See Also: Guidebook staff commentary from the Magica Quartet
Audio commentary track summaries written by Reddit user CarVac, originally for the /r/anime 2015 Madoka rewatch.
The summaries do not include everything that was said, and they also add some interpretation of the general flow of conversation, so it's highly recommended to listen to the commentary yourself upon finishing the original series. They contain both mild intentional spoilers and a few unintentional spoilers.
|As If We Met in a Dream…|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The commentary recording happened around the time episode 9 aired, so the seiyuu happen to know some things that the viewers don't. This includes things that they themselves didn't know during the episode recording. Each week, they were given the scripts shortly before recording, and had little idea about the plot or different characters' roles. They didn't even finalize the scripts until the week of, worrying the actresses a bit. It's pretty interesting that they had to act without even knowing why your character is supposed to be feeling one way or another.
They talked about how they got their parts during the auditions. Yuuki said that Madoka felt like a natural fit, and made a big impression on her. Well, a character really ought to make an impression on at least their seiyuu, so you can take it with a grain of salt. Kitamura said that she had tried a bunch of roles during the auditions, but Sayaka felt fairly similar to her.
Saitou actually was trying out for roles other than Homura, though. If you're familiar with her earlier roles in other anime, she often used a high squeaky voice, while her first well-known Homura-type character was Senjougahara from the Monogatari franchise. Her first impression was that it would be a difficult role, but even though she has two different personalities and hidden motivations, she certainly turned out to be a perfect fit.
They next commented on the school: it's a coed school, but the cast was mostly girls so they had to make all sorts of low "uehh"s to fill out the general sound profile of the classroom.
Then, they talked about Homura, who is really quite the enigma in the first episode. They say it seems like she's going to backstab you or something. She turns out alright though. Also, they note how Madoka is really passive and melancholic, rarely smiling. Yuuki was told "always crying" for how to act.
Another aspect of it they talk about is the character writing in general. Although when Hitomi is on screen at the restaurant, they all exclaim 'scary!' but they say that everyone in the series is a nice girl. Madoka, for example, is one of those people who you would say "She's a really nice girl", in a very natural way. Gentle, always thinking of others, but at the same time she runs away (a lot), which is certainly a very realistic thing for a middle school girl to do. Not so much of the "I must fight to protect!" deal from her, which makes her feel very human.
Sayaka is a bit more of that, though, kinda over-confident, cocky, and doesn't like to lose.
Finally, they talk about Mami, who is really cool here but at the same time seems really suspicious. (Also, they comment on how Shaft changed the shading and effects in her entrance scene between the TV airing and the BD version).
|That Sounds Wonderful|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
She was involved in the franchise from a very early stage. It was to be a mahou shoujo show in the style of Urobuchi, and she was invited to have some fun. They first decided on the general setting, then made a general summary, and then worked from there.
Talking about the image-colors of each character, apparently Urobuchi assigned her the colors to be used for each of the characters. She would be told to, say, "Make someone red", and from there she'd be relatively free to run. Apparently, Madoka and Homura were fairly easy, but Sayaka was more difficult. Although she needed to get across a 'boyish' impression, it can't be overdone without risking that her gender actually be confused.
Another interesting character for her to design was Kyubey, who was designed to be super-ultra cute. She didn't really think about any particular kind of animal, just a mahou shoujo mascot character.
The voice actors did note that they noticed some dissonance between the character art they were shown and the lines they had to read during the audition, which is interesting...
They asked Ume-sensei about her general impression of the series, which was tough for them to discuss because they were trying not to spoil things. She said that while it is certainly a mahou shoujo show, it's very much a human drama. It does eschew many of the classic magical girl tropes, like the standard love interest and the people they need to save. Instead, the show up until this episode is exploring exactly what being a mahou shoujo is, rather than just diving in.
Yuuki Aoi then talked about her drawing of Madoka's costume that shows up in this episode. She was given some concept sketches by Ume-sensei to base her drawings on, and apparently was watched intently as she drew. Ume and the other staff originally intended it look purposely bad, but when she tried to draw poorly, she found it hard to do, so they gave it to Yuuki, someone more likely to actually idly doodle in notebooks, to draw.
They also discussed Gekidan Inu Curry, who made the witch environments. Ume knew the story, but seeing their art was very cool for her. It must be interesting as an artist to see other artists' ideas, especially ones as off-the-wall as Inu Curry's, come to life upon reaching the animators. The voice actors too were always looking forward to seeing it air, because they'd often be recording over black and white sketches and it would change completely in final production. In fact, Katou Emiri, who played Kyubey, was shocked that Kyubey didn't have any lip movements, because during the initial dubbing for episode 1 she had tried hard to lip sync but afterward there was a decision made to not have Kyubey move his mouth at all.
They discussed many other things that aren't that interesting for their content, but more just for the feeling of getting to know the people behind the show.
|I'm Not Afraid Of Anything Anymore|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The first topic was about how Mizuhashi doesn't have a TV connection. As a result, she didn't get to watch the show as it aired, until they sent her the 'white package' DVD of each(?) aired episode.
They then talked about the auditions, standard fare for a seiyuu guest. Right off the bat, they accidentally let spill that Mami died, but they tried to cover it all up. Apparently, Mizuhashi knew that would happen once she got the role. This time around, they said that the audition was unusual for an anime, since they let the actors actually decide who they wanted to play.
Mizuhashi then noted that 'Mami' as a character name is fairly interesting, because one of the earliest magical girl series was Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel. I know nothing about it, but apparently the character is memorable. There's also Esper Mami, apparently, so 'Mami' as name for a magical girl has a lot of precedence. In any case, she thought it would be interesting to try an onee-san type character. She also auditioned for Kyousuke, and Kyubey. It seems like Saitou Chiwa and Yuuki Aoi also tried out for Kyubey, but they remarked that that role was extremely intellectual and they're not smart enough to play a character like that.
The first recordings they made were introduction lines for commercials. They noted that your impression of a line really changes between hearing it out of context in a commercial and hearing it in context in the story. The same is also true of the episode titles, like this one's "I'm not afraid of anything anymore". However, it is said with different intonation between the episode preview and the actual use in the story.
They next talked about Mami getting 'mamirareta' (Mami + to be eaten (食べられた taberareta)) getting popular on 2ch.
Then they asked Mizuhashi her favorite part of the show. She said that as an actress, there are a ton of lines in Madoka that made her feel "I wish I could do that line". Also, there were Aoki Ume-sensei's character designs, and the Urobuchi script... That and the fact that it was an original work so you really don't know what's going to happen. Even the actors wanted to know what would happen.
A little background information: the day after the 10th episode aired was the Touhoku earthquake in Japan, and the final two episodes were delayed more than a month. By the time of this commentary, they apparently had recorded up to the end of episode 11, but they still didn't know about what would happen in episode 12.
They noted that they really like how everyone in the story has their reasons. There are no really bad people in the entire show. Saitou also said that just before she had been in an interview and one topic was really interesting: both males and females are able to relate to the characters in the series, despite all of them being girls. The seiyuu there were all girls, so they all understood: Madoka is a nice girl, but she runs away, and that's understandable. Mami fights while persevering, but she also understands her own weakness. But through a man's eyes, these girls who are fighting and persevering despite all of the pressure, really leave an impression.
For example, Mami's parents died in the car accident and now she has no friends anymore. Now, she has potential magical girls to fight along with, to fend off the loneliness, and you can really relate to how she's trying not to scare Madoka away with continuing telling her to just wait a bit before contracting. The combination of strength and weakness in her character is really amazing.
|Both Miracles and Magic Exist|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The commentary for episode 4 features the infamous mastermind Urobuchi Gen, also known as the UroButcher, who is known for his torturous treatment of heroes of justice and overall brutality.
What was he thinking when he wrote the story, they asked. He was told by the producer Iwakami that they wanted to do a 'deceptive' anime featuring Urobuchi and Aoki Ume. They decided from the beginning to make the series serious. It was originally conceived as mahou shoujo battle royale, where in each episode someone would die but they wouldn't have enough time or characters for that, so it turned out how it is today.
They then asked about the auditions. Urobuchi himself was the one who recommended the role of Homura to Saitou Chiwa, and he said that she really fit the "cool beauty" style of the character. He was actually the only person who knew the entire scenario in full at the time of the auditions. Regarding Madoka, he felt that Yuuki was the most natural, not forcing the role.
Next they talked about is the impression of the characters upon guys versus girls. Last episode with Mizuhashi Kaori they noted that the characters are really relatable to by girls, even though the writer is a guy? Is Urobuchi secretly a girl? His response was that "Well, if I couldn't write a girl's viewpoint, I couldn't do my job." His thoughts on whether male and female viewpoints are different...he said he didn't actually write it with males as the target audience; for guys, it's enough for there to be just a bunch of cute girls talking but you have to focus on the female viewers to draw them in. He tried to make it intentionally not too cute, or else it affects how well the characters can seem to be real people.
