I recommend you watch these
Each of these is roughly 10 minutes (usually a bit less)
It's how I was introduced to the series.
I watched these 3 before watching the series itself.
I highly recommend you watch this. Just these 3.
If you find you enjoy the review, feel free to continue watching (you'll find the additional episodes listed on the right, under the madoka section) and feel free to watch other shit he's done.
I also wanted to address a few things.
Some may wonder why I think Homura has gone around 72 times. A few reasons. Some context.
Mami, it is implied, made her contract at around age 10, and is currently around 15, implying she's spent 5 years as a magical girl. The only person ever able to go toe to toe with Homura was Mami. As such, Homura, logically, must have spent somewhere around 5 years doing this. Perhaps 2.5 if she's naturally skilled, perhaps 10 if not.
The events of the show take place in a 6 week period.
Psychology also plays a role. Homura has mentioned she's "lost count" how many times she's seen Madoka die. If you've seen someone die 4 times, you'll remember you've seen someone die 4 times. At some point over 40, you are likely to literally lose count.
Next is how you would handle this mentally. As we saw, the first few times Homura remained a weak nerd, and it took some time to toughen her up. It is my non-professional estimation that if she's been doing this for less than 2 years, she would not be as "hard", but if she'd been doing it for over 20 years, she'd be much more 'broken' and possibly 'insane'
As such, between 41 and 160 seems logical.
We've seen, especially in Rebellion, that Homura's natural state is not so 'hardened' and that implies that she is less naturally skilled than Mami is. Mami is simply good at what she does, Homura less so.
108 comes to mind as a possible number. It has meaning in various eastern cultures. However, that means Homura's been doing this for 13.5 years. Presuming she was 14 when this started, her mental age would be closer to 28, even if she's stuck in a 14 year olds body, including the hormone imbalances that come with it.
Having lived through this age, I can tell you that you do really change once you accumulate enough experience. Saying people really mature at 25 is not just a myth, at least, it wasn't for me.
Given how she acts, I'd say she's likely been doing this for closer to a decade, perhaps even less.
72 seems like a good compromise on that.
This is 9 years. It's also so many loops that you literally will forget some of them. This puts her 'age' closer to 23, which does better jive with how she acts.
72 is also a number with many factors, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 24, and 36; as well as prime factorials 2^3 and 3^2.
As such, my "guess" is that timeline 1 is when Homura made her wish.
Timeline 72 is the one the anime is set in.
Also a few thinkers
Why is the school so nice?
Well, don't you wish you had a nice school?
What's this about grief seeds hatching into witches?
Kyubey never said they do, he said they could. He also said Sayaka's soul gem could come out of Okatavia (her witch form) despite knowing there's 0 reason for this to ever happen. But it "could" right.
What's this about familiars turning into witches?
He likely also told Mami that familiars "could" turn into witches so she would fight them and waste her powers, and told Kyoko the same thing so she would not fight them and let them cause grief.
What happens to Magical Girls?
Only 3 things can happen.
1 - You die. Your soul gem gets destroyed. This is a lose-lose for everyone involved, and Kyubey has no reason to allow this to happen (normally; Mami's death had a reason - getting Madoka to make a contract)
2 - You run out of power. We don't see this happen, but it is heavily implied and confirmed by the creators. At this point you turn into a witch but you don't generate all that grief that the incubators need to reverse entropy, and as such, is also something Kyubey would work to avoid.
3 - Your happiness turns to despair. This is what Kyubey wants. It's the intense power and strength of the change in emotion - from joy to grief - that powers the incubators. Kyubey is working to ensure this happens to as many Magical Girls as possible.
It's also implied that Witches can absorb grief from others. While the movies do not make it clear, the series does; Kyubey eats the Grief Seeds.
Why is he called Kyubey?
Because he's an Inkyubeytor.
Why does he look like a bunnycat?
Fuck. I dunno. It's Japan ok?
Lastly, I've said this is my fav show ever; but what do I dislike about it?
The only real thing I can think of is that the phrase "is all" is used too often.
What's my fav part?
If I had the same information she had, I'd make the same decisions she did. Every time.
Even though I know how it ends (she does not have a happy ending) I still think I'd make the same decisions she did if I was in her place.
I also want a cape
and a sword
And blue has always been my fav colour.
It's almost as though that part was written just for people like me!