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Old 2011-04-14, 20:39   Link #2001
Triple_R
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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
I don't necessarily agree with Madoka's personality shift being an explicit consequence of it, but I do feel that there is inherently a very strong catch-22 in what Homura wished for. Contrary to what I've written above, one of the things I think Homura fails to properly understand right now is that if Homura travels back to rewrite history, then those past experiences--those past deaths, past promises and past Madokas--in fact cease to exist. On an objective level. They don't carry over, cannot touch anything, have no significance.
That's not necessarily the case.

For one thing, what you're writing here contradicts what you wrote in reply to ThereminVox earlier on in the same post.

If Madoka is remembering things from alternate timelines, then they most certainly do "carry over", and "have significance".


Beyond that, time travel can work in more than just one set way.

For example, it could be argued that every timeline that Homura has operated within continues on existing (as is) after she goes back in time. It's just that by Homura going back in time, she's created a new timeline; a new alternate reality branch, if you will.

To try to put it as simply as possible, Homura may not be wiping out entire timelines and replacing them with a fresh new one, but simply creating brand new ones while "older" timelines continue on without her. A lot of this goes back to multiple alternate realities theory - Homura may be simply "jumping off" from one reality to the next to the next. Not wiping any out, but just leaving a different mark on each and every one.

I can try to explain this particular conception of time travel in more detail if necessary, but I think that you probably get what I'm saying here.
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Old 2011-04-14, 23:37   Link #2002
Sekirei07
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
That's not necessarily the case.

For one thing, what you're writing here contradicts what you wrote in reply to ThereminVox earlier on in the same post.

If Madoka is remembering things from alternate timelines, then they most certainly do "carry over", and "have significance".


Beyond that, time travel can work in more than just one set way.

For example, it could be argued that every timeline that Homura has operated within continues on existing (as is) after she goes back in time. It's just that by Homura going back in time, she's created a new timeline; a new alternate reality branch, if you will.

To try to put it as simply as possible, Homura may not be wiping out entire timelines and replacing them with a fresh new one, but simply creating brand new ones while "older" timelines continue on without her. A lot of this goes back to multiple alternate realities theory - Homura may be simply "jumping off" from one reality to the next to the next. Not wiping any out, but just leaving a different mark on each and every one.

I can try to explain this particular conception of time travel in more detail if necessary, but I think that you probably get what I'm saying here.
If that is true than it could be possibly the perfect situation for QB. The energy could as well be transferred over along with such things as memories. This would give QB a near limitless supply of energy.

It could also be that the "Soul" exists outside the realm of time and space, thus allowing it to be able to move through time without consequences, since Homura can send her soul gem into the past. Since it would appear that Madoka's soul would have gone through forced separation and re-attachment to her body it would very likely mean that the memories engraved on her soul travel back as well.

It makes me wonder, perhaps dying erases most of the memories of the soul, what if Homura time traveled while someone else was still alive? Could they awaken with retained memories as well? i.e. there soul gem goes back in time as well. Unfortunately we will not know since the potential people to do it with are all dead -_-
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Old 2011-04-14, 23:58   Link #2003
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
That's not necessarily the case.

For one thing, what you're writing here contradicts what you wrote in reply to ThereminVox earlier on in the same post.

If Madoka is remembering things from alternate timelines, then they most certainly do "carry over", and "have significance".


Beyond that, time travel can work in more than just one set way.

For example, it could be argued that every timeline that Homura has operated within continues on existing (as is) after she goes back in time. It's just that by Homura going back in time, she's created a new timeline; a new alternate reality branch, if you will.

To try to put it as simply as possible, Homura may not be wiping out entire timelines and replacing them with a fresh new one, but simply creating brand new ones while "older" timelines continue on without her. A lot of this goes back to multiple alternate realities theory - Homura may be simply "jumping off" from one reality to the next to the next. Not wiping any out, but just leaving a different mark on each and every one.

I can try to explain this particular conception of time travel in more detail if necessary, but I think that you probably get what I'm saying here.
Heh. Actually, one of the ideas that was playing at the back of my head while I wrote that to ThereminVox is that really, 'fate' and 'souls' and inexplicable connections which transcend time or alternate existences only exist in stories. That idea in itself is not really something humanly knowable though, so it was kinda irrelevant.

Given Urobochi's quote from the batch that Kazu-kun posted earlier, it might even be correct to say that Madoka's universe indeed uses multiple worlds splitting off from timelines, as you are saying. While I consider that unlikely and not an attractive addition to the story conceptually, that isn't really my point either. Simply, I was trying to reinforce the idea that from Homura's perspective, all of her past interactions and experiences cannot be superimposed on the current Madoka. She made a promise to Madoka of timeline 3--the Madoka of timeline 5 is a different person, just like they both were different from Madoka of timeline 1. Homura needs to realize that the wishes of each of them will be different, because they have each been changed by the unrelenting flow of time.

While I think Madoka 'remembering' everything and gaining access to all her alternate experiences would be interesting, in the sense that it appeals to our innate desire and wish to believe that things which happen do have significance, do get written somewhere in the aether or history to say that our struggles and experiences actually mean something, I would feel somewhat uncomfortable believing in or counting on it. I think a more grounded, realistic expectation for Homura must be to realize that however strong, however determined, however precious her feelings and promises to past Madoka's might be, she should not hope or expect for them to reach the current Madoka because that Madoka is a different person. Aside from the 'subconscious memory' stuff, my main point in the above post was basically still just that I think Homura's misguided, and that her wish is unfulfillable. So, whether it's a new separate reality or the old past has merely been written over, from my perspective, realistically, the gulf between past and present Madoka's is just as vast as ever.
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Old 2011-04-15, 01:50   Link #2004
hyperborealis
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
Well, what I have in mind, which goes in line with spoilers available, is that Homura dies before Madoka gets to decide what to do (aka, grow up).

You know, that wish, "Madoka's wish", which will supposedly open the door to the miracle Homura has been waiting for (that her feelings reach Madoka)? I believe it's not a contract. It's a wish, but no a contract. That's the answer to the puzzle, I think.

