You are not logged in.

Gougai! Gougai!

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#76 | Back to Top04-02-2013 12:48:35 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

purplepolecat wrote:

gorgeousshutin wrote:

this kind of “magical forgetting” is not known to take place in our real world.

Are you sure about that? How would you know? emot-tongue

Hey, if it's not known, that nobody'd know about it, it will feel irrelevant to me emot-wink

Personally I think it's forgivable in this instance because Madoka's actions fundamentally changed the nature of the world, kinda like the D-mails in Steins;Gate. There's no way people could have memories of Madoka AND have memories consistent with the new reality.

But in all "known" cases of change being made to the world, some people will still know about at least the event that was supposed to have caused the change. 

I would be more moved by Madoka's sacrifice had she purposely let a random monster eat her: I can liken the "monster" to some bad people/situation in the real world, and be moved by the girl's self-sacrifice accordingly.  For Madoka to end up erased/forgotten since she's not part of the new world . . . this particular fantasy situation has no direct parallels to what I've known happen in the real world . . . I can't relate to it. emot-frown

edit:

satyreyes wrote:

The problem -- I agree with you -- is that neither "saving magical girls from becoming witches" nor "being magically forgotten by everyone" is something I can connect to the real world.

Yep.  That's my main gripe.  I can even go so far as to liken "saving magical girls from becoming witches" to "saving noble people from becoming evil to survive the gritty world", and thus enjoy the drama accordingly.  But the magical forget . . . it's just not something I can see as  . . . relevant.

SKU's presentation allow for its fantasy story to remain largely relevant to issues present in the real world.  PMMM tried to do this too . . . but I think it came off being more "gritty angst for angst's sake" rather than "gritty and real".

Edit again:

satyreyes wrote:

If everyone remembered the great hero Madoka who saved magical girls from becoming witches, then you could say, "Madoka never outgrew wanting to be glamorous and admired."

I see your point.  But I would appreciate the show much more if Madoka is put in a more reality-relevant situation where she maybe made her great sacrifice in secret before simply being made to hide/go away.  Even for a magical show, I find PMMM's "magical forget" too  irrelevant and story-device-like.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (04-02-2013 01:14:55 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#77 | Back to Top04-02-2013 02:00:49 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Satyr, I agree with you on Madoka's take on friendship.

While Homura's devotion to Madoka is very touching, and I might have thought it ideal when I was younger, it's... kind of unhealthy. She puts Madoka on a pedestal, while she doesn't put much value in anyone else, especially not herself. Still, I don't know if that makes the story BAD. Homura is a very extreme person, but I guess some situations calls for extreme people.

I wasn't too bothered by the "loophole", though. 'Cause when a show lays out the rules like that, I expect there to be ways to "cheat" the system. emot-keke Madoka was better able to do so than the other magical girls, because thanks to Homura's meddling and stuff, she had the information she needed. And her wish still came at a prize, so it didn't feel too cheap. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the ending, but it's a bit hard to put my finger on why. I didn't think too deeply about it I suppose.

Offline

 

#78 | Back to Top04-02-2013 03:12:47 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

gorgeousshutin wrote:

I can even go so far as to liken "saving magical girls from becoming witches" to "saving noble people from becoming evil to survive the gritty world", and thus enjoy the drama accordingly.

Mmm hmm, I can go that far -- my gripe here is with the word "saving," not with the magical girls or the witches.  That's the part I can't connect to reality.

(I do also have a little separate bafflement about magical girls and witches.  In the PMMM universe, it seems that grief makes a person morally weaker, and enough grief makes her irrevocably evil.  The latter especially is a strange idea to me.  Grief certainly can make people act cynically -- one thing that comes through loud and clear in PMMM is that cynics are disappointed idealists, which is true -- but from there to "some people are irredeemable" is quite a leap.  Teenagers get disillusioned and have their hearts broken for the first time, and it hurts, and it takes a long time to feel better.  At the end, maybe they're stronger, maybe they're weaker, maybe they even go on to hurt others, but they don't become inhuman "witches" who can only be destroyed.  I found that idea a little troubling on a symbolic level, though of course it's handled expertly on the level of the plot.)

Lurv wrote:

I wasn't too bothered by the "loophole", though. 'Cause when a show lays out the rules like that, I expect there to be ways to "cheat" the system.  emot-keke Madoka was better able to do so than the other magical girls, because thanks to Homura's meddling and stuff, she had the information she needed. And her wish still came at a prize, so it didn't feel too cheap.

