Otakon 2012: Gen Urobochi Panel
For anyone unfamiliar with Gen Urobuchi, he is the head screenwriter for Puella Magi Madoka Magica and the writer of the light novel Fate/Zero, a prequel to Fate/Stay Night. He came into the panel with his face covered to preserve his relative anonymity (he had no picture in the official Otakon guide either), though the zip-up hoodie disapeared fairly quickly. This was Mr. Urobuchi’s second trip to the United States of America after his Sakuracon experience earlier this year and he was very happy to see all of the fans of his work come out to his panel despite the very hot weather. The questions ended up breaking down equally between Fate/Zero and Madoka.
Mr. Urobuchi spoke at length about the production of Madoka as well as writing for Fate/Zero. While he was the head screenwritter for Madoka, he only provided the underlying skeleton of the show’s plotlines. Most of the decisions about the personalities of the characters and how they would interact with each other was done by the character designer along with their backstory. Among his personal influences for Madoka were Le Petite Potrait du Cossette and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, though he tried to stay away from too much borrowing as he knew the director and producers did not want the show to be too much like those others. The music for Madoka was produced by the same composer of Cosette and Mr. Urobuchi said he was very happy with how it turned out. He also said that he would be checking for any devils should he be offered a contract to be a magic user. The ending for the series is something he said that he fought very hard for over the wishes of the director and that he is very happy with how it turned out.
For Fate/Zero he said that there is unlikely to be any kind of retconning of the timeline between it and Fate/Stay Night as the original creator is too busy to work on it right now, as is Mr. Urobuchi and he would not want to directly ask to work on the property again. Fate/Zero was, funnily enough, written right next door to the original writer because Mr. Urobuchi was moved into that office for the project. He created the character Iskander to be a thrid king in the universe to go directly against Gilgamesh and Saber, though Mr. Urobuchi would not summon any of them himself, preferring to summon Archer instead. His writing process is quite different between light novels, video games, and television. He said that each game is like writing 10-20 books due to the amount of branching content they need, while the television shows have mostly involved coming up with the skeleton of the plot while others fill in the various holes for recording and animating.
When writing all of his characters, Mr. Urobuchi said that he likes trying to incorporate a little bit of himself into each of them. He can identify with them a little bit and it makes it easier to write for them. He also feels a little bit guilty about making the cute characters in Madoka cry. Despite the cute character work in Madoka, Mr. Urobuchi has been a fan of the horror works of H.P. Lovecraft since junior high school. With all of his works being produced by different studios, he has had to find a consensus with each new teams, but he said that he has very much enjoyed that process. the panel ended with Mr. Urobuchi thanking all of his American fans for supporting the things he has worked on and allowing him to get more work.