It has been a while since Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica first aired in 2011. Since then, there have been two movies which is a recap of the anime series with better animation. Of course, there are also two console games released, bunch of manga spinoff series, a dedicated Manga Time Kirara magazine filled with Madoka stuff, and recently, a smart phone game, Magia Record.
Of course, there is also a sequel movie, which starts where the anime and the first two movies left off. That movie is of course the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 3: Rebellion Story.
From watching the first thirty minutes of the movie, it felt deceiving. Sure, everything is peaceful as there is no such thing as wraiths or witches. Not only we have the adorable glasses and twin-tailed braided hair Homura back, everyone is alive. Yes, a witch that looks like Charlotte, which killed Mami in the 5thtimeline is back and completely harmless. To me, it feels like a parody of some sort and homage to the works from the fandom.
Of course, Homura eventually find out that something is off about this world. If you know her personality already, she usually does things by herself and won’t accept help from anyone. After all, she attempted to fight the Walpurgisnacht and nearly fails doing so. Given the traumatic experiences she went through trying to save Madoka, she will eventually find out that things are off, hugely.
The obvious is of course Bebe since she looks like a witch that Homura saw before. The thing that makes Bebe suspicious is not only her witch-like appearance, but also the inability to speak in runes. She speaks in gibberish with speech bubbles. While these details are subtle, it’s quite obvious that Bebe is not a witch, but in fact a magical girl. It only took a fight between Mami and Homura through a big misunderstanding for Bebe to reveal her true form.
In reality, Bebe is actually a magical girl named Momoe Nagisa. Nagisa uses a horn as a weapon. While the movie let alone the art book that came with the limited edition doesn’t really go into depth about her, she is simply there since Charlotte is popular. Several years later after the movie premiered, Magia Record expanded on her back story in her character story. Of course, she is only obtainable in a limited time event. Still, I have to admit that Nagisa is adorable.
That said, Homura trying to find out the truth is bound to happen. It’s logical for her to go to Kyouko first given her harsh and cynical personality. What is interesting is that after they rode on the bus, Kyouko the first to know that the world they are in is not real. While the other girls knew about the world, they won’t reveal it. In short, Kyouko is the only girl who Homura trusts about the secrets of this world.
Even so, she still doesn’t want Kyouko’s help. It’s obvious that Homura want to do it alone and it doesn’t come at a surprise. This becomes a recurring theme of the movie as she finds the answers about this world without any help. This means trying to kill Bebe/Nagisa even though she said who is the culprit, causing a fight between Homura and Mami. Even Sayaka is willing to help Homura giving some hints about the barrier, but she won’t listen. This doesn’t come at a surprise given Homura’s past experiences from other timelines.
The only person she listens to is of course Madoka. I have to admit that this led to a nice scene with them talking together intimately. Sadly, Madoka’s interaction with Homura causes a misunderstanding in the end in regards to Homura’s motives. Madoka pretended not to know her sacrifice so she wouldn’t be found out by Kyubey. This of course gets her into to trouble towards the end as Homura takes matters into her own hands.
As expected, it’s quite obvious that Kyubey is up to no good again. After Madoka rewrote how the system worked, Kyubey is deprived of its energy as wraith’s do not provide enough. This can explain why they used Homura as a lab rat to try to lure Ultimate Madoka. Once they do, they can take control of her powers. They want to do this to revert back to the old system so they can gather more energy.
From this, it’s obvious why Homura decided to sacrifice herself by turning into a witch. By turning into a witch, she can stop Kyubey’s plan.Thankfully, Kyouko, Madoka, Mami, Nagisa and Sayaka stopped Homura as a witch from committing suicide and destroyed the barrier. Despite this, Madoka didn’t use her true powers, which Kyubey intended.
At the end of the day, it’s clear why Homura decides to become the devil, hence Akuma Homura. It’s obvious that the effects of Kyubey’s experiment was her tipping point. After all, she endured many horrifying experiences of the world ending, her friends dying, including her love, Madoka and having to mercy kill her at one time to prevent her from becoming a witch. In the past, Homura can simply turn time back if her mission fails. However, with Madoka becoming Ultimate Madoka through her wish, Homura can’t bring her back through her time traveling.
Of course, Madoka’s misunderstanding, which Homura misinterpreted explains her actions. She believes that Madoka didn’t really want to sacrifice herself to take the role of preventing magical girls from becoming witches. After all, Homura loves Madoka to the point where she will do anything to protect her. Madoka means a lot for Homura since her wish is to protect her no matter what. In other words, she is willing to become the devil to achieve this.
In the end, I have to admit the ending is bittersweet. Sure, Homura created a happy world of her own. However, she now has Sayaka and possibly others hate her for what she did despite Homura altering their memories. Despite protecting Madoka and giving her a happy life, it’s obvious that Homura hates herself for doing this to the person she loves. She knows that this won’t last forever and eventually things will be worse with Ultimate Madoka becoming an enemy. When that happens, she will probably try to fix things again so that she will receive the desired result. Given how much she went through with all those timelines, I can’t blame her.
At least there is one good thing that came out of the Rebellion Story. Kyubey is now worse off than before when they started their experiment. Now, they have to deal with the blunt of despair from humanity while having to do Akuma Homura’s bidding. That will show them not to mess with Madoka.
Lastly, there are some nice paring moments. Besides that, scene with Homura and Madoka, Sayaka finally admits her feelings towards Kyouko doing the battle.
As for the limited-edition box set, this is currently the only version that is only available on RightStuf. It come with a few extras that the regular edition. It comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version, the movie soundtrack, an art book, and a nice box. For $69.99, it’s not too bad given how much I paid to obtain the Japanese Blu-ray for the Love Live School Idol Movie back in 2016. Aside from that, from watching the movie, I look forward to what the Magia Record anime adaptation has in store later this year.