Yen Press is releasing the Puella Magi Tart Magica manga in April and, as I am wont to, I wanted to get a good look at the Japanese version in order to compare and contrast. So today, let’s take a brief look at the Puella Magi Tart Magica (魔法少女たると☆マギカ The Legend of “Jeanne d’ Arc”) manga.
For anyone already familiar with the Madoka Magica universe, Tart is an intriguing idea. We know from historical records that Joan of Arc testified to talking to angels and saints, that she was charismatic, passionate about France, driven, and used by every one in power at the time for their own purposes. It’s almost a no-brainer to see her in the context of a “magical girl” focused on her wish, not needing to distinguish between Witches and England in order to fulfill her contract with Kyuubey, and ultimately overwhelmed by her desire.
The story begins with Jeanne and her team of “pucelle” fighting a Witch (and the English) and freeing a castle. We then look back to Jeanne and her sister Katrine attacked in the woods and saved by Lise, a Homura-like girl who is accompanied by Kyuubey. Instantly, Kyuubey pegs Jeanne as having magical girl potential, but it’s not until Katrine is killed that Jeanne makes her contract with Kyuubey. She and Lise set off to fight Witches…and the English.
The story is layered with actual historical events, and chilling narration, such as this line, after Jeanne meets Kyuubey, ” 1425 – A young Jeanne first hears an angel’s voice.”
Masugitsune, the artis,s has a clean, utterly typical moe style. It’s not quite rough enough to handle the horrors of the world Jeanne inhabited and not stylish enough to give us the amazing Witches the medieval mind would have imagined. I was genuinely disappointed that we weren’t getting illumination-style medieval horrors.
Yuri is little to none, but Lise’s attention to Jeanne, despite Katrine’s open admiration (and better sword handling) can be cheerfully misinterpretated any number of ways. ^_^
The thing that is vastly different in this Magica spin off series is that we already know the ending. And it is not a good one. Even if we the reader in Japan, did not know the ending of Jeanne’s story, the manga opens with it in color, so there is no way to avoid the inevitable knowledge of the brutal ending to Jeanne d’Arc’s short, but incandescent life.
Jeanne d’ Arc was 19 years old when she was burned at the stake.
The idea that Jeanne d’Arc, the Maid of Orleans, was a “magical girl” is not only appealing, but intriguing.
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 5 Neither as obsessively Christian as they should have been nor as ignorant, they read like any character in any manga.
Yuri – 1 *Someone* will see something between Jeanne and Lise, because.
Service – Shockingly little, except some moderate, almost coy violence, with the exception of Katrine’s death, which was not subtle.
Overall – 8