Thoughts on Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Volume 1

I’ve read and reviewed many Madoka spin-off manga, and Magia Record is the next one that I shall be turning my attention towards. It is an adaptation of the mobile game, though I haven’t played it since it is not available in my region – and I can’t be bothered to jump through hoops to get it, either.
Anyways, the manga is illustrated by Fujino Fuji, and this first volume contains chapters one through to six. Yen Press licensed the manga for an English release.

Magia Record Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Volume 1

Front cover of the first volume of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story, featuring Iroha Tamak, the tiny Kyubey and Madoka Kaname

A chance encounter between girls weaves a new tale…
Recurring dreams of an unfamiliar girl draw Iroha Tamaki to Kamihama City, the last place she visited before the dreams began. Her only clue is a tiny Kyubey, which she aims to catch in the hope it will provide answer about the dreams and the heartache she feels each time they fade. Still, even as an experienced magical girl, the witches in this city are far more powerful than anything she’s encountered back home. Can Iroha survive in Kamihama long enough to uncover the secrets within? A new story unfolds in this manga adaptation of the mobile game!

To start, Magia Record is best suited for those already familiar with Puella Magi Madoka Magica – there’s not much explanation of the whole system of magical girls vs witches, so I can imagine that it might be a bit confusing for anyone new to the franchise.
However, we do get completely new characters for this side story – based on characters from the Magia Record mobile game, naturally.
There’s familiar characters on both the front and back covers, but they play absolutely no part in the plot, at least for this first volume. I guess the Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story part of the title isn’t enough to show that yes, this is indeed part of the Puella Magi franchise.

As for the actual plot, the story focuses on Iroha Tamaki who arrives in the city of Kamihama. Iroha is searching for a tiny Kyubey, who she believes holds the answers to the recurring dreams she has been having.
This leads to her encountering other magical girls, both friend and foe. She also encounter Kamihama witches, which are much more powerful than anything she has faced before.

Compared to the anime adaptation, the Magia Record manga seems to be telling its story in a different manner, so it might just be worth checking both out.

This first volume is a decent start, but according to Fujino Fuji’s afterword, the pace of events will pick up in the next one. Considering there’s already been some fights – either magical girl vs. witch & familiars or magical girl vs. magical girl – I look forward to seeing where things will escalate to.

One thing that I’m not quite clear about is where the events of Magia Record take place in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica timeline, or if the magical girls are aware of the connection between themselves and witches.
Going back to what I mentioned about having read and reviewed plenty of other Madoka spin-offs, seeing magical girls discover that key piece of information about their fate has grown a little thin for me at this point. Some of the spin-offs do offer an interesting twist on it, but I have no idea whether Magia Record will do the same or not.

Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story offers an intriguing start, with Iroha’s dream and a pretty interesting cast of magical girls. This early on, a certain character seems to emulating Homura Akemi, but there is time for her character development to take her in a different direction – and the start of that can be seen towards the end of this volume.

It has been a while since the last Madoka spin-off manga, and it is nice to delve into that world again. I don’t think it is going to threaten Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice as my favourite Madoka spin-off, but it is something that fans of Madoka should check out.

About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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