Madoka Magica: The daring artstyle

madoka1In another post I briefly mentioned that there are a lot of different styles within anime. Some are very clean and try to have a more pure animation feel to it.

With different styles I mean that it is well within the boundaries we already know. No particularly daring color schemes, character designs that we’ve seen a lot of times before. Those are formulas that have proven affective in the past and will probably not fade away soon.

There is nothing wrong with a winning formula if it is well executed. Again this will not be a debate about which studio has the best animation or which anime was the best. There are people who can appreciate the soft focus techniques J.C. Staff uses or the particular characters design and color usage of P.A. Works. Everybody has their taste and there is a target market for everybody out there. What I do want to point out is the fact that some shows have an impressive way of storytelling that is sometimes a hit or miss strategy.

One of those studios is Shaft, with its show Madoka Magica, a magical girl based anime series. The genre was often referred to as a loli centered fan service genre. Where little girls in skimpy outfits are fighting evil or what’s supposed to be evil but isn’t that big of a deal.  Madoka Magica presumably turned the whole genre upside down with its gritty back-story.

Not only did the story stand out, but also the way the studio implemented almost realistic elements to shape the evil minds in the series. This gave the series, next to its cute character design, a very dark feeling.  It nearly entered an art house like status.

With the animation being so crisp and daring, the studio showed that experimenting with storytelling techniques and screenplay, a story can take a life of its own. Becoming a cult hero within its genre and even beyond.  As for the many praises the series has gotten as a proof.

Concluding the story I want to point out that sticking with the already made boundaries within animation, companies out there are indeed trying to make a series stand out. Still refreshing stories can be a hit or miss, and anime as a media that is having trouble maintaining itself, cannot always try to be daring. They have to turn a profit to keep making the series we all love and hate so much. I hope I have enlightened you with my view on shows and studios. It’s not a thorough analysis whatsoever, but sharing a story is always nice.

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2 thoughts on “Madoka Magica: The daring artstyle

  1. Kai says:

    These kinds of dark artistic presentation and script are something only when both Gen Urobuchi and Shaft together can come up with. On the surface, it’s a simple magical anime, and on the inside, it tells a very dark story that exposes the darkest angst within the magical girls. The wacky animations showcase vague symbolism that give viewers a sense of a different kind of, but powerful “magic”.

    • ninetybeats says:

      You could almost argue that they used to magical girl theme to make the main theme marketable. But I don’t believe that was the case. It was perfectly within the setting of the series to explain, as you said, the burdens of a magical girl.
      The wacky animations gave a good extra touch to the series though.

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