Magical powers, bow-filled outfits and hair, and a small, flying creature to overlook the protagonist—all common things found in your usual magical girl series. Destructive punches and kicks, chain-smoking pack after pack, and rage-filled attitudes with the dirty language—things usually seen in a gritty action series. Ever seen what it’s like when there’s a magical girl who loves punching things through walls, doesn’t like going to class, and can burn out a cigarette with a single pull?
That’s what Machimaho does.
Following the life of Kayo Majiba, an obvious delinquent who constantly needs a smoke, Machimaho blends the two different genres together. After a random encounter with a mythical creature, who’s job is to monitor the appearance of the Atasunmo, evil creatures who love to feast on the negative energy of others, Kayo must now take up role of protecting the universe from these evil beings. However, being the delinquent that she is, Kayo doesn’t care about any of this.
Both the art and story were done by Souryu, and publishing by Seven Seas Entertainment. Through the use of dynamic angles, detailed expressions and constant action to keep the reader’s attention, Souryu gave a great first volume. Across the first few chapters, we are introduced to a small cast of characters who each have a unique personality that either provides comedic relief, helps establish the overall story, or even helps add to the dramatic and over-the-top fight scenes. We’re given a small glimpse into Kayo’s schooling and her home life, which is anything but the ordinary life a high school student should want or have.
The art style is also a very good strong point. In casual scenes there are moments when a character loses their temper, and the detail, and sometimes over-exaggerated expression that are use are either scary or hilarious, based on the emotion being shown—Kayo’s face can get pretty terrifying. But when the fight scenes happen, that’s when the art is at its best. There’s extra emphasis when Kayo sends her fist flying into an enemy, forcing them to go through the walls of a building. Seeing the crater left behind in an enemy’s head and the destructive power of what they’re capable of is very well detailed; of course, that if they manage to live through Kayo’s fists and heel kicks.
Besides having a powerful art style, the dialogues and interactions between characters are actually well thought out. Although it may seem like everything just has some kind of rage or anger behind it, there are parts where we learn more about each character’s thought process instead of just seeing what they do. Well, aside from the use of panty shots after Kayo kicks or gets caught in an explosion, which I personally don’t mind, as some of the poses she’s in are pretty funny. Aside from the main story, there are single page little side stories after each chapter, focusing more on Kayo’s off time, a nice little touch in between fight scenes.
On the surface of the story, Machimaho will come across as a renegade magical girl story, which is totally fine. But do keep in mind, it’s not Sailor Moon or Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica; right of the back, that’s noticeable. Souryu took a popular theme and put a new spin on it, and it’s pretty solid. And after reading it all the way through, to the introduction of Kayo’s potential rival, I can’t wait to see how much more ass she’ll be kicking.
Want to read it for yourself? Machimaho is currently out in print and digital copies on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major book retailers.