To distract everyone from the fact stated as the title of this post, I’m going to play the Devil’s Advocate. That’s right, I’m advocating Kyubey’s case: The production of Puella Magi.
Now I know two weeks ago, I was just like everyone else, tagging Kyubey as evil and inhumane, but is he really? Homura points out in Episode Seven that Kyubey’s actions seem cruel to Madoka and the other girls only because of their value system; Kyubey doesn’t operate according to normal human values, which is just as well, because his business would be greatly affected if he did.
Kyubey is an entrepreneur. He goes out and finds girls who have the talent and power – and need – to form contracts with him to become Puella Magi. I’ll admit his methods are a bit underhanded, often approaching girls in dire moments or times of emotional instability, but he does offer a bona fide wish and has followed through on his end every single time thus far. Mami wished to live after being caught up in a terrible car accident; Kyoko wished for her father to have followers of his teaching; Sayaka wished that Kamijo Kyosuke would play the violin again. All those wishes were fulfilled by Kyubey.
Wishes fulfilled, the Puella Magi now surrender their life to fighting witches, but there was a lot fine print they didn’t read in their contracts before they signed their lives away. Like that clause about having your soul ripped out and turned into the safe and compact form of your Soul Gem. Like how your human body is nothing more than an empty shell, “hardware” used for fighting. For the girls, this is a traumatizing, life altering revelation. For Kyubey, it just makes sense. It’s not the physical body that’s important to him, but the soul – the life that he now owns – that carries value. Plus, with the soul removed from their physical bodies, the girls experience less pain which means they fight more effectively. Damage to their outer shells can be fixed with magic and used again. When girls contract with Kyubey, it’s his job to rip out their souls and turn them into Soul Gems – or in other words, protect his investment.
And on the plus side, it’s because of this set up that Kyoko didn’t die when her father lost his mind and killed the whole family. It’s because of this that Sayaka was able to keep fighting against Kyoko in the alley way. I suppose the reason the separation of soul from body didn’t save Mami was because the witch chomped all of her that time, either destroying or consuming her Soul Gem as well.
It also seems that none of the girls had asked for full disclosure of the job description before sealing their contract with Kyubey. And so when they accuse Kyubey of being a liar and withholding information from them, he simply says that they never asked. The girls see Kyubey as being dishonest for leaving out the truth of these details, but Kyubey feels that if they didn’t ask for the information, then he’s not at fault for omitting these details; plus he feels that it’s unnecessary for the girls to know, especially after the girls have already sealed their contracts because the agreement can’t be annulled, and as the transformation has already happened, it basically becomes a moot point.
Forming a contract with Kyubey is like signing a contract for a job – a lifelong job. The wish he promises to fulfill is like an advance, one-time bonus that also serves to attract the girls into employment. While the details and full job description aren’t presented beforehand, they’re also not requested by the girls forming the contract with Kyubey. Grief Seeds are the commission pay for a Puella Magi: If they do their job and do it well, then they receive payment.
Now Madoka is the last girl standing, fully aware of the Puella Magi and the witches they fight. IF this girl ever becomes a Mahou Shoujo, I hope she’ll have learned from her peers about finding out all about the job before committing her life to it, and being very, very detailed with her wish. And since she hasn’t – and doesn’t look like she’s going to wish Mami back to life, I wonder if she’s going to wish Sayaka out of her contract with Kyubey so she can live a happy life hugging and kissing Kyosuke in a non-zombie body.
Since Madoka supposedly has massive potential to become the world’s greatest Puella Magi, Kyubey’s not likely to back off anytime soon – in fact, he’s more likely to manipulate the situation and people around her until she caves. I’m surprised that Homura hasn’t continued trying to kill Kyubey since that would be the most effective way of preventing Madoka from forming a contract with him. I guess that’s because if Kyubey dies now – even though he’s not the main protagonist – the show ends. And that’s just bad for business.