The more I read about Sailor Moon (especially from your blog) the more I realize that Madoka Magica isn't as much of a deconstruction of Magical Girl shows as TVTropes says it is. It's more of a "What if this good thing that happens in this show actually lead to this bad thing instead" and "what if the good guys aligned with our heroine had ulterior motives instead." Star Wars KotOR2 is a much more effective deconstruction bc it actually asks questions about the Jedi and the nature of the Force.
Yeah, I mean, I do like Madoka (disregarding the movie) but it isn’t a deconstruction.
For one thing, a deconstruction requires being familiar with the genre and Urobuchi has admitted he wasn’t. Like he had literally never watched any. He based Madoka off porn games, for christ’s sake.
Second, it only really goes as far as “what if the mascot was evil” which is something that has actually been explored in mg shows before (Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is an example. Her mascot was literally turned out to be an agent of Satan, not joking). The fact is, in most magical girl shows, the mascot merely tells the girl that she has superpowers she can unlock, rather than granting her power in exchange for something, so the whole “wishes” thing does not hold up as a deconstruction. Either that or, a la Precure, the mascot is very obviously weak and dependent on the girls for help and they help out of the goodness of their hearts.
I guess you could argue his whole “magical girls would be isolated and fighting each other” thing counts as deconstruction, but there generally ARE loner magical girls in traditional magical girl shows who isolate themselves and conflict with the others before being helped by the power of friendship. There ARE magical girls who turn evil (ala Madoka’s witches) under the strain of whatever, they just tend to be saved. The POINT of magical girl shows is generally that the girls keep themselves from going into loneliness and despair over the shit they have to deal with by finding strength and support in each other.
I’m not sure why the hell you’d want to “deconstruct” “female friendship is powerful” as a trope, but hey. (Like the Madoka movie literally turned the “sad girl finds redemption and strength in female friendship/strong lesbian subtext” to “WHAT A TWIST the sad girl’s friendship/crush on another girl IS OBVIOUSLY OBSESSIVE AND HORRIBLE AND BASICALLY ABUSIVE” which wow. So progressive.)
So yeah, I don’t really see it as a deconstruction but rather a dark twist on the genre, and not one that uses tropes that haven’t been done before. Is it well-written at times? Yes, the writing of the aftermath of Mami’s death always breaks my heart, as does the time travel ep. The music is fantastic. etc. But it’s not as groundbreaking as people typically act like, imo.
I’ve said it before, but Utena is what an actual deconstruction looks like- as a deconstruction of shoujo and fairy tale shit rather than any particular genre really. It doesn’t just go “okay what if it were a trick” or “what if the heroes failed” but shows how harmful it is for people to try to fit in and follow these archetypes fairy tales/shoujo lay out.
It shows that someone who actually acts like a typical aggressive male love interest is actually really fucking terrifying when you actually think about it, and would have to be a truly shitty human being.
It shows that trying to fit men into this narrow “prince” archetype sets them up for failure, and that men inevitably take the shame they feel over that failure out on women.
It shows that women who are actually forced to act in the role of damsel in distress and victimized over and over again would inevitably be bitter and fucked up and be caught in a genuine abusive cycle. It shows that the problem isn’t magically solved just because you “save” the woman in question, she needs to be able to heal, break the cycle and reclaim her agency.
To me, that’s what a deconstruction is. It exposes the underlying problems with various facets of a genre and shows how it is harmful for people to try to fit into these archetypes, how they limit and exploit the characters in question.
I also think the best deconstructions generally show the characters truly breaking out of the roles assigned them and destroying those harmful archetypes, to show stories don’t have to be this way isn’t it so much cooler when we don’t limit ourselves? I mean, honestly, what’s the point of deconstruction if you don’t present a way the genre could improve? It’s just saying “this thing sucks” and that doesn’t help anyone. You need to show how it could break out of the same tired cliches.
Which is what Utena did. It was like “hey, we don’t have to rely on the prince and princess archetypes, hey we can just forget about the shitty male leads, hey women can save themselves, hey, isn’t this a bit better?”
Madoka…definitely did not do that, even if we’re acting like it’s a deconstruction. The magical girl system was still in place, girls were still sacrificed and some were dying because they wanted a boy to be happy, etc. So like, what was it trying to say if we’re calling it a deconstruction? “Well, this is just how it is”, I guess.
Madoka just really didn’t tackle any of the problems with the magical girl genre or show how these archetypes are flawed. It just took tropes that were already present and hit them with an angsty stick. So no, it’s not deconstruction imho. I did see someone once argue it could be a deconstruction for male-aimed magical girl shows, but I honestly really don’t see that and again, I don’t see how it could have been that considering the writer had never watched a magical girl show, male-aimed or otherwise.
Are all INTxs evil? I'm an INTP and I'm plotting your doom as I'm writing this, and I know INTJs are the mascot for evil so like is there a link between our superior intellect and our desire for destruction?
calm down we all know u intx’s are just sad virgins who spend too much time on the internet smh
The Renegades had been looking forward to the mascot spinning in and out of it’s clothes repeatedly, taking it’s time to muster enough courage to use the diving board. But, no, it didn’t give them that satisfaction, instead it jumped into the icy water defiantly at the first try.
Wolfgang: “It… she… she’s a girl!”
Silvana: “So what?”
Wolfgang: “Until now she was an it. The evil cow mascot. Now that she has a gender, she’s become a person.”