Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Rebellion Story – Satisfying the Fandom’s Wish for Yuri
Note: This post contains spoilers.
A little while ago, I finally had the chance to watch through all the three Madoka Magica movies. The first two movies served as a recap for everything that happened in the TV series, something I watched as a refresher, and to gear myself up before getting to Rebellion, the third movie.
There are not many anime shows that are truly bona fide yuri shows, and the Madoka TV series (not accounting the movies yet at this point) is, technically speaking, NOT a yuri show, technically speaking at least. There are subtext and using these undertones, the fandom shipped these yuri pairings – Madoka X Homura, Kyouko X Sayaka in all their glorious manner. Thousands of yuri fanarts concerning said yuri couples sprang out, and hundreds of yuri doujins and fanfictions involving said yuri couples emerged. It all goes down to my previous discussion on having a subtle or pure romance execution in an anime, and if the anime went with the former, the yuri fans of the fandom had nothing to go on, but to rely on their handy “yuri goggles”.
In Rebellion, we, the fans, became Homura. Unable to let go of our love for Madoka, we “dragged down” Madoka from the depths of omnipresence. We became the observer, and Madoka thus lost her omnipotent powers and becomes visible to the naked eye.
As a result of breaking the beautiful conclusion by the end of the series or second movie, and introducing and developing new plot points; Rebellion has a sort of fan-pandering nature, and can perhaps be likened to a “very quality fanfiction”. All the yuri subtext generalized in the series and previous two movies, had manifested into true love in their purest form by Rebellion-this is fanfiction in the truest sense, shipping for couples that one might not normally seen in a series, despite the subtext.
Homura: Because I finally remembered.
Homura: All the times I repeated history, got hurt and suffered over and over, all of that was proof of my feelings for Madoka. So now, even pain is dear to me. It was not even curses that soiled my Soul Gem.
Kyubey: Then what did?
Homura: Something that you have no chance of understanding, Incubator. It is the pinnacle of all human emotion. More passionate than hope, far deeper than despair.
~Homura, confessing her love for Madoka
Although some may agree to disagree on whether or not the girls’ interactions with each other, especially involving said pairings, had actually meant the breaking of the vague subtext. Even if not, I feel that the subtext had been develop so strongly their romance relationships can be almost taken for real by Rebellion. Especially so, it’s hard to deny Homura’s powerful confession in the movie (too bad she confessed not to Madoka, but to a creepy little indifferent white creature who only knows about entropy). She time-looped for countless times before in an attempt to save Madoka, and in Rebellion, she literally rewrote the whole universe just so Madoka can live a normal, happy life, allowing Homura to be with her. Still calling them friends, or very good friends at this point is just ridiculous. Not just Madoka Magica, but a lot of other yuri-esque anime seems to favor keeping the girls’ relationship in a “friend’s zone”, despite the way they commit to each other seems to imply they are far more than being just friends. This is why despite some fans think how the love plot introduced to Homura’s characterization seems odd and unneeded, to me, it is the the final piece of puzzle behind all of Homura’s sacrificial altitude she had for Madoka, that had caused her much grief, stress, and yet, joy. It is a level of emotion no mere friends would simply possess. Despite all this, the morality of what Homura did in Rebellion may be subjected to debate for years to come.
In a way, Rebellion is a good anime film in a way that it is a very “well-written fanfiction”. Characters like Sayaka, Madoka and Mami are back, and with good reasons, and yuri subtext grown in the series, are almost developed to their fullest in Rebellion. What do you think of Madoka Magica Rebellion, especially in this aspect of the film?