(I really think that's one of the best parts of the series. Tears come out because a real person might actually cry, not to be "cry cute". Real crying is not cute. By consciously avoiding that, it feels so much more natural.)
They also talked about how Madoka as a character is quite realistic; she hasn't toughened up yet and taken on everything. But instead, she has the most sympathy for the other characters. Yuuki commented that that felt like a really good fit for her; Saitou says that it's just like how Sayaka was a perfect fit for Kitamura Eri.
They eventually moved onto how every character has such a fleshed out situation that guides their behavior, like Mami's surprising depth and Kyubey's reason for what he does. Urobuchi said that whenever he would focus down on writing from each character's point of view, he would end up with more lines than was in the end necessary because he's more used to writing novels and VN's and this was his first anime script; lots of the context is filled in by the art and the voice acting. You don't need as many words in anime; you can show instead of telling.
When writing, he hadn't actually put much thought into what the acting would do to the characters; he was surprised at how well Mami was fleshed out in only 3 episodes, for example. He said that the sense of loss after her death was much greater than he had expected. He couldn't believe how convincing it was to watch what happened to Mami affect Madoka's and Sayaka's friendship as their reactions were different.
Saitou then commented that for her, this really was an extremely interesting work to act in. Much more involving, much more investment; they had to trust each other. Yuuki added that without being surrounded by people she trusts, she wouldn't be able to really put forth her most honest acting; as an actor you're showing every part of yourself, even the most dark corners of your personality, when playing a character in these stressful situations. For example, when Madoka's trying to run away from the zombified people in the warehouse, Yuuki is really showing us her most honest abject terror, and that means she has to trust and be comfortable with the people around her. (Personally, I find this to be one of the biggest differences between the acting in this show and others; the way the characters behave under pressure is so realistic and so convincing... There's more of that to come in later episodes.)
Saitou said that she had it easier because she had worked with Shaft many times before, so she was used to working with the recording staff and director and such. She was comfortable asking things a new person wouldn't, like "Why can't we see the whole script?" and "Why don't we get the script until the day of the recording?" and so on. Another interesting thing came up in conversation. Apparently, Inu Curry did pretty much everything related to the witch barriers; Urobuchi's script didn't have any of the events from inside. So it must have been pretty complicated getting everything to flow together.
Finally, both Yuuki and Saitou both finished up by expressing their love for the new character Sakura Kyouko... Ume Aoki-sensei really hadn't made any 'bad girl' style character before, but she turned out quite nicely.
|There's No Way I'd Regret This|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The commentary started out right away with Yuuki Aoi declaring that she wants to marry Kyouko-tan. The others said that it'd be tough with Kyouko as your wife given how much she eats, but... She's the sort who eats and eats and never gets fat... Now, back to the auditions again. Nonaka was given a script for all the characters and then asked to pick two to play, just like most of them. Except for Yuuki, who was told to do Madoka and one other.
(I wonder if that's partly why they did such a good job casting, given that they got to see more sides of each seiyuu to pick the best role for them...)
Nonaka thought that the anime would be much like the opening, so she decided she wanted to leave the main role to a newer seiyuu, instead trying out for Kyouko and Mami.
Then they talked about how Hitomi is the most wicked girl, though she's not seen as quite as evil by the guys as by the girls. They also start lamenting how the bad girls win and the good girls lose.
Her instructions when acting were to not be too scary. They did pick her for that role because she wouldn't be quite as scary though, given how she has that ultra-cute voice. Yuuki said that her impression was that she couldn't be completely bad because of that voice. (But she's probably biased...)
They then talked about the speech in episode 7. It's very long, so it was difficult to act. Yuuki said she became a fan during the big long story.
(They really talked about a lot of spoiler things. It's kinda hard for me here because I'm trying harder not to spoil the story than they were. It's such a good commentary, you just really have to wait until you finish the story before watching this.)
They then talked about how every once in a while, Madoka gets angry, just a bit. She's so realistic, they keep going over. Madoka has the most sympathy for the other characters, but at the same time she's selfish in that she never fights for herself. Yuuki sayid that Madoka would not really be a good girlfriend; she'd prefer Kyouko as a girlfriend.
Also, they pointed out that Kyubey has "ears coming out of his ears" but what if it's ear hair? Really long ear hair? It's hilarious. Think about the ear hair making Sayaka's soul gem... It's so funny.
The familiar in this episode was voiced by Yuuki Aoi, "Bbbbbuuuuuu bbbbbuuuu bu bu bbuuuuuububuuuuu" heh.
|This Just Isn't Right|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The 6th commentary features the 'series director' Yukihiro Miyamoto.
They start out asking what exactly a 'series director' does. They've seen him around, but the seiyuu don't really know what is role is. He says jokingly that he basically wanders around and says "Please do this". He also though generally gives advice on the contents of the series; the general flow of things and such. He'd be correcting things such as overall lighting saying "it's night, it should be dark". Maybe he had a big role in the revisions between the TV airing and the blu-rays? They made a lot of such continuity corrections.
Then they joke that theyll now go ahead and spoil the whole rest of the series, since by the time this commentary was recorded they finally finished recording episode 12.
So next, Saitou asks the general circumstances around the planning of the work. Miyamoto says that they were doing Arakawa Under the Bridge, and they couldn't fit Madoka into the schedule at that time, and then Denpa Onna was on the table, so it was kinda fit into the schedule fairly suddenly. But when it was time for work to start, they basically gave it to him and said "Make atmosphere". He did say that instead of making too many changes, he just left it to Akiyuki Shinbo (the main director of the series). But when changes would be made, it was up to him to get things done.
They next talk about the changes between TV and BD; there were a lot of things that they simply couldn't finish in time for the TV airing, but that they still wanted to do and so those were put off for the Blu-rays. Clearly, they were definitely in a rush. Saitou said that although she was already used to working with Shaft, she found that the drawings that they were dubbing to were far rougher than usual. "Aren't these drawings kinda bad?" And then when it actually aired, her reaction was "Huh? THAT got finished in time? Did anyone die doing this?" Miyamoto does say that if anyone died, it was probably Abe Nozomu, the animation director, who really worked on the action scenes. Apparently, he'd die every time a cut would be changed, and so would the person whose job it was to make the actual animation changes.
Due to the state of the pictures (sometimes just "..."!), Saitou felt strongly that they were relying on the animators to follow things up. But there were benefits. Normally, you do more animation before the voice-overs are completed, but in this case the artists and animators get to hear the voices before putting things down on paper. So here, they got to really animate things according to the voicing, which really lets them fit better than they would have otherwise. Miyamoto said that it's significantly easier to imagine the facial expressions given the voices made beforehand.
I wonder if that is yet another part of why the dialog feels much more natural... The voice actors get to make their own interpretation of the emotions in the script, and then the art is drawn around their performance. In other series, the voice actors would have to work around facial expressions provided to them by the animators, and it's probably more forced. It makes me feel bad for the foreign language dubs of this series since the animation is fit exactly to the original performances...
Miyamoto says that his favorite character is Kyubey, because he's goal-oriented and seems like he'd follow a schedule to the T.
They next talk about quality control; in the aired version of Episode 6, there was an error in which they mix up the terms 'soul gem' and 'grief seed' and that probably didn't get corrected in time because of the overall time pressure on the series. Miyamoto apparently decided the timing of every single cut in the series, so he really has a lot of work to do...
They do talk more about Kyubey, because here he starts getting really dark. Katou Emiri (Kyubey's seiyuu) would be apologizing after each episode for "burdening everyone with darkness". Miyamoto said that Kyubey was a very helpful character, since his mouth doesn't have to be animated, and his tail flipping around is enough to make him look cute. Laziness for the win. And it's not like it appeared lazy, it's a really great effect in-story.
He finished up saying that everyone really was immersed in the show. Even the animators would say "I haven't seen up to here on air yet, so I don't want to animate this part". Even the people making the series didn't want spoilers!
|Can You Face Your True Feelings?|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The seventh commentary features along with Madoka's and Homura's VA is Ryouko Shintani, who provides the voice of Hitomi. She's also known as playing Sae in Hidamari Sketch, which role is rather a lot closer to her natural voice.
Again, they start off with the auditions. This time we find out that Saitou was actually trying out for Kyubey and Kyousuke, before being told to try Homura. On the other hand, Shintani was trying for Sayaka and Homura before trying on Hitomi. Her first impression based on the general character overviews given to the auditioning seiyuu was that she'd be a big impact on Sayaka. Then they found out how wicked she is. They joke that she's the most evil out of all the girls.
