Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Season 1, Episode 4 – “Both Miracles and Magic Exist” – Sayaka’s Wish

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      “Miracles and Magic Exist,” is a great episode. In this episode there are more reasons not to trust Kyubey since we have another magic girl arrive on the scene which is telling given that Sayaka make the decision to become a Magical Girl this episode. This episode is an exploration of the reasons she chooses to beocome one while Madoka chooses not to become one.

     The episode was directed by Shin’ichi Omata and Miyabe Ozeki and written by Gen Urobuchi.

      The story picks up where we left off with Sayaka with the musical prodigy Kamijou who can no longer play. He lashes out at her for bringing him classical music which to him is painful as this whole time it has been hell and reminding him of what he lost. She tells him miracles and magic exist when he tells her that it would take something like that to heal him. Kyubey appears on the mantle. Elsewhere Madoka talks to Homura who tells her of all the Magical Girls she has watched die and that it is all their destinies as well as Madoka being too sweet. Madoka is pulled back into the world of Magic though when the Witch Elly pulls Madoka’s friend Hitomi into a death cult with her kiss and it is up to Madoka to save them all.

The Pros: Elly – Elly the witch is a flying television that creates people. Her changing of reality to look like a television show is cool as well as her doing suicide through death cult shows brains given the manipulation that media can play on the person. It’s a good fight too and she puts up a fight against Sayaka when Sayaka saves Madoka from her.

Homura – Homura is great! In this we see the weight she carries as a survivor and that she’s lost count of all the Magical Girls who have died. We also are left wondering how self aware or possibly bad she is when she is late to save Madoka from Elly.

Kamijou – A boy who can no longer play his passion because of an accident. It is this knowledge that prompts Sayaka’s choice as we see him healed at the end, though it is done hauntingly, making me wonder on what the darker side to the wish is. How is he going to be changed now?

Kyubey – Kyubey is a manipulator. He leaves to take advantage of Sayaka (though it does save Madoka’s life). Can’t wait to see what his true intentions are. The fact that he just stands by when Kyoko arrives to kill Sayaka is telling.

Madoka – Madoka shows she has courage even without magic. She destroys the poison the cult is going to use to kill themselves and attempts to escape the Witch. She also listens to Homura and shows wisdom when she isn’t scared.

Sayaka – Sayaka is an awesome Magical Girl! She’s got a sword and cape and her reasons are somewhat noble for choosing to become a Magical Girl. She gives an injured child the ability to play music again, showing just how much she loves him. It’s a telling scene and we see how the wish has changed her too, she is more confident like Mami but also more disconnected from everyone. What will come of her wish remains to be seen.

R.I.P. Mami – Madoka visits Mami’s apartment and cries during a meal as she remembers Mami’s head getting crushed by the Witch. Death isn’t just brushed off and we see how all the characters have been changed by the death of this character. Even Homura mourns her and her death is one of Sayaka’s motivations.

The Cons: Kyoko – Kyoko is just the crazy Magical Girl who looks like a cat. We don’t know her motivations beyond power and I was hoping she’d be more well rounded from the get go. Hopefully she becomes more well rounded later, and her reasons for wanting to kill get better explained.

   This episode was great and continues to show me why this series was recommended to me by so many of my friends. I look forward to seeing where it goes as I hear it gets only crazier later. Right now there is good build up, exploration of characters and their motivations and of course consistently beautiful music and animation.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10.

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