In order for Madoka to "remember" Homura, for Homura's hopes and feelings to reach Madoka, Homura has to die. Homura's death will make "Madoka's wish" kick in, and Madoka will "remember".
Please talk some more about how Homura's death would have this effect. Is it your idea that Madoka and Homura share a deep, mystical bond that transcends time and space, that can only be reached and felt via the extremity of feeling that Homura's death would cause? Or do you think that Madoka somehow retains a cumulative memory of the timelines, a buried awareness of Homura's dedication on her behalf, which she reciprocates with her own, unspoken feelings of appreciation and love?

Why should there be this bond? this reciprocation of feeling? We know from timeline 1 why Homura is obsessed with Madoka. Homura is a shy and lonely girl, who finds in Madoka her one and only friend. But the converse is not true for Madoka: she is reasonably well-adjusted socially, and has other friends besides Homura.

So the question arises: does Madoka ever reciprocate this intensity of feeling? Does Madoka care for Homura with the same passion that Homura does for her?

If we take Sol Falling's excellent point, that "if Homura travels back to rewrite history, then those past experiences--those past deaths, past promises and past Madokas--in fact cease to exist. On an objective level. They don't carry over, cannot touch anything, have no significance," then all that Madoka knows of Homura is what she knows in the current timeline. In timeline 5, Madoka knows Homura hardly at all. Strictly speaking, Madoka has no bond with Homura worth speaking of.

But even if we allow Madoka to share a transcendent perspective of some kind on all the timelines, the historical evidence is still mixed. If we review the timelines, we notice a great variability in Madoka's relationships with Homura, from the intense happiness Madoka feels for Homura at her success in defeating the witch who rains chairs from beneath her skirts in timeline 2, to the cool distance that stands between them in timelines 4 and 5.

So even if Madoka does "remember" Homura, as you envisage, would there be any place in her remembering where her own heart would reach out to Homura with the same intensity and need that Homura has for Madoka?

On reflection, I don't think so. Madoka does not care for Homura in the same way that Homura cares for her. Much as I hate to disappoint all the yuri shippers out there, Homura's obsessive dedication is sui generis and one-sided.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
So what exactly is "Madoka's wish" if not a contract. IMO, it's Madoka's request for Homura to save her, back in timeline 3. In Japanese, "wish" and "request" are pretty much the same word. We know magic defies logic, and has the potential to achieve even absurd things. It's not farfetched at all then to think that promise between them could trigger an actual miracle. So that's the key, I think.
This is impressively subtle and coherent.

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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
What happens from then on? What will Madoka do after Homura's death, after "remembering" everything that happened between them in the previous timelines? That's up to her. That's when she has to grow up.
I'm interested that you conceive the decisive moment to be an act of memory that is also a kind of self-knowing or self-recognition. Here growth is measured in knowledge, rather than--say--in actions or accomplishments. If we get these latter, then they matter not even for themselves, however important they may be, but as signs for Madoka's internal awareness and self-understanding.

Kazu-kun, has anyone ever told you that you are a Gnostic!?

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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
I agree to some extent. But I think the series wanted to make a point that Homura's original wish died back then in timeline 3, when she basically gave up. Her "wish" now, is very different in nature. Before it was in part about herself: she wanted to be someone stronger, stronger enough so that Madoka wouldn't die for her sake. Now, her own life doesn't matter anymore. She has given up on herself; all that matter now is for Madoka to be safe.
Nice point. One poster pointed out--was it you?--that we get at that moment, in timeline 3, a distinctive sound and visual pattern, to suggest that Homura's promise to protect Madoka is now tied to Madoka's request in that timeline. So you have a strong point.

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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
About Homura, is kinda complicated: it is implied she has no family and no friends, and her poor health complicates things even more. Madoka is not only her best friend, her only friend; Madoka is everything to her. So I don't think "growing up" applies to her as it applies to Madoka, who has everything, friends, a loving family, good health, yet can't really see her own value in it.

I think growing up, for Madoka, means to realize her own value. I mean, if people around you love you, it's because you're not worthless. This is the fundamental thing Madoka can't understand, IMO. I've got the feeling she'll begin to understand this after remembering everything about Homura. That will bring the series full circle.
Again, you understand growing up as a self-recognition, as moment where Madoka gains a certain awareness about herself. This is very true. But it is a distinctly psychological, internally-directed conception of where the plot is going.

There are additional ways to think of growing up. One is to act for oneself, rather than to let others (e.g. parents) act for you. Another is accept that the world is not a fairy-tale, and to act in full awareness that one's actions have costs and negative consequences, especially for oneself. Yet another is to make a life-long commitment to another person. I'm sure there are many others that you can think of.

Do you envisage Madoka growing up in any of these latter ways as well? Or is it enough for her simply to know the truth about herself, that she has worth, that she is lovable, and so on?

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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
While I think Madoka 'remembering' everything and gaining access to all her alternate experiences would be interesting, in the sense that it appeals to our innate desire and wish to believe that things which happen do have significance, do get written somewhere in the aether or history to say that our struggles and experiences actually mean something, I would feel somewhat uncomfortable believing in or counting on it. I think a more grounded, realistic expectation for Homura must be to realize that however strong, however determined, however precious her feelings and promises to past Madoka's might be, she should not hope or expect for them to reach the current Madoka because that Madoka is a different person. Aside from the 'subconscious memory' stuff, my main point in the above post was basically still just that I think Homura's misguided, and that her wish is unfulfillable. So, whether it's a new separate reality or the old past has merely been written over, from my perspective, realistically, the gulf between past and present Madoka's is just as vast as ever.
Brilliant point. In fact, Homura's memory across the timelines is itself a kind of delusion, since there can be no relation between the timelines: each one substitutes and annihilates its predecessor. Which raises the question of just who Homura's trans-temporal devotion is aimed at. Homura does seem to consider all the different Madokas the same person: remember in episode 8 how she castigates timeline 5 Madoka for always sacrificing herself, heaping the blame for the previous timeline Madokas on the current one. The confusion of Madoka's reaction underscores the contradiction you identify in Homura's perspective.

This issue is not simply an interpretative one. Remember Homura's conversation with QB in timeline 4, when QB asks her if she is going to stay and fight Kriemhild Gretchen, and Homura declines, on the account that this is not her timeline. What is Homura's timeline? If it is the first, can she ever get back to it? No! Put Madoka to one side: Homura cannot even overcome the gulf between the current timeline and herself.

