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Puella Magi Suzune Magica: The Complete Omnibus Edition Manga Review

4 min read

If you haven’t already been emotionally destroyed by Madoka Magica, the manga Gods have given you another chance!

Creative Staff:
Magica Quartet
Artist: Gan
Translator: Su Mon Han
Letterer: Xian Michele Lee, Abigail Blackman 

What They Say:
READ THE FULL STORY OF SUZUNE MAGICA IN THIS COMPLETE OMNIBUS! Suzune Amano lives an extraordinarily normal life as a middle school student by day and…magical-girl assassin by night?! When a group of four magical girls begins investigating the serial murders in their city, they soon find themselves Suzune’s next targets! But what motivates Suzune to hunt both witches and magical girls alike?

I’m a little worried about the consequences of a series like Puella Magi Suzune Magica existing in the marketplace. Fans of the parent series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, already know what to expect: Darkness and death at every turn. However, some manga fans who are totally new to the Puella Magi series are going to see the smiling girls on the cover of Suzune and buy it, expecting an upbeat, shiny magical girl experience. These people are going to have a bad time and will probably need some serious aftercare.

It’s not that PMSM is bad; it’s very well done. It’s just that this story is so dark, it’s going to scare off a lot of readers. In some respects, it even outdoes its predecessor in that regard. In the original PMMM anime and manga, while it was dark from early on, we had our protagonist, Madoka, to hang onto as our focal point: someone who was an ordinary everygirl who reacted pretty much the way any sane person would to the carnage going on around her. In this manga, Suzune is a serial killer (which is not a spoiler, by the way; they tell you that on the back cover!) The other four magical girls in the story fulfill the vacant function of likable protagonists to some extent, but we don’t have enough time to get to know them very well.

There isn’t enough time for a lot of things, really. Even though this is an omnibus edition, collecting all three volumes of PMSM and a heavy brick of a book, it feels a lot like a fast-forward version of the core Madoka story. Most of the plot twists will be very familiar to Madoka fans, and it doesn’t take long at all for the bodies to start dropping. Kyubey, the disarmingly cute yet deliciously evil mascot character, has his little script to follow; he doesn’t have any new tricks up his sleeve this time around. For a title that’s presumably meant to appeal to existing fans of the series, there just isn’t enough new content here.

It might be surprising and fresh to newcomers to the Puella Magi world (assuming they aren’t traumatized, as I speculated above), but there’s a problem: for a new fan, there’s no reason to recommend this over the original PMMM story, either in anime or in manga form. Though this manga does manage to keep us guessing with its core question of why Suzune is killing other magical girls, Suzune’s journey is not as compelling as Madoka’s, and I’m’ not sure if it was ever meant to be.

Still, there’s a lot to like here. While the art is never stellar, it’s always competent, and the action scenes (of which there are many) are exciting. There are also some interesting designs for the witches, the otherworldly creatures that the girls must fight—when they aren’t fighting each other, that is.

There is one weird quirk that I have to mention. All the girls have different weapons, knives and swords and such, but Matsuri has giant gauntlets that make her hands look huge. Seeing Matsuri running around fighting with her giant robot hands looks far too silly to mesh with the dark tone of the story.

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair here: I was so enamored of the original 13-episode PMMM anime that I didn’t even want to see the movies, because I felt like the story was completely perfect as it was. My expectations for this series are probably too high. Even allowing for that, I still feel like a little something’s missing.

Summary: While Suzune may satisfy readers who are looking for something unrepentantly dark, fans of the original Madoka series may be underwhelmed—or perhaps just confused about who they’re supposed to be rooting for.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 23, 2023
MSRP: $24.00 US/$31.50 CAN