Paladin of Wandering Love (Sayaka Miki) 美樹・さやか
Wish: “Fix my boyfriend’s body!”
Black Guard of Lost Desire (SAYAKA) サヤカ
Wish: “Restore my humanity.”
Will Sayaka close her heart or remain true to herself?
Sayaka’s development by far has been one of the most interesting developments within Puella Magi Madoka (or really, of the entire season). Knowing the same knowledge as Madoka, learning of Puella Magi at the same time as Madoka, knowing the risks of being a Puella Magi due to Mami, and willing to stand off with Kyouko and Homura – stands the White Paladin of Love, Sayaka. For all intents of purposes, I’d really consider Sayaka the main character or external protagonist of the show at this point. Sayaka is learning of the world in which Magi exists in the hardest way, and exempting Madoka from “needing” to be a Puella Magi (at least until the end of episode seven).
And “The more innocent and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt.” – right? Sayaka’s intentions were purely defensive and helpful from the start (excepting the feelings she felt for her crush – which, for a young girl can easily be considered innocent in a sense even if she did not believe it to be so herself). Her wish, or shall we say, her life – was expended on helping someone recover from an injury he wouldn’t otherwise recover from if she spent her entire life by his side. Also, following Mami – Sayaka felt a need to defend her town from Witches and protect Madoka.
That small bit of selfishness is what’s causing Sayaka so much pain. The desire to just be with the people she’d dedicate her life to protecting was ruined when she realized she was completely detached from her body (thanks to Madoka). Her desire to be recognized for her support (support being the number one trait of a good waifu) became shattered from the inside out with little hope of recovery. With that in mind, she could only come to one reasonable conclusion.
Embrace what she’s become, accept what she does, and serve her side of the bargain (her wish) for the rest of her existence, in regret.
But how could anyone accept something like that?
Sayaka’s personality is no doubt fun-loving and adventurous, an obvious reason as to why she wanted Kyousuke to recover. But a wish for health just even more proves her own reliance to her body and her understanding of life. To Sayaka, there are rules one must follow – among those are everything from obeying laws, being a good friend, and giving things your all. And now she’s lost focus on those things almost entirely for a new existence which doesn’t follow any of them (which Kyouko was so eager to point out). Sayaka can’t do anything Kyouko asks her to – if she did, it would mean accepting the Magi existence – which is so broken from her own. When Madoka forced her to acknowledge she no longer has a body, Sayaka began to more strongly cling to the values which she held in her life before becoming a Puella Magi.
Among those are obeying laws, which is why she refuses Kyouko’s support. Sayaka is desperately clinging to her remaining values (which in a sense makes her a worse Magi and a better human compared against Kyouko who has fully accepted it), and it’s driving her insane. Her mind is breaking down, unable to accept the result given her intentions.
There is just no easy road for Sayaka from here. What she hasn’t lost is that she’s true to herself, which will leave her unable to sit in a transient position for very long. She understood that she had selfish desires for Kyousuke, that she acted for what she wanted, and even now she understands her soulless body is a machine adept for killing Witch’s – the only thing she can be good at now.
That self acceptance, loyalty to her friends and values, and outgoing personality is what I love about Sayaka.
Even if she becomes a killing machine, even if she breaks under her situation, I will not see Sayaka in a bad light. Infact – you might even say I’d like her more. Her laugh and reaction to the witch was both heart-wrenching and understandable. It’s not something I think anyone can accurately describe, in that position you get sharp pains in your chest as laughing becomes the only option left. I can only say meeting your own inner-sanctum is something to smile about. Having been pushed to my own mental limits before, I honestly felt like I understood the growing SAYAKA, and breakdown of Sayaka. When one is pushed to those limits, they really begin the realize the person they are and the limits of their mental fortitude.
I can’t say it’s anything I’d ever hold against her, and this portrayal of mental breakdown is just a little too accurate. The inability to change your situation or make yourself anymore happy due to your circumstances will tear away at your mind and degrade your values. Sayaka’s situation is becoming so severe so quickly I see her losing sight of her friends and standards. This leaves it up to either Madoka to restore Sayaka’s faith in her humanity, Sayaka to come to terms with her own situation, or the birth of SAYAKA – who would easily become the best antagonist of the show. We are looking at the author of Saya no Uta, so having Sayaka become a Fuminori-esque character wouldn’t be unheard of (infact, it’d probably be outstanding.)
The Night of Walpurgis is drawing closer.
So, what’s the bottom line in all this? You can’t blame a girl for trying.
You can’t blame any of them for trying.