Last edited by hyperborealis; 2011-04-15 at 02:28.
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Old 2011-04-15, 02:14   Link #2005
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Not if she brokes her soul-gem like in TL1.
(Well, we don't know if she tried a kamikaze attempt like Kyouko. BUT the gem is missing so I suppose that it has been broken, voluntary or not)
There was no need nor reason for her to go kamikaze in TL1, so I believe she just died. It's not quite clear yet, but the way things are, you can't use a kamikaze attack per se. Kyouko's death was the result of her choice to do so and throwing her Soul Gem in the way of the attack she unleashed. By all logic, if you use an attack that depletes your magic, you don't break your Soul Gem but turn it into a Grief Seed (which apparently happened to Madoka in TL4). In TL1, Madoka doesn't become a witch, so we can assume she died a heroic death. Btw, what we don't know is whether Walpurgis Night died or retreated (witches are known to escape sometimes, and it could be the first time WN encountered a strong opponent), but she most likely broke Madoka's Soul Gem in the process (seriously, keeping it near your collarbone in battle stance seems rather impractical, much more so since Madoka is no melee fighter).

Quote:
If Madoka is remembering things from alternate timelines, then they most certainly do "carry over", and "have significance".
Then one might actually wonder if it's exclusive for Madoka or if ANY girl with a magical potential (or at least a former magical girl) can feel some minor overlay occasionally. Kyuubey is not counted, of course - he's as magical as your kitchen table. But this would explain all those hints coming from Madoka and Sayaka (I'm a bit less sure about Madoka, since the Russian subs I used rendered the line in question as "That's what I think, at least"), and they would also raise more questions: could the girls by any chance feel some connection to one another? Could the experiences of past timelines carry over and leave a mark? Not that we seem to get a lot of these "marks" visible or hinted, of course - but maybe it's worth a thought.

Otherwise, Madoka may be privileged because of either her innate power or being the object of Homura's wish and thus directly related to the time-rewinding process.

Quote:
On reflection, I don't think so. Madoka does not care for Homura in the same way that Homura cares for her. Much as I hate to disappoint all the yuri shippers out there, Homura's obsessive dedication is sui generis and one-sided.
And yuri shippers out there cried tears of blood, especially since pretty much the same can be said about Kyouko/Sayaka relationship.

Last edited by Snork; 2011-04-15 at 02:27.
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Old 2011-04-15, 06:31   Link #2006
Triple_R
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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
Heh. Actually, one of the ideas that was playing at the back of my head while I wrote that to ThereminVox is that really, 'fate' and 'souls' and inexplicable connections which transcend time or alternate existences only exist in stories.
Many people would disagree with you here.

Determinism is a prominent school of philosophical thought, arguing that free will doesn't really exist, and hence 'fate' exists, and in a very real way. This anime also hints at the idea that Madoka has a specific fate, one that she may or may not be able to overcome.

The human soul is something commonly believed in, being an integral part of many world religions. The human soul is also an integral part of this anime, specifically through the soul gem.

Some quantum physicists have seriously suggested that alternate existences may very well exist. As it pertains to this anime, I don't see where alternate realities is any less grounded or realistic a concept than time loops themselves are.

These are things commonly believed in and/or seriously considered worldwide, and for ages now.


Quote:
Given Urobochi's quote from the batch that Kazu-kun posted earlier, it might even be correct to say that Madoka's universe indeed uses multiple worlds splitting off from timelines, as you are saying. While I consider that unlikely and not an attractive addition to the story conceptually,
Why is it not attractive conceptually?


Quote:
that isn't really my point either. Simply, I was trying to reinforce the idea that from Homura's perspective, all of her past interactions and experiences cannot be superimposed on the current Madoka.
Well, that depends, at least to some degree, on if Madoka remembers them or not. There is reason to believe (such as that "static memory" scene from Episode 8) that Madoka will remember them.


Quote:
She made a promise to Madoka of timeline 3--the Madoka of timeline 5 is a different person, just like they both were different from Madoka of timeline 1. Homura needs to realize that the wishes of each of them will be different, because they have each been changed by the unrelenting flow of time.
While there may be some slight differences between those various Madokas, due to how they have had different experiences within their respective one month within the broader time loop, the fact remains that the Madoka of Day 1 of each timeline are all essentially one and the same Madoka. So one could argue that there is a certain core essence that links all those Madokas together.


Quote:

While I think Madoka 'remembering' everything and gaining access to all her alternate experiences would be interesting, in the sense that it appeals to our innate desire and wish to believe that things which happen do have significance, do get written somewhere in the aether or history to say that our struggles and experiences actually mean something, I would feel somewhat uncomfortable believing in or counting on it.
Well, I personally feel quite comfortable believing in it.


Quote:
I think a more grounded, realistic expectation for Homura must be to realize that however strong, however determined, however precious her feelings and promises to past Madoka's might be, she should not hope or expect for them to reach the current Madoka because that Madoka is a different person.
I don't think that she is aiming for that in particular, so it's probably not a core hope or expectation for her. If she was aiming for that, Homura would not be as cold as she's been (including to Madoka herself) through out Timeline 5. She's clearly trying to bottle up her personal feelings for Madoka as much as is humanly possible (only giving vent to them briefly in Episode 8).

That being said, Homura's feelings and promises to past Madokas may in fact reach the current Madoka.

One thing that should be stated here is that Madoka now has enough basic, practical evidence to work with that, should she have an even moderately sharp deductive mind, she should be able to figure out how Homura feels about her.

Homura's tearful breakdown in front of Madoka (which Madoka herself saw of course) clearly suggests that Homura cares deeply about Madoka. But even putting that aside, Homura has gone to great and obvious lengths to prevent Madoka from contracting with Kyubey. Now Madoka has come to realize the full extent of the horrors seemingly intractably linked with contracting with Kyubey.

It wouldn't take much self-reflection and thought on Madoka's part for her to realize that Homura has gone to heroic lengths to save her from being trapped in the dark world of the Puella Magis. Madoka can then consider how Homura did not go to such lengths for Sayaka, so that Homura must care about Madoka in particular (i.e. Homura isn't simply an "equal opportunity" hero a la Superman).

