The problem with over-speculating over Madoka Magica

(Spoilers aplenty, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

I expect those people who watch Madoka Magica and follow anime blogs to have one bizarre feeling from watching the latest episode of MSMM. On one hand, the episode, with all its plot ‘twists’, would simply blow them away. On the other hand, the show suddenly seems much less intriguing than before. Why? We’re all too over-speculative over this show.

I admit, I have had my fair share of over-speculation over this show. In fact, it’s gotten to an extent that the only show I’ve been keeping up consistently is, in fact, MSMM. So when Sayaka ‘dies’, Homerun is revealed to be from another timeline ,Kyubey’s actually some sinister being called the Incubator, and it’s confirmed that all Puella Magi turn into witches, you’d be expecting one to be freaking out by this sudden plot twist.

Problem is, thanks to the intellectual circlejerk of Madoka Magica bloggers, all of which have their own theories on how the show goes on, the twists don’t amaze me as much as they would have. Now it’s just like playing Bingo, only that for each square you tick a confirmed theory until you get a line. Time-travel theory? Check. Sayaka turns into a witch theory? Check. All mahou shoujo turn into a witch theory? Confirmed. Kyubey is evil after all? Checked since episode 1.

Who hasn’t heard the notion that Kyubey is evil? As a result everyone simply waits for the moment where it’s confirmed. It’s not that we have no idea Kyubey is evil, we simply wait for the moment which proves it. We know he’s evil.

Over-speculation also takes some of the kick out of watching this show. Listen now, I still love this show with a burning undying passion but I realize that the fun I used to take in seeing all the plot twists went to becoming fun in creating speculah. Speculating over everything is fun and all, but after a while, what’s the consequence?

All of those minute, hidden mind-blowing details are all picked out by bloggers and anime fans alike, posted and spread all over the internet. That picture of a witch with Sayaka’s clothing? It’s been floating about since Episode 1 aired.  What about all the theories revolving around the Soul Gem and whatnot? In the original tales of Faust, Faust eventually goes to hell. We all know what’s going to happen to Sayaka. As a result we all have a rough idea of how the show will continue, and thus we wait to see whether we’re right or wrong.

Problem is, I like a show which can amaze me. Now, now, I’m not saying that speculah ruins the show. I mean the speculah takes some of the kick out of the plot twists. I like twists that hardly no-one expects, minute details that turn out to be major, and I like the whole feel of such a show. MSMM has all of these elements, and more, perhaps, but when we all can already expect what twists would appear, it really loses some of its kick. Now I hope the last few episodes, will be much just as, if not even more mind-blowingly awesome.

P.S. Theory time : Kyubey is helping to bring about Walpurgis Night which will eventually destroy the structure of society as we know it with Madoka’s help, even though she doesn’t know. In another timeline Madoka helped caused Walpurgis Night and thus Homura uses her time-manipulation powers to go back in time and stop everything. Also ,Walpurgis Night could involve the creation of witches, either by transforming Puella Magi or simply created out of nothing and probably some other , higher being, with some ulterior motive.

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46 Responses to The problem with over-speculating over Madoka Magica

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The problem with over-speculating over Madoka Magica | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity? --

  2. Yi says:

    I feel a bit differently. I feel like part of the fun with such a dynamic series is the constant thinking and speculating that happens. We’re always guessing what’s going to happen next, and when it does happen, we can have that, “I knew it!” moment. And that’s kind of fun for me. It’s also fun to pick up on all the hints rather than just glossing over them with a blank mind. Plus, this is an anime that prompts thinking and discussion, and not doing plenty of that misses the point for me.

    • Valence says:

      I don’t mean that the speculah ruins the show. I mean that the speculah takes some of the fun out of the plot twists. The speculah continues to astound me though. Right now I’m already speculating over Walpurgis Night!

  3. Ming Xuan says:

    Although the mind-blowing impact, upon which plot twists are thrown into our face, is lessened, arguably, the theories speculating is what makes watching this show fun.

    • Valence says:

      Exactly. I find much more fun in speculating now, than I used to. I really should cut down on speculah though, otherwise I’d have found out all the twists in advance.

  4. genksukasuka says:


  5. Kah says:

    Actually I had the “ZOMG IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!!!one11” /mindblown moments from all the speculah. It really made those moments in the episode that much more enjoyable. 🙂

  6. Dustin says:

    I think all the speculation that happened (and is still happening) is just one of many signs that Madoka is a well-written show. It doesn’t just throw plot twists out there. It gives you bread crumbs of information along the way while creating and reinforcing patterns that take on greater meanings as the show progresses.

    Honestly, stories that rely heavily on plot twists to catch people’s attention typically lack good characterization and emotional depth. Consequently, those shows will really only be worth experiencing once. With Madoka, however, the plot twists are not the focus of the show. They relate to important parts of the narrative, certainly, but I don’t think knowing the answers beforehand makes me less engaged or impressed with the story.

