Reversing the Irreversible in Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Future Predictions Using Physics

mahou shoujo madoka magica kaname madoka sakura kyouko tomoe mami kyuubee sakco ffee akemi homura miki sayaka

Lately I have been fascinated with Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Madoka Magica takes a darker approach to the classically fluffy Mahou Shoujo genre. Each episode of this Faustian story is incredibly intense and thought-provoking. In particular, I found Kyubey and Madoka’s discussion on reversing entropy particularly interesting.

For those not following the series, here is a (relatively) brief synopsis of what has happened so far (in not so definite terms). Madoka meets a cute animal Kyubey, who wants to contract her to become a magical girl and protect the world from cursed witches. While this sounds typical of the genre, the real agenda of Kyubey is actually to subject young girls to cycles of hope and despair as they turn from magical girls into witches. Kyubey then harvests and transforms those emotions into usable energy to balance the loss of free energy in the universe. Kyubey claims this as a noble cause to reverse the entropic effects defined by the second law of thermodynamic.

Kaname madoka kyuubee kyabetsu puella madoka

The second law of thermodynamic states that entropy, or disorder, of an isolated macroscopic physical system –such as our universe– always increases irreversibly. For example, gas in a room will always diffuse to fill the entire space; glass fallen off a table will shatter into pieces. It does not happen the other way around naturally. In both cases, the molecules in the gas and pieces of glass are now in much more random motion. This irreversible increase in entropy has huge implications both physically and philosophically.

akemi homura catha kaname madoka mahou shoujo madoka magica yuri

Embedded in the second law is perhaps a somewhat pessimistic view of the universe. The increasing disorder has oft been compared to Murphy’s law: things that can go wrong always tends go wrong. That idea is certainly core to how Madoka Magica has been developing. The story seems to be headed for a bleak ending. However, perhaps magical girls can not only reverse entropic effects, but also fix all that have gone wrong with the girls’ lives.

puella magi madoka magica akemi homura glasses amana raika

Now let us delve into the physics beyond basic general chemistry, and discuss the other major theme of Madoka Magica –time. Since Einstein’s relativity, we now recognize that time is not absolute, but instead dependent on the observer. Further, the laws of science do not distinguish between going forward and going backward in time. So then, how do we know the past from the future?

Though the laws of science are unchanged for both time directions, there does exist an arrow of time to denote past and future. Interestingly, entropy is the only physical quantity with a  specific direction in time. The irreversibility stated by the second law gives an initial and an ending state, and thus a past and a future. We observe gas diffusing in a room instead of gathering in a corner, or pieces of glass scattering rather than gathering together, because in both cases, we perceive an increase in entropy.

puella magi madoka magica charlotte tomoe mami sk

If the role of magical girls in Madoka Magica is to reverse the effects of irreversibly increasing entropy, then perhaps inherent in that role is also reversing the effects of time or the events that have transpired. By loose extension, the girls represent a reversal of Murphy’s Law in a sort of Poincaré way.

And if we do reach such an ending, that would make a really neat parallel to the physical ideas underlying the story. I have hope that things will end well.

akemi homura kaname madoka mahou shoujo puella magi keito yuri

__________________________________________________
Side Notes:

  1. A further elaboration and continuation from the comments:

    Assuming there are infinite parallel universes, there is a possibility one exists where the current entropy is still at essentially zero and only increases ever so slightly with time.
    Now if the events that transpire in Madoka Magica symbolizes entropy, and an increase in entropy represents the girls’ lives falling apart, then there is a non-zero probability that Homura ends up in a timeline, where we start with all the girls not yet mahou shoujos, and that in the span of the girls’ timelines, they never come into contact with Kyubee or avoid contracted (possibly because of Homura’s actions – inputting work).

    […]

    Entropy only increases in time because of our definition of time. Regarding the arrow of time, Stephen Hawking argues that the reason we feel time passing from past to future is because we have that’s the direction entropy increases. Assume today that we could reverse either time or entropy (via Homura’s ability for time or Kyubee’s technology for entropy), does that then mean we could indeed have a mass reset to before all of this -including the first Homura timeline that sparks all the other timelines- happen? And more importantly, does the ability to reverse time/ entropy represent a possible timeline that moves toward less chaos?

    If we were to continue with the symbolism set up between entropy and the events, then it seems a good ending can happen.

  2. I should make this clear. I make no claims that magical girls have to abide by the laws of physics. I am merely noting a possible entropy-like plot development. A reset ending would make some fun parallels between the story and physics.
  3. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and A Briefer History of Time are both good further light readings, especially for those non-physics majors (like me).
  4. Poincaré Recurrence Theorem states that systems will return very closely to the initial state with enough time.
  5. I am way over-thinking this.

__________________________________________________
A moment of silence, kind thoughts, and a link for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Mar. 11. 2011.

This entry was posted in Anime/ Manga, Editorial, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

144 Responses to Reversing the Irreversible in Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Future Predictions Using Physics

  1. Ristlin says:

    Well…the real question is why do mahou shoujos need to care about the laws of physics😄

    I would say they have already broken enough very basic physics laws already… everything can just be explained as “It works because it’s magic :D”.

    Of course, implicating some simple elements from physics isn’t at all new in anime – (just look at FMA) but I dont think that we need to analyse it as deeply as that. You really are overthinking this ==’

    • Yi says:

      I’m not saying that mahou shoujo need to care about the laws of physics. In fact, it’s pretty clear reason for existing is to defy those laws. I’m merely suggesting that if the story were to have a happy ending with everything reversed to how things were, it would make a nice parallel to the some ideas of physic in a sort of grand “the-universe-has-a-plan” sort of way.

      I’m really overthinking it, but I think that’s part of the fun of watching anime, especially for a series like this.

      • Ristlin says:

        lol totally. I’ve lost count of how many heated discussions I had with my friends about how to explain the stuff that happens in the melancholy of haruhi suzumiya with physics😄

  2. kadian1364 says:

    Where does science stand on “creating alternate magical dimensions as drawn by Picasso”?

    • Yi says:

      Hm… It doesn’t… At least not with my limited view of science.

      I’m not suggesting there’s a physical basis to magical girls or witches though. It’s just fun noting that depending on the ending, this anime might be a really neat story of how the universe and time “fixes” itself a la Poincaré.

  3. shinra says:

    Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, nice and confusing…. I’m still kinda pissed on QB and the part where Sayaka & Mami died. And yes, HOMURA IS AWESOME! We can’t ignore the fact that Saito Chiwa (Kuga Natsuki, Senjougahara Hitagi, Francesca Lucchini) is a pro seiyuu.

    Poor Kyoko too… I hate the fact that she died after defeating Sayaka. Heck, I hate the fact that Mami, Sayaka and Kyoko died! Darn you Shaft & Urobuchi-san!!!

    (P.S: FOR QB HATERS LIKE ME: http://3-me.net/flashdir/shootqb/)

    • Yi says:

      I hate Kyubey with a vengeance too! Everytime I see him, I just want to strangle that little white thing. By the way, thanks for the link. It’s quite satisfying.

      I’m really sad about Sayaka and Mami too, especially Mami. I really liked her style. Her elegance and her muskets were so cool. It’s too bad.😦

      Well, hopefully, Homura and Madoka can save this.

      • shinra says:

        Oh and btw, My friend shared me this link, so I thought of sharing it with you guys too:

        I LOLED MY ASS OFF ON THIS!!!! XDDD

        • shinra says:

          Oops… my bad,

          “youtube.com/watch?v=xYtMNFTt-Y0”

        • Yi says:

          Haha, that made me laugh too. ^ ^
          Thanks!

        • necro says:

          amazing how can they make anything with this clip. I laughed my ass off^^ as well, just awesome and pity that mami died i like her most i thing, thou she just lived till episode 3 sob sob sad **. Mami had great animation sequences as Yi had said she is full of grace. Btw Yi it was MAdoka moms not Homuras( u seemed tired).

        • Yi says:

          Yea. I’ve seen that used to parody so many things. It loses some effect though when you know a bit of German, but funny nonetheless.

          I really liked Mami too. When she first came out, she was my favorite girl. Her style and those classy elegant muskets are so pretty. It’s such a shame. By contrasts, none of the other girls’ magical powers are nearly as visually stunning.

          p.s. Oops. Fixed the mom thing. Haha, I’ve been pretty tired these last few months, so little mistakes like that are fairly common.

