Volume two of Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice dived into the darker side of things, featuring stuff that could have easily been written by Gen Urobuchi. Of course, volume three is going to continue with that, so let’s take a look to see how Kazumi reacts to the truth about witches, as well as the Pleiades Saints. Once again, this post will most likely contain spoilers, potentially for both Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice and Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Just like volume two before it, volume three has a total of five chapters. This particular volume covers Kazumi’s past, and how she and the other Pleiades Saints came to be Magical Girls.
To kick things off, the blurb – which contains spoilers: As her teammates look on in horror, Niko succumbs to the taint that has overwhelmed her soul gem and she transforms into a terrifying witch. But there is little time for the Pleiades Saints to grieve – this new witch has gone on the attack! Left with no alternative, Mirai strikes down her friend to save the rest of the girls. Is there any power that can save the Magical Girls from their fate?
Chapter nine, ‘Freezer’, opens with the Pleiades Saints fighting the witch that sprung up at the end of the previous volume, as well as Kazumi almost falling into despair as she realises what a Magical Girl’s fate ultimately is.
However, the one who transformed into a witch actually returns, completely healthy – there’s more to her powers than previously explained. This allows the Pleiades Saints to explain their role as Magical Girl hunters to Kazumi, by showing her the Freezer from the chapter title.
‘Chi-Chin Purin’, chapter ten, features the Pleiades Saints explain how they reject the Magical Girl system and the measures they have taken are in order to prevent any new witches from appearing. They also hope to find a way to turn the Magical Girls back into normal humans.
The rest of the chapter reveals how the Pleiades Saints almost succumbed to despair, with a flashback for each one. There are some tragic pasts to be found in there, though I suppose that is par for the course.
The eleventh chapter, ‘Dead or Rice’ shows Kazumi’s first meeting with the Pleiades Saints, saving them from their despair. What we learn here is that Kazumi was a Magical Girl before any of the other Pleiades Saints.
Then we have a flashback within a flashback; this one tells how Kazumi herself came to be a Magical Girl.
Turns out she was saved from a witch by none other than Mami Tomoe – this links the story with Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with some solid evidence that they take place in the same world. Interestingly enough, it is Juubey who accompanies Mami, rather then Kyubey as one might expect
Chapter twelve, ‘Pleiades’, opens with Kazumi forming a contract with Juubey. The Kazumi-centric flashback ends, but we still find ourselves in the middle of the first one. The remaining Pleiades Saints make the decision to become Magical Girls.
We also learn that Kazumi was inspired by Mami to call out her attacks in gratuitous Italian, something she insists that all the Pleiades do – a small, funny moment in amidst all the tragedy we’ve just experienced.
We also see Kazumi getting close with Saki, something that doesn’t go unnoticed by one of her companions.
Of course, becoming Magical Girls also means discovering their ultimate fate, and Juubey is the one to confirm this to the Pleiades – he gives a speech that sounds a lot more like Kyubey.
Turns out he was a lot more like that, until Umika rewrote his memories and forced him to work solely for the Pleiades Saints. The flashback ends, and so does the chapter.
The thirteenth chapter closes out the third volume, and is called ‘Malefica Farce’. Things take quite a turn here, and we also learn that Saki loves Kazumi – hey, it’s a Magical Girl thing, gotta have the yuri.
An attempt is made of Kazumi’s life in this chapter, though ultimately she is taken the the culprit responsible who actually has more truths to reveal to her. There’s more to Kazumi’s origins than previously revealed, and it’s a heck of a revelation. To say any more would be a huge spoiler, so if you want to find out, I recommend reading the manga yourself.
So if you thought volume two had some major revelations, this third volume is practically mind-blowing. This marks a point that really sets this side story apart from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, though we still have the reactions to finding out about the connections between Magical Girls and witches.
Learning about the pasts of the Pleiades Saints is nice as well, even if it is done in quick succession for each character in the space of a single chapter – still, there’s some real heartbreaking moments to be found there. The flashbacks aren’t the only tragic parts, though… and we still have plenty more heartbreak, tragedy and such to look forward to in volumes four and five…