Welcome to this week’s N00b reviews! This week I am looking at Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica also more commonly known as Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It is interesting to note this is a manga adaptation of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime series produced by Shaft and Aniplex. Also i’m definitely reading something a bit different this week, just looking at how girly the cover of the manga is.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is set in the fictional city; Mitakihara and follows Madoka Kaname, a middle school student and her friend Sayaka Miki. After encountering a small, cat-like creature name Kyubey they are offered a contract which sees them obtain magic powers and fight witches in exchange for a wish granted. The story follows their journey into what it means to be a magical girl and takes dark twists and turns along the way.
After looking at the first few pages, you can definitely tell that the manga is adapted from an anime series with the typical anime art style (big eyes, glossy looking hair) and it also reminded me a lot of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptors Sakura with it’s similar theme of magical girls and cute looking pet like creatures.
(L-R Sakura & Kero, Sailor Moon & Luna, Madoka & Kyubey)
What I liked:
I liked the fact that whilst the series was about friendship and magic it also had darker undertones about sacrifice, jealousy, danger and suffering. The series seems to have a unique mix of cuteness and despair running throughout especially. In particular, Kyubey in appearance is adorable but his personality is scary with his lack of emotions and regards for the girls’ lives. I also liked how Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica was able to appeal to an older audience than a lot of the other magical girl genre manga.
What I disliked:
One of the major flaws of Mahou Shoujo Madoka was how the illustrations became too chaotic and confusing during fight scenes. It made it hard to concentrate what was going on like some other manga I have read in the N00b Reviews series. I also disliked the time travelling aspects as it got hard to keep up with what was going on. It was a nice idea to have time travelling elements but I don’t think it was executed very well.
How does it compare to the anime:
You can definitely see how the manga is adapted from the anime with the cute artwork and psychedelic fight scenes, it certainly sticks very closely to the anime for references. For the first couple of episodes, Mahou Shoujo Madoka appear to be typical of a magical girl series like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura with comedic moments between friends, dream sequences and cute creatures. However none of the Puella Magi in the series attack with rods or elements of nature or other cute stuff – they attack with guns, swords, spears, and similar weapons which hints at the darker side of the show.
The thing that really sets the series apart from a lot of other anime and makes it truly unique is the fact that there is very little filler and the story is nicely wrapped up in 12 episodes rather than a cliffhanger or weird finishing point. I liked how it also leaves itself open to interpretation, so even after you finish the series you still have something to think about.
Appearances really can be deceiving, Mahou Shoujo Madoka personifies this message. From the first impressions I thought this manga would be girly and pretty and nothing drastically bad would happen, oh how wrong I was! It definitely takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and you really feel for the girls that become Puella Magi without understanding the sacrifices they have to make to fulfill their wishes. I enjoyed it so much I am contemplating on whether or not I want to read the Mahou Shoujo Oriko Magi the spin off manga series focusing on Oriko and Kyoko but I don’t want to be disappointed with it compared to the original series.
Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.