Oh, wow. And here I was wondering how being a mahou shoujo could get any worse. That I did not see coming.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
If you recall, at the end of the last episode, Homura pulled a last-minute (it’s always at the last minute) dramatic intervention to prevent Sayaka from being skewered by Kyoko’s collapsible spear thingy (darn it I’m pretty sure that thing has a proper name, I knew it once…)
Kyoko has just enough time to realize what Homura did and make some vague but possibly significant mention of Homura’s technique before Sayaka flares up at Homura for intefering (kinda ungrateful, don’t you think?) and rushes forward. Homura, presumably not in the mood to deal with Sayaka’s shit, shuts her up with a well-placed strike.
Ouch. Effective, but maybe a little harsh
Continued after the jump.
A bit more talk. At Kyoko’s questioning, Homura claims to be “an ally to the calm, an and enemy to those who fight without reason”. Um, noble enough, I suppose. She also mentions Kyoko’s full name (Sakura Kyoko in Japanese order and remember my mini-rant about the name thing?), which surprises (and possibly unsettles) Kyoko. The latter decides that she’s had enough and leaves. Homura spares a few moments to chew Madoka out for getting involved before leaving as well. We get a quick shot of Kyubey, who seems to be figuring out who Homura is, before we cut to the OP.
After the OP, we find that Sayaka’s managed to wrangle a Grief Seed from somewhere, which stll can’t completely purify her clearly tainted Soul Gem. The interesting part is when Sayaka’s done with the Grief Seed, Kyubey eats it.
I really hope that’s not Kyubey’s entire motivation for making contracts — that would be kind of boring, don’t you think? Kyubey proceeds to pressure Sayaka to get more Grief Seeds because she’s not strong/talented enough as it is. But if Madoka became a mahou shoujo, her raw talent would make her a powerful ally…but Sayaka’s not prepared to put Madoka through that kind of fate.
That’s right, Sayaka, don’t listen to that bugger
In the next scene, Homura decides to have a chat with Kyoko at, of all places:
So while Kyoko goes through her somewhat awkwardly animated dance steps (well, points for trying to make the scene a little more interesting), she and Homura cut a deal — she leaves Sayaka for Homura to deal with, and she gets the city. Homura deflects Kyoko’s question about her identity by bringing up something new — Walpurgisnacht (I cannot even begin to guess what this means, does anyone know?) Whatever it is, Kyoko doesn’t think she can fight it alone, and might need help, and offers Homura some Pocky, presumably as some kind of goodwill offering.
Moving on…Madoka goes back to the scene of the Kyoko-Sayaka showdown to find the latter there with Kyubey attempting to track down the familiar that escaped. A worried Madoka tries to convince Sayaka to talk things over with Kyoko. But Sayaka’s adamant that there can be no compromise with someone like Kyoko. When Madoka tries to use the relationship between Homura and Mami, Sayaka lashes out and accuses of Homura of letting Mami die so she could claim her Grief Seed. I was thinking, “Um, no, Mami tied her up so she couldn’t interfere, remember?” before I realized that Sayaka never did see that. It might have been a good idea to tell her, Madoka.
Sayaka proceeds to conclude that with the exception of Mami, all other mahou shoujo are just in it for themselves, and declares that she’ll take on anyone who she deems to be worse than a witch. As Sayaka walks away, Madoka turns to Kyubey, distraught, but naturally he just gives her more reason to worry by reminding her Sayaka’s no match for Kyoko or Homura, but is too stubborn to accept that. Thanks a lot.
Anyone remember how I said it’d be more interesting if Sayaka gives in to psychological pressure rather than just dying like Mami? It looks like it might be happening — Sayaka sounds pretty paranoid, and she’s probably developing an inferiority complex, which Kyubey seems happy to contribute too. If her recklessness doesn’t get her killed she might just break. That would be something to watch…
Later that night, Madoka can’t sleep, and heads downstairs to find her mother having a drink after her shower.
Madoka obliquely asks for advice about how to help Sayaka, and the ends up getting some pretty realistic advice, including how it’s better to screw up now when she’s young rather than only learning to deal with mistakes when she’s older. It’s really quite a touching scene, but that advice might not be so appropriate considering that someone could die if there’s a screw-up…
And yeah — Madoka’s line about looking forward to getting drunk with her mother? Sweet.