This is a little bit of a tangent, but this conversation reminds me of a fascinating and well-reasoned essay by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson on what you can and can't get away with when you write a magic system.  The article is short and worth reading in full, but here's the tl;dr version:

You can have magic with rules ("hard magic") or you can have magic without rules ("soft magic").  Neither system is better than the other, but they are best adapted to play different roles in a story.  Soft magic is good when the magic is a part of the setting and not a tool that the protagonists will be actively using to solve central problems.  Gandalf's magic in Lord of the Rings doesn't have rules that we know of, and that's okay because his magic is not ultimately how problems get solved.  They get solved through the determination of mortals who don't have magic.  This is important because if Gandalf's magic solved the problem, say by teleporting Frodo to Mount Doom so he could throw the ring in at the beginning, it would be a deus ex machina and bad storytelling.

Hard magic, on the other hand, is good when you want the protagonists to actually have and use magical powers routinely.  In this situation it's important to have and enforce consistent rules for the magic, because otherwise you have power without consequences for the potentially omnipotent protagonists, which is also bad storytelling.  You can see hard magic at work in a story like The Name of the Wind, where we know how the "sympathy" system works, and to use magic the protagonist has to find a way to achieve something without creating or destroying energy.  It's fine for this protagonist to solve his problems with magic, because the magic system makes him earn those victories with its rules and consequences.

You can have magic systems that straddle the line.  (Harry Potter is one.)  But the important point is that if you want to solve problems with magic while avoiding deus ex machina, you have to give magic rules that your protagonists have to stick to.  If there's going to be a hidden trick in the magic system, then the protagonists can't use it until they discover it -- often by having it used against them.  As Sanderson puts it, "An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic."  This is the rule I think is violated at the end of PMMM.  PMMM gives us a fairly hard magic system, where magic has a price and has consequences: no matter how powerful it is, magic obeys the law that hope equals grief.  The more powerful a magical girl you are, the more wicked a witch you become.  Etc.  But then at the end it turns out with no foreshadowing that hope does not equal grief.  Magic gets used to solve a problem that we didn't have any reason to think that magic could solve.  The writers invent a new rule so that the protagonist can save everybody.  That's a deus ex machina.

Last edited by satyreyes (04-02-2013 03:18:48 PM)

Offline

 

#79 | Back to Top04-02-2013 03:26:30 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

satyreyes wrote:

This is a little bit of a tangent, but this conversation reminds me of a fascinating and well-reasoned essay by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson on what you can and can't get away with when you write a magic system.

I think I read that article, actually! In the In Which I Watch Madoka thread by the same guy who did the same thread for Utena discussed here earlier. (Utena's magic is pretty soft, after all.)

I wasn't too bothered by the "deus ex machina" in Madoka, but I can't think of a reason why (besides it coming at a price). :/

Last edited by Lurv (04-02-2013 03:26:55 PM)

Offline

 

#80 | Back to Top04-02-2013 03:36:11 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

...It is kind of crazy that both I and another person watching Madoka both thought of the exact same essay in trying to grapple with it.  emot-aaa  I think I'll read that other guy's Madoka thread.

It does come at a price.  I agree with that.  Madoka doesn't make everything better forever.  She herself pays a very high cost, and then there are these wraith things.  But I guess I wanted the ending to tie up the show, to make me see why all this suffering was necessary, and, as far as the power of miracles, to see how Madoka could succeed in spite of the rule that grief equals hope.  And inventing a new rule of magic at the last minute didn't do that. emot-frown  I'm happy that you and many others felt differently, though, because (as I keep saying) this was a good show and it would be sad if these problems compromised it for everyone.

Offline

 

#81 | Back to Top04-02-2013 08:22:53 PM

Kita-Ysabell
Covert Diarist
Registered: 11-18-2012
Posts: 818
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

To jump into the middle of this, I found Madoka to be good, but far from flawless.  The art style, while gorgeous, really didn't do a good job of conveying the nuances of characters' expressions, and for a show that was supposed to be ALL ABOUT what our main characters feel, that's a pretty big drawback for a visual medium.  And the theme... well, it falls into the bucket with Texchnolyze, Shin Sekai Yori, and, to a certain degree, Evangelion: it relies too heavily on the rules of the setting to convey a flawed metaphor for experience.

