Kyouko Sakura (佐倉 杏子, Sakura Kyouko) is a Puella Magi in the anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. She appeared as a frame in the opening sequence and as a silhouette in the ending sequence until her debut at the end of Episode 4.
Left : Her normal attire
Right : Her Puella Magi form
Kyouko Sakura (Sakura Kyouko 佐倉 杏子)
SPOILERS below : Contains spoilers for the whole series
Kyouko made her first appearance in episode 4, where she made a vulgar comment about Mami's death.
Introduced with an image of a selfish character, Kyouko is a Puella Magi that doesn't hesitate to use her magic powers for selfish benefit and desires. She also shows sadistic qualities as she suggested that if Sayaka wanted to be with Kyousuke, should crush his hands and legs, so that he could not escape. This did not go well with Sayaka, leading to more conflict between the two. Kyouko eventually learns, along with Sayaka and the rest of main Puella Magi characters, sans Homura as she already knew, that they were "tricked" by Kyubey to become Puella Magi for the "greater good."
Kyouko was cold towards Sayaka, but soon grew fond of Sayaka as Kyouko saw her own mistakes reflected in Sayaka's wish. Kyouko soon protected Sayaka from a witch's attack, though the saved Sayaka was unappreciative. Through Sayaka, Kyouko was soon reminded of why she became a Puella Magi at the first place: she liked stories where love and courage prevail. Kyouko soon decided that she'd save Sayaka from the path Kyouko took herself toward darkness.
Kyouko ceased her hostility toward Sayaka and started to give advice. In doing so, Kyouko revealed her past: Kyouko was the daughter of a preacher who started to deviate from his regular sermons and was excommunicated for it. Not knowing the dangerous balance to making such a wish, Kyouko wished for her father to have more followers. She began to hunt witches as a Puella Magi for payment to realize her wish, however, upon finding out that his followers merely arrived through his daughter's magical wish, he became disillusioned and killed his entire family except Kyouko, and committed suicide. Kyouko soon concludes that wishing for sake of others is useless and begins to use her powers for herself--until she meets Sayaka.
Kyouko's concern for Sayaka grew so large that when Sayaka became a witch, Kyouko tried the impossible--to bring Sayaka back from the "dead." Kyouko even asked for the assistance of Madoka, whom had no powers except that she was Sayaka's best friend. Even though Kyouko was determined to save Sayaka, Kyouko soon realized that the impossible truly was impossible and sacrificed herself to protect others from the witch Sayaka became. Kyouko died in episode 9.
In the third timeline that Homura visited, Kyouko was shot and killed by Mami after she realized the truth about Puella Magi. It was after the fight with Octavia, Sayaka's witch form.
After episode 12, Kyouko is once again seen alive by Madoka's wish and fights the demons alongside Homura and Mami.
- 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.
- Her last name can also be used as a first name.
- Her first name Kyouko (杏子) can also be read as Anzu (あんず) –apricot. Co-incidentally, Apricot+ is Ume'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.
- According to some fans, her somewhat tomboyish nature, reddish hair tied in a pony-tail and sporty style of clothing (when not transformed) which includes shorts and exposes her navel make her look rather like Yoko Littner from Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann (a mecha anime from Gainax).
- Her spear could be a reference to a Snake in it's elongated form or the Lance of Longinus. In the manga, the design of Kyouko's spear is different from what it is shown in the anime.
- Her pet peeve is shown to be having distaste or rage when people are wasting food. Kyouko values food and chastises those who waste it. since Kyouko and her family (parents, Kyouko herself, an unnamed little sister) nearly starved during the period where her father lost her supporters and lived in extreme poverty.
Relationship Between Kyouko and Sayaka
(Majorly taken from Puella Magi Wiki, will be re-written in the near future)
In Mahou Shoujo genre, it is common to find yuri subtexts that prompt fans to ship pairings, even if it's not part of the creators original intention. The relationship Kyouko and Sayaka is of no exception. However, the yuri subtext itself is mainly one sided; while it is officially recognized that Kyouko has feelings for Sayaka, it is uncertain what types of feelings they are. It is also implied that Sayaka never had the chance to reply these feelings (be it for friendship or for the yuri subtext itself), cannonically the relationship itself ended up tragically.
