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Madoka Magica – Episode 2 Review: Witch Hunting 101
In episode two, we start off with a brief introduction of the character Mami Tomoe, followed by Madoka waking up in her bed the next morning. After the opening, and another conversation between Madoka and her mother, the scene then shifts back to the previous evening when Sayaka and Madoka head to Mami’s apartment. There Mami and Kyube start explaining various things to them. Mami shows off her soul gem and explains how one is created when a girl makes a contract with Kyube.
Kyube states that in exchange for Sayaka and Madoka making contracts with him, he will grant both of them one wish. Apparently the wish can be anything, as no wish is impossible. Sounds good, right? Well there is a downside. If a girl becomes a magical girl, she must then spend her life fighting creatures known as witches. Kyube claims that witches are created from curses and that they are essentially the polar opposite of magical girls.
He also explains how witches hide in labyrinths that they create, which was what Sayaka and Madoka fell into in the previous episode. Mami continues with the explanation, stating how she risks her life to fight witches. She warns Sayaka and Madoka that whatever they wish for, it will put their lives at risk. To help them decide if they want that kind of life, Mami decides to let Sayaka and Madoka accompany her on a few witch hunts.
The next morning as Sayaka, Madoka, and Hitomi head to school, Madoka and Sayaka discover that they can hear each other’s thoughts, because they are being transmitted to one another through Kyube. Hitomi immediately misinterprets the starring contest between Sayaka and Madoka as them knowing what the other one is thinking. Hitomi then jumps to the conclusion that Sayaka and Madoka are in love and runs away crying about how girls can’t love girls.
While in class, Sayaka asks Kyube if it is really a good idea for him to hang around the school given that Homura was trying to kill him the previous day. Kyube assures her that with Mami there it is probably the safest place for him. As Homura walks into the room, Madoka recalls another conversation from the previous night. While at Mami’s apartment, they talked about why Homura attacked. Kyube explains how she was after him, pondering if Homura was trying to stop him from making a contract to create another magical girl.
Sayaka wonders why they can’t work together since they are fighting the same enemy. Mami talks about how there are rewards for killing a witch, and that magical girls will often fight over those rewards. Sounds just like most MMORPGs when loot drops for a group of players, if you ask me. Sayaka ponders on if Homura somehow knew that Kyube was trying to make a contract with Madoka. The scene then shifts back to school the next day.
During lunch, Kyube states that most girls accept his offer immediately and how he’s surprised that Madoka and Sayaka have not done so yet. Sayaka theorizes that the reason her and Madoka are unsure about making the contract is because they have fairly good lives. They don’t wish for something with all their heart, and are not desperate enough to die for that wish. She talks about how it’s not fair that they get a wish when there are people who could actually use that wish.
Homura shows up, and assures Madoka and Sayaka that she is not there to fight. She admits that she did want to kill Kyube before he could make contact with Madoka, but that it is too late for that now. She asks if either of them plan on becoming magical girls, only to get told off by Sayaka. Homura asks Madoka if she remembers the warning that she gave her, and hopes that her warning has not gone in vain. Madoka asks her what she wished for, but Homura ignores her and leaves.
After school is over, Sayaka and Madoka meet Mami at the mall to discuss witches and how to hunt them. Sayaka, following some element of common sense, brings a baseball bat to use as a weapon. Of course, one could question the decision to jump into a magically created hellhole filled with bloodthirsty Alice In Wonderland rejects while armed with only a baseball bat; however this is an anime so we kind of have to roll with that one.
After eating, they head to the last known location of the witch from the previous day. They try to follow its trail, however it goes cold quickly. Mami states that she could have likely finished off the witch the previous night if she had followed it, but chose to look after Madoka and Sayaka instead. As they walk along the sidewalk, Mami explains where she goes to look for witches. Locations include areas with a lot of traffic, hospitals, popular suicide areas, and red light districts.
They arrive at an abandoned facility, and see a woman about to jump off of the top. Mami manages to rescue her and notices a mark on the woman’s neck known as a witch’s kiss. They walk inside the building and a strange looking butterfly themed portal opens up. They walk into the labyrinth and are immediately attacked by more bizarre creatures with mustaches, this witch seems to really like mustaches. They run through the labyrinth as Mami dispatches any monsters that get in their way. Eventually they arrive at the center of the labyrinth and encounter the witch itself.
When I think of witches, I don’t think of a paper mache cthulhu with roses for eyes and butterfly wings. Although given how bizarre the creatures look, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that the witches also look like something from a bad acid trip. Mami jumps into the center to fight the witch. After awhile the witch uses one of it’s little mini minions to constrict Mami and throw her around like a rag doll. Mami shrugs this off, cuts the appendage that is holding her upside down and summons a really big gun. Mami fires the gun at the witch, instantly killing it. The labyrinth disappears and a small black sphere shaped item appears on the ground.
Mami picks it up, showing it to Sayaka and Madoka. She calls it a grief seed, and says that it is a witch’s egg. Kyube explains that grief seeds are very valuable. Mami demonstrates by putting the grief seed next to her soul gem. It becomes clear that the glow from the soul gem has faded since the previous night, due to Mami using magic to fight the witch. Upon putting the grief seed near the soul gem, dark energy emanates from the soul gem and into the grief seed. The soul gem then glows brightly as a result. According to Mami, this is how she restores any magic she uses.
Mami then throws the grief seed to Homura who is hiding in the shadows. She offers it as a gift, but Homura refuses it. She throws the seed back to Mami and leaves. While Mami comforts the woman that nearly committed suicide because of the witch’s influence, Madoka stares in awe and respect at Mami. She ponders how wonderful it would be if she could help others the way Mami does.
If there is one issue I have with this episode, it would be how they pronounce Mami’s name. They pronounce it like they are saying ‘mommy’. Given how Sayaka and Madoka talk to her, it sounds really weird and off putting when it seems like they are calling her ‘mommy’. Aside from that, the dubbing of this episode was really good.
So will Sayaka and Madoka decide to become magical girls like Mami? Time will tell. I’m sure they will have plenty of time to think about it while they go on more witch hunts with Mami. So far, Madoka Magica is keeping me hooked and I’m always looking forward to finding out what will happen next.