Akemi Homura - A Twisted Wish
Akemi Homura's complex conflict with the characters around her cause her to seem more like a villain rather than the hero she thinks she is.
Homura is a lone girl with immense self-esteem who fought fate all for the sake of her beloved best friend. Her only objective was to protect Madoka and keep her safe, but fate had its own plans.
Homura is from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a franchise infamous for its dark and twisted take on the magical girl genre. In order to become a magical girl, you must make a wish. Once the wish has been made, the magical girl must fight threatening monsters called “Witches.” Defeating these monsters grants magical girls “grief seeds,” items that replenish magic power.
Madoka Kaname is the protagonist. She is advertised as the naive everyday girl that gets sucked into the madness of the magical world, while Sayaka Miki, Madoka’s childhood friend, has a strong sense of justice. Mami Tomoe has been in the magical girl business for quite some time compared to the rest of the cast. After saving Madoka and Sayaka, she teaches them about magical girls
Kyubey, the cutesy yet mysterious mascot character, allows girls to form magical contracts in exchange for a wish. He is eventually revealed to be an evil entity that sends young girls down a route of death and despair.
Akemi Homura is introduced as a cliché dark and mysterious girl with some kind of connection to Madoka. At the end of the anime she is revealed to be more important to the story than most of the other magical girls and is the focus character of the sequel movie called Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion.
The events of Rebellion have her literally become the devil and a self painted villain. Her rise to villainy was due to her toxic devotion to Madoka, cynicism and attempts at thwarting Kyubey’s schemes.
Toxic Deviation - Only Madoka
Homura starts out with very complex and authentic intentions that the other characters struggle to understand. Kyubey even says that while Homura made a contract with him, he has no idea when or how it happened, so he calls her an irregular. The anime later reveals that she was once a meek girl with glasses and braided hair frequenting the hospital due to a health disease.
Homura first meets Madoka when she is rescued from being killed by a witch. She becomes infatuated with Madoka and after watching her die and turn into a witch, she decides to become a magical girl to prevent this from happening again.
This mission of hers would soon lead into a trail of pain and suffering as Homura would be forced to travel back in time due to constantly failing in her task. To put it in perspective, a teenage middle school girl was forced to watch her friends die over and over all for the sake of the one she wanted to protect. Rebellion amplified this suffering.
The events of Rebellion finally made Homura snap, pushing her to gain control without the approval of either Kyubey or Madoka. Homura tricked herself into believing everything she did to protect Madoka had the opposite effect. Instead of seeming heroic, this is presented as selfish. Homura believes she knows what’s best for Madoka, rather than simply protecting her as she originally intended.
As stated previously, Homura has traveled through time on multiple occasions, which brings up the question of why Homura didn’t originally explain her intentions to the other magical girls. This is because the events of episode 10 caused Homura to come to the conclusion that she can’t trust anyone and has to work alone.
In episode 10, Homura tries warning Madoka, Sayaka, and Mami about Kyubey’s true intentions. Unfortunately, her warning is met by skepticism and disbelief. The group ends up learning magical girls are destined to become witches when Sayaka’s soul gem gets corrupted and they are forced to kill her witch form. In midst of the chaos, Mami snaps and kills Kyouko. Although Mami tries to kill Homura, Madoka saves her by shooting Mami’s soul gem. This tragic event would further cause Homura to develop lapses in communication and trust as she deemed the girls too mentally disturbed and untrustworthy.
Rebellion takes this further and demonstrates how the conclusion Homura came to isn’t absolute. Homura feels as if she is trapped in the barrier of a witch, but instead of reaching out to anyone, she believes that she’s the only one who understands what’s happening. Her lack of trust in anyone leads to unnecessary conflict.
For example, Homura is suspicious of Mami’s new companion, Bebe, and instead of talking out her concerns, she immediately tries to murder it.
Mami is forced to beat and bind her when she finally reveals her suspicion about Bebe, which could have obviously been avoided if the two talked.
Thwarting Incubator’s Evil
Kyubey, or Incubator, is the main the source of Homura’s suffering. Throughout the series, he actively schemes to make Homura appear as a dangerous villain, all the while slowly pushing the other magical girls into despair to turn them into witches.
After a lot of conflict, Homura discards Kyubey, allowing herself to become a corrupted witch. As the other magical girls try to rescue Homura, Madoka offers her salvation for all of the suffering she has gone through. However, Homura usurps Madoka’s divine abilities for herself, proceeding to create a world where everyone is alive, but with no memories of being magical girls.
Homura ultimately stops Kyubey from causing any more damage, but she essentially replaces Kyubey’s as the main villain, ensuring that he would never dare cause problems for Homura’s Madoka.
Hero, Villain, or Well Intended Extremist?
From the anime series to Rebellion, Homura has suffered a journey of sacrifice and suffering. The tragedy of her mind snapping has caused her to change from a hero to a villain. However, this does not mean she is pure evil. Shown in the ending of Rebellion, Homura creates a world where everyone is happy because she knows that is what Madoka would want. She also put a leash on Kyubey, preventing him from ruining the lives of others. She also admits that her actions have crossed a line and she doesn’t expect to be forgiven. She knows that one day Madoka will rise to seize her and she is prepared for it. Only time can tell if Homura’s journey will end in her earning redemption or facing condemnation.