Last night at dinner, my daughter hit me up about going to see a movie that started at 7:00 pm — of course, it was a limited run, one-showing flick that surprisingly had a showing in our little neck of the woods. Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion or, as is more commonly known, Madoka Magica, Movie #3.
As you can see from the movie poster pictured here, it is a Japanese anime, which (thankfully) is subtitled. My first question was, “Ok, what’s it about?” After a brief recap courtesy of Wikipedia, it sounded intriguing to this geek mom so in spite of the last minute notice, I decided to give it a shot. After all, this was probably the only chance we’d ever have to see it at the theater.
To make a long story short, Madoka Magica turned out to be a classic good vs. evil story, with a few twists turned in to boot and told in a way that only the Japanese can. (To the Madoka Magica fans who might be reading this, please forgive my over-generalizations — I realize it’s really much more complicated than this but space limits my recounting of the plot.)
Basically, a few middle school age girls can have one wish granted in exchange for agreeing to become magical girls who live to fight evil. The only catch is, they have to give up their soul to do so. But they’re fighting evil so that’s not all bad, right? Catch #2: fighting evil turns out to be so difficult that eventually some give in to despair — and it is at that time that they become one of the evil witches the magical girls are tasked with fighting.
The anime artwork in this movie is very unique, chaotic even, but beyond that, the story line delves very deeply into human nature, motivations and the good vs. evil struggles buried deep inside every person on Earth. Like I said, it’s complicated. But it stuck with me.
As I rolled it around in the back of my head last night and then this morning, it occurred to me that within the story line lies a core theme that is very close to our own Judeo-Christian beliefs. We too have an enemy that tempts us constantly to sell our souls to him, to give in to despair that despite our good intentions, can destroy us in the end, even to the point of turning us into bitter, black-hearted creatures more aligned with the enemy’s purposes than God’s. The only way we can overcome this reality is to never give our souls over to the enemy in the first place.
Like Peter said, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He goes on to say in verse 9, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
And hence lies the lesson for us all. Commit your heart and soul to God, stand firm and don’t give in. I pray that all of you who read this don’t give into despair but rely instead on God’s saving, victory power. What better message to dwell on at Christmas-time than this?
Meanwhile, based on this quick sketch that I found on my computer monitor this morning, I think someone wants me to catch up and get all the backstory in movies 1 and 2 so I can see what brought the magical girls to this point in their lives. Well, Christmas vacation is coming. We’ll see what happens.