|Occupation:||Magical Girl, student|
|Relationships:||Kaname Junko (mother); Kaname Tomohisa (father); Kaname Tatsuya (younger brother); Miki Sayaka (best friend, classmate); Tomoe Mami (magical girl mentor, upperclassman); Shizuki Hitomi (friend); Sakura Kyōko (fellow magical girl, griend); Akemi Homura (magical girl, comrade, classmate)|
|Fandom:||Puella Magi Madoka Magica|
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Kaname Madoka is a major character in the 2011 anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica and its subsequent multimedia franchise. Along with her friend Miki Sayaka, she is a second-year student at Mitakihara Middle School. A kind and gentle person, Madoka strives to do the right thing and help her friends, no matter the odds.
Reception and Popularity
Madoka's passivity and uncertainty are subject to intense fan debate, with many believing the more active Homura to be the series' true protagonist. However, others have argued that this in itself is a deliberate subversion and Madoka is nowhere near as passive as she seems. Madoka is often criticized for expressing her emotions openly, unlike the stoic and deliberate Homura.
Madoka Kaname is my favourite anime character, and she’s right up there on my list of favourite fictional characters of all time. And for everything that this magical girl embodies and all the lessons that her story teaches, it’s really quite saddening to constantly see complaints from Puella Magi Madoka Magica fans who seem to have a problem with the series’ protagonist. Madoka is many things, but she is definitely not “useless”, “annoying”, “weak”, “always crying”, or whatever other description people have come up with. Actually, Madoka is one of the strongest and most powerful magical girls I have ever seen in any magical girl anime (and I’ve watched a lot of magical girl anime).
I think the main reason I wasn’t all that invested in her is that she was pretty passive in the series proper while my attention was more on the more proactive side characters. And again, this wasn’t a bad thing! In fact, it was a clever bit of deliberate storytelling, as it’s revealed that she originally was a proactive main-character type, only to unintentionally get relegated to her observer role by the butterfly effect caused by Homura’s time loops. But anyway, the thing that made me turn the corner on Madoka actually also ended up being fanfiction, but not one of my own. Specifically, I came across a popular, yet also somewhat controversial, fic called Persephone's Waltz (and wazzup, @erinptah!), in which Homura decides to just stop beating around the bush and lock Madoka up in a basement until Walpurgisnacht had passed. And as weird as it sounds, making Madoka a prisoner actually gave her more agency, as the fic really went into detail about the psychological effects of being a kidnapping victim, from the strange rituals to the escape attempts to coping strategies to Stockholm Syndrome to bouts of depression and so on and so forth, all the while never deviating from her core character. It really got me rooting for Madoka and, by extension, invested in her character in canon as well.
Fanon and Tropes
Madoka/Homura is by far the most popular pairing, both for Madoka and PMMM as a whole. Kaname Madoka/Miki Sayaka (MadoSaya) is also relatively common. In fics where Madoka is paired with someone other than Homura, Homura's relationship with Madoka may still be a prominent theme within the work.