As an example of what I'm talking about:

satyreyes wrote:

I do also have a little separate bafflement about magical girls and witches.  In the PMMM universe, it seems that grief makes a person morally weaker, and enough grief makes her irrevocably evil.  The latter especially is a strange idea to me.  Grief certainly can make people act cynically -- one thing that comes through loud and clear in PMMM is that cynics are disappointed idealists, which is true -- but from there to "some people are irredeemable" is quite a leap.  Teenagers get disillusioned and have their hearts broken for the first time, and it hurts, and it takes a long time to feel better.  At the end, maybe they're stronger, maybe they're weaker, maybe they even go on to hurt others, but they don't become inhuman "witches" who can only be destroyed.  I found that idea a little troubling on a symbolic level, though of course it's handled expertly on the level of the plot.

OH MY WORD, THIS.

In terms of the hard/soft magic thing, I would think of it as a subcategory of soft magic where the "rules" are supposed to follow emotional reasoning, and thus are not terribly logical.  When it works, it's because the emotional reasoning makes sense in terms of the real world, and the rules follow the emotional reasoning all the way down. (Emphasis on follow-- trying to fit emotional reasoning to pre-made rules leads to things like J. K. Rowling saying that her werewolves are supposed to be a metaphor for AIDS, which leads to the rather odd implication that AIDS makes you attack people about once a month.)  Then you get stuff like SKU, or Where the Wild Things Are, or My Little Pony.

And that's where the whole turning-into-witches falls flat for me.  It's not just an unfortunate message, it's incongruent with how things actually work.  I feel like the show wanted to talk about the emotions of adolescent girls, and wanted to use the turning-into-witches mechanic to do so, but it tried to simplify the whole messy, complicated affair into a few simple rules, so any commentary it tried to make about the topic was rendered moot by the inadequacy of those rules to explain the phenomenon they were supposed to represent.  The effect is a bit like having a supposedly hard sci-fi novel which features a ship that runs on pseudoscience.  You can have your simple rules, or you can have your surreal metaphor for the human experience, but when you start mixing the two, you mostly end up with neither.


"Et in Arcadio ego..."

Offline

 

#82 | Back to Top04-02-2013 09:44:54 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

The art style, while gorgeous, really didn't do a good job of conveying the nuances of characters' expressions, and for a show that was supposed to be ALL ABOUT what our main characters feel, that's a pretty big drawback for a visual medium.

THIS.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#83 | Back to Top04-02-2013 10:31:44 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

I feel like the show wanted to talk about the emotions of adolescent girls, and wanted to use the turning-into-witches mechanic to do so, but it tried to simplify the whole messy, complicated affair into a few simple rules, so any commentary it tried to make about the topic was rendered moot by the inadequacy of those rules to explain the phenomenon they were supposed to represent.  The effect is a bit like having a supposedly hard sci-fi novel which features a ship that runs on pseudoscience.  You can have your simple rules, or you can have your surreal metaphor for the human experience, but when you start mixing the two, you mostly end up with neither.

This is exceptionally well explained.  Thank you!  http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i117/satyreyes/respect-037_zpsd114a291.gif

I played an indie tabletop RPG once called Bliss Stage.  It's inspired by the mech genre, and especially by deconstructive pieces like Evangelion.  You have a mech that you pilot in the dream dimension, and the parts of your mech represent your relationships in the real world outside the dream.  Your mech becomes more powerful the more people you have whom you are close to, but at the same time, deploying those parts of your mech exposes them to damage, and one of the rules is that if your relationship is damaged in the dream dimension then you have to role-play a scene that shows that damage in the real world.  Conversely, if you have a terrible falling out with someone in the real world, you might not be able to deploy the part of your mech that took its strength from that person anymore at all.  I was impressed by how well the rules of the game lined up with the emotional reasoning that the game was trying to evoke.  You're right, Madoka is trying to do the same thing, but some of its rules are not well adapted to that goal, and end up making you feel confused if you try to figure out what part of being a teenager they're supposed to represent.

Offline

 

#84 | Back to Top04-03-2013 06:40:40 AM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

You got some good points! Now I want to rewatch Madoka with those things in mind. emot-tongue But it also inspires me to think about my own magical system I'm working on (besides, I have manga to read), so rewatching Madoka might have to wait, even though it is only 12 episodes.

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

And that's where the whole turning-into-witches falls flat for me.  It's not just an unfortunate message, it's incongruent with how things actually work.  I feel like the show wanted to talk about the emotions of adolescent girls, and wanted to use the turning-into-witches mechanic to do so, but it tried to simplify the whole messy, complicated affair into a few simple rules, so any commentary it tried to make about the topic was rendered moot by the inadequacy of those rules to explain the phenomenon they were supposed to represent.  The effect is a bit like having a supposedly hard sci-fi novel which features a ship that runs on pseudoscience.  You can have your simple rules, or you can have your surreal metaphor for the human experience, but when you start mixing the two, you mostly end up with neither.

