baseless assumption.
Sure there's evidence pointing that way. The first time Kyuubey eats a Grief Seed, he says "this is one of my functions". What? Why? He does nothing to explain anything further than that.

Then along comes episode 9, where Kyuubey reveals his true motivations. He reveals his actual job: "collecting energy". There! That explains everything, clears up the earlier questions. Very simple.

Where does Kyuubey indicate that the magical girl -> witch transformation is 'essential', or that he collects the energy 'at specifically that moment'? Who's the one making assumptions here?
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Old 2011-04-08, 15:00   Link #1863
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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
In what sense do you mean 'any of the other girls'? How many other wish/contract scenes have we actually seen? Do you think that is remotely large enough a sample size to say that Homura's wish is unique and somehow different?
I don't assume Homura's wish is different. It is. it is the only example we have of a wish that warps the laws of the universe (overcoming entropy / travel through time). Sayaka's wish doesn't do this, nor Mami's or Kyoko's.

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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
No, what Kyuubey said is he collects that energy. And you know what an explosion is? The opposite of collecting energy! Kyuubey doesn't use some random explosions to 'combat the entropy of the universe'. He has to collect it first.
So? What's your point? You want to deny the fact that he collects the energy released when a soul gem becomes grief seed, even though that's what he said??

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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
Sure there's evidence pointing that way. The first time Kyuubey eats a Grief Seed, he says "this is one of my functions". What? Why? He does nothing to explain anything further than that.

Then along comes episode 9, where Kyuubey reveals his true motivations. He reveals his actual job: "collecting energy". There! That explains everything, clears up the earlier questions. Very simple.
It doesn't explain anything. You're assuming "one of my functions" and "my job" necessary refer to the same thing, but you have no proof of that. You're making up the connection on your own.
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Old 2011-04-08, 17:40   Link #1864
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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
Here you acknowledge the fact that Grief Seeds actually contain negative emotion i.e. emotional energy. If Kyuubey has got them anyway, why wouldn't he use them as a source of energy somehow?
And did I not say just prior to that statement that any answer you get will probably not be satisfactory and full of pseudo science? I honestly don't know what he did with the Seed, or what he'll use it for, and neither do you. Both of us are speculating.

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And even then the question still remains, if Kyuubey is supposed to collect that energy, then how can the energy even be said to be 'collected' if it is allowed to disperse as kinetic energy into the surrounding environment. If Kyuubey were actually collecting that energy, then technically we shouldn't even be seeing an explosion at all.
You're trying to apply real life human understanding to a show that uses aliens and magic as a basis for the story. "A wizard did it", is as good an answer as any.

He told you exactly what he desires in episode 9. He wants Magical Girls to turn into Witches, and specifically he wants the energy that occurs when they are at the height of emotion: the transformation into a Witch.

Could there also be some function for the Grief Seeds? Sure. But that isn't his primary goal.
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Old 2011-04-08, 19:25   Link #1865
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Now there are some interviews available where Gen reveals he didn't thought that much about some of his concepts. For example, he doesn't know for sure how Homura's time travel abilities work. Maybe a parallel world is created when the shield is activated, he said, but he doesn't really know.

He didn't say anything about the entropy crap specifically, but considering these comments, you can tell he most likely didn't think too much about how QB collects his energy, and so on.

BTW, according to him, the protagonist is Homura. I wonder how that fits with everyone's theories here.
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Last edited by Kazu-kun; 2011-04-08 at 19:38.
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Old 2011-04-08, 21:10   Link #1866
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
Now there are some interviews available where Gen reveals he didn't thought that much about some of his concepts. For example, he doesn't know for sure how Homura's time travel abilities work. Maybe a parallel world is created when the shield is activated, he said, but he doesn't really know.
Considering how much people are flipping out over poor science when he used the word "entropy", it's probably for the better that he didn't try to fill in an explanation.
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Old 2011-04-08, 21:56   Link #1867
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Originally Posted by k//eternal View Post
Considering how much people are flipping out over poor science when he used the word "entropy", it's probably for the better that he didn't try to fill in an explanation.
I'm inclined to agree, but there's something extremely annoying about the fact that he hasn't bothered to understand how something he created (non-literally, of course; the idea is hardly new) works. Maybe I'm just overreacting since I'm a writer, but it's typically nice if you take the time to understand how your own creations work.
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Old 2011-04-08, 22:41   Link #1868
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Originally Posted by Akashin View Post
I'm inclined to agree, but there's something extremely annoying about the fact that he hasn't bothered to understand how something he created (non-literally, of course; the idea is hardly new) works. Maybe I'm just overreacting since I'm a writer, but it's typically nice if you take the time to understand how your own creations work.
Entropy is a quick and dirty explanation. However, better to have a quick and dirty explanation than a confusing and complex one.