        • Duqs says:

          I LOLED MY ASS OFF ON THIS x2!!!

    • necro says:

      Omg thsi links owns:). i was like for 10 minute shooting at him, thou i consider him most cynical character in a while. Qb is so practical pragmatic and innocently cruel, and he manage to shock audience like no one other. His appears is so deceitful, i want one qb as well.
      Anyway story is amazing, getting better with each episode, i mostly enjoyed moments when madoka was going for advice to her mama, and scene with alcohol is amazing. I change the way i see Homura after last episode, i thing she is amazingly strong willed. Thou about science in madoka is just like element in story, and thermodynamic is kinda never convincing^^, statistic used for thermodynamic is just stupid, thou cat deny enthropy. And i smell yuri here:) i see 2 pairings, as many other do for sure^^. So it is Madoka x Homura, and Sayaka x Kyoko, i like more sec of those pairs, its more agresive, on otherhand Madoka x Homura is amazing as well, and its all cos of Homura, she makes the story amazing at moments.
      Becoming fanboy of Madoka and Co.:P

      • Yi says:

        I want a Kyubey too so that I can kill him whenever I need stress relieve. Loved that link as well. I just want to keep killing him over and over again. I really like Madoka’s mom too. She gives questionable advice, but she is unquestionably cool.

        The science is indeed another element in the story. I think in my post, I tried to note the entropy-like plot development.

        Loved the yuri subtext! Homura and Madoka is sooo adorable together! Sayaka x Kyoko is nice too.

  4. afkeroge says:

    Ah, this was the point that I was trying to make in some of my recent comments. I always end up messing up my explanations and getting misunderstood. Sucks to be an undergrad…

    • Yi says:

      It’s been a while since I was active in the blogosphere, so I’ve been missing a lot of what people have been writing about.😦
      Definitely very interested in what you have to say about this series though. ^ ^

      Anyway, thanks for reading!

  5. Swordwind says:

    I feel like ‘bittersweet’ is the happiest end we could possibly get at this point.

    • Yi says:

      I’m inclined to agree with you, but I’m not ruling out a totally happy ending either. It’s probably just wistful thinking though.

  6. Nopy says:

    I’d just like to point out that every time Homura goes back in time, Madoka experiences even more despair and anguish than the previous timeline. It seems like it’s all part of Kyubey’s plan to me. Madoka gets stronger with each subsequent timeline and gives Kyubey even more energy. I wonder when Homura will come to realize this.

    • Yi says:

      Great point! I didn’t realize that until you pointed out. It’s kind of disheartening to think that each time Homura fails, Madoka’s potential grows stronger, and Kyubey becomes more eager and determined to contract her, making Homura’s job even harder. It’s also worth noting that this means the timelines aren’t completely independent.

      Well, hopefully, she’ll get it right soon.

      • KJacket says:

        “Timelines aren’t completely independent.” Seems like VNs style of needing to go through multiple bad ends to unlock the grand ending, hopefully a happy one. I originally thought that the ep01 dream was just reset residue but didn’t think of reset values would stack even after watching ep10. Will go re-watch it a couple more times.

        • Solaris says:

          Nice hint. You brilliantly noticed how Madoka becoming a magic girl earlier resulted in a weaker magic of hers. As the time rewinds, Homura is delaying the moment Madoka will become one, without being able to stop it. That is to say all of the entropy that is in account between the time Homura’s yet in the hospital and the time they defeat Walpurgis is being compressed greatly and focussed into Madoka. And we know how compression heats things up. Notice how at any iteration it becomes messier and bloodier for any girl, and not just for Homura and Madoka. That way Madoka resulted in the ultimated entropy bomb that Homura can’t defuse, but it’s powering up instead in the process!

        • Solaris says:

          Forgot to say: This process Homura is doing for Madoka’s own good is acting like a positive feedback system, and that leads to disasters without her knowing that.
          The solution is to stop the process: Just take Madoka and shot her dead as soon as possible, and do the same for all the other magic girls too.

        • Yi says:

          It does sort of seem like VN style of multiple bad ends. It also kind of reminds me of Higurashi, where some timelines do cross over.

          I totally forgot about the episode one cold open. I should watch it again to see how it might relate to what we know so far.

          Madoka’s increasing potential as a mahou shoujo in each different timeline is especially interesting. It might suggest indeed a sort of VN style branching, except perhaps the “unlocked” end would be the worst ending, in which Madoka becomes the strongest possible witch with the most energy.

          On the other hand, the differences in Madoka’s strength among the timeles might be, as Solaris points out, simply a consequence of her being contracted later and later. And the built up o energy from that compression is making her eventually become a stronger mahou shoujo/witch.

          It’s kind of unfortunate, but it does seem as though the “cleanest” way to save all the girls and humans is to shoot them dead at the onset of a new timeline. I think Homura probably realizes this too; when Mami dies, she says that her death is probably the kindest thing for her. But I guess she just can’t watch Madoka die or suffer.

  7. lvlln says:

    Ha, I like your way of thinking. I suppose there’s a nice synergy between the setting and the turn of events.

    The final 2 episodes will definitely determine how cynical this work is. I think it could handle a very happy ending very well.

    • Yi says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, even if it was a very fanciful random over-thinking.
      Anyway, I’m optimistic about a happy ending, and I think although most of the work has been super heavy, I think it doesn’t have to end cynically.

  8. Pingback: Sexual Side Effects From Propecia, Avodart May Be Irreversible « Acai Berry Success Stories With Free Trials

  9. Pingback: Of Physics, Fiction and Magical Girls « @fkeroge: Of Anime and Reason

  10. ~xxx says:

    Mahou Shoujo’s didn’t really much rely on too much physics…
    asides their abilities would be pretty darn Useless…

    What I would want to see now is…
    1. Either Madoka Dies and Homura goes back again
    2. Or Madoka nad Homura turned into witches…
    3. (insert) Homura sacrificing herself to make madoka a normal person.
    4. [not likely] MAdoka didn.t become one… after Walpurgis Night.

    • Yi says:

      Mahou shoujo sure don’t! In fact, the reason they exist is because Kyubey and his race wants to break the laws of physics. It’s pretty cool though that even though they completely break physics, there are still hints of physical concepts both in-story and in the story structure (if you stretch far enough).

      Number 2 raises an interesting point. What would happen if Homura does become a witch? I guess then all hope is lost. I really hope for a happy ending though.

  11. EmperorG says:

    so much has happened in the recent episodes that I have more than enough material for my upcoming complete Madoka G-View (Basically take my old one and update it tenfold.

    Although I can’t provide much in terms of the research aspect of the show I can say this:
    The only difference I can tell between Madoka Magica, Groundhog’s Day and Grimgrimoire’s time loop plots is that Homura has control over time traveling to the day of her introduction as a new student, while in GrimGrimoire and Groundhog’s day the time loop is caused by an unknown source till the end when hour protagonist discovers the source and destroys it for good. Homura knows what the source of the time loop is and is working her butt off, enduring constant suffering to save the girl she loves. A true hero worth nothing but respect in my eyes and many shoujo-ai fans alike. Of course non SA fans should respect this girl or they are blind fools.

    Puella Magi Homura Magica takes so many great themes and mixes them into one awesome show. those themes include the following:
    -Faustian
    -Magical Girl.
    -Dark
    -Drama
    -Shoujo-ai
    -Time loop
    -Commando
    -DC Comics
    -Video Game media
    -Drama
    -Cultism
    -Entropy
    -Evil plushy

    And many more that I may have missed.

    • Yi says:

      Agreed. I find Madoka to be an extremely complex and thought-provoking series that touches and references a lot of ideas. And the best part is, it still manages to keep a nice pacing and not get lost in different directions. It’s really quite a lovely series.

  12. abscissa says:

    “I have hope that things will end well.”

    Don’t worry, following your geeky thoughts, as far as I understand second law of thermodynamics also tells that there’s a small random infinitesimal chance to be back in the ordered state—essentially zero. Nevertheless, an almost surely zero probability is much better than having a null value.

    “Further, the laws of science do not distinguish between going forward and going backward in time. So then, how do we know the past from the future?”

