Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice Vol. 1 TP (Manga)
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Price: $11.99
Creators: Masaki Hiramatsu (stoy), Takashi Tensugi (art)
Format: 144 pgs., B&W, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9-780-3162-5096-2
Age Rating: Older Teen
ICv2 Rating: 2 stars out of 5
As a fan of the original Madoka Magica TV series, I was excited to pick up this spinoff.  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from it but I was excited none the less.  Then I started reading it and saw that the title character spends the first few pages completely naked and realized just how horrible of a mistake I had made.
For those of you out there who enjoy magical girl series but felt like Madoka Magica was just too serious for your tastes, I have great news because this series is all about the same world of magical girls as Madoka only without any of the seriousness to get in the way.  Played up all the way through for laughs, this first volume attempts to make you laugh instead of consider serious real world consequences of making rash decisions.  At least that's what it attempts to do… unfortunately it just never succeeds.
There are certainly good points within these pages.  The character designs (while unfeasibly thin physically) are decent to look at but the artwork plays up the gratuitous nudity far too often.  The title character, Kazumi, spends the few couple of pages completely naked (there's a full spread of her naked body on pages 2 and 3) and later on the book takes the time to break the fourth wall with a joke about the girls being naked for a short period of time when they are transforming into their magical girl uniforms.  Call me crazy but I just didn't find this funny or amusing in the least.  Add in the fact that none of the characters are particularly likable and you have three tough chapters to sit through.
Kazumi Magica wants to take the magical girl genre and return it to its comedy roots.  It even makes a solid effort at doing so.  In the end though, it just tries way too hard and never finds a way to make the book very appealing.
The only really good thing about this one is that at less than 200 pages, it's a pretty quick read so no one has to suffer too long. If you loved Madoka Magica and want more of the same, this isn't the place to look.  Spare yourself the time and effort.
--L.B. Bryant