*WARNING - SPOILERS*
Alright, so where do I start with this? The premise of this show is basic enough. A mysterious creature named Kyubey shows up to offer the main girls a contract. He will grant them one wish of their desire and in return they will hunt evil entities known as Witches for and undisclosed amount of time. It would be fun to battle evil and save others after all, riiiiight~?
Madoka: Madoka is pretty much the embodiment of kindness. She cares deeply about not just her friends and family, but everyone in general. She cares to the point that she will put herself in harms way just to try and calm her friends with her presence. Her nature can best be described as gentle, but that tends to conflict with the violent ways in which a Magical girl lives. She is horrified by the sight of her friend Mami dieing and from that point forward strives to make sure the Magical Girls will work together in order to overcome evil – rather than constantly squabbling amongst one another for grief seeds or pursuing individual ideologies. She's the main character through and through and the vessel by which the darker mysteries of an already depressing existence are explored or discovered.
Sayaka: She's young, she's in love, and she defends others with all she is worth. These are nothing but flaws for a Meguca, but Sayaka manages to make them work (as of my current viewing) because her sense of duty to her friends somehow manages to make her friends pull through for her – making them see the errors of their judgments and actions. However, she has also begun to learn that truth that not every obstacle overcome results in a dream coming true. Her love and loyalty towards others causes her to lose hope and faith when she is confronted with failing those she adores – or being betrayed by them. While physical pain is something she can face with great endurance, emotional pain takes a devastating toll on her mind in the most disturbing of ways.
Eventually - the pain consumes the hope and the fiery passion that fueled
Tomoe Mami: She's the first girl to be introduced as a veteran of the Magical Girls. Her role was somewhat of a mentor to the Sayaka and Madoka, both of whom got to see first hand what being a magical girl was all about – fighting witches. She guides them with dignity and respect in an effort to ease them into the idea of fighting witches. One could argue that she does so out of a sense of loneliness. She seems driven to fight by her own desire to protect others. This makes her ability to cope with the hardships of being a Magical Girl quite robust... however – she is also far from satisfied. She fights for others but lacks vision for herself. She is often afraid and in pain, but completely incapable of reaching out to others for help. In some senses, one could say she is deeply depressed – and trying very hard to hide it from everyone by appearing calm and collected. Secretly though, the pain has been eating away at her for quite some time.
It should also be noted that she squabbles a good bit with Homura. This is not due to any greediness on the sides of either party, but because they fail to understand each other. Mami thinks Homura is cruel and cold, concerned only with herself. While Homura - well, she has a reason for acting the way she does in the series. But it almost appears that she believes Mami a fool for fighting the way she does - further building the mistrust Sayaka bears towards her. (Though Madoka is a bit more open to hearing what Homura has to say.) This misjugdment causes Mami to turn down any help from Homura when it comes to slaying a powerful witch – a decision which brings a swift end to Mami's career as a magical girl.
One could see Mami's life as a metaphor for unhappy endings. She finally finds something in this world that pleases her immensely only to be completely unable to experience such happiness by dieing shortly after. She was kind of heart, but poor of judgment. A truly sad fate for the blonde youth.
Sakura Kyoko: Her motivations seem to take a complete 180 during the first few episodes she is around. She goes from seeing humans as being so expendable for grief seeds that she will fight other Meguca in order to let familiars mature, to being someone who will eagerly detail her entire history and sensitive pain to Sayaka, the girl whom she was trying to kill, and protect her when she thinks Sayaka can no longer handle a fight she is close to losing. Like all other Meguca, this change only seems to come about once there is someone or a group of people she feels she can trust. This gives her a lot of overlap with Homura in that regard. She made the mistake as Sayaka of trying to help someone else with a wish only to be met with tragic results. Through Sayaka and Food girl's mutual understanding of good intentions causing personal suffering, they are able to find a common ground to the point of dropping all aggression and even begin becoming friends...
Akemi Homura: So far, as of the first seven episodes she has been a gal of few words. Though underneath her cold distance lies a caring person even though she may come off as otherwise. She takes the time out to try and warn Mami and Sayaka of the dangers and pain of becoming a magical girl. She claims her coldness exists, perhaps, because she is no longer human, but in reality it's just a way of protecting herself from experiencing any pain associated with attachment – and loss.
At least, that's how it appeared at first until you delve even deeper into the series and her character and background are truly fleshed out. After which the viewer discovers that Homura had a pretty painful story for a variety of reasons.
Can you even imagine how it must have felt to see the person for whom she cared so very much about die over and over again? All the while she was trying so hard to see things through for the happy ending she had to let the agony of constant failure amass in her heart.
Plus when you consider that each time she tried to save Madoka she had to push herself farther and farther away from them all - it seems like an eternal nightmare that only got worse as time goes by. As is the fate of those who make a wish, yes? Each time she tried to save Madoka, the ending only became worse as the wish and hope became corrupted. Her efforts to save her friend only turned Madoka into a greater monstrosity each time - putting her through more and more pain in the end.
But keeping on the topic of Homura. I actually believe her relationship with Madoka (be they romantic or not) was based around her initial feelings of worthlessness. People (especially young ones) who are depressed and feel utterly insignificant can be completely changed by having an accepting peer or equal who tries to show them kindness and set a good example for them. I see it as Homura feeling like she was initially saved by Madoka both from the witch and from her own self loathing.
I believe that when we as Human beings feel like another has done something to help us in a deep and meaningful way - a way that allows us to undergo a revolution of the self then we often become dearly attached to that person. For this reason, I think Homura wanted to repay that favor. I think that when someone helps us conquer our inner demons we can't help but love that person - so of course she would want to do everything in her power to save Madoka.
And it was similar for all the other Magical girls as well. They were all brought together by their suffering, which is the inevitable fate of all magical girls. They needed each other because they were the only ones who could understand the trials each of the others were facing.
Really - isn't that what most human being desire? To be around others who understand and accept them. To be free of judgment and feel safe with our flaws. I see it as a somewhat beautiful and melancholy sentiment about the strength we can find in each other, even if it's only to face unending torment. (Ahhh, so poetic, isn't it?)
*Will add more later*
P.S. - Big ups to quartette.deviantart.com/
for his magnificent Madoka skin. I just love the blending of the pink colors. Q7Q