The Ending to Madoka Magica Simply Explained

This will be sort of an extension to my last post. To understand Madoka Magica’s theme, it should be clear exactly what happened in the end, and it’s not all written out for everyone to see. The ending to Madoka Magica is multi-layered since it has several things to take into consideration.

Understanding the true conflict of the story comes first. Unlike a typical magical girl anime, the conflict is not within the evil force that they fight against, but the despair and tragedy that the witches themselves suffer as Puella Magi, which is what causes them to become witches. Kyubey is looking for sources of immense energy because the universe is supposedly running out because of entropy. The Puella Magi are the ultimate resource of energy, otherwise Kyubey would be leeching off other races. So Madoka and the others provide QB with that energy needed, but in turn they fall into despair and become Witches, which starts the vicious cycle of hope and despair. Since Kyubey lacks emotions, he doesn’t care. As a human, Madoka and the others just can’t accept that, and thus starts the drama between the girls and Kyubey.

The first person to attempt to save Madoka from despair is Homura, just because she wants to. Madoka is fated to become an extremely powerful witch because of how Homura keeps changing the time plane. Unfortunately her efforts can never work, and Kyubey knows that as well as Homura does.

As resolve for the problems at hand, Madoka makes a wish to Kyubey that she  rid the world of all witches in all time planes before they appear. Madoka becomes a deity synonymous with God, or more specifically Jesus Christ. She takes the despair that all Puella Magi experience before becoming a Witch so that the Soul Gem exhausts, but a Witch does not manifest itself. They even show Madoka going to several Puella Magi around the world personally and taking the darkness from their Soul Gems.In a nutshell, Madoka rewrites the rules of the universe so that it just works that way, and it doesn’t need logic to it. It seems like an incredible cop-out for a plot device, but it looks that way because even in the show, it’s considered an incredible ridiculous thing to do. The reason it actually works is because Madoka is filled with so much hope and power that she just can.

Madoka and Sayaka talking before they completely disappear

Now that that is over with, Madoka ceases to exist in body and mind from everyone’s memories except for Homura and Madoka’s little brother. The first thing we see after this is Sayaka and Madoka talking to each other while watching Kyousuke at an audition most likely. The reason they can talk to each other I assume is because they’re both gone; meaning that time has returned to shortly after Sayaka fell into despair, but instead of becoming a wish, her Soul Gem exhausted and disappeared. Sayaka still died for the same reason which was Hitomi ending up with Kyousuke instead of her. Mami, Kyoko, and Homura are seen coming back from fighting the Witch that Sayaka died fighting, but Kyoko did not die.

A Soul Gem whose darkness is being extracted not by a Gried Seed, but in their own form of usable energy

Now it’s time to go over the new rules of the universe. Puella Magi do not become Witches. They fall into despair for whatever reason, and their Soul Gems disappear. The darkness of their Soul Gem is harvested and is able to be absorbed by Kyubey. It’s a fairly easy way to go about getting energy for the universe, and it lessens the strain that the Puella Magi go through. Shortly after the scene above, we also see that Homura has angel wings, and Madoka’s bow and arrow, which is interesting to note.

Because Witches no longer exist, they can’t bear the curses and darkness of the world. Homura herself says,

“The distortions of the world change form and attack people from the darkness.”

Kyubey refers to these white beings above as Demons, and I hear the word Majuu being used.  These are what Mami and the others were fighting where Sayaka died while doing so. They are the new manifestations of darkness and evil, and defeating them is the new duty of all Puella Magi.

The new rules of the universe that Madoka created are ideal and allow Incubators and Puella Magi to co-exist with little conflit, all because of Madoka’s ultimate hope and benevolence.

