Audio Commentary/Episode 4

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Both Miracles and Magic Exist
奇跡も、魔法も、あるんだよ
Commentary Aoi Yuuki
Chiwa Saitou
Gen Urobuchi

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.