It’s been quite a while since the previous Puella Magi Madoka Magica spin-off manga, but here we are once again with Wraith Arc by Magica Quartet and Hanokage. This manga is set between the events of the anime and the Rebellion film.
Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the manga for English release. This first volume contains chapters one through to three.
Bound by the promise of a wish granted, magical girls are charged with battling the wraiths that move unseen through the masses of Mitakihara and devour the passions of their human prey. Mami, Kyouko, and Sayaka are of one mind when it comes to fighting these entities, but their task is hindered by squabbles within the group. Mami fears Sayaka and Kyouko will never see eye to eye, even as a giant wraith unlike any they’ve ever fought threatens to make a feast of them all!
Until this point, most of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica spin-off manga had been set before or concurrently with the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime. I believe Wraith Arc marks the first time we get a follow-up to the anime, therefore making it a sequel.
A sequel it may be, but there are some very familiar faces present. For this first volume, Mami Tomoe, Sayaka Miki and Kyouko Sakura play the role of the main protagonists. Homura Akemi joins them a little later on, after a brief appearance at the start.
That almost makes up the full five original girls, but the observant among you will notice one name in particular is absent. The reason why should be pretty obvious, but we do get a brief explanation of what happened previously. Still, though, I wouldn’t recommend jumping into this manga without knowing the events of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime.
Though saying that, this manga does tread some familiar territory. Sayaka’s whole thing with Kyousuke returns. That leads to her bickering with Kyouko a lot. Mami makes attempts to get them to cooperate, but that proves to be a struggle.
Something that is new, though, are the enemies that the magical girls fight this time. As the name Wraith Arc implies, their foes are wraiths. They are creatures that devour emotions, and it falls to the magical girls to protect the people from them. When it comes to designs, I generally prefer the witches to wraiths.
It’s interesting to get a new story that in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica universe that is actually a sequel to the original anime – you know, besides Rebellion. In fact, it looks like this story will be bridging the gap there.
Some of it does feel very familiar so far, though there is a perfectly reasonable justification for that. Some differences do breathe a little new life into it; starting off with Sayaka, Mami and Kyouko as a team is one such example.
Whilst this first volume is fairly interesting, I felt like it took me a little while to warm to it. I don’t know, I just didn’t really feel much from the retread of Sayaka’s arc from the anime. Homura showing up definitely brought me back into proper, though.
So far, in terms of spin-offs, Wraith Arc has a little bit more to do. Puella Magi Kazumi Magica remains my favourite, but we are only one volume in so far. There’s still plenty of time for surprises.
I am intrigued as to where this will go, particularly knowing the events of Rebellion. Definitely gonna continue following this one.