Read: 21st November 2016
Spoilers in review: Not if you’re caught up with the franchise up to this point, yes otherwise
This volume serves as a prequel to the original Puella Magi Oriko Magica series, which is itself set in an alternate timeline of the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica. So if you’re not familiar with either of those things, you are probably not going to understand this book. Go check out the originals first.
If you are familiar with both of these things, then this is a great way to bridge the gap between when Oriko first makes her contract, and when Oriko Magica properly begins. Mura Kuroe’s art style has become less angular than it was, which is an improvement.
I do have a couple of complaints though. The first is to do with the cover. All of the rest of the manga volumes set in the Puella Magi universe have white spines, regardless of what the fronts look like (with the obvious exception of Homura Tamura, which is a parody anyway). This makes them uniform and quite pleasing to look at when you have a large collection. This volume has a pink spine, which completely ruins the pattern. In my opinion, it’s not even a nice enough shade of pink to justify it. But this is a purely cosmetic issue, which hasn’t affected my rating at all.
What has affected the rating, though, is the massive continuity error.
When dealing with alternate timelines, it can be a little confusing when trying to figure out what’s correct where. But the issue I have does not stem from timeline trouble. There is another prequel, set before this one, that was included in Extra Story called Noisy Citrine which focuses on Kirika, her wish, and her life in the few days after making it. Throughout this she is clearly shown to know why she made her wish and, by extension, know who Oriko is so there is no good reason for her not to in Sadness Prayer. The plot making sense was sacrificed for the sake of an unnecessary fight scene, which is really annoying. It’s possible that this will be explained and/or fixed in the second volume when it’s released in English, but until then it’s an irritating continuity error that prevents this from getting five stars.
For the most part, I enjoyed reading this volume. Seeing the Oriko girls getting annoyed with Kyubey is always entertaining. I liked the character of Komaki, and Kirika’s reaction to killing someone for the first time was very well done. If you liked the anime and original Oriko Magica series then I recommend reading this series as well.
Review originally written in 2016