Homura showing off her new powers at the end scene

The final scene is very ambiguous. It opens up with an interesting quote. We first see Homura in the presence of a large group of Demons, and then she sprouts wings that seems to be dark matter in the shape of wings. Homura then engulfs the entire screen, and quite possibly the entire location she’s in with the dark matter. We hear Madoka’s voice saying, “Keep it up,” showing that Madoka still exists within Homura, and that Homura must keep on fighting for as long as she can to preserve the world that Madoka worked to save. It’s a nice way to end the show, and although it’s ambiguous, it was pretty cool to see.


About Suda
Video games and anime reviews.

35 Responses to The Ending to Madoka Magica Simply Explained

  1. Pingback: The Growing Pheonomena that is Madoka Magica | Anime Afterlife Podcast

  2. I think the issue that I have with Madoka (and a lot of Shaft shows), is that it relies heavily on telling you the details, rather than showing, which could explain why some of these details weren’t so easy to get down. I won’t criticize the story or its ending, since well… it IS anime, and I’ve seen more implausible things occur in other shows. I think you worded the ending up quite nicely though. It feels like some of the conflict was due to misinformation (i.e. QB not caring to tell the magical girls would happen to them), and when Madoka has all this information, she just manages to word her wish just perfectly enough to satisfy everyone. It’s not exactly an ending that blows me away, but I can see why people would be fine with it.

    • sudatama says:

      Yeah, SHAFT shows definitely rely on detail a lot. And it would be hard to explain everything through what you see in the animation, so I would agree with what you say.

      And the conflict is mainly personal drama, so the fact that Kyubey withheld information just made it worse for the girls.

    • Jovebob says:

      You know what’s interesting? Kyubey and the Incubators chose teenage girls who would make shitty wishes that wouldn’t really do that much. The fatal flaw was- what if someone actually really thought over their wish and actually found our one flaw? That is to say, change the system they used. I don’t really like anime that say *lovey dovey hope wins out in the end blah blah blah* because it feels so cliche and just so detached from reality. But the fact that this show so masterfully executed it means I just disagree with their philosophy and not the actual show itself for which I give shit tons of praise. Although I think the ending doesn’t leave enough to interpretation. .

    • Horst says:

      from my experience that is exactly what 99% of all anime is doing actually. this is actually really bad story telling in geneal for a movie. just saying…
      though i don’t think thats wasthe issue in this show at all. i am not even sure why this explanation was even nessecary as it was pretty much clear as daylight. (except maybe for the very last sequence. but this isnt even important anyhow)

  3. drasil says:

    It’s not as fun if there aren’t some things left open to interpretation.

  4. kris stcroix says:

    so basically the sum of everything, selfish – selfless, good vs.evil,light and dark is that one can not exsist without the other light will always cast a shadow somewhere no matter how powerful it sucks that Madoka ceased to exsit but in many ways did not because she became hope but how did Homura remember her but one major point is Madoka destroys her own witch self which didnt make sense because her witch self shouldnt have been in that timeline because she hadnt made the contract yet. Open to other comments and insights as well. All in all i do like the ending because its open to everyones own interipatation like a song

    • epsilon-119 says:

      She made her contract at the last episode, I think that her one-shotting herself might have been the last paradox the universe could take before it had to hit her with the ban-hammer to that strange pink dimension and manually reboot itself.

  5. BlinkingCrystal says:

    Wow you had a good explanation, thanks a lot 🙂

  6. Why white wings when she lands, right after falling from the building? And why then “darish” wings?…

  7. *I mean “darkish”.

    Maybe it is connected to the events on Rebellion…

  8. Di-Dorval says:

    While you explained the ending. Which wasn’t that complicated to begin with you didn’t touched the themes the show wanted to convey at all..

    • It’s ok to explain the ending, or give an interpretation. But I concur with Di-Dorval: the show touches deeply, complex themes. Moral, the nature of love, it bounds and limits, friendship, freedom, obsession, fear of loss and much more… including (my favorite topic) the concept of “Hope”.

  9. CrazyCow says:

    The only thing that confuses me is if Madoka prevented all witches from existing, what do the Magical Girls throughout history fight?