This is something that Madoka can now arrive at a purely intellectual level.

It wouldn't surprise me if she did. So, for example, I could easily see Madoka confronting Homura with these deductions (or ones similar to them) in Episode 11. Such could easily lead into a very emotional and even tearful scene between the two.

So... don't lose hope, yuri fans, I see how just a little bit of smarts on Madoka's part could give you what you want.


Quote:
Aside from the 'subconscious memory' stuff, my main point in the above post was basically still just that I think Homura's misguided, and that her wish is unfulfillable. So, whether it's a new separate reality or the old past has merely been written over, from my perspective, realistically, the gulf between past and present Madoka's is just as vast as ever.
We'll see. Honestly, I see things very differently than how you see them. But then, I'm not as skeptical as you are about some of the concepts and ideas that this anime seems to be playing with.



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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Please talk some more about how Homura's death would have this effect. Is it your idea that Madoka and Homura share a deep, mystical bond that transcends time and space, that can only be reached and felt via the extremity of feeling that Homura's death would cause? Or do you think that Madoka somehow retains a cumulative memory of the timelines, a buried awareness of Homura's dedication on her behalf, which she reciprocates with her own, unspoken feelings of appreciation and love?

Why should there be this bond?
Because there would be a beautiful "the circle is complete" symmetry to it, and there already is, in fact, to some degree.

Keep in mind that Homura's feelings for Madoka are entirely due to how Madoka voluntarily reached out to Homura in Timeline 1.

Madoka's inspirational kindness towards new transfer student Homura, and Madoka saving Homura's very life, are two of the main reasons why Homura has the feelings for Madoka that she does. It's not like Homura saw Madoka, and was overwhelmed with a feeling of lust for Madoka on the sheer basis of Madoka's physical appearance. No, Homura loves Madoka because Madoka first showed warmth and kindness to her. How fitting would it be if Madoka comes to love Homura because Homura "first" saved her and showed caring to her?

Homura's feelings for Madoka really aren't that one-sided. At least not at a friendship level.


Quote:
We know from timeline 1 why Homura is obsessed with Madoka. Homura is a shy and lonely girl, who finds in Madoka her one and only friend. But the converse is not true for Madoka: she is reasonably well-adjusted socially, and has other friends besides Homura.
The intensity of Madoka's feelings for Homura might not match the intensity of Homura's feelings for Madoka, but there nonetheless is mutual warmth and friendship there in Timelines 1 through 3.


Quote:

So the question arises: does Madoka ever reciprocate this intensity of feeling? Does Madoka care for Homura with the same passion that Homura does for her?
That one celebratory scene in Timeline 2 is pretty suggestive, if you ask me...

It provides at least some basis and foreshadowing for Madoka eventually coming to fully reciprocate Homura's feelings for her, should Gen choose to go in that direction.


Quote:
In timeline 5, Madoka knows Homura hardly at all.
She recognizes her from a very telling dream. She has a "static memory" moment in Episode 8, as I mentioned earlier to Sol.

I don't think that these are things that should be casually dismissed.


Quote:
Strictly speaking, Madoka has no bond with Homura worth speaking of.
This I have to disagree with.

In Timeline 5, Madoka continually goes out of her way to seek Homura out for guidance and help. Was that solely out of concern for Sayaka's current situation (at the time), or was it also because Madoka has a vague subconscious memory of Homura that makes her feel like she can trust Homura, in spite of Homura's very cold front in Timeline 5?


Quote:

But even if we allow Madoka to share a transcendent perspective of some kind on all the timelines, the historical evidence is still mixed.
Not really.


Quote:
If we review the timelines, we notice a great variability in Madoka's relationships with Homura, from the intense happiness Madoka feels for Homura at her success in defeating the witch who rains chairs from beneath her skirts in timeline 2, to the cool distance that stands between them in timelines 4 and 5.
We know next to nothing about Timeline 4. And even in Timeline 5, this supposed "cool distance" that stands between them doesn't appear to be enough to stop Madoka from repeatedly turning to Homura for help.


Quote:

So even if Madoka does "remember" Homura, as you envisage, would there be any place in her remembering where her own heart would reach out to Homura with the same intensity and need that Homura has for Madoka?
I think that it's plausible.


Quote:

On reflection, I don't think so. Madoka does not care for Homura in the same way that Homura cares for her. Much as I hate to disappoint all the yuri shippers out there, Homura's obsessive dedication is sui generis and one-sided.
I think that you're downplaying things a bit too much. We'll have to wait and see though.


Quote:
In fact, Homura's memory across the timelines is itself a kind of delusion, since there can be no relation between the timelines: each one substitutes and annihilates its predecessor.
Not necessarily so, as I argued before.
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Old 2011-04-15, 06:45   Link #2007
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In Timeline 5, Madoka continually goes out of her way to seek Homura out for guidance and help.
I'm not sure about "continually", since their conversation in episode 5 looks like the only time Madoka initiated the meeting (or at least seemed to be the one initiating it). Otherwise, she interacted with Homura just because Homura was around (and she was around a lot). Of course, I also recall their conversation in episode 7... but if Madokas also initiated that one, that is because of Homura clearly proving to know what most Puellae Magi have not the slightest idea about, rather than because of vague subconscious memory.

Madoka doesn't really need to seek Homura's guidance, it's Homura's best interest to provide that guidance whenever possible. She could not bother about it until Madoka met Kyuubey, but afterwards she has to balance between trying to open her friend's eyes and spiraling down the Cassandra path again (something she clearly doesn't want).

