It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about manga, but I’ve found some time to schedule one. I’ll be focusing on is the fifth spin-off manga in the Puella Magi franchise, Puella Magi Oriko Magica: Sadness Prayer.
Sadness Prayer is the prequel to Puella Magi Oriko Magica. My thoughts on volume 1, volume 2 and Extra Story can be found by clicking the respective links.
Puella Magi Oriko Magica: Sadness Prayer was illustrated by Mura Kuroe, and originally serialised in Manga Time Kirara Magica from November 8th 2013. Two collected volumes have been released so far, though at the time of writing only the first is available in English. The second one is due for release in February 2017.
This first volume contains seven chapters.
We start with the blurb, as normal:
Oriko Mikuni was the most admired girl in school until tragedy struck. Now as a magical girl, she’s found her purpose in life. Her new power has set her on a path that will require her to weigh the value of one life against many. Are the people who destroyed her father even worth saving? Are her gossiping classmates? Does their salvation justify the spilling of innocent blood?
Chapter 1, ‘Is This Actually the Right Thing?’, begins with Oriko making her wish to become a magical girl – her desire is to know her purpose in life. This wish grants her a power that allows her to glimpse into the future, and what she sees is a grim fate indeed. However, she believes it’s one that can be prevented if she stops a certain someone from becoming a magical girl.
We are also introduced to Komaki Asako, who can’t stand the girls at school talking behind Oriko’s back. She’s more upfront with her approach. It also turns out she’s a magical girl, revealed when she saves Oriko from a witch’s ward.
Komaki reveals her existence as a magical to Oriko in chapter 2, ‘I Won’t Meet Up With That Girl’. She tells Oriko that she shouldn’t become a magical girl, but unbeknownst to Komaki it’s too late. She also mentions a magical girl who hunts other magical girls.
Oriko goes on a witch hunt, and soon meets the magical girl that Komaki warned her about. Those who are familiar with Puella Magi Oriko Magica will recognise her as Kirika Kure.
Oriko fights Kirika in chapter 3, ‘Just Venting Some Frustration’. During their fight, Kirika reveals that she can’t remember the wish she made to become a magical girl.
Ultimately, Oriko’s power of foresight wins out over Kirika, and she properly introduces herself to her defeated foe and tells her that she wants to make her a piece in her game.
This chapter also shows a flashback, where a young Oriko could only feel distrust towards her uncles and their cold eyes that made it seem like they wanted to kill her father.
In chapter 4, ‘This Is My Entire Purpose In Life’, Oriko coincidentally meets with her uncle. She utterly despises him, and almost doesn’t lift a finger when she sees a witch’s kiss on his neck. However, Kirika’s arrival snaps Oriko out of that. She strengthens her resolve to save the world, even the people who seemingly don’t deserve to be saved.
Komaki’s friend, Akira Namekata, meets with Komaki’s sister, Koito Asako in chapter 5, ‘I’ll Do What Magical Girls Do’. Koito is concerned about Komaki going out late at night, so Akira volunteers to look into it for her.
Akira notices that Komaki is the same as usual, except for her not picking a fight with Oriko when they cross paths.
This chapter ends with Komaki fighting a witch, before Kirika appears before her.
Akira searches for Komaki in chapter 6, ‘Just This Once, I’ll Go All Out’, and ends up stumbling upon her fighting Kirika.
Elsewhere, Oriko has a vision of the girl she needs to kill to save the world – but she also sees her own demise. She realises that this means there will be at least two people she needs to kill.
Back at the scene of the Komaki vs. Kirika fight, Akira ends up accidentally calling Koito. She ends up throwing all caution to the wind (and her phone to the floor), and rushes towards Komaki in an attempt to help her.
Chapter 7, ‘Don’t Be Crushed Under the Weight of Sins’, takes place some time after the previous chapter with Kirika in Oriko’s care. She’s in shock from previously transpired events, and her exhaustion seems to contribute to her having visions of another girl.
Later on, Oriko goes out hunting witches and Kyubey reveals that a normal girl and a magical girl were murdered. Oriko puts two and two together, and decides that Kirika may not be suitable as a game piece as she had thought.
At the end of the chapter, Oriko discovers just who the victims of the murder were.
The volume ends with an unknown magical girl expressing an interest in taming the magical girl who murders magical girls.
Being set before Puella Magi Oriko Magica, this series gives us a greater glimpse into what kind of people Oriko and Kirika are, as well as delving into the former’s history.
I did quite like the action scenes in this manga – Oriko’s fight against Kirika showed some inventive use of her foresight, whilst Kirika vs. Komaki was a more typical fight.
It’s also nice to have a protagonist who already knows the truth behind magical girls and witches, and thus we avoid the repetition of that revelation which does happen to occur in at least a couple of other Puella Magi spin-offs.
Intrigue for the next volume has been set up with the introduction of a new magical girl at the end, and we have yet to properly see how Oriko will react to discovering just who was murdered.