Makes me think of the The Space Whale Aesop. (I should probably warn for the TV tropes link, though.) And... now I'm reminded why writing fantasy was giving me such trouble in the first place (besides world building being a pain). The concept of grieving girls turning into monsters is very interesting to me, but it does give some strange implications if you try to apply that as a metaphor to the real world

Last edited by Lurv (04-03-2013 06:58:48 AM)

Offline

 

#85 | Back to Top04-03-2013 10:35:30 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Lurv wrote:

The concept of grieving girls turning into monsters is very interesting to me, but it does give some strange implications if you try to apply that as a metaphor to the real world

Reading the past couple posts on "grieving girls not equal monsters", I think see that there are some Japanese-cultural stuff in PMMM (and other animes) that are lost to western viewers.

The Japanese - which harbors a strongly ingrained culture of social bullying - see an “occurrence of  crime” as being “a lasting tragedy”.

In almost all Detective Jdrama, most of the criminals are depicted as people who’re “grieving” due to some failing/injustice in their society.  At the same time, said crime (it could be of the non-murder variety) – no matter what noble/choiceless motive is behind it – will always be given huge gravity, to the point that the criminal is considered guilty for life, beyond whatever sentence they’ve legally served.  Proven criminals in Japan – be they men or women, underaged boys or girls - are shamed by their unsympathetic society as “monsters”, and can expect to be “punished” unto their deaths.

So, supposing a PMMM “witch” is a “grieving girl who end up a heavy-crime criminal”, then you can be sure Japanese society will treat her as a monster beyond redemption - a thing deserving of destruction.

The unsympathetic fear/hatred Japanese Society has for its “criminals” extends also to the criminal’s family members, who are considered guilty by association (think the Takakura siblings in Mawaru-Penguindrum).  The unfortunate family members can expect to have rocks thrown through their windows, “Murderer!”graffiti sprayed across their front doors, losing their jobs, losing their schooling, etc, etc . . . and they’re expected to endure it without protest, and be made to continuously apologize for the crime their related-committed, because society says they are guilty too. 

Remember how MP’s Momoka pressed Shouma and Kanba to offer up their Penguindrums while knowing it means their death?  This is because she, as a Kiga Victim, has the right to claim the Terrorists' kids' lives according to the Japanese view.  Remember how Shouma was initially against Kanba painting their house to cheer up Himari?  He fears drawing the attention of the self-righteous – or god forbid, the victims’ family – that would inevitably lead to their being persecuted.  Such fear is proven valid by Tabuki; friend of a Victim, the man ended up hurting/terrorizing the Takakura children - even while knowing it is wrong on a rational level.  Remember how Shouma refuses Ringo’s friendship for some episodes after finding out she is related to a Kiga Victim?  Japanese society corners the Criminal’s Family and the Victim’s Family both such that they can only be Enemies.  This is also why Shouma and Kanba MUST die (they present it as a magical erase/reincarnation) at the end:  Tokyo Subway Attack is a real life event, and having an anime showing the terrorists’ blood-related children flat-out surviving would cause public outrage in Japan even in this day.  Being “tainted” by their fathers’ blood, Shouma and Kanba (and even adopted Himari) can only be allowed happiness if they’re “no longer Takakuras”.  MP, being a Shoujo Fantasy, uses magic to accomplish this, and turns the boys’ “death” into something “freeing/rewarding”.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#86 | Back to Top04-03-2013 11:49:30 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

That was an educational read, shutin; thank you!  All I can say is that I hope that's not what PMMM was going for, because if so, then the show seems to be coming down in favor of the social bullying you describe. emot-frown

Offline

 

#87 | Back to Top04-03-2013 01:01:39 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

That sounds quite depressing.

Now I am reminded of Madoka's witch-form, though. Basically even as a monster, it seems like Madoka has good intentions (of course, we all know what they say about good intentions), going from the description:

"Witch of salvation. Her nature is mercy. She absorbs any life on the planet into her newly created heaven--her barrier. The only way to defeat this witch is to make the world free of misfortune. If there's no grief in this world, she will believe this world is already a heaven."

I don't remember if anyone's mentioned this yet.

