Chatty AF 147: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rewatchalong – Rebellion (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist September 12, 20210 Comments

Vrai, Alex, and Mercedez return to their rewatchalong to watch the infamous movie, unpack that last 15 minutes, and discuss how it colors the franchise as a whole.

Episode Information

Date Recorded: May 22nd, 2021
Hosts: Vrai, Alex, and Mercedez

Episode Breakdown

0:00:00 Intros
0:01:58 Theatrical release
0:06:08 Timeline
0:11:16 The first 100 minutes
0:15:42 Mystery/horror narrative
0:18:29 Ikuhara but bad
0:21:46 Witches and gays
0:25:02 It’s homophobic though
0:27:11 The bad quotes 
0:30:21 Homura’s Fall
0:41:28 Male authors and lack of nuance
0:50:00 The epilogue
0:56:38 The real suffering porn
1:00:37 Does the movie negate the series?
1:02:28 Final thoughts
1:06:42 Outro

Further Reading

Against the World: Madoka Rebellion, saviorism, and abolitionist schooling

VRAI: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast, and our third and final episode of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica rewatchalong, focusing on the film Rebellion. My name is Vrai Kaiser. I’m a contributor and content editor at Anime Feminist. You can find me on the Twitters @WriterVrai, where I post my freelance stuff, or @trashpod, a podcast I cohost talking about weird and trashy media and queer stuff.

ALEX: I am Alex. I’m a contributions editor here at AniFem. In my daytime life, I’m a research student studying queer fiction. And by the time this episode goes live, I am probably either just about to submit my PhD or have just submitted my PhD. So, follow me on Twitter @TheAfictionado to see how much I’m screaming.

MERCEDEZ: Oh! Clap, clap, clap, congrats! Hey, y’all! It’s your girl, Mercedez. [Chuckles] And I am also a contributing editor here at Anime Feminist. And in my daytime life I am a localization editor, proofreader in QA, as well as a freelance journalist who is really into Super Cub. That’s all I’m into: Super Cub.

ALEX: Number one Super Cub stan. Someone has to be. I love it.

MERCEDEZ: Super Cub and Idoly Pride: that’s my personality. [Chuckles] And also being really angry at this movie.

VRAI: Very different from where we’re at.

MERCEDEZ: That’s also my personality.

ALEX: [Chuckles]

VRAI: Yeah. Y’all knew this was coming. So, we are going to put aside the ending and do all the other things first, which… So, before we get into the film proper, Alex, you mentioned off mic that you saw this in a theater, and I very much want you to tell me what that was like.

ALEX: Oh, yes. So, this was actually very interesting to look back on because in our first episode, of course, we talked about how this anime came out at a time where the fandom landscape was sort of shifting. And looking back on the movie release is a really interesting little time capsule of how much anime distribution has changed. 

See, I remember this. This came out. This was an event. It was only screening for one session—maybe two, but I think it was just one—that you had to book in for. We had to go to the fancy art house cinema in the city, the one that shows all the foreign films. 

But it was really fun actually, because they had posters they were giving out if you had booked tickets. They might have even had… because this was distributed by Madman Entertainment, who is a fantastic company based here in Australia, who also run AnimeLab, or at least they did before it got folded into Funimation. Basically, if you have any Australian anime fan, Madman has had a big part in their journey because they are the ones getting us the obscure DVDs and the translations and the movie releases. 

And so this was a really cool event put together by them where they were like, “Yeah, come on, Madoka fans. Come and have a special event and see this great continuation of the series you love so much.” It was very, very exciting. 

And of course now, that’s really interesting to contrast to the Demon Slayer movie being absolutely everywhere and breaking worldwide box office records and every seemingly obscure spinoff of a spinoff series… their movie is getting a wide release. And I don’t even have to go to the art house cinema. I can just go to the local Hoyts. Yeah, it really threw into sharp relief how the landscape has changed and the mainstreaming of anime. It is very intriguing.

VRAI: That reminds me of when I drove four hours to see Tiger & Bunny: The Rising in an Alamo Drafthouse.

ALEX: [crosstalk] Ha-ha, yes!

MERCEDEZ: But absolutely worth it for some TiBunny.

VRAI: That movie sure is incomplete, but it’s fun.

MERCEDEZ: It is fascinating, because revisiting Madoka Rebellion in a year where, first of all, there was the announcement by… I believe it was Kadokawa. They were like, “We’re gonna make all of the anime, so much anime, more anime than you can handle.” It’s interesting living in a time where there’s almost, dare I say, too much anime, considering back in 2013 I would still say anime was pretty niche. It was gathering steam. 

Certainly nowadays, Demon Slayer is so well known. Anime and manga are no longer the niche, like your backroom anime club at your high school or college thing, but very much so was in that space. And this movie also came out at, I would say, one of Tumblr’s peaks, which is how I engaged with it. [Chuckles]

VRAI: Yeah, that 2009-2013 Tumblr and then 2014 up until the porn ban is definitely two different eras of Tumblr.

MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] God, it is. And we’ll never get it back. And I’m okay with that.


MERCEDEZ: But that is interesting that you saw it in a theater because I definitely—full transparency—saw it illegally in anime club. [Laughs] Somebody had burnt the fansub onto a DVD so it felt authentic.

ALEX: Oh! [Laughs] You gotta appreciate that dedication to authenticity.

MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Giving the effort.

ALEX: In any case, I saw this movie in the cinema. And I have not actually seen it since until I rewatched it now in the year of our Lord 2021. So this was a very interesting experience. I had a much bigger gap. And I was kind of like, “Well, okay, I had some strong feelings about it back in the day, but I’ll go in with an open mind.”

MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles]

ALEX: Yeah. Okay, so here’s the thing. I know this movie is somewhat polarizing, but I don’t think it’s too much of a controversial statement to say that I actually really liked most of this film. This is actually a perfectly fun, delightful, very interesting series continuation with 20 minutes of a weird little sequel hook stuck to the end with craft glue. But I think—

MERCEDEZ: This movie slaps. I’mma side with you. This movie slaps.

ALEX: It’s good. I really enjoy it. I was kind of surprised, pleasantly surprised.

MERCEDEZ: Vrai, was this your first rewatch since 2013 as well? Have you seen this since then?

VRAI: Yeah, so I kind of osmosed the movie back around when it came out. I think I watched a very bad fansub and then walked away super mad. Yeah, so this is the first time I’ve really thought much about anything but those last 20 minutes since then. And I will agree that the first 100 minutes of this 120-minute movie are quite enjoyable and thematically sound. 

