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View Poll Results: Madoka Magica - Episode 08 Rating
Perfect 10 170 72.65%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 42 17.95%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 12 5.13%
7 out of 10 : Good 4 1.71%
6 out of 10 : Average 1 0.43%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 2 0.85%
4 out of 10 : Poor 0 0%
3 out of 10 : Bad 3 1.28%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 0 0%
1 out of 10 : Painful 0 0%
Voters: 234. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-08-05, 17:31   Link #741
GDB
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Kyouko's my favorite character, but she did technically point her spear right at Sayaka's throat when she tried to run after the familiar. Sayaka may have swung first, but Kyouko was definitely provoking her.
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Old 2011-08-05, 19:03   Link #742
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama View Post
Oh shoot, I forgot to mention something really important. Madoka's voice acting by Yuuki Aoi has been really strong and a big part of why I've gotten into the character so much. She's definitely becoming one to watch out for like Kana Hanazawa has become for me recently.
I do agree with you that she gave Madoka a really great performance her that helped capture how confused and distraught she was, though I think that her role as Victorique in Gosick was a better indicator to her ability as a VA, since her despite being the titular character, Madoka has been taking a back seat for the majority of the show, only reacting and observing what goes on around her, so it didn't allow her to really show her skill at what she can do.
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Old 2011-08-05, 19:51   Link #743
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
People seem to forget. It was Sayaka who first swung her sword at Kyoko, not Kyoko who swung her spear .
Essentially false.

As GDB pointed out, Kyoko made the first aggressive move by pointing her spear right at Sayaka's throat.


Quote:
People make her out to be more psychotic than she was initially presented.
I strongly disagree. Kyoko initially presented herself as someone who couldn't care less about people getting killed by familiars/witches, and she made incredibly harsh threats towards Sayaka.

It's good to see Kaioshin call it as it is when some posters were downplaying that quite a bit a few months back.

That's not to say that Kyoko ended up being a psychotic character, because, as Kaioshin rightly noted again, her personality (at least at the surface level) changes drastically over the course of this anime. I think that there may be a good reason or two for that, but we don't arrive there (imo) by downplaying how Kyoko initially came off.


Quote:
I always viewed Sayaka as unstable from the point they introduced Kamijou in this story.
Sayaka wasn't unstable at all at that point.
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Old 2011-08-05, 20:05   Link #744
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I strongly disagree. Kyoko initially presented herself as someone who couldn't care less about people getting killed by familiars/witches, and she made incredibly harsh threats towards Sayaka.
Doesn't really make her psychotic, just looking out for her best interests above all else. Incredibly self-centered, sure, but not psychotic. It's not like she was cackling maniacally or attacking anyone out of sheer pleasure.
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Old 2011-08-05, 20:12   Link #745
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If Sayaka was anything before her breakdown, it was that she was very passionate about being a hero and her love. Sure that's what ultimately led her to become broken, but I think one would have to be hard pressed to find anything to point to her being unstable before her meeting with Kyoko (who ended up rubbing Sayaka the wrong way through out the fight, and when she ended up being saved by Homura to boot ... well, she was certainly quite upset by how powerless she was in front of two she thought were rotten)
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Old 2011-08-05, 20:14   Link #746
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Doesn't really make her psychotic, just looking out for her best interests above all else. Incredibly self-centered, sure, but not psychotic. It's not like she was cackling maniacally or attacking anyone out of sheer pleasure.
Like I wrote, I don't think that Kyoko was truly psychotic, but she initially presented herself as someone that was rather dark and twisted, shall we say. It's not just her Darwinian 'food chain' approach to things that gave me that impression, but also the very severe and villain-esque threats she made to Sayaka in Episode 6.

In retrospect, I personally think that was partly an act, but I don't see how viewers could be expected to know that before Kyoko's background was revealed in Episode 7.
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Old 2011-08-05, 20:40   Link #747
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Kyoko did display aggressive behavior, but it's a whole different thing entirely to actually start swinging your sword at someone. Point is here... Equal offenders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arabesque View Post
If Sayaka was anything before her breakdown, it was that she was very passionate about being a hero and her love. Sure that's what ultimately led her to become broken, but I think one would have to be hard pressed to find anything to point to her being unstable before her meeting with Kyoko (who ended up rubbing Sayaka the wrong way through out the fight, and when she ended up being saved by Homura to boot ... well, she was certainly quite upset by how powerless she was in front of two she thought were rotten)
She's told not to make a wish for someone else's sake, but does it anyways because she was pushed emotionally over the hill to do it because she thought she was doing the right thing. Her reasoning for becoming a mahou shoujo was flimsy. She then naively tries to support herself with notions of justice that are completely inflexible and rigid when met with opposing views on life. Personally I saw her as a powder keg waiting to blow.
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Old 2011-08-05, 20:57   Link #748
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
Kyoko did display aggressive behavior, but it's a whole different thing entirely to actually start swinging your sword at someone.

