Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story Is A Must Read Manga For Fans

Puella Magi Madoka Magica was an instant hit when it hit screens in 2011. This dark subversion of the magical girl genre hooked fans with its interesting characters, beautifully surreal visuals, fantastic soundtrack and constant twists. It grew into a massive franchise, spawning several anime spin-offs, videogames and manga series. And while all of these maintain the high-quality fans have come to expect from the Madoka Magica franchise, the manga entries are often overlooked.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story is illustrated by Madoka franchise regular Hanokage. It was originally released across three volumes in 2012. Yen Press licensed the manga for the US market and released the volumes in 2014. And this year, they've released an omnibus edition that puts all three volumes in one book, making this the perfect time to dive into the series.

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Madoka Magica Different Story

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story's first volume is an adaptation of the Madoka Magica Drama CD 3: Farewell Story that originally came with the special edition of the fifth volume of the anime. It follows series mainstay Mami Tomoe and is set before the events of the anime series. Mami is a veteran magical girl but often struggles with the work of witch-hunting, especially the isolation it causes. However, when she meets fellow solo magical girl Kyoko Sakura, the pair instantly become friends and start working together. However, things quickly spiral out of control, and several realizations force Mami and Kyoko to confront the dark truth of being a magical girl and consider their relationship.

Volumes two and three are slightly different, acting as an alternative timeline to the anime, following Mami as she becomes friends and partners with another magical girl called Sayaka Miki. However, hanging out with Miki means that Mami also becomes friendly with Miki's friend, Madoka. Leading to Mami wondering how long it will be until Madoka is dragged into their world of witch fighting. Volume three continues this alternative universe and follows Mami as she ponders her life as a magical girl and the nature of the witches.

Madoka Magica Different Story 2

The Different Story is the best kind of spin-off manga. It remains true to its source material while also building on the themes and fleshing out the world. Making Mami into the protagonist is an excellent move as the anime doesn't spend a lot of time focusing on her, so getting to see the world from her perspective is fascinating and presents an interesting new perspective on the show's events.

The artwork is wonderfully drawn, with every character retaining their appearance from the anime. Special praise must be given to the manga's handling of the witches and their labyrinths. The artists were able to keep their strange, surreal and often genre-bending appearances from the anime while still making the actions within the labyrinths easy to follow and without the panels becoming overly cluttered.

If you're a fan of Madoka, then Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story is a must-read. Even though it is an alternative timeline, it presents a fascinating "what if" scenario and fleshes out the characters you already know and love from the anime. The Yen Press omnibus release is also the best way to read the series, making it easier than ever to dive into.

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