I said I had one more editorial in me, and that wasn’t exactly true. Instead I wanted to link to someone else’s commentary, that I felt made an excellent point after having reached the same conclusion I had. All magical girl stories are coming of age stories with being a magical girl the journey that forces the girl to grow up and mature.
The writer isn’t the clearest, but she makes an excellent point, and reaches the conclusion I’ve been struggling to reach.
It makes a lot of sense that Madoka Magika is actually a warning against trying to grow up too fast, and paints a dark picture (becoming a witch) for those who are forced into adulthood early. Knowing myself and others who have to face some extremely hard things that force one to grow up and mature fast, it’s not an easy path, nor one I’d ever choose to take, or suggest anyone choose to take. Madoka Magica seems to suggest the same thing.
After all, the whole entire anime revolves mainly around keeping Madoka from becoming a magical girl, which keeps her an innocent, naaive, and wimpy girl compared to the other girls. Yep we see Kyouko assure her that it’s okay for her to stay this way, “That you should only fight as a magical girl if you have to.” Madoka staying as an innocent child and not growing up into the mature Madoka she’ll eventually become is the only outcome that Homura will accept.
On Scamp’s post about Madoka Magica, one of his commenters in their critique said is was a series about a bunch of angsty teenagers. Yet angsty teenagers–or teenagers thrust into the adult world early–are the type of people who become magical girls. Well adjusted teens don’t. Mami lost her family in a car accident. Sayaka watched someone she loved have his dreams ripped away from him, and then when she sacrificed everything for him, he still ignored her. Sayaka’s family suffered due to the cruelty of human nature and their lack of reason, causing her to lose faith in humans as a whole. I don’t think we can even scratch the surface of Homura’s trauma.
It’s an interesting message. In a society where there’s countless pressure to hurry up and grow up, to have an anime suggest that it’s better to hang on to your innocence, and in such a dark matter, especially through a genre that’s all about coming of age–that’s pretty ballsy.