I actually want to hit everyone at home with some technical details that I think will extremely situate the discussion we’re about to have. So, the series comes out in 2011, as we discussed last time. There are two recap films released in October of 2012. And then this movie comes out October 2013. And it makes so much fucking money, 2.08 billion yen, and that’s just at the Japanese office box. That is not the worldwide take.

MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] What? Excuse me, what? Yo! That’s some cash money.

VRAI: It made a fuckwad of money.


VRAI: There is a three-volume manga adaptation that is still in print digitally by…

MERCEDEZ: It is by Yen Press.

VRAI: It’s Kadokawa, so… But I did not read it because I wasn’t going to spend 20 bucks to get a tie-in manga.

MERCEDEZ: I do think that they’re gonna do an omnibus of it, though, because that’s what they’ve been doing with all of the Madoka series manga. So, it’ll be out of print. I mean, it’ll be back in print in a different form.

VRAI: That’ll be interesting. I might give it a gander once it does that. So, 2013, makes a fuckload of money, and then nothing. And there’s all of the spinoff mangas, there’s Magia Record, the franchise is motoring along making all of the monies. People like me are pissed off at that ending that is a blatant sequel hook, like you mentioned, and then it doesn’t do anything with that. 

And then on April 25th of 2021, they announce Walpurgis no Kaiten, loosely “Walpurgis’s Rotation,” I think, which is the sequel to…

MERCEDEZ: Yeah. I want to say that the official sequel title is like “The Turning of Walspurgisnacht.” I’m not really sure. Don’t quote me on that, because I don’t know if I’ve actually seen the new title, but I feel like I saw that put out, that it was like…

VRAI: That sounds like a better, more professional translation than me plugging it into Google Translate into English.

MERCEDEZ: I’m genuinely not sure what the new title is gonna be.

VRAI: Rebellion sequel. That’s good enough for now.

ALEX: Most importantly, I think no one can quite predict what the story is going to be.

MERCEDEZ: No clue.

VRAI: Yeah. So here’s the thing. Urobuchi, when the sequel was announced, mentioned on his Twitter that he wrote this script for the sequel before he went off to work on Thunderbolt Fantasy, which is his puppet wuxia show, where he seems much happier and more well-adjusted now, frankly. That show is fun. 

But also relevant to this conversation is that he started working on Thunderbolt Fantasy in 2015, which means that this sequel has just been sitting on somebody’s desk for six years.

ALEX: That seems, if nothing else, like a very odd marketing decision. I can only assume with no insider knowledge that, I don’t know, a memo slid across the desk and they were like, “You know what’s selling really well? Mobile games.” And they said, “Okay, we’ll set this aside. We’ll put a pin in the movie we left a massive cliffhanger on. It’ll be fine. We’ll come back to it.” I don’t know. That’s all I can think that may have happened.

MERCEDEZ: That can bite my entire butt. That makes me so mad.

VRAI: There is a lengthy interview in the Blu-ray book of the Rebellion Blu-ray, which will be relevant for us to talk about, I think. But before I mention those quotes, I believe in the compliment sandwich theory, so let’s talk about that first 100 minutes for a little while.

MERCEDEZ: They are chef’s kiss. They are so good. They feel like the most beautiful, scenic ballet. You can feel the movements. There’s so much sapphic romance. It’s so good. I do see in your notes that you wrote “thigh sakuga,” which has me on the ground, Vrai. [Chuckles]

VRAI: I’m right and I should say it. [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: Oh my god. No, it’s good. It’s really good. It’s kind of everything you really wanted from the series when you thought Madoka was going to be a magical girl in, like, episode 2.

VRAI: Well, I don’t love the thigh sakuga.

MERCEDEZ: Oh, no, I don’t either.

VRAI: It feels creepy in a way that undermines the stuff that comes later.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, let’s make that clear. I’m not here for thigh sakuga. We all felt uncomfortable, I’m going to assume.

VRAI: I knew what you meant, but I wanted to clarify for the audience.

ALEX: [crosstalk] It’s interesting, because this is a very fanservicey movie. Both fanservice in the traditional way we usually use it in terms of “Ooh, the camera is on the thigh or Mami’s bust as she walks into a room,” things like that; but also, I’m like, yes, I am a fan, and this is a service to me, because it’s very fanficcy, and I don’t mean that detrimentally. 

It’s very much like it had a fun what-if energy that really feels like it comes from the mind and the heart of a lot of fans who were like, “Well, what if we could see this as a more traditional tropey magical girl show? What if we could explore these characters in different contexts?” It’s kinda fun that way.

MERCEDEZ: Oh my God. This is absolutely from Urobuchi’s secret Archive of Our Own account. [Chuckles] Because it has this kind of grandness of a timeline AU mashed up with AU-like hypermagical, because it’s just magic everywhere. Everywhere! And it’s so cool and it’s so good and, thigh sakuga aside, is really beautiful. And it feels like you’re watching a ballet.

ALEX: It does. It feels like they have that… “Okay, you guys made the most of that big cinema budget, didn’t you?” The dancing transformation scenes are so cool. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. It’s just fun until later.

MERCEDEZ: It has so much flavor, too. They have so much flavor in those transformation scenes. I don’t think in the anime we ever get a proper transformation sequence that’s fully fleshed out. And you have Mami, who kind of moves like a gymnast, and you’ve got Sayaka, who breakdances and also throws her Soul Gem, which… I don’t know if y’all caught that, but that made me gasp and pause because I was like, “Wow, that’s hard.”

ALEX: And she runs. She does a thing where she runs, she sprints towards her own body and crashes through and becomes her magical girl self. Oh, yes, the visual symbolism. [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: I will ding Kyoko because hers has a weird, scare-quotes, “Arabian” vibe to it. And I was like, “Oh, that don’t feel good. That don’t feel great.”

ALEX: My favorite part of the dance sequence… I don’t know if you guys picked up on this, but there is a bit where Mami’s spinning— Sorry, forgive my broad Australian accent coming into the Japanese names. [Chuckles]

VRAI: It’s very charming. Carry on.

ALEX: There’s a part where Mami is spinning and the animation kind of smears, so it looks like her head isn’t attached to her body. Um… [Chuckles] Which I was like, “Mm, okay, I see. I see what you’re putting there.”

MERCEDEZ: And there’s a lot of juicy nuggets of callback. If you watched the main series, the first 100 and some odd minutes are absolutely a callback paradise, which is really neat. I think that’s actually really neat, because it barely almost gives away the plot if you’re a really keen viewer, but it’s just enough to keep you hooked and it’s really well done.