    William James’ multiverse says that there are parallel universes that make up all consumable possibilities. Using this perspective, who knows maybe past and future are nothing but plain events which actually defy the essence of time. That said, the only event that really matters to the viewers is to see when will Madoka survive the Walpurgist night.

    Damn, I think you’re really way over thinking this. But why me too now? –I have no idea. I guess I really am in love with MSMM atm.

    • Solaris says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but entropy doesn’t increase only for crystals at 0°K, that is to say when everything is completely frozen dead.

      And, thermodynamics doesn’t make in account of time. It states that from state A to B there’s an increase of entropy. It could take seconds of years but that’s how the things will end up eventually. Take it as doom: The system is doomed to end up in the higher entropy state no matter what.
      It’ said entropy do adds an arrow to the flow of events as it explains how a system can evolve from A to B energetically but it can’t do otherwise.

      • Abscissa says:

        Hi, that’s okay. I stand corrected in case I’m wrong; however I never mentioned anything about temperature. I think it’s pretty clear that I’m talking about probability because of the word ‘chance’. As far as I understand temperature and probability are completely different things—essentially zero is meant for the chance that such event will occur according to the second law of thermodynamics and not the value of any temperature. I don’t mind elaborating this but I think it’s completely unnecessary for I’m just complementing the blogger’s idea about Physics and Madoka.

        • Solaris says:

          I tell you the only way entropy can be nullified is for crystals at absolute zero. Thermodynamics is not a metter of chance or time but of state functions such as temperature and energy.
          You won’t see the air in your room self compress in a single point even waiting forever. Neither you’ll se a shattered glass being automagically recomposed in a single piece. That is to say your ‘chance’ is not gonna happen anyway ok?
          The only way to recopose the glass or make the air go in a single point is by spending some kind of work, that is to say incresing entropy some more!

        • Yi says:

          If I’m understanding this right, I think what Abscissa is saying -and Abscissa makes a very insightful point- is the following. Assuming there are infinite parallel universes, there is a possibility one exists where the current entropy is still at essentially zero and only increases ever so slightly with time.
          Now if the events that transpire in Madoka Magica symbolizes entropy, and an increase in entropy represents the girls’ lives falling apart, then there is a non-zero probability that Homura ends up in a timeline, where we start with all the girls not yet mahou shoujos, and that in the span of the girls’ timelines, they never come into contact with Kyubee or avoid contracted (possibly because of Homura’s actions – inputting work).

          As an extension on both of your points, let’s consider another process that may not be 100% valid.
          Entropy only increases in time because of our definition of time. Regarding the arrow of time, Stephen Hawking argues that the reason we feel time passing from past to future is because we have that’s the direction entropy increases. Assume today that we could reverse either time or entropy (via Homura’s ability for time or Kyubee’s technology for entropy), does that then mean we could indeed have a mass reset to before all of this -including the first Homura timeline that sparks all the other timelines- happen? And more importantly, does the ability to reverse time/ entropy represent a possible timeline that moves toward less chaos?

          Ok… Way way way over-thinking this whole thing.

        • Solaris says:

          k let me sort out all of this mess.
          As the post is about physics, let’s just clarify it first, and then proceed to Madoka’s pseudo-physics.
          1) There’s a difference between Mechanical Statistics and Thermodynamics.
          The first uses mechanics over a great number of interacting points trying to extract information regarding the ensemble as a whole, by the means of statistics and probability.
          According to this model you have a world dominated by chance and evolving by time passing by. You have an ensemble and you observe its own evolution.
          There’s an infinitesimal chance that you end having your fluid compressed to a single point, or say, an object falling upwards to the sky.
          Why do we know these results are actually impossible, and why is there a tiny change of happening?
          2) Thermodynamics takes other variables into account. It takes Temperature, energy and other state functions. These functions measure the state of a system overall. Energy by its own is quite the interesting one. Energy measure the availability of a system to do some work. It studies how the system actually works by Energy changing form. Entropy measures the quota of energy lost (not destroyed) when doing some kind of work. I said not destroyed cause Energy stays fixed overall in a system with no external interactions. The Energy is conserved, but it can be spent in a form that’s no more expendable to do work. Usually that is thermal energy. So whatever work we do, a quota is lost for good and degraded. This quota always grow, even if we’re actually trying to recharge the energy level. Think about recharging a battery. You start with a low energy and end up in an higher energy state, but that’s made at the expense of dome external source of energy. That also consumed energy, so that entropy overall actually increased.
          Notice how these state functions don’t take time nto account. They just say that from state A you go to state B and how the state functions end up to. Another way to see this is that, energetically speaking, starting from A you’d end in B no matter what, and state C that’s not compatible thermodynamically is a unavailable. Take it as a kind of energetic fate.
          Time is not important here. You can go from A to B in a matter of seconds or years but the result won’t change.
          Adding the results from 1) and 2) this way you can see how auto-compression of a fluid in a single point or objects falling upwards can’t happen: They’re not allowed by thermodynamics.
          Now taking Madoka’s pseudo science into account, and even multi-universes, you see how time doesn’t affect entropy. From state A when Homura is still at the hospital and point B when everything is over there a given change of entropy. She can do whatever she wants but fate doesn’t change. Actually she’s just acting as a positive feedback, that is to say compressing energy so that it will explode more violently at the end.
          Homura’s struggle against entropy resembles so much the struggle against karma. She wanted to change fate, but she’s unable to. This is where Madoka should come into the play. As her ‘magic’ is something defying physical laws, and as long as shes’s the centre of the energy compression, maybe her wish at the very end can save the day. Otherwise Homura’s only chance is to kill her together with any other disturbances to the right evolution of the universe.

        • Yi says:

          I get what you’re saying, and I think we’re on the same page regarding entropy in our world (not Madoka’s pseudophysics).

          “They just say that from state A you go to state B and how the state functions end up to. Another way to see this is that, energetically speaking, starting from A you’d end in B no matter what, and state C that’s not compatible thermodynamically is a unavailable. Take it as a kind of energetic fate.”
          I agree, and very eloquently put. Time doesn’t come into play here; hence the idea that the laws of physics do not have involve time.
          However, time direction is important, because entropy only alway increases when time is flowing in the positive direction. As an extension of this irreversibility (always increasing), entropy can then be used to define time.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(arrow_of_time)

          This is all based in our world.

          Now let’s go to Madoka world with Homura’s time travel and Kyubey’s entropy reversal (assuming he’s reversing entropy and not just adding usable energy).
          I’m merely posting the questions: What does reversing time direction (which can be defined by entropy) do for entropy? And by the same token, what does reversing entropy mean (which defines time) do to time directionality?

          So as long as time flows from past to future, entropy is always increasing. And as long as we observe entropy increasing, we know we’re flowing in “positive” time. But with Homura’s ability and Kyubey’s technology, that might break down things. What that actually means, I don’t know. Hopefully, it can represent a brief moment -long enough for Madoka and Homura to have a happy life- when things actually progress into a better, more ordered future.

          As for the whole statistics thing, I think it simply tells us that the necessary initial condition for such a progression is possible.

          On the other hand, perhaps being able to reverse either time or entropy may just not mean much. Because once Homura starts a new timeline, time and entropy both flow in the positive direction again, and things are as you say:
          “From state A when Homura is still at the hospital and point B when everything is over there a given change of entropy. She can do whatever she wants but fate doesn’t change. Actually she’s just acting as a positive feedback, that is to say compressing energy so that it will explode more violently at the end.”
          Episode ten seems to go along with that.

          p.s. I wrote this post and its main ideas before watching episode ten. Though subsequent comments and some edits were made with consideration to episode ten.

          Anyway, super interesting discussion (you all make excellent points) that makes my head kind of hurt. I guess it’s still too much to try to force parallels between narrative and physics. But forcing things is kind of what I do all the time. Haha.

