Deciphering the runes

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A reference sheet displaying runic alphabets.

The runes that randomly appear in the Magic World have been solved. This page is meant to show the current works and discoveries in the domain, as well as the latest discussions and hypothesis.


Runes as of Episode 2

Initial efforts at codebreaking began by identifying each unique rune and assigning it a random letter for identification. The general (correct) assumption was that each rune corresponded to a letter in German but at the time it was still possible that the text was encrypted, a newly constructed language or even that they were just scattered completely at random. German was chosen as the most likely candidate because it appeared as direct quotes from Goethe's Faust and the Cottonballs/Pringlemen/Anthony's were observed to be chanting in German. Other candidate languages were: Japanese, English and Latin (due to the use of "Puella" in the title).

A number of codebreaking methods were tried unsuccessfully. For example; attempts at identifying the letters through numerical analysis of their frequency failed, implying that the runic script was not really a language (see complications below). A more focused approach, taking a single word or short phrase and attempting to match an appropriate German word to it also failed due to large amount of possible matches.

After some urging to use the Faust quotes as a Rosetta Stone, an anonymous found and posted a line of runes which matched one of those quotes. The runes and the German sign they matched are marked in red on the translation chart for episodes one and two.

This discovery confirmed that the runic script was a direct substitution for German letters and provided an initial set of translated runes to work with. /a/ quickly got to work using this starting set to translate more lines and fill in the gaps. Within 21 hours of this discovery, the vast majority of runic text appearing in the first two episodes had been translated into German and English, all letters had been identified (except Q and X which are extremely rare in German, though they appeared later on).

You can find the full discussion (900 posts long!) in threads #21, #22 and #23

Official Translation

  • Gertrud, Charlotte and Oktavia's names typed in Japanese in some products and merchandises.
  • In the English dub of Magia Record Anime, Some Witch's name are translated in English. When a Witch's name is displayed in runes, its name is also shown in English-styled runes.
    • This was eventually provided for the English dub of the original series as well.
    • Witches that were given official translations are:
  • In the Magia Record Anime Official Guidebook Vol.1, Box Wood's name is translated in English.


  • The runes are an original art by Inu Curry.
  • During the Aniplex USA Madoka Premiere, the production staff was very surprised when overseas fans cracked the runes. It was stated that even obsessive Japanese fans had not gone that far.
  • Even though punctuation marks rarely appear in runic texts, it is notable that the marks don't receive new arts and will be similar to their actual symbols. As of now, exclamation marks, caret characters, negative symbols and question marks are the only punctuation marks to have been seen in Runes.
  • The Latin runes resemble the actual letters they represent more than the normal runes.
  • Latin O takes the appearance of a Soul Gem.


Rough, work-in-progress reference sheet showing the different rune alphabets as they were being deciphered.

Throughout the translation process, efforts were hampered by several complications:

Runic fonts
There are at least four structurally distinct variants of the runic script. The most common variant is known as archaic and it is presumably the main set from which others are based on. The modern variant is a simplified version of the runes and corresponding letters are generally quite similar with only mild variation in their overall structure but a few letters, such as D, are completely different from each other. The third variant is constructed from elements found in musical scores and many of the runes look different. Latin runes are used in Magia Record exclusively, only used for the two Nightmares from Rebellion.
Whether by mistake or on purpose (to frustrate codebreakers) approximately half of the lines of script contain one or more typos or misspelt words.
Many lines of script have no spacing between the words or may be seperated in a deceptive manner. Also, some lines have multiple adjacent letters overlaid on the same space.

