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Headless Mami refers to the aftermath of a battle scene in the fantasy horror anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica in which the shape shifter Charlotte decapitates one of the protagonist characters Mami Tomoe by biting off her head.
In episode three “I’m Not Afraid of Anything Anymore” of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the magical girl Mami Tomoe battles the witch Charlotte deep within her lair. After Tomoe deals what she thinks is a finishing blow, she is suddenly caught off-guard as Charlotte transforms into a giant caterpillar and decapitates Mami in one huge bite. The episode originally aired on January 20th, 2011.
The episode was soon met by startled reactions from the fans, many of whom were surprised by the rather gory death of Mami. In mourning her death, a NicoNicoDouga user posted a memorial video on January 22nd. Throughout the month, the character’s death was discussed on anime-related forums and blogs like Animaku and GaiaOnline.
Ow.What pain am I feeling?It’s almost like a migraine, but obviously, that’s not the problem.;_;
— Mami Tomoe (@HeadlessMami) April 26, 2011
On July 18th, the “Ask Headless Mami” Tumblr was created, which answered questions from other Tumblr users and featured Headless Mami fan art. On August 7th, “The Head Gone Missing of Mami Tomoe” nation was formed on the NationStates simulation game, which allows players to build and rule their own virtual nations.
When the Puella Magi Madoka Magica film project was announced in November 2011, the creators of the series made custom movie tickets with a perforated edge across Mami’s neck, which allowed the head to be removed from the ticket. The tickets were featured on the Ferret205 Tumblr blog and the Ask Headless Mami Tumblr blog.
On November 20th, the Ask Headless Mami Tumblr posted a comic titled “I Want My Head Back” in the storytelling style of “I Want My Hat Back”, with Headless Mami talking to various anime characters asking if they had seen her head. On November 29th, a video was uploaded to YouTube by user goldfishu featuring the comic with voice-over narration.
Mami’s shocking death was soon verbalized to “Mamiru” (Japanese: マミる) by fans, which is a intransitive verb meaning “get guillotined like Mami” or “have a miserable death”. It widely spread among the Japanese internet users, not limited to the fans.
Finally, This word was included as the latter meaning in the Japanese dictionary for indispensable terminologies “Modern Language Basic Knowledge 2012” published in November 2011, and it also ranked to the 9th place in the Japanese internet vogue word award held by a gossip news site getnews.jp in the following month.
The description of “Mamiru” in Modern Language Basic Knowledge 2012
Moreover, “Mamiru” made a headline around the Japanese web when a Japanese primetime TV show introduced Madoka Magica with this word in April 2012.
Screenshot from the TV show
After the episode aired, the witch Charlotte gathered a large following as well and is often considered a “moe” character. Charlotte has multiple Ask X Tumblr blogs, her own Facebook page and even appeared as a contestant in the 2011 Anime Saimoe Tournament.
Impress Internet Watch – 【やじうまWatch】 こんなところにもまどマギ？「現代用語の基礎知識」に新語「マミる」が登場 ほか / 11-18-2011 (Japanese)
getnews.jp – ネット流行語大賞2011(本家版)結果発表！金賞「ぽぽぽぽ～ん」銀賞「ただちに影響はない」銅賞「セシウムさん」 / 12-01-2011 (Japanese)