Miki Sayaka really pisses me off. No, this is not the opening of a Kyoko x Sayaka fem-slash/yuri fic, this is just my general opinion of her. What I hated about her the most was not her brash personality which jumps to unflattering conclusions about everyone outside her small circle of friends. It was her naive and simplistic thinking about her wish and her personal brand name building strategies as a career Magical Girl. First of all, has she read The Little Mermaid? Granted whenever I say this, people often think of the happy, sparkly, dreams come true Disney version. But I suspect that blaming Disney for the demise of Sayaka’s character will not really solve my fundamental issue with Sayaka’s character.
In other animes, there are characters like Sayaka who stand for justice, selfless duty and nobility. If the cape, the sword and her knight like witch didn’t clue you in, Sayaka is the an example of the White Knight whose desire to live by fundamental moral principles turn her into the zealous and self-destructive Knight Templar. This last bit is what really annoyed me. Sayaka has a very black and white morality. While her magical girl colleagues develop the maturity and understanding that the world does not work in absolutes, Sayaka tries very hard to cling on to absolute moral codes without taking a moment to really examine whether they are appropriate until it’s too late. Sayaka in this sense is innocent. She is innocent because she strongly believes that the world is black and white, the world revolves around good or evil and that there is no colours in between let alone any gray area. What a modernist character.
On an another note, another aspect of Sayaka that really bothers me is that she made a wish for a boy she loved without establishing whether the feelings were mutual. In a way, she is one freaky confession about why he can play his violin all of a sudden away from starting an abusive relationship in which he is going to need years of therapy for. Kyoko eloquently summarizes the moral of the tale: don’t wish something for someone else without knowing what this other person truly wants. Also, could she have not made a more utilitarian wish like having the power of healing everyone she touches? That way, even if Kyousuke does not return her feelings, she can still live her life and move on to other things and not make Kyubey look like the girl-child human trafficker that he is.I am reminded of a very similar character from another manga/anime called Claymore. It’s premise is very similar to the magical girl genre but set in a more mature and dark medieval fantasy world with female warriors wielding massive claymores, secret organizations, conspiracy theories, dubious use of biotechnology with illogical logistics and even more dubious ethical practices. To sum a long arc short, there once was an Ice Queen warrior who, at the time, was the best yoma (demon) hunter the organization had (an organization that for a fee sends women warriors modified with yoma flesh to hunt these human gut eating monsters so that people in villages and cities don’t turn into said monster’s lunch buffet). However, due to understandable circumstances, she ends up killing humans who threatened the life of someone who she really cared about. Subsequently, she was blacklisted from the yoma hunting organization (because you’re not supposed kill humans, no matter what) and said organization sends other top warriors to kill this black sheep (Teresa of Faint Smile). One of the warriors is a new and very young recruit who is determined to kill Teresa because she killed humans. Her name is adorably Priscilla. She did not understand why anyone other than those gut eating horrible yoma would want to take a human’s life. Having just lost her family from a yoma attack and being thrown in into the Claymore business, without seeking therapy to resolve any of the issues, does explain her fervour to kill Teresa. However, she is a child and lacked the maturity to understand that Teresa’s reason’s for doing so are far more compassionate compared to a flesh-eating demon’s. Priscilla’s thinking was very black and white. Long story short, she was so enraged by Teresa’s action that in the process of trying to kill her, she turns into a witch like super monster called an Awakened Being. Essentially become a very powerful humanoid yoma herself, acquiring a life long appetite for human flesh. The irony.
In both of these character’s cases, their innocence is what ultimately lead to their destruction. I draw a from one of my favourite novels in the world, the 1922 Pulitzer Prize wining “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton. One of the themes of this book is how innocence is not pure or ideal, it can be rather crippling and unsympathetic. And in the case of Sayaka and Priscilla, it’s easy to see why. Both of these characters had an ideal of the world which was shattered right before their eyes and yet, they refused to really change what they believed. The result is pure poetic irony: they become they very things that they were fighting against.After taking you on an intellectual journey that involves some of the things I picked up in my undergraduate education, I am not saying that these weak characters should not exist. I think they serve as very interesting foils to the more developed and complex characters. I was literally watching episode 8 again of Magica Madoka and I was like please kill her now, Homura. It would save Kyoko’s life and save you the trouble of having to fight the final battle along. It’s safe to say that Sayaka wasn’t one of my favourite characters in the series. Sometimes I really wanted to slap her across the face and talk some sense into her. What are your thoughts?
Also, I’m thinking of moving or cross posting on a tumblr site. Tumblr is a lot more easier to use in my case and I’m on it more (for those of you who follow my personal tumblr know how crazy it can get). Here’s the link to the tumblr version of this article.
And also, long time no talk! I have been busy and writing is a good way to relax sometimes.