Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
Madoka Magica – Episode 8 Review: Don’t Believe His Lies
Episode 8 pretty much picks up immediately where the last episode left off. Sayaka is still chopping up the witch while laughing manically, and eventually the witch dies. Sayaka gets a grief seed and gives it to Kyoko as a way of paying her back. I don’t understand why she feels the need to pay Kyoko back especially since Sayaka needs the grief seed. Well it isn’t like this decision is going to come back to haunt her or anything… right?
After the battle, Sayaka and Madoka rest in a bus stop to get shelter from the downpour. Madoka isn’t happy with how Sayaka handled the previous fight and implores her to not fight like that again. Sayaka however seems to be going down a very dark path as she declares that her only purpose in life now is to fight witches. She turns on Madoka, telling her own friend that if she wants to help she should put herself in danger and join the fight. While it is clear at the end of the scene that Sayaka doesn’t know why she said such awful things to Madoka, a strange darkness pulses inside her soul gem. That can’t be good.
Meanwhile in Homura’s enigmatic base of operations, she and Kyoko discuss where Walpurgisnacht will appear. The two girls are then visited by Kyubey, who warns them that Sayaka is in bad condition. He tries to get some information out of Homura but is chased away. According to Homura, Sayaka’s soul gem is slowly getting corrupted and that it may soon be too late for her. While Madoka searches for Sayaka, Sayaka watches Hitomi and Kyosuke talking. In her despair, Sayaka turns to fighting familiars that won’t even drop a grief seed as her soul gem gets darker and darker.
Homura approaches Sayaka and hands her a grief seed, telling her that she has to purify her soul gem immediately. Sayaka declines, believing that Homura doesn’t really care about her. Sayaka turns out to be right about this, Homura is only trying to help her for Madoka’s sake and no other reason. Homura has a Plan B though, she transforms and decides it is better to kill Sayaka right then and there. However Homura is stopped by Kyoko, giving Sayaka time to stumble away. Homura escapes by pulling a flash grenade out of thin air to cause a distraction. Don’t ask how she did that though, I don’t know. Best answer: Magic.
Sayaka’s escape is successful ans she finds herself on a train. She over hears two guys saying a bunch of terrible things about their girlfriends. Sayaka confronts them and questions if the world is really worth saving from witches. The scene ends with Sayaka being covered in dark energy, the fate of the two men is unknown. Sayaka is going further and further down a very dark path, and it is only a matter of time before she reaches the end and whatever awaits her at that point.
Meanwhile, Madoka’s search for Sayaka doesn’t go well. It is late at night and she is alone at a plaza with a really cool looking fountain. Alone if you exclude Kyubey whom insists on stalking Madoka. So the two sit down to have a talk, although I don’t get why Madoka insists on talking to Kyubey. Again Kyubey reiterates that Madoka would become the most powerful magical girl in the world, although he admits he has no idea why that is. According to Kyubey, Madoka could wish to become a god and would then have more power than even him. Getting more power than the one that gave you that power seems a little too good to be true though, so I imagine there are a few details that Kyubey is leaving out.
Madoka succumbs to Kyubey’s words and is about to wish to become a magical girl. Suddenly Kyubey ends up “holier-than-thou” and slumps over, apparently dead. Homura appears, dropping a handgun with bullet casings littering the ground. Homura is furious, demanding to know why Madoka ignores the feelings of those who love her so that she can sacrifice herself and help others. Madoka gets a sense of deja vu, as Homura cries and shows an emotion other than anger for the first time. However, Madoka leaves to go find Sayaka.
The lights flicker and a voice echoes in the darkness. As it turns out, Kyubey was only mostly dead. And by mostly dead I mean he has a bunch of spare bodies that he can transfer to. After practicing self cannibalism on his corpse, Kyubey talks to Homura. He reveals that he knows the trick behind her techniques, she is using time manipulation. Several major things are revealed in this scene. Homura is from another timeline, she knows what Kyubey is planning, and apparently Kyubey has another name: Incubator. Sounds ominous.
Kyoko tracks Sayaka down at the train station and tries to talk to her. It is amazing how far these two have come since their violent first encounter. Kyoko is shocked and horrified when she sees the condition that Sayaka’s soul gem is in. Then all of Sayaka’s negative emotions reach a boiling point. Her soul gem shatters and Sayaka is consumed by dark energy. As this happens, Kyubey reveals the horrifying truth about magical girls. All magical girls will eventually become witches.
The fact that it was raining in this episode at one point seems to be rather fitting. You know what they say, when it rains it pours. This is certainly the case in Madoka Magica. Things are getting much worse with progressively little hope of them getting any better. So I stand corrected. Madoka Magica so far has not only been a completely different spin on a magic girl anime, it is a completely different spin on a magic girl anime with a very dark twist. I almost look forward to seeing how bad things get before the end.