大人的动画 Vol.20

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Gen Interview

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-- For magical girls, why do their wishes usually turn into opposite of what they wanted?

Gen: To me, having a wish granted might not necessarily be a good thing. Good thoughts only come after reflecting on "what I wished for." Once you settle on a target and head towards it, you'll inevitably lose many things that you couldn't help be losing. It makes you doubt whether this is true happiness.

-- Why's that?

Gen: Isn't the process of chasing a goal always tormenting? You always end up feeling inadequate about this and that. When you turn back and look, only then do you realize that you had lost sight of everything outside that goal. But a mere zombie now. Having a goal by itself might be a good thing, but sacrificing the present for it isn't. When you compare your past with your present, what you have and what you have lost, it becomes an issue of asset management for happiness (laughs). People should measure who they are with who they want to be, but also match that with what sacrifices are necessary to become that person. Only then should they proceed.

-- Your first contact with "heroic tales?"

Gen: Ignoring for a moment whether it's in the heroic genre or not, the show that had the most impact on my childhood was "Armored Trooper VOTOMS." Chirico Cuvie, the character, is in some ways, the the most powerful man. The strength of his resolve, to never stray from it, he always acts of his own accord. Not only did he refuse companionship, he even denied god himself. Such powerful was his conviction. With it, even the appearance of simply drifting along doesn't phase him. As a child, that was incredibly shocking to see.

-- Sometimes I get this mistaken impression, that Mr. Gen is simply using Kyubey to speak from the heart.

Gen: That's a bit much (laughs).

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-- Apologies (laughs). So Kyubey is really a symbol for realism, over how the ideal matches up with reality?

Gen: Indeed, as long as you're alive, you'll always hear Kyubey calling, but you can never give in to it.

-- Was it ever on your mind, that you hope your work has the capacity to cause mental anguish?

Gen: Yes. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. As long as you remember how little it is compared to Chirico Cuvie, you can overcome anything. That's why I always remind myself to insert various "poisons" into those animation cells, so it may match the "poisons" in this realty. Entertainment is such a useless thing, but with a little infection it suddenly becomes so frightful. In this peaceful and bountiful era, intaking a little "poison" through fiction can be quite effective. Think of it as a form of vaccination. Without the risk of broken limbs, you can still experience all sorts of nightmares (scenarios). In this way, you gain a bit of immunity against when nightmares do appear in reality.

-- Ah, I see.

Gen: A lot of people want to remove such "poisons" from fiction. That's why I pity the kids that grow up with those people. Their future are quite tragic. For them, a bit of pain will feel like the end of the world. How will you train these people (laugh)? But honestly though, I personally wasn't thinking that deeply. I just feel like writing things that some people might find interesting. After all, this isn't a textbook. The contents are for kids to understand. I just need to not lie to myself.

Madoka Sequel

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Q - In future, do you think you want to do more original anime?

Shinbo (S) - I have such thought, although I do not hate adapting anime from original works either.

Q - Any idea of what you want to do?

S - Not really. Mystery or something mysterious, and then Horror. But perhaps horror is not possible, because I have got to the point of not really watching much horror these days. And then I think perhaps it's good to have more mahou shoujo, but this time it is more slice-of-life and girl-next-door. I would like to try this different variation of mahou shoujo. And then there is also something like the world of Ikki Kajiwara. It may be interesting to do something like Ai to Makoto*, something that brings two polar opposite together.... But before that, I may need to do the second season of PMMM. If it is possible, I would definitely want to do that.

  • Ai to Makoto is a manga from 1973-1976 and was very popular in its days. It is about a well-bred girl from a very rich family crossing path with a juvenile delinquent boy. It was adapted into both tv drama and movies but I don't think there is anime adaptation.

-- Alternative translation of the same interview: Q: From now on, do you want to make original works?

Shinbo: Yeah, I have a feeling like this. Of course, it's not that I hate adapted works.

Q: Do you have any ideas as to what you'd want to do next?

Shinbo: Let's see. A detective in a strange story, maybe. And then, I'd like to do a horror anime. But it's getting harder and harder to do a horror anime. It doesn't seem like nowadays, many people want to watch a horror anime. And as for magical girls, I'd like to do a more slice-of-life anime. I think I'd like to try doing a different genre of magical girl anime. Also, I want to make something with a world like something Ikki Kajiwara would make. I think creating something as extreme as "Ai to Makoto"...oh, but before all that, I'd like to try for a second season of Madoka. (hahaha) If I could, I would definitely want to do it.

Lighting, Coloring and Composition: Check 1

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Decrypting the Story from the lighting, color and composition!

Eliminating the unnecessary scenes and compressing more into each cut -- "Magical Girl Madoka Magica" is made from the tried and tested methods of Shinbo and SHAFT works. Let's compare it with other works, especially on the use of light, color and the composition of images.

Check 1: Light Source in the Image

From Episode 4, when Kyoko shows up. There are two light sources, one from the city and one on the tower. Since the light on the tower is behind her, it can't illuminate her directly. However, the light of the city make up the footlight (light from below), so Kyoko's face is being illuminated from below, and the ghastliness of her expression is being expressed.

