Manga Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Volume One

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Volume One is a manga with the story by Magica Quartet and the art by Hanokage; the manga is based on the anime of the same name. This volume was released in North America by Yen Press in 2012. The series is rated “OT” for older teens; from what I’ve read and from what I know about the anime, I would agree with this rating.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Volume 1
Written by: Magica Quartet
Publisher: Houbunsha
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 29, 2012

The main character of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a middle school student named Madoka Kaname. One night, she has a dream where she sees a girl in a battle, and a creature tells Madoka that she has the ability to change destiny by making a contract with it to become a magical girl. Madoka wakes up before the dream can go any further.

When Madoka goes to school, a girl named Homura Akemi transfers into her class, and Madoka instantly recognizes Homura as the girl from her dream. After school, Madoka tells her friends Sayaka and Hitomi about her dream, but they don’t take it very seriously.

While Madoka and Sayaka are at a music shop, Madoka hears a voice calling to her. When Madoka follows the voice, she finds the creature she saw in her dream; the creature is injured. Madoka then sees Homura, and Homura encourages Madoka to stay away from the creature; it’s obvious that Homura is the one who injured the creature. Sayaka suddenly appears to rescue Madoka and the creature, and the three of them escape. They encounter another girl named Mami Tomoe, a magical girl fighting against witches. Mami heals the creature and introduces it as Kyubey. Madoka and Sayaka are taken aback when Kyubey asks them to make a contract and become magical girls. By making a contract, each girl would get a soul gem and must fulfill a duty to battle the witches; in exchange, Kyubey can fulfill one wish that the girl wants.

After this setup, the story starts focusing on Mami teaching Madoka and Sayaka about being a magical girl, as well as providing some character development for both Mami and Sayaka. Madoka also keeps trying to figure out what her one wish should be if she decides to make a contract with Kyubey and become a magical girl. Near the end of the volume, there were a couple of major developments in the story that ended up taking me by surprise; these events also made me interested in trying to read more of the series at some point in order to find out how these events will affect the progression of the overall story.

My first exposure to Puella Magi Madoka Magica was watching the first episode of the anime series on Crunchyroll. That first chapter of the manga basically covered the first episode of the anime series, so everything past that point was new to me. From what I remember from watching the first episode of the anime, it appears that only minimal changes were made between the episode and the first chapter of this volume.

After watching the first episode of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime, I realized at that point that the series wasn’t just another “turning the magical girl genre on its head” show; where most shows in that vein accomplish that by utilizing comedy, this series seemed like it would accomplish the same goal on a more serious note. Now that I’ve also read the first volume of the manga, it appears that my initial assessment after watching the anime is on the right track. I have to say that at this point, the manga has done a great job of capturing the tone and feel of the anime series. This is true for both the storytelling aspect, as well as the look and feel of the art. The appearance of the characters in the manga seems to be trying to stay true to how they looked in the anime source material.

After watching the first episode of the series, I thought that Puella Magi Madoka Magica showed a lot of promise. I also feel the same way after reading through the first volume of the manga.

If you’re a fan of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime, I would recommend giving the manga a try. I’d also recommend this manga series to readers who enjoy stories that appear to be deconstructing the magical girl genre.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Puella Magi Madoka Magica Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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