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View Poll Results: Madoka Magica - Favourite Character(s) Poll
Kaname Madoka 128 42.95%
Akemi Homura 202 67.79%
Miki Sayaka 85 28.52%
Tomoe Mami 99 33.22%
Sakura Kyoko 125 41.95%
Kyubei 80 26.85%
Shizuki Hitomi 7 2.35%
Kamijou Kyousuke 5 1.68%
Kaname Junko 38 12.75%
Kaname Tomohisa 6 2.01%
Kaname Tatsuya 17 5.70%
Saotome Kazuko 6 2.01%
Other 6 2.01%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 298. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-05-15, 20:04   Link #81
kaigan
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
As it is, it seems Madoka's strong desire to help others is just a trait given to her by default to make the story work, and while that's pretty common in other shows of the genre, I feel Madoka should have been above such plot conveniences.
should we blame junko-san for this?

i don't exactly see madoka's commendable trait solely as the plot demanded, but more because she was trained to, or more correctly, raised and brought up pretty well.

her mom, even contemplates (considers? encourages?) that madoka should make some mistakes while still young because wounds will heal slower as one ages, implying it will be a lot more difficult to recover when older.

madoka's strong desire to help others can be explained by some simple line from her mom. yes, nothing fancy, no whole arc to explain it, just a dialogue.

of course, it might also because she is both good-natured and kind-hearted too naturally. however, the dialogue provided us some more convincing hints.

yes, it could have been better if this was expounded in a way in visual form than mere speeches. i definitely approve too. maybe this is just the medium the staff chose as appropriate as long as the storytelling is concerned. or maybe because of real world economics?

anyways, regarding madoka's lack of character development (viz. her strong desire to help which remained all consistent all through out), i think this could be better seen in a different lens. instead of finding her inner motivation of being helpful, of why, we could look for the time or moment she will "rebel" or make some mistakes.

this is logical since she was raised to be a good girl, the only change or "development" will happen if she deviates from this - in other words when she turns "bad." and i think the resounding nice and juicy slap on madoka's cheek is a good development for her part. i think someone explained this better than i do, i just don't recall the link. but the essence is the same. madoka is nothing short of development. and even if she's the titular character, it doesn't guarantee she'll have the most of it, right?

again, the change/s is/are short. condensed. compact. brief. but explained and provided some answers. probably the hints are sporadic and distributed. it's there if we look at the right places, i guess...

just my 2 cents.
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Old 2011-05-16, 01:39   Link #82
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What I'm wondering is, does Madoka need a reason to do good and help people? Heck, does anyone need a reason to help others and do the right thing?
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Old 2011-05-16, 01:48   Link #83
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What I'm wondering is, does Madoka need a reason to do good and help people? Heck, does anyone need a reason to help others and do the right thing?
Need a reason to do a good deed? I'd like to say no, although some may argue that. But in terms of characterization, knowing why Madoka is the type of person who would do such a thing is key.
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Old 2011-05-16, 03:47   Link #84
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1. Kyouko
2. Homura
3. Madoka along with Mami
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Old 2011-05-16, 05:51   Link #85
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her mom, even contemplates (considers? encourages?) that madoka should make some mistakes while still young because wounds will heal slower as one ages, implying it will be a lot more difficult to recover when older.
I disagree. Her mother was making a point on how Madoka had always been a good kid, not that she specifically raised her that way, which would be kinda hard anyway since she spends most of her time at work. If anything, her words (and behavior as a mother) supports my take that Madoka is characterized the way she is just because, without any proper explanation.

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What I'm wondering is, does Madoka need a reason to do good and help people? Heck, does anyone need a reason to help others and do the right thing?
Akashin already said it but it bears repetition. Characters are not people, they are narrative elements and need clear motivations. A clear motivation behind your character is needed for many reasons, including personal identification, stronger internal conflicts, and a higher chance of catharsis, among others.

