Original Publish Date: October 10, 2012
By now, everyone on the Internet knows more or less who or what Kyuubey is – the adorable looking alien from the mega-hit anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica that will grant your wishes in return for your service as a magical girl (apparently, no boys are allowed) fighting off witches that cause depression, suicide, and all types of terrible awful things. And yes, the implicit deal is all types of messed up since we find out later the conditions are way more terrible than implied by said cute alien making these contracts, who just wants to help save the universe.
But is Kyuubey as evil as he/it seems? Or perhaps his plan far, far more dastardly than ever imagined? Let’s take a look at some facts. (AND BE FOREWARNED THIS THING IS LITTERED WITH SPOILERS)
1) Kyuubey is incapable of lying, but totally capable of omitting information
This is the first major thing we learn about Kyuubey. One thing we learn once shit has hit the fan in this show, is that not only the soul of these girls are physically separated from their bodies, but also that once those souls (soul gems) became too tainted with despair and hatred, the girls turns into a witch. This then produces the energy needed to put into the universe so it doesn’t die. Basically, Kyuubey’s mission is to save everyone by sacrificing a few hundred people. They become angry with him, and his retort is, “well, you never asked.”
Therefore, he’s not lying per se, he’s just made a “logical” (we’ll touch on that next) decision not to reveal specific information at the time of the contract to ensure they would go through with it. Since he otherwise seems so open, and the people in question were teenage girls, they didn’t think through the fact that this was a negotiation and that MAYBE they should ask about all the conditions. Though, even then, we don’t know if we’re getting the whole story about the contracts themselves – we just see the clauses that directly affects these girls in particular. What else is he deciding might not be important enough to talk about or know? And should this technically count as lying?
2) Kyuubey doesn’t have any emotions per se…or so we’re told.
Kyuubey makes it very clear that he neither understands, nor strives to understand, humans. He comes from a world with no emotions – his is a society based almost entirely on logic. Ergo, he’s basically a Vulcan. He states that he feels nothing, and wonders why humans get upset when he, mercifully, doesn’t the reveal the worst part of a contract that is essentially setting up people to become monsters and get slaughter by other proto-monsters.
He totally would have told them, had they asked. But how can you tell a cow it’s going to die when its on the conveyor belt? His metaphor (kinda), not mine. He says they (his people) would do this process themselves but they don’t have emotions. In fact, Earth is special since most other places in the universe don’t have beings who feel emotions. But never does he actually say we are the only ones EVER. How long as this emotion-energy-harvesting been going on?
But that’s not exactly true. He says emotion, on his planet, is a sign of insanity or mental malady. ERGO they must not have enough crazy people to fuel the universe. Or do they? He says it’s not normal, but how do we know that they even tried it? They could have thought it was more logical to kill other species that to cut your population down to size, even if it’s just the crazy ones. And Kyuubey isn’t entirely without emotion – he feels surprise, we know that. He kind of mocks Homura when she keep trying to kill him. He has a very clear manipulative nature when he asks Madoka to save him in episode one EVEN THOUGH he would just eat himself and be fine again.
3) He has powers that can rip the soul out of people…without having to ask
This is an idea very rarely touched upon in discussions of this character, so I would like to bring special attention to it. In order to create a magical girl. Kyuubey must remove a girl’s soul from her body, otherwise she’d be way too weak to fight witches, and that’s how they get their power. He does make it clear that “magical girls are born from wishes…[and] witches are born from curses” so the wish is both, and it decides the style of power the girl will receive.
HOWEVER, he also tells Madoka that the contract is an act of kindness, to make things fair for the human girls who have basically signed their death wishes, so that when they do find out the truth (supposing they do, anyways), that they won’t be as gilted. Which means, Kyuubey can rip your soul from you body whenever, wherever he wants to. The contract is his way to entice you in, but there isn’t much stopping him from outright doing it if logic dictates it is the single best course of action. He doesn’t need to offer you anything – the only reason he does so is to make it so the girls fight and eventually fall into despair. After all, if he just grabbed them outright, they would probably choose not to fight or just kill themselves and then he’d never get any energy.
Do all his people have this power? How does he do it? If he acquired, how? Do Kyuubey’s people have souls? Can he put them back? All these questions never get answered, but it’s damn creepy that he can just sort of do it at whim.
4) In the universes where Sayaka exists, she always becomes a witch
In the episode where we see Homura’s entire backstory, there are several versions of reality, but they can be categorized as such (one of the ways anyway): where Sayaka becomes a magical girl, and where she doesn’t. Every universe where she becomes a magical girl, she becomes a witch. This isn’t a fluke either – Sayaka’s destiny is to become a witch. And that’s why Kyuubey follows her and makes sure that she makes the contract.
Not only that, the only time Kyuubey comes in to make a contract with a girl is at her absolute lowest – Mami is dying, Homura has lost her one true friend, Kyoko is watching her father fall apart while she’s starving, and Sayaka is watching the person she loves suffer. And you know what rash decisions lead to? Regret.
Mami doesn’t even speak the wish; Kyuubey kind of psychically reads it from her, and her own parents die from that very fact, leaving her all alone.
Kyoko doesn’t realize that, yeah, seeing as witchcraft and magic aren’t the most accepted things in the general Christian dogma (we don’t know the exact type of Christianity, but it is clear that it’s of that general nature), her dad might view her as evil, and it gets her whole family killed.
