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Madoka Magica Episode 10 Review: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again
As a bit of a change of pace, the tenth episode of Madoka Magica begins with us being introduced to Homura Akemi. Homura is a friendly, yet shy girl who just transferred into the local… wait a minute. Yeah, that’s right. This is an origin story for Homura, taking time to explain everything about her including how she became a magical girl.
Homura started out as a normal girl, getting out of the hospital after recovering from some sort of heart condition. It is a pretty normal day as well. Homura goes to school, meets Madoka and becomes friends with her, and gets attacked by a witch on the way home. You know, just another ordinary day. Homura is saved by Madoka and Mami (with 100% less decapitation) and discovers that they are magical girls. The first few minutes of this episode are really interesting, as they mirror so many things that happen in the first episode. Homura’s introduction and getting swarmed by eager classmates happen just like they did in the first episode, only with two completely different versions of Homura.
So Homura basically does what Madoka has been doing for the entire series, which is just standing around and watching everyone else fight. Very much like Madoka, Homura gets to be there to watch other magical girls die. Mami gets killed by Walpurgisnacht, and while Madoka successfully kills the witch it ultimately costs her her own life. Homura is grief stricken at the loss of her friend and is approached by Kyube. Kyube offers a contract to Homura so that she can save Madoka. Of course, without any hesitation Homura makes the contract and becomes a magical girl.
Homura gets the power to manipulate time, and with a jump to the left and a step to the right she is back in the hospital bed several weeks earlier. Once again Homura meets Madoka and they become friends. Only this time Homura fights alongside Madoka and Mami. So with three magical girls, it should be much easier to take down Walpurgisnacht, right? Apparently not. Mami is AWOL at the end of the fight (likely searching for her missing head), Madoka turns into a witch right in front of Homura, and Homura has no choice but to go back in time… again.
So in a typical time travel story fashion, Homura tires to warn the other magical girls about Kyube and how they will all eventually become witches. Of course, no one seems to believe her at first. Sayaka, who is now a magical girl for whatever reason, mocks the notion of Kyube withholding facts. However, Sayaka eventually becomes a witch and the group realizes that Homura was right. Mami goes bonkers and kills Kyoko, but is then killed by Madoka who is officially done with the not so glamorous job that is being a magical girl.
Homura and Madoka once again fight Walpurgisnacht, and both end up being dangerously close to becoming witches. However, Madoka saves Homura just in time. In a very emotional sequence, Madoka pleads for Homura to go into the past and keep her from becoming a magical girl. To add even more emotional drama to the scene, Homura is forced to kill her own friend in order to prevent Madoka from becoming a witch.
Determined to fulfill her promise, Homura goes back in time again and warns Madoka to not make a contract. She does this as she clutches the corpse of Kyube in her hand, which adds some small amount of humor to the scene in a twisted way. Sadly this doesn’t work either, as Homura is unable to defeat Walpurgisnacht on her own. Madoka is left with no other choice but to make a contract with Kyube. But wait, it gets worse! Madoka is able to one shot Walpurgisnacht, but then almost instantly becomes a witch herself. Also the witch that was once Madoka will apparently destroy the world in about ten days if Kyube is to be believed.
Then at long last we come to the current timeline that the show takes place in, showing scenes from the first episode as Homura declares her resolve to save Madoka no matter how long it takes. This episode answers a lot of questions, and shows how Homura became who she was. It was an interesting transition to see Homura go from that shy and awkward girl to the graceful and powerful magical girl that she is in the show. She certainly has guts as well, given that all her physical weapons seem to be things stolen from gangs and mobs.
Since Homura is a fairly important character, it made sense to have an episode of flashbacks dedicated solely to her. We can see how her influence has changed things in the current timeline, and I get the feeling that we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of things that have changed because of Homura’s actions. But can she succeed in her quest and defeat Walpurgisnacht so that Madoka doesn’t have to become a magical girl? Well there are only two episodes left, so I guess we’ll find out soon.
Overall this was a great, emotional episode. It is very seldom that we see why characters become who they are and just have to guess. But once in awhile we see their story unfold, and this was certainly the case for Homura.