Sure, Urobuchi could do some research on entropy and bog the general population down in the laws of thermodynamics, but most people just want the simple version. There are a few people who seek complete, perfect consistency with every detail prior. These are the people drawing simulations of Puella Magi population dynamics on math programs. Writing a story to appease this demographic is very difficult to create without taking away from the emotional and compelling parts. Truthfully, Urobuchi is better at the dramatic anyway.

Kyubey could have said "I'm working for the sake of the whole universe" without using the word "entropy." Because Urobuchi wants to portray Kyubey as a technologically superior, by-the-statistics being, a scientific concept is used as justification. Expanding on the concept is something Urobuchi has little intention to do - entropy was only important for that one scene in episode 9. It reappears once more in episode 10, yet only serves as more proof of Kyubey telling the truth. "Your wish has improved the entropy." Would both Kyubeys have lied to both Homura and Madoka, when the two Kyubeys were of different timelines? You could say Kyubey runs with his entropy excuse in every timeline, for every girl he meets. Still, there is little reason for Kyubey to lie to Homura, after Homura had already made the wish.

Urobuchi understands how entropy works; he simply used entropy in a way to cause skepticism among a few posters. Quite a bit of the analysis here is founded on the assumption Kyubey is lying - the viewers have yet to see Kyubey's race, the detrimental effects of universal entropy, or how contracting Puella Magi may reverse entropy. Other arguments have focused upon how Kyubey is inefficient at his task of gathering emotional energy. Still others frame the Madokaverse in similar fashion to our own, and point out heat death is a very, very long time from now.

I question whether Urobuchi has even considered the above topics of any importance to the show. The main point is Kyubey works for the overall good of the universe, and sacrifices some lower lifeforms to do so. Entropy is just there because Kyubey needs something concrete as an explanation. For this reason, some may be displeased with Kyubey. I'm okay with it.
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Old 2011-04-08, 23:00   Link #1869
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Urobuchi understands how entropy works; he simply used entropy in a way to cause skepticism among a few posters. Quite a bit of the analysis here is founded on the assumption Kyubey is lying - the viewers have yet to see Kyubey's race, the detrimental effects of universal entropy, or how contracting Puella Magi may reverse entropy. Other arguments have focused upon how Kyubey is inefficient at his task of gathering emotional energy. Still others frame the Madokaverse in similar fashion to our own, and point out heat death is a very, very long time from now.

I question whether Urobuchi has even considered the above topics of any importance to the show. The main point is Kyubey works for the overall good of the universe, and sacrifices some lower lifeforms to do so. Entropy is just there because Kyubey needs something concrete as an explanation. For this reason, some may be displeased with Kyubey. I'm okay with it.
Aren't we supposed to share Madoka's viewpoint anyway? Homura has already stated that Kyubey does not have the same moral values as humans do. The goal of reducing entropy just makes it harder to side with Kyubey.
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Old 2011-04-08, 23:10   Link #1870
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Entropy is a quick and dirty explanation. However, better to have a quick and dirty explanation than a confusing and complex one.
I was actually referring to the lack of explanation for Homura's time travel and, more specifically, Kazu-kun's assertion that Urobuchi claimed not to fully understand its mechanics himself. Time travel doesn't need to be logical (in fact, trying to make it the least bit logical is likely to be a hopeless endeavor), but at least clarifying which time travel idea you're running with (ie. is Homura moving backwards along the same timeline or, like Kazu-kun said, is she creating parallel lines each time?) would be nice.
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Old 2011-04-08, 23:24   Link #1871
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Originally Posted by Akashin View Post
I was actually referring to the lack of explanation for Homura's time travel and, more specifically, Kazu-kun's assertion that Urobuchi claimed not to fully understand its mechanics himself. Time travel doesn't need to be logical (in fact, trying to make it the least bit logical is likely to be a hopeless endeavor), but at least clarifying which time travel idea you're running with (ie. is Homura moving backwards along the same timeline or, like Kazu-kun said, is she creating parallel lines each time?) would be nice.
This is what databooks are for? The relevance to the story of explaining that niggling little detail is so negligible anyways that it may be better off not being explained at all. Lest I get to enjoy a shounen-esque explanation of all of Homu's powers in the middle of battle. Wouldn't that be lovely?
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Old 2011-04-08, 23:26   Link #1872
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Originally Posted by Deconstructor View Post
Entropy is a quick and dirty explanation. However, better to have a quick and dirty explanation than a confusing and complex one.
While I get what you're saying, what makes you think it has to be either/or?