All of the girls immediately see through the facade: Kyouko is the nice one and Hitomi is the evil one, the opposite of what guys think. As a guy, I definitely didn't have any suspicions of Hitomi, but I was very wary of Kyouko when she first showed up. It's very interesting in that way.
At this point in the story, it gets much darker. Both Madoka and Sayaka hardly smile anymore. But as a result, Madoka starts talking more with Homura. They both lend each other some stability, though you can tell that they're both under a lot of stress. They show it in different ways.
They do talk about the 'strength' of the characters. Sayaka is strong on the outside, but she doesn't like relying on others and that's part of her weakness as a character. On the other hand, while Hitomi doesn't put up a strong front, she is assertive and strong when she wants to be. They say that it feels like Hitomi is the one who'll end up happiest at the end of the story, because of the strength of her character.
Now they're on the scene with Kyouko and Sayaka at the church. The art is kinda cute, but scary... They both have their own sense of justice, but they're not in agreement and so that's why they have their disagreements. Part of the difference is that Kyouko actually seems to act in the interest of other individuals, somewhat at the expense of the majority. On the other hand, Sayaka tries to make things best for the general population, but it's almost for herself, so that she can keep up her 'hero' personality. The difference in what they are want to do and what they are able to do hurts so much.
Next, is Hitomi's big scene. Hitomi is quiet but strong. She sets this ultimatum on Sayaka, saying that she has one day to talk with Kyousuke before Hitomi will confess. On the other hand, Sayaka is bright and energetic but on the contrary has no confidence. It's another really interesting balance that Sayaka's involved in: Kyouko/Sayaka and Hitomi/Sayaka... But everything is going really badly for Sayaka now, so you can really understand why Sayaka is breaking down now.
Sayaka next is talking with Madoka. It's so sad... "I almost regretted something. 'If I hadn't rescued Hitomi then...' I thought that just for a moment. I'm a failure as a hero. I wouldn't be able to face Mami anymore." Shintani here said that in the studio, listening to that performance she was thinking "sorry"... Here, Madoka does a good job of comforting Sayaka. She doesn't stand out very much, but she can read the atmosphere and sort things out nicely. In a way, here the roles are reversed and Madoka is protecting Sayaka..
Finally, we end up with the final scene. I really love the art, and so do the seiyuu. It's so beautiful...and the music...Decretum...so cool. Being a hero really hurts, huh. Shintani said that when Sayaka did the 'crouching start' it was written like that in the script and she laughed at it.. But when it aired, she thought it was almost too cool and felt bad for laughing at it. Ah man it's such a powerful scene...
|I'm Such a Fool|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
This is the guy who makes sure that the series and characters all have a sort of unity. It's the sort of job where if you do it well, you're not noticed. He says that honestly, the people who keyframe and tween have the harder job overall. There are about 10 such animators for the series. And then there are one or two who help do corrections to the drawings.
He says that regarding the content, they all are surprised every time they're told what to draw.
Next, Saitou asks about how they decide on facial expressions, since the show is big on using the facial closeups to really evoke the emotions that the characters are feeling. Taniguchi says that he himself would often be doing the faces. He says that he'd be making weird faces (looking at himself in the mirror), but that they turned out nicely on the screen.
Yuuki asks about the wideface style. Taniguchi says that they certainly start out with very 'kyun' style smiles, but by this point, it's really distressing and dark. The wideface style really works well for these sad expressions...both here and in the later seasons of Hidamari Sketch. Saitou says it really hurt when acting some of those sad scenes, but it must have been just the same for the artists drawing them.
Kyubey is probably pretty easy, says Yuuki. He just moves his tail around, no facial expressions. They start discussing if he's trying to express something with his tail. When irritated, Yuuki's cats will whap their tails on the floor, and when they're interested in something their tails go up.
Saitou then asks about the artists, since they often skip episodes like working on the first one and then the fifth one...would they need to be filled in on how the story is going? Taniguchi says that that is the producer's job, to give them an understanding of how to draw.
They then talk about how difficult the characters are to draw. Taniguchi says that Hitomi is the hardest, because she's constantly filtering her emotions. On the other hand, Homura is easy. The cool beauty.
Finally, here in episode 8, Homura says 'Madoka' in front of someone else, instead of 'Kaname Madoka'. She's really shaken up at this point.
Next is the scene in the train, with Miki Shinichirou and Tobita Nobuo playing the role of the hosts. Apparently, Urobuchi Gen basically pulled this conversation he actually heard in person on the train. Saitou thought it was pretty amazing to pull in big-name seiyuu for such a small role.
There really are a lot of scenes wher the characters just stop and think or talk. Saitou asks about how much they have to think about other items in the scene. For example, when Madoka is talking with Kyubey, they have to have the CG artists provide most of the motion in the scene. The fountain is moving around and changing colors. In this scene, Taniguchi says that they want the viewer to be noticing things...subconsciously? Temporarily have your attention drawn away from the characters, probably.
Then there's the big scene where everyone cheers, and then... Homura comes up. This is the real first time where Homura breaks down. It was written in the script for Saitou to express that Homura hasn't run out of power, it was just emotion that caused her to lose strength.
Finally is the scene in the train station. Sayakaaaaaa..... 'Atashi tte...hontou baka' Now it's fully a tragedy.
And here we have Kyubey explaining exactly what's going on. In the initial airing, Kyubey narrowed his eyes, but remember that Kyubey's not supposed to make facial expression, but they corrected it for the blu-rays. ...
It's pretty interesting how different commentaries are difficult to summarize. Sometimes the staff guests are easier to write up, but other times the commentaries are easier to write with seiyuu as the guests.
|I'll Never Allow That|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The ninth commentary features not just Aoi Yuuki (Madoka) and Chiwa Saitou (Homura), but the seiyuu of our favorite character Kyubey, Emiri Katou. She's also known for Hachikuji Mayoi from the Monogatari franchise.
They start out with auditions again. At the beginning, when she tried Kyubey, she didn't expect him to be such a deceptive character, trying to force people into contracts. She was told to do a cute animal character, with some human-like qualities. Then when she got the role, she was like "Cute mascot character GETTO DAZE!" (pokemon fans might recognize that as the original phrase behind 'Gotta catch'em all!', but it's not exactly the same meaning). And then Mami died, and she was like "Isn't this a bit strange?" Then as a character he started talking a lot more.
At the time, she didn't actually know that he doesn't have emotions. When she found out, she thought "So that's why" [he behaved like he did]. She thought his treatment of Homura was intentional.
They then talk about how uniquely Kyubey talks. It doesn't really come across as well in subs (and I have no clue about the dubs), but it's really weird. He doesn't really say anything really wrong, either. He believes everything is obvious. "Why are you saying that? I don't understand!" One of his lines, wake ga wakaranai yo which means "I don't understand" was kinda popular in the Japanese fandom. Yuuki also noticed that Kyubey was popular among the public too. There would be decorated emails saying "Make a contract with me and go shopping!" or things like that. Her club at college (she was ~19 at the time it was airing) had an entry sign saying "Make a contract with me and join our club." In Akihabara, Kyubey was everywhere, and there were even tours that went around looking for funny examples. For example, Yuuki saw one where there was a mannequin 'dressed up' as Kyubey, with a piece of paper over his crotch labeled 'Soul Gem'.
Then they talk about how in the first episode recording they had lip flaps for Kyubey and Emiri tried hard to match but in airing it turned out his mouth didn't move at all. They next go onto the emotional aspect. Even though he has no emotions, he does project different faces for different people. He's nicer to Madoka, for example. "Madoka" "You really are..." (kimi wa yappari) in a kind voice. On the other hand, he's very curt with Homura. "Akemi Homura" "You really are..." (kimi wa yappari*). (you really have to listen to the commentary yourself, because the words are the same but it sounds COMPLETELY different despite it actually being the same voice... it's sooooo good)
And then for Sayaka and Kyouko, he's very businesslike, since they've contracted with him. They next ask Emiri who she likes most other than Kyubey. Obviously, she likes Kyouko. She has different values for everything, but actually is a really nice person.
Next they mention that the three of them are the only voice actors who were in every episode... In the scene with Kyubey talking to Madoka in her room, Yuuki was talking with the Sound Director Yota Tsuruoka about how to behave. He told her to not regard Kyubey as an enemy, but rather as an internal conflict. The problem was that she personally was getting angry with Kyubey, so Yuuki Aoi (not Madoka) was having her own internal conflict between trying to act and getting angry at the character.
They also talk about how complicated the things that Kyubey says are. Even Emiri herself couldn't understand what she was saying. "I don't get it! What does this mean? Entropy?" It seems that as the series got darker, the atmosphere when recording got more and more fun. Every time they would say "Ok, recording over" the mood would instantly change. They felt like there was a lot of unity among the cast and staff.
