I guess to some this will be taken as a shot across the bow.
Somehow, recently, the matter of Puella Magi Madoka Magica characters came up, and I noted that although I wasn’t much a fan of the series itself, I did generally like the characters quite a bit. I believe it came up since one of my favorite bloggers, the Patches of What About the Waifuz?, was just finally watching the show, but it ended up rolling into a question of favorite character from the show, which itself then rolled into, “Hey, bros, why not do a series of posts on favorite character?!”
And then I dropped the ball!
Luckily, not everyone did, and I’ll have links at the end to a couple of posts on favored characters. I also intend to badger those who had said they’d do a post to begin with to actually do so, and I wish to extend the invitation to join in with a post of your own, dear reader; that said, you can talk favorite or least favorite, both, whichever, but I do ask that you ping my with the URL so I can add it to the list of other posts. I will also do the favorite character post myself, soon, but today I would rather just talk about the girl I didn’t really like – the meant-to-be-tragic Mami.
So, Mami, our piece of tragedy trotted out to let us know that this show means business, that it isn’t your “usual” floatsy, frilly magical girl show – oh, no, this is a very dark show, audience! It is very serious, and you will pay attention and not simply write it off as another member of the frothing, be-ribboned masses. So Mami gets her head bitten off in service of establishing tone, and, unfortunately for her, Homura doesn’t care about her as she does about Madoka, so no time-travel resets to save her from that unfortunate fate.
You may note that I sound a bit snide, and that would be correct. The fact is, part of why I’m not a Mami fan is that she ultimately isn’t really a character. I’m tempted to use the term “fridged” in her case, although I’ll admit that isn’t quite accurate, as fridging is generally understood as something done to spur the protagonist into action, while Mami’s demise does more to scare Madoka off than anything, and also serves to spur the plot forward, not really a particular character. The fact is, we know next to nothing about Mami – we never spend any time alone with her, we only get the tiniest of hints about her past, we simply see her as a confident magical girl who is willing to put others in danger because those others keep telling her how cool what she’s doing is.
Ah, and here we move to my other big issue with Mami – quite simply, Mami is fairly selfish. While Madoka and Sayaka do wander in by accident initially, Mami does nothing to discourage them from doing so in the two subsequent engagements she has with witches. No, instead, she allows them to accompany her, even as she knows how dangerous it is to do so, even when Sayaka demonstrates how little she gets what the true risk is by showing up with a baseball bat. And when Homura attempts to interfere, she ties the girl up, which ensures that she has no possible back-up if something goes wrong; while Homura is able to arrive in time to keep Madoka and Sayaka safe when Mami is killed, it could’ve ended disastrously. Again – it is more important to Mami to show off to the other girls than it is to make sure they’re actually safe. I feel like the cover of the second DVD volume says it all:
And then there is the fact that Mami is not at all up-front about the true dangers of being a magical girl, or about some of the other less pleasant details involved (remove soul, stick into gem). She permits Kyuubey to keep talking up how freaking wonderful it is to become a magical girl, and also even talks positively about it herself. Neither Kyouko nor Homura give prior warning about some aspects, either, but Homura doesn’t want more magical girls to begin with, and Kyouko is initially a hostile force, not a friendly one.
Going back somewhat, let’s look at Mami’s death – I’ll certainly allow that it sucks for her, but she ends up getting killed because she is so pre-occupied with impressing Madoka and Sayaka that she leaves a big opening for Charlotte to surprise her.
While it may be understandable why Mami behaves as she does, enjoying the attention, it doesn’t excuse it at all given that she was putting other people at risk for the sake of her own ego. Is it sad that Mami is lonely? Yes, in a theoretical sense, sure (but I never felt anything about her demise or her life to that point since she’s barely fleshed-out)… but that still doesn’t provide an excuse for her actions.
So, no, I don’t really like Mami much.
Anyway, links to posts about favored Madoka Magica characters:
Looking forward to getting some more….!