Point is here... Equal offenders.
I wouldn't say that Sayaka is completely innocent here, but I find it hard to fault her much either. Mainly since her desire to stop that familiar makes sense to me. If not for how Kyoko was impeding that, I'd be inclined to say that Sayaka should have tried diplomacy first. But, to me, it's almost like somebody holding up a police officer with an aggressive gesture when the police officer is chasing after a thief.

Edit: That being said, I do get Kyoko's super-pragmatic approach. Really, this is just a case of two girls with two diametrically opposed views on what a Puella Magi should be, so hostilities were pretty inevitable here.


Quote:
She's told not to make a wish for someone else's sake,
She probably should have taken Mami's words a bit more carefully, but I don't think it had to do with emotional instability, aside from what could be expected of a young teenage girl in love. So to a limited degree, perhaps Sayaka was a bit emotionally unstable, yes.


Quote:
but does it anyways because she was pushed emotionally over the hill to do it because she thought she was doing the right thing.
A case can be made that she did do the right thing. She helped a person she knew in need of help. She rescued a brilliant musician's career, possibly for the good of humanity as a whole. Even if that musician is a jerk, that has no bearing on the quality of his music.

Spoiler for Upcoming Madoka Magica spoiler - put here for Kaioshin's benefit:



Quote:

Her reasoning for becoming a mahou shoujo was flimsy.
For a mahou shoujo, I felt that her reasoning was fine. Her reasoning wasn't substantively different from that of many magical girls in many magical girl shows, for that matter. Sayaka wanted to help a person in need... just like Nanoha Takamachi did.


Quote:
She then naively tries to support herself with notions of justice that are completely inflexible and rigid when met with opposing views on life.
How is wanting to protect innocent people from monsters a naive or invalid notion of justice?

Real life legal systems are, in part, based on precisely such a notion of justice: That the system is designed to protect the law-abiding from the criminal (or, failing that, to recompense that law-abiding victim of a crime).


I see your position to an extent, Reckoner, but I don't think Sayaka was emotionally unstable, so much as she wasn't able to overcome the darkness of the Puella Magi system. That's tragic, but it is a very nasty system.
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Old 2011-08-06, 00:09   Link #749
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Hmm, Han shot first. Oops...

It's a bit troublesome to criticize Sayaka's action since as many people would say say, hindsight is 20/20. Oh sure we know now the terrible effects of being a PM, but results oriented thinking is stupid.

Imagine saving a kid from a burning building and that kid grows up to be a killer; does that make your actions stupid all of a sudden? Now translate kid to Kyubey.

So we know that Sayaka deep down has a good heart, as she did save Madoka's ass from her point of view in episode 1, and also from the cult. We also know that Madoka threw the bucket of doom away, so as you can see you have people that are considerate and are capable of doing good things.

That being said, Sayaka erred in a few ways that didn't need to be.

While her intention was to save people, she based all of it on Kamijou. Her wish itself was to heal him. Which was great and all, but unfortunately that means Sayaka really banks all her will on Kamijou. If he doesn't return her love, or really does fall in love with her and leave her, her morale plummets and she succumbs to despair. It's just not the strongest pillar of reliability here; someone who may or may not share the same feelings.

Note that she did not wish for Kamijou to fall in love with him, which is what she really wants. However, making this kind of wish, or any of Kyoko's suggested wishes would be pretty asinine. I mean forcing someone to love you... yea. So Sayaka's wish was worded with some consideration.

In other words Sayaka really felt that she gave up her existence for someone who doesn't really care for her. From our point of view, she's clearly too good for him, but... eh, this kind of black and white mentality really led to her downfall. She doesn't even seem to consider going to Kamijou about it IIRC. Why must he be the only one?

