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Old 2011-04-14, 11:22   Link #1981
Cosmic Eagle
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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Excellent post. Lots of nice catches.



Yes--Homura has just perforated QB, and then berates Madoka for always sacrificing herself, when the animation suddenly flashes this bizarre and unexplained image:



What is this?



Yes. Sayaka has just commented on how everything now is different, now that Mami has died and she and Madoka are caught up in a magical world nobody else knows about. Why then does Sayaka say, "The world changed a long time ago. / We should've discovered this earlier?" What earlier time long ago is she talking about?
Great...now I have mental images of Madoka looking at the sky saying "sono me dare no me?" as it turns out all this is one big delusionary world created by that giant being seen in the end of the OP that they are all trapped in....
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Old 2011-04-14, 11:26   Link #1982
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Great...now I have mental images of Madoka looking at the sky saying "sono me dare no me?" as it turns out all this is one big delusionary world created by that giant being seen in the end of the OP that they are all trapped in....
Excuse my noobness, but what anime are you kidding about?
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Old 2011-04-14, 11:30   Link #1983
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Originally Posted by Shadow5YA View Post

The fox is known for using its knowledge and wisdom for trickery.
Actually, not all of those mythical foxes are of the trickster variety, as can be read here.

Kyubey having the nine tail imagery in that scene where Sayaka becomes a Puella Magi prompted me to research into nine-tail fox legends to see what it might say about Kyubey.

And lo and behold, there are indeed malicious nine-tail foxes, but also ones that "...put the fox in a more tender position, whose simple desire was basically to seek a companion to share the human experience of love and happiness...".


Really, nothing concrete was said about Kyubey by the nine-tail shadow imagery.

It was just SHAFT being SHAFT, imo.


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Originally Posted by Cosmic Eagle View Post
Demon, alien, Azatoth....they are all the same...
No, they're not. Not at all.

A supernatural or magical being is often fundamentally different from a more naturalistic alien being. They're different conceptually too.


Furthermore, many Star Trek fans absolutely hate it when Star Trek goes into a more mystical or supernatural direction, as they did at times in DS9.

Likewise, pure fantasy fans would not have been amused if Lord of the Rings had been resolved by an ET-esque alien swooping down in his flying saucer to destroy Mordor.


For a lot of viewers, these differences matter.


Quote:
tech is indistinguishable from magic at an advanced enough level.
But that doesn't mean they operate the same way.

Tech is generally expected to tie back into actual scientific concepts, even if they are the more fantastical ones.

Magic doesn't need to do this. Magic simply is.
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Old 2011-04-14, 11:43   Link #1984
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Actually, not all of those mythical foxes are of the trickster variety, as can be read here.

Kyubey having the nine tail imagery in that scene where Sayaka becomes a Puella Magi prompted me to research into nine-tail fox legends to see what it might say about Kyubey.

And lo and behold, there are indeed malicious nine-tail foxes, but also ones that "...put the fox in a more tender position, whose simple desire was basically to seek a companion to share the human experience of love and happiness...".


Really, nothing concrete was said about Kyubey by the nine-tail shadow imagery.

It was just SHAFT being SHAFT, imo.




No, they're not. Not at all.

A supernatural or magical being is often fundamentally different from a more naturalistic alien being. They're different conceptually too.


Furthermore, many Star Trek fans absolutely hate it when Star Trek goes into a more mystical or supernatural direction, as they did at times in DS9.

Likewise, pure fantasy fans would not have been amused if Lord of the Rings had been resolved by an ET-esque alien swooping down in his flying saucer to destroy Mordor.


For a lot of viewers, these differences matter.

But in this case it's going more in the direction of more like higher planar being than the standard UFO riding alien....at that point it becomes almost the same as spiritual entity.
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Old 2011-04-14, 12:02   Link #1985
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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
But that doesn't account for her character development. I mean, all the staff, Gen, Shinbo, the series director, say Madoka has to grow up. But, if her insecure persona is an effect of Homura's wish, then it wouldn't be up to her to grow up from it.... But it is, because her insecure and meek personality is her real personality, so it's her responsibility to overcome that flaw. Homura's wish has nothing to do with it.
Very good point. I agree. The point of the show is that Madoka grows up--and it can't be that Homura's wish prevents that possibility before Madoka even has a chance to do so.

