Madoka Kaname (鹿目 まどか Kaname Madoka)
Voiced by: Aoi Yūki
Madoka is a 13-year-old girl who comes from a loving family. Her life changes when she encounters the magical girl Homura and the familiar Kyubey, who offers to transform her into a magical girl. She sees herself as a person without special qualities or talents, and after seeing Mami fighting against witches, aspires to become a magical girl like her. She is a kind and gentle person that is averse to fighting. She hopes that the magical girls will support each other, sometimes even putting her own life at risk to help them. After witnessing Mami’s death, she grows uncertain about becoming a magical girl, growing ever more hesitant as the true cost of the role is revealed to her.
In previous timelines, Madoka became a magical girl in a pink dress wielding a rose-topped bow and arrow. In the drama CD, “Memories of You,” it is revealed that the wish in the first timeline was to save a cat named Amy from death. However, every time, she was either killed or transformed into a witch named Kriemhild Gretchen, one that became ever more powerful with each time reset. In the current timeline before the final episode, Kyuubey claims that Madoka has an impossibly large amount of potential for magic, going so far as to claim that she could become god. The reason for this is unclear, since her life so far has been relatively average and free of tragedies. This is later revealed to be due to her accumulated misfortune, which was caused as a result of Homura repeatedly resetting time, with Madoka’s fate getting worse with each timeline, making her magic power grow exponentially with each reset. In the first timeline, she still possesses a high amount of power, being able to defeat Walpurginacht, though dying in the process. Subsequently, by the current timeline, she has the potential to be the most powerful magical girl to date. Towards the end, she learns of this and Homura’s efforts to save her. After seeing the suffering of magical girls throughout history, Madoka decides to make her wish: to prevent all magical girls from the past, present, future and all other timelines, from ever becoming witches. The laws of the universe are rewritten such that at the moment that a soul gem becomes black with anguish, Madoka appears and purifies it before the magical girl passes on. As a result of this wish, she becomes an omnipotent being that exists for all time, erasing her pre-ascension existence from the world, leaving only Homura, and to some extent her little brother, with the memory of her.
Homura Akemi (暁美 ほむら Akemi Homura)
Voiced by: Chiwa Saitō
Homura is a magical girl who first appears in an apocalyptic nightmare of Madoka’s. She transfers into Madoka’s school the day after the dream. She is unnaturally good at everything she does, including academics and sports. This makes her instantly popular even though she is cold to others. Homura’s indifferent personality is the result of her failures while going through multiple timelines. Originally a weak girl, she was befriended by Madoka and eventually saved from a witch by her and Mami, who revealed that they were magical girls. When Mami died in the fight with the rampaging witch Walpurginacht, Madoka sacrificed her life to stop it. Homura, overcome by grief and uselessness, contracted with Kyuubey in order to become a person that could protect Madoka, just as Madoka protected her. Her wish was to be able to go back to her original meeting with Madoka, leading Homura to receive a power to manuplate time. Homura cares deeply for Madoka and never gives up trying to save her. She tries again and again to prevent Madoka from being killed, or, becoming a magical girl in the first place, but time after time, fails to save her. She always returns to the hospital where she awoke after her heart disease subsided.
Her magical weapon is a shield filled with sand that allows her to freeze time. However, this power becomes useless if she is physically restrained as she cannot turn her shield to activate it. She can also use this shield to block projectiles and store the various infinite amount of weapons that she carries. Since her shield and magic has no offensive capability, she instead attacks using stolen firearms and homemade explosives while time is stopped. None of the girls actually know what weapons she has, since she only uses them while time is stopped. Once the sand on her shield runs out, Homura must reset the timeline. In the final timeline, she inherits Madoka’s rose bow and arrows along with a set of white wings. In the PSP game, her witch form is Homulilly, depicted as a broken record player, which is born from Homura’s despair if she realizes she cannot reset time again, failing to protect Madoka.