They also talk about how you don't really hate anyone in the story, at all. They hate Kyubey, but at the same time they love Kyubey. Kyouko is a rival, but then she's a friend. Nobody is really pointless.
Kyouko always has food, various different things. Always eating. Nonaka Ai is pretty good at pretending to talk with food in her mouth. (I'm not sure whether she actually was eating in the recording booth or not though; they're not very clear about that.) Then they start talking about the backgrounds. Not only are the creatures weird in the witch labyrinths, but the environments. Just like how Gertrud in the second episode contrasted vividly with the Aoki Ume widefaces, the nearly photorealistic backgrounds (though far more intricate and awesome than real life) contrast strongly with the crazy backgrounds in the witch labyrinths.
They also talk about how fun it is trying to imagine what the witch labyrinths are before going in. The "Love me do (-3-)/" really reminded Katou of Sayaka, for example. Yuuki also talks about how the fanbase decoded the witch letter code. She had read the Japanese translations, but apparently online in discussions of the commentary all of the Japanese fans were correcting her by giving credit to the English wiki (You're on it!) for actually doing the decoding into English, though that process was begun on 4Chan.
They really love how the voice of the viewers reached so far; the Western fanbase feeding back into the Japanese fanbase, and into the anime industry. Saitou talks about how whenever she'd be recording for another show, they'd always be asking her what would happen next. Same with Katou: she'd be told "Ahh, Madoka is amazing" and such, and they'd ask Yuuki for spoilers. It's not your everyday show that excites a whole industry so much.
It starts out by normal girls becoming magical girls, and then witches, and now that we know the process, it's really sad. Imagining how every single witch we've seen so far, every single one has also started out as a little girl with big hopes for the future, a wish to be granted... Charlotte for example, (who ate Mami), was a hospitalized girl who just wanted cheese.
At this point, it devolves into all three seiyuu literally crying over how sad it is. Kyouko really believed in justice, and she's trying to save Sayaka who never gave up until the very end but at the expense of her own life... And then Homura shows up to catch Madoka, but they're all like "Ahhh save Kyouko too, not just Madoka..."
And then, all three of them are sitting there actually crying in the booth. It's really cute.
Finally, Katou talks about how the series has a lot of impact for her because when recording as Kyubey, she'd be turning her emotions off but afterward, when watching the show it would all spill out
|I Won't Depend on Anyone Anymore|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
This time they don't have a guest to ask questions, so it's pretty much just their conversation. It wanders much more than the other commentaries, so this might not be as interesting to read. (It's very, VERY fun to listen to though.)
This is the beginning of the time loops. They start by saying that they had absolutely no idea that Homura was a meganekko at all. They were first given the art for the glasses-Homura in a previous episode's recording session, but they were like "But she's wearing glasses!" This really was the role that Saitou was chosen for, since she could effectively do both the naive, timid glasses!Homura as well as the cold, badass current Homura.
They mention that they were given the scripts really at the last possible moment for this episode. Homura talks a lot in this episode, so it had to be a lot of work.
In this episode, Yuuki was told to act cooler. The sound director Tsuruoka told her to be like a 'natural high' honor student. "Please act cocky". Interesting, because this is a series where acting cocky gets you eaten. But Madoka does die more than once so maybe it makes sense. Both of the actresses really love the scene where Madoka rescues Homura. Keep it a secret! (内緒だよ naisho da yo) like with a star on the end. There was actually a star written in the script for that line. Yuuki thought that there was a kinda fine line between 'cool' and 'annoying' for that.
They next talk about the divide in acting for both Homura and Madoka. The other characters all are the same throughout the timelines, but Homura is cool in the first episodes but now we see this timid, weak Homura. Likewise, Madoka is really hesitant in the main series, but here in the beginning of episode 10 we see this strong, confident Madoka. (It's no wonder Homura found her so inspiring.) They even do the same scenes over, like the scene from the bridge in the school, with the roles reversed. Saitou said that watching this part of the show actually left a bigger impression on her than the acting itself. She says that it's easy to think that anyone would be able to pull off such a division in acting styles, but she thinks that Yuuki was...different. Not just the content of the lines were different, but Madoka's whole personality, was different. She thought that it was really good. Additionally, she said that if it weren't Yuuki playing Madoka, she wouldn't have been able to do Homura as well as she did.
Of course, Yuuki said that the same was true for her.
Saitou then said that over her ten-year voice acting career, she really enjoyed the content of this show the most. It made her feel glad that she was a part of it... While trying not to be too presumptive by saying so, she thought she was able to act really well. She then wonders what would have happened if the work weren't created by the people who did do it.
She said that usually, she's one of the younger seiyuu in the main cast so she can focus on herself while a sempai helps guide her. But this time, she was able to be the sempai who helped guide Yuuki, the youngest, make the best of the main role. Because everyone around them was working hard, they all could do their best without worry.
Then, Yuuki says that it really comes into play in a scene like Madoka's first witch transformation. Just as she said in episode 4, she said that without the trust she had in her companions, she wouldn't have been able to show the darkest parts of her heart. Because she could act without fear, she could put forth her best possible performance. She was able to become completely absorbed in the acting. Saitou said that it was quite the performance because they could really put their all into it. Yuuki added that the quality of the show really made her put in more effort when acting; "they gave it their all, I can't give just the minimum effort here".
But over the course of the show, she became more immersed in the role to the point where she would perceive the world from Madoka's perspective She really understood Madoka's habits and how she interacts with things. The same was true of Saitou's Homura. They try to explain, but find it impossible and just end up saying "They know that they know".
They really felt like their voice becomes a life. It's partly the sound effects and the art and the music, but they felt like a big part.
They were moved by the fact that while it takes about 5 hours to record an episode, people like the artists would be drawing all week long. They're always writing and drawing. So while the seiyuu felt important, they had to put their faith in the other production staff in trusting that it would come together properly.
This includes the climax of the episode, where Homura must kill Madoka. Saitou says that if they overacted it like "It huuuurts, it's too haaaard, I'm so saaaad" or something (you have to hear the actual thing, it's funny), they would just kill the scene entirely. It really helped them give their all. They really liked the facial expressions; they almost couldn't believe that the wideface Aoki Ume designs could show such pain and despair like that. "How did they draw this?" they ask.
Next they talk about Madoka's request here; it's really intensely sad. This is the first time Madoka, who up until this point in the episode has been a strong, confident character, has relied on Homura's kindness. From Homura's perspective, though, she's incredibly happy about this though because up until that point she'd only been depending on others. Now Madoka is depending on her. It's something she doesn't want to do, but she's also so happy that she was even asked to do it. (Likewise, from Madoka's point of view, that was the first time that Homura opened up to her and called her 'Madoka' instead of 'Kaname-san', which made her happy too; they're both so happy but so sad at the same time it really rips you apart inside...)
And then there is that scream of anguish. (I consider that the most powerful, moving scream I've ever heard). Yuuki says it really hurts. Saitou then said that this scream, which is like the kind where your voice really can't come out but you're screaming anyway, made her really happy because the sound director told them to remove the sound effects. Originally there was probably a gunshot sound immediately afterward, but she felt honored because he thought that her scream alone carried the scene. She was glad to be relied upon. It's kinda like Homura too, who now has promised Madoka to not let her contract anymore. She's being relied upon, and that gives her strength.
Yuuki says that when Saitou told her that Homura was happy about that awful request, she was really taken aback. (They really were thinking from their own characters' perspectives to the point that they didn't even notice that until recording the commentary.) Madoka was probably feeling bad at having to have Homura do that, but Yuuki was relieved to find out that Homura was happy to be depended upon. (I really think that's so amazing, that they're still thinking as their characters...)
Saitou also says that Homura too is happy overall that Madoka trusted her. In the scene from the beginning of episode 1, even in her most trying time (being battered by Walpurgisnacht) she's thinking only of Madoka ("Madoka, don't be fooled by what it's saying!"). This concern she has for Madoka makes her strong. She says it's so wonderful that someone can think so completely for another person's sake, she says "because they're friends".
Their love is so deep that you really don't want it to break, but it's not romantic love (ren'ai) but rather something else. (Agape, maybe?) They're friends but it's so selfless. If it were romantic love they'd be "Give her back to me" but it's really not like that.
They then just interject that they removed the "piro!" from Kyubey at the end of the episode 1 scene.
They then talk about how they didn't really do a lot of retakes; the recordings were very raw. The sound staff was very careful not to break their flow. They were really glad that they could be part of such an influential work. Even if they felt like they did a great job themselves, they say that it would be meaningless if nobody watched it. (The show could hardly be farther from "nobody watched it" though.) Saitou felt really lucky, and Yuuki felt like it would probably define a lot of things in her life.
