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Nessa's Thoughts

Just a British girl who reads a bit too much.

Currently reading

The Dead Zone
Stephen King
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady
Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Piper Kerman
The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith
Puella Magi Oriko Magica, Vol. 1 - Magica Quartet Japan certainly like to make spin-off properties for anything that gets even remotely popular, don't they? Alongside the regular Evangelion manga, there's one series where Shinji joins a secret society at a private Catholic school who battle evil angels at night (no, really), and one series which is more like a dating sim.So it doesn't baffle the mind too much to imagine the suits at Aniplex and/or Houbunsha realising how popular Madoka was back in 2011, and capitalising on that. Just look at all the merchandise Madoka has, relative to its young age.Anyway, Oriko Magica is not good merchandise for the series in the least. These aren't the characters the audience grew to love in the anime or the manga. Their personalities are now completely one dimensional, and there's a cold, calculated logic behind every pose, as if it's for maximum profit from the fan-base.This manga is written like an incredibly boring visual novel, with characters 'snapping' from place to place, dropping cryptic hints that don't really lead up to much, and just being confusing for the sake of dragging the story along.The artwork is absolutely dreadful. Sure, it's manga, and sure, not many of us could pull off being able to draw in that style, but Oriko Magica's art just crosses the boundary into really aesthetically unpleasing and tacky-looking. The artist responsible is Kuroe Mura, who drew the end title card for episode 10 of the anime, which also makes Madoka Magica look like it's from some cheap dating sim with an illustrator who has no clue about anatomy.Most of the problems I had with this manga were already highlighted in my Weekly Book Report a few weeks ago, and they still stand. Kuroe Mura doesn't really have much of a clue about anatomy or perspective or any of the other little facets of art - you can tell by a simple glance at Mami here.I have never taken an art class in my life, but I can at least comment on this, because it's awful. Mami's head looks as if it could fit between my hands if I was impersonating Mr. Burns.I know it's manga, and manga doesn't always strive for the most amazingly correct anatomy you will ever see in your lives, but come on. Mami's head reminds me of those little figurines you can buy which come with a handful of faceplates with different expressions painted on so you can swap them at will. Or like one of those Spoonheads from Doctor Who.There's also a small problem with Mami's only having one leg visible, and her pose making very little sense. Is she standing firm against an enemy with one knee bent (look how short her thigh is!), or is she twisting her body around a bit to face the enemy, with her right arm out of view? Plus, her bust is a bit too big. I can't help but imagine Mami with her tiny head not even being able to see her toes over those things.Alright, so that's only one example, but the art is like this throughout. So much so you could give yourself cirrhosis of the liver by drinking every time you see an off-model character design or some really poor artistic choice.The story and the new characters aren't particularly good either. Oriko seems to be this angelic new magical girl who just sips tea in a walled garden and gets her friend Kirika to do her bidding. Oh no, magical girls are being killed off by some mysterious girl, let's instead spend our time worrying about little orphan Annie Yuma, and following this completely jumbled mess of a plot-line whilst pretending there's a point to it, and wave to each of the characters as they make their cameos! Urgh.There you have it. With completely unappealing artwork that looks more like one of those How to Draw Manga guides with bizarre proportions (look at the pin-sized head Kyoko has on the front cover and Mami's left leg looks very wobbly), and a dull, plotless story with no particular reason to exist, Oriko Magica is best avoided by all, even if you're a big Madoka Magica fan. Especially if you're a big Madoka Magica fan.Oh well. There probably are better spin-offs of Madoka than this garbage.I stand corrected. 1/5.(This review is also available on my blog: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/manga-review-puella-magi-oriko-magica.html)