Homura Akemi: The Mistake

Homura Akemi: The Mistake

Introduction

I’ve wanted to write about one of my favorite anime, Madoka Magica, again for a few weeks now, but could never come up with a good topic. That is, until now.

Homura Akemi: The Mistake is the first in a five-part series I’m going to be doing about the five main characters from Madoka Magica. New posts in this series will be uploaded every Monday all through September, so you know what that means, #MadokaMondays!

Homura Did Nothing Wrong

It’s the popular belief in the Madoka Magica community that Homura Akemi “did nothing wrong,” but I’m here to tell you that’s a complete lie. That’s right, Homura is actually the cause of everyone else’s misfortune (sort of).

I’d even go so far as to say that Homura is the antagonist of the series, not Kyubey. While neither of them are objectively “evil,” Homura actively works against the protagonist, Madoka, while Kyubey is little more than an observer.

Now, while I say that Homura is the antagonist, I also believe that she’s the true protagonist of the series. So maybe it’s better to say that Homura is the protagonist and Madoka is the antagonist? That seems like a topic of discussion for a future time, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Back to the topic at hand, before I can really explain why Homura did everything wrong, I first need to explain the philosophy behind “Homura did nothing wrong.”

You see, Homura makes a pact with Kyubey and becomes a magical girl for one reason, to save Madoka. As she lay dying in Homura’s arms, Madoka asks Homura to stop her from ever becoming a magical girl in the first place.

So therefore, the argument is that Homura isn’t to blame for anything that transpires afterwards because she was simply fulfilling Madoka’s dying wish.

But before I even get to explaining how Homura messed up, we should already see a key issue here. Just because you do something at the request of someone else doesn’t mean you’re able to wash your hands of the consequences of your actions.

Here’s an analogy: if you punch someone in the face, but then use the defense that someone else told you to do it, you’re still going to get arrested for assault. Just because Madoka asked Homura to save her from her past self, doesn’t mean Homura isn’t to blame for what happened due to her actions.

Homura Akemi holding Madoka Kaname's ribbons from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Homura Akemi

So what exactly did Homura do and why was it so bad? Well, you see, when a girl makes a pact with Kyubey, the type of magic they acquire is directly related to what they wished for in return for their soul. In Homura’s case, she wished to go back in time to stop Madoka, so she was granted time magic.

Sure, the ability to freeze time is just fine, but as we should all know by now, the ability to travel back in time or simply alter the past in any way is a dangerous power to have. Seriously, has altering the past ever worked out even once in any anime or other medium?

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “but Homura saved Madoka from dying so it all worked out in the end.” Technically that’s correct, but in actuality the only thing that changed was that Homura erased Madoka from existence instead of having her die. She also got herself a healthy dose of depression in the process.

I’d go into more detail about Madoka’s role in all of this, but I’m saving that for the second part of this series, so if you want to read more about that, you’ll have to wait until next week.

However, by constantly resetting time in order to try to save Madoka, Homura unintentionally makes Madoka’s fate more important than anything else in the universe. Because time was reset so many times for a single person, that person must be pretty important.

Incidentally, fate is also how the power of a magical girl is valued. The more important a girl is to the universe, the more powerful she’ll be.

“But isn’t it good if Madoka is powerful?” No. The final form of a magical girl is a witch, the thing magical girls fight against. Since Madoka becomes the most powerful magical girl, that in turn means she’ll become the most powerful witch. When this happens, the world will be destroyed.

Hopefully by this point you’re starting to see the issue. Madoka could have died, and been remembered by her friends and family, but instead she was put in a situation with only one way out (that she could see) due to Homura’s actions.

In order to fix the problem Homura made, which is that Madoka will destroy the world when she becomes a witch, Madoka has to make a pact with Kyubey anyway, despite Homura’s best efforts, in order to nullify Homura’s mistake by erasing herself from existence with her own wish.

So let’s do a quick recap of what could have happened, and what actually happened. Madoka could have died, and Homura could have gone on living life as a normal girl. Instead, Madoka now never existed in the first place, and Homura is going to have severe mental disorders until she dies prematurely as a magical girl.

Homura The Hero

Now that we’ve established that at the end of the Madoka Magica series the score is Fate 1, Homura 0, we need to take a look at the movie, Rebellion. For those who aren’t aware, Rebellion is the movie which serves as a sequel to the series. This time around, Homura is actually the protagonist.

However, despite her being the actual protagonist this time, she functions much more like an antagonist, which is the opposite of what I said about her in the series. Again, I’ll have to write an entirely separate post dissecting the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist of Madoka Magica in the future.

Even if they concede to my point that Homura is to blame for the events of the series, many will likely try to argue that she fixes her mistake in Rebellion, but did she really? Let’s first look at the plot of Rebellion itself.

