Obviously there was a certain battle between a witch and a magical girl in a cake/hospital universe but that’s not the main focus of this post. Instead, I want to focus on the cake/hospital world the girls visited.
There is a charm in all of the witch’s mazes the girls have visited. Steadily increasing in structure and becoming less surprising each time, the witch’s worlds give Puella Magi Madoka Magica a complete change in environment and atmosphere. Whenever the girls enter one of these witch’s mazes, the mood becomes serious and we see the substance of the anime. These worlds have a strong influence on the path the show takes and actually pushes the show forward. I can only imagine how much fun Shaft has with each miniature universe. The designs, the details, the textures, the sound. Everything is under their control to produce the setting of their desires.
This world had the bizarre combination of confectionery and clichéd medical equipment. Let’s think about that for a second. Has there ever been a world where sweets and medicine come together to create such an anxious, shadowy feeling? Maybe. But I can’t think of anything close off the top of my head, though. Regardless, this witch’s maze was stunning with its design. The critters gave the environment that feeling of infestation, scurrying around the sugary goods. While the assorted medical supplies fit in with the setting in the real world, the hospital, the delicious treats were less obvious. It wasn’t until Madoka and Mami began talking on their way to Sayaka and Kyubey. Madoka told Mami that she wanted to be cool and useful, like Mami is, and that she was still deciding her on her wish. Mami suggested that she forgo her wish and get cake from Kyubey after she defeats the witch. Gee, thanks Mami for trying to take Madoka’s wish from her. But it wasn’t until that moment that the cake theme became apparent.
Strange… don’t you think? The world already had the cake theme before cake was ever mentioned? Could that be a sign that something was off? Could it be a sign that this whole witch encounter was planned from the very start?
Now, let’s shift onto Kyubey.
Even before reading Landon’s post, I was sure that Kyubey was up to no good. Aside from introducing telepathy and making shady suggestions, Kyubey has done absolutely nothing in the series. However, this episode put him over the edge with his malevolence scheme.
Kyubey is just a pushy recruiter of Puella Magi, out there only to fulfill his needs. He’ll do it through any means necessary. Consider this scenario: Have the girls find a conveniently placed Grief Seed (that isn’t dangerous yet but will be in a little while) next to the hospital they frequent. All the other Grief Seeds have been in areas away from humans (renovated room, abandon building, empty park) while this one just so happened to be outside of the busy hospital that Madoka and Sayaka frequent. Next, take the girls into a “dangerous” cake-themed world, a theme they already planned, with a “powerful” witch inside. Kyubey’s first goal is to stay with Sayaka and force her to make a contract when the witch activates, which is why he wanted to stay with her. Otherwise, wait until all the girls are together at the witch. Next, have Mami do what she normally does except “get killed” near the end. In a life/death situation, Kyubey is there to seal the girls’ contracts and create two new Puella Magi. Brilliant! If they choose not to, well, then they are choosing death, and who would choose death over becoming a magical girl? If it weren’t for Homura showing up, the girls would’ve had to have chosen to become Puella Magi and defeated the monster. How do I know they’d defeat the monster? Why would Kyubey want to force the girls to make contracts only to lose them that battle? It wouldn’t make any sense for him or Mami to go through this effort.
Oh, and remember Homura’s line that this witch is different from all the previous ones? I’m reading that as a sign that Homura knew this witch was only there to force Madoka and Sayaka into their contracts. She could tell something was wrong from the start.
I really wish Homura would have killed Kyubey in the first episode.
While I was under the impression that this whole event was a real witch encounter, the more I look at the underlying details, the more I’m convinced this was a high-pressure situation planned by Kyubey to force the girls to become Puella Magi. I am almost assured we’ll be seeing Mami after the girls make their contracts; she wouldn’t die that easily. I’m going to guess Madoka would use her wish to ‘bring her back’ or something, which is sad because Madoka is essentially wasting her wish.
So, aside from the ‘false encounter’ by the evil mastermind, Kyubey, the series still has its sweet and innocent side. Just stay away from Kyubey. I’m going to guess he’ll be the big, evil boss at the end.