Madoka Magica Episode 12 Review: The Confusing Conclusion

Madoka Magica comes to a conclusion in episode twelve. While a lot of things happen in this single episode, each scene doesn’t feel entirely connected and fails to answer questions about what is going on. In short, episode twelve is a bit messy but manages to wrap things up for now.

Madoka makes a wish that surprises even Kyube. She wishes for the power to destroy all witches before they are born in every single timeline. Apparently this will make her a god or something. So after some sort of surreal vision in which Madoka talks about her wish to Kyoko and Mami, Madoka transforms into a magical girl and pulls out an obscenely large bow made out of wood and flowers. She fires a stream of arrows up into the sky which somehow allows Madoka to reach out to all magical girls that have ever existed and destroy the witch that is about to be born.

MM12_screenshot3So what about Walpurgisnacht? Well if you were hoping for a grand final battle between the most powerful witch and Madoka with god mode enabled… you will be disappointed. Madoka kills Walpurgisnacht with one shot and the witch just falls apart. I suppose that it is only fitting that the let down that is Walpurgisnacht would have a final battle that is equally as anticlimactic.

But of course things only get weirder in this episode when Homura is involuntarily teleported into space in the future in which Madoka eventually becomes a massive meteor of negative energy hurling straight for Earth. Somehow Kyube is able to talk to Homura in this scene, which doesn’t make sense as I’m fairly sure that Kyube cannot do the time warp. To make things confusing, Madoka shows up looking like some kind of goddess and uses her bow to kill the witch version of herself. This raises a question for me, since Madoka is killing the witch version of her self could this be interpreted as suicide?

MM12_screenshot5A very emotional moment between Homura and Madoka takes place after this, with Madoka explaining how she can see everything now and realizes just how much Homura suffered for her. She gives Homura her ribbons and departs to places unknown. In her departure, only more confusing scenes occur. First there is a meeting between Sayaka and Madoka as they watch Kyosuke performing at an audition, followed by what appears to be Sayaka dying and disappearing due to using too much magic. Somehow Mami and Kyoko are still alive in the universe created by Madoka, which is odd as her wish didn’t seem to involve bringing anyone back from the dead. A side effect of the new universe is that nobody can remember Madoka, all except Homura.

While I can understand why Homura would be able to remember Madoka, I am confused as to why Madoka’s little brother remembers her. Not only does he remember her, but he can draw her face and name in the dirt when Homura approaches him. Although the moment of fourth wall breaking humor in that scene was appreciated when Madoka’s mom says something on the lines of asking if Madoka is the name of an anime character.

MM12_screenshot9Another thing that isn’t explained in this episode is the fact that the witches seem to have been replaced with another problem. Now mysterious, tall and white translucent monsters appear all over the city. They are referred to as wraiths, but it is unclear what they do or why they are a threat. All that is known is that the world’s most unlikely team that is Kyube and Homura are actively seeking to wipe them out even though there doesn’t seem to be an end to them. I wish they had focused on this more, as it would be nice to know why wraiths are appearing in place of witches since the source of a lot of evil and misery in the world was because of witches.

But wait, there’s more! I have no remote clue as to what the scene after the credits was about. Why is Homura out in the middle of a wasteland reminiscent of the Keyblade Graveyard in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep? Why are there wraiths out there? Why is she fighting the wraiths? Why did she suddenly grow a pair of dark energy wings? What is the significance of this scene? It would make sense if it was meant to be a teaser or something for the third Madoka Magica movie, but there is no way to know for sure. Otherwise the scene just feels unnecessary.

MM12_screenshot11Overall, most of this episode brought the series to a satisfying close. Although the last few minutes immediately turn that around to: “What just happened?”. I can only hope things will make sense after seeing the third movie, which will hopefully happen sometime in 2014. I intend to review that movie as well and see if it connects the events of this episode at all.

Looking back, I said that Madoka Magica is one of the darker magic girl anime I’ve seen in a long time. I stand by that view, given all the drama and suffering that the characters endure. It felt like a much more dark and gritty version of Sailor Moon without any of the heroism and intended for an older audience. Even the opening is fairly deceptive of what the show will be about, which was apparently intended in order to hide just how bad things would get. Although it felt a bit repetitive early on, Madoka Magica was a great series that didn’t overstay its welcome.

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