Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Masking in Puella Magi Madoka Magica

The concept of masking is definitely a valuable one; as Scott McCloud notes, it "allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world" (43), often combining "very iconic characters with unusually realistic backgrounds" (42).

In one of my top five anime series of all time, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, masking is used to a slightly different end. In Madoka, magical girls fight against witches in a sort of alternative witch world- which you can see here. As this clip shows, the witch world is pretty insane- there are magical creatures, perspective and line are thoroughly experimented with, etc. Masking is used in that the iconic central characters, Miki and Madoka, remain the same, which makes it easier for the viewer to follow them into this totally nonsensical alternate reality. So, the masking is a bit different in that the backgrounds are far from realistic, but the main goal of masking is accomplished in that masking allows the 'reader' (audience) to 'safely enter a sensually stimulating world.'

I think that the most successful masking I've seen has been for this purpose- the bridge the gap between two different realities the author has created. Anyone agree?

1 comment:

  1. That, and sticking with Anime examples, (although I hate this show now) Bleach. All the characters Ichigo, Shinigami, Hollow are either human, humanoid, or in the case of Hollows, do something to become humanoid.This helps the viewer gradually understand a world of ghosts/soulreapers etc.

    In Ichigo's case, he puts on a mask when he Hollowfys and that helps us understand the internal change that is taking place inside of his "soul"

    But Bleach is lame now every episode is a filler


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