IntroductionWelcome to Fall from Grace, a small, text-based dedication to Tomoe Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. There are a number of timelines in the Madoka Magica series and I tried my best to integrate information from all of them in order to fully capture Mami's story and persona. So, there are references to the original anime, Hangyaku no Monogatari (third movie), The Different Story (manga) and the PSP game. Please note that there will thus be unmarked SPOILERS for all of those references on this site. Mami's role is arguably not as apparent as some of the other magical girls in the series, but I hope to delve into her character and share my thoughts here. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, send me an e-mail and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for visiting!
AUGUST 28, 2015 ✮ AMASSMENT ✮ EMOTION ✮ BAD ASS BITCHES
Version 1 of Fall from Grace features an anime scan of Mami. All other aspects of the layout were made by me or default to the Mac version of Adobe Photoshop CS5, with the exception of fonts that were downloaded from Dafont. This is a one page site, so simply continue scrolling in order to view the content.
On the SurfaceAmong the first things you will notice about Mami are her elegance and grace. She has poise, great etiquette and carries herself in a mature, "lady-like" fashion. Mami consistently remains calm, has her feelings in check and almost always has a warm smile on her face. Even when battling with witches, Mami doesn't lose her image. She gracefully twirls and flips when dodging attacks and performing her own, produces her muskets while curtseying or taking off her hat and uses ribbons as her main form of magic. Mami's transformation sequences are also graceful! Whether dancing with a floral theme in the anime or appearing as if she is an elegant ice skater in the movie, her transformations are certainly in line with her outer appearance. Not only does Mami look the part, but she is also fond of stereotypical elegant, feminine activities such as hosting tea parties and baking desserts for her friends. She is frequently shown drinking tea in both official art and the series—even moments after engaging in battle with witches!
As a veteran in the magical girl world, it's probably no surprise that Mami also radiates confidence when talking and fighting. She clearly knows her stuff when it comes to witches, familiars and other important nuances that come with being a magical girl. She is confident that she knows the ropes and thus takes it upon herself to be like a mentor to newer magical girls in every timeline. Mami bases her actions on being a "hero of justice" and believes strongly in her resolve to save people. Therefore, the other characters are frequently in awe of her and treat her like she is a cool superhero. She also appears to trust her abilities and strength and shows no signs of being afraid when fighting witches. Each move seems perfectly calculated, executed gracefully and transitions smoothly to the next! There are very few times where Mami appears to be caught off guard. Even if she does, she generally does not panic or seem frazzled. When Mami is suddenly at a disadvantage fighting a witch in front of Madoka and Sayaka, for example, she just grins and tells them there's no way she could look uncool in front of her future juniors before breaking free. Additionally, Mami will not stand down or compromise when confronted by Homura a number of times in the anime—even going so far as to tell Homura she doesn't read between the lines well as a warning to back off. She doesn't advocate fighting between magical girls, but is certainly not afraid to do so if she feels there is no other choice. Naturally, she she would be victorious if that were to happen!
Fun Facts✮ Mami is a third-year student at Mitakihara Middle School.
✮ Mami's height is listed as being between 156-159cm (~5'1").
✮ Mami enjoys naming her attacks and tries to get an embarrassed Kyouko to do so as well. Her final attack is "Tiro Finale" and attempts to name Kyouko's "Rosso Fantasma."
✮ Mami has taken extensive notes on every witch and familiar she has fought as well as the different types of magic she has encountered.
✮ Mami's ribbon magic was originally weak and ineffective. By training herself extensively, she is eventually able to manipulate her ribbons into more powerful forms of magic such as making endless amounts of muskets.
✮ Although Mami's character design has her fingernail mark, she is missing it throughout most of the anime (a production error).
✮ Mami's theme song is Credens justitiam, which translates to "Believing in justice."
✮ Mami's magical girl outfit is noted to enhance her image as a gunner as well as be somewhat Western in design (like her boots, for example).
✮ Among other stylistic changes, Mami's transformations, magic and even her room become more floral in the movies in comparison to the original anime.
✮ Mami's apartment in the anime appears very empty and bare, but it is heavily decorated and has a warmer feel to it in the movie release.