Sayaka Miki (美樹 さやか Miki Sayaka)
Voiced by: Eri Kitamura
Sayaka is Madoka’s classmate and best friend. She is a lively tomboy with strong ideals of love and lawfulness. After helping Madoka rescue Kyuubey, she contracts with him to grant her wish to heal the wounded hand of Kyōsuke Kamijo, a young violinist that she is infatuated with, visiting him daily in the hospital. As a magical girl, Sayaka’s weapon of choice is a cutlass, being able to produce multiples of them at a time. She also has an extraordinary regenerative ability due to the healing nature of her wish. Sayaka insists that her wish is selfless and feels that fighting witches to save people is a bonus, even after witnessing Mami’s death. As Sayaka’s ideals are put against the reality of her wish’s consequences and the stress of fighting, her view of the world is slowly corrupted. She becomes hateful and distrustful towards others, including Madoka, whom she lashes out at and accuses of being selfish. After learning that her soul is no longer in her body, but in her soul gem, making her believe that she is a zombie, while her friend Hitomi competes for the love of Kyōsuke,she falls into isolation and refuses all help. In her despair, she loses faith in humanity and justice, making her give up on her ideals and herself, subsequently her soul gem becomes fully corrupted, turning into a grief seed, making her become Oktavia von Seckendorff, an armored mermaid witch with her barrier resembling a concert hall, where a figure similar to Kyōsuke is playing among faceless figures. Though Kyoko and Madoka attempt to communicate with her, they realise that they can’t do anything to save Sayaka. Kyoko, then overloads her magic, destroying herself and Sayaka. Despite Madoka reworking the world in the final timeline, Madoka did not undo Sayaka’s wish, thus Sayaka ended up disappearing after exhausting her Soul Gem.
Mami Tomoe (巴 マミ Tomoe Mami)
Voiced by: Kaori Mizuhashi
Mami is a veteran magical girl and a third-year student at Madoka’s school. She lives alone in a penthouse after the death of her parents in a car accident, during which she was only able to survive by contracting with Kyuubey to save her own life. Her magical abilities revolve around yellow ribbons, which can suspend enemies and be manipulated to produce nearly infinite amounts of Tanegashima-like flintlock rifles, as well as also possessing healing magic. Mami is particularly focused on saving those around her, with a traditionally selfless perspective on the role of magical girl, and has a habit of giving names to her finishing attacks. She had previously been Kyōko’s partner but was left alone after Kyōko changed her ideals. Though her outward disposition is cheery and confident, inside Mami feels deeply alone as she has no friends to confide in or support her as she fights. Madoka offers to become her partner and save her from her loneliness, but Mami is subsequently killed by a witch named Charlotte, never knowing the darker truths concerning Soul Gems and origins of witches. In one timeline, she had learned the truth, and she had shocked strongly. In its timeline, she was attempted to kill the others and herself. At that time, her expression seems to be insanity. However, Yukihiro Miyamoto (the series director of Puella Magi Madoka Magica) explain that Mami carried out that action with a calm judgment. In the final timeline, Mami is still alive and fights along Homura and Kyouko. In the PSP game, her witch form is a small fairy-like witch named Candeloro.
Kyōko Sakura (佐倉 杏子 Sakura Kyōko)
Voiced by: Ai Nonaka
Kyōko is a veteran magical girl who comes to the city following Mami’s death. Her distinguishing features include long red hair, twin fangs and a voracious appetite, almost never being seen without food. She came from a poor church family and used her wish so that people would listen to her father’s preaching; when her father learned of this, however, he went mad and killed everyone in his family aside from Kyōko. As such, Kyōko decided only to use her magic for herself from this point on, since using it for others will only cause despair. Having grown up in a poor family, she often has to steal food and hates people who waste it, a logic she also applies to Grief Seeds, as she only goes after fully grown witches.Kyōko has been a Puella Magi much longer than the others, and thus is more skillful; she wields a spear which can extend itself, split into multiple sections, and produce a ball at the end of a chain, which can constrict and hit others at the same time. She also has the ability to put up barriers to protect others or keep them from interfering. She initially clashes with Sayaka, but after learning the truth about Soul Gems, she sympathizes with her and tries to help her. This is partially because Sayaka reminds Kyōko of her past self, as she too had made a wish for another person’s sake and tried to fight for justice. Thus, she wants to stop Sayaka from making what she believes is the same mistake and advises her to live a life of selfishness. Even though Sayaka thanks Kyōko and admits that she misunderstood her, Sayaka refuses to abandon her ideals of justice. After Sayaka becomes a witch, Kyōko becomes determined to save her and restore her to normal, but ultimately Kyōko sacrifices herself in the fight so that Sayaka will not die alone. She overloads her soul gem to create a massive explosion that kills them both. In a previous timeline, she was killed by Mami, who was driven insane after learning that they would all eventually become witches. In the final timeline, Kyōko survives, and grieves over Sayaka’s death in battle.Prior to the storyline, Kyōko was previously Mami’s partner and also possessed illusional magic gained from her wish of deception, allowing her to make copies of herself. However, following the death of her family, she subsconsciously lost her illusion magic and decided to be more selfish with her magic, ending her partnership with Mami. This relationship is explored in the third drama CD, the PSP game and the Different Story manga. In the PSP game, her witch form is Ophelia, depicted as a horse rider with a candlestick for a head.
Kyuubey (キュゥべえ Kyūbē) / Incubator (インキュベーター Inkyubētā)
Voiced by: Emiri Katō
Kyuubey is a genderless extra terrestrial being posing as a familiar who can grant any wish to a certain girl, on the condition that she become a magical girl and fight against witches. When the chosen girl makes a contract with him, he extracts her soul and places it inside a Soul Gem, reconstructing their body into a shell that is more resilient in order to fight witches. He constantly tries to get Madoka to make a contract with him, as she allegedly possesses great magical potential within her that would allow her to become the most powerful magical girl. He can only be seen or heard by magical girls and those with “magical” potential, and is able to communicate with them telepathically. Kyuubey has an unknown but possibly infinite number of bodies; when one is killed, another body appears and devours the destroyed body.Kyuubey’s true name, or at least job title, is Incubator, and comes from a race whose goal is to find and gather a form of energy to counter entropy and prevent the impendingheat death of the universe, developing a technology to turn emotions into this energy. After evaluating many species throughout the universe, the Incubators find that the souls of humans, specifically pubescent and prepubescent girls, contain the most powerful form of this energy. This energy is the strongest when a magical girl’s Soul Gem turns into a Grief Seed, and then can be collected and used towards preventing entropy. Kyuubey claims his race lacks emotions (or, at least, that those in his race who have emotions are abnormal), and has little understanding of human values and morality, not understanding why the death of one human among billions is viewed so catastrophically, instead believing the Incubators’ actions are not cruel but utilitarian in nature. Despite this, Kyubey is a very skilled manipulator, never actually lying, but instead leaving out important details involved in the forming of contracts and the details behind them, only presenting the truth when it is asked of him. According to Kyuubey, the very existence of the Magi-Witch system is what allowed the evolution of mankind’s civilization, as many of the main events in human history have had magical girls involved. Despite answering all questions posed to him, there is still much about the universe that Kyuubey has not spoken of.In Puella Magi Kazumi Magica, Kyuubey also appears as the contractor of all the magical girls in Asanaru City, including the Pleiades Saints. When the Pleiades learnt the truth about magical girls, they took one of Kyuubey’s corpses and manufactured their own Incubator named Juubey, who could absorb darkness from Soul Gems. Furthermore, they had Umika cast a spell that would make Kyuubey invisible to all other girls in the city and rewrite their own memories to believe they contracted with Juubey, in an attempt to stop more witches from being born. This ultimately backfires as Juubey turns out to be a failure.