|Japanese Name||牧 カオル (Maki Kaoru)|
|Weapon||Football boots, short staff with circular top|
"I'm aiming to be Team Japan's ace and wear '10' on my jersey!" - Kaoru Maki, Chapter 1.
Kaoru Maki (牧 カオル Maki Kaoru) is a major character in Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice.
An athletic football (soccer) player, she lives with her two friends, Kazumi and Umika while their parents are working overseas. She acts as an older sister figure, taking good care of things. She is a magical girl, and is a member of the Pleiades Saints. She tells Kazumi she wished for a strong, healthy body that would always let her play football, but her actual wish was to help the people hurt in the same soccer match as her. The reason for this discrepancy is unknown.
Kaoru is the brawn of the three, though it's unknown how she acts within the Pleiades. She is strong-willed. Even though she wants to become a great football player she merely wished for a strong body so she could always play, as she wants to do it with her own ability.
Kaoru has so far only appeared in Kazumi Magica.
Her first appearance was at the mall where Kazumi was being traded for a bomb. With few seconds left until detonation, she attempted to save the day by sending the bomb flying to the ceiling with a powerful kick: however, the bomb was a mere dud. After getting reacquainted with Kazumi, she and Umika led her to their house. While she was out, Kazumi met and fought the police detective from earlier, arriving just after the end of the battle.
The next day, she explains to Kazumi how Umika's writer's blocks work and how to handle her reactions, and later she and Umika showed their own powers to Kazumi. They fight against another pseudo-witch, which is briefly seen with a mysterious magical girl.
Later they fight a "real" witch, but due to a mistake by Kazumi, she is nearly devoured by the witch. She is saved at the last second by Umika's barrier, but the witch ends up fleeing with both of them inside. Kazumi meets the remaining Pleiades, and they engage in a mad rush to save the two before Umika's barrier collapses. They arrive just in time to save them both.
While they celebrate their victory, they are attacked by the mysterious magical girl from earlier, Yuuri. She kidnaps Kazumi, and orders them to go to the Asunaro Dome if they want Kazumi back. They head there, but due to a force barrier, they can do nothing but watch as Kazumi is implanted with an Evil Nut.
However, Kazumi is able to free herself, and engages Yuuri. However, over the course of the battle, Yuuri becomes a witch. Along with the other Pleaides, Kaoru is trapped on a cross in the witch's barrier, and is enveloped in thorny vines.
The magical girls are then shown a vision of the witch's past as Airi. After that, Kazumi falls under the influence of the Evil Nut and breaks free. However, she is unwilling to fight the witch and even attempts to change her back. Saki then shoots the witch, freeing Kaoru and the other Saints. They then attack the witch as they explain to Kazumi that they have no choice but to kill her. Kaoru is seen crying during this sequence. Finally Kazumi delivers the final blow, saying she wishes to share this burden with her friends. Later, Kaoru and Umika walk home with Kazumi. Kazumi then tells them to go on ahead, as she wishes to be alone.
Still later, Kaoru is seen with Saki, Satomi, and Mirai confronting a magical girl named Sumire Akane (it's unclear if Umika or Niko are also present). Sumire recognizes Kaoru from soccer training (revealing her last name, Maki). Kaoru apologizes and uses a spell called Tocco del Mare (English: Touch of the Sea), causing Sumire to scream. We then see her untransformed, holding out her Soul Gem.
Kaoru appears along with the other Pleiades Saints to help Kazumi and Niko against Ayase and Luca Souju. Kaoru says they'll be taking the Soujus' gems. Saki tells Kaoru not to do it in front of Kazumi, but Niko says Kazumi already saw her doing it. Kaoru says that their gems are at their limit and pulls out both Ayase and Luca's gems with the spell Tocco del Mare. Kazumi angrily asks the others why they're taking the Soul Gems of other magical girls, saying that she said earlier she would bear the burden with her friends. Against Saki's objections, Umika says she'll tell Kazumi the truth about the Pleiades Saints, but is interrupted by Niko's Soul Gem glowing. As she falls over, a witch appears.