        • Solaris says:

          I get your point about “reversing the flow of time”.
          If you could do that, that is to say travel back to the past, you’d end up back in point A before the energy was spent, so entropy was indeed lower. Bravo you lowered the entropy *__* For that system.
          But…
          Who gave you the energy to travel back time? Do you think it was for free? /me ebil laugh ^*,..,*^
          So, maybe the energy spent to go back could actually lead to an overall increase in entropy!!!!
          Homura’s powers aren’t for free either. She can reverse the flow of time at the expense of her own magic power. There’d be actually a limit on how far back she can go, but let’s leave it as it is now. That energy in the pseudo-physics comes from magic, that is to say it’s supplementary energy extracted from the girl’s emotions. That’s the wildcard for things to function in Madoka-verse. And it looks like Homura hasn’t got enough magic to lead to a happy end.
          I know this is all speculation, and that’s kinda pointless to discuss about reasonable physics in a work of fiction, but… read about the ‘physics of star trek’ and then notice how many speculations, if directed in the correct way may lead to interesting results. After all Sci-fi is all about the powers of ‘what if’ and we all like do debate about possibilities😉

        • Yi says:

          Ahh that is true. Without really understanding how time travel works in Madoka world, we can’t say what the cost of time reversal is.

          “I know this is all speculation, and that’s kinda pointless to discuss about reasonable physics in a work of fiction, but… read about the ‘physics of star trek’ and then notice how many speculations, if directed in the correct way may lead to interesting results. After all Sci-fi is all about the powers of ‘what if’ and we all like do debate about possibilities ”
          Yep yep. Even if all this speculation and thinking is “pointless”, at the very least, it’s still a fun mind exercise.

        • Abscissa says:

          Wow, such long explanations. You guys are really way way over-thinking what I’ve said. I don’t even know where to reply now. >.< Anyway, Yi’s post is grounded to the 2nd law of thermodynamics and I just happen to know a little bit about this, that's why I tied my reasoning based on Yi’s topic, and used what I know about physics and probability as a form of metaphor. That said, I have no intention of starting a debate about physics and probability theory.

          @Solaris, I’m not discounting your knowledge about physics and statistics. In fact, I can really feel your passion about physics🙂. But, to simplify what I meant, try to answer this question: with respect to the 2nd law of thermodynamics or entropy, what is the probability for a disordered state to come back to an ordered state? Once you get the answer, please relate it to Yi’s first reply to this post. And just to add, in real world we always reject an almost surely 0 probability from happening simply because the numerical value is insignificant. However, in a magical world, anything is possible, that even an infinitesimal chance can just occur without ado and vastly impact everything.

          I'm not going to argue anymore about physics I guess you know entropy by heart already, however if you really want to go deep into physics and probability here are some resources. These are straightforward justifications and are really helpful
          link1
          link2

          @Yi, I think you got the gist of what I’m trying to say, so I’ll just leave it as it is. And, sorry for the messy links. I tried to use bbcodes but I'm not sure if they work here.

        • Solaris says:

          Abscissa. It’s me who added informations to your brilliant explanation. Actually I know from your last question that little went through, so I’m going to elaborate a little more. Sorry for that.
          Madoka-verse is interesting cause it used an actual real life element and build up fiction upon that. The premise has a real physical basis, as much as everything fictional is build up on the concept of magic, that is, in turn made up in ave very pseudo-physical way. In the fiction magic is nothing more than an energy generator that goes beyond the laws of physics. It’s brilliant as you’d actually create a new (fictional) model of thermodynamics by taking into account this new kind of energy.
          So the discussion can be split into two parts. One is about real physics, and the other is the realm of hypothesis when you add the ‘magical energy’ into account.
          Your explanation of real physics is not entirely correct as it doesn’t use thermodynamics but only classical statistical mechanics. If you read carefully what I stated before, and as it’s all real physics, as much as statistical mechanics tells you how a system evolved by chance according to the laws of mechanics, Thermodynamics tells you something more: It tells you that some configurations are energetically forbidden, and specifically those ending without an increase of entropy. I told you that no entropy increase is possible only at absolute zero. An entropy decrease is no way possible.
          So, if Homura started from point A (Hospital) she’d have many possibilities of action, but any of those would end in an increase of entropy anyway.
          Real physics-wise there’s no way a system would end in a more ordered state by itself, unless you spend other external energy to make up for that consumed to have that more ordered state.
          That is to say any multiverse-alternative from the time Homura is at the hospital let evolve alone must end in a state with more entropy no matter what.
          And here you can add that ‘fictional element’ we discussed before. Magic doesn’t take in account anything, but emotions. So emotions can save the girls. And there the author has granted a degree of freedom for the story to end as he wishes. Of course it’s not Homura’s magic that’s what we’re speaking about, cause Homura has enough of hands full to spend her magic to mess up with time. The magic that can save the day is actually Madoka’s.
          I urge to say that this brain exercise isn’t for naught, as we’re actually using real reasoning and logic here. We’re just using our logic taking into account the ‘impossibility’. And, isn’t it what physics does all the time?😉

        • Yi says:

          @Abscissa:
          Haha, yea. I sort of went on a rant…

          “I just happen to know a little bit about this, that’s why I tied my reasoning based on Yi’s topic, and used what I know about physics and probability as a form of metaphor.”
          I think you know more than a little bit. ^ ^

          Anyway, thanks for the links.
          The first one was fairly easy to follow, but the second… Oh gosh. I suppose it’s still too much for a non-physics major like me, whose understanding of higher level physics is limited to easier courses and books by various authors that omit the nitty gritty mathematics. I got really lost by all the equations and proofs. Still, I’m sure someone who can understand them would really appreciate it.

          p.s. Comment boxes work with html, but not bbcode. I’ve fixed the links.

        • abscissa says:

          @Solaris “I urge to say that this brain exercise isn’t for naught… We’re just using our logic taking into account the ‘impossibility’. And, isn’t it what physics does all the time? ”—Yes, I agree.

          @Yi, “the second… Oh gosh. I suppose it’s still too much for a non-physics major like me…I got really lost by all the equations and proofs.”

          Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way😦. That is just to give Solaris some references to show where my ideas come from. I don’t know how else I can simplify that because I’m under the assumption that Solaris is studying physics. Also, I would’ve never known that you’re a non-physics major if you didn’t mention, you seemed very knowledgeable and your explanations are clear and easy to follow.🙂

        • Yi says:

          “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way ”

          Oh please don’t apologize! It’s a fun exercise to see how far I could get with it (not very loll).
          And sometimes, you just can’t simplify mathematical proofs.

          Anyway, my major does require basic physics and lots of chemistry, so there’s some overlaps. I also like taking some random fun physics courses that deal with applications and theories (like astrophysics and such), but I’ve never gotten into the really math-y stuff.

        • Abscissa says:

          You’re a chem. major, cool! My understanding about chemistry is limited. I major in math and stats. I took some physics courses because it’s recommended and I think proving theories is interesting. So I guess that’s why I enjoy watching Madoka, it’s mind boggling and it’s giving me some mental fatigue in a good way though haha. ^^

        • Yi says:

          I see I see. I actually major in cell biology, but it overlaps a lot with chemistry, especially organic chem.

          I think the last math class I took was back in freshman year. I’m a little rusty, haha.

        • Solaris says:

          I graduated in Electronics, but Italian degrees are on the same level as American Masters. My fields of specialization are Physical Electronics, Quantum Electronics and Optoelectronic. That is to say there was a lot of physics in there. It was tough.
          I read the second of Abscissa links a bit before my brain shut down in agony after years lacking of exercise on such heavy maths, but I got glimpses the argument was the theory of information, isn’t it? I knew something about the relation between information and entropy, but the concepts regarding entropy differ a bit from that used in thermodynamics thus being actually linked. Here’s a much easier to follow link to wiki. I know wiki is not the best source but maybe people can understand the basics better there.
          And on a side note I guess that Episode 9 of Fractale is more spot on on this subject than Madoka, as Madoka just uses the basic concept from thermodynamics only.

        • Yi says:

          So much physics… Sounds quite tough!

          Anyway, thanks for the link. I’ll have to digest on that for a bit. Fractale… is something I wish I had time for, but unfortunately don’t.😦

          p.s. Wiki is surprisingly accurate for most stuff. It’s really nice.

    • Yi says:

      @Abscissa: “William James’ multiverse says that there are parallel universes that make up all consumable possibilities. Using this perspective, who knows maybe past and future are nothing but plain events which actually defy the essence of time. That said, the only event that really matters to the viewers is to see when will Madoka survive the Walpurgist night.”
      That’s yet another great food for thought. Although it is possible for Madoka to survive Walpugist (and I’m sure in one timeline/ universe, she does), the issue is whether Homura can create that particular timeline. And depending on what Homura can do with her time travel ability, it might not even matter if she can affect things such that Madoka survives. She merely needs to find the already existing universe from the infinite multiverse… But that’s also just as hard if not harder I suppose.

