The Puella Magi Madoka Magica Manga is a three volume adaptation of the original anime written by hanokage, with each manga chapter directly corresponding to one anime episode. However, as was revealed by Gen Urobuchi on his Twitter, the manga was being written at the same time when production of the anime was taking place. This means that the manga is based on an earlier revision of the scenario and does not take account to changes made by the anime production staff. All this results in a number of differences between both versions. This page is an attempt to list them.
Neither version completely follows Ume Aoki's original character designs. However, the anime preserves other aspects of them than the manga.
- Aoki's signature "wide-headed" design is preserved in the anime, while the manga designs have more traditional body proportions.
- Madoka's bow is different in the manga, having a more average look opposed to the stylized branch image of its anime counterpart. Her soul gem is in the same place and is mostly the same shape, however it has a distinct pattern covering the gem. There are strings with beads appearing from her pigtails in the manga with none in the anime.
- Homura's shield has an entirely different design in the manga than in the anime. It does not appear at all in Aoki's original designs, where she is seen with a bow, like at the end of episode 12. Her soul gem is found as a diamond shape attached to her hand in the anime where it is an oval on a bracelet in the manga.
- Sayaka's sword is a Western-style double blade in both the original designs and the manga, while in the anime she is shown with a single-bladed cutlass. Also, her cape is blue in the manga while it's white in the anime. Sayaka's soul gem is a crescent covering her belly button in the anime whereas it is an oval attached to her belt buckle in the manga.
- Kyoko's spear is of a different design compared to the anime. Instead of being merely a spearhead, the design of the spear has a cross-like motif.
- Kyubey's manga design is almost identical to the original design, contrary to the substantially different anime design. He is less creepy-looking in the manga, having bigger eyes and showing much more facial expression than in the anime.
- All soul gems are a bright pink in the manga whereas they are respective to the character's colors in the anime.
- Many places have substantially different layouts and designs.
- Witches often look notably different. The common feature is the manga witch and barrier design being less abstract and symbolic than in the anime.
- Details like the patterns on the grief seeds and witch's kisses are different in the manga.
- The dialogue flow is altered. Due to different characteristics of both media, in some moments where anime relies on visuals, manga uses actual dialogue. However, the dialogue is commonly abbreviated in the manga. Only those abbreviations which may alter understanding of the dialogue are listed in the sections below.
- Shots of Madoka running through the corridor and stairs are not shown in the manga; the manga begins straight with Homura's fight against Walpurgisnacht.
- Manga panels are framed in such a way that Walpurgisnacht is not visible to the reader.
- The scene of Madoka waking up is shown before the OP in the anime; in the manga, it is after the title pages of the chapter (which are after the prologue scene nevertheless).
- Madoka's short conversation with her dad, and the scene of waking the mom are omitted in the manga.
- Madoka and her mom's conversation during the morning bathroom routine is greatly abbreviated in the manga. Exchange of current love life gossips and Junko putting on her makeup are omitted. Only choosing Madoka's hair ribbons and the related conversation is preserved.
- Conversation between Madoka, Sayaka and Hitomi is abbreviated in the manga. As Madoka was not talking about love life with her mom in the manga, there is no talk about love letters and alike.
- When Madoka and Homura are going to the nurse's office, Madoka says that Homura is a pretty name in the anime. In the manga, it was changed that Madoka asks whether they've met each other before.
- Depiction of Homura solving math problems and getting outstanding results during sports class is retained only as a single illustration to Sayaka mentioning it during the later conversation between the girls in the cafeteria.
- In the manga, Sayaka, having heard about Madoka seeing Homura in her dream, is almost literally suggesting a romantic pairing of them, which is further emphasized by an imaginary illustration of the two of them holding hands. In the anime, such explicit suggestions are not made.
- The building where Madoka meets Kyubey is much more plain in the manga, and not as dark as in the anime.
- While in the anime Homura is very sparing of words during the chase after Kyubey and subsequent talk with Madoka, she is not as much so in the manga. She mentions Kyubey's "dirty tricks" and uses expressions like "I don't want to hurt you, but if you wont move...".
- Anthonies are more regular and geometric in shape, and have noses and mouths.
- While Mami is having a short conversation with Madoka and Sayaka while still in human form, in the manga she appears already transformed. Likewise, the conversation with Homura after the fight is also omitted.
- Mami summons just a single cannon in the manga, in contrast to her multiple muskets in the anime.
- While Mami doesn't introduce herself to the girls until Episode 2 of the anime, she does so in the manga's Chapter 1.
- While Kyubey introduces himself in the anime, he is introduced by Mami in the manga.
