You may have gathered I like Madoka a great deal -- in fact, I consider it one of the best works that I've seen in any medium. Having seen it, I view everything a little differently now -- I've changed, and that's one of my touchstones for whether a work is worth consuming.
But I don't believe it's perfect, and in particular there's one theme in the spinoff "A Different Story" manga that drives me crazy: why did they decide that scarcity
and resource competition
would be the driving force of their world? I don't mean internally, I'm not saying there are plot holes (there might be, but that's really not how I operate.) I mean that the creators, having been given the opportunity to build anything they wanted, the sort of beautiful and clean blank slate that we only have in media like anime, immediately deciding that they'll have their characters fight and die for the moral equivalent of a tank of gas. Outrageous. It feels cheap, more so because the rest of the frame is so grand, so awesome and terrible. They've got reasons to fight already. There's no need for them to go to war over a handful of grief seeds.
I don't know. Partly I have a bad visceral reaction to it because we know what scarcity is. It's unpleasant, and I have a suspicion that it's dehumanizing. Yes, you can do things with it that you couldn't do otherwise -- but not in MadoMagi. The most powerful moments would lose none of their power, none of their internal logic, if they weren't fighting for a MacGuffin.
I don't know. Or maybe they would. Why else have Kyoko and Sayaka fight? I can come up with other reasons, but do they fit in a 3-volume manga, or even a 12-episode series? Don't know. I just wish they'd done something a little different, that's all.