As Niko's Soul Gem cracks, we see background text of her thinking that that she'll die without a trace, and she wants everyone to remember. She thinks she doesn't want to kill anyone anymore. The runes coming out of her Soul Gem read "We have no future as long as he's around." The Pleiades are shocked to discover Niko has become a witch. Repeatedly shouting "Cut", the witch turns her hands into a single pair of scissors. Kaoru transforms and blocks the attack using Capitano Potenza ("Captain Power"), which encases her arms in a black metallic substance. The witch fires projectiles from its body. Kaoru turns to the others and tells them not to stand there. Umika encases herself, Kazumi, and Satomi in a barrier. Saki pushes Mirai in, but Mirai flips out and uses her attack La Bestia ("The Beasts"), causing an army of teddy-bears to appear and chew on the witch. Mirai leaps into the air, turns her wand into a giant sword, and cuts both the bear and the witch in half. The witch dies, yelling "Cut" one last time. She drops a Grief Seed (which notably looks different than Niko's Soul Gem).
Kazumi takes the hand of Niko's body and finds it's cold. As she shouts Niko's name, a voice says "You called?" Everyone is shocked to see another Niko standing behind them. Jubey, a disturbing grin on his face, says that the body was Niko's "spare" and "compensation for Niko's contract". Kaoru asks why Niko didn't tell them. Niko says that to deceive an enemy, you have to deceive your allies. Kaoru punches her, then gives her a hug. Niko then says they should cut to the chase. Kaoru tells Saki Kazumi can handle it.
The scene switches to Mirai's teddy bear museum, "Angelica Bears". Mirai says that in Japanese it's called "Ashitaba" (literally "tomorrow's leaf") and says that Kazumi came up with the name. As they walk inside, they step onto a magic circle. Umika holds out her ring, suddenly transporting them all somewhere else. Umika tells Kazumi that the museum was born from them meeting with her. The walk up to a giant door, which opens into a giant room filled with girls floating in tanks. The middle of the room contains a pile of Soul Gems. Umika explains that after they take Soul Gems, they put the empty shells of the magical girls into "the Freezer". Kazumi says that Ayase was right, and asks why they're doing this. Jubey says that it's their response to the magical girl system, which is full of contradictions: Rejection.
Umika explains that witches are the end state of magical girls. Jubey, grinning, explains that Soul Gems are the extracted souls of magical girls. Kaoru admits that they're like zombies, but it's preferable to dying to a witch in one shot. Jubey then says that the Pleiades refuse to fight without feeling pain. Kaoru responds by saying that if they do that they'll cease being human. Umika explains that the magical girls they capture are placed in a barrier that separates them from their Soul Gems and puts them in suspended animation, preventing them from becoming witches. Kaoru says they hope to find a way to completely clean the gems and turn them back into humans. Until then, they'll keep fighting. This is their "rejection" of the magical girl system. Niko then takes out a container that has the Soujus, their Soul Gems, and the Soul Gem and body of another magical girl. Niko puts into two new containers, saying they "will keep on waiting for the prince's kiss." Kazumi asks when everyone found out about the connection between magical girls and wishes. Umika touches her forehead to Kazumi's, telling her to remember everything.
The story flashes back into the past. Umika, Kaoru, Satomi, Mirai, Niko, and Saki are standing on a catwalk. They are all displaying a witch's kiss on their necks. Kaoru's despair comes from when was injured in a soccer game that left her on crutches. The girl who injured her is then rushed to the hospital Kaoru was recovering in. It turns out that girl was bullied for ruining Kaoru's career and tried to kill herself. Kaoru screams when she overhears this.
The girls standing on the catwalk jump off, as a voice says, "Everyone should just die." The voice is cut-off by a familiar spell with ribbons wrapping around the girls, stopping their fall. Their savior is none other than Kazumi, who says, "Ciao! You suicidal girls!"