And then the opening comes up! Saitou says that for the first time in her life, she really wanted to sing! She even asked the producer Iwakami "I want to sing Connect!" but he told her "No, that's alright, Saitou." They talk about how from the beginning, it seems like it's about Madoka, but then after episode 10, it really seems like it's about Homura. And then after Episode 12, Yuuki says it sounds like it's about Madoka.
|The Only Signpost Remaining|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The 11th episode commentary has all six of the main seiyuu. All of the magical girls, plus Kyubey.
They have a lot of people, but not that much time.
Everyone's together, but in the show the mahou shoujo never join together like this.
First they start with Kaori Mizuhashi. She was thinking, "I want to watch this normally." They aired the last three episodes together, but she wanted to see the 11th episode on its own. Mami...died, but Mizuhashi got to play Takkun (Madoka's brother), as well as voicing Walpurgisnacht. It's quite a wide range, she says. From the little brother to the last boss!
Next they switch to having Eri Kitamura talk. This is during Sayaka's funeral. "Somehow it was on the news". But that was because of Kyouko, keeping her body fresh. Even if she didn't get to participate in this episode, she felt that it really stayed on her mind. Everyone around her was a fan of the show. Mami is the first big shock, but then Sayaka is the second big shock. She felt glad that she could give meaning to the work.
Next is Nonaka Ai. "Third Impact" (Evangelion reference), she says. She was surprised by her death too. Well, she came into the show after Mami was gone. They didn't get the chance to talk at all, although in the backstory and in episode 10 they did. In the other worlds, she wanted to say "Please let me have some tea".
Now for Emiri Katou. Once again, she said that she was glad she got to play the cute mascot character. But in the outline it didn't really say anything so she had no idea what kind of character he was. But while recording she became able to understand how he thinks. She didn't think he would be such an important character. With just her voice she could add so much impact to the character. That and everyone loves Kyubey. Such a good character she got.
Now they get to talk with everyone, Saitou wanted to ask some questions. Even at the auditions, Mizuhashi knew that Mami would die, but she had no idea why. But she wasn't against it. Normally, it sucks if your character dies, but she didn't feel like that. In the story, though, she almost lived because she died. She showed up again in episode 10 again, though Mizuhashi thought it'd be for another of her roles. She was quite surprised when Mami showed up in the story again. She felt moved by the sound of the muskets when they rescued Homura.
Next they go back to Kitamuri. Even when she was a mahou shoujo Sayaka was probably the most normal person. She's the most "green" character (note that she says aoi (青) which means both green and blue, and happens to be Sayaka's color); she was very inexperienced. She thought it was really great to play a character who develops so much over the story. There was her connection with all of the other magical girls which made it interesting. And then episode 8, "I was such an idiot", Kitamura thought "What good writing". On the other hand, compared to Tiro Finale, she kinda wanted a special technique for Sayaka. But she was really happy when she watched it. And then she enjoyed the scene with Miki Shinichiro on the train.
Then, Saitou cuts in to mention the scene where Homura and Madoka are in Homura's room. She felt like this is the most touching scene, where she finally talks about what she's gone through. Homura says so much but is worrying that Madoka will reject her feelings, but Yuuki said that both Madoka and her, the voice actress, were in sync and really accepted Homura's feelings very well.
Next they talk about Kyouko. Nonaka said that she hadn't played many rough characters like her, so she was very worried. But she ended up really popular with girls. She's rough on the outside, but warm on the inside. Emiri says that it's amazing that Kyouko would sacrifice herself for Sayaka...
They really liked all of the characters though, even Kyubey. He never really gets shaken up ever. Because of this though, Katou said that it makes it easier to see it from other characters' perspectives.
Now they lapse into episode 12 spoilers. They were surprised at the HomuKyubey ending. Kyubey was Homura's biggest enemy, but at the end there's no reason for them to be antagonistic anymore. She was killed a lot, but at the end she finally got to live as a normal mahou shoujo' mascot. She didn't know at the beginning not to have emotions, rather just being told to act cute. But now she's glad she didn't put too much emotion into it.
Back to spoilers, they're discussing the ending.. Mizuhashi wonders exactly when Madoka realize she was going to have to disappear. She was already resolved to do that, because she wasn't disturbed when Mami told her so. She also talked about how the only person she really made remember her was Homura. Kitamura felt like she really want to see the opening animation scene. She was glad they got a bit of a good ending. When Nonako was watching, she kept thinking, "I want her to beat Walpurgisnacht!"
They finally asked Katou. She felt like she was able to accomplish everything she wanted to do. He's a bit like the villain, but Kyubey himself isn't actually a villain. It was a short work, but they want it to to keep going on.
|My Best Friend|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
The first thing they ask the staff is whether this ending was planned from the start. Gen says that most of the scenario was used without modification. However, they took liberties with things like the space scenes.
Saitou asks about the overall background style, how the backgrounds are wide open. Was that intended from the beginning? Urobuchi said that they had planned that, but Gekidan Inu Curry helped influence the final feel.
Next, Yuuki asks about Madoka's wish: do they think that it's 'correct'? Urobuchi says that he can't say it's not right; it's quite something for a middle school girl. Aoki says that Madoka was able to really gather a lot of experiences together before making her decision.
Urobuchi then cuts in saying that he really wanted to have that scene where Mami gives Madoka her sketches back.
Miyamoto really liked her wish. She really isn't saving the whole universe or the world, just the mahou shoujo. Yuuki thought that without Homura, they couldn't have had this wish.
Urobuchi then talked about the scene with Madoka saving all the girls. "Was it okay to do something this flashy?" Saitou then says that before this she hadn't considered that there were magical girls all over the world. Urobuchi says "Kyubey is world-wide."
It's amazing though, she's saving every magical girl not just around the world but the past and the future. Madoka really has a lot of work to do!
Saitou says that she really likes the warm, kind acting that Yuuki did here. (So do I.) Yuuki said that she was trying to avoid being too 'goddess-like'; as a girl she would actually find it painful and difficult, so she was trying to balance that with the kindness. Saitou said that she meant to talk more about it during episode 11's commentary, but here she says she really likes how Homura confessed that she's from the future. It's the first time she really was able to let out everything she was holding back. But as a result, Madoka made her decision based on that. Urobuchi said in response that in the end, he was intending it to be a story about Madoka and Homura. Aoki adds that she was super happy when she told Homura that she now knows everything; she knows everything that Homura went though.
Next they talk about Godoka. So cool! She actually only shows up only once; Urobuchi was worried that it wouldn't be enough, but she really made an impression. Yuuki says "Of course, she's Hyper Ultimate Madoka!" (apparently that was actually written in the setting by Urobuchi when he was playing around) The skirt is the whole universe. Everyone really wanted to see it. Aoki did the design for it, but she just did whatever she felt like. She worried about whether it would be too tough to animate though. Apparently, the character designer spent several pages trying to figure out how best to adapt it to animation, even though it was only used once.
Then they're in space talking to each other. Madoka knows everything now, but Homura still is worried about her. How dedicated, says Saitou. Aoki says that at the beginning, Madoka was really self-deprecating, but now she's a special existence.
Saitou says that because this isn't a romantic relationship, it turned out differently. They're able to think about each other more selflessly. Also, if it were two guys, it'd be like "Good luck!" More like Gurren Lagann.
Here they talk about how Urobuchi really understands the way girls think. Is he a girl? They really like talking about that. The way the girls grow up through experiencing pain. Yuuki does say that Madoka is still unable to save people who were selfless; like Sayaka, who still died in this world. But she's probably still glad.
And then there's the scene with Tatsuya who seems to still remember Madoka. Saitou says that it'd probably be too hard if her parents remembered her though. But Urobuchi said that he's probably not remembering her, but rather actually seeing her, like a cat seeing things. Kids are more perceptive of things like that.
They're glad they get to see everyone's reactions, sorta. But at the same time, it's really sad.
And now we have the scene with Kyubey. Kyubey's past methods of deception and tricks are no longer necessary, so now he has a better relationship with magical girls as a normal ally. Madoka didn't erase curses themselves, but rather the witches. But now there's a new mechanism and there still have to be magical girls to be fight them. He'd be more forthgiving with information, like how you'll have to work hard and you'll disappear if you don't keep your soul gem clean.
Now they ask their last impressions. Miyamoto says that he really wants a season two. Aoki says that she was only useful until halfway through, but she was glad to be part of the staff. Urobuchi then says that this was the first time he wrote for anime, but he really liked the freeedom. Now, he's frantically looking forward to the next work. Second season maybe, the seiyuu ask? He says maybe, but he's not sure yet. He apparently had shown Aoki Ume some of the plot. She says "Urobuchi doesn't hand out happiness so easily..."
Finally, Saitou thanks Urobuchi for the work. She said that she'd never enjoyed playing a role as much as this before. Yuuki says that she thought she was really able to grow as a part of this.