Before we got this explanation (and during the confusion before the ep was properly translated), it was one theory that Kyube was balancing good and evil. The lines from the characters prior to that point, such as Kyoko, began to suggest that happiness and sadness must be balanced. If you have a great joy, it must be balanced by a great sorrow. Kyoko keeping her joys small and to herself, meant that any corresponding sorrows would be similarly small; thus her worldview was a valid one.

If I were writing this, that would have been the route I would have gone. For those that are familiar with him, it could also be called the Galactus route. Kyube neither good nor evil, his very existence and what he does necessary to the fabric of the universe, however.

After just a little thinking, here's my current idea, although it would probably need some refinement:
Spoiler for Alternative to Entropy:


In my opinion, entropy and thermodynamics just make this thing messy. If PMMM is gonna go the deconstruction route, this might be better. Most MG's in other shows fight for truth and justice and love; it would be a nice twist to find out while they do that, it is only to help maintain a balance, and just the darker side has to be equally accounted for. They have to die for anger, hate, etc. as well.

It would also fit more nicely into what Kyoko was talking about, and mesh better with the theme of the show up until that point.
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Old 2011-04-08, 23:31   Link #1873
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I think that Gen went with "stopping entropy" as Kyubey's motivation for the following reasons:

1) By the time that Episode 10 rolls around, he probably does want most viewers to perceive Kyubey in a villainous light. However, he doesn't want Kyubey to be seen as a character that destroys the lives of teenage girls for sheer sadistic shits and giggles, partly since I think he wants Kyubey to come across as more of a force of corrupt order than of chaotic destruction.

Gen probably wants Kyuybey to have some sort of vaguely understandable reason for doing what he does. Just enough reason so that the average viewer will not consider Kyubey a basic mustache-twirling cackling bad guy, but at the same time will still consider him a guy that Madoka absolutely should hate and loath.


2) Possibly to put more of a sci-fi spin on the story, and give it a bit more of a realistic sci-fi feel.


Now, while I did dislike the entropy reveal early on, I've largely come to terms with it, and now consider it a secondary detail at best.

That being said, anybody carefully examining this anime's story has every right to factor Kyubey's entropy reveal into their understanding of this anime's plot, settings, and characters, and expect the entropy reveal to fit seamlessly and make sense.

Does it? Well, at some level, I think so. I'm willing to go along with the idea that maybe entropy works a bit differently in the Madoka Magica universe than in the real universe, and hence what Kyubey is doing does help stave it off. However, aside from any necessary changes to entropy in order to make it fit with this anime's story, I'm going to assume that entropy works the same as it does in the real universe. Which is to say it won't be a pressing issue in Madokaverse for a very, very long time. This of course makes Kyubey seem a fair bit less defensible. But then, I think that's probably what Gen wants. I don't think he wants Kyubey's reasons for doing what he does to be morally defensible, just intellectually understandable.

Now, when you consider the entropy revelation further, it does make Kyubey's means of collecting energy to stave it off seem somewhat questionable. More magical girls are dying on him than witchifying and that's not good for his energy collecting purposes. But that doesn't undermine the basic story any, it just makes Kyubey look a bit less competent. It doesn't make him seem any less creepy or disturbing though, and that's probably what is most important for him and his character.


Edit: All of the above being said, I agree with what Kaijo just wrote above. Kyubey's entropy revelation throws quite a wrench into all this balance talk that Kyouko and Sayaka were getting on with. The reason being that Kyubey is getting quite the free lunch out of all of this. I don't see much balance there.

So if Gen was going for a theme involving the concept of balance, he muddied things up for himself with this entropy reveal, imo.

