Home > Episode Reviews, Puella Magi Madoka Magica > Puella Magi Madoka Magica Episode 8 – Vision of Division

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Episode 8 – Vision of Division

I’ve been writing a lot about Madoka Magica as a tragedy, a story of human flaws resulting to a downfall or comeuppance. This episode is the end of another character arc, the tragic downfall of yet another of the magi. It also, however, offers a lot of foreshadowing for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot to say about either.

Kyouko and Akemi in the war room to discuss the coming Walpurgis Night, plus the party crashing Kyubey

Now that we’re after the jump, I can say that this is the end of Sayaka’s arc. With her strength depleted, her reason for joining the magi dating another girl, and her own faith in the justice of her mission flagging, Sayaka is in dire straits.

Her fellow magi try to save her, but fighting a solitary battle against invisible monsters does no favors to one’s social skills. Sayaka still doesn’t trust Kyouko enough to listen to what she has to say, and astutely figures out that Akemi doesn’t really care about her: she’s just trying to prevent Madoka from suffering.

Akemi can apparently also create grenades ex nihilo

Akemi’s interests become a little clearer in this episode as Kyubei tries to discover more about the mysterious girl. We learn that she is from an alternate universe, likely a result of her use of time manipulation magic (she has been seen teleporting before, and she slows time to a halt in this episode). She seems focused on Madoka, and trying to prevent her from becoming a magi in particular, and the coming of a Walpurgis Night, a very powerful witch (or kind of witch—I can’t tell which).

All this means Sayaka is a bit player, just another casualty in the unending war. Her whole life, her whole tragic story, lies inevitably in the shadow of Madoka and everybody’s curiosity or worry over what she might become.

All Sayaka can do is watch from a distance as her friend and her crush get together

This reinforces the idea that none of her brief stint as a magi really mattered. The ideals of justice she wanted to uphold remain ignored by pretty much everyone, her selfish motives have backfired on her, and she ended up hurting things as much as she helped.

The last straw for her is hearing two men talk about their girlfriends as if they were animals. The taint on her soul brought on by overusing magic, the despair of her soul after seeing everything she wanted fall apart—everything comes together in one fateful instant, and she breaks.

When magi become witches, they explode in a huge burst of energy

Because there’s something else Kyubey hasn’t been telling the girls whose wishes he has been granting. Something that will help explain what is really going on, and why he’s really here. When magi are completely overcome, when they have lost the fight, they become witches. The sheer despair of their unbearable shadow existence, the desperation and loneliness of their fight, all lead to their becoming the very thing they are fighting.

It’s all done for a purpose, something Akemi reveals when she calls Kyubey by his real name: Incubator. And it’s a very weird purpose indeed.

Kyubey also reveals that no one knows exactly how powerful Madoka would be, were she to join the magi. She would be a god among mortals, the most powerful of all magi, and the most powerful of all witches.

Given the show’s dark tone, there’s a lot of black and white (or a muted color palette), and a lot of negative space

It seems, then, that the show will end up hinging on the same question it has been toying with for the past eight episodes: will Madoka make a wish? I think she will, but I don’t know how it will end. Will she defeat the Walpurgis Night? Will she become the Walpurgis Night? Or are we headed for a Mai-Hime style ending, with Madoka using her wish to end this brutal cycle once and for all?

Either way, Madoka is becoming a very different show as it heads into its final act. But it’s still beautiful, and the show most worthy of your time right now.

You can watch this episode here.

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