And then finally, they thank you!
|The Rebellion Story|
|Commentary||Aoi Yuuki |
Everyone wanted to talk, so they change out over the course of the movie.
At the time of recording the first scene with Homura's voiceover, she only had the first half of the movie script. She said that it really left an impression on her.
They then point out that in the back channels you can vaguely hear Madoka narrating behind Homura's main narration. Saitou says that it sounds like she's reading a picture book, and Yuuki says that in the script, it was actually all in hiragana which is actually rather hard to read. (As an analogy, imagine reading English with no spaces or punctuation.)
Then they say that they really like the main opening scene. The stage directions were too vague to understand, so they had no idea what it would look like reading from the scripts. Things like "A ballerina is born from a droplet" which make perfect sense upon watching, but are rather difficult to picture beforehand.
It really seems very playful. They leave out the Aniplex intro so that you can enjoy the show as much as possible, for example.
Saitou comments that compared to the previous Madoka works, the flavor is rather more dreamlike. It's more pastel-colored, like a dream.
Saitou mentions that it feels like it's on film, with a border on the edges. It's like "Is this reality? or not?" And then there's the song Mada Dame Yo! They do note that Madoka really is the most typical mahou shoujo out of all of the magical girls. And there's Mami, the big senpai, and for some reason Bebe (Charlotte) is with her.
And then there's the "Was it all a dream?", they joke but instead it's "It's morning already?"
Next, they talk about how for the disc release, a lot of things were redone relative to the screening. Something like a thousand cuts, more than half of them, were redone, for the people who'd watch it over and over to get all the details. (or something like that) If you go over it frame by frame, every one will be cute now.
Yuuki says that the scene with Madoka waking up her mom is probably surprising to viewers who had been watching from the very beginning. It gives you a sorta deja-vu feeling, and a lot of unease.
Then they comment on the house, which as usual looks absolutely enormous. It'd be awfully cold in winter, for example. What on earth is Madoka's mother's job that she can afford it?
They then note that Madoka already has the soul gem ring on. There are certainly some differences. In Homura's world Kazuko-sensei still has her love issues, but here it's actually worse than before. What you see here are exaggerations, emphasizing the parts of the characters that Homura remembers. Like the emphasized tomato that Tatsuya is trying to stab. It doesn't even have any connotations, but it's in the world. Just a tasty-looking cherry tomato. And like Kyubey in the bath.
(7:35) And now the opening comes up, Colorful. When Yuuki first saw it, she thought it was too sad, because Homura wasn't there but all the others were having fun. Saitou also added that the opening theme wasn't done yet by the time of the first recording. It's too sad, they keep saying. They said that there'd probably be a lot of people going "What's going on" making noise in the theater during the opening, because the feeling something's wrong is so strong.
And then it goes right back to the bright music and colorful colors. Except Kyubey's there. And Kyouko's there, in uniform!
And now they finally get some significant interaction between Madoka and Kyouko. But finally they're classmates now. But also, this time, Yuuki's happy that Sayaka and Kyouko get to be "lovey-dovey". They make a good combo. They actually were ad-libbing in recording, which is fun.
(10:35) Next comes in is the first guest, Kaori Mizuhashi, who of course plays Tomoe Mami. Apparently, at some point they thought that the ad-libs were getting a little too clever so they stopped doing that. Things like the 'ehe' when Homura shows off her soul gem ring and fingernail. They had her do that a bunch of times. And then they're all on the roof, "coming out" (in English) to each other (according to Yuuki; Saitou says to stop or else she'll read into it too far). They all feel like they want to live like this, all together, with the honest Homura.
When Madoka reaches out and grabs Homura's hands, Saitou says she's probably got her heart beating strongly. It's tremendous, she says.
It's hard being characters from the past?
They're all happy together. They also were very shocked by Kyubey only saying "kyuu". He's a proper mascot character. "When will he talk", everyone thinks. Even the seiyuu were all wondering while reading the first half of the script, "He's not talking."
(14:38) But for this new movie, the relation between Kyousuke and Hitomi is much more clear here. (They then talk about stuff that I can't understand, but I'm pretty sure that among what they say reference this video, which is a rather hilarious Japanese comedy skit) Basically they're laughing at the fact that Hitomi is trying really hard, but Kyousuke keeps refusing her, which is what happens in the skit with the "old guy" trying to proposition the "widow Akemi-chan" robot and her refusing him with "Dameyo, dame dame!" Man, what a girl in love, they say, until suddenly she starts boxing her pillow. They find it funny that when she's alone, she is quite foolish compared to her dignified outside persona.
And then the nightmare comes, Hitomi saying "I don't need Sundays anymore!", and they laugh at that being how nightmares are born. Except Yuuki then says that every week she says the same thing about Mondays. It's not that hard to spawn a nightmare, it seems. Probably every college student thinks the same thing every Monday as well.
Ah, it's Mami changing. Mizuhashi says "Now they've found out how she does her hair." Now there's "mojumobe" as Yuuki puts it, eating Mami's hair pin. And then Mami uses magic to fix her hair. They say it looks awfully convenient, but at the same time they like Mami with her hair down. She looks very adult, but she's supposed to be a middle schooler? (9th grader for the rest of the world)
(17:27) Now they're in the nightmare's world. They comment on Kyouko's line saying that if Sayaka's calling Kyousuke oblivious, it definitely has a lot of weight. They like that line, but they also definitely like Kyouko so they might be biased. But Sayaka really feels refreshing, probably because she's with Kyouko. At this time, Sayaka actually knows everything. Mizuhashi says that normally, knowing everything but keeping it quiet would be cool, but for some reason in this case she thinks it isn't. (It's really hard to understand, but that's partly because she doesn't exactly know how to say it and that makes it confusing.)
(18:33) Now they're going into the transformation sequence. Very cute, they all say. Mami does a dance. Yuuki says "Ore to Mami-san, me ga atta!" "Our eyes met" like a guy would say. Kyouko's up next, and again Yuuki is all over her. "It's me, Kyouko-chan. I'm here, Kyouko-chan." She's so cool, she says. Red. And then Sayaka breakdances. Saitou asks "Who decided on that?" Then it's Homuhomu. Saitou says that she wouldn't really move that much. Yuuki says she wants Homura's magical girl outfit tights.
Finally is Madoka, who is like an idol. Is that Homura's impression of Madoka that's influencing these transformations? Mizuhashi points out the 'Madoka' written in katakana in the background, but clearly they didn't notice the runes. They also comment on the volume her eyelashes which you can see in the side profile shot. She has a different sense here from the TV series. "Yellow is the center!" comments Yuuki when they all pose saying "Holy Quintet". (Normally red is the center in sentai shows and such, which is why it's weird.) She then says "This Just Isn't Right (こんなの絶対おかしいよ Konna no zettai okashii yo)." Mami apparently set up the poses and team name and such, according to the setting.
And then now they're all working together. How strong they are when all working together. They also name their attacks, like Tiro Duet where they combine Madoka's arrows and Mami's ribbons. They all have their final attacks now.
(23:20) Now is the Cake Song, which they say was probably the toughest thing to voice act. The first time they did it, there was no character art, just 3DCG mockups that looked kinda creepy. But they had a metronome that they had to sing along with. They wonder, did Mami come up with the song? Homura really isn't used to the song... It was apparently actually harder to do it incorrectly. But after she messed up, Madoka came in just right. CAKE And there's a pumpkin. Who said pumpkin? (That was Homura)
Somehow, they feel like it's not that cruel, actually. There's Sayaka who caught the Hitomi head. And that sinful boy, Kyousuke, but they forgive him because he's just a middle schooler, still. It's nice, they say, that everyone's there for Sayaka though. In the TV series she was always alone. All of their soul gems are purified so easily, all together. It's so happy.
And then it's morning. "Kyuu!" Saitou says that personally, she's glad that Mami has Bebe. She's not alone anymore. "Get married already!" says Yuuki to Kyouko and Sayaka. The first half of the show really is quite peaceful.
They then talk about Mami's standard of living. Where does she get the money? Magic? They all love her room.
Yuuki then wonders about foreign screenings of the film; how do they render the 'Mascarpone' and other such katakana text? Saitou suggests that the captioning would change. It seems like people all around the world enjoyed Madoka. It doesn't particularly seem to be set in Japan, so it's not like there's a cultural barrier to appreciating it.
(28:59) Next we start to see the anonymous characters losing their faces; anyone Homura doesn't remember gets a watercolor blob. They laugh because she only remembers Nakazawa. Apparently, during the rooftop scene, Homura's bentou got fancier since recording time.
Then they say something about shooting film. Something about going to a camera store and them developing it for you.