      “I guess I really am in love with MSMM atm.”
      Haha, me too!

      • Abscissa says:

        I agree, Homura travels only within a certain time frame. There must be a loop that where Madoka survives.

        Also, logically, Homura is still yet to save Madoka because what she’s been doing all this time is just to prevent Madoka from dying–which she always fails to do, so that means Homura’s wish is not yet fully fulfilled. I wonder what will happen to her once she save Madoka. To be honest, sometimes I want to rename this show into Mahou Shoujo Homura Magica, especially after episode 10.

        Btw, I tried replied to the thread above but I don’t know what happened to my post.

        • Yi says:

          That might be the reason she’s able to go back in time numerous times, because her miracle hasn’t happened fully yet. Hopefully, we’ll get to see what does happen once she saves Madoka. In either case, Homura does seem like the female lead more than Madoka, who is only the lens we see events through.

          Also, the earlier comment was accidentally blocked by my spam filter. That tends to happen when comments have multiple links. I almost always rescue them though, so don’t worry about it. ^ ^

  13. hoshiko says:

    That’s a lot to process. Now who says we can’t learn anything useful by watching anime?😉

  14. Aya says:

    change my mind your side notes already explain anything =) .
    only manage watch one eps so far somehow that Kyubey thingy turn me off, but after reading this review now it tempt me to continue, it’s awesome to see DEATH in magical girl series😀 maybe in the end they reverse the time and all back to normal before anything happen bang happy ending not it sounds like magikano

    • Yi says:

      You’ve only seen one episode? Oh no, I hope I haven’t spoiled the series for you.😦.

      I hated Kyubey from the moment I saw him before I even knew anything about him. I think it stems from my hatred of Yuuno from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. Ever since Nanoha, I’ve hated every single animal in magical girl series.

      Also, it is pretty awesome to see people actually die in magical girl series. Loving the darker take on the genre.

  15. afkeroge says:

    Somehow, this anime reminds me more and more of Ever17. Especially now that I have thought about the concept of time travel in Madoka Magica.

    • Yi says:

      Not too familiarity with Ever17. After a quick wiki search, I agree it does seem to have a lot of similarities to Madoka.

      Madoka also reminds me a lot of Higurashi, in which Rika tries over and over to create a perfect summer.

  16. All I’m hoping for at this point is an ending that can make Homura feel like she’s succeeded, finally. Because I’d say at this point she’s earned it.

    Other than that, I’m trying to ignore all the stuff about entropy because thinking about it just annoys me and makes me want to hit Kyubey across his furry little always-smiling face.

    • Yi says:

      Agreed. Poor Homura deserves a happy ending with Madoka.

      And yes, I want to kill Kyubey so badly. When he was explaining all that stuff to Madoka, I really wanted to just strangle that little f–ker.

  17. Solaris says:

    First of all, I praise your taste in choosing pictures. They’re beautiful.
    Second, I still didn’t read past comments, so I’ll edit this if necessity arises.
    Also good job expressing what entropy is without the need of writing a treaty on physics. I tried it also elsewhere, but I got stuck with the usual obnoxious kids starting debates on terminology and loosing the point of the discussion soon after that inevitably.
    Also good Idea to discuss Madoka from such an interesting point of view.
    I urge you all to notice how the show mixed up perfectly sci-fi and fantasy here. As stated form A. Clarke, any very advanced civilization would have developed technology that appear like magic to us, far uncivilized with respect to them.
    This thesis looks so well received by Japanese authors, and i can see it used proficiently in many other shows.
    That’s up to say the magic we see in Madoka is neither truly magic, but advanced science at work! Well, not completely true, as nobody could really defy entropy at all. So these advanced aliens found a way to do it by resorting… to something out of reality, that is emotions, and little girls emotions are the most powerful ones at that! So magic comes out from something that goes beyond natural laws. I don’t know about you, but I found it quite silly as little criticism to girl’s own states of mind are something beyond reality. That is to say that girls are beings beyond rational and kind of magic beings on their own ^^;

    • Yi says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures! I really like them too, especially the last one. ^ ^
      I found the mix of sci-fi and fantasty fascinating too, and it’s a great point made by A. Clarke. Madoka manages to blend the two flawlessly, and leaves just enough unexplained to make it consistent within the rules of the world set up in the earlier episodes. There’s alien technology that are limited by physical laws, and alien miracles also limited by some sort of “karmic” force (i.e. Sayaka’s wish), and then there’s the human element that has the potential to defy all others. It’s a lot of fun to watch all three collide.

      “it quite silly as little criticism to girl’s own states of mind are something beyond reality. That is to say that girls are beings beyond rational and kind of magic beings on their own ^^;”
      It is a bit silly to think about this solely in the context of little girls. But thought of another way, Kyubey is actually drawing energy from humans’ hopes and despairs. In some sense, what Kyubey is using, and the thing that’s defying physical laws, is the human element -perhaps our soul. (I guess little girls going through puberty and teenage angst just happens to be a good place to harvest that.) When I think of it like that, it’s seems less silly.

      • Solaris says:

        I didn’t want to call for physics here but a pun toward girls and their emotions.
        If the fiction says: “We found a way to use girl’s emotion as a energy generator that defies even thermodynamics (= physical laws)”
        Wouldn’t you say girls are at best completely irrational beings on their own so that they can even defy physics?
        That could be used for the pun: “Yes girls are really beyond physical understandings” -.-”
        Or also, as a kind of praise such as: “Girls hide indeed a whole universe inside their own hearts”.
        Personally I’d rather mock them than praise them, but that’s just me😛

        • Yi says:

          Nice ones!

          “Yes girls are really beyond physical understandings”
          Haha, that made me smile. ^ ^

          “Girls hide indeed a whole universe inside their own hearts”
          This one could almost be a pick up line!

  18. TRazor says:

    Most of you said made sense (forgiving the fact that mahou shoujos can exist and a species called Incubators exist)

    However, you could have done away with those images. Those two yuri ones were creepy. They’re kids ><

    • Yi says:

      It is because Mahou Shoujo do exist and Incubators do exist that we can explore all these possible time directionality issues in Madoka Magica and how that ties into the story.

      “However, you could have done away with those images. Those two yuri ones were creepy. They’re kids ><"
      Haha, those are my favorite images from this post though. But I guess when you point out that they're kids, it does seem kind of awkward.😦

      Anyway, thanks for reading!

  19. Fabienne says:

    thx for your well written post and for finding these nice illustrations😉
    Madoka in the tea pot is my personal fav.

    I lately felt that the darkness of the show is protracted a bit too much, or maybe I’m just angry that Kyoko died. Anyway, the latest episode was really interesting, with seeing Homura’s time altering ability in action even though she failed at her main objective for several times. I’m curious about how the show will end, I hope there will be no bad end.

    • Yi says:

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post! My favorite image, and one of my favorite Madoka fanarts, is the last image. I’ve been shipping Homura x Madoka since the first episode!

      I was a bit surprised by how dark the show is initially, but I think I’ve gotten used to it. When Kyoko died, I felt really bad, but her death felt “right” given the tone of the series. I loved the latest episode. Homura’s so awesome and it’s kind of touching to see her try so hard over and over to save Madoka.

  20. lovelyduckie says:

    One of the things I love about anime is that most series don’t make me think too hard🙂 that’s probably why I mostly watch shonen these days. But every once in a while I like something more thought provoking.

    • Yi says:

      A lot of times I prefer series that don’t require too much brain power too, like Ika Musume or Strike Witches. Just brainless fun. But yea, stuff like Madoka is also a nice treat. Both kinds of anime are part of a healthy balanced breakfast. ^ ^

  21. choco says:

    I don’t think I have a real comment here… but well, I only want to say, I’ve always learned new things by reading ur anime reviews.

    Wish Japanese courage to overcome disasters and provide us more meaningful animes.