- Mami expresses surprise to Kyubey's intention of making contracts with Madoka and Sayaka. The anime has no such line.
- The scenes of Madoka and her mom's morning bathroom routine, visit to Mami's apartment, and morning at school are intertwined in the anime, while they are presented one after another in the manga.
- The morning routine scene is also significantly abbreviated in the manga, leaving Madoka's question about what the mom's wish would be unanswered. In the anime, Junko replies that she'd "fire all but two of the staff" at her company.
- Mami's room looks smaller in the manga, but has nicer furniture and a "warmer" feel overall than in the broadcast version of the anime. However, the apartment has been completely redesigned for the Blu-ray version (with some changes made earlier for Episode 10) which now looks even more cozy than in the manga.
- In the manga, the conversation about Homura between the second-years and Mami happens before Mami proposing to go to a witch hunt together. In the anime, it occurs at the end of the visit.
- The portion of the lesson shown in the anime is omitted in the manga.
- Madoka's costume designs include a bow and arrow in the manga. There is no such thing drawn in the anime version. However, the anime drawings also include depictions of Mami and Homura. The other girls' reaction is also different - they are laughing at Madoka in the anime, but get "shadow faces" in the manga.
- Sayaka's bat, upon Mami's spell, changes its appearance completely in the anime, but merely starts glowing in the manga.
- Gertrud's design is quite different from her appearance in the anime: her shoes and leg joints are more prominent, her wings are slimmer, her body is more dress-like and her rosebush extends down her neck rather than hanging off her head. Interestingly, this design bears a much closer resemblance to one of Gekidan Inu Curry's original design sketches for her.
- Mami's battle with Gertrud is less flashy than in the anime; the part where Gertrud ensnares Mami is cut out, and Mami's ribbons restrain her immediately after Gertrud begins to dart around the room.
- Mami's final attack is called "Filo Finale" (フィロ・フィナーレ) here in the manga, not "Tiro Finale" (ティロ・フィナーレ). (The official Yen Press translate corrects it to "Tiro".) The cannon she uses for this attack is also much smaller in the manga.
- Mami's backstory and wish are only hinted visually in the anime. In the manga, she gives the thorough explanation and reveals her wish as "Save me..." (助けて・・・). However, in the anime, she talks about not regretting the decision - this line is omitted in the manga.
- The scene of helping the drunk mother and talk with father afterwards is omitted in the manga.
- A brief scene of talk between Mami and Homura is omitted as well.
- In the scene where Sayaka and Madoka find a grief seed on the hospital's wall, Sayaka's thoughts (recalling Mami's warnings about grief seeds in hospitals, and worries about Kyosuke) are shown in the manga. In the anime, there's only a brief shot of Kyosuke's bed.
- The talk between Madoka and Mami about Madoka's possible wish is significantly abbreviated in the manga, the most notable difference being omitting Mami's suggestions about "thinking how to benefit from the contract" and the "Let's get Kyubey to treat us to a cake!" line.
- The second, caterpillar-like form of Charlotte looks completely different in the manga, being more traditionally scary than cartoonish. The shot of biting Mami's head off is also much more gory in the manga.
- The manga ends with descriptive words "None of us understood anything - neither what wishing for a miracle meant nor what had to be done in return...". That line appears in the anime, but in episode 4's pre-OP sequence.
- The entire pre-OP sequence (Sayaka visiting the hospital while Kyosuke is undergoing rehabilitation) is omitted in the manga, save for the last line, which was featured at the end of chapter 3.
- During the breakfast scene, flashbacks of Mami's death are shown in the anime, but are omitted in the manga.
- The scenes of walk to school and the class are omitted in the manga.
- During a scene with Madoka, Sayaka and Kyubey on the school's rooftop, the dialogue is heavily rewritten in the manga. The most significant difference is omitting large portion of it, including:
- the girls' talk about "feeling like in a foreign country" and other lines commenting on Mami and her death
- Kyubey's comment that "only magical girls have the right to criticize other magical girls"
- Kyubey apologizing for getting Madoka and Sayaka involved.
- The end of the talk between Madoka and Homura (after Madoka's visit to Mami's apartment) is executed differently in the two media:
- In the anime, Homura tells Madoka that she's too kind and that kindness can bring her even bigger troubles, then goes.
- In the manga, she thinks "There's no way you'd remember..." (that she was saved by Homura; it is possibly a reference to Homura reliving that in a loop and meeting alternate versions of Madoka, as revealed in episode 10). She then apologizes and says goodbye.
- Sayaka's visit to the hospital begins differently. In the anime, Sayaka tells Kyosuke a somewhat lengthy story about her learning about classical music thanks to him. In the manga, she only brings him another CD.