VRAI: So, that was actually my question, because even before I saw the movie the first time, I knew about the ending. So it was definitely my question: does this really work as a mystery plot? Is it even supposed to? And Alex, you have in the notes that it’s definitely more horror film than anything else.

ALEX: I was gonna say, yeah. I was rewatching it this time and I was sitting there appreciating the fact that this is a horror narrative. But the horror uniquely comes from juxtaposing what you are seeing versus what you know, which, again, has that great fanfiction energy to it. 

Yeah, there’s things like, you will catch that bit in the dance animation where Mami’s head seems to not be attached, or you will see that bit where they’re having lunch and someone’s made little cakes or whatever shaped like the Soul Gems, and Kyubey eats one of them, and it’s like “How cute,” except it’s not cute because you, the audience, know. 

And they know that you know, and you know that they know you know, so it’s this great sort of eerie conversation that builds up this unsettling air for the whole first act.

MERCEDEZ: It’s kind of like a locked room mystery in a really interesting way because there is this huge horror element of “Something is off,” and I really actually like that the movie never lets up on the “Something is off. Can’t you feel it?” vibe. But it’s kind of like a big locked room mystery until it isn’t, until the door gets unlocked and you realize, “Oh, mystery is us.” 

And even that twist… I’ll admit that twist got me this time. I knew what was gonna happen and I was still like [gasps] “For real, Urobuchi?”


ALEX: It’s honestly really cool.

VRAI: Which twist? The real twist or the bullshit twist? Because there’s two.

MERCEDEZ: The really good twist, not the BS one. The good one where Urobuchi sat down and took out his little notebook and was like, “I’mma do it right for the fans. No more messing with them. I’mma hurt a young woman, and this time I’ll have a plan, unlike the other times.”


MERCEDEZ: That’s right. This is a callout podcast. Anyway…

VRAI: Get him.

MERCEDEZ: No, the real twist is really good. And it’s beautiful. It’s this beautiful, sprawling, incredibly filmic scene. And that’s one of the strengths of this movie. It is animated, for sure, but it feels filmic. There’s some beautiful cinematography, there’s really good shots, there’s really good angles, and I love that about this. I love that even, gosh, eight years later the movie still resonates as this really beautiful piece of cinematography. It’s excellent.

VRAI: I will say, speaking of callout posts, I need to take a minute to get up on my soapbox and say, “My God, this movie is really just Shaft chomping Ikuhara’s flavor.”

ALEX: [Laughs]

VRAI: Because this movie wants to be Adolescence of Utena—the movie that looked like an AU retelling and then turned out to be a sequel—so bad that it actively hurts!

MERCEDEZ: So, I’ll say for me, I don’t know enough about Ikuhara because I’ve never watched anything by him.

VRAI: We’re gonna fix that someday. Don’t worry.

MERCEDEZ: I’ve never seen Utena. I’ve never seen… What’s the one with the butt balls?

VRAI: Sarazanmai.

ALEX: [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: Love that I can just say that.

VRAI: [crosstalk] She’s not wrong. She’s not wrong.

MERCEDEZ: Is it… Penguindrum is another one?

VRAI: Uh-huh.

MERCEDEZ: Oh, and Yurikuma Arashi.

ALEX: [crosstalk] Yeah, I think you meant Yuri Bear Storm. [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: Oh my God.

VRAI: [crosstalk] God, kill me.

MERCEDEZ: No, Tokyopop, why? Why’d you go with that manga title? Why does anyone translate it like that? But I believe you on that Ikuhara thing. I’ll trust your judgment.

VRAI: It’s doing its own thing and part of me is just being pedantic, but to a certain extent, it does have that same structure of Adolescence [that] has confused people for years, like, “Is this an AU that got to be gayer? Is it a sequel?” It’s the latter. 

But Utena is also maybe one of the most famous works in all of fiction to reference Hermann Hesse and his novel Demian. So you can’t just lift a quote from Demian, Urobuchi, and have it not be an Utena reference, which is the whole motif about “If a chick cannot crack its shell, it’ll die without being born.” That’s the biggest, biggest central motif of the original Utena. So, like…

MERCEDEZ: That’s really fascinating because I didn’t know that, and that kind of does contextualize a lot of things. And granted, I know all art… You know, people always say nothing is original and everything is inspired by something, but that actually kind of is interesting that they may be like, “We’re definitely inspired by Adolescence of Utena.”

ALEX: I mean, you’re kind of at a stage where you sort of… This is not universally true, of course, but I feel like to a certain extent you can’t make a deconstructive or dark magical girl show—and you certainly can’t make a sapphic magical girl show—without paying at least a little bit of change to Utena, kind of like nodding to your elders as you go past, saying hello to those who went before, because it was so formative and…

MERCEDEZ: Question.

ALEX: Yes.

MERCEDEZ: Is Utena gay?

ALEX: Yes!

VRAI: Utena’s quite gay. They don’t kiss until the movie.

MERCEDEZ: Wait, they kiss?

VRAI: It’s like the beautiful reflection where this [Madoka] movie is only extremely explicitly gay but in a hateful, horrible way, whereas [in] Utena the series is subtexty because it’s 1996 and it aired on primetime TV and the movie’s in the theater, so it gets to be loudly gay on screen as much as possible.

MERCEDEZ: Okay, see, so, now you said that and I think we’re into the “All right, let’s get into it” section because…

VRAI: Yeah, now we gotta do the thing.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, because this movie is homophobic.

VRAI: Okay, wait, wait, before we get into it being homophobic, I do want to say one more nice thing about the movie at large.

MERCEDEZ: Oh, I guess so.

VRAI: I love that this is a complete film that closes up the loose ends of the TV series where the witches come back and are restorative forces working alongside the magical girls, and that really closes up that unresolved tragic element of “Oh, I guess this just happens and then we’re doomed.” No, witches still have power and selfhood and sentience. And it’s really good, that final battle against Kyubey. It’s so good!

MERCEDEZ: Yeah. I thought to myself as that battle was happening, seeing my sweet child Sayaka come back and use her witch is really interesting, and I love that she’s able to snatch that witch out of the Law of Cycles and harness that power. 

But it’s also interesting seeing her almost as a valkyrie for Madoka. She’s Madoka’s shield. She’s here with a purpose, and she was charged specifically with retaining Madoka’s memories. That’s one of the big things about Sayaka. 

And it’s interesting seeing her, the girl who so desperately in the original main series wanted to be that for Madoka. It’s so beautiful to see that she comes back because she wants to protect a friend. She loves her friend so immensely and is so grateful for the fact that her friend loves her. Then she comes back and she harnesses this ability, this darkness that the series shows and depicts in the form of witches. She harnesses Octavia and helps her friend! It’s so sweet. It made me cry.