  22. Sakurai_Hideru says:

    Hiya Yi-san. Nice review of an anime which I never would have even thought of watching. Now I have another anime to look forward to. Yay ~
    Btw, tomorrow’s the 16th! 16th! 16th! I’m feeling really estatic right now, knowing that it’s the 16th tomorrow. X)

    • Yi says:

      I think you should definitely give it a try. It was very different from what I expected, but in a very good way. I hope you have enjoy Puella Madoka and all the magical girl yuri. ^ ^

      • Sakurai_Hideru says:

        Aww Yi-san you didn’t remember… 16th my birthday…😥
        I thought you’d remember…😥
        Anyways I’ll definitely watch it once its finished. I buy my anime see? I can’t watch it on the net… Quite sad really…😥

        • Yi says:

          So many sad faces…😦

          Sorry I didn’t remember your birthday.😦 You should’ve reminded me! I’m really bad with birthdays in general, and the only birthdays I remember are my parents’ and my siblings’. I don’t know my best friend’s birthday either except that it’s in May.

          Anyway, a belated happy birthday!!!
          I hope you had a great time and no sad faces. ^ ^

          Cheers to cake~

  23. gozieson says:

    Ok, suppose we live in a universe where time does not move, it does not start nor stop, everything is frozen into place, matter does not move, molecules don’t move but suppose we can move around in this universe, what does this mean?

    Do we age? Can we move anything at all? If we try to move something, will it stay put in it’s original position or move slightly and stop in mid-air? Does the molecules of air around us tear up our body cells as we move? Heck can we breathe at all?

    Of course in reality if we were in a position like this, we would also be as still as a rock. We can’t move, breathe, or even think. We would just be standing there, not even knowing what has happened. But what would happen if we were to suddenly transport back to a universe where time moves forward after a moment in that previous universe? Would we continue life literally as if nothing happened? Would our body disintegrate into molecules and scattered all over the air around us? Would our bodily functions still be able to perform normally after what happened there?

    Of course I’m just making a hypothesis here. Like Yi said, I’m overthinking things, but it’s just an idea that I want to cement somewhere after reading this post. It really got me thinking. Of course this may go completely astray from the original post but what the heck, I’m just voicing out ideas while I think of whether or not to evolve Eevee into Vaporeon.

    P.S. This time thing reminds me of a previous anime about witches and time. Of course, I forgot the title as the show was aired a long time ago, but I remember something about a boy with hidden magical abilities and a magical kitty-print undies that has a mind of it’s own. Anyone remember what show that was?

    • gozieson says:

      This reminds me of something. If the person who has returned to a universe in which time moves and is still able to keep moving, we can relate this to time travel.

      Think about it, if someone enters a universe where time stops completely but in the other universe, time continues to move, then he can enter that universe that moves a certain time after he arrives at the universe where time does not move. In this case, that person would be traveling forward in time, how that person would travel back in time, I have no idea.

      • Yi says:

        As a related idea to that, here’s an interesting food for thought. The time travel method you proposed is essentially having the time traveler go to place where time travels slower (or stops), and then after a while return to the normal place where time travels normally. If she does that, she’ll see that more time has passed at the normal place, and hence she traveled forward in time.

        The really interesting thing is that we can already do that (to a very lesser degree). According to relativity, time is relative to motion. When someone travels faster, then time passes slower for that person. So if you want to travel forward in time by a very very very tiny fraction of a second over a span of a lifetime, get in a jet and live in it for 60 years. When it lands and you’re again in the same reference of time as most other people, voilà, you’ve traveled forward in time by a tiny amount.

        Sure, that scenario is not nearly as dramatic as going to a place where time barely/ don’t move forward at all (to do so with respect to earth, you’d have to go really really fast), but it’s a similar idea.

        You can also do this by living closer to the core of the earth where gravity is stronger.

    • Solaris says:

      That was Magikano. Read the manga as it’s really nice too.

      If I got what you meant right, you’re thinking about having no time flow. If that happened you’d clearly cut it out from your calculations, as it would just be a muted variable.
      Look how Yi pointed out that our perception of time actually arises from changes in the configuration of systems. If you have fixed time, that doesn’t mean energy is zero too. If energy would spontaneously evolve to a state with increased entropy, then that change would let you perceive another time-like variable and use it as a new time reference’. I don’t know if it’s clear enoug though…

      • Yi says:

        Hm… The frozen time thing made me think quite a bit. In most fiction, when when someone freezes surrounding time, it always seem kind of inconsistent how things work.

        For example, objects being thrown often pause in midair, which may indicate gravity doesn’t work, but the person who freezes time is still bound by gravity. You can have inertia in such a situation for some things, but not for others. There is often just such huge loopholes in fictional depictions of frozen time. And of course, all those things you mentioned with breathing and molecular bonds become huge concerns.

        And now following along what Solaris says, time is not absolute nor is it even the same for all observers. In fact, what does it mean to stop time? And for which reference of time? The situation with frozen “time” you described actually seem more like a universe without any motion. And the moment you introduce another into that situation who can move…

        Thus, this simple, commonly used idea is actually not as easily imaginable as most think. There are serious inconsistencies with someone who can stop time.

        p.s. Of all the Eevee evolutions, Vaporeon is my favorite. I tend to like water pokemon more too.

        • gozieson says:

          Yeah, I said a universe in which time does not move at all. Of course, it would be interesting to see what actually happens when a pathway (wormhole anyone?) is opened between the two universes. What would happen to time then?

          @Solaris Yeah, it was magikano wasn’t it. Thanks!

        • Yi says:

          “What would happen to time then?”
          Haha undoubtedly more thinking. ^ ^

  24. This is not only a different kind of Mahou Shoujo anime, but a damn though-provoking anime too. Some episodes just feel soooo heavy that it leaves you in thoughts even way after, just like your post. Every time I watch it, I can’t help but say, “Kyuubey, you f**king bastard…”

    Also I’ve somewhat compared this to The Matrix… The machines in The Matrix used humans as a power source and they keep them simulated in a virtual world… What Kyuubey is doing to these girls seem to be the same… And the way Homura keep going back in time to fix it reminds me of the repetitions of the “chosen one” that will change The Matrix. Definitely thought provoking. My friend had a hard time watching it because of the heaviness… I can relate ^^;

    • Yi says:

      I find myself hating Kyubey a lot more after each episode. Gosh I hate that thing!

      Anyway, Madoka Magica really is very thought provoking, which often makes it a very draining show. Too much emotional turmoil and thinking.

      I love that comparison to The Matrix. In some sense, Kyubey’s lack of emotion is almost somewhat machine-like as well. And more interesting, as you mentioned, the repetition of the chosen. Hopefully, we will get a final iteration that breaks free of this cycle.

  25. Duqs says:

    Awesome entry with awesome pics!

    Episode 10 kinda rocked my boat too hard that I’m a-ok with the 11th episode not showing this week. I felt that the 10th episode should have been an OAV or some sort of add-on episode in their blu-ray. That single episode made homerun-chan the best character this season (while the character i want to punch the most is ichika from infinite stratos for being denser than a neutron star’s gravity).

    I’ll be surprised as heck if Walpurgis Nacht is actually homura’s witch form. Its probably the only constant factor in the time travel. Something bad happens to the world/madoka during the arrival of Walpurgis Nacht.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, episode 10 was a huge episode. I’m actually really glad there’s a break this week in Madoka too. This series can be really exhausting to watch at times, and I rarely watch more than two episodes of it at once.

      I haven’t ever considered Walpurgisnacht as Homura’s witch form, but that might work, and it would have quite some implications on how the timelines work in Madoka world. Time to chew on this for a lot longer.

      • Duqs says:

        For all we know, homura’s powers arent exactly just time travel. It might also be that its not her that travel through time, but the universe reverses itself at Homura’s convenience. It can also be that the universe goes back in time AND she travels in a parallel dimension which MIGHT explain why some character’s temperaments are different, particularly Madoka’s (1st world she was really confident about herself, 5th world she was insecure). ANd the timing wherein madoka was a mahou shoujo was different as well (1st world-3rd world: madoka was a mahou shoujo before homuhomu, 4th-5th world: madoka hadnt made the contract yet, BUT the day wherein homura ends up in the hospital is still the same)

        Another what-if: what if homura, even if she rescues madoka has to go back in time because that was her wish to begin with. An eternal cycle.

        • Solaris says:

          Dugs, in the latter ‘worlds’ Homura devoted herself to avoid Madoka being contracted, so she killed some of the Kyubey clones right before they contracted her.
          Also, your all guessing look without any basis whatsoever. How are you watching the show? The hints are all there for you to know.