Last edited by Lurv (04-03-2013 01:03:14 PM)

Offline

 

#88 | Back to Top04-03-2013 01:56:42 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

satyreyes wrote:

That was an educational read, shutin; thank you!  All I can say is that I hope that's not what PMMM was going for, because if so, then the show seems to be coming down in favor of the social bullying you describe. emot-frown

I'm glad you can even understand what I wrote, being I did it in such a hurry.

Anyway, to elaborate further . . .

There's an Asian saying that roughly translates to: the fish knows not what water is, being surrounded by it all the time.

I don't think the PMMM creators do it consciously; rather, their Jap background makes it such that they do the "grieving people becoming criminals becoming irredeemable" thing "matter-of-factly", because "criminals (and their families) = irredeemable = should be bullied" is very ingrained into their way of thinking.  Sure, in modern times, most educated Japanese know this is willful ignorance on a rational level (there are countless Jdramas exploring the flawed injustice brought on by this way of thinking).  But, the sentiment is still not dying out even today, because there are so many still hanging on to it, using it to justify their turning society's outcasts into venting targets.

I remember there's an Ikuhara Penguindrum interview where he says like the Japanese will be shocked/baffled by how supportive the Americans are of the family of criminals; that, and Ikuni said social bullying/shaming prevails in Japan because the country origins from a number of small villages/communities, where people are more prone to  ostracizing the ones who don't fit social conventions (criminals).  Reading that, I kinda understand where SKU's Anthy mob scene came from.

Lurv wrote:

That sounds quite depressing.

The Japanese do not shy away from depicting the depressing bits of their known world (Japanese Society) in their stories, even if such stories are meant for kids/teens.  Thus why their many angsty animes.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#89 | Back to Top04-03-2013 02:11:50 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Lurv wrote:

That sounds quite depressing.

The Japanese do not shy away from depicting the depressing bits of their known world (Japanese Society) in their stories, even if such stories are meant for kids/teens.  Thus why their many angsty animes.

I meant more how it's depressing how such an attitude is so common in the first place. However it's always interesting to see how reality affects media (and vica versa).

Offline

 

#90 | Back to Top04-03-2013 02:22:41 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Lurv wrote:

I meant more how it's depressing how such an attitude is so common in the first place. However it's always interesting to see how reality affects media (and vica versa).

*Nods.*

As for the vice versa part, there are a lot of JDrama shows already preaching the "attacking criminals' family is wrong" message . . . but it is still happening, and might take more decades to completely fade away.  As for the "people should not be condemned/made-to-atone forever and ever" message . . . that is still less than visible in J Media.  It might take them a while to change 'tides on that


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#91 | Back to Top04-03-2013 02:27:13 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

No, but I imagine it has an over all better effect than if they just continued making shows that demonized criminals and their family. At least I think media takes a part in shaping our views, but that's somewhat off-topic.

Offline

 

#92 | Back to Top04-04-2013 11:13:33 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Having thought about it a bit more , I got a little more (hopefully valid) insight on the following:

satyreyes wrote:

Grief certainly can make people act cynically -- one thing that comes through loud and clear in PMMM is that cynics are disappointed idealists, which is true -- but from there to "some people are irredeemable" is quite a leap.

Looking back on SKU and Penguindurm, I can’t help but notice how both shows present the “main villains” as “disappointed idealists hurt by grief”:  Akio was once the noble Dios (his backstory make him seem almost like a male version of a PMMM witch), Mikage was once the “good” scientist Nemuro trying to help the Chidas before grief at Tokiko’s fling with Akio twisted his soul, Sanetoshi was originally some life-saving doctor before his disappointment in the world turned him evil, Terrorist Daddy Takakura was definitely a disappointed idealist . . . none of these villains were ever “redeemed” within those shows.  There are a number other animes whose villains are also idealists in their backstories.  Perhaps it is tradition Japanese storytelling for the “villain of substance” to be evil cynics who are disappointed idealists?


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#93 | Back to Top04-04-2013 11:43:55 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I think there's a clear difference between the likes of Akio and PMMM's witches, though.  The witches in PMMM are presented as forces of sheer malice, hardly even sentient, just forces of murder and mayhem.  We never see a witch do anything except try to kill people, and we learn from Kyubey and Homura that there is no known way to reverse the transformation.  Turning into a witch is like turning into a rabid animal.

