Madoka Magica – Episode 7 Review: Sayaka’s Bad Day
At the start of episode seven, Sayaka gets the off screen explanation about what happened to her at the end of the previous episode. As one would expect, she doesn’t take it too well and goes home in a very bad mood. Kyube explains that he never mentioned it because no one asked, even though having your soul stuffed into a little trinket is kind of something that most people would want to know about it if it happened to them. Apparently without her soul inside her body, a magical girl can keep fighting even if she receives a wound that would completely disable or kill a normal person. I can see how this would be efficient for fighting, but it is still a pretty big detail to leave out. I think Kyube should actually give future magical girls a physical contract that they can read and know exactly what they are getting themselves into.
Sayaka decides to skip class for the day, and Madoka talks to Homura later that day to get some answers. Homura knew the truth about soul gems all along, and claims that no one ever believed her when she told them the truth. Homura describes the soul gem as being the price that had to be paid to Kyube, a creature that doesn’t understand or care for human values and ethics. Also if there was a drinking game for Madoka Magica, one of the rules would likely be to drink for every time that Madoka cries. Not that I’m supporting such an idea for a drinking game mind you, drink responsibly and drink only if you are old enough to do so.
While lying in bed, Sayaka hears a voice outside her apartment. She pulls back the curtains and sees Kyoko outside, eating a snack as usual. It is clear that Kyoko wants to talk rather pick another fight with Sayaka. I guess she got the fight knocked out of her when she learned the truth about what Kyube did to them. So Kyoko leads Sayaka to a ruined church, and there we learn about Kyoko’s past and how she became a magical girl. This is a very interesting and informative scene as we learn what makes Kyoko tick, although I question if the witch labyrinth art style was necessary for the flashbacks as it made them a bit creepy.
The next morning, Sayaka decides to go to school and meets up with Madoka and Hitomi. As they walk to school they see another group of students, and Kyosuke is among them. He seems determined to get off his crutches, and the only way to do that is by walking around and not staying at home to wait and recover. Sayaka sees Kyosuke in class later and decides not to talk to him, feeling conflicted by what she has become.
As if the situation can’t get any worse for Sayaka, she then discovers that Hitomi is in love with Kyosuke and plans to talk to him about her feelings soon. However she thinks that Sayaka also has feelings for Kyosuke and gives Sayaka one day to act on her feelings. But with Sayaka’s full time job as a magical girl, Sayaka believes that she can’t be with Kyosuke. I don’t see how her job would make it impossible for her to be able to pursue a relationship, she still has her soul even if it is stored in a gem rather than in her body.
Sayaka’s despair manifests later that night as she cries in Madoka’s arms. Sayaka feels completely powerless as she knows that she is about to lose Kyosuke to her friend, making this one of the sadder scenes in Madoka Magica so far. Left with no options, Sayaka goes into witch hunting with an enthusiastic mind set. Very enthusiastic. So enthusiastic that she literally goes crazy at the end of the episode, laughing maniacally as she cuts up a witch like it is a turkey on Thanksgiving.
It may sound like an odd thing to say, but I do like the realism that this episode adds to the magical girl genre. Let’s face it, anime characters go through stuff that no real person could ever survive. If you get thrown into a building so hard that the surface around you breaks, you are either going to be crippled for life or dead. Yet this never seems to be an issue for anime characters, and they can somehow get up after awhile. The scene with Kyube and Sayaka’s soul gem demonstrates how realistically the battles that a magical girl would go through would be impossible were it not for the soul gem. In Sailor Moon, no matter how many times the Sailor Scouts got the crap kicked out of them, they always got up and kept going (well, most of the time but more on that later). This doesn’t seem to be the case for magical girls in Madoka Magica if they didn’t have a soul gem.
Honestly I get the feeling that Madoka Magica isn’t going to end well for anybody. The situation gets grimmer and grimmer with each episode, and then there is some large and powerful witch on its way to the city which makes matters worse for our group of arguably unlucky girls.