VRAI: Then she tells Kyoko that her one regret was leaving her behind, and it’s really gay!

ALEX: [crosstalk] Yes, and they hold hands in the battle, and I’m like, “This is fanservice, but it’s fanservice for me.” [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: They stop short of these two young women kissing. It is this deeply beautiful romantic moment. And it’s also really powerful because their positions are flipped. Sayaka’s saving Kyoko this time instead of Kyoko ultimately being the one who kind of saves Sayaka. It’s really good! Ah! It’s so good!

ALEX: It feels sort of facetious, but I also love how it’s just this movie doesn’t give a shit about violin boy, just like “Oh, he’s just a crappy 14-year-old, crappy boyfriend. Whatever.” And Sayaka’s like, “I’m over him. He sucks.” And Hitomi’s like, “Ah, he sucks and I feel neglected.” I’m like, “Ay!” [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: I love that we never see him. We just hear him as a disembodied voice. And that’s just great.

ALEX: On the one hand, it kind of feels— I don’t know. Sayaka died for this guy, basically, so on one hand, it feels like it’s kind of invalidating that. On the other, it’s extremely funny that Sayaka’s just like “Eh, whatever,” and then ends up with her girlfriend. [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: More power to her, though. Love it. Love it.

VRAI: [Sighs] Okay, highest highs, lowest lows. This movie’s fucking homophobic at the end.

ALEX: [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: [Sighs] Y’all, y’all, I don’t even know what to say other than it is incredibly painful to me that this movie’s message ultimately is: if you love a woman enough, the only thing you deserve is punishment because you’re greedy and you’re selfish and your desire is twisted, and oh, yeah, what you deserve is death imagery, and to ultimately—potentially trigger—die by suicide. 

It’s really gross that this movie did this. And I don’t think I had that language at the time when I saw it. But eight years later, I was heartbroken by the fact that this movie really wants you to remember it’s made for men. It’s not made for a queer audience. It’s not made for women who love women, for anyone who is in a queer relationship. It’s made for cis men, and the suffering is made for cis men.

ALEX: It comes so close. And I don’t know that I can 100% blame Urobuchi for this one either, because it feels so strongly like I can picture him in a room writing out the script, and then several arms-wearing-suits representing the executives come in and grab his wrist and are like, “No, no, keep writing. We have to make more money off this.” 

You hit one hour and 35 minutes, and you can literally hit pause, unplug your computer and throw it out the window into the ocean. And the movie feels done. It’s building up so obviously to a conclusion and a finale, and then it’s like, “Oh! Oops! Skrrrt! We’re doing something else now. Quick. Sequel hook. Vindictive.” “Uh… she’s the devil.” 

It feels so tacked on. And it’s extremely bizarre from a writing perspective, as well as everything else. [Chuckles]

VRAI: This is the part where we unpin that pin and I tell you about the quotes from the movie brochure. So, I am reading from a fan translation, but I did have Chiaki check it over against the original text, which we will include in the show notes. So, this should be solid. So, if I may put it on my reading glasses…

“What kind of story did you think up first?”

Urobuchi: “From the start, the idea was ‘Homura has become a witch and the story takes place inside her barrier.’ But at the time, I wanted to end the story with Madoka taking Homura away with her. So, I thought the story would end this time for real.” He laughs. “But both Iwakami-san and Shinbo-san were like, ‘No, we want the story to keep going after this,’ and wouldn’t approve my script. So then when I was getting really worried, Shinbo-san was like, ‘Might as well just make Madoka and Homura into enemies.’ And the suggestion was basically the breakthrough. I really agreed that Homura might be plausible as Madoka’s equal opposite.”

“So the plot came together based on the concept of Madoka and Homura becoming enemies.”

“How do you feel about your work as screenplay writer in creating the new continuation to Madoka Magica for Rebellion?”

Urobuchi: “It was hard. It seems like another time now, but I remember having a tough time working on it. Back during the TV series, Iwakami-san and Shinbo-san had this kind of ‘Madoka Magica ought to be like this’ vision going on. At this point, I really felt like the series didn’t just belong to me anymore.”

“How do you want the fans to enjoy Rebellion?”

“Honestly, I think some will—” This translation says “beautify.” I have to wonder if that means “beatify,” given the religious implications. Punning.

MERCEDEZ: Well, I would say a better phrase would be like “Some will uplift it.”

VRAI: Gotcha. So, “some will uplift it and some will reject it completely. These days, static characters who don’t change are popular, and if characters ever change even a little bit, then there’ll be people who call that out of character and get angry. In this movie, Homura grows, and she changes. In the end, I’m a little worried as to whether people will accept a character like her, if they’ll think she’s OOC or that she’s evolved. I’ll be happy if people accept that Madoka Magica is the kind of drama where characters grow and change like this. But that’s up to the viewers to decide.”

MERCEDEZ: Hey, Vrai?

VRAI: Yeah?

MERCEDEZ: I want to fight Urobuchi in a 7/11 parking lot.

VRAI: I’ll bring a baseball bat. We’re gonna take this old man out at the knees.

MERCEDEZ: There are two wolves inside of me, listeners. There are two wolves. One of them is like, “Yeah, he’s actually quite right,” because what happened was that you had two camps: “Rebellion can do no wrong” and “Rebellion did all wrong.” And this was localized even to… Your anime club that saw it was probably split on this. I know mine was. We got into vicious nerd arguments over Little Caesars pizza.


MERCEDEZ: But also, I think where this falls apart for me and where the other wolf is, is like, “But you wrote it. Urobuchi, you wrote this!”

VRAI: It’s not just that, though. It’s such a strawman because even if we chop off the last 20 minutes, Homura does grow and change during the rest of the movie. 

She has an arc where she goes from being this incredibly closed-off self-sacrificial character who doesn’t think she can rely on anybody else and is prepared to commit, essentially, suicide into eternal martyrdom and suffering for her love for Madoka in this saintly way, and the other girls help her realize that community is what she needs and that she’s not alone and that they will help her if she reaches out to them. That is an arc! That is growth!

ALEX: And it’s a really good one, too, because, again, if you’re going to continue the series, I was sort of thinking what were they going to do with it. But of course, Homura is kind of the protagonist of the series in a way. We don’t really get to see that because she’s always moving in the background and operating on different timelines and stuff that we don’t get to see except in flashbacks. 

So having this movie be about Homura and have her be the hero, but also have her be saved, have her be the one who’s rescued for a change is a really beautiful switcheroo of the status quo of the series and, I think, a beautiful way to cap it off. So, yeah, it’s an arc. It’s done! And then there is this, stuck on with craft glue at the end. [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I mean… Okay, I need y’all to roll with me through this analogy.

