Illustration for article titled Love, Mahou Shoujo, and Duality

Hello, it’s Spacesquatch once again, however, today I bear warnings of spoilers.

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**Lots and lots of Madoka Magica and Madoka Magica Rebellion Spoilers**

If you haven’t watched these masterpieces of the genre yourself, I highly advise you turn back, open a new tab, open Crunchyroll and watch. You won’t regret it. As well as, this piece won’t make as much sense if you haven’t watched Madoka Magica. Also, this is an opinion piece, so feel free to disagree vigorously, just not violently.

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Alright, let’s begin.

Love. It’s an enigma of an emotion that provokes a variety of reactions for so many different people. For some, love is bliss and a feeling of weightlessness, as if all of the worries of the world have fallen off your shoulders. For others, it’s an overwhelming wave of primal emotions, an obsession that blots out all others.

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So why does love hurt? Culture vends the idea that love is the ultimate emotion, the great and mighty liberator from all the despair and evils of this world. What is often ignored is that love, like any emotion, has an inherent duality. There’s two faces to love, and this is wonderfully demonstrated in Madoka Magica: Rebellion.

Duality and balance are themes that permeate every moment of Madoka Magica. Everything always returns to zero. For each magical girl, a witch, for each wish, a curse, each springing from it’s opposite. And for love, this duality is no better demonstrated than by the two main characters, Madoka and Homura. Love is multifaceted, and the greatest dichotomy in it is the divide between selfish love and selfless love. Selfless love is for others, while selfish love is for only yourself. However, one alone cannot stand. Both are self-destructive by themselves, and to truly love someone, you must have both.

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Illustration for article titled Love, Mahou Shoujo, and Duality

Madoka in the pink, Homura in the black.

Both Madoka and Homura sacrifice themselves for others, both have endured agony all for the sake of the ones they love, however, the motivations behind their actions is what sets them apart and shows both faces of love. Madoka gave up her entire world for no return. She gladly departed from existence, destroyed by her own wish, joyful to know that she had saved so many. Her love was completely selfless, with no regard for what fate would befall her.

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Homura, on surface level, seems very much the same. Enduring an endless loop of pain and misery, she desperately tried to stop the chain of events that would lead to Madoka’s death. Despite this, her and Madoka’s sacrifices couldn’t be any more different. Homura’s ascension to Devil Homura served one purpose, and one purpose only. To gain Madoka for herself and only herself. She ignores Madoka’s pleading to stop as she brutally tears the godhood out of Madoka and takes it for her own. In contrast to the all-loving Madoka, Homura’s love is selfish.

In the end though, neither led to a joyful ending for either Homura nor Madoka. Homura’s selfish love left her ultimately alone, and Madoka’s selfless love caused her to lose herself. Love in a relationship needs to go both ways. You must love others, but you must also love yourself. The beauty of love, though, is that despite the contrast between selfish love and selfless love, they spring forth from each other. From the possessiveness of selfish love can come a deep concern for the person whom was at first just an object of desire. From seeing yourself through a loved one’s eyes can come a respect for one’s self. But, without both kinds of love present, lasting relationship can’t truly form. Love is the summit of human emotion, but this peak is not reached without pain. Some will fall, but others will reach this peak.

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Illustration for article titled Love, Mahou Shoujo, and Duality

Before I bag this and call it a day, I’d like to thank some people. Firstly, I would like to thank my resident grammar extremist for editing my articles. Secondly, I’d like to thank Kaizival for getting this article off the ground. Finally, I’d like to thank ANI-Tay in general for the warm reception of my first article which encouraged me to write this piece.

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