Hope, Technoscience, and Utopian Dystopia in Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Keywords:magical girls, feminism, utopia, technoscience, hope, neo-noir, shojo
In this paper, I analyze the animated television series Puella Magi Madoka Magica based on a variety of literary critical methods: neo-noir criticism, feminist epistemology and studies of technoscience, and discussion of utopia/dystopia imagination. My focus is on the depiction of desire and hope, as two interconnected but potentially conflicting concepts, in Madoka Magica which presents different philosophical edifices related to them as one central narrative tension. On the other hand, the feminist methods I utilize will demonstrate how the “genre subversion” the series introduce can be read alongside with not only magical girls’ struggle against their fates in the fiction but the real power structures and asymmetries in (post-)modern society. By highlighting the difficulties to resist a future and ethics imposed from the standpoint of dominant social groups as well as the attempt to solve such impasse by the series, the paper argues that Madoka Magica, while not committing itself to the creation of a radical alternative to the existent political or economic systems, has nonetheless affirmed the possibility and importance to have hope for futures that are yet to be imagined.
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