It was just a bad universe to want to be a hero in. Sayaka's weakness was that was while she cared about others, she didn't care enough about herself.
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Old 2011-08-06, 05:19   Link #750
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
She's told not to make a wish for someone else's sake, but does it anyways because she was pushed emotionally over the hill to do it because she thought she was doing the right thing. Her reasoning for becoming a mahou shoujo was flimsy. She then naively tries to support herself with notions of justice that are completely inflexible and rigid when met with opposing views on life. Personally I saw her as a powder keg waiting to blow.
That's pretty close to how I saw it. However, my focus was a tad different. Look at this quote from Archon Wing:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon Wing
From our point of view, she's clearly too good for him, but...
Is that true? The one thing Sayaka never does is talk to him about her feelings. What's her reaction to his sudden outburst ("Are you mocking me?)? A mumbled "but..." (you told me to...), retreat, regroup. People have weak moments, and Kamijou is in a very difficult time. But Sayaka is emotionally intimidated by him. She doesn't talk to him, it seems, about anything but his music. To Kamijou it must seem like that's all his worth to her (and - who knows? - maybe that's not that much of an exeggaration).

Look at this from Kamijou's perspective. You like music, and discover you've got talent for the violin. You're practising lots, and you're lucky: your parents and your friends support you. Yay! But as you get sucked up into a competitive institutional context (scholarships, competitions) pressure increases to do well. Everyone praises you for being a great musician. They congratulate you on success, encourage you after failure. You get music related presents for your birthday. You still love music, obviously, but now playing the violin is your life. It's the centre of your social worth, and in extension the centre of your self worth. You're afraid of failure. And then there's this accident. Your hand is useless now, and the doctors tell you it'll stay useless for the rest of your life.

Your situation has changed in many ways. The centre of your social relationships has crumbled away; how do people deal with it? Awkward. Nobody really knows how to approach you, do they? After all, for so long music has shaped the way you face each other. What now? What else is there? Teaching music in school? This leads to problem number two: You do love music. Is it possible to do music related stuff, without constantly being reminded of what you've lost? Will you be able to pull off such a life?

Finally: maybe, just maybe, you're also a bit relieved. No more pressure. No more having to outdo others for your self-worth. Maybe, just maybe, there's a chance to return to a pure, unadulterate, pleasure-rather-than-pressure mode of enjoying music in the future? So you're asking your childhood friend Sayaka to find all those rare CDs, and she's good at it, but...

Well, you are grateful, but... The way you're talking makes you think your worth is in the past. You might as well be a walking memory. Because of you she appreciates music. Well, fine. And now? What's there to do now? A sort of resentment creeps up on you. Your relationship with her shackles you to a past that's gone. It's like a caricature. As if you're looking out at yourself from inside a distortion mirror, knowing the original is out there, and you're the distortion... Can't she tell the difference? Is she mocking you? It's unfair, but eventually you explode...

Back to Sayaka: How much of this does she understand? How much of it does she want to understand? What if she'd find out that she does indeed prefer the amazing musician to this... this... cripple. (Oh, how she'd hate herself, wouldn't she?) Does she ever talk to him to find out how he feels? What if she didn't like the answer? What if she didn't like what the answer would make her realise about herself? Sayaka is as chained to a lost past as Kamijou is. But, unlike Kamijou, she has the means to restore Kamijou's arm. And then... and then...

The same old dynamic, in which Sayaka fangirls the musician and forgets about the boy who has to fill that role can continue. Doesn't solve her original problem at all, does it? But that's okay, she did it for him. I mean, he's happy now (and if he isn't, does she really want to know?)

I think Kamijou's character has been... reduced due to pacing issues. Look at the scene at the end of ep4, with him flexing his fingers in twighlight to sinister music. And the hesitation on the rooftop scene when presented with the violin his father couldn't bring himself to destroy... I do think the show fudged over pressure encroaching on pleasure when it comes to music.

Sayaka has always been covering up her emotional insecurities with brash courage and a rigid moral system. I was quite surprised when Sayaka was the one who wondered what they did to deserve a wish. In episode 2, this seemed a bit out of character. But that sort of thinking is an integral part of her. In the light of later development, a lot of it is about deserving. Sayaka is a magical girl now; she's a hero. But heroes don't have selfish desires. Homura doesn't deserve to be a magical girl: she just wants those grief seeds for herself. Kyouko is no better, the selfish brat. And Sayaka herself... is she really that different? Is she really that selfless? Didn't she have those selfish hopes? Maybe she doesn't deserve to be a magical girl either? Oh, she has to do her best to protect people. She has to try hard to deserve her new-found hero status. But... but...