Although you now have me imagining a very dark ending, where Madoka upbraids Homura for predestining her future and preventing her from ever growing up...

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Originally Posted by Kazu-kun View Post
Don't get me wrong, I agree that because of Homura's wish, their roles have somewhat reversed. But roles and personalities are not the same thing. Meek and insecure Madoka is the real Madoka, not the product of Homura's wish. Besides, it's not as if Homura longs for the cool Madoka who saved her life. She just wants Madoka no to sacrifice her life. That's her wish!
Good distinction between roles and personalities.

We'll have to agree to disagree about "meek and insecure Madoka" being "the real Madoka." Sorry! I keep thinking of Madoka as being merely ordinary, not meek and insecure.

You're definitely right that Homura's intention is to save Madoka's life. But you know, one of the things the anime keeps bringing up is the fine line that divides wishing on behalf of oneself and wishing on behalf of another person. Homura's stated wish is also about herself, that she become different than she has been, someone strong enough to protect Madoka. There is a selfish element in Homura's wish, even if its intended purpose is altruistic. To some extent, Madoka is partly a means whereby Homura redresses her own unhappiness about herself.

Here's a thought-experiment for you: does Homura grow up between timelines 1 and 5? What do we mean anyway when we think that someone has "grown up?" If Madoka "grows up," what will we see?

If we think of Madoka as meek and insecure, growing up might mean then that she becomes self-confident and self-assured. How we describe Madoka now prefigures our expectations about how she will turn out in the end, and what the happy ending--if there is one--will consist of, at least in terms of Madoka's characterization. Will that be a happy ending for you, if Madoka turns out that way? Will everything have been worth it, should Madoka become self-confident and self-assured?
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Old 2011-04-14, 12:45   Link #1986
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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Although you now have me imagining a very dark ending, where Madoka upbraids Homura for predestining her future and preventing her from ever growing up...
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".

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.

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.

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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
We'll have to agree to disagree about "meek and insecure Madoka" being "the real Madoka." Sorry! I keep thinking of Madoka as being merely ordinary, not meek and insecure.
She may not be that way, but she sees herself that way at the very least. She has to overcome that.

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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
You're definitely right that Homura's intention is to save Madoka's life. But you know, one of the things the anime keeps bringing up is the fine line that divides wishing on behalf of oneself and wishing on behalf of another person. Homura's stated wish is also about herself, that she become different than she has been, someone strong enough to protect Madoka. There is a selfish element in Homura's wish, even if its intended purpose is altruistic. To some extent, Madoka is partly a means whereby Homura redresses her own unhappiness about herself.
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.

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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Here's a thought-experiment for you: does Homura grow up between timelines 1 and 5? What do we mean anyway when we think that someone has "grown up?" If Madoka "grows up," what will we see?
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.
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Last edited by Kazu-kun; 2011-04-14 at 13:23.
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Old 2011-04-14, 13:19   Link #1987
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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.
Well, that makes me think of the kind of ending I was hoping for Mai-Hime.
Back then, I though Mai would become the winner of the Battle-Royale and would use her uber-powers to bring everyone from the dead, at the cost of erasing herself from the world. Maybe dying. Maybe as a watcher who can't interact with people. I don't know.

I'm expecting (= I would like) to see that happening on Madoka.
Madoka will always be Madoka. That is to say she'll sacrifice herself, no matter what. But this time, it will be voluntary.
I could see an ending where everyone is ressurected, but Madoka is missing.
Erasing herself, taking the burden, whatever. I'm not a huge fan on the revival-plot-twist, but if Gen get rid of his heroine in the process, I could be fine with it.
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Old 2011-04-14, 13:34   Link #1988
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I'm expecting (= I would like) to see that happening on Madoka.
Madoka will always be Madoka. That is to say she'll sacrifice herself, no matter what. But this time, it will be voluntary.
I could see an ending where everyone is ressurected, but Madoka is missing.
Erasing herself, taking the burden, whatever. I'm not a huge fan on the revival-plot-twist, but if Gen get rid of his heroine in the process, I could be fine with it.
Well, that's a possibility.