✮ In the PSP game, Mami takes lessons to become an idol.
✮ Mami is typically depicted alone in official art, especially when Madoka/Homura and Sayaka/Kyouko pairs are apparent.
✮ Mami is voiced by Mizuhashi Kaori (JP) and Carrie Keranen (ENG).
Her StoryVery little is known about Mami's life before she became a magical girl. It is implied that she lived with her parents until they were in a terrible car accident. Mami, in the back of the car, is dying when suddenly Kyuubey's shadow appears. The exact words of Mami's contract are also unknown, but the viewer can assume she wishes to live as she reaches out to it. Mami later regrets that she only thought of herself in the moment and did not formulate her wish in a way to save her parents as well. Therefore, Mami lives by herself with no close family members and bears the burden of being a magical girl by herself with no support other than Kyuubey. Mami found she had little time to grieve with the responsibility of fighting witches every day and somehow was able to turn her loss into a strong resolve to fight. Unfortunately, as time went on, she realized she was different in her ideals. Other magical girls weren't interested in saving others or fighting for justice. She also had less and less time for friends and therefore began drifting away from the girls in her class. Mami was very much alone.
In The Different Story, Mami saves a magical girl named Kyouko from a witch and the girls find they share the ideal of using their magic to save others. Realizing Mami is a veteran, Kyouko asks her to be a mentor and teach her how to find witches more efficiently and fight more effectively. Mami is over the moon with happiness to have someone to fight with after being isolated and the two girls become very close—almost like sisters. After Kyouko's family meets a tragic end as a result of her wish, she pulls away from Mami and refuses to fight for the ideals the two once shared. Mami finds herself alone yet again. In both the manga and anime, Mami later meets Madoka and Sayaka, two girls that have the potential to become magical girls. She takes it upon herself to be a mentor once more and shows them what it means to be a magical girl. Although Madoka and Sayaka are not able to decide on wishes right away, Mami is kind and firm. She stresses that they think carefully about the decision because they actually have the chance to consider what they would want (unlike her).
In the main timeline, Madoka and Mami venture into a witch's labyrinth to rescue Sayaka and Kyuubey, who remained with the grief seed until it hatched in order for Mami to not lose track of it. Homura warns her that the witch is not like others she has fought, but Mami, tired of Homura's confrontations, ignores her and keeps her tied up until they get back. Madoka explains to Mami as they are walking that she would be willing to make a contract simply to become a magical girl and fight to save people just like Mami does. Although she holds up a strong front and tells Madoka there's nothing to admire about being a magical girl, she eventually starts crying, asking if Madoka really will stay by her side and fight. Mami is relieved to have a partner again and goes into the battle with the witch feeling like she's walking on air. Unfortunately, her newfound happiness causes her to be careless. She mistakingly believes she finishes off the witch before it changes into its true form and stands helplessly as it closes the distance between them in less than a second. The witch decapitates her, which crushes the soul gem in her hair. Mami's outfit changes back to her normal school clothes as she is hanging from the witch's mouth and her body drops to the ground. Madoka and Sayaka watch in horror as the witch eats the rest of the body. Because Mami died within a witch's labyrinth, there was no body to be found back in reality. Without any close family or friends, it would be weeks before anyone noticed she was missing. No one would ever know how hard she fought. No one would know that she died trying to protect others.
Mami's death is reversed when Madoka makes a contract wishing that witches would be erased from every timeline. She now fights wraiths alongside Homura, Kyouko and Sayaka, all of which have no memory of Madoka with the exception of Homura. Mami is seen with Homura and Kyouko, morning the loss of Sayaka to the "Law of Cycles," which now causes magical girls to disappear before they can turn into witches according to Madoka's new laws of the universe. Mami is later pulled into Homura's witch labyrinth with the other girls, where her memories are temporarily altered. She lives with a creature named Bebe, who looks very similar to the witch who killed her in the original timeline. Once Homura realizes she was the witch behind the labyrinth, becomes a demon and re-writes Madoka's laws of the universe, Mami is shown holding her hand out to catch a flower petal while walking to school. She hears the sound of china breaking and looks at her palm to find a black feather instead.