Quote:
In fact, Homura's memory across the timelines is itself a kind of delusion, since there can be no relation between the timelines: each one substitutes and annihilates its predecessor.
Urobuchi himself suggested/hinted that Homura's wish might be creating alternate dimensions one by one. Heh, that would make Homura a slider rather than a time traveller... But it justifies her memories quite well. And it even provides a slightly more solid ground for Madoka's flashbacks and dreams (huh, Asura Cryin', anyone? ).
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Old 2011-04-15, 07:11   Link #2008
Triple_R
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Originally Posted by Snork View Post
I'm not sure about "continually", since their conversation in episode 5 looks like the only time Madoka initiated the meeting (or at least seemed to be the one initiating it). Otherwise, she interacted with Homura just because Homura was around (and she was around a lot). Of course, I also recall their conversation in episode 7... but if Madokas also initiated that one, that is because of Homura clearly proving to know what most Puellae Magi have not the slightest idea about, rather than because of vague subconscious memory.
Considering how cold Homura was towards Madoka in Episodes 1 through 6, I seriously wonder why Madoka doesn't simply give up on Homura. Let's not forget how Homura told Madoka to just give up on her best friend Sayaka. If somebody told me to just give up on my best friend, I'd be rather pissed with that person.

At the very least, I think that it's possible that some vague subconscious memories of other timelines is causing Madoka to not completely lose faith in Homura; to see through the cold mask that Homura is putting up, as it were.
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Old 2011-04-15, 08:22   Link #2009
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Please talk some more about how Homura's death would have this effect. Is it your idea that Madoka and Homura share a deep, mystical bond that transcends time and space, that can only be reached and felt via the extremity of feeling that Homura's death would cause? Or do you think that Madoka somehow retains a cumulative memory of the timelines, a buried awareness of Homura's dedication on her behalf, which she reciprocates with her own, unspoken feelings of appreciation and love?

Why should there be this bond? this reciprocation of feeling? We know from timeline 1 why Homura is obsessed with Madoka. Homura is a shy and lonely girl, who finds in Madoka her one and only friend. But the converse is not true for Madoka: she is reasonably well-adjusted socially, and has other friends besides Homura.

So the question arises: does Madoka ever reciprocate this intensity of feeling? Does Madoka care for Homura with the same passion that Homura does for her?

If we take Sol Falling's excellent point, that "if Homura travels back to rewrite history, then those past experiences--those past deaths, past promises and past Madokas--in fact cease to exist. On an objective level. They don't carry over, cannot touch anything, have no significance," then all that Madoka knows of Homura is what she knows in the current timeline. In timeline 5, Madoka knows Homura hardly at all. Strictly speaking, Madoka has no bond with Homura worth speaking of.

But even if we allow Madoka to share a transcendent perspective of some kind on all the timelines, the historical evidence is still mixed. If we review the timelines, we notice a great variability in Madoka's relationships with Homura, from the intense happiness Madoka feels for Homura at her success in defeating the witch who rains chairs from beneath her skirts in timeline 2, to the cool distance that stands between them in timelines 4 and 5.

So even if Madoka does "remember" Homura, as you envisage, would there be any place in her remembering where her own heart would reach out to Homura with the same intensity and need that Homura has for Madoka?

On reflection, I don't think so. Madoka does not care for Homura in the same way that Homura cares for her. Much as I hate to disappoint all the yuri shippers out there, Homura's obsessive dedication is sui generis and one-sided.

Brilliant point. In fact, Homura's memory across the timelines is itself a kind of delusion, since there can be no relation between the timelines: each one substitutes and annihilates its predecessor. Which raises the question of just who Homura's trans-temporal devotion is aimed at. Homura does seem to consider all the different Madokas the same person: remember in episode 8 how she castigates timeline 5 Madoka for always sacrificing herself, heaping the blame for the previous timeline Madokas on the current one. The confusion of Madoka's reaction underscores the contradiction you identify in Homura's perspective.

This issue is not simply an interpretative one. Remember Homura's conversation with QB in timeline 4, when QB asks her if she is going to stay and fight Kriemhild Gretchen, and Homura declines, on the account that this is not her timeline. What is Homura's timeline? If it is the first, can she ever get back to it? No! Put Madoka to one side: Homura cannot even overcome the gulf between the current timeline and herself.
But the thing is, Madoka does indeed know Homura. She dreams of her and has some deja vu sense around her.

The timelines don't seem to cancel out 100%.

And you seem to misunderstand Madoka. She's not someone who casually makes friends and that's it. The way she acts seems to suggest that she values each one of them a great deal. To the point that her own life is worthless next to theirs and that she would sacrifice herself for anyone of them. So I don't see why a reciprocative bond on Madoka's part is impossible.
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Old 2011-04-15, 09:08   Link #2010
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If somebody told me to just give up on my best friend, I'd be rather pissed with that person.
Come to think of it, a pissed off Madoka is something we have yet to see.
On the other hand, if the said girl appeared fighting and dying in my dream, the came to my school and started trolling me with vague warnings, then saved my life from a giant caterpillar... I would at least be SLIGHLTY persistent to figure out something about her.

Or you can draw parallels with Nanoha - the girl from Shinbo's earlier work who struggled to understand and help a certain cold and nonchalantly aggressive battle mage just because "she has such sad eyes".

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She's not someone who casually makes friends and that's it. The way she acts seems to suggest that she values each one of them a great deal. To the point that her own life is worthless next to theirs and that she would sacrifice herself for anyone of them.
Man, and yet Sayaka went as far as to accuse her of the exact opposite. No wonder she regretted that so much later.
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Old 2011-04-15, 09:54   Link #2011
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I gotta agree. But then Madoka is Madoka. Will she take Kyubey's bait despite all those stuff? But then, consider Madoka's magical potential. Would it be enough to create a loophole to satisfy all odds? I mean...if Madoka wished she had unlimited amount of magical energy or something...wouldn't that satisfy Kyubey's entropy and Madoka does not have to turn into a witch? ^_^
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Old 2011-04-15, 10:09   Link #2012
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Come to think of it, a pissed off Madoka is something we have yet to see.
On the other hand, if the said girl appeared fighting and dying in my dream, the came to my school and started trolling me with vague warnings, then saved my life from a giant caterpillar... I would at least be SLIGHLTY persistent to figure out something about her.

Or you can draw parallels with Nanoha - the girl from Shinbo's earlier work who struggled to understand and help a certain cold and nonchalantly aggressive battle mage just because "she has such sad eyes".



