“And I / I disowned my / own family All for love / All for love.” The Lake – Typhoon
I’ve been planning on writing about Madoka Rebellion for a long time now, but Rebellion really hasn’t made it easy for me. It’s a strange beast – both reflective of Madoka Magica and totally apart from it, a continuation in some ways, a betrayal in others. Though you can certainly critique it as a film in its own right, it only really unfolds when you put it in context – and when a film’s context is “an emerging sea change in the process of media engagement,” it can be kinda hard to sum up the film as Good or Bad! If you’re looking for a simple takeaway, I believe Rebellion is a beautiful film and a terrible sequel – but why that is, and what its existence actually reflects, will take a little unpacking to explain. To understand Rebellion, you really have to understand Madoka Magica – so let’s begin there, with the series that started it all.
New podcast! I talk with Deadlight, Flawfinder, Landon, Psgels, and Sorrows Neptune all about our impressions of the current season, Studio White Fox, Masaaki Yuasa, and Gen Urobuchi, with a slight detour into how Type-Moon’s stories are the opposite of good storytelling. Fun for the whole family!
If you’d like timestamps, just click through to youtube for a breakdown of what we talk about when.
Management: Spoilers ahead for Madoka, Gargantia, Psycho-Pass, and Fate/Zero.
It’s not a complicated question. You hold the gun, target in the sights, finger on the trigger. An innocent, no question. But the stakes could not be more clear: one or one hundred. Either you kill this one person, ending their life and putting their blood on your hands, or you do nothing, and one hundred die through your inaction. Is it morally permissible to fire? Is it morally permissible not to? You could ask them first, I suppose – are they willing to die for the sake of one hundred strangers? That would certainly be noble of them, and possibly clear your conscious. But what if they say no? What if the stakes are one thousand strangers? One hundred thousand? One hundred billion?
Suisei no Gargantia is a strange little show. It covers all of Urobuchi’s pet themes at once, while also shifting wildly in tone and pacing throughout. It combines a number of seemingly incompatible genres, including Ghibli-esque adventure, slice of life, sci-fi drama, action, and even some moments approaching psychological horror. It clearly displays some of the most supportable accusations generally leveled at Urobuchi – that his characters lack nuance or depth, and that his stories work primarily in support of ideas and have little power as narratives in and of themselves. Gargantia by itself is a pretty cogent argument for why Urobuchi is such a polarizing writer.
But the thing about polarizing writers is that for all the people they turn off, there are also plenty of people who really like what they do. Like, for example, me.