But then, I don't think Gen is aiming for a theme involving the concept of balance (except, perhaps, emotional balance).
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Old 2011-04-09, 00:02   Link #1874
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Originally Posted by Makender View Post
This is what databooks are for? The relevance to the story of explaining that niggling little detail is so negligible anyways that it may be better off not being explained at all. Lest I get to enjoy a shounen-esque explanation of all of Homu's powers in the middle of battle. Wouldn't that be lovely?
Negligible? Yes. And I would have left it alone too since, as you say, this little detail is utterly meaningless to the plot at large. My qualm is with the fact that Urobuchi doesn't even necessarily understand how it works. And I never said it has to come out over the course of the story; as you say, databooks or the like would be perfectly fine. My entire issue, again, was with Urobuchi's (allegedly, anyway; I haven't actually seen the quotes Kazu-kun is referring to) claim that he doesn't perfectly understand it himself.

Its not an important point to me; its just, much like the detail itself, a little bit of nitpicking on my part.
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Old 2011-04-09, 00:05   Link #1875
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Before we got this explanation (and during the confusion before the ep was properly translated), it was one theory that Kyube was balancing good and evil. The lines from the characters prior to that point, such as Kyoko, began to suggest that happiness and sadness must be balanced. If you have a great joy, it must be balanced by a great sorrow. Kyoko keeping her joys small and to herself, meant that any corresponding sorrows would be similarly small; thus her worldview was a valid one.
In essence, this is still true. Kyubey makes young teenage girls suffer for the happiness and prosperity of the rest of the universe. Thereby, the universe's emotions remain balanced. Few girls suffer a lot, while everyone else is just a little bit happier.

The difference you suggest notes Madoka and company feel very little happiness. Their sadness is clearly far greater than their happiness.

I believe the natural order of the universe is balance, much like flipping a coin will land on heads half the time and tails the other half. Most people go through a mixture of happiness and sadness, and overall the net emotion comes close to zero.

However, when you get technologically advanced races like Kyubey involved, the scales start tipping. Heat death of the universe is, metaphorically speaking, complete energy balance. As the Wikipedia article on heat death states, "If the universe lasts for a sufficient time, it will asymptotically approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed." Kyubey is working against entropy, the natural balancing process of the universe. His method is to exploit the human race, which can defy entropy with emotional energy.

This suggests Kyubey's actions are quite unbalanced, at least where Madoka and her friends are concerned. Every time Kyubey grants a wish, the resulting happiness feels forced and artificial. In Kyoko's case, her wish was literally forced and her happiness was an illusion. Once the wisher realizes their wish has turned out differently than expected, genuine sadness emerges. Mami cheated death, so she seems happy on the outside; however, she was truly lonely and saddened deep inside. Similar to the idea of how material possessions cannot bring a person "true" happiness; we are only pretending to be happy with our stuff. Ultimately, the only real feelings in this show are despair and sadness. What seems like joy to characters is merely an artificial construct, brought about by twisted wishes.
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Old 2011-04-09, 03:01   Link #1876
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And did I not say just prior to that statement that any answer you get will probably not be satisfactory and full of pseudo science? I honestly don't know what he did with the Seed, or what he'll use it for, and neither do you. Both of us are speculating.
I don't necessarily see anything wrong with pseudo-science, or understand why any explanation involving it must be unsatisfactory. For a story to provide a pseudo-scientific attempt is probably better than to have no attempt at all.

Quote:
You're trying to apply real life human understanding to a show that uses aliens and magic as a basis for the story. "A wizard did it", is as good an answer as any.
Not really. The explanations you and others are providing actually seem like much more involved and complicated stretches of 'real life human understanding' from my perspective. My explanation for the Grief Seed issue is very simple: they contain (emotional) energy. We know that Kyuubey wants that, so (maybe?) that's why he's collecting them.

Quote:
He told you exactly what he desires in episode 9. He wants Magical Girls to turn into Witches, and specifically he wants the energy that occurs when they are at the height of emotion: the transformation into a Witch.

Could there also be some function for the Grief Seeds? Sure. But that isn't his primary goal.
As I've been telling you and Kazu-kun, unfortunately, there is no actual dialogue from Kyuubey which indicates what you are saying. Kyuubey does want energy, yes; but nowhere does he say he explicitly wants MGs to turn into witches. Energy is released during a MG -> witch transformation, true; but nowhere is it mentioned that it is that exact moment when Kyuubey collects that energy.