VRAI: Carry on.

MERCEDEZ: I had a weird moment where, during Homura’s “fall,” as it were, because this movie is dripping with Christian allegory, which really is weird considering that the original series was not…

ALEX: It gets very Catholic.

VRAI: It’s a super weird change.

MERCEDEZ: It’s weird, but during her fall, what came to mind was… [Chuckles] I’m sorry. I have to get this out. What came to mind was “Call Me by Your Name” by Lil Nas X, where—

ALEX: [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles] —wherein he does this arc better, because what he does is he embraces the fact that if society is going to see me as this, if my actions are going to be perceived as being scare-quotes “evil,” I’m fully going to embrace it and do chaotic, reckless good. Whereas this movie punishes Homura and is like, “Oh. Okay, you had an arc, but no, no, no. No, no, no. No happiness.”

VRAI: I think at this point it has reached the stage of mimesis where people hear about the ending without actually seeing the film proper and they’re like, “In theory, I love this ending”—which, spoiler alert, listeners at home, I do have a Nendoroid of Gay Satan, as I call her, because you find a Nendoroid for under $20 and you buy it.

ALEX: [crosstalk] Oh yeah, that’s a steal.

VRAI: And she’s beautiful. And I love and support her. And actually, one of the contributors on our site, Tony, they wrote an absolutely beautiful article about Devil Homura as this really well-worded and, I think, much, much kinder than this article deserves reclamation of her character as a pushback against the entire system: that there shouldn’t even be a system where these girls have to suffer all their lives before they’re saved, and maybe we should just tear it all down, and that would be good. 

And I would be interested if… That’s where I thought the third movie was going, but here’s the thing. I don’t think that this is a reclamatory queer satanic character in the way that queer devil imagery often is because it’s so hell-house-y. She’s cackling evilly as she transforms. She’s holding Madoka even as she’s crying out that it hurts.

MERCEDEZ: She touches Madoka in a really uncomfortable way that doesn’t feel good and reclaim-y. I just gotta throw that out there. The sexualization of Homura does not feel powerful.

VRAI: No, it feels predatory. This is a predatory lesbian!

MERCEDEZ: Yeah. Yeah, what I felt like was… It made me think of the 1950s and ‘60s, when you would have these cautionary novels about girls that like girls because that’s bad.

ALEX: Satan is a lesbian.

MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Yeah, and the punishment would be like—


ALEX: Like, literally! [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: Right. And the punishment would be like your friend Sarah in that novel would die of some sort of sickness because she was sad, I guess, because the only right punishment if you are queer and in particularly—and I use “Western society” in scare quotes, because unfortunately the Nazis took that from us—the punishment in Western society is that you die if you like women. And we’re not quite past that point in a lot of countries where that’s not a true thing.

VRAI: We are certainly not to that point where a cishet dude, as far as I know, should be writing a story about this fraught issue.

ALEX: Perhaps not, yeah.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, and it just hits really weird knowing that Madoka… in episode 12, she ascends and basically becomes enlightened and, through the Law of Cycles, through her wish, through her immense kindness, is able to save millions of girls. And we talked about that, and I feel very fraught about that, still, because of the implications. 

But she’s able to do, ultimately, a great good, and the fact that Homura, who is someone who has tried to do good and, through becoming singularly focused on a task, lost a lot… Her punishment is not kindness. Her punishment is “You’re bad. And you’re bad, why? Because you like a girl and you wanted to do good.” And to a great degree, that’s an oversimplification because there is a lot at play. But that part of it really bothered me this watch.

ALEX: I did have someone try quite sincerely, I think, to argue that this was not an example of demonizing homosexuality in fiction. And I had to be like, “My friend, it’s the most literal version of demonizing homosexuality I think I’ve ever seen. She says she loves a girl and she turns into the devil!”

MERCEDEZ: I mean, Homura Akemi literally becomes Homura Morningstar, the devil herself. It is! Literally, her… I mean… [Chuckles]

VRAI: So the movie does have foreshadowing early on about the fine line between love and warping, neurotic obsession with the Hitomi dream sequence early on. I see what you’ve done, movie. But the thing is that you haven’t earned this and you haven’t thought about the additional implications of putting these themes on a queer story specifically.

MERCEDEZ: I got a lot of complicated queer feelings about this one, y’all.

ALEX: The thing that gets my goat the most is that it does Homura dirty as a character, honestly. Because potentially, potentially, Homura is sick of being a martyr and sick of saving other people and actually she wants to be selfish and shitty for a change and have Madoka all to herself. That would be an interesting arc, potentially, but it’s not the arc that the movie’s building up to. 

Again, it just feels like it tacks it on at the end for, potentially, the fun concept of “Ooh, what if they were enemies?” But they’re not enemies, though. What we have is Madoka has no memories and she has no agency. It is just Madoka being a normal girl, supposedly, and Homura keeping her in a gilded cage, basically. 

They’re not enemies. They’re not rivals. They’re not equals to each other. It’s Homura being controlling and shitty and Madoka not being able to do anything about it. That’s not an interesting dynamic, you know?

MERCEDEZ: And it’s a shame because the interesting elements are there. I was really and particularly struck by that final scene between Madoka and Homura where Madoka starts to remember and she’s like, “Wait, I’m not supposed to be here. Something is wrong.” And her godhood starts to emerge again. 

And Homura clamps down on it, viciously clamps down on it, and is like, “No, you’re exactly where you need to be, here with me, in a place where we can belong and be together and these things that hurt us don’t have to come out.” And that is a very powerful narrative. 

But what happens between Homura ascending—and I will say “ascending”—into witchdom and that moment really is not the deconstruction I think that it thinks it is. It punishes Homura. And Homura has essentially created this lotus-eater machine where all the girls are trapped. 

But instead of trying to show that sympathetically as this being a product of Homura’s trauma… And by all means, I’m not justifying… Trauma makes people do things, and we are still responsible for the things that we do to hurt others. But instead of saying this is Homura’s trauma and laying the blame on the Incubators for creating a system in which they use the bodies of young girls to power the world, it says Homura’s bad and there’s no redemption for people who are bad and traumatized.

VRAI: Even with what I mentioned before with the Hitomi foreshadowing, even that is sort of addressed and wrapped up before the last 20 minutes, because you have that really haunting scene in the flower field where… 

That same Blu-ray pamphlet mentions that there are essentially three Madokas in this movie, the godhood one, the normal one, and the one who’s lost her memory. And that scene so powerfully highlights that even if the other girls are stuck here, this is a maze Homura has made to torment herself. It is a maze for her, because her own inner demons convince her that she’s been wrong this whole time and actually Madoka didn’t want to be sacrificed. 

