- Madoka Kaname (鹿目 まどか Kaname Madoka?)
- Voiced by: Aoi Yūki (Japanese), Christine Marie Cabanos (English)
- Madoka is a kind and gentle 14-year-old girl who comes from a loving family
A second-year at middle school, her life changes when she encounters the incubator Kyubey, who offers to transform her into a magical girl. She sees herself as a person without special qualities or talents, and after seeing Mami fighting against witches, aspires to become a magical girl like her. She is a kind and gentle person that is averse to fighting. She hopes that the magical girls will support each other, sometimes even putting her own life at risk to help them. After witnessing Mami's death, she grows uncertain about becoming a magical girl, growing ever more hesitant as the true cost of the role is revealed to her.
- In previous timelines, Madoka became a magical girl in a pink dress
wielding a rose branch bow and arrow. In the drama CD, "Memories of You", it is revealed that the wish in the first timeline was to save a cat named Amy from death. However, every time, she was either killed or transformed into a witch named Kriemhild Gretchen, the Witch of Salvation, one that became ever more powerful with each time reset, as Madoka's power also increased and if created would, by the end of that same week, consume the Earth in order to create a paradise where there is no free will or individuality to cause strife or conflict. In the current timeline before the final episode, Kyubey claims that Madoka has an impossibly large amount of potential for magic, going so far as to claim that she could become god. The reason for this is unclear, since her life so far has been relatively average and free of tragedies. This is later revealed to be due to her accumulated misfortune, which was caused as a result of Homura repeatedly resetting time, with Madoka's fate getting worse with each timeline, making her magic power grow exponentially with each reset. In the first timeline, she still possesses a high amount of power, being able to defeat Walpurgisnacht (ワルプルギスの夜 Warupurugisu no Yoru?), though dying in the process. Subsequently, by the current timeline, she has the potential to be the most powerful magical girl to date. Towards the end, she learns of this and Homura's efforts to save her.
- After seeing the suffering of magical girls throughout history,
Madoka decides to make her wish: to prevent all magical girls from the past, present, future and all other timelines, from ever becoming witches. The laws of the universe are rewritten such that at the moment that a soul gem becomes black with anguish, Madoka appears and purifies it before the magical girl passes on. As a result of this wish, she becomes an omnipotent being, named Ultimate Madoka (アルティメット・まどか Arutimetto Madoka?), that exists for all time, erasing her pre-ascension existence from the world; leaving only Homura – and to some extent her little brother – with the memory of her. Madoka becomes only a concept in the new world, one named the Law of Cycles (円環の理 Enkan no Kotowari?). Magical girls absorbed into the Law of Cycles regain knowledge of their lives in previous timelines.
- At the end of Rebellion, Ultimate Madoka was usurped by
Homura and had her human and goddess selves split, with her role as a martyr being forced onto the Incubators. Homura places human Madoka in a new universe where she and her friends can live normal lives unaware of their pasts, though Madoka regains her memories at the last second and a final conversation with Homura implies that it is only a matter of time before Madoka merges with her goddess self once more.