Here is an simple-to-understand suggestion for you and Kazu-kun: what if the energy from a MG to witch transformation is what transforms the Soul Gem into a Grief Seed? Would it not then be accurate to say that by collecting Grief Seeds, Kyuubey is collecting the energy from an MG to witch transformation?

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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
Now there are some interviews available where Gen reveals he didn't thought that much about some of his concepts. For example, he doesn't know for sure how Homura's time travel abilities work. Maybe a parallel world is created when the shield is activated, he said, but he doesn't really know.

He didn't say anything about the entropy crap specifically, but considering these comments, you can tell he most likely didn't think too much about how QB collects his energy, and so on.
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Originally Posted by Akashin View Post
I was actually referring to the lack of explanation for Homura's time travel and, more specifically, Kazu-kun's assertion that Urobuchi claimed not to fully understand its mechanics himself. Time travel doesn't need to be logical (in fact, trying to make it the least bit logical is likely to be a hopeless endeavor), but at least clarifying which time travel idea you're running with (ie. is Homura moving backwards along the same timeline or, like Kazu-kun said, is she creating parallel lines each time?) would be nice.
You know, it seems to me that Gen's actual reason for saying this might be to prevent people from reading too far into the time-travel aspect of the story. I think we all know very well here how attached some people can get to their speculations about a story. Time travel in particular is something which can inspire people to make up endless theories and predictions over. I think, by saying he hasn't thought too much about it, what Gen is really doing is gently letting those people know not to expect too much out of that part of the story. It's not so much that Gen himself has absolutely zero idea how the time travelling is supposed to work or has no intention in how it should be read in the story. Moreso him letting people know that the significant aspects of Homura's time travelling might only be what's immediately obvious--that Homura is stuck in a time loop; that her only way out of it is by protecting Madoka.

If I had to go with my gut, I'd say that the time travelling mechanism Gen actually believes in might well be simply the simplest--Homura going back and just waking up as part of the same timeline. The problem is, confirming even just this might make speculators jump to further, unsupportable conclusions, so it might be easier for Gen to just say he's got no idea as a method for managing expectations.

Along the same lines, I might be hesitant to use this comment to jump to similar conclusions that Gen is using the other 'entropy' concepts completely frivolously. Yes, he probably knows what entropy is; it's just not all that important to the story.

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BTW, according to him, the protagonist is Homura. I wonder how that fits with everyone's theories here.
This particular comment is new to me, but for my part, my theories rest on the idea that in the end, Madoka will be the main actor. Perhaps Homura can be the main protagonist in the sense that she will be the main 'viewpoint character'. I don't think Gen's point in that message necessarily forces us to assume anything, but yeah, let's wait and see.


As for these two quotes here:
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
All of the above being said, I agree with what Kaijo just wrote above. Kyubey's entropy revelation throws quite a wrench into all this balance talk that Kyouko and Sayaka were getting on with. The reason being that Kyubey is getting quite the free lunch out of all of this. I don't see much balance there.

So if Gen was going for a theme involving the concept of balance, he muddied things up for himself with this entropy reveal, imo.

But then, I don't think Gen is aiming for a theme involving the concept of balance (except, perhaps, emotional balance).
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Originally Posted by Deconstructor View Post
However, when you get technologically advanced races like Kyubey involved, the scales start tipping. Heat death of the universe is, metaphorically speaking, complete energy balance. As the Wikipedia article on heat death states, "If the universe lasts for a sufficient time, it will asymptotically approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed." Kyubey is working against entropy, the natural balancing process of the universe. His method is to exploit the human race, which can defy entropy with emotional energy.

This suggests Kyubey's actions are quite unbalanced, at least where Madoka and her friends are concerned. Every time Kyubey grants a wish, the resulting happiness feels forced and artificial. In Kyoko's case, her wish was literally forced and her happiness was an illusion. Once the wisher realizes their wish has turned out differently than expected, genuine sadness emerges. Mami cheated death, so she seems happy on the outside; however, she was truly lonely and saddened deep inside. Similar to the idea of how material possessions cannot bring a person "true" happiness; we are only pretending to be happy with our stuff. Ultimately, the only real feelings in this show are despair and sadness. What seems like joy to characters is merely an artificial construct, brought about by twisted wishes.
These are some very interesting points you two are making, with regards to how Kyuubey represents in some ways an outlier and disrupter to the show's theme of universal balance. Both in terms of the unbalanced 'free lunch' he is getting out of the girls' suffering, and in terms of his goals of escaping entropy, you guys are correct in pointing out Kyuubey's position as being uniquely incongruent in terms of the greater morals of this story.