Table of runes

Roman Cyrillic Modern Archaic Musical Latin Roman Cyrillic Modern Archaic Musical Latin
A А Modern A.svg Archaic A.svg Musical A.svg Latin A.png P Р Modern P (update).png Archaic P.svg Musical P.svg
B Modern B.svg Archaic B.svg Musical B.svg Q Modern Q.svg Archaic Q.svg
C С Modern C.svg Archaic C.svg Musical C.svg R Modern R.svg Archaic R.svg Musical R.svg
D Modern D.svg Archaic D.svg Musical D.svg S Modern S.svg Archaic S.svg Musical S.svg
E Modern E.svg Archaic E.svg Musical E.svg Latin E.png T Modern T.svg Archaic T.svg Musical T.svg
F Modern F.svg Archaic F.svg Musical F.svg U Modern U.svg Archaic U.svg Musical U.svg Latin U.png
G Modern G.svg Archaic G.svg Musical G.svg Latin G.png V Archaic V.svg Musical V.svg
H Modern H.svg Archaic H.svg Musical H.svg W Modern W.svg Archaic W.svg
I Modern I.svg Archaic I.svg Musical I.svg Latin I.png X Archaic X.svg
J Modern J.svg Archaic J.svg Y У Modern Y.svg Archaic Y.svg Musical Y.svg Latin Y.png
K Modern K.svg Archaic K.svg Musical K.svg Latin K.png Z Modern Z.svg Archaic Z.svg Musical Z.svg
L Modern L.svg Archaic L.svg Musical L.svg Ä Modern Ä.svg Archaic Ä.svg
M М Modern M.svg Archaic M.svg Musical M.svg Latin M.png Ö Modern Ö.svg Archaic Ö.svg
N Modern N.svg Archaic N.svg Musical N.svg Latin N.png Ü Modern Ü.svg Archaic Ü.svg
O Modern O.svg Archaic O.svg Musical O.svg Latin O.png ß(ẞ) Modern SS.svg Archaic SS.svg
Archaic R.svg
Unidentified Archaic unidentified.svg
Numbers Modern Archaic Musical Numbers Modern Archaic Musical
0 Runes 0.svg 5 Runes 5.svg
1 Runes 1.svg 6 Runes 6.svg
2 Runes 2.svg 7 Runes 7.svg
3 Runes 3.svg 8 Runes 8.svg
4 Runes 4.svg 9 Runes 9.svg
Math Symbols Modern Archaic Musical Math Symbols Modern Archaic Musical
^ ^Rune.svg − Runes.svg

Translated runes by appearance


At first, a custom font had been created using the Runic characters and a Greasemonkey script allowed 4channers to communicate on the board in Runespeak. Afterward, lots of other scripts appeared here and there.


Archaic and Modern Font

  • MadokaRunes-2.0.ttf Mirror md5: a34bd82eaf6250c042b824eb33b38e2e (Last Update: 11/11/11 - Version 2.0 - Redesigned and more accurate runes.)

[This font's 2.0 version still hasn't changed 'v' & 'x', please quickly revise.]

The archaic version of letters can be accessed by using uppercase letters, the modern variant is on lowercase letters.

Musical Font

A very rough font made from already vectorized musical runes.

Other Fonts

These fonts have been found on external sites and have not been created by contributors of this wiki.

Special Characters

Stylized A, used by Anja

Aside from the basic alphabet, runic numerals and diacritical marks are included in the font, as well as a number of special characters which can be viewed using ?, ~, ®, @, #, *, ^ and &. Archaic ß can be accessed using this character: (uppercase ß(U+1E9E), not included in all browsers; copypasting the character should do the trick though).


"This is so cool, I can write in Runespeak!"


To use GreaseMonkey scripts:

  1. Download and install the Greasemonkey add-on:
  2. Download and install the MadokaRunes font
  3. Install the script
  4. Restart your browser if necessary
  5. Spoilers will now be displayed in runic script

Runes translators

Using runes on this wiki

You can use runes on this wiki with the {{Runes}} template, e.g. {{Runes|HOMULILLY}} becomes HOMULILLY (use uppercase for archaic variant and lowercase for modern variant).

To use musical runes, add |variant=musical to the template, eg. {{Runes|OKTAVIA VON SECKENDORFF|variant=musical}} becomes OKTAVIA VON SECKENDORFF. The font does not distinguish uppercase and lowercase letters, so either will produce the same results.

The runic fonts are embedded on this wiki via CSS. This should make the fonts visible without installing them in the operating system, and is confirmed to work with recent versions of Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Internet Explorer. If you have trouble seeing the runes, update your browser or install the font files (MadokaRunes-2.0.ttf and MadokaMusical.ttf) on your system.