107-coverMost magical girls use their powers to kill witches. Suzune Amano uses them to kill other magical girls.

Arisa and her friends Chisato, Matsuri, and Haruka are magical girls, too. Their team attends middle school by day and slays the evil monsters they call “witches” by night. But when they start to investigate a string of local serial murders, the hunters become the hunted: members of the team are being picked off. It seems that the killer is their classmate, Suzune, but why would a magical girl murder her own kind? Suzune claims to have good reasons for what she’s doing, but Arisa doesn’t care; she just wants to stop the murders and avenge her friends. Still, even Arisa will be shocked when Suzune’s motivations—and the truth about magical girls and witches—come to light.

This series has the feel of a slasher movie in which all of the victims have superpowers. In the beginning, Arisa and her friends are unaware of the danger, but they quickly go into high alert when one of their own is murdered partway through the first volume. Their anger, panic, and desperation increase as another member of their team dies in volume two. Suzune Magica features deadly conflict on two fronts: magical girls versus witches and magical girls versus rogue magical girl. There are battle sequences as well as straight-up murder, and though the gore isn’t extravagant, the artists aren’t afraid to spatter blood around. There’s emotional impact, too, as sympathetic characters are sometimes suddenly, brutally killed, leaving behind grieving friends. Periodically, the story shifts to Suzune, giving us eerie glimpses of a quiet, hard-working middle schooler who moonlights as a merciless assassin. As the story continues, we learn Suzune’s motives, which are entwined with the purpose and destiny of magical girls.

The art is straightforward with a focus on action and emotion. The scenery stays minimal and clean with just enough detail to suggest a school hallway or a dark alley. The characters are expressive, active, and easy to tell apart. When the girls aren’t wearing their school uniforms, they tend to be quite scantily clad, whether they’re in over-the-top magical girl outfits or lounging at home in tiny panties. However, no actual nudity appears. Volume one concludes with brief profiles of Arisa and the other magical girls, including stats like height and weight. These might interest some readers, though they don’t exactly promote realistic beauty standards (five foot four and one hundred eleven pounds with THOSE boobs?).

Readers who like high-stakes fantasy action, strong tension, and dramatic reveals will devour this murderific magical girl series. The hallmarks of the Puella Magi universe are all here: flashy powers, skimpy outfits, creepy monsters, and lots of fighting, plus appearances by the mysterious Kyubey, who grants magical girls their abilities. We also get some intriguing background on the way magical girls work. However, this series can stand alone or serve as an entry point to the Puella Magi franchise. Fans of other Puella Magi series, such as the popular Madoka Magica and its spin-offs, will likely enjoy meeting a new set of magical girls.

Puella Magi Suzune Magica, vols. 1-2
by Magica Quartet
Art by GAN
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9780316348850
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9780316388917
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teen

  • Nic

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Wake County Public Libraries

    Reviewer

    The child of two artists, Nic grew up loving art, reading, and those oh-so-special books that combine the two. Nic got her MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her thesis was on the best shelving scheme for graphic novels in public libraries; the proposal won an Elfreda Chatman Research Award. She spends her free time reading, drawing, blogging, and writing fiction. She is a Youth Services Librarian at the Wake County Public Libraries in Raleigh, NC.

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