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.

[Karoshi] Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 3 - Hangyaku no Monogatari [BD 720p AAC] [A6D0B7B1].mkv_snapshot_01.29.24_[2014.05.05_19.43.27]

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”.

[Karoshi] Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 3 - Hangyaku no Monogatari [BD 720p AAC] [A6D0B7B1].mkv_snapshot_01.35.54_[2014.05.05_22.31.13]

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.

[Karoshi] Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 3 - Hangyaku no Monogatari [BD 720p AAC] [A6D0B7B1].mkv_snapshot_01.39.42_[2014.05.05_22.32.50]

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: Love.
~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.

[Karoshi] Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 3 - Hangyaku no Monogatari [BD 720p AAC] [A6D0B7B1].mkv_snapshot_01.49.10_[2014.05.05_22.34.50]

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?

This entry was posted by Kai.

13 thoughts on “Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Rebellion Story – Satisfying the Fandom’s Wish for Yuri

  1. A very good followup to the main show and a most yurirific addition to the series. Here’s hoping the eventual fourth movie doesn’t get all trigger happy.

        • Actually, this is interesting, because it’s something to get used to after the first two movies (aka the series), lol. I find some fans couldn’t really comprehend it at first, yet it also created an interesting mystery on the beginning part of the movie, like how bubbly and magical girl-like the atmosphere was in the beginning, and how we all thought that something is “wrong”. I guess we just got too used to things going wrong in the series.

          • The first part was both relevant to the plot and a troll to the fans of what naysayers thought Madoka would be before episode 3.

  2. Still haven’t watched this but I did read some spoilers here and there. Not sure if I like the direction they’ve gone with it, as I was more or less satisfied with the original TV ending.

    • I managed to avoid spoilers by evading all Rebellion posts as much as possible (actually, it’s what I do for a lot of anime I wanted to watch but haven’t, lol). I feel Rebellion is either a hit-or-miss for the fans, it’s either they really like it, or they really hate it (especially regarding some elements of the story).

    • Same here. I didn’t care for that (almost) everybody had forgotten about Madoka, but otherwise I liked the way it turned out. I’ve never seen the point to watch the movies.

      • That’s why Rebellion resembles a fanfiction much more, at least to me – especially the part in which it continue a concluded story.

  3. Well done Homura you crazy b**** XD

    It was refreshing to see this movie with a kinda unexpected beginning and outcome.Yuri fans, also fans of the classical magical girl anime, like me got a fair amount of sweet and cozy scenes. I loved it much more than the real thing ^^

    I have really bad Yuri sensors, I need more than subtle yuri time, to sense more that just close friendship, but I felt something between Sayaka and Sakura, kinda funny since both are somewhat tomboyish.
    Homura x Madoka felt more like an unhealthy dose of affection from the trigger happy girl, man she really got on my nerves.

    I guess this might be a bit too complex to understand everything at once, it seems like the authors found the pills from the animation department after some weeks.This were some seriously artistic animations in this movie, like a living painting.

    • The magical girl scenes and yuri scenes are definitely scenes were definitely an aspect teased in the TV series, but solidified in some form at Rebellion^^ The former especially emerged in a pretty creative way.

      Mine’s pretty weak too, and honestly when I was first watching the series, I never detected any yuri element, until I joined the fandom. And then, I started reading Sayaka X Kyouko and Homura X Madoka doujins :p
      It’s called twisted love xD

      It’s Shaft. The animations were already like a living painting (especially during the witch scenes) during the series, but the animations do turn up a notch at Rebellion^^

  4. I recently watched this movie myself, and I wasn’t very impressed.

    Compared to the series, I feel like the yuri was much more present, although this is not a bad thing nor made me unhappy with it (in fact I found myself shipping the characters, as opposed to earlier, when I was oblivious to this kind of relationship between them).

    And while I was not much entertained during the movie, the biggest problem I had was with how it ended. At first I didn’t really understand the ending, it was confusing and incomprehensible compared to the original series. It was sweet that Homura tried to make Madoka happy and all, but it felt so wrong, after everything Madoka went through in order to finally decide on her wish.

    The ending of the series is probably the most unsatisfying I have ever seen in anime, but to me, that’s what made it good. You’re left with this grief over Madoka’s faith, and tbh the movie ending ruined that impressiveness. To me, it lowered the quality or the works as a whole.

    • I can understand sentiment. The series was concluded well enough in the series to warrant a continuation, although I personally don’t think the movie is all that bad – I mainly treated it as a “good written fanfiction”.

      Having more obvious yuri content is definitely a good thing, at least in my books :-) And it’s one of the entertaining aspect of the show.

      And I can see why the ending would receive such a mixed reception. Actually, I think there are a lot more people hating the ending than people liking it, lol. I think one of the main reason is that it kinda cheapens Madoka’s sacrifice in the series (and the two previous recap movies). It does “seems wrong”, yes, but don’t forget it’s Urobuchi we’re talking about xD I think it’s also interesting how the movie seemingly turned these couple into rival of sort. They were clear foils of each other, but the movie made it even more apparent. I won’t comment on what Homura did is right or wrong, since it’s something I still don’t have a solidified decision even now.

      P.S: Actually, I found some interesting tidbits. The ending’s idea actually wasn’t Urobuchi’s, but Shinbo’s, the chief director of the film. Also, the reason why Shinbo wanted to continue an already concluded story seems pretty “familiar”. Take a look if anyone’s interested: http://wiki.puella-magi.net/Rebellion_Material_Book#Message_from_Gen_Urobuchi_.28Screenplay.29

      The link (which I think is from a booklet) contains interviews from the staffs, and it really contain some interesting information behind the mindset of the staffs as they were working on the film.

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