I don't even know why I'm ranting about this. It's not like I care about Madoka or anything. Sayaka's words come to mind: "I'm such an idiot".
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Old 2011-05-16, 06:11   Link #86
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I disagree. Her mother was making a point on how Madoka had always been a good kid, not that she specifically raised her that way, which would be kinda hard anyway since she spends most of her time at work. If anything, her words (and behavior as a mother) supports my take that Madoka is characterized the way she is just because, without any proper explanation.
Junko may not be home all the time, but the anime seems to imply that Madoka's father doesn't work and is always at their home. Maybe Tomohisa raised Madoka to be the girl she is.
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Old 2011-05-16, 06:43   Link #87
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there is at least one direct sourse pointing at the reason for Madoka's behaviour, that being Junko's words in episode 6. Seriously, what other causes to need? She's a kind-hearted girl, willing to help everyone but not considering herself too helpful (nonetheless, she's in charge of taking people to the nurse's office and I suspect she volunteered for that). And her actions in the whole series are pretty believable to me. I've seen passive characters in anime, but oddly enough, Madoka never gave me such an impression - even before episode 3 where her character starts sketching up.
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Old 2011-05-16, 06:54   Link #88
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there is at least one direct sourse pointing at the reason for Madoka's behaviour, that being Junko's words in episode 6. Seriously, what other causes to need? She's a kind-hearted girl, willing to help everyone but not considering herself too helpful (nonetheless, she's in charge of taking people to the nurse's office and I suspect she volunteered for that).
What you're listing here are character's traits, not the reasons and motivations behind those traits. We all know how Madoka is; what's unclear is why she's that way.

Now, I'm fully aware lots of people who watch anime don't really care that much about these things, and that's ok. Regardless, it's pretty much a fact that she's poorly characterized.
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Old 2011-05-16, 09:13   Link #89
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Ah, my bad misunderstanding - so you were talking about her upbringing.
Well, Madoka's family IS kind and loving. And Madoka hasn't ever been hinted to experience any direct trouble outside home either. She's always had good examples to look up to (we'll skip the "can't wait to get drunk with you, Mom" part, OK? ), and there doesn't seem to have been anything to make her bitter and disillusioned about the ideals she had. Although the second factor may be less relevant - we don't see Madoka giving up on her personality even things DO go downhill. Although the emotional breakdown she undergoes is more than visible.
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Old 2011-05-16, 09:40   Link #90
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She's always had good examples to look up to
As far as I remember her mother's personality is pretty much opposite to Madoka's. Her mother would not hesitate on crushing a co-worker to get a promotion, for example (this has been stated in the series) while Madoka would never do something like that.

It's clear she doesn't get her ideals from her family. Her family is loving one, but Madoka's ideals are way beyond that.

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we don't see Madoka giving up on her personality even things DO go downhill.
Well, that would be part of the problem too, right? Why does she not give up on her personality even if she goes through really bad situations? Again, we don't know. All those traits of hers were never given any proper explanation. And having a normal, semi functional family is not even close to explain her character traits.
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Old 2011-05-16, 09:53   Link #91
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Why does she not give up on her personality even if she goes through really bad situations?
Could it be because of her determination to help her friends who undergo worse situations? Especially Sayaka - when your best friend is slowly going down, you either try to snap her out of it or take a fetal position and mutter something about being helpless. Thankfully, Madoka is no Shinji.
Of course, by discussing this, we already deal with the motivation behind her actions in the anime that stem from her personality while you raised the question of the motivation behind the personality itself. But character ontology is hard to trace definitely. Having a normal family does not always result in someone like Madoka, but it surely was a factor. Madoka's looking up to her mother and wanting to be useful may be another. But we simply lack info on her background to judge how exactly she grew up to be like this.
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Old 2011-05-16, 10:31   Link #92
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But we simply lack info on her background to judge how exactly she grew up to be like this.
Well, from start it, you're not supposed to analyze the character in order to figure out the motivations behind their actions. Rather, the motivations are supposed to be clear enough so that you can understand their actions without even thinking about it.

For example, Yuma has been abused by her parents. So, when she demonstrates an inferiority complex and also clings to the first person who treats her with kindness (in this case Kyoko) you can neatly understand why she behaves like that without even thinking about it. Plus, because you know why she acts the way she does, and where her character traits come from, you can relate to her in a way you would never be able to do with Madoka, a character you need to analyze in other to understand her actions, which defeats the purpose to begin with.
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Old 2011-05-16, 12:06   Link #93
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I disagree. Her mother was making a point on how Madoka had always been a good kid, [B]not that she specifically raised her that way[B]
unless i'm watching a mistranslated sub, junko-san said herself in ep 6 that she raised madoka well - that she's always been a good girl; she always try her hardest to do the right thing. mom even praised her to be a wonderful child. and then she considers madoka to mess up sometimes or take the fall as part of the learning process.

junko-san having no regrets about the then-present madoka means the girl grew in a loving and understanding environment conducive for kind people like those with strong desire to help others.