Akio is not that.  Akio is an agent.  It's true that, like some of PMMM's witches, he once tried to save everyone but then fell from grace; but he remains fallen because he chooses to remain fallen.  Contrast Anthy: a witch, certainly embittered, who does things that are evil, but who at the show's climax chooses a different path.  Akio and Anthy are each responsible for their actions, which is why it's meaningful that Anthy changes and Akio doesn't.  PMMM's witches are not like either one of them, because once you become a witch there is no changing back.  They have to be killed, but you can't really hold them responsible for what they do; it's their nature.

I'm not saying that makes them bad villains.  I'm saying that it troubles me when the symbolic journey of a teenager, embodied in PMMM by the life cycle of a magical girl, takes her -- not just from idealist to cynic -- but from idealist to sadist that has to be destroyed.  That's just bizarre.  SKU's take on adulthood, which acknowledges that many adults are corrupted but leaves open the possibility of change, rings much truer to me.

Offline

 

#94 | Back to Top04-05-2013 12:10:33 AM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

satyreyes wrote:

The witches in PMMM are presented as forces of sheer malice, hardly even sentient, just forces of murder and mayhem.  We never see a witch do anything except try to kill people, and we learn from Kyubey and Homura that there is no known way to reverse the transformation.  Turning into a witch is like turning into a rabid animal.

I saw it more as a teenage girl's negative emotions manifesting as physically destructive.  Girls tend to internalize their feelings, destroying themselves from within.  Despite the belief that girls are supposed to be emotionally intuitive and more open than boys, when it comes to struggle and loss girls are more likely to blame themselves and internalize trauma.  They become withdrawn instead of acting out.  Only the larger Witches have enough power and collective strength to cause damage without a labyrinth.  Otherwise all witches MO is to destroy... by luring other's into their own self-destructive psyches first.  Actually, that makes sense with larger Witches like Walpurgisnacht.  She can destroy things without a labyrinth because her labyrinth is large enough to encompass entire cities.  She's an amalgamation of other witches.  Her pain and negative emotions were accepted and shared by others, in a sense, making them no longer purely internal and self-directed.  Her darkness became something social, not individual.

I also assumed you cannot recover from Witch-hood because it was not a metaphor for lost innocence, or even something as simple as depression, but the complete loss of hope.  Like, suicide.  The Magi became witches after their own grief and ever increasing sense of powerlessness convinced them there was literally nothing else they could do.  Everyone will some day die, just as every Magi's soul gem will one day become too corrupted and they will transform.  But you can end it early.  Sayaka chose to neglect her soul gem and burn up her magic by exploiting her regenerative abilities.  You could also carefully extend your life, like Kyoko, who hoarded grief seeds and measured her magic use.  But short of being killed off by a Witch or an act of self-sacrifice, becoming a Witch in utter despair is utterly unavoidable due to the harrowing lifestyle and demands of being a Magi. 

Is it a perfect metaphor?  Not really.  All metaphors eventually break down.

Offline

 

#95 | Back to Top04-05-2013 12:00:57 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

satyreyes wrote:

It's true that, like some of PMMM's witches, he once tried to save everyone but then fell from grace; but he remains fallen because he chooses to remain fallen.  Contrast Anthy: a witch, certainly embittered, who does things that are evil, but who at the show's climax chooses a different path.  Akio and Anthy are each responsible for their actions, which is why it's meaningful that Anthy changes and Akio doesn't.  PMMM's witches are not like either one of them, because once you become a witch there is no changing back.  They have to be killed, but you can't really hold them responsible for what they do; it's their nature.

Oh yes, the difference between PMMM witches and SKU’s Double A are that the former are presented as mindless, compulsion-driven entities, and the latter “intelligent and capable of deep thoughts”.

That being said, does having intelligence/sentience makes a destructive-entity (villain) more easily redeemable versus those who don’t? 

The PMMM witches’ non-sentient quality seems to me a storytelling device employed to empathize the “difficult to reach” quality of the “grieving idealists turn villains”.  Like Sanetoshi in MP, the PMMM witches are presented as “metaphors”, so the writers can get their points across via less complicated scripting than those used on the highly fleshed SKU Double A. 

In the case of Anthy’s “change”, we must remember: even after the seemingly heart-opening night on the rooftop with Utena (EP37), she still chooses to backstab her in the final duel (EP38-39).   This means that Utena really hasn’t gotten through to her, not even after all they’ve been through together.   If it wasn’t for Utena braving the Swords of Hate, and showing Anthy that someone is willing to take what she sees as the ultimate pain/horror - even after just getting backstabbed by her - Anthy could never have mustered up the resolve to change.   Had Utena done the same for Akio (who, unlike Anthy, donned a “competent guise” instead of a “victim guise” despite being in similar situation to her), who’s to say that Akio will not change?  In the end, despite being almost equal in intelligence and malice, “changing” does not seem like a “choice” on Double A’s part – it was up to Utena to chose who gets saved. 