Homura’s actions are hurting her, so she needs to change, which is what pushes her over the edge into becoming a witch and almost sacrificing herself forever. That is where the obsession thing comes back around and gets addressed. And then the other girls have to be like, “No, you can’t just decide what she wants. We’re going to help you meet her, the real her, not the her in your head.”

MERCEDEZ: And Sayaka delivers a wham line. She’s like, “You can’t do this. This is not your right.” And that’s when that really good action kicks in and Sayaka’s like, “No. No, I’m not letting you do this. Uh-uh. You need to do something that you’re not going to regret.” 

And Sayaka, of course, is speaking from the heart as a witch and as a girl who did something she regrets. And she’s like, “No, you can’t do this, because you’re in pain. I understand and see your pain. But you can’t let that be how you hurt her.” And it’s a really powerful moment. And then… You know.

ALEX: That final confrontation, before the sequel hook portion of the movie, it’s really powerful because, as you point out, yeah, you strip back all of the magic and all of the multiple timelines and all of the ascending to godhood, and it’s a story about a bunch of friends gathering together to help someone not commit suicide and not self-harm. 

And I really enjoy that final scene because it is so lush and so bombastic and so artsy and so Shaft-y. And all the imagery is there and they’re fighting this army. And it gives a visual to the emotionality of what it feels like to be in that situation. And the other thing, as well, I love all the symbolism of Homura’s witch form and especially the bit… She has that ribbon on her back that forms hands that are reaching out and dragging the ground behind her, trying to stop herself from doing what she’s going to do. So it’s even like…

MERCEDEZ: Those hands! Yes.

ALEX: That imagery is so good.

VRAI: The most tender, queerest appendage.

ALEX: [Laughs] But that whole scene, yeah, it’s so gorgeous and so powerful because, yeah, it’s a bunch of friends saying, “No, listen, we know that in the previous 12 episodes we didn’t see your suffering. We couldn’t understand it. But now we do. We’ve come back to help you. And we’ve come back to reunite you with your girlfriend.” And it’s really sweet and powerful and emotional. 

And then she becomes the devil! I cannot stress this enough!

MERCEDEZ: And it’s a shame because—and I bandied this about in our first two parts—my read, as an adult, of this series is that the horror of it is that there’s no bodily autonomy for these young women. That’s the real horror. The horror isn’t Mami getting her head bit off or Sayaka dying or any of that. The horror is that these young women have no control of their bodies. And that’s depicted through the Soul Gems and the fact that they can’t be away from them, through the transformation into a monster. 

And Rebellion could have been this really beautiful trauma narrative about how there is healing for everyone and how you don’t have to go at it alone and how you can actually make it through to the other side. And they just… I don’t know. 

And I don’t mean this rudely. Men are great. They’re wonderful, necessary. But I don’t know if cis men at this time—and to some degree, today—understand what it is to write a trauma narrative about a young woman. I don’t think they do, and I don’t think they understand the horrors of being an AFAB teenager dealing with having no bodily autonomy at all.

ALEX: Yeah, it’s a tricky thing, for sure. I never want to say as a golden rule, “Oh, you can’t write about an experience unless you’ve had it yourself,” because I believe in humanity’s capacity for empathy, especially through something like writing, where you can explore being people you’ve never been and will never be. But on some level, yeah, I also agree. 

There is a level of… It goes out of nuance and into schlock horror real quickly with stuff like this, especially when you’re dealing with this kind of dicey subject and you start getting things like a way to sequel-hook, “Oh, it would be cool if we could sell merchandise of a Devil Homura to match Goddess Madoka.” You get those external influences and the nuance goes.

MERCEDEZ: And I just think about the simple contrast between how Madoka is dressed at the end of the original series and how Homura is dressed in this movie. And what is her punishment? It’s a black dress that basically exposes her navel and her sternum and her cleavage, which is incredibly… And I mean, I think the intent is to be uncomfortable. I don’t think you’re supposed to side with Homura, but the movie kind of wants you to side with Homura and think that this is okay.

VRAI: I don’t know, because, again, the evil cackling. I think this is fully a “Look at the evil lesbian. Aren’t you shocked?” moment.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah. And the fact that she’s turned into an evil lesbian, the sexualization of her outfit—like I said earlier, the way she touches Madoka… Even when she’s talking to Sayaka, she does this thing with her hands, and it made me uncomfortable. It’s just the way she’s touching herself. Mind you, I watched the dub for consistency. And she’s like—

VRAI: How was that?

MERCEDEZ: Oh, I cried. The dub is on point. The dub is really good. The dub for Madoka is really, really well done. They all sound like young teenage girls, which… credit. 

But the kind of lasciviousness about Homura just… I don’t… Like I said, I think cis men have written a lot of really powerful narratives. There are a lot of male authors that I really like who write very powerful stories. I don’t necessarily know if this was a story that middle-aged Gen Urobuchi was the right person to tell, necessarily, because it does just make Homura… It’s a failing on her character and it hurts so much.

VRAI: I mean, yeah, you know, it always comes back to Ikuhara, who is a cis man and who has never publicly come out as queer. But also, he tends to seek out women to work with on his projects, and I feel like that’s important. 

And also, we keep coming back to it, but that lack of nuance and that understanding is the lion’s share of what makes this ending not work. We’ve all mentioned, “Oh, yeah, sure. Homura turning into a declaratory Satan figure. That could work on paper.” 

Or you might say, “Well, but how is this homophobic, because you have that KyoSaya moment?” Well, it’s because you have one pure emotional handholding scene and one character who turns into the devil because she specifically voices her attraction in terms of desire, not just love or devotion.

MERCEDEZ: And I think at the end of the day, like I said earlier, Madoka is a show that was made for a male audience. Madoka is not a shoujo anime; it’s a seinen. And that automatically unfortunately means that any yuri… And mind you, I’ve written fic for this show. I see a lot of yuri potential, but I think any genuine yuri is pandering towards a male audience. This is not yuri for even a sapphic audience. It is girls touching girls in the purest way for men.

ALEX: Unless, of course, they’re turning into the devil and wearing a sexy dress.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah. And then it’s a reminder of ”You can like girls, but not too much. Because if you do, your punishment is that you have to live out that punishment until the universe assumably burns up.” Which is what her witch does. Which is exactly what her witch is cursed to do.

VRAI: Do we want to touch on that epilogue? Because it’s really upsetting.

