Madoka Magic – Color Philosophy

Early in the design for my Madoka Magic set, I was very much aware that I had five main characters to work with in the context of the five colors of Magic. I wondered if I could find a logical fit for each character into a particular color just like Mark Rosewater had matched each of the characters in the Simpsons. To my surprised delight, it wasn’t even a particular challenge, as each girl corresponds strongly to one of the five different philosophies.

Joyful Mami - Madoka Magic Oblivion Ring - Madoka Magic

Mami is kindhearted, appreciates teamwork and acts as a purehearted defender of justice. These are philosophies tied with white mana and as a fortunate coincidence, even her dress is white. She uses a musket, which associates her with white’s love of equipment and while dealing with Homura, she even thinks more in terms of imprisonment rather than outright elimination, an attitude of non-violence that white also appreciates.

Researcher Homura - Madoka Magic

Homura gathers knowledge by traveling through time and sometimes uses her magic to manipulate the perceptions of others, which are abilities that exemplify blue mana. She’s the most magic-y of all the magic girls, having the most experience with growing her skills. Homura also has a strong science background with all the technology she implements, including creating her own bombs, which in Magic terms signifies an affinity for artifacts.

Bloodbath Sayaka - Madoka Magic

I’ll admit that Sayaka is questionably tied to black, for although she eventually gives in to despair, madness and destruction—the feelings of black mana—initially she doesn’t have quite so selfish motives in her choice to become a magic girl. So if it seems I tend to focus a bit too much on Sayaka’s fall in my card designs, it’s merely an effort to find her black side for the sake of color philosophy.

Shortsighted Kyouko - Madoka Magic

Kyouko lives free, doing whatever she wants and a lot of what she says borders on a purely hedonistic philosophy. Her fighting style is driven by impulse, rushing headlong and overconfidently into battle hoping to overwhelm her opponent before they realize what’s happening. This is unambiguously an expression of red mana and like Mami, Kyouko’s color theme matches her magic philosophy.

Kindhearted Madoka - Madoka Magic

Madoka fits into green amazingly well. She just wants the natural order of things to be restored so everyone can live their lives the way they were meant to. She would also be the most powerful magic girl in terms of numbers, and having the biggest creatures is a characteristic of green mana. One of the nice little mechanical overlaps between Madoka and green is her bow. Since green is the color with the most flier-hate and the fewest fliers of its own, this makes it easy to create flavorful Madoka cards with reach.

I’m interested in hearing others’ opinions on the conclusions I’ve reached concerning the relationship between the abilities and personalities of the Madoka characters and the philosophies of the five colors of Magic. Do you think I nailed it or do you have a competing idea of where each character fits in the color pie? Please share your thoughts in the comments, even if it’s just a simple confirmation letting me know that I got it right.

2 responses to “Madoka Magic – Color Philosophy

  1. rikkutingel June 13, 2013 at 2:07 am

    When you first mentioned this project, I thought on how the color distribution would work, and reached the same conclusion as you did.

    The associations for every Magical Girl are pretty solid, except for Sayaka (before her “fall”). But I don’t think that’s solvable, unless you give up on having exactly one color representing each girl.

    It’s almos creepy how *very* strongly the other girls are associated with each color.

    The other strategy I thought of was to associate colors with “emotions” and “principles” – eg.
    – White: Loyalty, Discipline
    – Red: Freedom, Aggressiveness
    – Black: Despair, Egoism
    – Blue: Ingenuity, Secrets
    – Green: Love, Innocence

    That would better support other characters, and ‘events’/storyline progressions – Homura and Sayaka would “shift” color(s) as they characters progress. But that’s a lot less solid, and makes the cards a little too contextual and dependent on storytelling for my liking.

    That said, how will you handle multi-color cards? And what about the colors of cards that aren’t about the girls (eg. Kyubei, Madoka’s Mom, “events”, etc)?

    I can’t wait for more posts. Keep it up!

    • Marlin-sama June 13, 2013 at 6:54 am

      The set has very few multicolor cards. If you go to the homebrew page for Madoka Magic you’ll see I’ve uploaded a planeswalker card, which is the card type where I’ve chosen to do that in this set (not barring the occasional noncreature card that needs to be off the character’s color for flavor reasons). Multicolor is something of an article unto itself and I want to save it for later. Other characters like Hitomi, Kyousuke and the Kaname family will just go wherever their individual cards need to go based on their personalities (probably a card-by-card basis). As for Kyuubey, that’s also something I’m saving for another time. Thanks for your thoughts.

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