17

In Episode 9 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, during Madoka's conversation with Kyuubei, we see that she has a ton of chairs in her room:

bunch of chairs

At first I thought this was just the usual Shaft weirdness. But I stumbled on a blog post that attempted to explain all the symbolism behind the imagery in this scene. According to the author of the blog, the empty chairs represent fallen Magical Girls. While the author's interpretation is plausible, I also found it somewhat tenuous—the only evidence the author gives is the scene in Mami's apartment earlier on, when Madoka sees Mami's furniture and bursts into tears. I don't have a very clear memory of the scene, but I don't remember it focusing specifically on the furniture—it could just as well have been the empty apartment.

Is there any other evidence in the show that supports this blogger's reading? And is there evidence that supports another meaning for the scores of empty chairs in Madoka's room?

  • 2
    I agree with some of the comments on the blogpost - this seems to me to be more likely a Bokurano shoutout than anything. – senshin Feb 27 '15 at 22:19
  • @senshin The Madoka wikia elaborates on the Bokurano connection pretty extensively, but I still find it somewhat unsatisfying and tenuous. – Torisuda Mar 1 '15 at 0:20
  • one could say this is a SHAFT thing since they did Madoka and Monogatari however i am just thinking of one scene with a lot of chairs in one of the Monogatari series's. might be worth looking into to see if SHAFT just like chairs – Memor-X Mar 1 '15 at 22:11
13

Those chairs are a direct reference to Bokurano, understanding which actually adds depth to the scene (if you've seen Bokurano).

Bokurano huge spoilers:

Childs sitting on the chairs are actually giving up their lives for the privilege of fighting a defence of Earth. Note that chairs appear before the big reveal about souls and zombies in Madoka.

Bokurano chairs Chairs comparison

  • Could you explain the meaning for those who haven't seen it? also while you do supply images that shows a comparison could you also find a source as to why a scene from another series is reference, to my knowledge neither anime shares a production company or series author – Memor-X Mar 19 '15 at 21:17
  • @Memor-X: Done. Note that that this is HUGE spoiler. – Uriziel Mar 19 '15 at 21:52
  • Another comment as I failed to edit in time: Reference does not have to be related by studio or authors - for example - many references to Evangelion series in Hayate no Gotoku. Bokurano is quite popular and it's done because of the context is matching series very well. Urobuchi is also admitting to having been inspired by Kamen Rider live action tokusatsu series which are also not related to Magica Quartet or Shaft. – Uriziel Mar 19 '15 at 22:02
  • @urizel ahhh, if the series is popular then that would explain it. i just never heard of Bokurano up until now – Memor-X Mar 19 '15 at 22:14
  • I never heard of Bokurano either; that's why I found it so unsatisfactory as an explanation. It might be right, but it's not what I wanted to hear. – Torisuda Mar 19 '15 at 23:53
5

I would like to augment the earlier answer by explaining more Bokurano plot and dropping even more massive spoilers:

Bokurano features a small white-colored mascot type character representing an alien race beyond human comprehension. This alien involves the main characters - mere schoolchildren - in a series of battles in which those chosen by the alien fight monstrous creatures in order to save ordinary people. Halfway through the series, in a shocking twist, it is revealed that these 'evil' and 'monstrous' enemies (robots) are in fact piloted by people in the same situation as the main characters, that the aliens have engineered the battles and the threat themselves, and it's all ultimately part of a scheme seeking to use humanity as an energy source. Towards the end of the series, this mascot character can be observed pressuring a quiet little girl into making an 11th-hour "contract" to give up her life for the sake of her universe, even though she has seen friends die in this same fight and is quite clear that there is no way out of this contract besides her death.

Madoka is in many ways an homage to Bokurano, and besides being clever foreshadowing for the few who had watched the series, the chairs are there to acknowledge the fact and pay respect to this earlier series.

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