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which would be kinda hard anyway since she spends most of her time at work.
yes, mom spends most of her time at work. but it does not mean the situation in the kaname household has always been like that before. who knows, if junko-san stayed at home and tomo-san worked when madoka was tatsuya's age. then they switched places when baby bro was born? so while we are aware that mom is a busy woman, it's too harsh to assume that she doesn't have a hand in upbringing her daughter well.

besides, madoka's already in an age that she could take care of herself. she doesn't need to be babysit and spoon-fed or send off and fetched to school. she's a young adult, and an onee-chan to boot.


and considering i really did watch a mistranslated sub and even if it's not because of mom, it's of little significance because papa is also always there. madoka has two parents. singly or mutually both parents did a good job or at least have a hand in developing madoka into a good girl.

papa has a very limited screen time. so no matter how little his appearance is, maybe that's enough to make him or at least portray him to be a good husband and father.

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If anything, her words (and behavior as a mother) supports my take that Madoka is characterized the way she is
well, madoka and her mom seem to be quite close. they always talk whenever possible, while brushing teeth, on the table, and so on. and this is supported in ep 11 that mom shared to sensei that madoka always come to her to talk regarding what's troubling her.

the "high five" of bidding good bye or take care symbolizes intimacy between the two. and junko-san seems to be approachable and doesn't mind having late night talks/interviews with her daughter at all. is this unmother-like or out of character in mom's part?

and in ep 11 again, there is this revelation (to sensei) that mom said the she understands madoka pretty well ever since, only now she is having difficulty, she
can't see through her recently. how could she had said this if she had been so neglectful as a mother?

now, you might point out about drinking. but it's just alcohol. any grown-up probably drinks alcoholic beverages. it's not as if she is drinking all the time every time after work that ultimately affects her work schedule and relationship with her family and officemates. and mom knows not to force/let madoka to drink because her daughter's underage. i see no problem with it. it's not as if she committed extramarital relationships or promiscuous sex.

regarding her words in ep 2 and
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Her mother would not hesitate on crushing a co-worker to get a promotion, for example (this has been stated in the series) while Madoka would never do something like that.
again, unless i'm watching a mistranslation, mom said getting 'rid off' of the senior partners of the company. this is in response in the question that if magic could be use to fulfill her wishes what would it be.

the word "crushing" is a bit too harsh and implies something underhand, unlawful, or illegal. but the series itself and the ensuing dialogue tell us nothing like it, instead quite the opposite. she said that she just need to improve her sales and that might improve her footing in the company hierarchy. it's not as if she's desperate to do any means. so, i see no issue of unmotherly in junko-san's part.

we must also consider that junko-san here is already an adult and living in real "adult materialistic world." yes with all the bad and undesirable where competition and money is the norm and blood. while madoka is in a transitionary stage of adolescence. the bridge between the innocent, idealistic, and pure childhood and harsh but mature adulthood. they are in different worlds.

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Regardless, it's pretty much a fact that she's poorly characterized.
uhm, you have your reasons to believe your way. but i believe madoka received adequate characterization considering the length of the entire series and this is supported with convincing evidence. as i said before, there is/are hint/s. and some might have already been pointed out. and i mean subtle hint/s doesn't/don't equate to lack/absence/poor characterization.

