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Madoka Magica Episode 4 Review: The New Magical Girl in Town
Episode four starts off with Sayaka leaving the hospital. She wanted to visit Kyosuke but he is currently in the middle of therapy for his legs. In this scene we discover that Kyosuke was a talented violin player, but after the accident he was in he may never be able to play the violin again. Sayaka ponders why it had to be someone talented like Kyosuke that had to end up losing the ability to use his hand instead of someone like her.
After the opening, we see Madoka eating breakfast with her family. As she recalls Mami’s brutal decapitation, she starts crying stating that she is grateful to be alive. While heading to school, Madoka tries to talk to Sayaka telepathically but Sayaka tells her that they will talk later. During Lunch, Sayaka and Madoka sit on the rooftop of the school. They talk about how the world moves on with no idea what happened to Mami, that no one else sees the things that they do. Sayaka and Madoka then decide that they don’t want to die horrible deaths either, so for now they do not want to become magical girls.
Kyube doesn’t seem to mind the news, and says that he will go find others who will want to make a contract with him. He also tells them that now that Mami is gone, another magical girl will surely show up to hunt witches for grief seeds. Kyube leaves Sayaka and Madoka to grieve for Mami. Later that day Madoka goes to Mami’s apartment, which isn’t locked for some reason. She leaves her class notes there and starts crying, thinking of her late friend.
As Madoka leaves the apartment, she encounters Homura. Homura comforts her, telling Madoka that she can’t be blamed for what happened to Mami. Homura asks her if she has accepted her warning and Madoka says yes. While they are walking, Homura assures Madoka that there is nothing that she could have done that could have changed Mami’s fate. It becomes clear that Homura has a lot of experience with seeing other magical girls die.
As it turns out, being a magical girl isn’t all that great like it is depicted in other anime. If a magical girl dies in a labyrinth, her body stays there and she will never be found. To the rest of the world she will be a missing person. So no one will ever realize that people like Mami are dead. Homura states that all magical girls will wind up that way sooner or later. Madoka then declares that she will never forget Mami, and that she won’t forget Homura either. Homura tells her that she is too kind for her own good and then leaves.
Meanwhile at the hospital, Sayaka is visiting Kyosuke. Kyosuke is listening to his CD player but then asks Sayaka why she keeps coming to visit. Kyosuke admits that he doesn’t like listening to classic music anymore as it reminds him of how he can never play a violin ever again. According to the Doctors, there is nothing that modern medicine can do for his hand. It would take magic, or a miracle, in order for him to be able to use his hand again. The scene ends with Sayaka insisting that there is magic and miracles, as an outline of Kyube can be seen through the window.
Later that night while Madoka is walking home, she sees Hitomi walking down the street. Madoka is confused as Hitomi had practice to go to. As she gets closer Madoka sees a Witch’s Kiss on Hitomi’s neck. When confronted, Hitomi tells Madoka that she is going somewhere wonderful and that she wants Madoka to come with her. Worried, Madoka follows her to an abandoned warehouse. Then other people with the same mark on their necks show up. It becomes apparent that they all intend on committing suicide.
As they start mixing chemicals into a bucket, Madoka interferes and throws the bucket out the window. The crowd of people end up not liking this and start ambling toward Madoka like a bunch of angry zombies. Madoka manages to lock herself into a small room on the side, only to have a run in with the witch responsible. It goes without saying that the witch doesn’t seem particularly happy with Madoka’s interference and pulls her into the labyrinth.
After getting turned into a lower resolution cartoon version of herself, Madoka is then subjected to a series of TVs that show her Mami’s death over and over again. Madoka believes that she is at fault for what happened and resigns herself to her seemingly inevitable death. As the hellish Monty Python animated rejects start stretching out Madoka like rubber, the creatures are suddenly killed by blue bursts of light. Madoka is returned to normal and sees Sayaka standing in front of her.
Using her sword, Sayaka fights and kills the flying TV witch. The labyrinth disappears and Sayaka admits that she had a change of heart and decided to become a magical girl. Homura shows up and it becomes pretty clear that she is not pleased with Sayaka. We then switch to Kyube talking to another magical girl by the name of Kyoko. Kyoko is annoyed that a new magical girl is in the city, as she wanted to claim those hunting grounds for herself. As the episode ends, Kyoko resolves to get rid of the new magical girl.
While I get the need to have a dramatic, nick-of-time save the day situation for Madoka. I don’t think it was the best choice to have Sayaka become a magical girl off-screen given that she is one of the main characters of the anime. Also I was surprised at how quickly she was able to pick up on how to use her powers and be able to defeat a witch so easily. You’d think she would need to train in order to use any of her powers, but that wouldn’t make for an interesting story I suppose.
Aside from that this was a good episode. It certainly puts a slightly darker spin on the concept of a magical girl. But it is a good change of pace, and is rather refreshing.