(30:15) Then they welcome a new guest, Ai Nonaka who plays Sakura Kyouko. (Mizuhashi is still there, though.) This is the first meeting of Kyouko and megane Homura. The first person she consulted about her suspicions was Kyouko. Saitou says she probably couldn't ask anyone else. While Kyouko certainly is easy to talk to, Madoka is right out and the others are probably too hard to ask. It'd feel like you're ruining Mami's dreams, and Sayaka would probably just get angry and argue about it. Kyouko really listens to you. She really acts according to her feelings, says Nonaka, while Yuuki adds that that's characteristic of a red character. I can't tell exactly what she's saying, but Yuuki says something about (wanting to be?) Kyouko's chair? Or something.
Saitou then brings up again the fact that the people that Homura doesn't remember well have become very fuzzy. Other things in the background become repeated to fill in the gaps when she can't remember things. But it really gives you the feeling of a dream you can't wake up from. The scenery is slowly changing; there's no boundary anymore. Yuuki says that the sloppiness of Homura's imagination in places away from where Madoka lived is really scary. But at the same time, riding the bus when you're not used to it is also very unsettling. Where is it taking you, you'd wonder. Mizuhashi says that she often has bad dreams like this where you can't get where you're trying to go... Because it is renewing this sort of feeling that mostly everyone has experienced before, it has a greater impact on the people viewing. It's more real. Nothing's actually happening, but it's still scary.
The 'mada dame yo' song plays again now. (Actually 'raise the curtain' on the soundtrack). Nonaka mentions a humming version that Saitou recorded but it seems they never actually used. One time she listened it for a whole day and became really depressed. (It seems to be the song that Homura hums in the post credits scene in the 1st Take version of the audio)
(36:17) Magical girls really have leg strength, notes Yuuki. They've just jumped right onto the hood of the speeding bus without a care. And the bus number has changed again; when they get on it's #15 but when they get off it's #31.
But now it gets really crazy. Saitou says that here Homura's balance is difficult to act. She is wearing the glasses, but inside she's all messed up. She's in the process of waking up from her dream. Nonaka also notices that whenever Homura takes off her glasses, her socks also change to full tights. They laugh, "will she use magic to change her clothes?" Just like how Mami used magic to style her hair. They've been noticed! Scary, they all have Kyouko and Homura's faces (though Yuuki accidentally says "Kyouko and Sayaka") because Homura doesn't know them.
At this point, they still didn't know what would happen the second half of the movie. But she did somehow have a hunch that the culprit was herself. Maybe 95% herself, 5% Madoka. And maybe a slight chance it was Kyubey. But there was still a chance that Madoka made this world. Here Homura takes off her glasses, and they wonder when her socks will change. She still has her braids though. She takes them off now. Now she's badass Homura with socks, very rare.
(39:55) Now she's realized that she's in a witch's labyrinth. The pictures are continuously getting less saturated And she's changed into tights. This is what she read for the film trailer. Now in hindsight it's clear she wasn't actually lying at all. It's really sad, though. She's happy in her own world, but if she notices what's wrong, it'll all fall apart. She should be fine just staying in there. She's not causing any trouble.
Now they're in Mami's apartment. Saitou says that while most people thought that Homura was very standoffish with Mami, she was kind in that she gave her Bebe as a companion. When Mami's not alone, she's really strong though. Oh yeah, they say, it might still be Bebe's fault. They also wonder why nobody's asking about the image change. Where'd your glasses go? Why didn't you braid your hair?
They wonder how much other people understand of what Bebe says? Mami seems to know quite clearly, but others probably just nod and smile at whatever Bebe's saying. Go with the flow, or something.
They say that Mami hopping away looking kinda scary. She has already realized about Homura, and even without transforming has placed a ribbon on her. They also laugh at how Homura doesn't know how to handle living things, since she picks Bebe up by the head.
What's happening to Nagisa inside, they wonder.
Mami and Homura are pretty similar. They understand each other very well.
(47:03) So cool! Angry Mami-san!
They say that from here, you probably will want to step through frame by frame.
Mami's really the strongest. Urobuchi said so himself, says Yuuki. She's strong, but she's also really smart.
They mostly say their reactions to the fight at this point. Yuuki really likes the contrast between Mami's super-cute muskets and Homura's realistic, cold steel machine guns.
They're not actually fighting at such a close distance, it's more just comparing their martial arts.
(51:54) However, at this critical point, the commentary switches out. Now we have a lovely monologue by Eri Kitamura. But why is she all alone? Apparently everyone's busy.
This is one of her favorite scenes, it seems. Not just her own scene as Sayaka which is coming up next, but this one with Homuhomu and Mami.
It's a battle of both wits and skill, a wonderful fusion.
She talks about the Monogatari introductions before the movie aired, since she plays Araragi Karen in that series. But I can't exactly understand what she's saying.
Then comes her big scene in the movie. Sayaka she says is someone who, like Homura, keeps repeating her penance. (I think that's what she's saying.) Sayaka is nice on the outside, but here she shows how she's in a higher position than Homura. Every time, Sayaka gets too cocky, and what happens spices up the story. Sayaka's testing Homura right now.
When she first got the script, she suspected that Urobuchi was getting too tired to make a new plot given that he copy-pasted the beginning of the TV series again. The transfer student and all. But now, Homura is trying to judge whether Sayaka was an ally or an enemy. Is she good, is she bad, why is she confronting Homura? Just by the words in the script, it wasn't clear to her. You could take it more than one way.
(1:00:09) Kitamura says she's talked the whole time Sayaka has had this cool scene. It's tough doing commentary, she says. (It's tough translating what she says! But it's getting easier the more I do.)
Apparently this long-awaited new installation of Madoka has had many parts (a, b, c, d, e). A big thick script. It's something really worth seeing, she says. Somehow though, she says that the stage directions were really interesting. The lines and the stage directions, the way the images are laid out. It gives you the shivers, she says.
She says that Saitou really did a good job as Homura. But she's glad that all the characters got their time in the spotlight, like Sayaka. Urobuchi told her at some celebration (after the recap movies?) that Sayaka will be in good spirits this time around, just kidding! But it really happened.
She says that it's really deep. There are many threads and connections, but even the actors didn't know.
She talks about how Madoka's really straightforward in Rebellion. She faces Homura and says what she really feels. And then she starts braiding Homura's hair! They're so close!
And then, Homura is enlightened. (the light shining down on her and the flowers all turning purple) And then the flowers all wilt, and then turn into lights. And the music... And her hair is undoing itself!
It's here! She's falling into darkness!
(1:08:27) Now Homura is talking to Kyouko. Kyouko is freeloading, it seems? But she's really nice. She makes a good combination with Homura.
She mentions that this part is a bit confusing if you only watch it once; you don't notice her leaving her soul gem behind. Now she says she's waiting for her favorite line. 'This means I'm not even a magical girl any longer?' (It happens a bit later than she remembers) Then there are Homura owls. This stuff wasn't in the script, but she wished they had put it in so they could see what was going to be happening. And now there are the kid voices in the background. Very scary. It's like when Homura and Kyouko were talking, there were kids playing around in a creepy manner.
And now, her time is up.
(1:12:14) Aoi Yuuki, Chiwa Saitou, and this time Emiri Katou bow in now. Finally, Kyubey talks. It's in the second half of the script. In the first half, Kyubey was only cute, and would say "Kyuu". Occasionally, he'd rub Madoka's head like comforting her. But people were probably all thinking "There's no way he's actually this nice."
It's really coming out, him not having said anything for quite a while.
She was worried in the first half that there weren't many last minute red pen corrections [that she had to make] in the script, since she thought they were passing over her role. (Of course there weren't many corrections, because he was only going "Kyuu".)
But after she got the second half of the script, she went "WAAAAGH, HE'S TALKING!"
As soon as he starts talking, says Saitou, he really launches into quite a long explanation. Lots of long lines. The only one left holding onto secrets, finally giving away the trick. He's saying lots of difficult things.
The first half almost gives away nothing about the second half. Yuuki says Kyubey's explanation kinda complicated though, she read through the script many times trying to figure out what it means. They had to wait until they were compiling stuff before they found out exactly what was going on because the descriptions of the character locations was so complicated.
They were also surprised by the quantity of Incubators there were. During the trailer recording, there were many Kyubey eyes; they were like "Could it be?" But all by herself she did lots of Kyubeys. They're all Kyubey, but they wanted to make them all slightly different. "A slightly fat Kyubey" "An old-man Kyubey"
Now they laugh since now that they've mentioned the different voices, the viewers will be going back and listening through all of Kyubey's lines.
It's really great to look at. Katou says that part of the appeal of Madoka Magica is that really everything is amazing. You can't possibly take it in in one viewing. The cuts are really fast. You have to stop it and look at things. The witch runes, for example. People will be translating them.
