Homura Akemi is having one frustrating month… over and over again. As a superpowered, witch-fighting “magical girl,” Homura has a special ability: she can stop time. She can also jump back in time to a specific moment: when fourteen-year-old Homura transfers to a new school and meets her classmate Madoka. Homura must try to protect Madoka from her fate: becoming a magical girl and then dying in battle with a powerful witch at the end of the month. When Homura fails to protect Madoka, she jumps back to their first meeting and tries again.
The trouble is that every time Homura jumps back in time, she ends up in a new timeline, trying to save the Madoka of a parallel world—and some of those parallel worlds are pretty weird. In one of them, Madoka’s friend Kyouko has become a chocolate-factory-emptying super criminal. In another, magical girl Mami has taken over the world, forcing everyone to emulate her hairstyle and hold twelve teatimes a day. One timeline is set up like a series of TV shows in which Madoka and the others are constantly on camera and periodically interrupted by commercials. Some parallel worlds are so bizarre that Homura goes the whole month without even meeting Madoka! How is she supposed to protect her friend under these conditions?
This volume presents ten “time flows,” parallel worlds visited by Homura in her time-hopping quest. Homura is a fairly serious character in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the series in which she first appears, so Homura Tamura is basically an extended joke in which she finds herself in silly situations and reacts with humorous discomfort. However, Homura perseveres, getting creative in her quest to save Madoka and end her own eternal time-travel cycle.
The story has a little bit of cartoonish violence, and a few brief, bloodless fight sequences involving witches. The action is mostly extremely silly: Homura squaring off against Mami in a tea-drinking competition; trying to stop a persistent dog from following her everywhere; or dealing with magical tech support when her time-travel device breaks. There are no sexual elements and no romance, unless you count the occasional suggestion that Homura might have a bit of a crush on Madoka.
Most pages of this volume are arranged with two vertical four-panel comics per page. One or two time flows break up this format in favor of more dynamic panel layouts, but the four-panel comics work fine for the rest of these funny little stories. The characters are sometimes drawn in a sleek, serious style, but frequently become exaggerated, humorous chibi versions of themselves. The book begins with a few glossy color pages of four-panel comics pulled from various time flows without any logical or chronological order which, though funny, may confuse some readers.
Homura Tamura is a strange, strange place to enter the Puella Magi universe. For a reader who isn’t familiar with Madoka Magica or any other Puella Magi series, the premise is not immediately clear. The characters are not really introduced, nor does the volume explain basic tenets of the original world, like grief seeds, soul gems, or the fact that magical girls can be turned into witches. A reader who sticks with it will eventually figure out what’s going on and will likely be amused—if confused—along the way. This series will probably be best appreciated, though, by existing fans of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Puella Magi Homura Tamura, vol. 1
by Magica Quartet
Art by AFRO
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teen