Man, and yet Sayaka went as far as to accuse her of the exact opposite. No wonder she regretted that so much later.
Sayaka wasn't really herself that time to be fair....
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Old 2011-04-15, 10:40   Link #2013
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Homura by herself cannot succeed. So eventually it has to get to a point where she finally falls....
She can not succeed because ultimately it's Madoka's decision, and Homura can't affect that decision. Besides there's no bond between them in the current timeline. That's why, I repeat, if Homura's hopes and feelings reach Madoka, it would be a miracle (according to Otona Anime mag.), because that could change the way Madoka sees herself, and so could change her decision.

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While I think Madoka 'remembering' everything and gaining access to all her alternate experiences would be interesting, in the sense that it appeals to our innate desire and wish to believe that things which happen do have significance, do get written somewhere in the aether or history to say that our struggles and experiences actually mean something, I would feel somewhat uncomfortable believing in or counting on it. I think a more grounded, realistic expectation for Homura must be to realize that however strong, however determined, however precious her feelings and promises to past Madoka's might be, she should not hope or expect for them to reach the current Madoka because that Madoka is a different person.
But this is a story, not reality. And like I said above, Madoka finally remembering Homura it's awfully likely to happen, so you may as well begin to see it at least as a possibility.
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Old 2011-04-15, 11:47   Link #2014
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She can not succeed because ultimately it's Madoka's decision, and Homura can't affect that decision. Besides there's no bond between them in the current timeline. That's why, I repeat, if Homura's hopes and feelings reach Madoka, it would be a miracle (according to Otona Anime mag.), because that could change the way Madoka sees herself, and so could change her decision.



But this is a story, not reality. And like I said above, Madoka finally remembering Homura it's awfully likely to happen, so you may as well begin to see it at least as a possibility.
Not really...she cannot succeed because the gulf between the two widens and I don't think she can keep repeating forever. Eventually, that soul gem has to darken completely....And it isn't true that there is absolutely zero bond. Else why would Madoka get the sense of deja vu whenever she sees Homura?
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Old 2011-04-15, 12:02   Link #2015
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Not really...she cannot succeed because the gulf between the two widens and I don't think she can keep repeating forever.
But even if she could repeat the loop forever, she still wouldn't be able to save Madoka. I mean, even if Walpurgis is defeated by Homura, QB still would keep pressuring Madoka to contract, and there would be many reasons for Madoka to do so. Only Madoka taking a final decision about it could change that.

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And it isn't true that there is absolutely zero bond. Else why would Madoka get the sense of deja vu whenever she sees Homura?
Well, that's part of the miracle the magazine is going about. Objectivity, Madoka shouldn't have those memories, yet she still does. It's something that defies logic, an actual miracle. The key!
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Old 2011-04-15, 12:07   Link #2016
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She can not succeed because ultimately it's Madoka's decision, and Homura can't affect that decision. Besides there's no bond between them in the current timeline. That's why, I repeat, if Homura's hopes and feelings reach Madoka, it would be a miracle (according to Otona Anime mag.), because that could change the way Madoka sees herself, and so could change her decision.
i think there is not really a no bond between homu and madoka. what's missing between them in the current timeline is the chumminess and camaderie (as pms) they shared in the previous worlds.

there is still a bond that fasten them together, the simplest form being classmates. but homu goes even further (taking the role of a protector in multiple instances) by saving madoka (and sayaka) from charlotte. though sayaka sees it differently, madoka knew the whole story and promised she'll never forget homu from saving her life. and then, there's homu's intervention in the kyouko vs sayaka fight. and another, homu's retrieval of sayaka's soul gem. and lately, carrying madoka out to safety from rampaging witch sayaka. madoka witnessed it all, except the latter, for she was gone unconscious. it will be totally out of character in madoka's part to deny that "something" between them after all these seemingly kind deeds.

that something does not need to be equal in degree in both sides, most of the times, usually, one acts greater or more than the other.

and this is what i think, homu might eventually fail in the end because of that "something" or simply a bond. because madoka has that tendency to take risks to save others.

when homu and mado were having a little chat in the rooftop, homu told madoka to give up on sayaka, for the latter owes her nothing; and homu also told madoka the difference of acting out of gratitude and responsibility. in the first case, unlike sayaka, madoka owes homu her life, not once, but in multiple occasions. in the second case, madoka might just realize that it's her responsibility to help homu and not to act simply out of gratitude or sympathy. homu too, is a friend...


now going back to the original puzzle you posted, it seems inevitable that homu will likely fail in the end. the final decision is madoka's, true. but i think it will be a tough one for madoka and with due consideration of homu's state/condition/pleas. yes, homu has a hand in it, whether homu will like it or not, it's madoka's judgment.

well, that's for now.

EDIT: i'm revisiting the earlier episodes, and i noticed that in madoka's costume sketch, we could find the caricature of homu on the left side along with mami. now, is this simply for design references? i doubt it. homu and mado barely made enough contact, maybe barely a day worth of staring and checking out each other. but homu (the caricature) is there, along with madoka's idolized hero/savior, mami. it might be just a small hint. but homu already has a place in madoka's heart.

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Old 2011-04-15, 12:09   Link #2017
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Well, that depends, at least to some degree, on if Madoka remembers them or not. There is reason to believe (such as that "static memory" scene from Episode 9) that Madoka will remember them.
Don't forget Solace's nice catch of Madoka saying "Homu-" in timeline 4 possibly before she has met her at school.

The anime does suggest that Madoka has some kind of memory that transcends the timelines. But also a forgetting as well, since only Madoka has this memory (the other characters don't seem to), and even Madoka only has a (fairly detailed) glimmer of just the previous timeline.

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While there may be some slight differences between those various Madokas, due to how they have had different experiences within their respective one month within the broader time loop, the fact remains that the Madoka of Day 1 of each timeline are all essentially one and the same Madoka. So one could argue that there is a certain core essence that links all those Madokas together.
Oh, good, now we're into philosophy. So, if Homura (God forbid) chose to murder Madoka in each timeline, would she be responsible for one murder or for five? Or, if she murdered the last four Madokas and decided not to murder the current one, none?

These questions aren't really serious, Triple R. I just raise them to point out that your assertion "that the Madoka of Day 1 of each timeline are all essentially one and the same Madoka" is not obviously true.