Magical GirlMami's perception of what being a magical girl means is influenced by two events in her life. With the responsibility of fighting witches on her shoulders, she was unable to grieve for her parents for very long. She explains to Kyouko in The Different Story that even though it was difficult to come to terms with, she turned her grief into a resolve to fight. Those who fall at the hands of witches likely have loved ones who will grieve over their death. Knowing the pain of losing someone, Mami decides to fight witches in order to prevent the grief and loss of others. One of Mami's first fights depicted in the PSP game is against a witch who traps a little boy in her labyrinth. Seeing the distress and tears of his mother, Mami is triggered to immediately rush in to save the boy. Unfortunately, Mami is too inexperienced to effectively fight the witch and the boy is ultimately absorbed. She is forced to retreat and leaves the boy to die. With the boy's screams and mother's sadness burned into her mind from that moment forward, she feels she is the cause of throwing those around the boy into despair—exactly what she wanted to prevent. Mami feels awful, guilty and like she is a failure as a magical girl. These intense feelings, too, eventually add fuel to her resolve and she promises the boy that she will atone by never letting it happen to anyone ever again. As a magical girl, it is her duty and responsibility to protect the townspeople from witches.
Therefore, Mami fights in order to save people. Her strong belief in justice is something that differentiates and arguably even isolates her from other magical girls. Mami quickly finds that most magical girls fight for their own benefit because they are putting their lives on the line. Where Mami believes it is her duty to protect everyone and does not discriminate in battles with witches or familiars, many girls will only fight if it means they get a grief seed—even if that means turning a blind eye and letting familiars kill people. Mami refuses to back down from a fight even if it appears the odds are against her, where other girls would likely retreat. Magical girls often refer to towns as their "territory" and view each other as rivals for grief seeds. Mami, however, condones fighting between magical girls and thinks they should help each other out and focus on saving everyone as a priority. Despite her isolation, Mami really seems to care about other people and truly views it as her responsibility to protect people as a magical girl. She is kind and compassionate to those she protects and is able to save. She stresses her ideals to the girls she acts as a mentor to and ultimately refuses to be friends with magical girls who do not agree with her. When Kyouko changes her mind about what being a magical girl means, for example, Mami is willing to fight her in order to stand up for what she believes in.
Though Mami carries a sense of duty, she acknowledges that being a magical girl is not a good thing. Mami tells Madoka not to become a magical girl just for the sake of being a magical girl because it isn't easy. Her life is on the line every day, she gets hurt and she doesn't have time for friends or to even think about dating. Even if she is scared or upset, there is no one to talk to. Magical girls are isolated from normal people because they know and experience things normal people don't. They are also isolated from other magical girls because there is a sense of rivalry for grief seeds. Mami feels that even though she is fighting and protecting people, she also has no choice but to "cry alone." Being a hero and being alone are two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, Mami telling herself she should always be a selfless hero of justice is unrealistic. Not only is she human, she's also a child. She's going to make mistakes and do things that are selfish because that's part of human nature and growing up. I think, despite telling herself she has no regrets, Mami wishes she could have a normal life deep down. She doesn't want to be alone. She doesn't want to carry a huge responsibility on her shoulders. She wants to have friends, be involved in school activities and have fun just like any middle school girl would. When Madoka tells her in The Different Story she will become a magical girl and fight in her place so she can live a normal life, Mami breaks down crying. She admits to Madoka she doesn't want to fight anymore; she doesn't want to kill witches anymore. She does not want to be a magical girl. Being a magical girl means isolation from both people and life.
Every magical girl has different magic depending on their wish. Mami has ribbon magic that she is eventually able to manipulate in many different ways after much dedicated training. Her ribbons in their original form can be used for attacking, restraining movement and catching people. Mami can also use ribbons to create muskets and bullets as well. Each musket is only good for one shot, but she can use the musket as a melee weapon to smack witches around, too. Mami is seen using one musket at a time or creating a fleet of them to fire many shots at once. Her ultimate move, which she calls "Tiro Finale," creates a large, cannon-looking musket out of lots of ribbon to fire one large and powerful shot at her enemy. Mami also appears to have some healing magic when she treats Kyuubey's wounds from Homura as well as the ability to make force fields around Madoka and Sayaka. She's even able to turn a normal baseball bat into a magical bat to ward off witches and snap her fingers to make her wet hair into perfect curls!
