To all aspiring magical girls: don’t trust the cute animal.
He may seem to have the best interests of the world at heart, but don’t be deceived. There’s information he’s deliberately withholding. There are questions he never answers. Some of these are:
- Where do Witches come from? And why do they drop “seeds” with a similar floral patter to the Puella Magi’s soul gem?
- If Puella Magi are necessary to defeat Witches and avoid the destruction of the world, why does Kyubey allow a rivalry between two of his Magi?
- How long has this struggle with Witches been going on? How many Magi have come before Mami and Homura?
- Why do the Magi’s soul gems get darker when they use their powers? If the grief seeds are used to cleanse them, wouldn’t that indicate the Magi’s power source is of a corrupt nature?
- Why does Kyubey specifically target young girls for recruitment in this war?
- Also, why does Kyubey give an apocalyptic dream of the future to Madoka but not Sayaka? He offers the Puella contract to both of them, after all.
- When Homura injured Kyubey, why did his white “fur” look more like a covering for his actual appearance? The phrase “wolf in sheep’s clothing” comes to mind.
Besides these in-universe mysteries, though, there are pretty clear meta-textual references scattered throughout the last three episodes. These references primarily point to a Faustian bargain. Specifically, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s version of the story.
For those of you who weren’t paying attention in English class, Faust is the tale of a scholar named Faust, who makes a deal with the devil Mephistopheles. If the devil serves Faust for the rest of his life on earth, Faust will give his soul to Mephistopheles upon death. The parallel with Madoka is obvious. Kyubey offers to make any wish come true (the devil serving the mortal) if the pact-maker agrees to fight Witches (the mortal serving the devil).
There are even direct, in-universe call-outs to Goethe’s version. Though there are many, I’m going to focus on one found in the first episode: the poem in the Witch’s maze that begins “This you must ken!” This directly corresponds to a poem found in Goethe’s story that (guess what) is recited by a witch.
Kyubey’s appearance even sports clues to his sinister secret. As noted in one of the speculation pages of the Puella Magi Wiki, Mephistopheles first appears to Faust as a cute animal. Specifically, a stray dog that follows him home. Additionally, when Faust agrees to the deal, Mephistopheles forces him to use a drop of his blood to sign it. Notice the tiny red dots on Kyubey’s ear-fringes? What do those remind you of? Oh, and every time a Witch’s kiss is shown, it’s colored red. Coincidence? Doubtful.
There’s something wrong here. Something lurking beneath the surface. The writing on the wall in episode two that mentions “invisible spirits” points to a very similar passage in Faust, where a chorus of angels attempts to warn Faust away from the pact. He, of course, refuses and suffers the consequences. Please, don’t end up like him. Heed the warnings. Don’t trust Kyubey.