Finally, time traveling done correctly. The top two most riveting parts of this week had to have been all of the girls completely losing it after finding out the truth behind the witch transformations, and Homura going Jason Bourne on anything and anyone that hinders her resolve to protect Madoka.
End of Evangelion. Chrono Trigger. Heck, let’s even throw in Jet Li’s The One for the parallel universes. I applaud Shaft for taking the story up to this point and raising the bar to stratospheric levels. Let’s face it, we all knew up to this point that Homura had some sort of deeper connection to Madoka, but never did I imagine what Homura’s personality was originally so withdrawn and sickly. I suppose anyone would toughen up after seeing the ones they care about fall countless times to the flow of time. Gabe Yulaw had his parallel selves killed several times until his strength knew no universal limit; Crono and friends actually changed the flow of time to prevent Lavos’ destruction of civilization; Shinji stopped the Instrumentality Project from turning everyone into red and orange goo (remember, he and Asuka still retained their physical form). Only Homura probably doesn’t know she’s probably gained strength from resetting time so many…times; she’s changing the flow of time but the same tragedy keeps happening; and Walpurgis Night actually causes the landscape to look like the wastelands of old Tokyo. So many parallels to pick at.
By now, anyone who’s seen this series knows that Kyubey isn’t to be trusted. What’s interesting is that as the events of this episode unfolded, we learn that some of the most intense moments weren’t even from the past few episodes. The parallel worlds, specifically parallel world number three, showed the most heart wrenching bouts of regret as all of the girls began to realize their fate as witches as soon as their time as Puella Magi ends. When the will to live begins to disintegrate, it really shows how messed up perceived logic could ruin common sense in life and death situations.
I really liked how, with each passing timeline, Homura’s look of anguish before she climbs out of bed worsened, and her will to stop at nothing to prevent Madoka from becoming a Puella Magi became more refined through her sharper movements and rising seriousness. The shy, twin tailed Homura turned natural born (witch) killer and ultimate guardian was well played. But who says you have to let go of twin tails to be tough?
Also unique to this episode was the realization of Madoka’s powers as a Puella Magi. It took me almost the entire episode to come to terms with her capabilities, but seeing how the story unfolded made sense as to why Madoka never showed them up until now. This plays right into why Homura is so determined to keep time jumping to make sure Madoka doesn’t become the very Puella Magi that’s destined for no other purpose besides inevitable the sacrifice against Walpurgis Night.
And here’s Kyubey in his/its Morning Rescue pose, and probably from another episode since the shot above was for a promotional commercial Puella Magi OP/ED singles. I’m actually a little saddened that they changed the Morning Rescue theme song to something a little more generic. Did the theme just run its course, or was it some sort of a legal issue? I also wonder about the rest of Kyubey’s race and if they’re smart enough to take advantage of a time-traveling Puella Magi like Homura. Honestly, all he has to do is make sure someone like her keeps resetting the future so that the unfortunate cycle of gathering energy from Puella Magi/witch fights never stops and entropy never increases.
With two episodes left, I can only guess that we’ll be seeing a little more of Homura’s determination to stop Madoka from becoming a Puella Magi in the current timeline before reaching the conclusion of the anime. After switching the OP and ED, even the OP now makes a whole lot more sense; to me, it really was a duality of both Homura’s and Madoka’s struggles to make sure the correct timeline takes them forward. Again, masterfully done. Will we also get to either see Kyubey bite the dust permanently, or will his race just find another means to meet their quotient?