That said, the show does have a detailed operational science of souls. We are shown that souls can be removed from bodies and yet animate them from a separate residence within a Soul Gem. This certainly suggests that people have a single spiritual essence that transcends its incarnation in any particular bodily form.

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Homura's feelings and promises to past Madokas may in fact reach the current Madoka.

One thing that should be stated here is that Madoka now has enough basic, practical evidence to work with that, should she have an even moderately sharp deductive mind, she should be able to figure out how Homura feels about her.

Homura's tearful breakdown in front of Madoka (which Madoka herself saw of course) clearly suggests that Homura cares deeply about Madoka. But even putting that aside, Homura has gone to great and obvious lengths to prevent Madoka from contracting with Kyubey. Now Madoka has come to realize the full extent of the horrors seemingly intractably linked with contracting with Kyubey.

It wouldn't take much self-reflection and thought on Madoka's part for her to realize that Homura has gone to heroic lengths to save her from being trapped in the dark world of the Puella Magis. Madoka can then consider how Homura did not go to such lengths for Sayaka, so that Homura must care about Madoka in particular (i.e. Homura isn't simply an "equal opportunity" hero a la Superman).

This is something that Madoka can now arrive at a purely intellectual level.

It wouldn't surprise me if she did. So, for example, I could easily see Madoka confronting Homura with these deductions (or ones similar to them) in Episode 11. Such could easily lead into a very emotional and even tearful scene between the two.

So... don't lose hope, yuri fans, I see how just a little bit of smarts on Madoka's part could give you what you want.
"Golly, Homura, I appreciate your obsessive dedication to trying to save my life, but I have to point out that your batting average is .000 so far, and on top of that, you weren't able to save Mami, Kyoko, or my best friend Sayaka. Did you not feel anything watching over them all that time? Did you not try to understand how much pain everyone was in? And now I have to worry about Walpurgisnacht taking out my city, my family, and everyone I know. Way to go, Homura-chan. No, I won't go out on a date with you. Have you ever considered therapy?"

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Because there would be a beautiful "the circle is complete" symmetry to it, and there already is, in fact, to some degree.

Keep in mind that Homura's feelings for Madoka are entirely due to how Madoka voluntarily reached out to Homura in Timeline 1.

Madoka's inspirational kindness towards new transfer student Homura, and Madoka saving Homura's very life, are two of the main reasons why Homura has the feelings for Madoka that she does. It's not like Homura saw Madoka, and was overwhelmed with a feeling of lust for Madoka on the sheer basis of Madoka's physical appearance. No, Homura loves Madoka because Madoka first showed warmth and kindness to her. How fitting would it be if Madoka comes to love Homura because Homura "first" saved her and showed caring to her?
Madoka is nice to Homura of timeline one just since that is the way Madoka is towards everyone. I don't see on Madoka's side a special feeling toward Homura. The gratitude you envisage will be balanced by an awareness that Homura--as Homura herself admits to Sayaka in epiosde 8--did not care for or help her friends, but ignored them so that she could focus exclusively on Madoka.

The one time Homura does express her emotions and her vulnerability to Madoka, Madoka asks her if they'd met before, apologizes, and then books out to go hunt for Sayaka. Homura is crying and distraught, kneeling on the ground, begging Madoka to wait, and Madoka--leaves. It's an emergency and all, but still! You're not going to float too many yuri ships on that river of Homura's rising tears.

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Homura's feelings for Madoka really aren't that one-sided. At least not at a friendship level.
Just so.

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The intensity of Madoka's feelings for Homura might not match the intensity of Homura's feelings for Madoka, but there nonetheless is mutual warmth and friendship there in Timelines 1 through 3.
Quite.

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That one celebratory scene in Timeline 2 is pretty suggestive, if you ask me...

It provides at least some basis and foreshadowing for Madoka eventually coming to fully reciprocate Homura's feelings for her, should Gen choose to go in that direction.
Madoka and Homura would be coming at each other from completely different directions. Homura is obsessing on the only person who has ever been nice to her. Madoka on the other hand is nice and loyal to everyone without distinction. Thus you get that odd first conversation between them in episode four, where Madoka tells Homura she will always remember Mami. Homura responds by saying, "Your words must make Tomoe Mami very happy. / I'm jealous," at which Madoka hastens to add Homura to her list: "You too Homura! I'll never forget about you either!"

For Homura, Madoka is the only one. For Madoka, Homura is one among several.

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She recognizes her from a very telling dream. She has a "static memory" moment in Episode 8, as I mentioned earlier to Sol.

I don't think that these are things that should be casually dismissed.
No, I'm not dismissing them--I just don't think they signify to Madoka--yet--in terms of revealing some deep special and singular feeling Madoka has for Homura. So far, that's just not there.

Homura seems resigned to saving Madoka without thanks. That may be where the series leaves it.

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This I have to disagree with.

In Timeline 5, Madoka continually goes out of her way to seek Homura out for guidance and help. Was that solely out of concern for Sayaka's current situation (at the time), or was it also because Madoka has a vague subconscious memory of Homura that makes her feel like she can trust Homura, in spite of Homura's very cold front in Timeline 5?
Ok, I have overstated the case: Madoka does have some kind of bond with Homura. She does stick up for Homura in the other timelines, and doesn't go along with Sayaka in Sayaka's dislike of Homura in the current timeline.

But it is true that Madoka cannot understand why Homura won't help the other MGs in the current timeline, and that Homura politely but firmly refuses to help Sayaka when Madoka asks her to on Sayaka's behalf. The distance between the two girls is marked and real. No doubt Homura acts out of superior knowledge and bitter experience. But her refusal to think of Sayaka as anything but a lost cause (in contrast, say, to Kyoko, who retains hope, and receives Madoka's friendship and support on account of that hope) makes her fundamentally different from Madoka, who retains hope and sympathy for all her friends.

You should not let hope for a happy, romantic ending obscure the substantial differences between the two girls.

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Not really.
Come now, the record is mixed. Madoka is much more friendly toward Homura in the early timelines than in the later ones. The reasons for liking Homura vary too. In the first, Madoka is proud of having saved Homura from the witch. In the second, Madoka bonds with Homura over her success in learning how to use her time-power to defeat witches. In the third, Madoka rejects Homura's lovers' suicide proposition. In the fourth, Homura goes it alone, and beyond appearing at her window, to tell her to beware strangers handing out miracles, has no relationship at all with Madoka. Timeline 5 we have discussed at length. The relationship between the girls is not all the same!