    • saywhaaaaa says:

      i assume it would be the “demons” that have taken place of the witches in this new universe. in this universe the negative emotions of people, ie. sadness, anger, etc., take form as demons and then the puella magi come in and defeat them. this is only an assumption though.

      im still really confused about the ending. where did those dark wings come from, especially when the wings she landed with were white? why did she take out those demons like that as opposed to how she took them out earlier with her new weapon(the bow and arrow)? what the hell is going on here????!!!!!

  10. Taylor says:

    I was sad. No one remembers Madoka. Not even her mother. I wish she was still there. I mean, I know homura and madoka little brother remember madoka but it’s just sad to me.

  11. MaddyMagica says:

    But what happens to the Magic Girls if they do die in battle? Since they don’t turn into witches do they just cease to exist?

    • Engeltone says:

      That’s a great question… an I believe that it is an one. They clearly show the window closed. Which means, no “heaven”… for now. This is an unfinished story. Fortunately will be able to see much more… 🙂

    • Sam says:

      Basically, they die same way as last time, their grief and sadness eventually swallow their souls. But because of madoka’s new laws, they don’t turn into witches and don’t suffer as being witches, they just die.

      So to sum it up all madoka did was end the suffering of all magical girls so that they die happy.

  12. Danbman303 says:

    Personally, i feel like the ending was kind of stupid. Madoka didn’t really solve the problem, after all, they still end up having to fight demons. I reckon, perhaps a better ending, or and ending that would make more sense, would be one where instead Madoka gets rid of the effects of entropy, thus making there no reason for magical girls to exist, and no reason for witches to exist either. Then there would be no girls that needed to risk their lives fighting.

    • Techy says:

      While that would solve the witch problem, virtually all of earth’s history would be re-written. At the very least the cast would likely never meet, Homura certainly wouldn’t have the same relationship with Madoka (or maybe she would, since being a time traveler she still remembers Madoka), but most likely they’d cease to ever be born, thus never being able to have the effects they had, causing a massive paradox. That said, it’s already one big paradox as is.

      If Madoka had the power to wish for anything, I think there were better options, but you’d have to be very clever to essentially keep history as is while simultaneously saving all the magical girls from suffering and becoming witches. (since doing so changes everything, and eliminates the need for magic girls)

      If she wanted to stop all future witches and bring back all here friends (as in ignoring the past), that’d be easy, but I’m not sure she’d be happy with limiting it to that.

  13. CookieRoll says:

    Fabulous explanation, beautifully written as well. I’m just confused about one thing: why is Mami still alive when Sayaka is dead? I was under the assumption that past events would either completely change or remain the same? Thank you 🙂

  14. Marco says:

    There’s only one thing that I don’t understad. With Madoka’s new rules, do Magic Girls end up becoming Demons instead of Witches? Because previous to Madoka’s wish, Magic Girls would end up becoming Witches or dying in battle. Do the new rules imply that they won’t turn into Demons?
    Becuase if they do end turning into Demons, I’ll be really sad.

    • Sam says:

      What madoka did was change the law that magical girls become anything evil or bad.

      Magical girls die the same way as before but they die happily knowing they won’t turn into witches or demons, all they did was save people this time

  15. Sam says:

    The only thing I don’t get is this: how do magical girls now dispel their grief? In the end we can see homura throwing black cubes at kyube and him eating them, which I assumed might have been her grief, but what does she use to dispel it? Do demons now drop grief seeds too?

  16. Sam says:

    I have a question. WHY THE FUCK DID HITOMI GET THE GUY?! I mean, a girl visits you every day in the hospital to make sure your okay and you didn’t like her? AND THEN YOU MEET SOME RANDOM GIRL AND INSTANTLY FALL IN LOVE? I’m just. Like why didn’t sayaka even say anything? Cause she knew she was going to die one day? Actually that’s reasonable but damn hitomi is a straight up savage.

  17. Zach says:

    Thank you for saving my brain

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