Kyubey: Is He Good or Evil?

Ok, I’m not sure this has a point or is just rambling, but I needed to get some thoughts organized on electrons. The “magical mascot” of Kyubey, in Puella Magi Magical Madoka… is he good or evil? I’ve been all but convinced for the last few weeks that he’s actually evil, and is behind the creation of the witches as well as the puella magi, either to serve some sadistic sense of humor, or as a way to generate his own sustenance.

Only thinking over episodes 6-8, I’m not so sure now. I’m coming around to the point of view that Kyubey is neither good nor evil. Those are merely human philosophies that we apply to him in an attempt to classify and understand his actions. I suppose I’m being a bit of a solipsist, but it seems to me that for an entity to be evil, it has to understand evil, even if it disagrees over use of the label. For instance, the Nazis gassed six million Jews — they thought it was the right thing to do (!), but they knew it would be considered an evil act, which is why they tried to hide the evidence and kept so few records of the orders. In other words, even if their value system was so different as to be sickening, it still encompassed an understanding of the base concepts of good and evil. Why try to cover up their actions if they didn’t even understand the concept of evil? Why try to excuse it by saying “I was only following orders,” if good and evil are totally alien?

Kyubey, on the other hand, professes bewilderment at why puella magi are upset to learn that he’s sucked their souls out and rendered their bodies into automata
. He appears to hold no malice when Homura kills him for the second time
. He doesn’t even seem to be malicious or uncaring when subjecting Sayaka to intense pain, to demonstrate that removing her soul was a good idea.

Is it because he’s playing a much larger game, to which such trifles are irrelevant? Or is the reality that he is what he is, with zero concept of what we consider right and wrong? Have we just assumed he’s the good guy because he was helping against something we consider evil, and now we think he’s evil because his methods are questionable? Is he on one side just from convenience? Conviction? Personal advantage? Or has he gone ’round the far bend of “the ends justify the means?” Everything he does seems to have expediency at it’s core — if he acts friendly to puella magi, it’s because that works better than being indifferent. If he’s helpful, its because it works better than ignoring the puella magi. Is looking like a “good guy” is just a tool that he’s developed by years or even centuries of trial and error? (All this leaves aside the questions: where does Kyubey come from? Are there any more like him? Someone making witches, perhaps?)

Another question, not directly related: Does he make girls into magi because of some inherent sex-based restriction, or is it because they are more trusting and less likely to ask inconvenient questions?

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