Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Everything begins promisingly enough. We see the girls (all of them, which is unsettling in its own right) fighting in a world overrun with monsters called Nightmares. The key to defeating them appears to be some sort of exorcism ritual whereby a childlike song is sung by the girls before the Nightmare is consumed by Mami’s familiar, Bebe, which is actually the same monster that decapitated her early-on in the series.
It’s tempting to take all of this as yet another subversion of genre tropes and viewer expectations, but I cannot be so generous with it. Reviewers are eating it up in the typical fashion; desperate for anything that can legitimize their favourite medium and cement Puella Magi Madoka Magica's reputation as a deep dark anime for adults like meis bound to be clung to. The comparisons to Evangelion are abounds, with numerous lofty declarations of psychological exploration. Make no mistake – it’s all bullshit. This movie is typical of what happens when you try to tack on a new ending to a story that was executed and concluded as originally conceived.
Even the visuals in the movie, while initially stunning, quickly become exhausting. The juxtaposition of the kawaii-eyed girls with stop-motion cut outs was one of the most distinct elements of the original series, but by halfway through the movie, I was sick of it all. It became an exercise in excess, and the more I saw of it all, the less impressed I was.
The original ending was not a happy ending; it was simply not a completely horrible ending where everything goes wrong. Everything made sense, and was wrapped up in a way that agreed with the series’ internal logic. Rebellion spits in the face of anyone who dares to empathize and invest in these characters, and undoes all of the unspoken laws of the earlier narrative, all for the sake of creating shocking art. It’s hard to not think that it was all intended to be this way; a cruel joke, a ruse. By daring to desire a sequel to a well-executed and concluded story, we perhaps got what we deserve.
Last year, on my birthday, I took the opportunity to reflect on how the year had culminated for me. The result was not that great.
This year has been very different. I started a new job early in the year, which has been rewarding and frustrating in its own ways, as you would expect any job to be. But I feel like I’m growing more, and I’ve had the chance to make some great friends here.
I stopped taking antidepressants late into the year. The results have been mixed, with less overarching depression but more anxiety, particularly in tense moments. I have changed, mostly in good ways. I am not perfect; I am not yet who I can be, who I should be, but I can live with who I am and work towards better things.
I’ve met some really great people this year, and I’m thankful for everyone’s presence – particularly over the past tumultuous weeks. However, I have to give a special shout out to Stephanie/Cadney – you are a person who has changed my life. I can’t express my gratitude for our friendship enough. You were there for me at my lowest points.
Nothing could have prepared me for last week, when my lover of the past four years announced that her feelings had changed and that we could no longer be partners. Have you ever felt totally unprepared and unsurprised by something at the same time? I took it in stride, and felt acceptance, before quickly unraveling until I hit rock bottom.
I miss her dearly, but I know that we will remain great friends. Thank you so much for four beautiful years.
Despite all of this, I feel I am in a better place than I was a year ago today. Not only that, but because of everything that’s happened, there are more opportunities for change than ever. Will I balk at them as I often have before?
I hope not.
A few weeks ago my japanese class did a gift exchange with our penpal class in japan and their box of stuff came in today. All of the gifts had really cute messages on yellow notes. This one was my favorite..