Newtype’s Madoka Magica special edition of December 2012 gives an excellent overview of a few of the revised setting background locations seen within the film – all of which appear extensively styled and cared for.
A particular favorite has to be the cafe, as seen above and to the right – truly look at how, first of all, it was so immensely threshed out to realization. Every corner and pillar pack depth – the shadow responds in such a manner, getting lighter or darker around the edges as appropriate, that one is able to simply look and understand that certain components sit within others.
All the way down to the chairs and the floor, nothing is flat – and the explanation behind this is that one may notice how all the lines which travel up and down seem to direct their angle towards an unseen point on the canvas, whilst those horizontal have their own consistent end-point. Indeed, it looks that perhaps a two or three point perspective technique was utilized – and for a single scene, that’s purely outstanding. Some artists base entire works around a mere perspective based interior – yet SHAFT is here employing the concept for a single frame of many thousands.
Now of course, the cafe isn’t bleak and wireframe – a candy pink recurs throughout the place in a style which defines the design element of harmony within the space. The consistency and soft color selection leaves one feeling at ease, as does the fact that the ceiling is lit beautifully with lights both natural and artificial – whilst the floor is of a darker tone, slightly encased in shadow, a sight reassuring as it leaves one feeling they’re on solid ground.
Note the much-welcomed overrun of pattern – in a very delicate purple, the ceiling is clad with some busier dotted speckles, alongside a few intercessions of flora shapes, with solid stripes traveling across as well. And on top of all of this, there’s a pair of swiveling pink stripes which fill an otherwise negative space. These pink stripes are brilliant not only in how they take advantage of available canvas area, yet also in how the hue of pink is just ever hardly off-set from the rest seen within the picture plane.
In reality, if one is able to find a paint of a single color which works on multiple textures – despite it being compatible with these textures, the hue may still differ a bit when applied upon them for numerous factors. Alternatively, one may not find a paint suitable for all necessary textures – in which case they need a near-identical substitute.
The minor color discrepancy shows that the artist perhaps account for this, or for the distance between the ceiling stripes and the light coming through the windows – if not both.
This deep consideration of not simply “what”, but also “why” when it comes to aesthetics is what sets apart the studios that set their own standards, such as SHAFT, from the pitiful serfs of anime production.