Much like how it was ultimately Madoka’s choice on who (Witches, not ordinary people still hounded by Monsters) gets saved and how (by remolding the World). 

Difference in sentient-levels aside, I see the Villains in both PMMM and SKU being presented as passive, choice-lacking figures when it comes to being redeemed – it is the Savior Figure, not the Villains, who hold the choice on who gets to be redeemed and who don't.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#96 | Back to Top04-05-2013 12:52:03 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

gorgeousshutin wrote:

In the case of Anthy’s “change”, we must remember: even after the seemingly heart-opening night on the rooftop with Utena (EP37), she still chooses to backstab her in the final duel (EP38-39).   This means that Utena really hasn’t gotten through to her, not even after all they’ve been through together.   If it wasn’t for Utena braving the Swords of Hate, and showing Anthy that someone is willing to take what she sees as the ultimate pain/horror - even after just getting backstabbed by her - Anthy could never have mustered up the resolve to change.   Had Utena done the same for Akio (who, unlike Anthy, donned a “competent guise” instead of a “victim guise” despite being in similar situation to her), who’s to say that Akio will not change?  In the end, despite being almost equal in intelligence and malice, “changing” does not seem like a “choice” on Double A’s part – it was up to Utena to chose who gets saved.

This, in my opinion, fundamentally misreads the series in a way that would take us way too far off on a tangent to pursue in this thread.  Suffice it to say that I believe Anthy redeems herself -- she is not redeemed by Utena, though of course Utena was indispensable in the process -- and that Akio doesn't change because Akio basically doesn't want to change, while Anthy basically does.  To bring it back around to PMMM, both Anthy and Akio are most certainly "difficult to reach," as you suggest, but that distinguishes them from PMMM's witches, who are impossible to reach.  There's a whole big emotional scene where Madoka goes into Sayaka's labyrinth just to try to reach her, and there's no reaction whatsoever.  What a contrast with Akio, who recognizes and exploits the love and desire that other people bear for him.  You can reach Akio.  He's a human being.  A conniving, selfish, and manipulative human being, but a human being.

OITL wrote:

I also assumed you cannot recover from Witch-hood because it was not a metaphor for lost innocence, or even something as simple as depression, but the complete loss of hope.  Like, suicide.  The Magi became witches after their own grief and ever increasing sense of powerlessness convinced them there was literally nothing else they could do.  Everyone will some day die, just as every Magi's soul gem will one day become too corrupted and they will transform.  But you can end it early.  Sayaka chose to neglect her soul gem and burn up her magic by exploiting her regenerative abilities.  You could also carefully extend your life, like Kyoko, who hoarded grief seeds and measured her magic use.  But short of being killed off by a Witch or an act of self-sacrifice, becoming a Witch in utter despair is utterly unavoidable due to the harrowing lifestyle and demands of being a Magi.

This is interesting.  As you say, it's true that all metaphors break down somewhere, but if becoming a witch is analogous to committing suicide out of grief or disillusionment, then I understand the show's symbolism even less than I thought.  How can they be dead and also lure others into their self-destructive psyches?  If becoming a witch is suicide, then what is heroic self-sacrifice, and what is Kyoko-style hoarding?  Is there no way to grow up without dying that doesn't involve hurting others to survive like Kyoko?  If the happy ending is that Madoka stops people from becoming witches, then is the message that we should kill troubled people before they can kill themselves?  The more I think about it the more confused I get.  I think maybe Kita nailed it, and the show, to the extent that its goal is to deconstruct mahou shoujo and also give us coherent emotional allegory at the same time, is a noble failure.

Offline

 

#97 | Back to Top04-05-2013 01:40:15 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

satyreyes wrote:

If the happy ending is that Madoka stops people from becoming witches, then is the message that we should kill troubled people before they can kill themselves?

But the PMMM witches are really symbolic of “troubled people who can hurt/kill not just themselves, but many others as well”.  And if I’m not wrong, both (parts of) US and Japan use the death penalty to rid themselves of troubled people who are proven threats to society.  A Japanese anime using ridding of witches to symbolize “killing troubled people who you know will keep on killing others” does not seem like a big leap to me.