...do those people deserve to be saved in the first place? That ungrateful bastard, Kamijou. Like those two train-riding, woman-demeaning creeps... Deserve. Deserve. Derserve. This world deserves to go to hell, and so do I. There's only one way now, forward, into doom.

And then there's Madoka worrying about Sayaka, telling her what to do. Here's someone whose motives are pure. Here's someone who deserves to be a hero. But she won't, will she? Bitch. Self-righteous bitch. Wait, did she say that out loud? Oh, no. She also deserves to be protected, doesn't she? (And she's not content with that role, either, following Sayaka into danger.) Is that the world we live in? The people who sacrifice themselves are the only ones worthy of being protected in the first place?

Poor Sayaka, always setting high expectations for everyone, including herself. Disappointed by everyone, including herself. Notice how the moment she broke down completely, was the calmest moment in a long time? She stopped struggling, finally accepted the emotions inside her. But, sadly, there wasn't much more left than regret.

***

As for Kyouko's sudden turn: I think the problem was one of pacing. Her development would make more sense, if it got more camera time (but that's out of the question with only 12 eps). Her backstory in a single narrative is a good example for that. It's interesting to know, but with a step by step revelation process, you'd get to understand her better. There just wasn't time for that. So her about face seemed a little sudden.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaioshin Sama
If Akemi does turn out to be a time traveller I'm going to be a little disappointed that she couldn't tell all a little sooner here. I mean of course the show has to keep up the aura of mystery, but I've never really liked it when bad things happen to good people just because people refuse to tell people the whole story and have a proper dialogue, especially when there's no outright intention to deceive as it appears here for all the characters. It strikes me more as a crutch for writers telling a story than anything else.
...*no spoilers*...

I know what you mean. Like Madoka failing to tell Sayaka that Homura got tied up by Mami and couldn't come to the rescue sooner... (There was one scene in particular, where I thought Madoka really should speak up, but I can't recall what it was anymore.)
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Old 2011-08-06, 06:06   Link #751
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It's in episode 6 where Madoka catches up to Sayaka at the alley where the confrontation with Kyoko let the familiar she hunting escape.
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Old 2011-08-06, 12:31   Link #752
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
That's pretty close to how I saw it. However, my focus was a tad different. Look at this quote from Archon Wing:



Is that true? The one thing Sayaka never does is talk to him about her feelings. What's her reaction to his sudden outburst ("Are you mocking me?)? A mumbled "but..." (you told me to...), retreat, regroup. People have weak moments, and Kamijou is in a very difficult time. But Sayaka is emotionally intimidated by him. She doesn't talk to him, it seems, about anything but his music. To Kamijou it must seem like that's all his worth to her (and - who knows? - maybe that's not that much of an exeggaration).



Look at this from Kamijou's perspective. You like music, and discover you've got talent for the violin. You're practising lots, and you're lucky: your parents and your friends support you. Yay! But as you get sucked up into a competitive institutional context (scholarships, competitions) pressure increases to do well. Everyone praises you for being a great musician. They congratulate you on success, encourage you after failure. You get music related presents for your birthday. You still love music, obviously, but now playing the violin is your life. It's the centre of your social worth, and in extension the centre of your self worth. You're afraid of failure. And then there's this accident. Your hand is useless now, and the doctors tell you it'll stay useless for the rest of your life.

Your situation has changed in many ways. The centre of your social relationships has crumbled away; how do people deal with it? Awkward. Nobody really knows how to approach you, do they? After all, for so long music has shaped the way you face each other. What now? What else is there? Teaching music in school? This leads to problem number two: You do love music. Is it possible to do music related stuff, without constantly being reminded of what you've lost? Will you be able to pull off such a life?

Finally: maybe, just maybe, you're also a bit relieved. No more pressure. No more having to outdo others for your self-worth. Maybe, just maybe, there's a chance to return to a pure, unadulterate, pleasure-rather-than-pressure mode of enjoying music in the future? So you're asking your childhood friend Sayaka to find all those rare CDs, and she's good at it, but...

Well, you are grateful, but... The way you're talking makes you think your worth is in the past. You might as well be a walking memory. Because of you she appreciates music. Well, fine. And now? What's there to do now? A sort of resentment creeps up on you. Your relationship with her shackles you to a past that's gone. It's like a caricature. As if you're looking out at yourself from inside a distortion mirror, knowing the original is out there, and you're the distortion... Can't she tell the difference? Is she mocking you? It's unfair, but eventually you explode...