Behind the MaskAlthough Mami tries very hard to fight in order to save other people and selflessly puts her life on the line to do so, she is only human. She has fears, anxieties and regrets just like anyone else. In Mami's case, she is absolutely terrified of being alone. She tries to act cool and push herself to be the model magical girl, but in reality she is lonely and wants to be with others more than anything else. Mami's calm and collected front is easily shattered when she feels she is in danger of losing someone and being alone again. For example, after Kyouko becomes depressed and ends her relationship with Mami, she is visibly upset and tells herself she still has to do her best even if she is alone again. Also, when Madoka conveys she wants to be Mami's partner in the main timeline, she cries because she doesn't want to fight alone anymore. Notably, after Sayaka says she can't be Mami's partner anymore, Mami even admits that she never wanted to be a defender of justice. If Sayaka can't forgive herself for being unable to hold herself to Mami's ideals of justice, she will stop being a hero so they can stay together. All of Mami's resolve to save people and fight for justice is thrown out the window the second she perceives she has to be alone forever. She's a lonely girl at heart and has always been afraid of being disliked by others.
Despite her calm, mature and refined mask, Mami is actually very emotionally fragile. Homura even states that Mami had the softest heart out of all of them despite putting on the toughest front. During one timeline where Mami lives long enough to find out that witches are born from tainted soul gems, Mami kills Kyouko and turns to do the same to Homura, sobbing. If they had no choice but to become witches, they might as well die right there. Similarly, in The Different Story, when Mami finds out about witches, she attempts to kill Kyouko and plans to die herself after killing Sayaka's witch. She even asks Homura to kill her later on after finding out both Sayaka and Kyouko died and she remained. Homura tries to convince her that she's saved numerous people even if that meant killing witches, but she ultimately decides to take her own life by smashing her soul gem. Mami simply is not emotionally strong enough to bear the truth of being a magical girl. While the idea of having no choice but to eventually turn into a witch is terrible for all of them, I would argue the reason why Mami is unable to stand the truth goes beyond that. Mami's resolve for fighting is entirely based on saving everyone and protecting people from despair. Not only was she killing fellow magical girls and spreading despair to their loved ones, she will eventually become a witch and thus be a harbinger of despair herself. She would be the exact opposite of what she was fighting for. What was the point of all of her effort, suffering and loneliness? Everything likely became meaningless to her. With no perceived supports, the little life she had left was no longer worth living.
The fear of being alone as well as being emotionally fragile definitely contribute to Mami's despair. However, I would argue that Mami's all or nothing thinking is what ultimately causes her soul gem to become corrupt. As previously alluded to, Mami sets herself up for failure by insisting she has to be a selfless defender of justice. Always fighting for and prioritizing other people over her own needs was completely unrealistic. Rather than working to achieve those ideals and accepting the fact that she had valid feelings that needed to be acknowledged, it was all or nothing. If she faltered in her conviction, she was a failure as a magical girl. Mami almost despairs enough to turn into a witch in the manga and does actually become a witch in the PSP game. In both instances, it's because she feels she could not meet her standards for what a magical girl should be. Fighting for the sake of others? She only cared about herself. She told herself she was fighting for the sake of others, but in reality she fought in order to drive away her own loneliness. She ran away from a battle with a witch to save her own life and let an innocent little boy die. She was responsible for Sayaka becoming a witch because she couldn't let go of her false ideals of justice. Even her wish, to keep living, is a prime example of her cowardice and selfishness in her eyes. Rather than saving her parents, she only thought of herself. If she really cared about people, she would have saved her parents instead. She keeps acting as if she is perfect but in reality is weak and full of lies. She is completely unworthy of being a magical girl. Mami's negative, all or nothing thoughts are relentless. She can either be a selfish fraud (black) or the ideal of justice like a magical girl should be (white). She seems unable to accept the gray area of being human.