- Elly's barrier looks significantly different in the two media. Also, Madoka's body does not get deformed in the manga.
- In the pre-OP scene of contracting Sayaka, Kyubey is not standing on any postument in the manga, thus not evoking thoughts about the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox.
- About half of the conversation with Hitomi after classes is omitted.
- The conversation between Madoka and Homura in the cafeteria is greatly abbreviated, which makes the character development shallower.
- Madoka says just "please be friends with Sayaka", without making further clarifications like "it'll be safer if you'll hunt witches together".
- Homura doesn't tell Madoka about becoming a magical girl being a fatal decision, after which the girl -- according to her -- cannot be saved.
- The girls don't talk about Homura having given up.
- In the pre-OP scene, Kyubey's line about Homura "she's definitely planning something" is omitted in the manga.
- In the manga, after quarreling with Homura, Kyoko is seen running up the fire escape instead of anime-style "spear-vaulting".
- Conversation between Madoka and Sayaka about Kyoko is greatly abbreviated in the manga.
- The night conversation between Madoka and her mom lacks the beginning (Madoka formulating the question) in the manga. Also, the characters are dressed differently and wear their hair down, as opposed to Madoka's ponytail and Junko's hairband in the anime. They are also sitting next to each other in the manga, while opposite to each other in the anime. The ending of this scene is also greatly abbreviated, with the line "I can't wait until I can get drunk with you" notably missing.
- A short scene of Madoka doing her homework and being warned by Kyubey is omitted in the manga.
- The talk between Madoka and Homura on the rooftop about the souls being enclosed in soul gems is omitted in the manga.
- When Kyoko takes Sayaka for a talk, Sayaka is dressed in school uniform in the anime, but in casual clothing in the manga.
- Kyoko's retrospection about her past is drawn in a heavily stylized manner in the anime, but in a typical style in the manga.
- During the scene near the end, when Madoka visits Sayaka to go along with her on a witch hunt, the ending when Sayaka thanks Madoka and expresses she feels okay after letting her feelings out, is omitted in the manga.
- The branches protruding from Elsa Maria and her minions are much shorter and less visible in the manga. Human-like form of Elsa Maria is also more clearly visible in the manga, while the Monstrance-like object is nowhere to be seen.
- In the pre-OP scene, when Madoka and Sayaka leave after the fight with Elsa Maria, Kyoko is still in her magical girl form in the anime, while she had already transformed back in the manga.
- Homura's apartment look more normal in the manga - the pictures appear to be ordinarily pinned to walls rather than magically floating, and the giant pendulum is nowhere to be seen.
- The meeting in Homura's apartment lacks the ending in the manga, when Kyubey seems to start understanding who Homura is, and the girls are talking about Sayaka being near her fall.
- Short scenes of the classes, and the beginning of Hitomi and Kyosuke's meeting, are omitted in the manga.
- Hitomi and Kyosuke are just sitting on the bench and talking in the anime. In the manga, they are standing, and Hitomi is seen grabbing Kyosuke's hand with both of them smiling.
- Men on the train are talking for much shorter in the manga. Their faces are also seen clearly in the manga, while only parts are visible in the anime.
- In the talk between Homura and Sayaka, there's no notable difference in words between anime and manga, yet the ways in which those words are uttered differ dramatically. In the anime, Homura is calm and cold as usual, her words apparently being just a declaration of intentions. In the manga, though, she displays a mental breakdown in the end of the conversation, her words emphasized very heavily, her face distorted with an evil grin.
- When Sayaka exits the train, in the manga, there are traces of blood on her sword, suggesting that she has killed the two men - it was also later confirmed by the author of the manga. In the anime, nothing like that is seen, and Akiyuki Shinbo has explicitly stated that she didn't kill them in the anime.
- The talk between Madoka and Kyubey on the bench is much shorter in the manga, with many Kyubey's statements about her omitted.
- While Kyubey showing facial expression is normal in the manga, he is notably showing an evil grin when Homura calls him by his full name, "Incubator". In addition, Kyubey's eyes change and his face becomes less expressive from this point onward in the manga after his true identity is revealed.
- Kyubey's statement about him having many bodies is omitted in the manga.
- Sayaka's soul gem is much smaller and spherical in shape in her last scene before transforming into a witch in the manga. Her soul gem looks almost like a grief seed there. However, the change is just for her final scene - it was looking like in the anime in manga's earlier scenes.
- Sayaka's transformation into a witch is the only occurrence of runes in the manga. They are used in a totally different way than in the anime, though. See Runes:Manga for details.
- Kyubey has a demented look in his eyes and his facial expression at the very end of the manga chapter.