Kazumi opens up a witch's barrier around herself and the girls. Familiars appear and start attacking the normal girls while Kazumi watches. Kaoru tries to use her crutch to fight them off, but falls down. Umika shields her with her body. Mirai does something similar for Saki. Satomi asks why Kazumi isn't helping. Kazumi responds by asking why they don't want to be eaten if they want to die. She then pulls six firearms from her hat and drops them on the ground. The familiars combine, revealing that they were actually a witch. The girls pick up the weapons, Satomi saying she doesn't want to die and Niko musing she can't run away from guns. They fire at the witch, deflating it like a balloon. It re-inflates itself and charges. Kazumi stops the witch with her cross, saying that "As long as you keep trying to live, you won't fall into despair" and that there's always hope. She then fires "Limiti Esterni", destroying the witch.
As the barrier disappears, Saki asks "What was that?" A silhouette appears behind her, looking similar to Kyubey. It turns out to be Jubey, who says that was Magical Girl Kazumi, who hunts witches. A loud growling noise is heard, which turns out to be Kazumi being hungry. It's revealed that her ahoge was absent in the past (though the symbol is still on her hat and earring-bell). The scene changes to Kazumi's house, where she eats with the Pleiades. She talks about how her grandmother said that people eat plants and animals to live, and so they have a duty to them to keep living. She asks the girls about her strawberry risotto, which was passed down from her grandmother. When they respond positively, Kazumi says that her grandmother would be happy to hear that. Saki asks where her grandmother is now, prompting Kazumi to reveal that she had passed away. She tells them not to worry.
Kazumi point to a book with Umika, asking her if that's the book that plagiarized her story. After reading the book Kazumi says it's bad because the main character wastes food like "The Girl who Trod on the Loaf" (a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen). Umika suddenly becomes animated and agrees, saying the scene wasn't in her draft. She then explains that the rule of villains is that the one who wastes food is a villain and can't be left alive - revealing the source of the brief flashback Kazumi had in Chapter 1. Kazumi says she never heard of that, but agrees. She tells Umika to keep writing, because other than the main character the story was good. As Kazumi goes to get desert, Saki asks her how she became a magical girl.
Kazumi explains she became a magical girl the day her grandmother died. The story flashes back again to Kazumi's past. She narrates that she was studying abroad when she learned that her grandmother's condition became critical. While hurrying home, she ran straight into a witch's barrier. Fortunately, she's saved by a surprise appearance from Mami Tomoe, who muses that she can't take it easy even on a trip. Mami destroys the witch with "Tiro Finale". When Kazumi thanks her, Mami tells her to get going and be careful. As Kazumi leaves Jubey is strangely seen by Mami's feet. At Kazumi's home, a doctor explains that her grandmother only has a few days left unless she's hooked up to a respiratory machine and it's unlikely that she'll wake up. Kazumi says that her grandmother would never want to go on life support. Later and alone with her grandmother, Kazumi starts crying and says that she wants her grandmother to open her eyes, just once more. Jubey appears on the windowsill, saying that he can grant her wish if she makes a contract and becomes a magical girl.
Jubey tells Kazumi being a magical girl is difficult. Kazumi is fine with that and wishes for her grandmother to return to her normal self as long as she remains alive. Jubey asks if she's fine with not curing her grandmother's illness. Kazumi says she wants to, but it wouldn't be respecting her way of life. The contract is established. Kazumi's grandmother wakes up, asking if it's a dream. Kazumi says it's her last dream, and asks her grandmother if she can teach her how to make strawberry risotto. Kazumi spends the day learning cooking skills and advice from her grandmother. She tells Kazumi that people can't fall into dispair as she gives Kazumi her earring-bell; the same earring-bell Kazumi has worn throughout the series. The flashback in a flashback ends as Kazumi says her grandmother went to heaven the next day.
Saki asks why Kazumi didn't just wish her grandmother to be healthy, saying Kazumi is now all alone. Kazumi says her grandmother will always be in her heart, just like Miyuki will be in Saki's heart (Miyuki here is revealed to be Saki's sister). Mriai asks if she can be a magical girl. Jubey tells her she can if she accepts her fate of fighting witches. Mirai says she can accept anything. Umika, Kaoru, Satomi, Niko and Saki quickly chime in agreement. Kazumi cheers over having new friends. Mirai questions the fact that she's a friend, prompting Saki to thank Mirai for protecting her. Jubey tells the girls to give him their wishes. Mirai says her wish was already granted by having friends. Saki suggests wishing for the friends that have always protected her - Mirai's teddy bears. She points to a number on it, asking Mirai if it's her 666th friends. When Mirai asks how Saki knew, Saki explains that her sister did the same thing. Mirai decides to wish for a museum for all her teddy bears. Kazumi suggests calling it "Angelica Bears" which is a pun on Mirai's name and the Ashitaba plant (Mirai's name means "Future Young Leaf", Ashitaba means "Tomorrow's Leaf" and is in the Angelica genus).
