Few people could argue that Alice In Wonderland isn’t a trip into a world of the bizarre and quite possibly, a messed up drug trip. As rumour has it, a drug trip is exactly what spawned the sheer crazy story. However, even fewer people can give you an example of a show that takes the Alice In Wonderland syndrome and throws it back, better than the original story does.
I am not one of those misguided many who believe Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole is the best of the many adaptations and/or original ideas spawned by the same concept. It might have been the original, but it just isn’t the best anymore.
In the decade or so that i’ve been an avid anime fan I’ve learnt a few things. The Japanese know their shit when it comes to insanity.
Alice falls down the rabbit hole but she returns home unchanged by her strange adventure in wonderland. What if I told you, that I know of a show where the character never breaks free from the Wonderland they’re trapped in?
This is where Madoka Magika comes into play. If you haven’t already, go and watch the video at the top of this post and you tell me whats going on. Back? It’s pretty hard to isn’t it?
That ladies and gentlemen, is an example of how dark the series can get. While that video focuses primarily on the character Homura, who by all means is one of the driving forces surrounding the entire plot, there are many dark scenes that don’t involve her.
However as she’s probably one of the most interesting and quite frankly my favorite anime character of all time, i’ll focus on her.
When we first see Homura, she’s a girl who seems to know a suspicious amount of detail about Madoka (The protagonist). There is an air of mystery about her, she seems to always know what the other characters will do and seems to know what is going to happen in the near future. To say the anime is actually a magical girl series, it’s not too surprising that she seems to have powers.
What is surprising, is when it’s revealed that she’s trapped in a constant time loop. She knows so much about the other characters because she’s lived the events of the last month repeatedly multiple times, all in an effort to save Madoka. The girl you could easily argue she’s in love with.
Everything, from Homura’s decision to travel in time the first time around to her decision to warn Madoka away from anything other than a normal life, all comes from the pain and grief she battles with from having to see the girl who at first was a friend and a mentor, then her only love die at the hands of an un-defeatable evil over and over and over.
Now, you could watch the series and say that Homura is only so obsessed due to how close they were when Madoka died in the original timeline. How Homura is only trying to save her because they were best friends. But dear reader, I urge you to re-watch the show and this time keep your eyes open for the entirety of it. Did you miss the part where Horuma actually rewrites the laws of physics and alters the universe just to keep a false image of Madoka and their friends alive?
Did you see Horuma’s fall into the darkest depths of insanity over how she couldn’t save our pink haired protagonist? Or how she lured Madoka in by the false promise of letting her save Homura from her own insanity, only to trap her at the last possible second and pull Madoka into the depths with her? Did you even watch the show?
Yes, there isn’t a single moment in the series or movies where Homura actually states that she’s in love with Madoka, but if you actually watch the series you’ll see it.
Homura is downright obsessed with the girl that no matter how much she tries, she just can’t ever have. It drives her to lose her mind and rewrite reality. And by the end of it, even in all of her broken darkness and shattered insanity, Homura refuses to be saved, she embraces that which all characters are terrified of. The ultimate fate for a magical girl. I won’t ruin it by telling you what it is, but it’s by far the worst thing in the series to become.
Each character is driven by a goal, each of which we see them never achieve.
Madoka is probably the only one who achieves anything and even then, it requires a sacrifice so great that it wasn’t worth it in the end. Madoka erases her own existence to become a god and stop anyone ever suffering the fate that all magical girls do. In the end, there’s only one person in existence who remembers her. Homura, who by this point has become a demon.
In a way, they’re comparable to God and Satan. Except so much better. Homura fell from grace and lives in her own hell, a world without Madoka, while Madoka rose to the level of a god and doesn’t exist in the material world. Both can rewrite reality, both are the driving forces of not only their anime, but also their universe.
For an anime that had been sat on my watch list for years, which I never even expected to enjoy; then I was beyond blown away. I watched the entire series and all the movies in one sitting, tears streaming down my face from episode 3 to the very end of the last movie.
Homura’s insanity is my favorite kind. It’s not only dark, tragic and fragile but it’s also addicting, poetic and beautiful. See, for a long time i’ve loved to watch characters break on screen, I have an obsession for the deepest parts of the human mind, the darkness inside of people. It’s practically my forte. I’m hopelessly in love with characters who’ve been broken beyond repair. Characters who have no moral compass. The characters who do the unexpected. The villains, the anti-heroes, the evil characters.
Characters who are evil for the sake of being evil bore me. Villains who just do bad because they’re the villains are cheaply written. But characters who’re driven to the darkness inside them? Now that’s like nicotine to me.
Humans are such complex beings that to see them portrayed so effortlessly on screen, especially those who don’t fall into the “norm” is always a delight. Especially since the “norm” these days is to be faker than a supermodels.. Well everything.
It always leaves me wondering, where are all the real people, or do they only exist in our imaginations?