Of Physics, Fiction and Magical Girls

Many fans and haters of Madoka Magica are on the constant argument about the whole “entropy” explanation that Kyuubee gave Madoka at episode 9. Let me try to explain in a nutshell what is really going on with that conversation.

WARNING: This post will include equations and scientific facts and theories, as well as some bits of things about fiction in general, so if you’re not comfortable with dealing with such content, please stay away from this post.

At first, I thought that Kyuubee’s civilization has found a way of utilizing emotions to reverse the process of increasing entropy, but now it is clear for me that the energy that Kyuubee wass talking about refers to “free energy” which is a result of heat transfer or change in enthalpy. The “free energy” equation in a closed system (the universe), A=U-TS, where A is net free energy levels, U is the potential/internal energy of the system, T is the temperature in Kelvin and S is entropy. So far, entropy or disorder as we know it, is constantly increasing, with Yi giving some very good examples of it. Suppose that we take all the internal energy in the universe in numerical terms and name it U, take the mean temperature of the whole universe in Kelvin, which would be definitely be positive, and dS which is always positive as I’ve mentioned. Going back to the equation, A=U-TS, with TS>0, A will be be continuously decreasing. Also, as S is always greater then or equal to zero and increasing in a closed system, the -TS part of the equation would become very large in time, resulting in a constant decrease in free energy levels, to the point that no more can be used, thus the “heat death of the universe”.

Now, take Kyuubee’s solution. He says that he collects raw free energy (let’s name this +U) from emotions of human beings; young girls being the preferred subjects because of wavering emotions due to the development of secondary sex characteristics. This adds positive potential energy to the equation, thus Kyuubee’s objective of prolonging the life of the universe. This explanation is actually believable in a Sci-Fi angle. It’s no different from robots gaining emotions, alien invasions and other Sci-Fi themes, actually, it is more on the realistic side of things, if you ask me.

Let’s take emotions. Why do human beings have emotions while other animals and plants presumably don’t? In a philosophical or psychological approach, there are tons of explanations for this. Some insist that it’s simply because of how God created Man to be superior to the other animals, while some argue that it is a mechanism that human beings use to survive with little natural protection. I won’t go deep into these explanations. Science as it is now, on the other hand, has insufficient information about the nature of emotions and consider it something more on the way the chemicals of the brain balance themselves or on electric impulse patterns unique to our species. But as an energy source, emotions are most likely out of the list of today’s scientists.

This is actually a cover image of an H yuri doujin... I didn't know.


But what if you have a highly advanced civilization who has apparently discovered that it is indeed possible to use emotions and harness energy from it? This is where the “fiction” kicks in. Superbly realistic as it is, Madoka Magica involves “Magic,” an almost untouchable subject in Science as we know it today. Magic is not yet proven to exist, yet we take the magical premise of Madoka easily while we try to reject the rather more logical scientific approach to  the series, yet we try to find answers out of reality,where magic “does not exist” and criticize the show based on it’s references to Sci-Fi. Quite ironic, is it not?

Point is, Madoka Magica is just another work of fiction. It does not try to be detrimentally creative, gets its stuff right, and contrary to what some people think, is based on credible knowledge about the subject.

This is a completely unrelated topic, but have you noticed how the pictures are mostly MadoMura material? Look forward to my next post where I would talk about time travel and MadoMura goodness! There’s also SayakaxKyouko, but I’ll save that for next time.

Pictures grabbed from EmptyBlue, courtesy of Feal87.

It seems that I cannot keep my word about not writing about Madoka until it ends. I apologize.

EDIT: It seems that I have mixed up Gibbs free energy and the Thermodynamic free energy, I apologize for any inconvenience caused. I have already corrected it.

EDIT2: My time travel post has been completed. I am hoping that it can answer your questions about our beloved Homura’s abilities.

  1. The only difference I can tell between Madoka Magica, Groundhog’s Day and Grimgrimoire’s time loop plots is that Homura has control over time traveling to the day of her introduction as a new student, while in GrimGrimoire and Groundhog’s day the time loop is caused by an unknown source till the end when hour protagonist discovers the source and destroys it for good. Homura knows what the source of the time loop is and is working her butt off, enduring constant suffering to save the girl she loves. A true hero worth nothing but respect in my eyes and many shoujo-ai fans alike. Of course non SA fans should respect this girl or they are blind fools.

    Puella Magi Homura Magica takes so many great themes and mixes them into one awesome show. those themes include the following:
    -Magical Girl.
    -Time loop
    -DC Comics
    -Video Game media
    -Evil plushy

    And many more that I may have missed.

  2. As for the MadoMura yuri doujins: I WANT THEM!

    • I certainly can’t get enough of those two!

      But I would prefer SFW doujins, though. I’ll be waiting for some of those.

    • Yi
    • March 14th, 2011

    Nice clear explanation of the whole entropy thing.

    Anyway, the whole harvesting energy out of emotions thing requires us to suspend our reality for a moment and just accept that premise, just like what we had to do throughout the whole series with miracles and witches and stuff. When Kyubey brings in a little bit of rationalization based in our knowledge, it is indeed ironic that some people then couldn’t accept this sci-fi element. I personally don’t see the problem with having sci-fi when we’ve already accepted so many other fictional stuff.

    Anyway, Homura x Madoka is ♥

    • After watching episode 9 a number of times, I finally had a better understanding of what Kyuubee says. It’s not as simple as we think it is, serious stuff goes on here, and I hope they keep it that way.

    • “Anyway, Homura x Madoka is ♥”

      Seriously, who would’ve thought Gen Urobuchi of all people can pull of a very strong shoujo-ai story(THIS IS NOT SUBTEXT!!! IT’S WAY TOO OBVIOUS!). This has got to be one of the most touching stories of pure, innocent love that I have seen.

  3. The thing is that they are trolls because we’ve forgotten things such as the Final Fantasy series, Nanoha, Mai-Hime and Otome etc. Basically what that means is the Mahou Shuoujo/Sci-fi thing has been done before. Point is that if this is their source of complaint, then I think these people need to go out more. When it comes to anime, there are far less boundaries than Western cartoons. What’s awesome about anime is that they can mix up different genres, add twists every now and then and they work…for the most part.

    • \the series actually explains more than what others do. I think they are just being too over-critical, and they should be. I have a very strong feeling that this series will be part of the Legends of Anime.

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