Since an essential and crucial part of being a blogger is the ability to over-speculate, here’s my thoughts on Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica episode 7. In a flimsy attempt to seem more educated and proficient in literature than I really am, I tried to pay more attention to the small little details in the episode this week, and here are my theories.
(Spoilers might be within this post.)
Don’t worry, there aren’t that many theories, only 3.
The Church: In this week’s episode, we get to know the reasons behind Kyoko becoming a magical girl. She confesses to Sayaka (guess what, they’re allies now...) about the church being her dad’s, whose method of thinking about the religion in a different light made his followers and the church start to shun him, with her wishing for more followers to listen to him in the hope that they would understand that what he was saying was right. Turns out happily ever after? BZZZZ. The father eventually finds out that magic, not reason, was the reason for this influx of followers, and as with all religious figures, he eventually gets drunk, goes mad, and murders everyone except Kyoko.
Note the structure of the church. The windows are shattered, the place covered in overgrown plants, and the sun is beginning to set, casting tinted sunlight onto that enormous staircase. Significance? Not much, to be frank. Here, I’d say that the state of the church could be a metaphor for the destruction and abandonment of human values. The church, after all, is a symbol for religion, and in some cases, morality. Burn down a church? You’re an immoral bastard. Simple. However, in this case it seems to be particularly significant given how this change of values is reflected throughout the episode several times. Kyoko, learning from what her wish did to her family, becomes selfish, allowing people to die for her to collect the grief seeds. Sayaka, while rejecting all of Kyoko’s notions at the church, following the sudden confession to Kamijou by her friend, Hitomi, she begins to wonder what would have happened if she had let her die, and despite all her resistance to Kyubey’s soul gem making, and all her resistance to Kyoko’s selfish thinking, she gives in.
Serpents and apples: I know, I’m starting to go off-tangent here, but anyone notice how many times the apples come up this episode? On the trees, in Kyoko’s mouth, on the eyes of the followers driven by magic. All of this is immediately followed by Sayaka’s fight with the witch, who kneels down in front of a monstrance, an object of Catholic worship. The witch summons serpent-like extensions to attack Sayaka, but Sayaka cuts them all and eventually, seemingly on the verge of insanity, takes Kyubey’s advice, feeling no pain at all and repeatedly slashing at the witch despite being strangled, something Madoka screams about.
I’m not very confident of my knowledge regarding the Bible as well as related books such as the Book of Genesis, but I recall that in Adam & Eve, it was a serpent which tempted Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, commonly symbolized as a nice, shiny apple, promising it would make her become more like God himself. Isn’t that something like what happened this week? In their attempts to make miracles, to be like god, they fall for Kyubey’s temptation, sliest of creatures, and eventually get punished. When God punished Adam & Eve, Eve was given the curse of pain during childbirth. This week, Sayaka had the wonderful feeling of being stabbed in the lower part of her torso, courtesy of Kyubey.
Last, but not least:
Colours: I think some bloggers might have picked up on this way before I did, but every main character in this show is characterized by one colour. Usually by the colour of their hair. Madoka’s hair is pink. As such , most of her clothing, her room and its decoration are pink. Sayaka’s room has a healthy dose of blue as well. But what is more important here is that their hair colours and character colours seem to directly correspond to their personalities and stories.
In literature, colours have symbolism. They’re not chosen simply because the author really loves that colour ( I hope), but in most pieces of literature they carry about a hidden meaning.
Let’s start with Kyoko’s hair colour: Red. The colour red, in literature, symbolizes immorality. It symbolizes blood, danger, passion and emotion. Kyoko is considered to be immoral because she’d willingly let people die for the sake of getting Grief Seeds. But later on it’s revealed that her history was full of blood : her family died, due to her emotion and passion for her father’s teachings, and it wasn’t even her fault, no less.
Moving on, we have Yellow, for Mami. Yellow isn’t as pleasant a colour as it sounds. It usually denotes decay and violence, as well as the approach of death. Old age might be one of the things it denotes too. If you add the colour orange into her palette, you could also say that the orange symbolizes Mami’s balance of spirit. She becomes a mahou shoujo when the time calls for it, and always when someone is on the verge of death. Later on, she finds courage from Madoka’s promise to join her, only to find that Death came in the form of a gigantic head-chomping phallic snake.
Going down the colours of the rainbow, we have green. Well, this week, we have Hitomi, who confesses her love for Kamijou to Sayaka. The colour green denotes hope, and a new life. Hitomi finds the courage to tell Sayaka about her crush, but knows that Sayaka loves him too, and thus tells her in advance – a fork in the road to a new life.
Blue represents Sayaka. Well, here is where this theory seems to fall flat, since blue represents calmness and peace, things Sayaka just can’t handle. Or perhaps it was meant to be that way – perhaps it was supposed to be kind of ironic, since Sayaka’s colour denotes calmness, but her character hardly ever calm. Compare her to Madoka. Madoka’s colour is pink, which suggests femininity and innocence. These are the only two things Madoka has been able to achieve in the past 7 episodes.
Black represents Homura, suggesting passivity. Homura is decidedly passive about what happens to the other magical girls : she remains cold and emotionless in dealing with their matters, being rather direct in warning Madoka about the dangers of becoming a magical girl. She knows all of those facts, but she remains passive, never telling the rest until the situation calls for it. Her costume also has a heavy dose of purple, suggesting clarity of mind – something she very clearly, possesses. The witches’ lair is also completely in black, with the girls being reduced to shadows. Black represents ignorance and evil as well, the second one something which Sayaka must have been able to comprehend when she started seeming more like a yandere than a magical girl.
White represents Kyubey. This could have been slightly ironic too, but white represents innocence , life and enlightenment. Kyubey is always thought of by bloggers as the devil, but Kyubey is genuinely innocent when it comes to human values. He simply cannot understand them. He can’t understand why they valued their souls, why thy were angry at all. He remains innocent, yet guilty of crimes he could never understand.
P.S. If it’s hinted that Kyoko might have used a grief seed to get that bag of apples she was holding at the church, how did she get her boxes of Pocky the previous episode?