PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
Kyubey (キュゥべえ), also known by its nickname “QB” and ASCII form ／人◕ ‿‿ ◕人＼, is a mysterious character from the popular fantasy “magical girl” anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Due to the show’s popularity in Japan and Kyubey’s characterization as a deceptive, evil creature with an angel-like appearance, it quickly grew into a target of obsession for the Japanese anime fans and illustrators. According to various accounts, Magi Madoka Magica is one of the most discussed anime series on the Japanese textboard site 2channel, even in comparison to the notorious Haruhi Suzumiya series.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a sci-fi fantasy anime series produced by Shaft, a well-known animation company behind the wildly popular, albeit controversial, series Bakemonogatari. The first ten episodes aired in Japan between January 6th, 2011 and March 10th, 2011, with the last two episodes getting delayed until April 21st, 2011, following the national earthquake disaster in March.
Initially, the official trailers and opening sequence set up the show as a typical “magical girl” anime featuring Kyubey as just another adorable magical companion, in similiar vein to Kero from Card Captor Sakura. Throughout the series, Kyubey tries to recruit the protagonist Madoka and her friend Sayaka as magical witch fighters by offering to grant one wish in exchange for entering a contract with him. From very early on, fans began speculating that Kyubey had ulterior motives and might very well be evil.
Kyubey makes his appearance in the first episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. During a post apocalyptic dream sequence, where he tries to convince Madoka that if she made a contract with him and became a magical girl, she could reverse the destruction caused by the giant monster demolishing the city. Madoka meets Kyubey later on in the episode when she rescues him from the mysterious transfer student, Homura.
The following section may contain spoiler information about Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Kyubey:
From episode 3, it became very clear that Madoka Magica was not your typical magical girl show. Fans created several theories as to the true nature of Kyubey, many of which link him to a demon from Faust. Also see: Satan’s Flowchart
This was further demonstrated in episode 5 when it revealed what the contract actually does. When one contracted and became a magical girl, Kyubey would extract their soul from them and transform it into a Soul Gem. Not only did this enable them to use magic, but it also made the girls more or less walking corpses. If at any time girl’s gem was too far from her or the gem was destroyed, the girl would die. At the same time, any damage done to the girl’s body could also be regenerated through magic.
When the girls find out, Kyubey admits that he withheld this information. He states that he doesn’t understand why every time he mentions that becoming a magical girl means becoming a zombie, the girls involved tend to freak out and cry. He brushes their concerns off and says while he did leave out some details, he held up his end of the contract. It was then that the fans understood the nature of Kyubey as a thing completely devoid of emotion and extremely manipulative.
As the show goes on, the revelations about Kyubey became more and more bizarre. He has multiple bodies and is able to teleport at will. When one body dies, a new one shows up to eat the corpse.
In episode 9, it is finally revealed that Kyubey is an alien named Incubator whose advanced race is trying to save the universe from destruction by farming energy from the tears of middle school girls. When a girl is contracted and becomes a magical girl, her soul will eventually be tainted with despair and she will become a witch. The witch transformation will release a large amount of energy which will help stall the heat death of the universe.
During the last two episodes, Kyubey makes a lot of remarkable statements. For one, his race has been in contact with humankind since prehistoric ages. The contracts made between little girls and the Incubator race has shaped history to the point that were it not for the Incubator race, humankind would still be living with caves. Notable magical girls who made large impacts throughout history include Anne Frank, Joan of Arc, and Cleopatra.
The concept of emotions is very strange to him and his race. In episode 11, he goes so far as to say: “In our culture, the phenomena known as emotions is only a mental disorder.”
Kyubey’s notoriety comes from the fact that he is a deceptive troll. While very cute (the author commented on Kyubey’s angel-like appearance in the manga), he is actually a very frightening creature. In an interview with two of the voice actors from the show, the voice actor for Homura stated, “Please never come to me.”
There are a wide variety of fan reactions, games, and fan art that have resulted from Kyubey. Fan art of Kyubey ranges from him being maimed by the cast members, Kyubey being creepy, Kyubey being a pedophile, Kyubey being adorable (often followed by an edit of the image which combines Kyubey’s adorableness with his creepiness), a large muscle-man Kyubey, and Kyubey cosplaying as characters from other shows. Another popular icon that’s spread from Kyubey is the creation of an Shift JIS-emoticon: ／人◕ ‿‿ ◕人＼
According to crunchyroll.com Kyubey has also managed to become a top ranking buzzword for 2011. The phrase “Make a contract with me and become an [x]!” was meme-y enough this year that it took the number third spot, just below the nickname for Japan’s World Cup winning women’s soccer team, “Nadeshiko Japan.” First place was taken by “Popopopo~n!” from the AC Japan public service message, “The Magic of Greetings”.
Kyubey ’s popularity has caused him to spread all over Akihabara district, a major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, and otaku goods in Tokyo, Japan. On Feb 28th 2011, Sanakaku Complex posted an article of images of Kyubey invading computer store desktop backgrounds, mannequins, and store front windows asking people to make a contract with him.
On Danbooru, a collection of images titled “Everybody Hates Kyubey”, all of which obviously feature Kyubey in a negative manner, has by the 18th April already reached over 300 images, with more being added frequently.
Several extremely funny images have also appeared under in the Ask Kyubey tumblr blog.
Scientific Analysis of Kyubey’s Knowledge in Entropy
Many fans are also confused by Kyubey’s idea of entropy and how energy works and many have posted blogs as to why Kyubey’s idea might in fact be wrong (or at least it makes no sense).
The following section may contain spoiler information for Episode 9 / “That, I Will Not Allow”:
Crunchyroll – Kyubey Worms His Way Into Top Internet Buzzwords 2011