NewType 2010-12

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by Aoki Ume

November 14, 2010. Translation: [1]

Pre-broadcast interview with director Akiyuki Shinbo and series composition Gen Urobuchi about tendency of script and visual direction in Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Director Akiyuki Shinbo’s first original series in a while from a dream team hit creator. Combination of Akiyuki Shinbo and Ume Aoki would remind us of the soothing comedy series Hidamari Sketch, but what would happen if we add Nitroplus' famous action writer Gen Urobuchi into the equation!?

The main theme is “action magical girl.” As usual, we went to interview Akiyuki Shinbo and Gen Urobuchi during production. All preconception will now be tear apart!

“Good or bad is another matter, but it is very fun" —Director Akiyuki Shinbo

NewType: What prompted this Puella Magi Madoka Magica project?

Akiyuki Shinbo: It was Aniplex’s producer Atsuhiro Iwakami who proposed the project. He then lent me Fate/Zero that Urobuchi-san wrote and asked “what do you think about having Urobochi-san’s script on Aoki-san’s character designs?” I then saw the light.

Gen Urobuchi: Since the project is full of talents, I surely can’t hold back on its potential. Although this is my first time writing script for an entire anime series, my plot proposal during the first meeting got accepted, and the script went on smoothly without much change to it from the first draft. It went on without a hitch to the degree I feel uneasy and began to question is it really okay.

NewType: Since its theme is action magical girl, what kind of “magical girl” will be introduced in Madoka Magica?

Gen Urobuchi: Main characters are cute, so I tried my best to make them looks cute. (Laughs) Magical girl that I grew up with are those kind that transformed into an adult or a bus tour guide, however those kind that able to solve everything by wielding a magic stick around no longer feasible nowadays. So there exist an action magical girl genre, with Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Precure series as its epitome, it is not hard to do since the genre is already established.

“It is a work that can’t be back-calculated from the result."—Gen Urobuchi

NewType: I'm curious about visual direction, fans have high expectation for it since this is Shaft’s original work…

Akiyuki Shinbo: We still don’t know. (Laughs) For example there is a scene in a room surrounding with mirrors, we can’t say anything about reflections without actually drawing and composing it. Characters are living in a world like that. It might be a story of a near future, or a distant future.

Gen Urobuchi: Hearing “not knowing how the visual will be like” make me pretty excited. Director Shinbo never care about the lenght of script, or how many scene there will be. My impression of anime is that they always created from a complete visual, scripts and each components are back-calculate into it. But Shaft can’t back-calculate: they flesh out as needed. Just like a stage play. Akiyuki Shinbo: It is only possible when the script is solid and skilled staffs are assembled. Trusting in staffs, we are going to challenge this.

On the script, Gen Urobuchi was probably referring to the fact that his plot was swiftly rejected by director Ichiro Itano during early planning of Blassreiter. Or that’s the story I heard.

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