Kirara Magica Interview Gen

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Screenplay - Gen Urobuchi (Nitroplus)

How the movie production and script began. We ask Gen Urobuchi of his guidelines for Madoka Magica Movies and his opinion on the project.

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How the Project Got Started
Kirara The news of new project for the Madoka franchise, how did it reach you?
Gen We always joked about a sequel while producing the TV series. The actual moment when it became, "hurry and start drafting the plot!!" happened after the TV production finished.
Kirara Your state of mind back then?
Gen Sigh, honestly I thought of dropping everything and quitting (laugh). I never planned for a sequel while writing the original series. So I was still joking around, and suddenly I had to actually figure it out... Because of that, I was troubled for some time.
Kirara So the whole plot started from a blank slate?
Gen That's right. I didn't know where to start. However, it slowly came to me, after I completed the script, and had a chance to appreciate the final product. The power of the voice acting and art direction together formed a complete image, and helped me realized what it means to be 'Madoka Magica. If I persist at it, then maybe I can do it... that was my thought process.
Kirara How was the new project decided?
Gen We talked about a second season at the beginning. While thinking about how to make a second season work, suddenly it turned into, let's just make a movie.
Kirara Did the format change from a television series to a movie feature change your plot proposal?
Gen Not much changed. The script was developed from the original proposal.
Kirara It was said that during script writing, you would go around and ask the production staff around for advice. What were some of the suggestions?
Gen I don't want to mention any specifics to avoid spoilers. What I can say is Shinbo gave me some brilliant suggestions, and provided the general guidelines. In group discussions, even though no one said it explicitly, everyone used Shinbo's recommendations as starting points.
Kirara Were there any "I want a scene like this" or "I want to create this image" type of discussions?
Gen Nothing that specific. I didn't think about the direction of a story. However, I did try to judge whether a particular development made sense or not.
Kirara So there were plot points that even Mr. Urobuchi didn't anticipate?
Gen There were surprises, but their development did not feel unnatural.
Kirara Once the actual script writing began, did it flow out naturally?
Gen Quite rough, actually. Unlike a television script, I can't call it quits by the second draft (only rewrite once), although the story line largely stayed the same. I think most of the changes were small adjustments, in order to make the characters more empathetic and delicate.
Kirara Any restrictions while writing?
Gen This was my first time tackling a movie-length script, so I didn't have an intuition on how long it has to be. It wasn't just write a few lines of dialog and be done with it, like a television script. That's rather frustrating. Drawing the line is very hard.
Kirara How did you feel when you finished?
Gen A very strong "Thank god it's done" sensation (laugh).
Kirara Another obstacle overcame for you?
Gen Because of the group discussions, I didn't feel like I overcame the obstacles by myself. By working alongside the other creative leads of Magica Quartet, I was able to borrow everyone's strengths. So I felt everyone contributed to creating this script.
Kriara So this movie feature is a true collaboration?
Gen Exactly. There was a sense of everyone working hard towards a single direction. So, for this script, instead of saying it finished, it makes more sense to say it arrived. Akin to heading towards some place and finding the treasure at the end. It gives a "I arrived at the end of the maze," Indiana Jones kind of feeling.
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The Purpose of a Movie Feature
Kirara Mr. Urobuchi is well known for being a movie fan. How does it feel to finally participate in movie production?
Gen For live production, I imagine movie and television production are very different processes. For an anime production though, the differences between the two are not many. Of course, a movie's production quality will be substantially higher. As a result, I felt rather indifferent. The difficulty from a scriptwriter's stand point, was the longer story length compared to a television script, so the plot must able to remain gripping for the audience. Besides this, how to utilize the big screen and surround sound to create an experience largely rests with the other production staff.
Kirara So that's how it is.
Gen Also, Shinbo taught me this. The experience of watching with others makes television and movie very different. The audience must realize this as well. At the live screening of "Fate/Zero Episode 15" in Seattle, I had a chance to sit with the audience together to watch that TV animation. I definitely got a "watching with so many people together, it really feels like watching a movie" feeling. Because of that, I think watching in a theater will naturally give a whole different flavor.
Kirara -Indeed, sitting in front of the big screen, while surrounded by other audience and hearing their reactions, the impression will be totally different.
Gen The last three episodes of Madoka Magica premiered together. I thought that felt like a movie as well. Maybe we can get an effect like that.
Kirara -It was definitely like that back then. Even though it was past midnight, everyone watched together while glancing at twitter. I can still remember that strong sense of comradery from back then. Not only that, the broadcast finished over a year ago, yet the Madoka-craze has absolutely not died down. Despite how fast anime now tend to depreciate and be forgotten.
Gen For a single cour anime to remain relevant til now, I am extremely pleased. To tell the truth, I myself was also rather surprised. To be involved with a genre that I am not familiar with, I never dared to imagine this level of success.
Kirara For Mr. Urobuchi, what kind of work is "Madoka Magica"?
Gen For me personally, not much has changed. This is because "I designed the series concept myself" and "I wrote the finished script myself" - these two points made it very personal and special. It was my first time of having such a level of creative freedom. The acclaim given to the script, is largely due to all the people that helped build it up from that foundation. Because of this, I want to take this moment to tell everyone involved in this project, "we did it." I am very grateful to everyone for creating such a well received work together... Probably this kind of feeling. To be the scriptwriter of this type of work, I feel is a great honor.
Kirara - Two months from now, the first two compilation movies will be premiering. Does Mr Urobuchi have anything left to tell our readers?
Gen Everything has already been said, I don't have anymore requests for them.
Kirara - Any changes or addition to the dialogue?
Gen Nope.
Kirara - I heard you visited the voice recording session for the movie re-recording, any thoughts about that?
Gen Ah, the voice actors' characterizations had become even more superb. That startled me! Everyone wanted to surpass their performance from the TV edition, so more intended in their interpretation... I deeply felt their sincerity. You could feel the tension in the recording studio. The fans of the TV series will be very satisfied just from the new voice acting.
Kirara - This series brought together many powerful voices, and everyone cared deeply about this work.
Gen Very grateful for everyone being so deeply invested. That contributed greatly to the quality of this work.
Kirara -By the way, any thoughts from watching the compilation?
Gen It made sense, that surprised me (laugh).
Kirara - Any new discoveries?
Gen This...Ah, I realized again, "this story went too far" (laugh). The completion of the script had been a long, long time ago, so I felt like appreciating someone else's work. I even got some "what was the writer thinking?" kind of feeling (laugh). Especially all the melancholy scenes in the first movie, this feeling was particularly intense. However, the second movie ended up as a very wholesome story. In any case, I thought the story makes sense even when watching it for the first time. But you can certainly discover new things by re-watching the TV version after.
Kirara - Finally, please say something to the fans.
Gen What becomes of the Madoka Magica franchise after this, how will it develop, is something that even I can't control. Despite this I am extremely grateful of the fan's patience and trust. I may not able to control this story, or perhaps I was never in control of it to begin with. It feels much more like watching a daughter growing up (laugh). In the future, I would like to raise a few more such daughters. Please keep watching.
Retranslated from this Chinese translation