N00b Reviews: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

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-l0


Summary:

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.


First Impressions:

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)

e4-manga-costume

mahou-shoujo-madoka-magica-2002221

26

 


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.

creepy


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.

too much


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.

Witches

Witches

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.


Overall Opinion: 

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.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology!

Advertisements

N00b Reviews: Fullmetal Alchemist

Welcome to this week’s N00b reviews! After discovering Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime on Netflix and then binge-watching the first season over the weekend I have decided to look at the manga series to see how the two compare.  Similarly to previous manga I have looked at I won’t be reading all of the chapters released (as I don’t have the time!) but instead up to sensible story arc to finish on.


Summary:

Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa that tells the tale of two brothers: Edward and Alphonse Elric. They are on a journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone in order to restore their bodies after they perform ‘Taboo’ Alchemy to bring back their dead mother. Consequently, Edward loses his leg and Alphonse loses his entire body. Sacrificing his right arm, Edward fuses Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armour. They believe the Philosopher’s Stone will act as a catalyst to restore their bodies.

Fullmetal Alchemist Edward and Alphonse Elric


First Impressions:

Compared to some of the manga I have already looked at in the N00b reviews series I found Fullmetal Alchemist‘s artwork style very cartoon-like but that again made me concentrate harder on what was going on in the story rather than being distracted by the intricate illustrations. This is especially helpful with the story being so complex!


What I liked:

Whilst the story’s tone is quite dark and gritty there are also comedic moments to lighten the tension. There are also very heartwarming sequences that really make me feel and care for the two brothers. I also liked the fact that the villains were named after the seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Pride, Wrath,  Greed and Sloth.


So Kawaii! 

FMA

So, as you know I mentioned that I liked FMA because it was funny I think these panels explain the comedic values perfectly and the ‘sparkles’ in Alphonse’s eyes are so cute, which is weirdly human considering he is basically just a suit of armour physically!

FMA2

He’s just Cosplaying!


What I disliked:

One of the things anime is often criticized for is having too many filler episodes that don’t contribute to the story’s progression, and whilst I didn’t necessarily find this was the case with the manga there did seem to be a couple of sequences that weren’t completely essential to the main story arc and just filling time instead.


How does it compare to the Anime: 

It is interesting to note that there are two different anime series’ based on the FMA manga; one that relies on the manga heavily for reference (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) and one that deviates away from the manga and has a completely different ending (Fullmetal Alchemist).


Overall Opinion:

 Once again, I have fallen in love with manga! One thing I particularly enjoyed about Fullmetal Alchemist were the moments of brotherhood that were shared between Edward and Alfonse. For example, when they are reminiscing about the fights they had when they were younger (like most siblings do, fighting over toys, etc.) or the willingness to die for each other.

Fullmetal-Alchemist-Brotherhood-Wallpaper-1920x1080

This made the characters more believable and as an audience we could really empathize with the way they were feeling and they motives behind their actions even if we didn’t necessarily agree with the method.

Above all I’d definitely recommend giving the manga a read and watch the Brotherhood anime if you enjoy it as it does rely heavily on the manga for source material.


Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology!

N00b Reviews: Toukyou Kushu (Tokyo Ghoul)

In N00b Reviews this week I am looking at Toukyou Kushu, also more commonly known as Toyko Ghoul. I will also be reviewing both the manga and anime series together as I heard that they are very different from each other, so I thought it would be interesting to examine how the anime changes from the manga.


Summary:

Toukyou Kushu is set in a universe where Toyko is infested by Ghouls – humanoid creatures with special powers – that need to feast on humans to survive. The story focuses on the protagonist Ken Kaneki, a human that becomes half Ghoul-half human after an incident involving a Ghoul and then having her organs transplanted into his body. The story focuses on how he comes to terms with his abilities and his cravings for human flesh in order to live.


First Impressions: 

From looking at the first couple of pages of Toukyou Kushu the illustrations struck me as ‘simple’ and not overly detailed, which was strangely charming and made me concentrate on what was going on rather than getting distracted by overly detailed artwork.

simple


What I liked:

I really liked the way Toukyou Kushu made you empathize with the Ghouls even though they were killing and feeding on humans. As I read more and more of the manga I found the illustrations did get more detailed in regards to both the facial expressions of the characters and the settings. Whilst I mentioned earlier that they were simple and made me focus on the story later on, the detailed illustrations later on made me appreciate the beauty of the character designs, especially when it came to the Ghoul’s Kagune (tentacle or wing like organs that spout from the Ghouls back and aiding them in both fighting and defense).

h020


What I disliked:

One of the main things I disliked with Toukyou Kushu was the unnecessary excess of blood and gore that I felt wasn’t particularly needed in order to progress the plot. I found this was the case in both the manga and anime but with the anime it was a lot more obvious!

Tokyo Ghoul Bloody Scene


How Did it Compare to the Anime:

The manga and the anime seem to be completely different versions of the same main story arc. Whilst they both focus on Tokyo being infested by Ghouls and Kaneki coming to terms with his monstrous evolution, the manga seems to focus a lot more on the Investigators in the beginning whereas the anime focusses more on Kaneki and how he engages with other Ghouls.

I found the 12 episode anime series strangely addictive but was highly disappointed with the way the final episode ended. Okay, yes we do get a resolution with Kaneki but what about all the other story arcs? What happens to the Anteiku cafe group or the investigators? So unsatisfying!


Overall Opinion:

Overall I really enjoyed Toukyo Kushu (Tokyo Ghoul) and can’t wait for the next series of the anime – even if I was frustrated with the way it ended. As for the manga, I would definitely recommend giving it a read and I’ll be interested to see if there are any more differences between the adaptation to the original manga as they continue.


Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology!