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If I see you wasting food like that again, I will kill you.
~ Kyoko Sakura

Kyoko Sakura is a major antagonist-turned-protagonist in the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica, first appearing at the end of Episode 4. She acts as a foil to Sayaka Miki, believing that Magical Girls should only use her powers for herself but later redeems herself.

She is voiced by Ai Nonaka in the Japanese version and Lauren Landa in the English version.

Plot

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. After Sayaka becomes a witch, she becomes determined to save her and restore her to normal, but ultimately sacrifices herself in the fight so that Sayaka would 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. In the third drama CD, it is explained that, prior to the main storyline, Kyōko once had the power to utilise illusion magic, but after her family's death she subconsciously lost that ability. She also had a friendship with Mami prior to her family's death, which was severed when Kyōko decided to be more selfish with her magic. This friendship was also explored in Oriko Magica, though not in-depth.

Personality

Kyoko seems abrasive and selfish but has a somewhat soft side as well. She values food a lot and loves to eat. She may have experienced trauma from her family's death giving her an eating disorder of sorts, or erasing the memory of hunger. She is rather tomboyish, with barely any femininity at all if any. This is where she differs from Sayaka's boyishness, where Sayaka has a bit of a girlish streak in the fact that she is interested in romance, while Kyoko just about has a nice side, and likes stories with happy endings. (Doesn't everybody?) She is competitive and after her family's death was introduced to the principles of "Dog eat dog world", "you get what you pay for" and "Kill or be killed/Eat or be eaten" and started to live by them. She uses her magic and other abilities mainly for herself due to the belief that helping somebody else will only result in something bad. She is also somewhat arrogant. She seems to be very faithful in God as during her final moments in the original timeline getting killed by Oktavia (she does live in the world reconstructed by Madoka, but does not remember her), she prays to God to show her a "happy dream." . It's uncertain what exactly what this means, but presumably she is pleading to be shown something happy like her family all being alive and happy, in the form of a dream, or to allow her to die peacefully and ascend to Heaven.

Trivia

  • Fans also use the alternative spelling of Kyouko for her name. This is because the first 'o' in Kyoko is a long vowel which is written as 'ou' (おう) in Japanese. In proper Hepburn romanization, the long vowel is indicated by a macron on top (Kyōko). The macron is often left out in general usage.
  • Before her name was officially revealed, she was nicknamed Condom-chan by Western fans because of the suggestive-looking ice lolly she had flapping in her mouth in the Opening animation. She is nicknamed Anko by Japanese fans due to an initial misreading of her name when she was first revealed in a magazine.
    • The first character for Sakura (佐) means "to help" while the second (倉) means "warehouse."
    • Her last name can also be used as a first name.
    • Her first name (杏子) means "apricot." Apricot+ happens to be Ume Aoki's circle name.
  • The first character of her name (杏) is the implied real first name (An) of Kafuka Fuura from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Both characters are voiced by Ai Nonaka.
    • Aoi Yuuki (VA of Madoka) confessed that she was in love with the Kyoko character in the Magical Girls Tea Party bonus CD.
    • Ok, "in love" would be putting it lightly considering Aoi Yuuki claims Kyoko to be her waifu with extreme infatuation.
    • So is Chiwa Saito (VA of Homura) apparently.
    • And Ryouko Shintani (Hitomi).
    • Eri Kitamura (Sayaka) is the Seme to Kyoko's Uke.
  • According with the Drama CD "Farewell Story", Kyoko has been a magical girl for a year before she met Mami. Since the Drama CD events takes place one year before the anime events, it is suspected that Kyoko has been a magical girl for at least two years. Making her the second veteran of the group, after Mami.
  • Kyoko's special attack is called "Rosso Fantasma" (Red Illusion/Phantom) but for personal reasons she no longer has her illusory powers during the time of the anime events.
    • For obvious reasons she thinks that the name is embarrassing, you can blame Mami for that.
  • In chapter 19 of Kazumi *Magica, Umika Misaki uses her own ability to learn and study how to use "Rosso Fantasma".
  • Ai Nonaka describes Kyoko's speech style to be Shouwa-ish (Shouwa era, 1926-1989), meaning an old style of talking.
  • In the Audio Commentary for Episode 7, Aoi Yuuki (Madoka) describes the character of Kyoko of being an anti-hero, a flawed human character that has to fight to overcome aspects of her unjust self, to attain an overall form of justice that she believes in.
  • In the PSP game, her witch form is Ophelia, depicted as a horse rider with a candlestick for a head.
  • In the original draft for the script it is stated that Kyouko did steal the apples in Episode 7
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