In this case, if we can posit the 'natural' balance as indeed the absolute moral behind this story, may I suggest the idea that this is perhaps precisely why Kyuubey is the villain? Although at this time we can see Kyuubey as being uniquely successful in doing so, isn't it in fact true however that the desire to get 'something for nothing', a 'free lunch' or 'more than you paid for' is something which is inherently part of all humans? Indeed, while Kyuubey might be trying to achieve something which is against the true course of nature, that ambition can also be said to be reflected in each of the wishes these girls have traded their souls for.

In this case, by sympathizing with these characters who have been harmed by Kyuubey's self-interest, perhaps the role of Kyuubey who succeeds in that act is precisely to make us reflect on the cost inherent in our own actions. Victims of Kyuubey's quest to deny nature, we come to understand the pain that would be caused by seeking to deny nature ourselves. In this way, Kyuubey as the antithetical alien interloper becomes ultimately only a mirror to our own humanity. Kyuubey, by striving to escape the cost and reward, gain and sacrifice nature of our reality, finally only proves how he is chained to it in how he becomes directly involved in our human suffering.

(lol, okay, I don't even know what I really want to say here so that will be the end of my random rambling.)
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Old 2011-04-09, 05:58   Link #1877
erneiz_hyde
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My guess is the Gen's knowledge on entropy is limited to just "everything will eventually go towards disorder". He's emo that way. ;p

Add:
First thing, it's not conclusive whether the universe really is a closed system or not, so the heat death theory is still just theory. Though note, afaik current quantum mechanics predicts that entropy change in any closed system is zero, but that's probably because of our lack of understanding.
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Old 2011-04-09, 07:39   Link #1878
Akashin
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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
I don't necessarily see anything wrong with pseudo-science, or understand why any explanation involving it must be unsatisfactory. For a story to provide a pseudo-scientific attempt is probably better than to have no attempt at all.

Not really. The explanations you and others are providing actually seem like much more involved and complicated stretches of 'real life human understanding' from my perspective. My explanation for the Grief Seed issue is very simple: they contain (emotional) energy. We know that Kyuubey wants that, so (maybe?) that's why he's collecting them.

As I've been telling you and Kazu-kun, unfortunately, there is no actual dialogue from Kyuubey which indicates what you are saying. Kyuubey does want energy, yes; but nowhere does he say he explicitly wants MGs to turn into witches. Energy is released during a MG -> witch transformation, true; but nowhere is it mentioned that it is that exact moment when Kyuubey collects that energy.
While in the most technical sense you're right, I'd say it's some pretty hard nitpicking to say that he does not strongly (if not absolutely) infer that the energy released during transformation is what he collects. Saying it's his job to collect "that energy" leaves the meaning relatively clear, whether or not he directly says he collects energy at that exact moment. In fact, its entirely possible you're right so say he collects some energy by consuming Grief Seeds (there's nothing said in-series to suggest this is not the case, but then, there's nothing saying he does either), but it still pretty much goes without saying that the explosion of energy (illogical as that may be) is what he is after.

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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
You know, it seems to me that Gen's actual reason for saying this might be to prevent people from reading too far into the time-travel aspect of the story. I think we all know very well here how attached some people can get to their speculations about a story. Time travel in particular is something which can inspire people to make up endless theories and predictions over. I think, by saying he hasn't thought too much about it, what Gen is really doing is gently letting those people know not to expect too much out of that part of the story. It's not so much that Gen himself has absolutely zero idea how the time travelling is supposed to work or has no intention in how it should be read in the story. Moreso him letting people know that the significant aspects of Homura's time travelling might only be what's immediately obvious--that Homura is stuck in a time loop; that her only way out of it is by protecting Madoka.