Satomi then wishes to talk to animals. Niko whispers her wish to Jubey, embarrassed to say it aloud. Saki wishes for her sister's flower to bloom forever. Umika wishes for an editor to recognize and handle her works preciously. Kaoru wants to help the people that were hurt in the match where she had her injury. Kazumi asks her about her injuries, but Kaoru says she'll just return to the field with her current legs. The contracts are completed, and Kazumi names their team the Pleiades Saints. The scene cuts to the girls fighting a witch. Kaoru destroys it with her spiked shoes. Jubey asks about her strengthened magical girl body. Kaoru is very happy about it. Kazumi calls Kaoru's attack Capitano Potenza ("Captain Power"), and reveals she wants everyone to call their attacks, even recording them in a book. Kazumi reveals that she's following the lead of Mami Tomoe and says she won't cook for the girls if they don't do it. Saki then notices Kazumi's earrings are missing. Kazumi guesses she lost them in the battle, but admits it's okay because her grandmother won't disappear from her heart. Later on Kazumi receives a new pair of the earrings. Kaoru explains that Saki asked her dad to get them while he was on a business trip. Kazumi thanks Saki, while Mirai has a sad or angry expression on her face.
Later, Kaoru and the other Pleiades (except Kazumi) wonder why Kazumi is late, having been told Kazumi was bringing a new friend. Jubey appears, saying a witch's barrier is nearby. They run to Asunaro Dome, where they see Yuuri Asuka transform into a witch. After the battle the girls are stunned. Satomi asks if magical girls turn into witches. Jubey explains how witches are created, and says his job is to gather the energy form the conversion of hope to despair. Kaoru grabs Jubey while he explains that immature witches should be called magical girls. Suddenly Umika grabs Jubey and slams her head against him. A laser fires from her eye into his. Jubey falls down and asks why Umika is looking scary. Umika explains to Kaoru that she rewrote Jubey's memories, preventing him from making contracts. The story then returns to the present. Kazumi says she remembers hunting magical girls after Yuuri, but then suddenly falls over. The symbol for the Evil Nuts appears in her eyes. Satomi looks on in shock, as Kaoru says everyone's tired. Umika leads Kazumi out as Kaoru says they should rest for the day. Saki remains in the Freezer, looking at the pile of Soul Gems. They include two Evil Nuts. We then find Satomi is walking up behind her. Saki asks why Satomi is there. Satomi pulls her hand to her mouth and says, "Saki, let's kill Kazumi-chan." The last panel has Satomi giving a sinister grin.
Powers, Weapons & Abilities
Kaoru applies her football skills in battle. She mainly attacks by striking her foe with mighty kicks. While teaming with Kazumi and Umika, her job is to stun the opponent with her kicks to provide the others with an opening. It is currently unknown how she fights along with the other Pleiades. Her most powerful attack is Palla di Cannone (English: Cannonball), an extremely powerful football kick, driving a ball onto the target with amazing strength.
Kaoru's weapon is a staff that can split into two, creating a ball of energy. She seems to rarely use it.
Kaoru can also change parts of her body into a durable, metallic substance via an attack called Capitano Potenza (Captain Power). In this state, she can withstand attacks that would otherwise fatally wound her.
- Her last name means "pasture".
- Her last name can also be used as a first name.
- Her first name is written in hiragana which has no particular meaning. However, when written in kanji, it can mean "fragance" (薫).
- Kaoru's last name was revealed in Chapter 7.
- Capitano Potenza (Captain Power) is possibly a reference to the American TV show Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
- The note that Kaoru and Umika leave to Kazumi states that they're out dating, but there are no boys around them. Some believe this to be evidence of a romantic relationship between Umika and Kaoru.