Not exactly post 250 , is it?
If you’ve seen the latest episode of Madoka Magica, you’ll come to terms with the fact that not only is Homura the most tragic heroine of the series, but also that she has been travelling endless back and forth in time in her attempts to rescue the magical girls. Now you know why she tries to stop Mami from fighting Charlotte and the girls from ever signing contracts.
But as one
blunt observant soul pointed out, with every repetition she goes through, Homerun seems to not only not solve the problem, but in fact , find that each repetition she goes through only reveals a even darker world : with repetitions that involve Mami going insane and Madoka turning into a witch, it would seem that Homura’s attempt to alter their fates and destinies seem to be failing. That said, what does this show about fate and destiny in PMMM?
For one, it only shows that not only have their fates been decided from signing the contract, that it becomes an endless fight against their own fates and destinies. Notice that with every repetition, Homura’s reasons for wanting to go back in time change: first to prevent Madoka’s death, then to warn the others, then resigning to her fate and wanting to die before being revived by Madoka’s last Grief Seed. With every repetition Homura is on the losing end: reminiscent of the twisted outcomes of making a wish with Kyubey, that the endings would be horrible to witness. Kyoko wished for people to believe her father’s teachings, and for a while they did, until her father realized it was magic and went insane, killing everyone in the family except her. It was speculated that Mami wished not to die alone, and died once she made a friend. Sayaka wanted to save Kamijou out of love, only for Kamijou to ignore her completely and her friend Hitomi to date him.
It seems that their fates and destinies are irreversible no matter what they do, and as a result of trying to fight fate, they all are left to horrible demises. Sayaka turns into a witch, Kyoko’s family dies and she commits suicide to kill Sayaka, Mami gets decapitated and Homura’s stuck in a endless chase to stop Madoka from dying. For SHAFT’s first original series, this is much better than I could have ever anticipated: the endless, despairing resignation to fate.
This theme of our inability to change fate is also reflected in other manga and anime too. Takahashi Rie’s work, ‘Hole’, tells of a secret hole in a shrine that lets the person who drops in go back in time. In all three stories in the shoujo manga, the heroine goes back in time to prevent a death of a loved one: be it a sibling, a friend, or a mother – yet it is in fact, due to their very actions of travelling back in time that these loved ones die nevertheless: the brother is killed by a car instead of drowning; her friend plunges off the building in an attempt to retrieve the necklace she gave her; and her mother dies to give birth to the heroine who confronted her, out of her own will. And in all three stories, the heroine accepts her fate and lives on with it.
This theme of fate and free will isn’t exactly unheard of, it’s been around for centuries , IHE Litfags like me would have spent an entire term discussing the themes in Oedipus Rex and drawing parallels between crossroads and fate. However, in this case there are two kinds of fate and free will themes: One involving fighting against the gods, and one involving signing a pact with the devil.
It is impossible to fight against the gods’ will, and those who fall into the trap of making a pact with darker forces find themselves inextricably chained to it ; as with the original story of Faust, upon which PMMM seems to have been influenced by: Faust dies and goes to hell in the end, unable to fight his fate for signing a pact with the devil. It would seem that Homura will be forever unable to fight her fate ; that Madoka will die, and the Earth will be destroyed, yet there forever remains a tiny, ever-flickering glimmer of hope, that everything might just turn out fine, that she might be able to save everyone after all.