The world in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is purely fascinating. The colors gently absorb you into their world. The light draws out details and strengthens the moment. The metropolis as a whole, with its complete absurdity of the architecture and brainless geography of space, simply give shape and structure to this very unique setting. With the novelty of the witch’s world waning in each episode, with this being the worst so far, I turn to the noteworthy style of the real world.
Since the first episode, I’ve wanted to gush about the setting in Madoka. The richness of detail in it is one of the first things I noticed about this anime and its continued presence keeps me bedazzled. Today, or rather whatever day you’re reading this post, the focus will be on the colors, the light, and the city itself. Check out the image above. It contains all three elements to create a stunning snapshot of Madoka scenery. The blending of color, light, and city provide a vivid backdrop for a foreshadowing and emotional conversation. But rather than focusing on the plot or characters, let’s dive right in and start off with the color in Madoka.
Color has always been a highlight of Madoka. The use of color in scenes brings out the feeling behind what’s going on. Using a mix of vibrant and clean colors, the world seems to be cheerful and inviting, as are most scenes at Madoka’s home. When the colors are harsher and well defined, such as the first two pictures, then the scenes are typically very detailed and help progress the story. The color of buildings is predominately white in safe areas (home, school) and black in dangerous areas (witch’s areas, evil characters). Color in Madoka draws the viewer into the anime. It brings out the environment and is an aid to the story.
Shaft has always impressed me with their detail on light. Every significant scene has had some use of light which points to a person. Likely being important to the story or the character’s development, light centers our eyes on the character. It helps guide our eyes to the vital details in the series. Additionally, it helps intensify the scene. A wild usage of light would undermine the crucial scenes of the series. When used properly, the light promotes the character within that moment to an even loftier level. Shaft has been able to do that with light in Madoka. Light has been able to support both details and the scenes of the anime.
Have you ever seen such a haphazard looking urban setting before? It’s a splash of chaotic structures. The design and architecture in Madoka has had an impact on me. The urban space is disorganized which helps give the world an interesting twist. Had it been standard with a clear definition of roads, pathways, commuter trains, and such, then the setting would have been sterile and boring. The architecture of Madoka’s home, of the classrooms, and the hospital are also individualized and distinct in their appearance and how they utilize the space given. Or rather, not utilize. One of the things about this city is that there are never people around and the ground level is never shown. We really never see people walking around in open space. It’s like the city is a cage. The girls are already trapped inside it, unable to escape. Those classrooms certainly appear to be cages. Only Madoka’s home seems free from the giants of glass and steel. The urban setting, overall, is wonderfully done and provides Madoka with a dissimilar setting compared to all the other anime out there.
Finally, I was able to write about something I’ve always enjoyed about Madoka: the setting. The whole use of colors, light, and the city provide an atmosphere and environment that greatly assist in the story. Had the story been placed in a non-Shaft based setting, the show wouldn’t have that powerful effect. The setting, as a whole, is as inspiring as the story itself. Frankly, I hope more is brought up on the setting of Madoka by others. Perhaps later, I’ll look beyond the color, the light, and the city for more insight about how the setting is beautiful and helps detail the story. The world of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, simply put, is mesmerizing. Thank you Shaft.