There's a whole big emotional scene where Madoka goes into Sayaka's labyrinth just to try to reach her, and there's no reaction whatsoever.  What a contrast with Akio, who recognizes and exploits the love and desire that other people bear for him.  You can reach Akio.

I think this has to do with how the viewer choose to interpret this.

Things are highly symbolic in PMMM: the “no reaction” could easily mean Sayaka-Witch being so set on her twisted grief that she purposely shut out Madoka’s words as she grieves/destroys on, instead of her being a complete veggie brain who really cannot comprehend plain words spoken to her.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#98 | Back to Top04-05-2013 03:40:10 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

gorgeousshutin wrote:

satyreyes wrote:

If the happy ending is that Madoka stops people from becoming witches, then is the message that we should kill troubled people before they can kill themselves?

But the PMMM witches are really symbolic of “troubled people who can hurt/kill not just themselves, but many others as well”.  And if I’m not wrong, both (parts of) US and Japan use the death penalty to rid themselves of troubled people who are proven threats to society.  A Japanese anime using ridding of witches to symbolize “killing troubled people who you know will keep on killing others” does not seem like a big leap to me.

I was responding to OITL's idea that becoming a witch represents committing suicide.  Someone who has committed suicide is no longer a threat to other people, which gave rise to the disconnect I was posting about.

Things are highly symbolic in PMMM: the “no reaction” could easily mean Sayaka-Witch being so set on her twisted grief that she purposely shut out Madoka’s words as she grieves/destroys on, instead of her being a complete veggie brain who really cannot comprehend plain words spoken to her.

To take this idea seriously, I would need very little evidence.  I would just need to see one example of one witch anywhere in the series who comprehends and reacts to the words or feelings of human beings (or magical girls) on a human level.  Did this happen and I overlooked it?  It seems to me that if it never happens even once, then it's strange to assume that it could.  That's just not the kind of being that witches are.  It would be like assuming that Tolkien's orcs are really empathic and potentially redeemable villains, even though they're famously portrayed as one-note brute antagonists.

The other thing is that you say "things are highly symbolic in PMMM," but there's no symbolism involved in whether or not Sayaka can react to Madoka on a human level.  You meant to say "things are left highly implicit in PMMM."  But they're not!  Characters in PMMM come out and tell us what they're feeling.  Even the most mysterious character, Homura, spills her guts eventually.  So it's a little strange to think that in this one instance, Sayaka is having all these feels and the show doesn't clue us in.

Last edited by satyreyes (04-05-2013 03:49:41 PM)

Offline

 

#99 | Back to Top04-05-2013 04:50:27 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

satyreyes wrote:

The other thing is that you say "things are highly symbolic in PMMM," but there's no symbolism involved in whether or not Sayaka can react to Madoka on a human level.  You meant to say "things are left highly implicit in PMMM."  But they're not!  Characters in PMMM come out and tell us what they're feeling.

When I say symbolic, I was talking more about how much of PMMM – from the “grieving girls turn villains/witches” to the “universe energy/karma balance” – is highly symbolic.   I could be wrong, but shows going that heavily into symbolism tend not to be of that blatant, “everything shown plainly on the surface” variety, even if the main characters are speaking a lot of their minds.

Being that I no longer have the show with me, I can no longer rewatch to confirm if there are solid evidences that witches are “thought-capable”.  That said, I myself have always assumed that even without such evidences, the PMMM Witches’ current presentation is meant by the creators as more “hard to get through/set on their destructive ways” than “mindless”.  For one, the Witches having "Labyrinths" reflecting their subconscious mind-states seem to me the creators’ way of saying that Witches still have minds deep down inside.
 
Supposing if the creators really intends for PMMM to be about “grieving girls turn mindless monsters”, then the show would be even less relevant to the real world than I’m already finding it to be.  Whatever emotional allegory it tries establishing would’ve flat out failed, leaving PMMM just some random monster show with violence and angst, albeit one with a young girl cast and girl-specific angsting.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (04-21-2013 11:25:51 AM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

Offline

 

#100 | Back to Top04-05-2013 05:23:41 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

The whole show is free and legal on Crunchyroll if you really want to go look for examples. emot-smile

shutin wrote:

Supposing if the creators really intends for PMMM to be about “grieving girls turn mindless monsters”, then the show would be even less relevant to the real world than I’m already finding it to be.

This is my concern exactly.

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB 1.2.23
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB
Forum styled and maintained by Giovanna and Yasha
Return to Empty Movement