MERCEDEZ: So I had never seen it until today.

ALEX: Ooh.

VRAI: Oof.

ALEX: So it’s fresh.

MERCEDEZ: Are we talking about the post-credits epilogue?

VRAI: Yes. Yes.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I’d never seen it until today.

ALEX: [Sighs] It’s…

VRAI: Yeah, so for those of you at home who might also have missed it or you haven’t watched the movie in a while, it’s Homura dancing on that cliff where she had her last conversation with the Madoka in her head. She beats the shit out of Kyubey, which is very satisfying, and then just pitches herself off a cliff.

ALEX: And then it cuts to black very sharply and says “Fin.”

MERCEDEZ: I was gonna say, it lists a bunch of different linguistic ways to say “The end.” Yeah. And right before that happens, you see, as Wikipedia describes, a badly beaten and mentally scarred Kyubey, which… I don’t know who wrote that.

VRAI: [crosstalk] Which was a little treat for me.

MERCEDEZ: But this ending made me angry. And y’all know I don’t get angry very often.

VRAI: No, you’re easily the nicest member of the team.

MERCEDEZ: It genuinely made me angry because Homura Morningstar here, who’s ascended to Lucifer levels of villainy, they have one last punishment for her. And we don’t know if she’s coming back in the fourth movie. We got a 34-second trailer that did not tell a lot.

VRAI: They have to bring her back because this series is a marketing machine now.

MERCEDEZ: I mean, this movie might as well have been Puella Magi Homura Magica. And if they had named it that, it would have given away way too much, much like Miss Satomi, who was predicting the end of the world and was right. If they had named it after Homura, it would have given away the entire plot. But it’s so cruel to her even in the end.

ALEX: Yeah. Which, again, given all that poetic stuff we just said about—half an hour ago at this point—how the climax of the movie can be read as an allegory for protecting your friend from committing suicide, it’s just this unnecessary gut punch that means, kind of, none of that mattered.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah! I think that’s what made me angry. I was like, “Well, then, what was this movie’s point?”

VRAI: Right, maybe you can say, “Oh, well, we don’t know that she died.” But then why have that scene at all?

MERCEDEZ: Right, because she falls off a cliff. And worse, she falls off holding her Soul Gem. And we know that in series, in this world, Soul Gems are literally a tangible Faberge egg form of your soul.

ALEX: Yes, her beautifully corrupted soul at this point, who has its own special, extra gothic Soul Gem container because, you know, merchandise.

VRAI: Buy it at your local Comiket.

ALEX: Honestly, I look at Devil Homura’s design and I’m like, “Did you just make this whole ending happen so you could sell companion figures to all of the Goddess Madoka merch you already had?”

MERCEDEZ: I mean, I had that figure, though. I had that companion figure and all of the merch they made. They match up together.

VRAI: I did mention my Devil Homura Nendo, didn’t I?

ALEX: Yes. Made me think of it as well, because yes, it works, but it still… Yeah, the whole ending feels like such an insidious little cynical marketing ploy, which, again, is particularly infuriating because here we are in the Year of our Goddess Madoka 2021 and we have only just gotten an announcement for the sequel, which I thought was going to be just around the corner. 

I was like, “All right, so you’ve teased us with all of this. You’ve tormented us. You’ve torn at our heartstrings. All right, yes, I have cash in my hand already. Where do I book tickets for the third movie?” And that didn’t happen! It just didn’t happen.

MERCEDEZ: But isn’t that the most insidious thing of all? And warning: it’s Mercedez Capitalism Corner. Isn’t that the most insidious thing of it all? They created this movie that really emotionally manipulates the viewer—really successfully, I would argue, because the fact that we’re talking about this movie eight years later and we have the same amount of passion, if not more, from when we watched it says a lot, right? 

You have this movie that emotionally manipulates you, and then you want to go out and buy merch of this poor sapphic teenage girl who just literally got yeeted off of a cliff.

ALEX: Well, that’s the terrible thing, is that I would not be so cranky about this ending if the previous 12 episodes had not been so fantastic and, indeed, if the previous hour and a half of the film had not also gotten me emotionally invested. Yes, I’m hooked in. 

If this had just been a crappy, mediocre standalone thing, I would be like, “Oh, yeah, that’s that one where she turns to the Gay Satan at the end. Urobuchi wants what ‘Montero’ has,” and I would leave it at that. But it’s because I care. It’s because I care that I’m so angry. It stings so hard because I’m emotionally invested.

MERCEDEZ: And this is an award-winning film. This film won awards for its creation. It’s a good film. But there is something so insidious when you think about, even in 2013, if you were a girl who liked a girl, that this kind of punishment could be meted out and that you could… I don’t know. I have such big feelings that I am not articulating them well at this moment, because there’s just so much at play, right? There’s just so much at play.

VRAI: Yeah, and I think what stings about it is that this ending is basically the almost parodic distillation of what people who Madoka didn’t work for accuse [it] of being, which is suffering porn. This ending is uncut suffering porn. There is no defending it!

MERCEDEZ: For like 24 straight minutes, for the length of a Super Cub episode, you just watch Homura descend into this horrific madness, and it’s painful. And there’s no redemption for her. And this traumatized girl is left with… What does she have to do? Just become the evil that was dealt to her.

VRAI: And if I see one more smug thinkpiece about how Homura was always a bad, selfish character, even back in the series, I’m gonna put my boot up somebody’s ass!

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, dude, my foot’s gonna join you. It’s gonna be right next to you. 

Because that’s the thing and that’s what’s ultimately soul crushing, right? Homura wasn’t a bad character. She wasn’t even a character that set out with ill intent. She loves her friend. And much like any relationship, whether you want to read that platonically or romantically is up to you. I choose to read it romantically, of course. But she loves Madoka. She loves her. And she knows what it means to be a magical girl. She understands that bad things have happened to Madoka. And she desperately, in a very childlike way, wants to prevent that from happening. 

And the fact that people perceive her as, “Well, she was always bad,” I hate that. And I hate it when people say that about people in real life because, news alert, you can’t tell when someone who’s bad is always bad. That’s why it hurts when that is a reveal, right? When we find out that a character we love is actually bad, it’s not that they’ve been bad all along. It’s that something caused them to be bad. 

And so, I’m kind of with you on that, when people are like, “Oh, Homura was always bad.” Okay, Reddit user. I don’t know, go play Fortnite or whatever y’all do.