Lighting, Coloring and Composition: Check 2

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Check 2: The Color of the Characters

The color of the girls' Soul Gems match their hair and eye colors. Mami's Soul Gem is orange, so in the scenes in which she shows up, everything, including the street lights, is orange. The scenes where Kyoko and Sayaka talk are given red lighting to match Kyoko's Soul Gem. The flare of the red light on Sayaka emphasizes Kyoko's dominance.

Lighting, Coloring and Composition: Check 3 and 4

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Check 3: Using Light Out of or Into the Scene

When Madoka and Homura are talking about Mami's defeat, the light is pointing out of the scene. However, when Madoka says, "I won't forget about Homura," the camera flips around and shoots from the other side, with light pointing into the scene. The direction of the light expresses the change in Homura's mental state.

Check 4: Effect of the Composition

Madoka's reflections pile up on one another in the opposing mirrors. The short flashback about her time with Mami hints that she is stepping into an unknown world.

Homura cuts into Madoka and Sayaka's conversation. The obstruction on Homura's side makes the left side of the image feel heavier. At the same time, Homura's presence is being felt more.

Lighting, Coloring and Composition: Check 5

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Check 5: Action that Shifts from Horizontal to Vertical

As Sayaka chases down a familiar, Kyoko blocks her way. Sayaka's attack to Kyoko is shown from the side, but Kyoko's attack is shown from the front. Kyoko jumps upward as if she's pouncing on her prey, and moves out of focus.

The composition shifts from horizontal to vertical to put together this action that "can't be followed with your eyes."

Various Translations

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  • ある程度やった人が生活ものに流れていく気持ちが分かりますね
  • I understand who works (around animation) somehow a long time trends(wants) to draw stories among usual days.

'Leading from the everyday to a barrier: a gradient of nightmares

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Source: Bottom of Page 4 and Page 5.

The world of "Mahou Shoujo ☆ Madoka Magika" is governed by absurd rules. To have their wish granted, girls contract with Kyuubey and become magical girls, and to repay that decision without incident, they must quickly cast aside their feelings.

As if to highlight that absurdity, the city Madoka and her friends live in is overflowing with cleanliness. A stream flows alongside their route to school, and there is a lot of greenery. It's like looking a new residential area, nature is arranged unnaturally. The glass-style classrooms of the school have an open feel to them, which the collapsible seats and the like contribute to, giving it a futuristic functional beauty.

In the hospital where the boy Sayaka fell in love with, Kyousuke, is hospitalized, the bed is depicted with a warm color palette, so the tension that's characteristic of a hospital isn't there. Madoka's own house has very high ceilings, the nature of the design being tall and spacious while giving a full sense of security. In other words, Madoka and her friend's living environment is unnatural but merely just a safe place. Even so, the characters progress through dialogue, and the city shows an unexpected side.

In Kyoko's first appearance scene, (in episode 4) she's looking down on the city, sitting on something similar to a radio tower. The scene's direction shows Kyoko turning up from the outside world, but also shows the existence of the city's "outskirts". In addition, in the scene with Madoka and Homura's conversation coming home from school, the factory's complex silhouette can be seen.

This scenery of the outskirts, right after such orderly things as the school and hospital, is ugly in comparison. It gives rise to an indescribable uneasy feeling. Even if it's the radio tower, or the factory, the girls are middle schoolers, and their life has nothing to do with it. However, with such things as battle and death going on around the girls, entering the grotesque outskirts becomes necessary.

Possibly right after Kyoko's decision to rescue Sayaka, this is the scene where she requests cooperation with Madoka (episode 9). The cityscape has cobbled streets like that of Europe's allyways. That scenery leads to more uneasiness, and listlessness. After Mami's fight, in the scene where Madoka and Sayaka confirm their decision (episode 3), the impression of the enormous stone bridge and the street lights remain. In brief, the girls exchange a conversation concerning their fate, and beautiful, distant scenery makes its appearance, as if they are in a different country.

Then, there's the factory and such, in the outskirts, that's like "passing through a foreign country", and the image of them having to experience the "barrier" where the witch is. The "barrier" is a creation of Gekidan Inu Curry; concerning the hair raising horror, I don't need to say anything. Due to the extensive collage, a completely different feeling from before surges into the picture. Inside the barrier, the cell shaded girls seem too ephemeral and helpless. It's impossible to say where the barrier's location will be, as they appear anywhere in the city. That randomness, above everything else, is frightening.

No, there might be some order to the barriers, as they never clash with Madoka and her friends' living space. The barriers appear at places far away from Madoka and her friends. However, before long it is revealed that a magical girl's soul gem that finishes being stained black gives birth to a grief seed. This absurdity risked the order of the everyday life the girls are living, and their hope falls to the very bottom. It may be an absurdity, but there's still reason in going through it. The nightmarish barriers that arise inside their pure daily life -- that structure is the genuine chaotic nature of "Mahou Shoujo ☆ Madoka Magika".

Summary of Staff Comments










Shinbo - Well.. but before that perhaps I must do the second season of Puella Magi Madoka Magika first.. If this is possible, I would really want to do it."

Inu-Curry - We never expected the witch runes would be decrypted so we were surprised. But from now on there is this need to write up all the sentences that carry meanings, and this means it gets more difficult to use the witch runes.

Urobuchi Gen - I think the human protagonist is actually Homura.

Iwagami - Personally for me I now feel the urge to do a part 2.


See Also