A very, very macabre build-up here. On one side, the deaths in this series don’t have as much of a shock value compared to what happened to Mami. On the other hand though, the creators just did decimate the cast here. At this point there are only five named characters alive, and two of those have stopped being relevant to the plot.
In about a week the definitive lengths of the series of the current season should get announced, but it looks like there are three episodes left at this point. These should be enough for this series to change its direction, now that it lost some very important side-characters, and use these changes for its ending. The pieces are now all correctly set: Walpurgis Night is coming, and Madoka pretty much is going to have to choose between either becoming a mahou shoujo or having this Walpurgis thingy feasting on the city they’re in.
A lot of the finale is going to depend on Madoka’s development. I mean, she’s probably the most typical character of the entire cast, and spends a lot of time angsting, but a character was really needed for this show to be able to do what it wanted to do. As a deconstruction, this series would not have worked as well if Madoka was more mature. A part of the charm of this series is seeing Madoka nearly giving into Incubator again and again, continually building the tension between them. Because Madoka is indecisive it allows this series to flesh out all possible options for her to a great detail. Sure, weak characters like her can get very annoying when used poorly, but this show shows how to do them right, by having the entire plot revolve around this weakness of hers.
Rating: ** (Excellent)