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It's clear she doesn't get her ideals from her family. Her family is loving one, but Madoka's ideals are way beyond that.
i don't see this clearly. i'm sure in a way madoka's influenced by her family. it's not like they are polar opposites and too contrasting like black and white. i see no reason why you believe otherwise.
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Old 2011-05-16, 12:27   Link #94
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as i said before, there is/are hint/s. and some might have already been pointed out. and i mean subtle hint/s doesn't/don't equate to lack/absence/poor characterization.
If we're talking about motivations, then yes, it does. Think about Homura, or Yuma from the Oriko manga. The motivations behind their actions are so clear you don't even have to think to understand their behavior. With Madoka though, all you have is, as you said, hints. For a main character that isn't enough, more so if you consider the extent of Madoka's actions.
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Old 2011-05-16, 12:43   Link #95
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If we're talking about motivations, then yes, it does. Think about Homura, or Yuma from the Oriko manga. The motivations behind their actions are so clear you don't even have to think to understand their behavior.
agreed. i assume the motivations are same as that of reasons and inner drive.

regarding other character's drive, yes, there are significant differences. the reasons, why, we could only speculate.

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With Madoka though, all you have is, as you said, hints. For a main character that isn't enough, more so if you consider the extent of Madoka's actions.
there are hints, but that's not all, i believe. in fact, i believe it was presented so obviously that one could fish it out directly from the series characters' lips. unartistic, dull, yes. but again, it's present. even kyouko in ep 9 testifies that madoka has a wonderful family. the hint/s i mentioned just support/s those lines.
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Old 2011-05-16, 13:12   Link #96
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1. Homura. If I'd had to see all my friends die over and over again and not be able to do anything to stop it, I would have gone barking mad.

2. Kyouko. Classic example of Break the Cutie (although this could apply to all the characters) via her backstory. Episode 9 is also my favourite episode of the show, so pretty easy choice here.

Apologies for a lack of further clarification, I'm not exactly the best at explaining why I like something.
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Old 2011-05-16, 13:18   Link #97
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agreed. i assume the motivations are same as that of reasons and inner drive.
English isn't my native language so I'm pretty much fishing for the right words here.

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kyouko in ep 9 testifies that madoka has a wonderful family. the hint/s i mentioned just support/s those lines.
Well, if you really think having a nice family is enough a reason to explain Madoka's behavior, including her unrealistically strong desire to help others even at the cost of her life... What can I say?

Of course, I can't agree with that. Can you imagine how ridiculous would be for, say Spider-Man, if instead of his guilt over his uncle's dead, his main motivation for fighting the bad guys was a loving family?? And yeah, I know Madoka is a girl, and a few years younger too. But just a loving family is not enough of a proper motivation for what she's willing to do. If this was Nanoha, or CCS, it would be ok, but not in Madoka, not when other characters in the series are somewhat properly characterized (Homura, Yuma, etc).
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Old 2011-05-16, 16:08   Link #98
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English isn't my native language so I'm pretty much fishing for the right words here.
worry not, my friend, i'm guilty as well

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Well, if you really think having a nice family is enough a reason to explain Madoka's behavior
having a nice family do help and did offer an explanation regarding madoka's behavior. but that's not really the only one. add to this is her overall upbringing (parents and her immediate environment). i mean she has a nice and supportive family; and her city is relatively peaceful and safe to live with.

and we may also add her close friends and other social institutions that might affected her (school, religion, etc) but the latter would be more of an assumption, so i'll stick for now just on what we could find in the series.

well, that basically gave madoka a characterization supported by direct testaments and clues abound. i'm just not exactly sure for the use of 'enough,' since it's really not too hard to understand and spot them as if they are missing and lacking. but like i said, it was unartistic and dull. maybe that's why homu-chan got an entire episode dedicated for herself, because it's more complicated whereas madoka's simple (even if she's the titular character).

besides, madoka has a good support background a family, friends, and school right at the very beginning. while homu remained a mystery for sometime. in other words, madoka was presented almost transparently while homu was held back for surprises.

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including her unrealistically strong desire to help others even at the cost of her life
i'm not entirely sure if her desire can be qualified being as 'unrealistically strong'. if i remember and count correctly there is only one instance that she is willing to help others while being fully aware of the consequences that will ultimately cost her life, viz the 'final wish'. she said it specifically herself that she's willing to trade her life for it in ep 12.

these happened after qb's historical lecture and 'completing' some series of minor revelations, tragedies upon tragedies that befell her close friends, even homu, and now her city and of course her entire family. her family is basically threatened. her intimately closest loved ones.

kyouko shared that time might come the she has to make a decision and take the plunge. but until then don't throw away your love ones and be a magical girl just for the sake of being a magical girl.