        • Yi says:

          @Duqs: I think those scenarios are all possible, and I don’t know if we’ll really know for sure exactly how Homura’s powers work even after the series ends. It is very interesting to see that the girls have slightly different temperaments with each iteration. And the fact that Madoka in the original begins as a mahou shoujo is noteworthy too. I think there is still much left unclear about how the timelines relate to each other. It might not be just simply going back to a particular point.

          I haven’t ruled out an eternal cycle ending either… That would be kind of sad though.😦

          @Solaris: Isn’t it part of the fun to make guesses? Plus, I don’t think Duqs’s points are completely baseless.

          “How are you watching the show?”
          Let’s keep the comments not too personally confrontational…

        • Solaris says:

          Sorry to being rude, but the guy didn’t pay attention to what he was watching at, so I wonder how should I take his guesses.
          I notice how many people just express their own wishes and expectiations, rather than guessing on the basis of what’s known.
          Now this is a work of fiction, so the author can end this all the way unpredictabily at all, not caring about the hint’s he’s giving out. If you ask me that would be just lame. Any mistery story or work of fiction should be self-coherent to its own universe to claim it good.
          My own wish is that the author would surprise me making up a great finale being coherent to the rules he himself made up. I’m not wishing to guess it right but to be proven wrong in my own calculations. Something that I’d never think about!

        • Yi says:

          I don’t particularly mind that people are posting wishes, expectations, loose conclusions, or speculations. I don’t even mind when people post way-off topic comments.

          I guess everyone’s free to comment in any way or tone.

          Anyway, I’m hoping for a good ending, or at the very least, a definitive ending.

        • afkeroge says:

          Well, now, I see a good ending as the most probable outcome of the show (they truly deserve it!). To prove my point, let’s go back to Homura’s wish. I don’t know how other fansubbing groups like gg translates, but based on my limited knowledge of Japanese, I think this is how it should go something like this:

          “Watashi wa Kaname-san to no deai wo yarinaoshitai- kanojo no mamorareru watashi janakute, kanojo wo mamoru watashi ni naritai!”

          “I want to relive my days Kaname-san again- not as someone she protects, but as someone who will protect her!”

          If you were to literally interpret what she was saying, you can see why Homura goes back in time every single iteration. As her wish was not yet fulfilled within the possible timeframe, she goes back to before she meets Madoka and has a chance to make amends. We can assume that Kyuubee cannot grant impossible wishes such as bringing the dead(soul gem shattered) back to life. With these grounds, I can say that a good ending waits for Homura, who just wanted to keep her promise with her only true friend.

          Also, I just want to see a good end. I REALLY don’t want this to end badly for our heroines. Urobuchi himself said that he wants to end the show with hope, and I’ll take his word for it for now.

        • Yi says:

          That actually kind of worries me…

          If we take her words really literally, this cycle of going back in time, protecting Madoka, dying, then reliving is exactly what she wished for. Note especially that her wish doesn’t say she has to succeed, but just that she’s protecting her. To extend further, she can’t protect Madoka if there is nothing to protect her from. So now I’m super worried she’ll be trapped in this cycle forever.

          And Urobuchi’s words don’t help either. An indefinite ending would certainly have a hopeful Homura who continues to fight timeline after timeline.

          Or am I too pessimistic?

  26. Kuro says:

    Nice theories you pointed out there! As far as speculahs goes, I’m betting at a 90% bittersweet ending. It has been hinted earlier that Madoka will surely not become a mahou shoujo, so at this point, I’m guessing that Homura may get to fulfill her wish, albeit with a cost.

    I’m not saying much for now ’till the show ends. Still too early to tell what’s gonna happen.

    • Yi says:

      Sigh… Yea, I suppose an all around happy ending is a little unlikely given the tone if the series and what we’ve seen so far. Still, I’ll keep hoping until the end.

      Thanks for reading!

  27. Sakurai_Hideru says:

    Haha Yi-san no worries. There’s always next year right? You must tell me when’s yours so I can return the favour. X)
    Cheers to cake and presents!!!
    Oh btw, did you read the the K-on fanfic I recommended you? What did you think about Spiral and No Thank You?

    • Yi says:

      I think I read Spiral… The one about Azunyan and HTT. It was really quite nice. So sweet and cute. ^ ^

      (p.s. For those who also wants to read this: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6377396/1/Spiral)

      I don’t think I read No Thank You yet; I’ll get to it once I get enough free time.

      Anyway, thanks for the recommendation!!

      p.s. My birthday’s coming up really soon. I’ll make a post about it. Until then. ^ ^

      • Sakurai_Hideru says:

        It seems to me that you’ve only read the beginning. It gets darker and darker and more complicating later on… The latest chappie made me go WTH?! I won’t spoil the surprise, so go find out for yourself when you have the time k? ^^
        Haha I hope that I’ll be the 1st to wish you happy b’day… Keeping my fingers crossed! X)

        • Yi says:

          I totally didn’t realize there were more! I’ll keep reading, but I’m not really in the mood for anything dark.😦

  28. Sakurai_Hideru says:

    Lol Yi-san, when you have the time AND the mood, then read it. ^^
    I also recommend you to read the reviews, there are people who analyzed it way better than I ever could. Helped me understand more about the story too. Happy reading! =)

    • Yi says:

      Sorry for being so difficult.😦 I really do appreciate all recommendations though, and I enjoyed what I read in the prelude chapter.

      It’s just hard to find time nowadays because there are so much good stuff around. I still have to watch Toradora too. ^ ^

      But anyways, thanks for the recommendation again!

  29. K-Nashi says:

    rather than talking about the complex law about entropy, Im more heartbroken by Homura’s story. repeating time just to see the girl she loves dies in various way is just not pretty..and yeah, the possibility of happy ED is bleak now

    • Yi says:

      Homura’s story is sooo sad.😦 I just hope she eventually gets closure even if she never ends up saving Madoka. It’s too cruel if she has to be trapped in this cycle.

      • Solaris says:

        Actually Homura’s fate looks tragic. It looks so unlikely Madoka and Homura will be saved both . But I still fear an actual happy or bittersweet ending may ruin the mood…

        • Solaris says:

          I’ve found Madoka Wiki. And LOL, the speculation page is just priceless. Some theories are actually even conceivable, while some other are just hilarious. There’s even the cat theory listed.

        • Yi says:

          I think I’ve skimmed through that before, but yea… A little bit of Madoka overload right now. Haha. So much speculation going around all over the place.

          Anyway, thanks for the link!

  30. CainHyde says:

    Wow… you and afkeroge are really something else. ^^
    My brain can’t really make or completely understand these kind of analysis anymore.

    Anyway, I really hope the ending won’t give me same aftertaste like Saya no Uta normal ending.
    Or worse… Homura re-start her time loop again.
    Please no, just no.

    • Yi says:

      I don’t really understand most of this stuff either. I wrote the post with some idea in mind, and then the comments and people just took off with different ideas and analysis. And my brain hurts now… Haha.

      My biggest fear is an indefinite ending too. Good or bad ending, I want to see Homura get out of this time loop. Otherwise, it’s just too sad.

  31. Reltair says:

    Whoa, and to think I haven’t even seen one episode of this yet since I assumed it was a standard magical girl series.

  32. skyhack says:

    When Kyubey revealed himself to bean alien (what else could he be?), I was worried that the writers would take us to some deus ex train wreck. After episode 10, though, I’m convinced that the ending will be tragic, probably with Homura losing her life. This show has been a great ride.

    • Yi says:

      Yea I’m glad it didn’t go down a super sci-fi “Star Trek” route. Anyway, I feel really bad for Homura, and at this point, I’d rather she lose her life if she has to continue in this endless cycle.

  33. Pingback: Eye Racism in Gosick? Times We Overthink | Listless Ink

  34. Cell says:

    Seeing as how the series has been continuously dark and depressing, I hope there will be a happy ending. Hopefully the plot will follow the same flow as Jigoku Shoujo (if you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it). In Jigoku Shoujo (hope I’m not going to spoil this for anyone reading this comment) the beginning is jam-packed with sad/bad endings, but, in the end of the story things finally work out and karma has repaid its debt.