If I had to go with my gut, I'd say that the time travelling mechanism Gen actually believes in might well be simply the simplest--Homura going back and just waking up as part of the same timeline. The problem is, confirming even just this might make speculators jump to further, unsupportable conclusions, so it might be easier for Gen to just say he's got no idea as a method for managing expectations.

Along the same lines, I might be hesitant to use this comment to jump to similar conclusions that Gen is using the other 'entropy' concepts completely frivolously. Yes, he probably knows what entropy is; it's just not all that important to the story.
=/ It's this part of debating with you that gets dull and boring, because too often there's absolutely nothing you say that I disagree with. There's still a small point to be made in the fact that, if it's really as you say, he shouldn't have said anything about her time travel powers at all, but if it was said via an interview as Kazu-kun states then odds are somebody else asked him. So while saying that he doesn't understand it feels a bit stupid, I won't argue that keeping it simple and unexplained is more sensible.
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Old 2011-04-09, 08:58   Link #1879
Kazu-kun
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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
As I've been telling you and Kazu-kun, unfortunately, there is no actual dialogue from Kyuubey which indicates what you are saying. Kyuubey does want energy, yes; but nowhere does he say he explicitly wants MGs to turn into witches. Energy is released during a MG -> witch transformation, true; but nowhere is it mentioned that it is that exact moment when Kyuubey collects that energy.

Here is an simple-to-understand suggestion for you and Kazu-kun: what if the energy from a MG to witch transformation is what transforms the Soul Gem into a Grief Seed? Would it not then be accurate to say that by collecting Grief Seeds, Kyuubey is collecting the energy from an MG to witch transformation?
Sorry, this doesn't make sense IMO. In episode 10, after Madoka turns into Gretchen, QB claims that defeating Gretchen isn't his problem because he already fulfilled his quota. For me, that's clear indication that he doesn't need the grief seed, just the MG to turn into Witch.
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Old 2011-04-09, 09:10   Link #1880
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post

In this case, if we can posit the 'natural' balance as indeed the absolute moral behind this story, may I suggest the idea that this is perhaps precisely why Kyuubey is the villain?
When a narrative's villain takes actions that are diametrically opposed to the moral or theme of the story, then that should ultimately result in the villain getting his comeuppance at some point (villains/antagonists don't always "lose", but when they don't, it's usually because they're not running afoul of the theme of the story, if there is one). In other words, you reinforce your moral/theme by showing the villain who goes against it getting defeated because he went against it.

Classic simple example: Vigilante and/or cop captures some crooks, sending them to jail, reinforcing the theme of "Crime doesn't pay".

So, should Kyubey get his comeuppance within the final episode or two, then that would back up your argument here quite nicely.

However, should Kyubey ultimately get away with his crimes, then that would throw serious doubts on the concept of "natural balance" being part of the theme of this anime, since villains who go against the theme of the story usually pay for it. If they get away with it, that kind of undermines the theme, imo.

Short version: Should Kyubey be made to pay for his crimes, then your argument here has some considerable merit. If he gets away with his crimes, though, then your argument here seems dubious to me. So, I think that this is a case were we'll need to wait for the final two episodes before we can determine how accurate your arguments here are. They are interesting ones, in any event.


Quote:

In this case, by sympathizing with these characters who have been harmed by Kyuubey's self-interest, perhaps the role of Kyuubey who succeeds in that act is precisely to make us reflect on the cost inherent in our own actions. Victims of Kyuubey's quest to deny nature, we come to understand the pain that would be caused by seeking to deny nature ourselves. In this way, Kyuubey as the antithetical alien interloper becomes ultimately only a mirror to our own humanity. Kyuubey, by striving to escape the cost and reward, gain and sacrifice nature of our reality, finally only proves how he is chained to it in how he becomes directly involved in our human suffering.
Very interesting.

So then, by Kyubey acting in his self-interest to the degree that he tries to get free lunches, he brings extreme pain and suffering (up to and including death) unto others. In displaying the horrors that Kyubey visits upon Earth, Gen is actually arguing against self-interest as one's sole driving motivation, implicitly arguing that sincere caring for the welfare of others should play a role in the decisions that we make.

If this is the case, then a profoundly altruistic and caring act by Madoka could be what resolves the plot of this anime, as it would be the logical antithesis to what Kyubey is standing for.


You've raised two intriguing ideas here, Sol.

However, how valid they are will probably ride on how the anime ends.
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