Sayaka Miki: The Sacrifice

Sayaka Miki: The Sacrifice

Introduction

Welcome to the fifth and final part of my Madoka Magica characters series. If you’re interested in reading any of the previous entries in this series, click on the following links: Homura, Madoka, Kyouko, and Mami.

While Sayaka isn’t a potential protagonist like Madoka or Homura are, she does serve the role of the hero in the story. Unfortunately for her, she serves the role of the sacrificial hero, and sacrifices her own well-being for others a few too many times.

I actually didn’t care for Sayaka’s character all that much until after I watched the Rebellion movie. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate Sayaka’s character and role, because without her, the rest of the magical girls would have been lost.

For Mami

Sayaka’s first sacrifice comes shortly after the death of her friend and mentor, Mami Tomoe. Mami was the city’s resident magical girl and was killed by the witch Charlotte while defending Sayaka and Madoka.

It appears that Sayaka felt partially responsible for Mami’s death because she believes it wouldn’t have happened if Mami didn’t have to protect her. This, in part, leads Sayaka to become a magical girl herself so that she won’t be a burden to her friends next time.

She sacrifices her normal, middle school life to continue Mami’s work as the city’s magical girl.

Magical Girl Sayaka Miki from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sayaka Miki

For Love

But, simply becoming a magical girl is only one of the multiple ways in which she sacrificed herself. Coinciding with her sacrifice for Mami was her sacrifice for her love, specifically for a boy named Kyousuke whom she has a crush on.

Kyousuke is one of Sayaka’s classmates who has been bedridden in a hospital for some unknown amount of time. At one point he was a violinist, but whatever injury or illness he’s afflicted with has robbed him of full use of his hands, and as a result he’ll never be able to play the violin again.

As you may know, magical girls get one wish granted in exchange for their services when they make a pact with Kyubey. Sayaka used her wish for Kyousuke’s sake and wished that he would get better and be able to play the violin once again.

There’s no doubt that in the back of her mind she hoped that this wish would make it so the two of them could be together, but at the same time she knew that he would never know it was her doing. She could have wished for anything in the world, but instead she chose to use her wish to help someone in need.

What seems like a selfish wish on the surface was actually the second sacrifice Sayaka made. She gave up her chance to wish for Kyousuke to love her, and instead wished for his dream of playing the violin again to come true.

For Her City

The potentially biggest sacrifice Sayaka makes throughout the whole series is for the citizens of her city. This is the sacrifice that ends up taking her life (the first time) when she falls into despair and becomes the witch Oktavia von Seckendorff.

Yes, she fell into despair partially because after wishing for Kyousuke to get better, her friend Hitomi “steals” him away from her, but this isn’t actually the primary reason. The real reason Sayaka fell into despair was because she was working too hard as a magical girl to protect her city.

Every time magical girls use their magic, and very slowly over time anyway, their soul gems become more and more tainted. Once their soul gems turn completely black, the girls die and become witches, the things magical girls fight against in the first place.

The only way to purify a soul gem, however, is to defeat witches and use the grief seeds they drop. In theory, a magical girl should never fall into despair because by continuously defeating witches, they can continue to purify their own soul gems.

However, in practice this isn’t really the case, at least for someone like Sayaka. I’ll use the difference between Sayaka and Kyouko to explain this point.

After meeting, Kyouko stops Sayaka from hunting down a witch’s familiar because she says it isn’t worth the effort since familiars don’t drop grief seeds. Sayaka, however, says that a familiar is still able to harm someone, and so it’s her job as a magical girl to defeat it.

Kyouko’s philosophy is that a magical girl should think only of herself, and so she should allow a familiar to “eat” civilians until it grows into a full-fledged witch, at which point a magical girl should “eat” the witch and obtain the grief seed it drops. It’s the food chain as far as she’s concerned.

But, even with this explanation, Sayaka still believes that she should defeat familiars before they can harm anyone, even though it means she doesn’t receive a grief seed in return. It’s this philosophy that eventually results in her falling into despair.

Sayaka sacrifices her own life for the people of her city by defeating familiars which would do them harm and then being unable to purify her soul gem afterwards. Upon her death, she says that she doesn’t regret sacrificing her life for the civilians, just that she regrets she couldn’t save more of them in the little time she had.

For Her Friends

Now, at this point you may be reminded of the wise words of Shirou Emiya from Fate/Stay Night, “People die when they are killed.” However, that doesn’t necessarily apply when your best friend decides to become a goddess and rewrite the universe so that you’re alive again.

We’re now in what’s known as the Wraith arc. Madoka is a goddess whose existence is only known by Homura, and Sayaka, Kyouko, and Mami are all alive and well once again. This means that Sayaka gets a second chance at life, so what does she do? She sacrifices herself again.

It’s unclear exactly at what point this new universe started, but Sayaka, Mami, and Kyouko are all magical girls once more, except this time they fight against wraiths instead of witches. It’s during one of these battles that Sayaka sacrifices herself once again.

Just like how Kyouko destroyed her own soul gem in the previous universe in order to take down the witch Oktavia von Seckendorff, Sayaka destroys her own soul gem in the new universe in order to save her friends from a wraith. After this point, Sayaka is “officially” dead, although she still does come back.


For Magical Girls

The final sacrifice of Sayaka in the currently available anime comes in the Rebellion movie. After her second death, Sayaka works under the Law of Cycles Madoka. If Madoka is a goddess, then we can view Sayaka’s role at this point as that of an angel.

Instead of whatever typically happens to people after death in the Madoka Magica universe, Sayaka has chosen to become an eternal hero for magical girls around the world. If you’re familiar with Fate/UBW, this is the same thing Shirou Emiya does as well.

Sayaka has sacrificed her eternal peace in order to save girls from falling into despair instead, as we see her attempt to do for Homura.

Conclusion

At the end of the Rebellion movie it’s unclear just how Homura’s fake universe affects Sayaka’s role as an angel, much like how we don’t know how it affects the Law of Cycles. However, I think it’s safe to assume that once Homura’s fake universe dissolves, Sayaka will go back to saving magical girls under Madoka’s direction.

From the very start, Sayaka was an unselfish character who was willing to give up everything in order to help others, even after learning just how much “everything” actually was.

So what are your thoughts on Sayaka Miki as a character? Do you like her as I do? Did you hate her as I did? Let me know in the comment section down below, and while you’re down there, click the like button if you enjoyed this final Madoka Magica character series post.

If you’re interested in other Madoka Magica content besides the entries of this series, there are a variety of other posts about various aspects of the anime which you can find on the site through the search bar. Also, since this post was about Sayaka, here’s a link to my Sayaka Miki Nendoroid post.

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