Candeloro, the dress up witch, is born if Mami's soul gem turns into a grief seed. She is a witch who is inviting, kind-hearted and dreams of ideal things. Her labyrinth looks like a fancy tea party and is decorated with apple trees, tea cups and even a rainbow bridge. Much like Mami, she just can't stand being alone and so she never lets visitors to her labyrinth escape. Candeloro's familiars take the appearance of either Kyouko, Sayaka or Madoka depending on who is closest to Mami in that timeline. There is nothing but speculation on the namesake of Mami's witch, however she does remind me of Mami just by her appearance. She appears to be a distorted fancy girl with ribbon as her defining feature.
RelationshipsSakura Kyouko is the first magical girl Mami meets that shares her ideals of justice and reasons to fight. Although they start out as having a mentor-apprentice relationship, the two girls grow to think of each other as sisters. Mami values Kyouko's relationship very much. Her classmates even notice a change in her mood and demeanor after they first become friends and tease her about having a new boyfriend! She worries about her when Kyouko suddenly stops showing up at their meeting place and tries to think of things to cheer her up like baking sweets and relaxing together. When Mami does come across Kyouko injured and freezing in the snow, she holds her, apologizes for not seeking her out sooner and hurries to heal her. Further, she is absolutely devastated when Kyouko's depression causes her reasons for fighting to shift and thus she pulls away from Mami. What really stands out about Mami's relationship with Kyouko is how she can't bring herself to think ill of her even despite not sharing the same ideals. Mami is stubborn about her ideals and generally does not associate with magical girls who don't agree or get in the way. Even so, she finds she still cares deeply for Kyouko. The two girls save each other from despairing enough to become witches. Unfortunately, Kyouko sacrifices her life in order to prevent Mami's soul gem from turning into a grief seed. Without Kyouko and Sayaka, her two closest friends in The Different Story timeline, Mami decides life isn't worth living and she kills herself by smashing her soul gem with Kyouko's hairpin. She is found dead on the ground, clutching Kyouko's hair ribbon close to her.
Kaname Madoka is Mami's primary partner in many of the timelines. Although their relationship is not heavily showcased, they are frequently shown fighting together and are the two magical girls who save and mentor Homura before she even becomes a magical girl herself. From what we do know, Madoka absolutely idolizes Mami. She wants nothing more than to be like her—a defender of justice who works hard to save people no matter what the conditions may be. Even though Madoka is scared to become a magical girl and fight witches, she feels a sense of warmth and hope when she looks at Mami fighting. In turn, Mami is incredibly happy and appreciative when Madoka tells her she wants to be her partner. Even in the manga, Madoka becomes a magical girl in part to relieve Mami of her responsibilities and to give her a chance to live a normal life. Even knowing the despair around being a magical girl, she is willing to become one for Mami's sake. Not only does Madoka becoming a magical girl address Mami's loneliness, but I also think it helped Mami realize she had someone who cared enough about her to do something dangerous in order to stay by her side. Ultimately, it is thanks to Madoka rewriting the laws of the universe that Mami's death is reversed and she is given another chance at life. Mami seems grateful in her final meeting with Madoka, noting that she is becoming the hope of all of them.
Miki Sayaka is another apprentice that Mami takes under her wing. Like Madoka, Sayaka also really looks up to Mami and considers her a defender of justice. In fact, part of Sayaka's own conception of what it means to be a magical girl is assimilating Mami's ideals and her perception of Mami in general. In The Different Story, Sayaka becomes Mami's partner after she splits from Kyouko and the two aspire to protect the townspeople. They fight together for a while until Sayaka struggles with the results of her wish and realistically finds herself unable to match their high expectations of what magical girls should be. Sayaka begins to despair and Mami is willing to drop her ideals to ensure Sayaka stays with her. This, too, is big. Although it is likely because she is so terrified of being alone, the fact that Mami is willing to forget the meaning behind her conviction to fight in order to maintain her relationship with Sayaka is still significant considering how stubborn she is about upholding it. Further, Mami blames herself for Sayaka becoming a witch because she pushed her ideals too strictly. I also think this fact is interesting because Mami's extreme ideals pushing people away is a common theme in her relationships that she doesn't seem to acknowledge. Sayaka thus helps Mami realize on some level that she has unrealistic standards for what a magical girl should act like.
