So, what is the true purpose of being a Puella Magi? Is it merely to be selfish and collect Grief Seeds for continued existence or is it to benefit society by preventing unnecessary deaths? Think of an answer and then scroll down to see what I came up with.
Okay, so there are probably a thousand ways to take this question. Here’s how I look at it using information gained from this episode.
The first question to ask is: Why does Kyubey need to make Puella Magi in the first place? He certainly spends a lot of time and energy hanging around Madoka and Sayaka and has to spend even more time and energy in order to grant their wish. So, in order to make a Puella Magi, he needs to put in a ton of effort. What’s more is that there are no gains for him if all they do is kill witches to brighten their Soul Gem. They’re only doing that for themselves and Kyubey sees no benefit from that. So if making Puella Magi is worthwhile for him, then killing the witches has to have some deeper meaning to him. But why kill witches when all witches do is kill people? At this point, there are two possibilities on why Kyubey wants Puella Magi to fight these witches: either for the witches to be dead or, as a result of killing witches, for people to stay alive. In essence, these are the philosophies that Kyouko and Sayaka have on their occupation.
Episode 5 underlined the two extreme philosophies a Puella Magi can have. Kyouko represents the experienced, realist side of Puella Magi, whereas rookie Sayaka stands for justice and idealism. Kyouko, the veteran red-haired glutton, knows how to be an efficient Puella Magi. In order to be efficient, she’s correct when explaining to Sayaka that a Puella Magi must wait until a witch fully matures, so they can obtain the coveted Grief Seed. It’s a simple investment strategy and it maximizes utility for the Puella Magi. It’s the best strategy for getting returns and that’s what matters for a magical girl these days.
On the other hand, Sayaka sees the job of the Puella Magi as that of a protector. Her viewpoint shows high morality and selflessness. She sees her powers as a gift she can bestow upon society and stop preventable deaths. It doesn’t matter if you gain anything in the end. What matters is doing the right thing. And that’s what being a magical girl is all about.
There is no true philosophy for a Puella Magi. Both view their ideology as the correct method and, in a way, both are right, at least in the answer I came up with. So, let’s go back to the original question and ask: what is the true purpose of being a Puella Magi? Here are the facts I think are relevant to answer this question. Kyubey has some reason that he needs witches dead, which is obvious given the cost of stalking schoolgirls and granting miracles. Kyouko sees the whole Puella Magi occupation in a rational sense: kill witches in order for her to stay alive. Sayaka sees the romantic side of the vocation: kill witches in order for others to stay alive. Given these three points, my answer to the question is this: Puella Magi exist to kill witches. Yeah. That’s a pretty weak answer but it’s true. The sole purpose of Puella Magi is to kill witches. Nothing more, nothing less.
The three characters all have different roles and different perspectives in the Puella Magi realm but they all share something in common: they all want witches dead. For whatever reason they find, then so be it, as long as they kill witches in the end. If a Puella Magi does it to be selfish, then that’s fine. If a Puella Magi does it to save others, then that’s fine, too. As long as Kyubey keeps contracting these Puella Magi and they keep killing witches, then that’s also fine. As long as the witches end up dead, that’s all that matters. And that’s the true purpose of a Puella Magi. At least in my eyes.