Now Homura's feelings are really coming out in the picture. Homura doesn't actually show it on her face, but now the animation, the color, is really expressing her emotions. Yuuki notes though that throughout this whole scene though, Kyubey still has that sick grin of his. He's running around like crazy, but he's still cute and smiling.
She also comments on the sound effects, like the cracking sound in you hear with Homura's soul gem. It was really scary in the theaters, she says. They really have nice acoustics. Katou adds though that watching it with nice headphones on will make it sound completely different again.
This really is quite frightening. Love is one thing. It's a really internal motivation. Makes her withdraw into herself.
Katou says that at their age, that sort of emotion really wells up. In middle school years, they get jealous of their friends. It just refreshes her impression that kids in puberty are really complicated.
(1:21:55) This is a really sad scene, they say. It was a really good scene in the opening animation of the second movie. (apparently, I don't remember it.) And then this is a witch. In the TV series, they're the enemy, but now it's really a sad existence. Inside the witch, there's so much sadness.
This is how they break, huh? It's so sad. There are so many magical girls and they all went through this?
Kyouko here is really cool, they say. Sitting on that bench.
Yuuki says that the scene of the little Homura soldiers marching kinda reminds her of a vegetable grater. Kinda funny. Lots of HomuHomu soldiers.
It really looks like as a witch she's hurting herself.
Madoka's the only one that doesn't know what's going on, at this moment. Kyubey is trying to split them up, but they like that Kyouko calls him out on his being able to talk normally. And then there's Bebe staring at him. "So you talked!"
Saitou noticed though that in that scene, only Madoka's face was properly shown. Everyone else who knew what was going on at that point had their faces hidden.
And here is Sayaka's really awesome, but also really shocking transformation into her witch form.
"They're not actually magical girls!" So cool. It moves you.
It's one form of salvation for these girls, they get to return to normal. They fail once, but now they're actually even stronger. Sayaka now is not fighting with Homura anymore. Rather than friendship, it's the sense of being the same; both are witches now.
They say, "So this is a magical girl going all-out?"
And then there's our obligatory KyouSaya. Too cute. They're just listening quietly and squeeing occasionally. Too sad! Service scene, haha.
The fight scenes are so cool. The magical girls really must have enhanced fighting skills.
IT'S HERE! HISSATSU! The train-cupcake-cannon.
It's really awesome here, Saitou says. Homura is holed up in her own little world, while her friends are working to rescue her.
(1:31:31) What is actually right here? Does she have to be the real Madoka?
Madoka's such a good girl. Yuuki says that her philanthropy is actually hurting Homura here though.
They showed the scene with Homura in the watery field after Walpurgisnacht, and that's really the beginning of everything. That's what Homura really can't forget about it. She can't meet that Madoka anymore, which is weighing heavily on her.
Here, the conversation bizarrely doesn't mesh well, says Yuuki. When she she first read the script, she wondered what exactly was going on, but when she saw it in action she was like "Oh that's that weird part".
They both choose different paths at the same time.
Homura's soul gem has such a pretty color.
It's really like a former battlefield. Everyone here must be thinking "Ah, it's the ending, we saw so much!" "She's come to get you." Madoka's a god, Yuuki says, but Homura gets some special treatment.
They were confused when in the stage directions it said that they came on elephants, but they realized why (same elephants from Walpurgisnacht in Episode 11) when they saw them.
And here it comes. Aaaaahh, scary! In the world, this is the most common form of love, says Saitou. It's shown in a very fancy manner, but in real life the one-sided love is far more common than the happy requited love.
Yuuki says that like this it's like Homura is evil. Madoka's justice is really pure.
Yuuki said that she had no clue how Madoka was going to be 'ripped apart' from reading the script. It really moved her too.
Homura's really subjugating everything. The universe, already rewritten once, is being overwritten again.
On the surface, it seems like a really bad thing to overwrite the world resulting from Madoka's selfless wish just for one's own desires. But the first Madoka's wish didn't have to do with that.
(1:38:06) Homura's taken an interest in Kyubey. It's a bit of an undesirable relationship that they can't avoid. Even in the previous world, Kyubey acted cutest with Homura. Acting like a cat, although saying scary things.
He probably showed himself in a form as appealing as possible for 14-year-olds.
And then Homura's big transformation scene. In the script, apparently it wasn't determined whether or not to actually call herself a demon or not. It's no more than a title that would be given by someone else, but she does say it herself.
And then she's petting Kyubey really roughly. But cats would really like that, says Saitou. Yuuki says that cats actually like it more the harder you pet them.
Katou then wonders, which exactly is good and evil? It makes you think about your own love. Both justice and love are in the same sort of framework, but they're kinda orthogonal to each other. Carrying out justice and nuturing love are completely different; they can only kickstart each other.
Saitou says she thought that it's kinda scary, but she's wondering if that'sher preconceived notions. The crows that Kyouko is playing with are scary because they're black, but in this world they're actually kinda fun, everyday things. Very mysterious.
Homura's soul gem has changed shape; Yuuki wants earbuds with an over the ear type thing like that.
Sayaka, even to the end, is trying to uphold her justice. Even in the TV series, Katou said she liked Sayaka. She's the coolest one of them, said Yuuki. Saitou said she's the most normal, in a good way.
The scene with Nagisa running in the background was apparently rather difficult for Kana Asumi to act. It's like one of those 'laughing while running' things that are hard to at normally. She's really running.
And then there's Homura getting hit by the tomatoes, and suddenly everything is back to normal. Hitomi is with Kamijou...so sad. Sayaka's really been tortured by reality and love... She's so nice... But she still has the magical girl nail marking.
And now Madoka transfers in. She's really well fit to this. Totally the picture-perfect transfer student. Now she spent time in America, apparently. Yuuki laughs "What if in the future she has to speak English?"
Yuuki then says something about how she was shocked when first reading the script about how Homura really couldn't rely on anyone but herself to protect Madoka. She's really trapped; she has to do it all herself.
Then they laugh about how all the other classmates are avoiding Homura. "She's here!" type stuff. "Don't get involved with her." Very unreal type feeling.
And now the roles are reversed. But the acting and lines are pretty close to the original. However, Homura is different, so Madoka is also behaving different.
Yuuki says Homura's straightforwardness normally flags Madoka's "justice sensor" and they easily become friends, but here she wonders whether they actually can be friends.
Saitou was really impressed upon by this scene. She really regrouped after 'catching' Madoka, but this was the most different and so she's really panicked. Before (in the TV series?) she was actually really controlled, but now she's like "Ah this is bad, ahhh, it almost went back".
Then they bring up the 1st take version, where Homura sounds very relaxed and...evil. Yuuki said that she could hear simply from Saitou's acting "This person is bad news, scary". When she saw it though, she was like "Huh, Homura's not very composed here".
Saitou says that in the second recording (which was used for the movie), she's very much more human. She had to change how she thought about the character. In the first take version, she's openly become a crazy demon, but they told her to act more like the previous Homura, who all in all is still somewhat of a middle schooler.
During the recording, there wasn't much of a basis to go on. The drawings weren't finished, just some scary facial expressons, which is why her first take was such a different interpretation. So once the art was closer to done, she recorded it again.
But she says that neither is inherently better. You may like one or the other. Saitou and Yuuki both say that they like both, but Yuuki says that both Homuras are still thinking of Madoka.
Saitou says that she wants to know what the viewers feel when watching. She thought that taking the movie on its own, the way they depicted love really made her examine her own thoughts on it.
Katou thought that both Homuras had the same feeling of love, but they way they expressed it was different. She kinda wished that she could live expressing love like that. She feels like there's really a time you need to let out your greed like 1st take version of Homura. Greed is not a strictly bad thing. She really liked the human feeling though from the main version of Homura who is holding back her greed for the sake of Homura. The whole work overflows with human feelings, and she felt like she learned a lot from it.
Yuuki then says that now she's wondering what is justice and what's evil. Even if it's not 'correct', it's good because Homura's trying so hard. Kyubey isn't absolutely evil, but neither is Homura.
Whose world will become standard? It depends on their own profit, who will control it. It feels waking up from a dream, says Saitou. You at first don't know which you want more, which one is real.
Yuuki says that the MadoMagi scene is really good at finding these aspects. Depending on the perspective, it can seem really scary. Especially Rebellion. Saitou really wants to frame step through it, and find the meaning in each frame.
BD changes comparison:
Yuuki noted again that they had done over 1300 retakes for the DVD/Blu-Ray releases. Mostly redone. They even redid some of the voice acting, which surprised Katou. And they even retook some of the 1st take version of Homura, which didn't even get used!
Yuuki then says that finally, spoilers are ok. Saitou says that it's up to the viewer to decide what's better, what's more right. So, enjoy whichever you want.
Finally, they say, "Let's somewhere meet again!"
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