Personally, I think the opposite. Madoka will accept Homura's sacrifice, and live on with that burden. That's goes in line with Urobuchi's claims about Homura being the actual heroine, and what I perceive as Madoka growing up and the message Urobuchi is going at. Madoka rejecting the contract seems more in line with all this IMO.

EDIT: Besides, Urobuchi won't change the rules of the game. If Madoka contracts and use all her magic, she'll become Gretchen and destroy the world. You have to consider this as set in stone if she contracts.
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Old 2011-04-14, 14:35   Link #1989
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This really wasn't set in stone in TL1 and TL3.
I've thought about ressurection ending before, and probably already mentioned it here. What seems set in stone to me is that it will feature no Madoka. Because she's the only one to trigger that ending. If she learns that it is possible to bring everyone back AND make them humans again, then L himself would give 62% that Madoka may go for it. Then die along with WN - pretty much the sacrifice and the bitter ending we've been expecting. But this is likely to prove wrong next Thursday. Alas, the only thing I can bet on is that there will be no other loops. For obvious and painfully expectable reasons.
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Old 2011-04-14, 14:49   Link #1990
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This really wasn't set in stone in TL1 and TL3
Because she died in TL1 and Homura was with her to stop it in TL3. Neither of this two things are likely to happen now, so I don't really see this sort of ending.
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Old 2011-04-14, 16:08   Link #1991
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That's why combine my version with the probability of the WN battle finished Kyouko-style.
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Old 2011-04-14, 16:12   Link #1992
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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Good distinction between roles and personalities.

We'll have to agree to disagree about "meek and insecure Madoka" being "the real Madoka." Sorry! I keep thinking of Madoka as being merely ordinary, not meek and insecure.
Not entirely sure the two of you are disagreeing. Or to what extent, if. Kazu-kun replies to your point as follows:

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Originally Posted by Kazu kun
She may not be that way, but she sees herself that way at the very least. She has to overcome that.
See? That sort of implies that both "magical girl Madoka" and "meek and insecure Madoka" are roles she plays. The way she sees herself, the way she presents herself. That is what changes.

But underneath it all, Madoka remains Madoka. Even without magical powers, mundane girl Madoka follows Hitomi, knowing she'll be up against a witch, and knowing that she'll be useless in that situation. She fidgets and worries, as fits her role, but she still makes decisions when she sees the need (not running away, grabbing that bucket...). Conversly, magical girl Madoka admits to being afraid, but she overplays it because that's inconsistent with the magical girl role as she sees it.

And even that insistence on appearance is consistent with Madoka's personality: She buys Mami's act (is it time to admit that I didn't trust Mami further than Kyubey when she first appeared? ), she tells Homura she needs to act as cool as her name sounds, she fidgets about the ribbon in the beginning...

Yep, I, too, think she needs to break through that all and see herself for what she is.
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Old 2011-04-14, 16:24   Link #1993
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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Yes. Sayaka has just commented on how everything now is different, now that Mami has died and she and Madoka are caught up in a magical world nobody else knows about. Why then does Sayaka say, "The world changed a long time ago. / We should've discovered this earlier?" What earlier time long ago is she talking about?
You got me there, and that's also a good catch. In most stories where a character narrates from a past tense, it's for foreshadowing purposes, or the character is telling the story from a future perspective. However her lines don't feel like a foreshadowing of what we already expected/saw (that Sayaka would be the stories example of what happens to MG's when they fall), they feel like someone narrating at some future point, after the event(s) occurred.

Quote:
Although this Sayaka is not "real-world" Sayaka, since the "real-world" Sayaka is sitting on the bench in the train station, and will fall to the ground just prior to her witchification. Is this standing one, with the strange shadows and tail, the incipient witch-Sayaka? Probably we're already into allegorical / witch-world animation phase, and here it's hard to know what is symbolic and what is simply deliberately bizarre, part and parcel of the essential strangeness of the witch's barrier.
As someone else pointed out, it could be SHAFT being SHAFT. It could simply be symbolic or artistic, and not have any direct meaning to the story. It's still strange though.

