Konnichiwa! Today marks the start of a new day, and yet the end of a new series. Sort of an unintentional yin/yang thing I’ve got going on, eh? For this final post on Madoka Magica, let’s talk about the main character of the series, Madoka, and what makes her unique from the other girls.
For a series called Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it sure likes to give the main character a side role. Most of the series explores the ins and outs of life as a magical girl through the lives of what you’d normally assume to be the supporting characters: Mami, Sayaka, Kyoko, and Homura. Madoka often serves as a humanizing agent; she brings an element of both joy and cautious curiosity about what it means to be a magical girl. Madoka’s function towards the beginning of the show is to help the viewer work through their own initial understandings and misgivings about what it would be like to be a magical girl: what would I wish for to gain that kind of power? Would I be able to live such a lifestyle? What is it like to be a magical girl?
Madoka’s defining character trait is her love for others. We see it in her relationship with her family, her relationship with her friends, and especially in her struggles. Her love for others is what makes her want to help them through their pain: this is the reason she wanted to become a magical girl in the first place:
If there are people out there that she can help, Madoka wants to help them. That’s the main draw for her to become a magical girl, and this love helped her to aid her friends. She noticed Mami’s loneliness, and provided companionship so that she could overcome it. When Sayaka was overcome by grief, she gave her all to attempt to bring her back and end her pain. And when she saw the path of continual self-destruction that Homura threw herself into, she made the ultimate sacrifice to help her, and all magical girls.
Madoka represents a Christian who has submitted themselves to God, and has allowed God to work through them. When we give up our pain, our doubt, our loneliness, and our attempts at self-salvation and allow God to comfort and fill us, we’ll find our peace and strength in Him. This doesn’t mean we won’t struggle: Madoka still had fears and doubts, and she struggles with finding the strength to help others. She is told over and over to become a magical girl because she can have any one wish granted, but she never knows what she wants.
Kyubey is known to offer girls a wish when they have nothing else to lose: when Mami lost her parents, when Kyoko was desperate to help her father, when Sayaka wanted to help Kyosuke, and when Homura lost her version of Madoka. But he approaches Madoka differently; he uses her love for others to try to manipulate her into making a wish. He knows that Madoka doesn’t like to watch others suffer, so every time she does see a friend in pain, he offers her the power of a magical girl through a contract with him. Like Satan, Kyubey reaches out to Madoka by using even her good desires against her, trying to push her into a life of suffering in exchange for a moment of self-fulfilment.
But Madoka does something even Kyubey doesn’t expect. She makes her wish, but instead of wishing for herself, she wishes for others. She wishes to take away the despair and pain of all magical girls, from all time periods and all worlds, and in doing so she leaves the physical world and enters the spiritual. In an interesting parallel to Christ, Madoka gives up her life on Earth to bring love, peace, and joy to all of her magical girl “children”; she brings each of them out from under the curse of an eventual living death as a witch, and into peace of love. Each girl can die happy and fulfilled, due to the love given to them by Madoka. And because of the love of Christ, we too can live fulfilled lives, and die knowing that we are going to our reward: to be in heaven with Him, forever.
So, now that we know all of this, what can we take away? By abiding in Christ and allowing his power to work in us, we don’t need to be afraid of loneliness, try to save outselved through good deeds, fear the lies of the enemy, or even allow our past mistakes to define us. Through Christ, we have victory over the world, and He gives us the power to encourage and strengthen those around us; by His Holy Spirit we can all “abound in hope” (Rom 15:13). Christians are called to be a light to the world, and we can only do so by loving and trusting in Christ. In Him we find love, joy, peace, and satisfaction, and we will never be disappointed.