Many fans point out that the reason these two are paired up together is because of their opposing personalities. Sayaka and Kyouko differ not only philosophically but their personalities are bound to cause clashes; yet they are not that dissimilar once you study these characters. Sayaka is an idealist who pursues the path of a hero of justice, she wants to emulate Mami as an example of an ideal Puella Magi. To Sayaka the gift of being a Puella Magi was something sacred to be used for good only and not for selfish acts. Kyouko on the other hand is more of a rogue who would only use her powers to satiate her base desires. Kyouko scoffs at the idea of using her powers to help others, instead she believes a Puella Magi should only help herself (even at the expense of others). To Kyouko there are no rules except her own.
This unlikely pair started out as enemies and Kyouko was close on killing Sayaka, but as the story progressed it was Kyouko who took the first step to close their gap of distrust. Kyouko even went so far as to explain to Sayaka her painful past and to why she believes Sayaka is making a mistake with her life. But Sayaka refuses Kyouko's advice and subtly proclaims she will be a better Puella Magi than her, that she will still follow a righteous path. Sayaka's arrogance at first seems to anger Kyouko (it is not known if she is angry at Sayaka, at herself, or both) but this doesnt stop her from continually pursuing Sayaka to stop her from furthering her mistakes. (Some fans like to suggest that this moment would have alienated any other character from trying to pursue a friendship with Sayaka, yet it seems to have an opposite effect with Kyouko).
Soon the roles are reversed in Episode 8 and 9. Sayaka finally admits that deep down she was no different from others, that she had selfish desires that were never fulfilled and that she regrets her decision on becoming a Puella Magi (like the love of a boy that went unfulfilled, or the jealous regret of saving a friend's life). She starts to see society as a selfish group who would only exploit others with no remorse for those who suffer. Sayaka finally understands that her decision brought nothing but unhappiness and regrets on her part. Betrayed by the world and by her ideals she soon falls into despair and darkness. It is because of this event that Kyouko soon starts to reveal a different side of her.
With the loss of Sayaka, Kyouko starts to reclaim back her older self. She admits to Madoka that there was a time she used to idealize stories of love, friendship, and courage but she abandoned those ideals when she lost her family. After seeing Sayaka's despair, Kyouko decides that she wants to save her and get the old Sayaka back. Kyouko was putting her faith on romantic ideals, a move that many would like to point out as being irrational and dangerous (even Kyubey agrees such notion is illogical). Once Kyouko realises that there is no way to save Sayaka, she decides to sacrifice her life so they could both be together. That way Sayaka wont be alone anymore. There is a division among fans regarding Kyouko's decision to die with Sayaka. There are those who say Kyouko did it as an act of love (the tragic yuri pair or maybe and act of frienship), others say Kyouko knew that even if she did survive it would only be a matter of time before she became a witch so she wanted to end her life her way (a self sacrifice with practical motives).
To fans that support the yuri relationship, the reason that they find this pair strong and attractive is because they want Sayaka to be with someone who can love her and protect her. Kyouko was the only character who understood Sayaka's true nature (and her pain) since Kyouko admitted to her that she saw a fragment of herself in Sayaka. Kyouko was also the only one who chased after her to the bitter end, no matter the obstacles or how obstinate was Sayaka, Kyouko was still there for her. Kyouko fits the perfect role as Sayaka's protector and savior.
The relationship between Kyouko and Sayaka may have not been accidental or a tease but created to heighten emotional investments by the viewers. It is possible that this was part of the creator's intention to emotionally move groups of hardcore fans who support a SayakaxKyouko pairing, thus making their demise in Episode 9 more tragic (or as fans put it a "Yuri Tragedy" ending).
Ai Nonaka (野中藍, Nonaka Ai) - Japanese