the emotional stress on the final episode is so massive that it will put to shame all other instances 'of helping others' and in all previous timelines. all other instances can be simply said as 'in spirit of helping others'. being pm helps a lot of people.

madoka is not aware of the risks involved, so she's making decisions without full knowledge.

but the last one is different. others might want to count her attempt to save saya back to normal. fine, that's all right. but still, she's still partly in the dark. she's not aware back then that pms (and in extension herself) would turn inevitably to witches, not just zombies. she has no knowledge about the wn battle, and that the entire human civilization depended much heavily with incubators influence.

so if we will ever consider this only one instance in the final ep as 'unrealistically strong desire' to help others, i think it's justified given the situation and magnitude of emotional intensity she has to bare at that moment. the whole world is at stake. what would a good and well brought up girl going to do?

and about helping others, don't confuse this of just being a magical girl. madoka's helpful even if she's just herself. and she is also human. she actually felt fear contracting. and her doubts rise as more and more of the magical girl system is revealed.
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Old 2011-05-16, 16:50   Link #99
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so if we will ever consider this only one instance in the final ep as 'unrealistically strong desire' to help others, i think it's justified given the situation and magnitude of emotional intensity she has to bare at that moment. the whole world is at stake. what would a good and well brought up girl going to do?
No no. Her desire to help others even at the cost of her life has always been there, even before knowing about Magical girls, as explained in the drama cd. What she gained in the last episode of the series is the know-how to make the right wish, but her will to make the sacrifice has always been there. And yeas, right after Mami died, she was afraid, but in the next episode, she was once again willing to risk her life for some else (in this case Sayaka).

In the drama cd, when Madoka introduce Amy (the cat) to Homura, she tells Homura: "if something happens to me (aka, if I die) will you take care of Amy for me?". At that point Madoka had been a magical girl for just a week, a WEEK, and she was already talking like that, already willing to make any sacrifice to help others.

So, as you see, her desire to save others is so strong and so deeply rooted into her already (even before knowing about magical girls), that there's no way just having a wonderful family and a good environment would be enough to make her that way.

Look, if you feel it's enough for you, that's ok, but this sort of characterization would get you kicked out of any script writing course. That much I'm pretty sure of.

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and about helping others, don't confuse this of just being a magical girl. madoka's helpful even if she's just herself. and she is also human. she actually felt fear contracting. and her doubts rise as more and more of the magical girl system is revealed.
She's helpful as a human yet she whined all the time that she wasn't helpful at all, from even before knowing about magical girls, as told by the drama cd. That's an inferiority complex right there that was also never given a proper explanation/reason. Totally different case than with Homura, who also had an inferiority complex but was explained by her illness and lack of friends. Madoka had good health, great friends and a wonderful family, so why was she as dissatisfied with herself as Homura was (she even compares the both of them in that respect)?? Her characterization is just weak, no matter how you look at it.
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Old 2011-05-16, 18:30   Link #100
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
English isn't my native language so I'm pretty much fishing for the right words here.



Well, if you really think having a nice family is enough a reason to explain Madoka's behavior, including her unrealistically strong desire to help others even at the cost of her life... What can I say?

Of course, I can't agree with that. Can you imagine how ridiculous would be for, say Spider-Man, if instead of his guilt over his uncle's dead, his main motivation for fighting the bad guys was a loving family?? And yeah, I know Madoka is a girl, and a few years younger too. But just a loving family is not enough of a proper motivation for what she's willing to do. If this was Nanoha, or CCS, it would be ok, but not in Madoka, not when other characters in the series are somewhat properly characterized (Homura, Yuma, etc).

Kazu-Kun, remember how a long time ago on the Spoilers and Speculations thread I debated in favor of the idea that Madoka wants to be extraordinarily helpful?

Well, there you go. That's a lot of Madoka's motivation when all is said and done, in my opinion.


Madoka simply wants to be a magical girl super hero. She wants to be "cool" and exceptionally helpful. I think it reflects a personality that is the ideal mixture (for a magical girl) of profound caring for all other human beings, of desire for greatness, and even a touch of vanity. Madoka has all of that, and I think she hinted at it a few times in the anime.

And in the end, I think that this interpretation of Madoka is the one that probably helps to explain her actions the best.
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