Back to Sayaka: How much of this does she understand? How much of it does she want to understand? What if she'd find out that she does indeed prefer the amazing musician to this... this... cripple. (Oh, how she'd hate herself, wouldn't she?) Does she ever talk to him to find out how he feels? What if she didn't like the answer? What if she didn't like what the answer would make her realise about herself? Sayaka is as chained to a lost past as Kamijou is. But, unlike Kamijou, she has the means to restore Kamijou's arm. And then... and then...

The same old dynamic, in which Sayaka fangirls the musician and forgets about the boy who has to fill that role can continue. Doesn't solve her original problem at all, does it? But that's okay, she did it for him. I mean, he's happy now (and if he isn't, does she really want to know?)

I think Kamijou's character has been... reduced due to pacing issues. Look at the scene at the end of ep4, with him flexing his fingers in twighlight to sinister music. And the hesitation on the rooftop scene when presented with the violin his father couldn't bring himself to destroy... I do think the show fudged over pressure encroaching on pleasure when it comes to music.

Sayaka has always been covering up her emotional insecurities with brash courage and a rigid moral system. I was quite surprised when Sayaka was the one who wondered what they did to deserve a wish. In episode 2, this seemed a bit out of character. But that sort of thinking is an integral part of her. In the light of later development, a lot of it is about deserving. Sayaka is a magical girl now; she's a hero. But heroes don't have selfish desires. Homura doesn't deserve to be a magical girl: she just wants those grief seeds for herself. Kyouko is no better, the selfish brat. And Sayaka herself... is she really that different? Is she really that selfless? Didn't she have those selfish hopes? Maybe she doesn't deserve to be a magical girl either? Oh, she has to do her best to protect people. She has to try hard to deserve her new-found hero status. But... but...

...do those people deserve to be saved in the first place? That ungrateful bastard, Kamijou. Like those two train-riding, woman-demeaning creeps... Deserve. Deserve. Derserve. This world deserves to go to hell, and so do I. There's only one way now, forward, into doom.

And then there's Madoka worrying about Sayaka, telling her what to do. Here's someone whose motives are pure. Here's someone who deserves to be a hero. But she won't, will she? Bitch. Self-righteous bitch. Wait, did she say that out loud? Oh, no. She also deserves to be protected, doesn't she? (And she's not content with that role, either, following Sayaka into danger.) Is that the world we live in? The people who sacrifice themselves are the only ones worthy of being protected in the first place?

Poor Sayaka, always setting high expectations for everyone, including herself. Disappointed by everyone, including herself. Notice how the moment she broke down completely, was the calmest moment in a long time? She stopped struggling, finally accepted the emotions inside her. But, sadly, there wasn't much more left than regret.
???? I only wrote that one line as a quip on how there's other men, but ok...that really doesn't address the point anyways. Yes Kamijou's life sucks and Sayaka doesn't understand him well enough, leading to such. But I sorta said such in the next sentence, hence the black and whiteness.
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Old 2011-08-06, 12:48   Link #753
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I thank Dawnstrom for his take there though.

It's pretty fascinating, even if I don't necessarily agree with all of it.

In particular, I think that he might be on to something when it comes to how Sayaka views Madoka, and an additional and/or deeper reason for why Sayaka snapped at Madoka in this episode.

I've always simply chalked it up to Sayaka getting peeved that Madoka was basically telling her how to do her job (which annoys most people, I find), but maybe a lot of it is Sayaka thinking that Madoka would make the perfect Puella Magi, and hence thinking that Madoka should be in her (relatively not-up-to-the-task) place.
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Old 2011-08-06, 12:55   Link #754
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I've always simply chalked it up to Sayaka getting peeved that Madoka was basically telling her how to do her job (which annoys most people, I find), but maybe a lot of it is Sayaka thinking that Madoka would make the perfect Puella Magi, and hence thinking that Madoka should be in her (relatively not-up-to-the-task) place.
I took it as both of these things. Keep in mind that Kyubey's been cultivating the idea in Sayaka's head from the start that she's not very strong on her own, and everything would be better if Madoka were there to help her out.
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Old 2011-08-06, 13:14   Link #755
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Originally Posted by Jimmy C View Post
It's in episode 6 where Madoka catches up to Sayaka at the alley where the confrontation with Kyoko let the familiar she hunting escape.
Ah, yes, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
???? I only wrote that one line as a quip on how there's other men, but ok...that really doesn't address the point anyways. Yes Kamijou's life sucks and Sayaka doesn't understand him well enough, leading to such. But I sorta said such in the next sentence, hence the black and whiteness.
Heh, sorry about taking your line as a springboard. And, yes, you did say that. That's just me going off. I do that sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I've always simply chalked it up to Sayaka getting peeved that Madoka was basically telling her how to do her job (which annoys most people, I find), but maybe a lot of it is Sayaka thinking that Madoka would make the perfect Puella Magi, and hence thinking that Madoka should be in her (relatively not-up-to-the-task) place.
It's most definitely Sayaka being annoyed at Madoka telling her how to do her job. I actually agree with you here. But this connects deeper. I do think part of Sayaka (the idealistic part) thinks Madoka should be a magical girl. Another part (Madoka's friend) just wants her to be safe. And when the friend part is annoyed with her...