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Golly, could you please remind me where the silhouette image appears? I'd like to go look at it to see what made you interested in it.
I actually posted some speculation about this earlier in the thread. I'm still unsure about it.
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Old 2011-04-14, 17:28   Link #1994
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Has anyone actually read or watch Geothe's Faust to speculate as to how the series will end? It seems to be following the same situations as that, so an ending could be derived from it. The entro to the anime itself was the same as for the story with 2011 on the bottom which would mean that this series is a modern interpretation of the story of Faust right?
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Old 2011-04-14, 17:32   Link #1995
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EDIT: Besides, Urobuchi won't change the rules of the game. If Madoka contracts and use all her magic, she'll become Gretchen and destroy the world. You have to consider this as set in stone if she contracts.
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)
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Old 2011-04-14, 18:49   Link #1996
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Has anyone actually read or watch Geothe's Faust to speculate as to how the series will end? It seems to be following the same situations as that, so an ending could be derived from it. The entro to the anime itself was the same as for the story with 2011 on the bottom which would mean that this series is a modern interpretation of the story of Faust right?
This is more or less true, but I don't know if we can say that knowing the story of Faust (which I don't, at least not intimately) will help here. Beyond the obvious things (like Kyubey=Mephistopheles, becoming a Puella Magi being a parallel to the contract between Mephisto and Faust, the passages from the story present in the first two episodes, etc.) I don't know how much of the story could be taken as a direct parallel to Faust. Although if Kazu-kun is correct in Madoka saving Homura in the end, that'd likely be a reference to Gretchen guiding Faust into heaven at his death.
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Old 2011-04-14, 19:16   Link #1997
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It stated that Gretchen wished for Faust to be brought to the higher planes, which it was granted.

Its hard to parallel because Faust was supposed to be redeemed at the end, which Homura can only parallel if she saves Madoka, but after that Madoka would than make a wish to save Homura if she was to be Gretchen. But that would mean Homura would ultimately fail...
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Old 2011-04-14, 19:26   Link #1998
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Originally Posted by Sekirei07 View Post
It stated that Gretchen wished for Faust to be brought to the higher planes, which it was granted.

Its hard to parallel because Faust was supposed to be redeemed at the end, which Homura can only parallel if she saves Madoka, but after that Madoka would than make a wish to save Homura if she was to be Gretchen. But that would mean Homura would ultimately fail...
Homura by herself cannot succeed. So eventually it has to get to a point where she finally falls....

Quote:
You got me there, and that's also a good catch. In most stories where a character narrates from a past tense, it's for foreshadowing purposes, or the character is telling the story from a future perspective. However her lines don't feel like a foreshadowing of what we already expected/saw (that Sayaka would be the stories example of what happens to MG's when they fall), they feel like someone narrating at some future point, after the event(s) occurred.
Another possibility is that this, and maybe Madoka's monologue after ep 10 is done from some afterlife when everything is finally ended and everyone is dead.
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Old 2011-04-14, 19:29   Link #1999
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Originally Posted by Sekirei07 View Post
It stated that Gretchen wished for Faust to be brought to the higher planes, which it was granted.

Its hard to parallel because Faust was supposed to be redeemed at the end, which Homura can only parallel if she saves Madoka, but after that Madoka would than make a wish to save Homura if she was to be Gretchen. But that would mean Homura would ultimately fail...
Which is, ultimately, why I don't think an analysis of Faust will help much. If by any chance the ending of the series has any moments that seem like overt references to Faust, then I won't be surprised, but that is likely to be the extent of it. Besides, while there is room to say this series is something of a modern re-imagining of Faust, this series also stands perfectly on its own without that distinction. Putting too much faith in that connection probably won't yield much.
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Old 2011-04-14, 20:24   Link #2000
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I didn't want to bring this up because I didn't see anyone else mention it, but this has been driving me up the frigging wall for close to two weeks.

No matter how I spin the timelines, it doesn't work. It happens before Madoka contracts, which means it's before Homura comes back to school. Even if you think the whole sequence is a mishmash of many timelines we didn't get to see, that doesn't set it right.

Here's the possibilities as I see them... and of course I could just be completely off in my own world here:

- Madoka subconsciously remembers her, causing her to mumble her name. It's the cleanest narrative explanation, but it's a weird blink-and-miss-it way to hint that.

- Homura's been keeping Kyubey busy for days. This scene comes after Homura returns to class. Why would she wait until they met to deliver such an urgent warning?

- Healed with magic, Homura returns to class immediately. The scene takes place the night afterward. Possible, but why wouldn't she come back early again in TL5? Remember, TL1 and TL5 have her coming back on the "same" day.

