Ohayo gozaimas! A new day, a new week, and a new magical girl! For today, we’ll be discussing the golden-haired gunner, Mami. J
Mami is the first magical girl we meet in Madoka Magica (technically it’s Homura, but we get to know Mami more than Homura in the beginning, so there), and she introduces us to the life of a magical girl; she saves Sayaka and Madoka from the clutches of a witch, and reveals that she attends their school. They quickly become friends, and it’s obvious that there’s something different about Mami, besides the fact that she’s a magical girl.
Unlike the last two magical girls we discussed, Mami doesn’t seem to struggle with despair or guilt. She’s not tormented by past decisions or the fruits of a bad wish; rather, Mami is the happiest magical girl we meet. She exudes joy and light, and despite fighting hard to the best of her ability, she doesn’t lose hope or seem to grow discouraged. She relishes the fact that she has a power that she can use to help others, and she does so at every opportunity. What makes Mami so different? How does she have so much joy is when she is confined to such a lifestyle?
The answer, like the answer for so many of the magical girls, is found in her past. Each character in Madoka Magica becomes who they are because of the wish granted to them: wishes provided when they were undergoing great suffering. In Mami’s case, she was granted a wish after a terrible car accident claimed the lives of her parents, and nearly took hers as well. She had little choice in the matter: she was close to death, but despite the circumstances that led to her choice, she never regretted it.
Mami was glad to be alive, grateful for the chance to change the world, and enthusiastic to help others. But with the power of a magical girl came a price. Most magical girls would only fight in order to obtain Grief Seeds in order to keep their Soul Gem pure and their magical output at maximum, so they didn’t care if an innocent or two died in the process of a witch gaining the power to drop a Grief Seed when felled. Mami’s sense of justice and duty prevented her from acting in such a manner, however; she couldn’t team up with other magical girls for long periods of time simply because of the difference in perspective. Despite her joy, Mami hid a strained heart, as many girls do.
In essence, the very power that gave her strength alienated her. She was alone, with no one to understand her. No one to care for her, no one to sympathize with her, no one who could relate to what she was going through. And a lot of Christians find themselves in similar situations: whether it be with family, at work, or at school, we oftentimes find ourselves surrounded by unbelievers who don’t share or care about our beliefs. This can be very discouraging, especially for newer Christians. We are creatures of community, after all: we thrive when we are around others who love and understand us, and it’s hard to function in an environment where everyone around you is hostile to the very ideals you hold as essential to your own life.
Experiences like this, despite the pain they cause, are what push us closer to God. The more we cry out to Him, the more He reveals His nature to us in ways that we wouldn’t expect otherwise: teaching us lessons through our pain, uncovering details about our lives that we wouldn’t have known, and testing how much we actually believe what we claim to hold dear. And God comforts us in many ways: one of which is by providing other believers to encourage us and help us. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17); the companionship of other believers is essential to growth as a Christian, which makes it no wonder that Mami is overjoyed when she find friends in Madoka and Sayaka. For once, she finally has people that not only understand her as a magical girl, but as a person, and care about her enough to want to help her.
Even though their meeting was somewhat of an accident, Mami still appreciated the support that her friends provided. She was no longer alone, and could finally find peace in her heart with her life. The love that they gave her allowed her to fight to the fullest of her ability with no restraints: she comes fully into her identity as a magical girl, and is no longer afraid of abandonment or solitude. And she comes into her death with a satisfied heart. While we may not have to die for our beliefs, we do not have to be alone in them. God promises to never leaves us or to forsake us, and He provides us with fellow believers to support us and to encourage us in our faith. There will be times in our lives when we feel alone, misunderstood, or ignored. Life isn’t always easy, and we don’t always know or understand why circumstances happen to us. But we don’t need to despair in our pain, or curse our loneliness. Rather, we can take comfort in the love that God provides for us, in both the Holy Spirit and in the encouragement of those around us.