That’d be one hell of a trick, wouldn’t it? Make a show about Magical Girls where the main character never actually becomes a Magical Girl herself. That’d just be the total deconstructionist stroke, no?
I’ve seen promo art of Madoka in full-out Magical Girl mode that’d seem to spoil the surprise of her taking Kyubey’s offer eventually. Then again, there’s also been plenty of promos showing all these “puellae magi” working together as a team and, considering how 3/5’s of that roster is either dead or hideously transformed by this point, the show’s crew has proven itself to not be above using misleading promos to manipulate expectations.
Or maybe everybody will just get resurrected and rehabilitated in the three remaining episodes. There’s always a possibility of that, isn’t there?
For all the conjecture I’ve put forth about the Soul Gems and Grief Seeds probably being reinterpretations of familiar objects in the genre, I should say that they are rather brilliantly creepy concepts. The scenario of Madoka and Kyoko carrying Sayaka’s discarded husk of a body while fleeing from her grotesquely-mutated soul was a gripping one - - bolstered all the more by Madoka’s pitiful hope that she’ll somehow be able to change her friend back to normal.
I’m a sucker for stories about characters trying - - to whatever result - - to reverse the fates that have been laid out to them. In the aforementioned case with Sayaka, that’s the tragedy of a friend trying to reverse the irreversible. Interestingly enough, the series as a whole seems to be a larger recreation of that. Instead of Madoka fruitlessly trying to save Sayaka from witch-hood after it’s too late, though, it’s Homura traveling back and having plenty of time to talk Madoka out of becoming the Ultimate Witch.
(My AP English teacher would be so proud of me for noticing the doubling in this narrative).
Let’s just hope that this series carries this momentum all the way through to the end instead of fumbling at the goal line like so many other intriguing series of late. I really don’t want to be wishing I had some time-traveling friend to go back and warn me to check my expectations before I started watching this...