Akemi Homura is probably the most distant relationship Mami has, but still important nonetheless. Mami, alongside Madoka, saves Homura's life from a witch and eventually acts as a mentor toward her when she becomes a magical girl as well. There's certainly no love lost between the two in the main timeline, as Homura does not approve of Mami encouraging Madoka to become a magical girl. Homura declines Mami's attempts to form an alliance and therefore Mami perceives her as being someone who not only is in the way, but also as someone who does not agree with her ideals as a magical girl. Homura is shown to have some compassion for Mami in The Different Story, however, when she tries to encourage Mami to live and keep fighting when she is on the brink of despair. Homura acknowledges that even though Mami has killed a number of witches, she knows she has saved numerous people. Her words don't end up reaching Mami in the way that was intended, but the emotion is there. Mami's feelings for Homura as a friend are not explored, but when Homura pretends to shoot herself in the head during the third movie, Mami immediately jumps to stop her. Therefore, I think it's probably safe to assume that Mami considers Homura a precious friend, just like the other girls.
Bebe is Mami's companion within Homura's labyrinth in Hangyaku no Monogatari. She resembles the witch Charlotte, who killed Mami in the main timeline. However, Mami has no memory of witches because Madoka rewrote the laws of the universe and therefore finds nothing weird about her strange friend. As far as Mami remembers, Bebe was her very first friend after becoming a magical girl and if it wasn't for her, she would have given up a long time ago due to loneliness. Bebe always supported her and cheered her on until she met Madoka and the others. There are a number of pictures of the two of them in Mami's apartment and they are practically inseparable. Mami is very protective of Bebe and is willing to fight Homura seriously after realizing she threatened and hurt her. The memories are false, though, and Bebe is actually part of the Law of Cycles alongside Sayaka and Madoka. Mami ends up forgetting everything that happened (including her time with Bebe) when Homura rewrites Madoka's laws. However, Mami and Momoe, Bebe in human form, are shown together in Homura's new universe during the credits, so perhaps the two were fated to be friends!
SymbolismYellow is Mami's primary color as a magical girl. Her soul gem has a yellow glow and her character design is heavily colored in yellow and gold. When looking at color symbolism, yellow represents wisdom and acquired knowledge. This immediately reminded me of Mami's knowledge and experience as a veteran magical girl as well as her willingness to share and teach others with it. Yellow can also symbolize new ideas, clarity of thought and rational thinking, but also being occasionally impulsive. Such representations can be connected to Mami's ability to change her ribbon magic into other forms and her outer shell of being rational and guided by reason but having the tendency to be impulsive when her facade is shattered by strong emotion. However, yellow is also practical and not a dreamer or idealist. I would argue that Mami is certainly the idealist and dreamer, wishing for a world without despair and grief. She also creates an ideal of what magical girls should be. Perhaps this mismatch could connect to Mami's inability to hold herself to "yellow standards!" Ironically, yellow can also connect to a sense of self-worth, how one is perceived by others and a tendency to be self-critical. Mami is terrified of being disliked by others and connects her own self-worth to whether or not other people are around her and like her. As previously discussed, Mami is incredibly hard on herself and critical of any deviation from the ideal defender of justice. Therefore, she is arguably very self-critical as well. Lastly, yellow is also warm, inspires confidence and lights the way through shadows. Mami certainly inspires others, protects people from the darkness and despair that witches bring, as well as cultivates confidence in her apprentices by training them to be better fighters. Mami's genuine compassionate and caring personality definitely reflects yellow being a warm color as well.
