Alternative title: “Why I think Kyubey should find a new job.” This post is going to be one huge spoiler, so don’t read on if you haven’t watched up to episode 9 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I’m sure the latest episode has blown a few minds here and there. I thought it was an interesting development, but I always feel that trying to stick a half-baked science-y explanation onto what is essentially a standard fantasy setting tends to open the writing to unnecessary critical analysis that distract from the actual storytelling. And as much as that is a bad thing, people like me can’t help but run with it. So here’s my take on the subject.
Entropy is one of the basic tenets of modern physics and chemistry. Often called the “arrow of time”, it embodies the irreversible passage of time.
The general idea is that all chemical and physical processes in the universe have a natural tendency to become more disordered over time. Order and complexity such as stars, planets and life require energy to sustain against the flow of entropy, and the total mass-energy in an isolated system (i.e. the whole universe) is constant but entropy is increasing continuously.
Eventually, the universe goes into heat death unless someone/thing figures out how to either reverse entropy or introduce a source of energy that exists beyond our universe, both of which are improbable within the frameworks of modern physics.
Isaac Asimov, one of my favourite authors ever, wrote a thought-provoking short story about entropy titled “The Last Question” in which he imagined humans of near and distant future pondering the question of entropy as each successive generation draws closer to the universe’s final deadline.
The Loli Solution
In Madoka Magica, the solution to the ultimate question is pubescent girls, whose oestrogen-fuelled emotional turmoils apparently draw upon energy from a source that lies outside the universe. Dozens of physicists commit mass suicide because the ultimate solution to one of the greatest questions of science apparently lies in Twilight novels.
Kyubey can be thought of as the intergalactic equivalent of an oil field surveyor. Magical girls are precious resources, more literally than lolicons think. The battle between Puella Magi and their elder counterparts can be seen as a refinery process in which the full energy potential of crude emo is realized after being subjected to pressure and heat.
Madoka Magica is really an allegory for the monolithic energy industry and its apparent contempt for, and inability to comprehend, all things good and pure. But I digress, if that is even possible in an analysis such as this one.
In any case, Kyubey’s people aim to combat entropy not by reversing it but by introducing energy from an unspecified plain of existence (“emoland”) and the gateway to this magical energy happens to be (emo) little girls.
The Other Solution
However, at this point in the story it is quite clear that the technology to travel back in time is apparently within the capabilities of Kyubey’s people. I say this because Homura travelled back in time and this was performed by either future Kyubey or one of his peers. (If he has any. FOREVER ALONE.)
The problem with travelling back in time is that it defies the natural progression of entropy, which is to say that it suggests (or perhaps requires) that entropy can in fact be reversed.
Given that Kyubey’s people have the ability to travel back in time, it should be possible for them to reverse entropy without the need for an extra-dimensional source of energy. In fact, directly addressing the problem in this manner should prove to be much more effective than using little girls like AAA batteries.
We know for a fact that the extra-dimensional energy produced by each Puella Magi is of a certain finite amount because Kyubey is constantly on the lookout for new recruits. This means that the net amount of energy Kyubey can generate at any time is limited by the total population size of human lolis and those of other suitable alien species.
If however entropy can be reversed, then unlimited energy is one of the guaranteed outcomes. For example, a suitable star can be harvested for energy and returned to its prior more-energetic state for as many times as required.
If such local reversal is not possible, then instead of sending a little girl back in time, Kyubey’s people can construct giant hydrogen bombs capable of creating stars and send them back in time, then harvest the resulting stars for energy to create twice as many giant hydrogen bombs and send those back in time again. This should be possible given that the feasibility of sending matter back in time has already been proven. And if they can also create wormholes, then a more direct radiation-based energy feedback loop can be used in lieu of the matter medium.
The Power of Wishes
In my brainstorming of this subject, it was suggested to me that perhaps Kyubey’s people are not actually capable of time travel but merely possess the unspecific “power” to grant wishes. My immediate feeling is that this is a cop-out since it basically goes back to the “a wizard did it” explanation which defeats the point of even coming here, assuming that such a point exists somewhere in the space-time continuum.
After some thought, my refined conclusion is that Kyubey’s people are not capable of granting wishes; they merely possess advance technology capable of performing deeds that fulfil the requirements of the wishes requested by the girls.
For example, they have the ability to remotely manipulate matter, which they used to provide medical treatment to Mami and that guy whom Sayaka likes. They also have a sufficient understanding of human neurology to brainwash people into listening to Kyoko’s father speak.
Therefore, they must already be in possession of time-travelling technology or they would not have been unable to grant Homura her wish of having hawt yuri sechs with saving Madoka in the past.
The reason why I came to this conclusion is very simple. If their wish-granting ability were truly magical, omnipotent and capable of accomplishing deeds they themselves are not capable of performing, then it ought to be trivial for them to convince a random pubescent human girl to wish for a device capable of reversing entropy at the operator’s will or a truly limitless source of extra-dimensional energy. QED.
Finally, if for some really good explanation I cannot think of there is a perfectly rational reason why harvesting lolis is a more effective solution than my proposed alternatives, then it stands to reason that it should be conducted in the most efficient and organized manner possible.
I am, of course, speaking of loli farms. Think Matrix but with arrays of lab-grown lolis instead. This can be done at a far lower unit cost than having Incubators finding and harvesting lolis in the wild, as demonstrated by humanity’s early and rapid transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer to agricultural and finally industrial societies.
The solution employed by Kyubey and his advanced intergalactic civilization, which I estimate to be at least Type III on the Kardeshev scale, appears to be ad hoc, rudimentary and a mismatch to the level of technological sophistication they have demonstrated.
Instead of addressing the issue of entropy directly, the use of extra-dimensional energy merely delays the eventual inevitability unless the supply of energy is limitless. Given that the nature of this mysterious energy source is unknown, it is entirely possible, if highly improbable, that this is true, in which case the solution may in fact work indefinitely with continuous eternal maintenance.
But if such is the case, reliance on a ready supply of young pubescent girls is nevertheless dangerous due to falling birthrates, erratic biological behaviours that may lead to species self-destruction and unpredictable cosmological extinction level events.
It is recommended that Kyubey’s people explore a non-biological long-term solution based on the exploitation of either localized reversal of entropy or the feedback nature of time travel that is within their scientific capabilities. Should a biological solution be unavoidable due to other circumstances, a more scalable and systematic industrialized loli farm would be a more suitable alternative to insure against market fluctuations and sudden spikes in demand.
I submit this to the Internet for its kind consideration. Please forward any honorary doctorates and Nobel Prize nominations to my email. Thank you.