    Just so I’m clear, I’m not trying to say people shouldn’t care about spoilers or stories shouldn’t have twists. I just think a good story won’t be harmed by knowing the surprises beforehand.

    Plus, for me, it’s very satisfying to pick up on all the hints, craft my speculation and then be vindicated by the show itself. Madoka is effortlessly doing was Gosick is failing miserably at.

    • Valence says:

      It’s satisfying to see the speculah being confirmed or disproved, but the twists lose some of their sheen. Not saying that the plot twists aren’t entertaining any more, but just that speculah must have made them slightly less ‘amazing’. This speculah is exactly what leads to MSMM’s success in the blogosphere. It’s something the blogger can really be involved in, since no-one can relax anymore. Ever since episode 3 , bloggers starting taking this show seriously.

      What I fear the most is that MSMM turns out to be similar to the likes of shows like Chaos;Head and whatnot. In most shows, we already know what happens next thanks to the shows being adaptations of manga or light novels. But it’s all about the execution, so god bless this show =D

  7. I honestly loved the episode. I loved the PROOF. I didn’t so much enjoy the first 17 minutes, but once Homura came in and killed Kyubey…that was actually the one part of the episode I didn’t expect. The part where another Kyubey walked in and then ate the other Kyubey. That was disturbing. But the evilness of that little creature? No, not surprising in the slightest.

    • Valence says:

      Proof was amazing at first, but on retrospect it loses some of its sheen. Personally I felt that the Kyubey death and Incubator scenes really took the cake. The scene where Sayaka dies blew me away too. True, I kind of expected these plot twists, but they were amazing to watch.

      Also, Kyubey is made of marshmallows. Check it.

  8. thoughtcannon says:

    I for one agree entirely with you Valence. Right from the get-go everyone was speculating what was going on and what would happen with the show and yadda yadda yadda. I should have enjoyed this show much more than I do. Yet really I don’t. I don’t need to feel any vindication that my theories are proven correct on a show. For me, Madoka is predictable. That’s it, as soon as I knew the premise was going to be “the horrible dark truth of magical girl shows” I knew how the story would progress. What I consider a successful story is one that hints at the truth of the matter but is still unpredictable.

    • Valence says:

      >”What I consider a successful story is one that hints at the truth of the matter but is still unpredictable.”

      True, MSMM hints at the truth, and it’s slightly predictable, but come to think about it, aren’t most shows the same? After all most shows stick to the original content so it’s kind of easy to see what goes on soon.

      Nevertheless, I fucking love this show.

  9. Azure Hoshizora says:

    Looking at it from another way; SHAFT collected all the speculah and animated them. It was their plan all along, to make a show based on viewers speculations. Most of the initial speculations came true after all.
    Well speculating adds joy to the show.

    Theory: Kyubey as an incubator is incubating all the past “defeated witches” for Walpurgis Night. Walpurgis night possibly involves something drastic like world disaster, stock market crash or something like that.

    Chances of Mami being revived: 0.001%

    • Valence says:

      Chances of that witch Sayaka kills at first being Mami’s resurrected form : 40%.

      Keep in mind that the show is original, which kind of adds to the excitement of speculah.

      Incubator? Sounds like they’re preparing something. The Grief Seeds probably fuel his plan or something. Maybe they’ll hatch.

      • Azure Hoshizora says:

        Mami: T_T
        Which make the grief seeds grief eggs.

        I’m beginning to feel somewhat cheated, despite this being a little too late: this was not how I expected Madoka Magica to be like… I actually expected it to be happy; Kyubey to be cute and all. Turns out its all weird and creepy and KYUBEY IS EVIl.

        SHAFT is such a genius/a complete troll

        • Valence says:

          I didn’t exactly expect it to be happy. Even before I knew Urobuchi was the director. Something about SHAFT and magic girls just doesn’t mix.

  10. chikorita157 says:

    Madoka Speculah brings about the good old days when bloggers were Sepculah about Sora no Woto, except that Kyubey makes everything so much fun since he is evil and all.

  11. Fabrice says:

    greetings lol
    to me this show has consistensy, im always worried that over hyped shows would eventually die out midway through its season, but for Madoka magica no.. btw i dont read blogs about series episode reviews, too many and too much of a hassle to read pretty much the same thing but different views on it even thought it can be interesting. ^^

    • Valence says:

      I’m particularly worried that due to my over-speculation , the show’ll start to seem like Chaos;head….where all the awesomeness died towards the end. I hope MSMM continues to be awesome though =D

  12. Nopy says:

    I guess I’m guilty of over-speculating too ^.^;

    I actually quite enjoy speculating what will happen even if it takes some of the surprise out of the series. To me, any story that can turn my speculations on their heads and still have enough evidence to prove it actually led up to that result is a masterpiece.