Flowers punctuate Mami's magic, transformation and even the decor in her apartment. The symbol on top of her soul gem is also a flower! Flowers often represent maidens because of their beauty and delicacy. They also symbolize innocence, particularly for girls. Therefore, it is not surprising that Mami is associated with a floral theme considering the refined, elegant and beautiful image she presents with at a surface level. She is probably the most feminized character of the series between her interests, body type and personality. Flowers representing innocence could also be connected to her emotional fragility, as innocence is fragile in the face of things threatening to corrupt it. Another possible connection is that of flowers representing how life is not eternal. Often because of her emotional fragility, Mami's life is cut short in multiple timelines. Her inability to be lonely causes her to become overly excited and thus careless when Madoka agrees to be her partner, leading to her death at the hands of Charlotte. Her inability to process and deal with the truth of being a magical girl leads to her death in various ways as well.
Ribbons are Mami's primary form of magic. If a magical girl's magic is influenced by the type of wish she makes, what does that mean for Mami? Though the exact wording of her wish is unknown, Mami basically wished to keep living. Ribbons are used to tie things together and could therefore symbolize Mami's tie to life. The only reason Mami was able to live was because of her magic. Thus, the ribbons could be a physical manifestation of the contract Mami made in exchange for life. Further, ribbon could also represent Mami having lingering attachment to life and how she was unable to accept death following the car accident. Mami is young and naturally would have regrets if life was cut short. Mami says she didn't have a choice or the time to think about her wish. Living was and impulse decision and arguably then a result of having lingering attachments to the living world. Also, ribbons are placed on gifts for aesthetic purposes and are feminine accessories for hair and clothes. Therefore, ribbon may also add to the emphasis on femininity and elegance Mami's character portrays as well.
Her RoleI am of the opinion that characters each have roles in the stories they are part of, even if they are small. I particularly like to discuss roles on sites if they are in conflict with other roles or if the character seems minor and unimportant. I've seen Mami brushed aside with regard to importance because of the limited screen time she has in comparison to the other main magical girls. However, I would argue Mami has an important role and impact throughout the series. If I had to pick one word to define Mami's role, it not surprisingly would be mentor. As a veteran magical girl, she has plenty of knowledge and experience. Rather than using it to her advantage, she chooses to share it. No matter what timeline or spinoff of the original anime, Mami always tries to make herself available to newer magical girls. She seems to have a special affinity for them and goes out of her way to help them when possible. She offers to share grief seeds, saves them from powerful witches and shares her knowledge about magic, witches and fighting. Her mentorship also turns into leadership in Hangyaku no Monogatari, as she gives battle orders to the Holy Quintet. Additionally, she inspires others to do the right thing even when things get tough. Both Madoka and Sayaka, and even arguably Kyouko and Homura to some extent, care for others and want to protect people in their own ways.
Mami's overall impact is threefold. First, she tries very hard to ensure her apprentices do not make the same mistakes as she did. This includes encouraging them to take the time to think about their wishes carefully so they do not end up regretting them, not making wishes for other people and to seriously consider what it means to become a magical girl before agreeing to do so. When Madoka and Homura are enamored with Mami as being a hero of justice, she consistently reminds them they aren't in a game and that every encounter with a witch is incredibly dangerous. She warns Madoka that being a magical girl isn't easy and that it isolates you. Mami felt she did not have a choice, regrets her wish to some extent and has seen wishes backfire for people. As someone who has genuine compassion for others, Mami doesn't want to see history repeat itself. Secondly, her death in the main timeline forces Madoka and Sayaka to realize the dangers of being a magical girl. Although Mami reminded them they were involved in dangerous affairs, I would argue the two girls did not realize what that meant and simply believed justice would triumph over evil. The horror of Mami's death ripped their innocence away and forced them to grow up. They found out the hard way that good didn't always defeat evil and that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Lastly, Mami's death also marks the first turning point in the anime. Madoka Magica seems like your average magical girl series for the first three episodes, albeit a bit strange. However, once Mami is decapitated at the end of episode 3, the show starts rolling down a dark and morbid hill and does not look back.
Closing RemarksThank you for visiting Fall from Grace! If you are looking for media content such as a gallery, music or graphics, feel free to head back to soul-gem.org. Ready to leave completely? The following is a list of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica related shrines:
b a c k . c l e a r . f o r w a r d Fall from Grace and its contents are © Samantha, however Mami and Puella Magi Madoka Magica are © Gen Urobuchi and other rightful owners. Fall from Grace is a part of SOUL-GEM.ORG.