- Madoka is already at the train station when Kyoko and Homura leave Oktavia's barrier, instead of further down the tracks.
- Thus, the scene between them takes place at the train station, which is quite modern, contrasting with the archaic look of the train tracks in the anime.
- When Kyubey explains his goal to Madoka, they are in Madoka's room with a lot of chairs in anime version. In manga version, there are no such chairs there. There's a picture shows Sayaka as an example of Kyubey's energy generation process, however.
- The scene where Madoka attempts to go to school, only to decide to skip it at Kyoko's call, is skipped.
- The location of their meeting is also different: instead of old buildings, they meet by wire wall, probably in an industrial area.
- The sweet that Kyoko gives to Madoka has a Kyubey in the envelope.
- There is a short panel afterwards of Madoka looking questioning at the sweet while Kyoko starts walking off, smirking at her "smooth" gesture.
- Kyoko's and Madoka's talk about Walpurgisnacht takes place already inside Oktavia's barrier, and is intertwined with Madoka's questions of whether she's a coward or not.
- The poster wall and aquarium inside Oktavia's barrier are mixed, and there are no longer reflections of Sayaka's memories on them.
- Oktavia's familiars are more curved and less defined.
- Oktavia does not summon wheels; instead, she exchanges sword blows with Kyoko.
- In Kyoko's inner talk, instead of spinning blurs of red and blue, Sayaka is shown as an ethereal mermaid, who Kyoko chases after.
- After breaking off Oktavia's arm, Kyoko is impaled by her sword, causing her to bleed badly. The stage is broken in this action.
- The Kamijo-like violinist is not shown.
- Kyoko does not summon any additional spears for her last stand: she simply raises her spear to her chest, where her soul gem is situated, and stabs it, causing it to explode.
- One page shows what can be assumed to be the afterlife. Kyoko offers Sayaka a candy, but Sayaka takes her hand instead.
- Only two shield clock time loop restart sequences take place in this chapter: the end of the 2nd timeline and the end of the 4th timeline.
- Past Homura wears white socks instead of black ones.
- In timeline 1, Mami uses Tiro Finale against Izabel.
- In timeline 2, Mami is seen holding Patricia's grief seed in the aftermath of the battle against Patricia.
- The magical girl meeting in timeline 3 has Madoka, Homura, Mami and Sayaka in their magical girl outfits instead of their school uniforms.
- In timeline 3, Homura uses a revolver instead of the Desert Eagle.
- During the sequence in which Homura is about to mercy kill Madoka (with a revolver instead of the Desert Eagle), Madoka's soul gem has almost transformed completely into a grief seed at that point.
- Homura uses a M249 SAW when fighting Walpurgisnacht in timeline 4.
- In timeline 4, the sequence in which Kyubey is in the midst of guessing Homura's true nature in the anime is omitted.
- Sayaka's funeral in the anime is omitted.
- Junko's conversation with Kazuko in the anime is omitted.
- Madoka and her family are implied to be seeking shelter at a school instead of the anime's multi-purpose hall.
- Homura's battle plan against Walpurgisnacht is less elaborate than in the anime, consisting simply of rocket launcher fire and an exploding tanker trailer.
- The manner in which the tanker trailer is used is drastically different. The manga has Homura crashing the trailer on a tied-arch bridge, sending it sliding beneath Walpurgisnacht and leaking fuel; the trail of fuel is then ignited using a flare. The anime simply has the truck propelled into the air at the airborne Walpurgisnacht from one of the bridge's truss.
- The manga also shows Homura literally driving the tanker when the anime has her magically controlling the vehicle while standing on top.
- Sayaka, Kyoko and Mami are depicted as minions of Walpurgisnacht during Homura's climatic battle. This may be significant. Early storyboards for episode 11 had included the three as familiars, but this was omitted from the final episode.
- Homura still dons her magical girl outfit during her meeting with Madoka shortly before Madoka's ascension to godhood.
- Madoka is depicted with her hair down and without her ribbons while accompanying Sayaka at Kamijo's audition.
- The first magical girl Madoka saves from witchdom is different from the anime. This one wears a ribbon in her hair and dons a school uniform.
- Homura wears both of Madoka's ribbons in a pigtails hairstyle, as opposed to the anime's style of a headband that does not indicate if one ribbon or two are used.
- Homura is dressed in casualwear during her encounter with Madoka's former family.
- Tatsuya only scribbles Madoka's head on the ground. The anime's rendition includes a full-body drawing as well as Madoka's name.
- The very final scene has Homura back to her past self (as seen in chapter 10) finally being reunited with Madoka. It is very likely to have taken place after the post-credits sequence of episode 12 of the anime.