    I guess you could say speculating what will happen is my way of testing how good the plot is. If I see it coming, then it could have been better, if it surprises me, then it was well-done.

    • Valence says:

      I won’t deny that I over-speculate, and I love it, but it takes some of the surprise out of the show. Speculating in itself, might have been a way for the plot to be deepened since every detail, every scene, every character could have been foreshadowing, a crucial plot detail. All of this really helps.

  13. baka~ says:

    Well, despite speculah being fun and all, Madoka Magica may have created a standard for the next Mahou Shoujo series or for any upcoming seasonal anime series under the impression of “unless people speculate and get excited over this it’s not good enough”. With the issue of anime rolling down because of Ishithara, having standards like these developed by fans may be dual-edged blade as it could help improve the quality of anime industry or just kill it off if anime don’t reach viewer’s standards =/

  14. ~xxx says:

    Interesting, over the past few weeks, I’m also speculating over Madoka… and I have prove Kyubey IS EEEEEEVVVVVVIIIIIILLLLL……

    Well, I guess that’s the end one of my many speculations…
    I hope this show will blow me up to the last minute.

    • Valence says:

      I wouldn’t want the show to blow me up, I want to stay intact while watching!

      • ~xxx says:

        I think I can really say that Kyubey is rather Amoral… than evil, because he could just forced them to make a contract with him if he really is evil and willing to do bad on the humanity.

        At least there are still speculations that still proves to be proven.

        • Valence says:

          I still must wonder : what’s the purpose behind all of this? What’s the point of creating witches? I hope they resolve all of the these by the end.

  15. feal87 says:

    To speculate is the core and life of any series. If there is some speculation in progress it means people are liking it and want more of it. 😀

  16. afkeroge says:

    I am guilty.

    Though I understand that speculating about a show is nice, there’s always a bad side to it. I’ve got to learn to get my brain to stop thinking stupid stuff more than necessary.

  17. Janette says:

    I think we all knew he was evil. 😛

    I like over speculating. Course, I’m pretty stubborn about believing theories I don’t like, so I’m not capable of being surprised. But what I like more is analysis of what’s been given to us.

    • Valence says:

      I like the breakdown the most. The reveal of everything that leads to said theory, since most of the time you don’t exactly find all the hints, and piecing them together is satisfying.

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  19. T_I says:

    Storytelling is more important than the story itself

    It’s not about the content. It’s about HOW it is told.

    And Madoka does this nicely

  20. Sebz says:

    I get lost every time I see the word “Faust.” I don’t know what the hell it is, and how so many of you can refer to it.

    • Valence says:

      Faust is the protagonist of a German legend, who, although succesful, is unhappy and signs a deal with the devil for unlimited knowledge and pleasures. Faust is also an adjective used to describe this ‘deal with the devil’ expression.

      In this case, the girls trade their souls for one miracle, and spend the rest of their lives to fight against their final damnations, a fate of which none of them actually knew about. It’s a tad ironic that in this Faustian tale of magic girls and witches, the girls will eventually become the very enemy they fight against.

  21. lvlln says:

    I agree to an extent, and I think your comparison to a BINGO game is a good one. It is also why I choose not to do a lot of speculation in shows such as this or Lost. I prefer to take the story as the creators give them to us, at their own pace.

    At the same time, I feel you give too much power to the speculation and not enough credit to the work itself. A good piece of work manages to shine even with all the outside speculation that might happen regarding it. Not by subverting those expectations, but by executing on them well. In other words, it doesn’t rely on surprising you for effect; it might do exactly what you thought it would do, but it does it in a way that is fun and satisfying. That is what I think Magical Girl Madoka Magica has done so far.

    • Valence says:

      The bingo analogy had been used for Star Driver too, much to no avail.

      I won’t deny that I gave too much power to the speculation, but my purpose was never to undermine the work itself. I was saying that the speculation itself affected the way I saw the work, but I suppose you’re right, a good piece of work manages to shine even with all the speculation that regards it.

  22. hikaru says:

    I agree with you on the plot twists losing their sheen due to speculation. I like all the speculation and reading everyone’s theories, but at the same time it gives me unrealistic expectations, in the sense that I expect what actually happens in the show to be more mind-blowing than what the fans have come up with. But there’s still time for the show to go to that next level. Kyubey is evil. Sayaka turns into a witch. Homura is a timetraveller. We know all that (now) but the finer details for each situation has yet to be revealed and could be ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. I’d personally like it if witch!Sayaka kills/eats Kyousuke =D Though it would’ve been cooler if she did it while still in human form. And Homura’s circumstances has potential for wth-awesomeness.

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