So I figured I’d start talking about manga a little more on my blog, maybe even review individual volumes. To kick things off, I’ve decided to take a look at the first volume of Puella Magi Madoka Magica spin-off, Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice.
These reviews won’t be the same as my anime reviews – there won’t be an arbitrary score and I’m pretty much just sharing my thoughts on the contents of the manga.
This feature will be posted as and when I feel like, though I will try to keep it sort of regular… maybe. This is just one of the things that I’ve had planned for a while just to have something to post in otherwise quiet periods of time.
All right, that’s enough blather. I now present to you my thoughts on the Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice Volume 1.
I’ll be providing summaries of each chapter, so if you want to read the manga, or are in the process of doing so, be wary of spoilers. Oh, and discussing anything related to Puella Magi Madoka Magica pretty much invites potential spoilers for that as well, so consider yourself warned.
Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice is a side-story to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, written by Masaki Hiramatsu and illustrated by Takashi Tensugi. The series was serialised in Manga Time Kirara Carat between January 24th, 2011 and November 24th, 2012, and has been collected into five tankōbon volumes.
From the blurb: Kidnapped and stuffed into a trunk by an unknown assailant, teenager Kazumi bursts forth from the confines of the case to discover that she has been stripped not only of her clothes, but also of the memories of her life before the kidnapping. When she is recovered by a pair of schoolgirls, she doesn’t recognise them as her best friends and roommates, Umika Misaki and Kaoru Maki. As Kazumi tries to settle back into her normal life, she quickly realises that her former “normal” was anything but!
Chapter one, ‘Spotabaddynoff!’ introduces us to Kazumi, who starts the series completely naked and confined in a suitcase. Shortly after getting out, we learn that Kazumi really enjoys food and can judge whether someone is good or bad based on whether they leave any leftovers or not.
Also introduced in this chapter are Umika and Kaoru, who tell the amnesica Kazumi that they are her friends and roommates. We learn that Umika is a best-selling author, and Kaoru is a skilled football (or soccer, if you will) player.
Two other characters play important roles for the events of the first chapter. First is Souichirou Tachibana – the first person Kazumi interacts with after escaping the suitcase, and a restaurant owner. He gives Kazumi food and clothes.
The other character is a female police officer – she tries to arrest Souichirou, but Kazumi foils her attempt. Her second appearance in the chapter has Kazumi determine that she is a bad person, which causes her to take on a monstrous form, not unlike that of a witch.
Whilst the monstrous detective is attacking Kazumi, she experiences several memories. Of course, these make no sense to Kazumi (or the reader, at this point), but it does lead to her transforming into a magical girl – she finds the outfit cute. Her body remembers being a magical girl, so she is able to get a grasp on things rather quickly.
At the end of the battle, Umika and Kaoru arrive.
Chapter two, ‘Pop Dogs’, starts with Kazumi collapsing because she didn’t eat dinner. We also see Umika pick up something that looks like a grief seed, whilst watched on by another magical girl.
We get to learn a little more about Umika and Kaoru in this chapter, too – you don’t want to get on Umika’s bad side when she has writer’s block. A shopping trip takes a turn when they encounter more monsters – Kazumi’s second transformation into a magical girl goes pretty well, except for the part where she manages to forget her skirt.
When Kazumi is overwhelmed, Umika and Kaoru both transform and make short work of the enemy. Kazumi quickly recalls their battle strategy, but messes up and almost hits Umika and Kaoru with her magic.
Umika and Kaoru go on to explain about magical girls, and how soul gems are formed when a girl has her wish granted, as well as how magical girls have to fight witches. If you’re familiar with the main series, you know how this goes – though the… erm… finer points, if you will, aren’t mentioned here.
There’s also the small matter of a ‘witch’ being defeated and turning back into a normal person. Apparently ‘everyone has the potential within them to become a witch’.
The third chapter, ‘Kazumix’, starts with Kazumi, Umika and Kaoru fighting a witch. A moment of hesitation from Kazumi results in Umika and Kaoru being swallowed by a witch, leaving Kazumi alone – or so she thinks, until the arrival of four other magical girls.
The four girls are Mirai Wakaba, Satomi Usagi, Niko Kanna and Saki Asama. The four of them, together with Kazumi, Umika and Kaoru are in a group known as the ‘Pleiades Saints’ who hunt witches.
We get to see the Pleaides girls show off their powers as they track down the witch that had swallowed Umika and Kaoru. The girls split up, leaving Kazumi with Satomi – well, not quite.
The Satomi with Kazumi is an impostor; another magical girl who wants Kazumi dead. The two engage in battle, whilst the remaining Pleiades Saints realise that they have been tricked.
Kazumi is overwhelmed, but is saved by the arrival of the remaining Pleiades Saints who chase the enemy magical girl away.
Following that encounter, they manage to track down Umika and Kaoru and eliminate the witch together with some teamwork. They are also shown obtaining a grief seed, as identified by Niko. This is the first time one appears in this series.
Those events happen whilst they are watched by a somewhat familiar, but different, cat-like creature.
So that’s the first three chapters of Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice, collected together in a single volume. There are some extras at the end, with a lampshade being hung on how there is more fanservice than the main series – the very beginning, Kazumi forgetting her skirt, some of the magical girls’ outfits are skin-tight and others are revealing. Still, it doesn’t detract from the story in any way, and it helps set it apart from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
This first volume establishes Kazumi and the Pleiades Saints, and also hints that there may be something more to the monsters they fight. We also get a brief encounter with an antagonistic magical girl, though her motives aren’t made clear just yet.
It seems that all the magical girls call their attacks in gratuitous Italian, with Kazumi’s trademark being ‘Limiti Esterni’. It’s an inconsequential thing, but I figured I’d just mention it here.
This first volume is lighter and softer than the main series, though it is only three chapters in. Still, you’ll find more comedy and fanservice here than Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
If you enjoyed Puella Magi Madoka Magica, then I reckon this is worth a look as well. Overall a light-hearted tale, though there are a few panels throughout that hint at something rather dark to be revealed later on. It differentiates itself from the main series and provides some interesting characters.