- Continuity error. Repeat to yourself "It's just a show". An understandable one, given all the weird time shifting. So it's certainly possible.

- ThereminVox is an idiot. Likely. But probably irrelevant.
This point is interesting, since perhaps as a result of my having been playing a game with yet another story involving time-travelling recently, I immediately caught onto and assumed your first interpretation when I saw that scene. And yet I did not necessarily interpret that to have any significance plotwise.

It seems to me, that the concept/idea/experience of people subconsciously recognizing something they should not technically know but which may represent some sort of strong bond or feeling in an unreachable, alternate existence is a fairly common and very natural part of the sort of stories people tend to create. And, outside of any strictly logical explanation, this sort of inexplicable familiarity is often only reflective of a general belief that the things which happen, our experiences and small, limited existences--even if they are swept away, buried, lost, or cut off irrevocably (i.e., for one example, by the erasure of one timeline as it is covered up and rewritten by another one)--somehow, indeed have significance. The sort of feeling that, even if in one world Madoka had never met Homura, never befriended her--never struggled together, or gave her life for her--then somehow after that, no matter where in the vast universe of possibilities and realities Homura and Madoka's existences may happen to intersect with each other, there will be a connection between them.

The use of this phenomenon in narrative is evocative of a theme of souls, fate, and destiny which is fundamentally attractive to people. This attraction can be so inherent and internalized that the story does not even need an explanation for it.

On the other hand, an explanation is implicit in the conclusion that if humans do have unique, individual, transcendental souls, then all of the experiences of a person will be somehow written onto it, and thus this will be the explanation for any minute instances of recognition or foreknowledge which might occur beyond the bounds of our worldly existences.

Such an explanation does not necessarily either need to be romanticized. I think it's possible to read that scene with Madoka, as Homura's name is cut off from her lips mid-completion, as representative of the completion of the time reversal process as the erasure of all of Madoka's previous experiences with Homura is finally utterly removes her from Madoka's mind and memory. Madoka's "Homu-" is not an indication of Madoka subconsciously remembering her, but rather Madoka forgetting her.

In any case, though, what is at minimum at least something which I think is clear about the story is that that incident was supposed to indicate some sort of subconscious recognition of Homura on the part of Madoka, not any mundane time-jumping convolutions.


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Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Still, the implication of a wish to protect someone rather than to be protected is that roles be reversed: the weak becomes strong, and the strong becomes weak. And if you compare timeline 1 to timeline 5, especially, say, the sequence in which Homura is introduced to the class and she and Madoka walk to the nurse's office, the two girls do seem to have switched places.

It is possible to account for this reversal by pointing to Homura's wish rather than the absence of Madoka's wish.

Both explanations work. I prefer making Homura responsible, since that continues the theme of unanticipated negative consequences of wishes Sayaka has already exemplified. Homura gets to protect her friend, but then Madoka ceases to be the same person who had impressed Homura into wanting to protect her in the first place. A nice catch-22, that precisely illustrates the folly of wishes...
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. In acting as if they can, or do, or as if she is fighting for the sake of anyone beyond herself, i.e. Madoka, Homura is opening herself up to an enormous contradiction.

In timeline 3, Madoka said: 'Save me from my foolishness. Do not let me contract with Kyuubey.'

However, the words that Madoka spoke in timeline 1, were: 'That I made it in time to save you. I am proud of that fact, even now.'

The Madoka of timeline 3 forgot that it was only by grasping the power and will to protect of a Magical Girl that she had ever saved Homura, that Homura was there. In the same way, the Madoka of timeline 5 has forgotten her foolishness, the bitterness and regret of having been betrayed by those things (lol, convoluted sentence structure. Let's just say I'm referring to 'the power and will to protect of a magical girl' by 'those things' here). All of those things have faded into the abyss of non-existence that is time travel. Given this is the case, where does Homura's loyalty to the Madoka of timeline 3 alone come from? Maybe it is because Homura has fooled herself into thinking she is acting for Madoka's sake rather than her own feelings, that her wish is unfulfillable.

Quote:
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.
Put in these terms, it begins to look like these characters' mistakes and struggles are exactly the sort of issues which Dawnstorm described for us a bit earlier.
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