    • Yi says:

      I really hope so too. The series has been just getting more and more depressing with each episode; I’d love to see the ending be a little happier.
      Jigoku Shoujo is on my list for must-watch soon anime. I watched a few episodes a year ago, but time issues kind of made me delay finishing it… And now it’s kind of in limbo. I should definitely finish it soon.

  35. HOLY –
    THAT BAGFULL OF QB WAS SCARY SHIAT.

  36. Accelerator says:

    Another post of yours im replying to, but this one is really simple. My only reply is that it is “anime”. The creator either does what goes best with the story, or tried to do something in a sense but seemed to have never taken advanced physics (Or just Physics or more generally ANY SCIENCE CLASS) and the likes and cant quite understand the concept of it.

    • Yi says:

      It is indeed just anime. I tend to have a thing for overthinking many things though, and this series especially begs to be digested beyond recognition.

      p.s. I think Madoka actually gets a few things right with Kyubey’s physics, which is somewhat rooted outside the realm of fantasy.

  37. Accelerator says:

    Actually, I want to state an opinion. I dont care about the ending, good or bad. Just putting it out since you seem worked up. Though, the theme being how it is, will probably end well. Though the authors can allways get clever ~malicious smirk~
    Just kidding xD
    Dont be downed about dispair loops, in anime, they cant stay like that forever.
    Though, that could be for better or worse.
    Now im not kidding Dx

    • Yi says:

      I’m usually pretty emotionally invested in anime I watch, so I really hope you’re right, and Homura at least gets out of the loop, be it good or bad.

  38. Accelerator says:

    Welp, I skimmed through all the replies.
    Discussion=Distorted Conflict, and yet, I allready find myself clicking on the link
    xDDD
    Oh, the nature humans.

    And somehow im not suprised they allready have a “Hitler Rages” parody for this.
    They make them for practically everything now, sometimes theyre just absurd and meaningless. Though they never fail in causing the audible expression of stimulant merriment we call “Laughter”.
    ………………..I take that back >->

  39. Accelerator says:

    I know im right, its just a hunch from experience.

    I study what story effects and elements people use to build the plot. As pointless as that may seem, I plan to become a mangaka and or writer so it sorta helps.

    If I do happen to be wrong though, may I get hit by a thousand volts of lightning. This is sorta like telling someone to get used to not eating or sleeping, heck, even breathing, but I would suggest keeping emotional investments to a minimum. Sometimes it cant be helped, the brilliant compelling feelings anime make you subject to are impossible at times to avoid. I dont know though, its just that my favorite character allways dies in any anime I watch, maybe im choosing the wrong characters to favor…..

    • Yi says:

      So confident!

      I disagree about being emotionally invested. I think it’s a good thing to be able to enjoy an anime down to the emotional levels. Of course, not all anime inspire that, so when an anime does make me care for the characters and plot developments, I’m excited.

  40. someone from somewhere says:

    law of conservation of energy (i think) states that:

    “energy cannot be created or destroyed” it can only be changed into different forms so kyubey can’t actually “add” more energy into the universe. because energy can’t be created.
    assuming that kyubey is only “converting” the energies, and assuming the source is the girl’s emotions, this is not theoretically possible because there are only 9 forms of energy and none of them include “emotions” energy, this creates a paradox.
    well as we’ve stated it’s only pseudo physics and magic has basically broken all laws of physics and science, a happy ending isn’t completely hyperbole in my opinion.
    the giddy fangirl in me does hope for one as well (common the yuri/gl subtext in madoka is undeniable and i ship madokaxhomura and sayaka/kyoko).
    remember mai-hime? it ended well (even though it was a bit corny and maybe even unnecessary) when no-one thought it would. so i really am hoping that the same could happen even though it would only be wistful thinking on my part.
    again, mai-hime is a completely different anime then madoka so…i better not be getting my hopes up OTL…

    p.s does any one notice that in the first and up to second or maybe third timeline madoka was a magical girl FROME THE START (by that i mean madoka and homura’s first meeting) from the fourth (or maybe fifth) to the present time line she DID NOT however start as a magical girl.

    based on epsisode 10 homura’s wish was only to redo their meeting and when the two girls met madoka was ALREADY a magical girl presumably from before. i am assuming that homura cannot rewind time any further than that otherwise she could have stopped all the other girls from making a contract with QB (little f*cker).

    also note that madoka’s wish was never revealed to us. maybe that will become a key factor in “saving everyone”.

    ************************

    MADOKA MAGICA IS A HUGE, GARGANTUAN MINDF*CK

    p.s.s…or maybe p.p.s…i guess?(sorry for the mixed up time lines but my brain is way too fried from watching this series anyways…)

    • Yi says:

      Kyubey does indeed convert energy rather than create new ones. It’s part of reversing entropy. Kyubey hopes to convert unusable energy back into usable energy. Some of the subs might not have been too clear on that.

      As for the emotion thing. The way I’m interpreting it (and this isn’t really based on anything other than making it somewhat consistent with conservation of energy) is that the emotion itself are not energy nor does Kyubey convert emotions into energy. If Kyubey did that, then that’d be creating new energy and that’s a no-no. So instead, I think what Kyubey does is use emotion as a mechanic/ tool/ catalyst that’s outside the energy sytem to convert existing unusable energy (like heat energy) back into usable energy (like potential energy).

      All this is well within the realm of pseudophysics though, but I think the best kind of pseudophysics is those that we can, through imagination, make consistent.

      I ship both those pairs too! And, as a yuri fan, I’d love to see a happy ending. I love how Mai-Hime ends, despite it being harshly criticized for being cheesy and destroying mood consistency. I think I’d like that for Madoka as well.

      I noticed that about Madoka’s magical girl status as well! It’s weird isn’t it? And from the looks of it, in the original timeline, Madoka has been a magical girl for quite a while, much much earlier than the time Homura returns to in later timelines. Madoka also gets better with each timeline when she becomes a magical girl.

      “also note that madoka’s wish was never revealed to us. maybe that will become a key factor in “saving everyone”.”
      Oh yea, good point! If everything else is the same except for all the magical girl business, than in the current timeline, Madoka should have something she cares enough about to want a miracle. She doesn’t at all. Madoka doesn’t just change her magical girl status, but she loses a very big part of her: her motivations. What does that say about Madoka in different timelines? Is Homura even saving the same person? Kind of depressing to think about.

      “MADOKA MAGICA IS A HUGE, GARGANTUAN MINDF*CK”
      Yes agreed. And frankly, I’m kind of exhausted by all this thinking. ^ ^

  41. Pingback: Birth of a Goddess, Madoka’s Path to Nirvana – A Study of Buddhism | Listless Ink

  42. gozieson says:

    And so, the Physics debate continues…

  43. Jade says:

    I can tell this thread is just about finished, but I wanted to pitch in my 2 cents before it is. I really enjoyed the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica and if there is a continuation for it (manga or anime) I really need to find it. The concept to this story reminded me a lot to the move Butterfly Affect with Ashton Kutcher.

    Its a bit difficult to explain because of how complex the movie is but If your unfamiliar with the movie it is about a guy who had black-outs when he was a kid and he forgets about them when he gets older. He reads a diary of these moments and has a flashback of the memory. During these flashbacks if he does something different like interacting or changing the events to happen it alters the current timeline he is in and when he gets back to the present a new alternate reality is
    created. Each new time he keeps going back to change things and “improve” the situation when he gets back the present time its usually much worse. This is a very brief summary to the movie, if your curious to watch it, I would suggest you have a strong stomach, some scenes are quite gruesome and morally wrong.

    Now, this summary might not make much sense in how it relates to the Modoka Magica, but if you’ve seen the movie it does make some sense. Both Ashton Kutchers character and Homura trying to change a reality(s) where each change makes more consequences for each new reality from these actions. I find time altering stories to be fascinating to read and watch, considering how complex they turn out to be.

    • Yi says:

      Ooh yes, that’s a very apt comparison. I remember watching Butterfly Effect years ago, and it made a really strong impression on me. Madoka and Butterfly Effect do share a very similar premise in the way it tries to tell a time-travelling story. And in both, the resulting iterations are never the intended. It is super fascinating indeed!

      Anyways, thanks for the comment, Jade. There is so much stuff to talk about in Madoka; you’re never too late for a discussion. I really appreciate it!

      Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s