The next evening (or so I presume) Sayaka tries to visit Kamijo, but finds he’s been discharged the day before. And he never thought to call and tell her? What a guy. Sayaka then heads to his home but hesitates at the door when she hears the sound of his violin. Long enough for some unwelcome company to show up.
Kyoko seems pretty clear on what Sayaka wished for and mocks her for it. I wonder if her line about how magic gained through wishing for someone else won’t work right is her own opinion or a hint into the nature of their powers…She then proceeds to reveal her rather disturbing ideas on how to snag a guy (which includes breaking some bones) and offers to do it for Sayaka. Sayaka, unsurprisingly, does not appreciate the gesture . Seeing that Sayaka’s up for a fight, Kyoko suggests they move someplace else.
Meanwhile, as Madoka’s working on some school assignment, she’s approached by Kyubey, who tells her about what’s happened to Sayaka and urges hear to come with him. You sneaky little critter.
On an overhead bridge, Kyoko’s just about done with her transformation sequence when Madoka rushes in with Kyubey, maintaining the transformation sequence quota of no more than one per episode preventing Sayaka from transforming.
Homura, too, ninjas in from out of nowhere and reminds Kyoko that she’s going against their agreement. When Kyoko argues that Sayaka’s after her too, Homura decides she’ll then take Kyoko on instead.
But Madoka, possibly inspired by Mama Kaname’s talk, decides to take it into her own hands. She grabs Sayaka’s Soul Gem, runs to the edge of the bridge, and flings it down onto the back of a passing truck.
Homura disappears. Sayaka, in the middle of protesting to Madoka, abruptly collapses, and Kyubey asks, in apparent innocence, why Madoka’s thrown away her friend. Kyoko approaches, grabs Sayaka by the neck, and declares, horrified, that Sayaka’s dead. Wait, what?
In the meantime, Homura’s closing in on the truck carrying Sayaka’s Soul Gem. Oh God I hope that’ll somehow save her.
As Madoka frantically tries to wake Sayaka, Kyubey reveals that mahou shoujo can only control their bodies from a range of a hundred meters at most. Which doesn’t makes sense to anyone else until Kyubey explains that the contract involves taking out a girl’s soul and putting it into a compact container i.e. the Soul Gem. So mahou shoujo bodies are basically dead, and the Soul Gem isn’t some power source — mahou shoujo are Soul Gems. Now he tells us.
Of course, if he had mentioned this earlier, the Mahou Shoujo Recruitment Programme would have been a lot less successful. Kyubey, you bastard.
Kyoko does not take the revelation very well.
Kyubey honestly doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with this — he thinks it’s a convenience, since their bodies could take any damage and just be healed by magic while their souls are elsewhere. Kyoko and Madoka are not comforted in the least.
Homura, after an amazing dash after the truck, manages to climb on, grab the Soul Gem, and return it to Sayaka’s hands before Kyoko can thrash Kyubey or anything like that (aww). As Homura performs her classic I’m-too-cool hair flick, Sayaka, thankfully, wakes up, and asks what happened. Your entire essence’s been sealed into a little container, that’s what!
So…we all knew Kyubey was a creep, but now he’s gone and revealed just how much of one he is. He sneaky, manipulative, and clearly has ulterior motives, but he ended up revealing the true nature of the Soul Gem pretty easily. If his ultimate aim is to make Madoka a mahou shoujo, well, he’s created quite a setback for himself — Madoka’s even more horrified now. Not that much of a mastermind, is he? Maybe he’s just working under someone’s direction? Am I going to bother speculating, or simply wait and hope the show will feed me with the answers?
It’s also worth noting that Homura seems to know exactly what’s going on. Apart from making us wonder again who she is, exactly, her “mahou shoujo are basically dead” attitude makes chilling sense now…yet she a) cuts a deal to stop Kyoko from attacking Sayaka and b) rushes to get Sayaka’s Soul Gem back. For all her talk she’s clearly not eager to let Sayaka die under her watch. I’ve been hearing theories about Homura, but none of them have satisfied me for the moment.
I’m also vaguely tempted to go back and find some way to confirm that Mami’s Soul Gem was destroyed when she died…but that’s not a scene I’m eager to watch again…