ALEX: As an addition to that, saying Homura was always bad kind of implies that this finale had been planned since the beginning, which as we now know thanks to those Blu-ray interviews it absolutely was not. So there is no room for that interpretation at all. And the series is about hope and love, and now it’s just not anymore. And so, it just…

VRAI: And it makes it so smug! Because there’s also a quote in that interview, by the way, about how the Nightmares are like the kind of monsters Homura wishes they could have been fighting. They’re a fantasy of hers. And I’m like, “Yes, fuck you! This girl is allowed to think, ‘Gosh, I wish I could just tackle the emotional difficulties as metaphors that my friends are facing and help them become better people.’ Fuck you. She’s allowed to do that!”

MERCEDEZ: Well, and I think about the nature of Homulilly, Homura’s witch form. Which, there’s a lot happening. We could talk about the spider lilies and the fact that spider lilies are an inherently toxic plant that also symbolize death, which says a lot that they chose that for her. We can talk about how she’s the Nutcracker Witch and her whole duty was to crack nuts and without a duty, all that’s left is, I guess, she becomes a sad woman from a Victorian novel and dies. It’s a real disservice. It’s a real disservice.

ALEX: It is, yeah.

MERCEDEZ: I don’t like it.

ALEX: The word I want to associate with this ending, as we touched on before, is disappointment. It’s anger. I’m not gonna go all White Parent and be like, “I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.” I am angry.


ALEX: But I’m also profoundly disappointed because it is such a thematic emotional letdown after everything we talked about last episode that was great about the series and about the ending of the series, specifically. It’s like, did any of that matter, now that we’ve done this? 

I mean, I guess that’s a question for each personal viewer. But does this ending negate what is good about the ending of the 12-episode show? And that’s something I can’t answer for every single person. But yeah, it’s very disappointing, again, because I care so much about the show. And it’s come to this point where I’m just cranky with it. And it’s disappointing. It’s sad.

VRAI: Yeah, my big question coming back to watch this in light of the sequel announcement was: does a sequel being actively announced and in the works change my feelings of disappointment about Rebellion? And the answer is “No, I’m still pissed.”

ALEX: [crosstalk] Who knows, yeah. Well, that’s the thing, because a sequel is only inevitably going to drag this conflict out more, if not introduce new conflict that we have to deal with. So, eh?

MERCEDEZ: Alex, why did you say that? I heard the monkey’s paw curl. No.

ALEX: That’s why I’m always intensely wary of sequels and spinoffs and continuation movies, because involving these characters in more story means more conflict, which can in cases like this mean pulling the rug out from underneath these characters and sending them in very disappointing directions in the name of generating more content and more conflict.

VRAI: I guess we probably should wrap it up. By the time we cut the technical difficulties we have, we should be at about an hour. So, last thoughts, and also, would you recommend people watch this movie without the last 20 minutes? Or with the last 20 minutes if they hate themselves.

ALEX: You know what? Sure. I think it’s one of those things… If I’m feeling petty, I will say, “Yes, just watch the show. Don’t watch the movie.” But I don’t know. I think it’s a valuable thing to say, “Hey, watch the continuation movie if you like the series and form your own opinion,” because I’m disappointed with it but I do not speak for everyone, of course. And everything I’ve just said, I am probably still going to go see the movie when it turns up in cinemas because I need to know.

VRAI: We’re going to make content about the third movie. Don’t even worry about it.

ALEX: Now a four-part series! Woohoo! [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: I’m gonna say that, honestly, for all of my complaints… And I certainly hope it doesn’t come off like I hate this movie. This movie made me cry. I feel so much for it. 

I do think it’s important to watch. I think it’s important to watch, especially if you’re looking to contextualize 2010s magical girl fandom and to really understand why people felt so polarized and really like this. And I think it’s important to watch it in its entirety. I think, obviously, we’ve given a lot of caveats, and there’s some trigger warnings for this movie, for sure. 

But I love it. I love it and I love this world. I love stories where young women are centered. I think this story could be better. But I do think I would recommend people to watch it, if only to understand a snippet of what sapphic fandom in particular was like at this time. I think it really contextualizes a lot of what you might see memed online and it makes it a lot more fleshed out and understood.

ALEX: It’s like, “Back in my day, we had to hike up the hill both ways. And there was Lesbian Satan at the top, and we were grateful.” [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, because I remember a lot of people being really grateful for Homura because this was before—

VRAI: Because she voices her desire explicitly.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah. And this was before Bubbline on Adventure Time. This was before my OTP Korra/Asami on Legend of Korra.

VRAI: Korra’s really good.

MERCEDEZ: We hadn’t had really transparent desire of a woman wanting a woman. Kind of like how Yuri on Ice did that without being boys’ love, we hadn’t had that for yuri. At least I hadn’t seen that. We hadn’t had that outside of the context of a show being yuri.

VRAI: Utena was out of print when Madoka hit big.

MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I think it’s really important if you want to understand what a lot of people were feeling at that time. It’s really important to watch this. Like I said, there’s caveats. And make your own decision. We’re just three good old Anime Feminist staff members talking about a movie. [Chuckles]

VRAI: [Chuckles] Yeah, no, I’m fully Team “Stop before the last 20 minutes” but I think that your opinions are both good and reasonable, and people can pick whichever one works for them.

ALEX: [Sighs fondly] Thanks, Urobuchi, you mad bastard. You’ve given me so much to discuss over the years and it’s good to be back. [Laughs]

VRAI: And I’m genuinely looking forward to, I guess, next year when we can talk about the sequel that’s been sitting in a drawer for six years.

MERCEDEZ: I’m so excited to buy merch. [Chuckles]

VRAI: [Laughs]

MERCEDEZ: I’m such a bad person! I want that merch.

VRAI: We are all enraptured by the lure of merch. It happens.

ALEX: We’re all part of Kyubey’s ultimate system. [Chuckles]

MERCEDEZ: Do you think Kyubey created magical girls so he could shill items to us?

ALEX: Yes.

VRAI: The true evil, children, remember, is capitalism.


VRAI: All right, well, that wraps up our three-part series, someday next year to be four-part, on Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Thank you so much for joining us. I thought we might have time to talk about the spinoffs, but no, there was too much to say about the film, which is fine. 

If you liked what you heard, you can find more of this podcast by searching on Soundcloud or going to our website,

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You can also find us on social media. We are on Facebook at AnimeFem. I gotta stop saying that. We never update it. We are on Tumblr at animefeminist and we are on Twitter @AnimeFeminist

And until next time, AniFam, hug the Gay Satan in your life and tell them that you care. Also, somebody draw Homura “Montero” art if it hasn’t happened yet.

ALEX: Oh my gosh.

MERCEDEZ: Oh my God.

ALEX: Yes! [Laughs]

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