Homura has descended from a magical girl to a witch; the second of our main cast to do so. As a witch, she creates a labyrinth, like any witch worth her salt, but then she goes one step further and pulls her friends, who aren’t witches, into the labyrinth with her, thus inconveniencing them.

By doing this, it’s fair to say that although Homura is indeed the protagonist of Rebellion, she’s also the cause of everyone’s misfortune throughout the movie.

“But it’s alright because she saves everyone in the end.” Wrong. In the end, when Madoka descends from her ethereal realm to collect Homura’s soul, Homura instead collects a portion of Madoka’s soul (because she can’t collect the entire soul of a divine being).

Then, presumably by using the magical power of that portion of Madoka’s soul, Homura is able to “recreate” the world into one in which she and her friends can live happy, normal, middle school girl lives. But is this really a solution?

Homura Akemi in her school uniform from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Homura Akemi

There are a couple of issues I have with the world Homura “creates” at the end of Rebellion. The first issue is that this isn’t a real world, it’s all just an illusion that herself and the other girls are trapped in temporarily. Since Sayaka still has her memories, it shows that she technically still exists outside of this world, which she wouldn’t if it weren’t merely an illusion.

The second issue is that “temporarily” part. While it’s great and all that Madoka doesn’t have to be alone forever now, and that the five girls can all be together again, it can’t last. If they’re lucky, it will last until they all die of natural causes, but the illusion will likely break down before that point.

Evidence for this can be found when Sayaka, I believe, mentions that eventually Madoka will remember that she’s a god now and will return to her position as the Law of Cycles. We also see Madoka almost remember this, but Homura is able to stop her in time.

By this logic, once her “natural” life span ends, Madoka will simply return to being the Law of Cycles once again and be alone for eternity once more. So really, Homura’s “fix” is little more than temporary patchwork.

The final issue I have with this “fix” is that Homura is forcing everyone to live inside her illusory world. It’s essentially the same concept as the Infinite Tsukuyomi from Naruto: Shippūden, if you’re more familiar with that. Will the girls simply be middle schoolers until the world ends?

At best, Homura’s way of fixing the problems she herself created can’t possibly last, and yet she’s still smug about it when Sayaka presses her. Let’s also not forget that this illusory world of hers is interfering with Madoka’s role as the Law of Cycles, meaning she can’t save other magical girls while she’s trapped there by Homura.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Homura did everything wrong in Madoka Magica, but if you’d like to try to convince me otherwise, I’ll gladly hear out your arguments in the comment section down below. However, if you liked this explanation of how Homura did everything wrong, you can let me know simply by clicking the heart button under this post.

Remember, this is only the first part of this five-part series, so if you don’t want to miss out on the upcoming parts, I suggest following me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribing to my blog via email.

Part 2, Madoka Kaname: The Wish, will be uploaded on September 3rd.

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2 Replies to “Homura Akemi: The Mistake”

  1. Hmm..I do think the “Homura did nothing wrong” thing is ironic. At least for most people…
    Most of things there were done by Homura unintentionally…which is still her responsibility…but it just makes it tragic.
    You gave Homura a very generous span of time to work with..I think she would be very happy for Madoka to live a whole lifetime, not to mention grow old. But I don’t think Homura would ever come this far..She’s pretty unstable at the end of the movie, and she has only JUST started managing her new reality…AND Madoka almost broke free unprompted. She is a Goddess even if her powers are supressed, so it’s amazing Homura is even able to overpower her, but still- she isn’t as much in control as she should be if she wants this to work.
    Also with interfering with Law of Cycles thing…this is tricky because we don’t really know how it works in Homura’s new reality. LoC was split in half, and it lost the human part of itself…but can it work independently? It’s a law after all. I’m not sure. What we do know Homura punished Kyubey severely and made him collect all the despair of the world…Which does sound like LoC’s role. So maybe it is inactive after all. What does it mean for the girls already saved by it?

    1. I feel that Homura being able to overpower Madoka at all didn’t really make all that much sense, but since she did, and was then able to prevent Madoka from reverting back to the Law of Cycles, I have to assume that she has at least some ability to maintain her new reality. But, as I mentioned, it’s made clear that this reality isn’t a permanent one like when Madoka recreated the universe.
      And, as you mentioned, we don’t know exactly how Homura’s reality affects the Law of Cycles, or even magical girls. Are there still magical girls to begin with? Probably, because they shouldn’t have been affected by Homura’s reality, but we don’t really know for sure.
      Perhaps now that we’re getting a new anime adaptation there will be a push for more Madoka in the future and we’ll finally get a sequel to Rebellion which could answer some of these questions. I’ll be writing more about the potential for things like that in today’s post.

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