Homura’s wish is basically designed to drive her to the brink of insanity, and Sayaka’s wish is as selfish as it is selfless. He’s not looking for stable, intelligent young women – he’s looking for lonely, mentally disturbed or weak people at their end of their rope or those who could get there quickly.
Additionally, had Mami not been killed, she probably would have become a witch too. Where does this hypothesis come from, you ask? The fact that in one universe, when she finds out they have no soul and will become witches, she decided to mercy-kill all of her friends rather than watch them turn into monsters. Not what I’d call someone who’s on an even keel. Kyuubey knows very well who and how to make into a magical girl, and he’s damn well gonna use it.
5) He doesn’t know Homura time travels…and yet…
Kyuubey makes it clear in more than one reality that he has no idea Homura can travel through time and create alternate realities…or so he says. Yes, he does express surprise everytime he comes into contact with her and her time-jumping abilities. But think about it – Kyuubey in the very first universe (which we will call TL1) approaches Homura after Madoka meets her end, knowing pretty much she’ll wish to somehow save Madoka, and gives her time travelling powers. And in each and every universe before the show begins, Kyuubey gets to Madoka first and turns her into a magical girl, so Homura knows her fate is over at the point, prompting her to go back again until we get to the reality where Madoka can alter the laws of physics. Coincidence?
When Kyuubey finds out about Homura’s time travelling in the show’s universe, he just sort of happens to throw out a theory about why Madoka is so powerful – Homura’s time-turning has made each reality center around Madoka, which makes her emotional burden heavier, meaning she would become the ultimate witch. This is the theory Kyuubey just throws out there THAT HAPPENS TO BE 100% CORRECT.
Keep in mind, Kyuubey has, supposedly, no clue how many time Homura has gone back, just that she’s not from that universe itself. He can just sort of sense it and comes to that conclusion. We never see that his people have time travelling capabilities or if they know it’s even possible to go back in time. But, you know, Kyuubey being the all-knowing somehow knows that this is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WITHOUT HOMURA GIVING HIM MUCH INFO. Suspicious much?
6) The end game is never seen
I could touch on the whole “entropy-doesn’t-work-like-that-how-can-emotion-turn-to-energy” speech that lots of fans know, but I suck at science and I can’t even begin to figure out exactly how that works. And it’s not the biggest flaw in the argument he presents either, so we’ll just note it as Kyuubey is bad at science. He says that he, and his race, must harvest the entropy created by a magical girl turning into a witch in order to save the universe. One, how does he harvest it? Through the grief seeds? Magic? Hovering spaceship over Earth?
Two, how do WE the audience know the universe is actually dying? As I mentioned before, saying you don’t lie doesn’t mean anything since that in itself could be a lie. How do we know he’s not omitting important information like, the universe is dying…at a rate slow enough that it would take millenia before the universe were actually in peril. Or that the universe…is in an alternate dimension where Kyuubey’s people are from.
And further more, we see that this process of turning people into magical girls has been going on for centuries – how much energy is needed? Infinite? If he gets Madoka’s energy, is it over? Well it would have to be because Madoka’s witch is said to engulf the Earth and basically kill everyone on it who is filled with grief to make it perfect….which is basically everyone except babies and very young children who would probably die on their own as time went on.
And no, don’t give me that crap that “as long as one man and one female survive” – there are tons of issues with that, mainly the one that you can’t rebuild an entire species that way. Nor could anyone wish for the entire species to come back, as that would require a lot of power that thus far we’ve only seen capable with Madoka. So there will be no more humans on Earth to steal energy from, and therefore unless there are other planets with life that feels emotion, then the energy source is basically over.
Additionally, when there will be no humans on Earth…there’s no point in anyone becoming a magical girl cause the world is doomed anyways and they won’t get to have ancestors that will live in the universe Kyuubey is supposedly trying to save. And thus everyone who dies in the show, and before it’s events, basically would have made a pointless sacrifice had it not been for Madoka’s wish…which I will discuss next week.
7) His race designed this entire system…on purpose
The ultimate thing about Kyuubey is the fact that this system of magical girls and witches works out entirely in his favor, and the favor of his people too. They save the universe without killing any of themselves in the process, with minimal collateral damage to “everyone,” and the universe gets saved. So what if like a 100 or so teenage girls suffer and die horribly before it happens? Except, really, there’s no explanation why they have to.
Kyuubey makes it clear that the magical girl/witch system is a design of his people – in order to get energy from emotions, there has to be a shit ton of suffering. You know what does that pretty effectively? War. Famine. Life in general. HIGH SCHOOL. You can’t tell me that you had to make people really depressed when life all by its lonesome does that. And teenage boys don’t have enough emotional potential? I get the stereotype is that boys are stoic and stupid and removed, and girls are the one with all the squishy feelings in the media, and it’s nice to see a girl-centric show NOT all about romance, but I think it’s poor rationale.
Most importantly, why do you have to make them monsters? Why not suck the misery out of them, or make a different chemical reaction in where the girl survives, so she can suffer more and maybe make more emotional-energy later? THAT’S CALLED A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE. People never stop feeling, so it’s not like they will ever run out of it. So why kill what is, in essence, your best source of power when you don’t apparently need to? You could farm them a la Matrix, and you’d have energy forever and everyone would mutually benefit. They made this system, but they clearly never thought it through.
And there you have it, my over-analysis of a character from a 12-episode long series. Tune in next week when I nitpick the ending to death! Why? Because I can!