Sega CEO Hajime Satomi says he wants to improve the quality of their games moving forward. That could mean a lot of things. It's nice to hear, but what they do next with their games is the real answer.
Madoka Magica – Episode 5 Review: Magical Girl Fight Club
The fifth episode of Madoka Magica starts off with a flashback. Kyube approaches Sayaka in a garden and reassures her that any wish is possible. Knowing what her wish is, Kyube creates a soul gem for Sayaka and she becomes a magical girl. I’m glad that we got to see this take place. Since Sayaka is one of the main characters, it is better to have such a major event not occur off screen, and initially I was worried that Madoka Magica wasn’t going to show viewers how Sayaka became a magical girl.
After the opening, Sayaka talks to Hitomi while playing dumb about the whole getting brain washed by a witch incident from the previous night. Unaware of Sayaka’s actions, Hitomi recalls how she was up late that night talking to authorities and has no memory of what happened. Probably for the best that she doesn’t remember. Knowing that you were nearly forced to commit suicide by an animator’s nightmare would likely have some negative effects on one’s mental state.
Later that day, Sayaka and Madoka are resting on a hillside near a river. Sayaka talks about her confidence in her future as a magical girl and protector of the city. When asked about any regrets that she has, Sayaka states that she regrets not becoming a magical girl sooner. Sayaka seems to be taking her new lot in life surprisingly well, given that she will be facing the possibility of a gruesome death every day for the rest of her life. Sayaka then leaves to go visit Kyosuke.
Despite the miraculous recovery of his hand, Kyosuke is still in the hospital while his legs are still in the middle of rehab. Also the doctors are completely baffled at the sudden recovery, given that it was said to be impossible by current medical technology. Sayaka takes Kyosuke to the roof of the hospital, where several doctors, nurses, and his parents are waiting for him. Kyosuke’s Dad approaches and gives him his violin. In a heart warming moment, Sayaka ponders on how happy she is that her wish came true as Kyosuke plays the violin once again.
Meanwhile, Sayaka is being watched by another magical girl with a serious case of the munchies. No seriously, she is eating something in basically every scene that she has been in so far. This is the same magical girl from the previous episode, Kyoko. Kyoko is interested in picking a fight with Sayaka, but Kyube warns her about Homura. The very hungry magical girl ignores Kyube’s word of caution, and seems more interested in the enigma that is Homura.
Meanwhile, Madoka meets with Homura at a local restaurant. Madoka pleads for Homura to try and be friends with Sayaka, and look out for her so that she doesn’t end up like Mami. Homura declines, trying to encourage Madoka to forget about Sayaka. Although Homura does admit that she is at fault to some extent for not trying to keep Sayaka from making a contract in the first place. I doubt that Homura could have stopped Sayaka from making the contract with Kyube, though. She wanted to heal Kyosuke more than anything else, and she likely would not have listened to Homura. They aren’t on the best of terms.
Speaking of Sayaka, the next scene shows her getting ready for her first patrol. She admits to Kyube that she is nervous, especially since there is no room for error when witch hunting. As she goes outside she sees Madoka waiting there for her. Madoka declares that she wants to go with Sayaka on the hunt, and Sayaka happily lets her tag along. Sayaka feels better knowing that Madoka is there, although that is mostly a false sense of security given that Madoka won’t be much help in a fight.
While they are walking, Kyube reminds Madoka that she can make a contract with him at any time. He certainly seems insistent on Madoka becoming a magical girl, despite how unsure she was of it in the previous episode. It isn’t long before Sayaka’s soul gem starts glowing radiantly as they stumble across the entrance of a labyrinth. Taking one look at the labyrinth, Kyube recognizes it as one constructed by a familiar rather than a witch. The familiar in question is a crayon drawn abomination that basically looks like a pig-tailed killer tomato wearing a crown while riding on a car.
Sayaka goes Sailor Moon and transforms into a magical girl. She almost manages to kill the familiar, but her swords are blocked by a spear. The familiar runs away, taking the labyrinth with it. As Sayaka tries to pursue it, Kyoko appears and points her spear at Sayaka. According to Kyoko, a familiar has to eat several people before it can become a witch and develop a grief seed and that it is better to leave a familiar alone until it becomes a witch. Sayaka is angered by this idea, but Kyoko continues to berate her for thinking of protecting the city rather than looking out for number one.
Needless to say, the two magical girls pick up their weapons and start fighting one another. While Kyoko is clearly the more experienced veteran, Sayaka is able to keep up due to her ability to heal from wounds quickly. Apparently there are perks for wishing to heal someone, according to Kyube at any rate. Although, the ability to heal quickly does not help Sayaka in the end. She puts up an admirable fight against a difficult foe, but it is clearly a losing battle. Kyoko moves in for the kill, but Homura shows up and manages to keep Sayaka from getting impaled. The episode ends with Homura posing with her usual grace, likely attempting to break up the fight. Homura certainly gets an A+ for dramatic timing while making a big, and unforgettable entrance.
In earlier episodes, it was implied that there were magical girls that were only in it for their own interests and acquiring grief seeds. Kyoko is a clear example of this, given her attitude of how a few humans getting killed is worth the price of a guaranteed grief seed. That said, this is clearly not your typical magical girl anime. Not even Uranus or Neptune from Sailor Moon would have been okay with just letting people get killed by a monster, well not more than one or two at any rate. They were rather morally gray at times in terms of how they handled the various monsters of that series as I recall(but more on that later, much later).
Despite her aggressive and selfish nature, I find Kyoko rather likeable. She is interesting, a different take on what a magical girl is. She isn’t fighting for justice, love, or any of that stuff. No she is just fighting to get grief seeds while eating a bunch of fish shaped snacks. Certainly can’t accuse her of being unoriginal.
So overall I have no complaints about this episode. The pacing was fine and the dialogue wasn’t bad at all. Voice acting was top notch as well. Madoka Magica has so far been very enjoying and entertaining to watch, and I look forward to seeing where things go from here. The next review will be posted soon, hopefully sooner than the time between episode four and five.