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We know next to nothing about Timeline 4. And even in Timeline 5, this supposed "cool distance" that stands between them doesn't appear to be enough to stop Madoka from repeatedly turning to Homura for help.
Nor to stop Homura from rejecting the same requests. There's not a long list of MGs Madoka knows to turn to anyway.

I agree that Madoka does care for Homura, as she cares for each of her friends. But I think my main point stands: Madoka does not care for Homura with the same intensity, passion, and need that Homura cares for Madoka. Homura's feelings for Madoka express her particular character and background, which Madoka of course does not share. There is nothing to say that these different kinds of caring must somehow comprise a special bond that could account for Madoka's memories across the timelines.
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Old 2011-04-15, 13:22   Link #2018
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Hyperborealis - I may reply to you in greater detail later, but for now, there's a central point that I want to convey here.

Madoka having a caring and friendly attachment to a lot of people, while Homura has a passionate attachment to Madoka and Madoka alone, does not preclude the two sharing a particularly deep friendship, or even a romance.

In real life, there are no doubt many cases where one half of a romantic couple has a wider circle of friends than the other half does. For one half of a romantic couple, the other person may mean virtually everything to him or her, while for the other half of a romantic couple, his or her romantic partner may simply be "first among many", if you get my drift.

This isn't a relationship dynamic that is completely inconceivable. It may not be a healthy relationship dynamic, I'll grant you, but it is possible.


While Madoka does care a great deal about several different people, and likely has the capacity to care at least a little bit about any human being that she encounters, that doesn't mean that she's unable to prioritize the people around her. In other words, it doesn't mean that she's not capable of putting her mother before a perfect stranger, or putting Sayaka before her other friends. Likewise, I think that Madoka would be capable of choosing a romantic partner, and putting that person "first among many".


Also, I think Madoka was simply stunned by Homura's emotional breakdown in front of her, and didn't know what to make of it, since it was such a sharp contrast to the largely cold Homura of Timeline 5. As such, Madoka placed her focus back on the pressing issue of finding Sayaka and helping her.


I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if this anime doesn't result in a Homura/Madoka romance, but I don't think it's something that should be completely ruled out, either. I also think that Madoka is not at all the sort of person who would make the kind of very harsh criticisms of Homura that you can picture her making (unless that was
tongue-in-cheek on your part, in which case, very funny ).

I think that if somebody went to great lengths to try to save Madoka from a very harmful situation (and Homura has unquestionably done that), that Madoka would be very moved by that.
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Old 2011-04-15, 13:24   Link #2019
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Please talk some more about how Homura's death would have this effect. Is it your idea that Madoka and Homura share a deep, mystical bond that transcends time and space, that can only be reached and felt via the extremity of feeling that Homura's death would cause? Or do you think that Madoka somehow retains a cumulative memory of the timelines, a buried awareness of Homura's dedication on her behalf, which she reciprocates with her own, unspoken feelings of appreciation and love?
No. And you know it, so I don't know why you're asking that. The bond between Homura and Madoka which transcends time is the promise they shared. And note that, since Madoka was the one who requested to be saved, Homura's hope is actually Madoka's hope. So this is actually about Madoka understanding Madoka. Homura is somehow the link between them, the one who carries the promise, which is Madoka's hope.

So, when/if Madoka actually "remembers" Homura, and the promise they shared, she'll be able to understand herself as if she was looking at her own reflection in a mirror, a reflection that is much Homura as is Madoka herself. This concept is great, if you thing about it. Its actual beauty resides in how it shows there's more "magic" in a promise between two friends than it a contract with an emissary of a highly advanced alien race. The fact that this alien has no feelings is the more poignant. It harks back to the fact that in the end, magic is just emotion.

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Nice point. One poster pointed out--was it you?--that we get at that moment, in timeline 3, a distinctive sound and visual pattern, to suggest that Homura's promise to protect Madoka is now tied to Madoka's request in that timeline. So you have a strong point.
I don't remember if it was me who pointed that out. But that moment is indeed marked with some visual cue, and in the niconico version those patterns are emphasized for some reason.

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Again, you understand growing up as a self-recognition, as moment where Madoka gains a certain awareness about herself. This is very true. But it is a distinctly psychological, internally-directed conception of where the plot is going.

There are additional ways to think of growing up. One is to act for oneself, rather than to let others (e.g. parents) act for you. Another is accept that the world is not a fairy-tale, and to act in full awareness that one's actions have costs and negative consequences, especially for oneself. Yet another is to make a life-long commitment to another person. I'm sure there are many others that you can think of.

Do you envisage Madoka growing up in any of these latter ways as well? Or is it enough for her simply to know the truth about herself, that she has worth, that she is lovable, and so on?
Don't you think all these things are somewhat related? I mean, you can only act for yourself, rather than letting others act for you, if you are confident that you can actually act for yourself. Otherwise you'd lose before the start. Likewise, you can only make a life-long commitment to another person if you see yourself as that person's equal, otherwise it would be a commitment based on dependence (even if it's only emotional), which can't possible be seen as "growing up".

In the end, a sense of self-worth is the core element of any individual, don't you think?
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Old 2011-04-15, 13:30   Link #2020
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No. And you know it, so I don't know what you're asking that. The bond between Homura and Madoka which transcends time is the promise they shared. And note that, since Madoka was the one who requested to be saved, Homura's hope is actually Madoka's hope. So this is actually about Madoka understanding Madoka. Homura is somehow the link between them, the one who carries the promise, which is Madoka's hope.

So, when/if Madoka actually "remembers" Homura, and the promise they shared, she'll be able to understand herself as if she was looking at her own reflection in a mirror, a mirror that is much Homura as is Madoka herself. This concept is great, if you thing about it. Its actual beauty resides in how it shows there's more "magic" in a promise between two friends than it a contract with an emissary of a highly advanced alien race. The fact that this alien has no feelings is the more poignant. It harks back to the fact that in the end, magic is just emotion.
Very nice, Kazu-kun. I love the way you put that.
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