Look at the riverbed scene between Sayaka and Madoka. I can't remember it clearly now, but I remember having the feeling that Sayaka was casting for an additional reason to rationalise her decision. "Sorry that I chose to become a magical girl out of the blue, when we said we wouldn't. But look at it this way: now you don't have to." Something along those lines. And this scenes connects right back to episode three where they saw the grief seed stuck in the wall and neither of them could just walk away and ignore it. So Sayaka was casting for a reason there, and if Madoka had taken the bait there and then, things might have looked a little different. But she decided to tag along, sideckick wise...

It's a chain of events, really. It's amazingly coplex. (Or maybe it isn't and I just complicate everything. )
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Old 2011-08-07, 00:51   Link #756
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I for one was still a Kyuubei supporter even after this episode (or the end of the series). Yay amorality.

Personally I agree with Dawnstorm 's stream of thought about Sayaka's inner conflict. It clicks in with all the hints we have gotten throughout the series about her personality. (plus, I'm too lazy to write it down myself so kudos to him).


Anyway, keep the reviews going Kaioshin. We may disagree 74.8% of the time but your thoughts are always a blast to read
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Old 2011-08-07, 09:20   Link #757
Zero Hurricane
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More tear jerking moments....



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Originally Posted by mouhitori View Post
I'll put my bet on a Hitomi-centric episode. Maybe it's her turn to meet Kyuube?

yeah, but in Drama CD 2
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Old 2011-08-07, 19:30   Link #758
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@ mouhitori, Zero Hurricane: There's some rule 34 doujin, Hitomi Magica, which touches on that. (no links because comic mentioned has nsfw content - it's googleable)
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Old 2011-08-07, 21:04   Link #759
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Originally Posted by Ace Of Scarabs View Post
@ mouhitori, Zero Hurricane: There's some rule 34 doujin, Hitomi Magica, which touches on that. (no links because comic mentioned has nsfw content - it's googleable)
Oh I have that one in English! All NSFW material aside it's a good read...
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Old 2011-08-08, 00:40   Link #760
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I think that it's fair to say that most viewers saw him as evil, or at least as villainous, after this episode.
For me episode 8 was the point where I had to drop the amoral argument entirely. While I couldn't pin a "he's evil" on him, this was definitely the episode where any facade of him not being manipulative went out the window.

Episode 8 shows how train wrecks happen, imo. There are several points in the episode where you feel like things could turn around, where someone or something might stop Sayaka....but it doesn't happen. Kyubey could have done something, but he obviously had reasons not to try to stop Sayaka. Homura almost did, but Kyouko interfered and screwed things up. Madoka was presumably close to finding Sayaka, but Kyubey conveniently shows up to tempt her....by alluding that only she could save Sayaka by contracting (this appearance serves to slow down both Homura and Madoka, as well as reveal who Homura was to Kyubey). Kyouko found her at the last minute, only to be too late. Sayaka herself could have stopped, but in addition to some poor timing of events, I also think her Soul Gem continuously darkening created a feedback loop (she despaired, and the Gem collected it further reinforcing the despair. With no Grief Seed to cleanse the Gem, it held it until it burst into a Grief Seed itself).

As for Kyouko, I think Kaioshin nails some of these "abrupt" changes in character pretty simply....there were too many time constraints for the story and some things had to give. I'm happy he at least acknowledges that it's not too detrimental. At least we're left with some way to bridge why the characters change even if it's not laid out in perfect progression. I for one found the Kyouko/Sayaka aspect of the story very strong in how it laid out the role reversals and parallels between them. Of course those discussions have been had in depth.
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