LIGHT NOVELS ARE GARBAGE
Mahouka (short version of the title) was the next in line to be considered the best LN ever made, claims made by the same type of fans who two years ago were saying the exact same things for Sword Art Online (SAO for short). And once again it is proven how the anime fandom refuses to accept light novels as the garbage they are, and on top of that keeps hyping them as masterpieces.
The first failure comes from the premise itself, which keeps telling you it’s about discrimination. For a society that runs on meritocracy, all mages are rare and gifted. There is little reason for the Weeds to feel bad, if they have powers that place them above every other mundane person. And even the most gifted of them, the Blooms, are acting like they are constantly threatened by the Weeds, as if their position can be snatched away if the errant boys try really hard and surpass them. If they really are superior, they shouldn’t feel threatened. And if hard work can indeed make Weeds surpass Blooms, then they shouldn’t have casts to begin with.
The same thing happens with the main character, who is considered to be weak and useless, thus disliked by everybody… only to contradict this statement a hundred times throughout the show by making him OVERPOWERED AS HELL! They try to make him seem like his magic potential is low and thus belongs in the lower caste, because magic evaluations are not done properly. We are supposed to feel sorry for the guy, and cheer for him as he tries his best to improve and gain everybody’s respect. And then we find out he has mastered so many types of martial arts and magical combinations that he can LITERALLY defeat anyone in half a second, while LITERALLY resurrecting and rebuilding anything he likes. He doesn’t even gradually learn most of these powers; he begins right away by having mastered everything. The sympathy we are supposed to show for the underdog is a troll.
This is explained as Tatsuya being essentially wish fulfillment for introverts. The audience is supposed to feel something like this: “We are special and awesome, but our society doesn’t appreciate us, and everybody is against us. So we will show them what we can do, and win all the time, and have all the girls call us awesome.” The problem with this concept, is that there is no build up to the conflicts. If the threats are so easy to overcome, then there is no tension, and no reason to praise the protagonist. He doesn’t achieve something, as much as simply doing it without trying. His opponents never stand a chance, and thus you feel they are the victims, and Tatsuya is the bully. And yet I have seen thousands of people praising such a terrible thing, because it is basically swapping the roles of the bully with that of the bullied, and passes like a twisted type of empowerment fantasy, where you are punishing the bullies with their own medicine.
Even if you try to see it that way, it is still very hard to like the whole thing, since it is boring to have an OP character that wins all the time. Other stories will try to make it seem like the MC can die, or at least not make it seem like it’s all too easy. But not here. Here it is all about Tatsuya doing everything effortlessly and everybody being amazed with him. So no matter what the plot is about, there is no emotional investment, since you know exactly what will happen, and you are simply waiting to see how it will happen.
Even though the notorious SAO shares the same bad writing, bad exposition, bad characterization, and bad EVERYTHING when it comes to light novels, it at least fools you for awhile to think there is danger in its setting. The characters there were average people trapped in a deadly environment, cut off from their house and family, having to fight monsters in order to survive. Mahouka doesn’t have that; it is just a school where pampered high school kids with super magical skills gather and act like jerks to each other, while teachers and parents pay for their rent and luxury. So the only thing you get in this show is a guy effortlessly brushing off a few school bullies, under the surveillance of the teachers. There is literally nothing to feel excited about.
School settings in general are sapping away all tension and ruin the atmosphere. They are supposed to be there to offer a haven and familiarity for teenagers but at the same time raise endless questions of the sort “Why does everything happen the way it does, and why the adults don't do anything to stop it?” And the answer is a simple “because adults are terrible people who create unjust societies, and only we, the hormone-crazy teenagers, can do the right thing by smacking the crap out of everything.”
The first arc is about terrorists who want equality attacking the school. Because equality is evil all of a sudden. After the super awesome protagonist wipes them all out without even bothering to smirk, the police arrives, arrests everybody, and he returns to his normal school life like nothing much has happened. We can’t have him being rewarded, that would end the story. So what is the second arc about? A school contest! We literally moved from a terrorist attack to teenagers playing sports where they of course need to be explaining every little thing they make. That is plain insufferable. So what happens there? They do games for honor and bullshit, and again the awesome protagonist wipes them all out without even bothering to smirk. Third arc, evil China invades good Japan for liberty or some bullshit. The awesome protagonist wipes them all out without even bothering to smirk. Do you see a pattern here?
It is also impossible to get to like him. He has no emotions whatsoever, and the only time he has fun, is when he wants to make incest jokes about his sister. What kind of a madman would like that sort of a character? And apparently the anime community is full of madmen because there are thousands who love this unbeatable incestuous robot.
But wait, there is more to it. This show is supposed to appeal to pretentious overthinkers as well, since there is a lot of technobabble about the magic system used in the show. They have a lot of terminology that is supposed to be making sense of what never makes sense, because it’s magic. And even if you find cool all the pseudo scientific stuff they say regarding that, there are still two major problems.
DON’T TALK, SHOW IT
First, explanations take up a ridiculous amount of time and bore you to death. For a setting that is all about mages and battles, there is very little actual fighting going on in it. Every battle is essentially a few seconds long, followed by half an hour of people standing still and infodumping stuff about what happened. Where is the fun in that? I understand that it works much better in text form, since time stands still when you read something. This doesn't work in the adaptation because we can tell how much time it takes to say something.
And second, even if you manage to stay awake through the explanations, you will just have Tatsuya breaking the rules and doing stuff nobody else can. Why do you think he is unbeatable? Because he uses strategy? No, it’s because he cheats the very system they waste hours explaining. There is nothing strategic or smart about whatever he is doing.
These issues expand like a plague and damage other aspects of the show. Since half of what you see is people explaining stuff, only to be broken ten minutes later by Tatsuya, and the other half is Tatsuya casually wiping out anybody who stands in his way, there is no time left for fleshing out any of the other characters, and there sure is nothing they can do that Tatsuya can’t do himself, faster and better. The only moments a character other than Tatsuya is able to speak or fight, are the only moments Tatsuya is bored, or not around.
The only other character that gets some spotlight other than Tatsuya, is his sister, and only because she is constantly next to him, making incest jokes that are not meant to be taken seriously, but we all end up imagining hentai out of them regardless. She is TOTALLY obsessed with him, repeating the word “onii-sama” at least a dozen times per episode. She doesn’t want any other girl near to him, and attacks other boys who antagonize him. She is also constantly presented as the perfect girl every male would want as his girlfriend. Meaning, she becomes waifu bait, and exists to fuel the empowerment fantasies even further.
Holy shit light novel authors, you are making people who are not into that crap to cringe, you know? I understand that you want your protagonists to be a perfect self insert all girls want to bang. But their sisters as well? And no, throwing in some drama about the magic families treating badly their children doesn’t fix the problem; because down to it we are here to see Tatsuya kicking ass, and his sister stalking him before she eventually seduces him and they have lots of deformed demigod babies.
The saddest part is that the budget is actually very high. Madhouse is the king of anime studios, and yet not even that could save the show from being bad. If you want to watch it just for the pretty colors and the teen empowerment, it is satisfactory on a very superficial level. But if you watch it for any sort of depth or good characterization, you will be greatly disappointed. There is nothing particularly good in Mahouka, and only manages to further prove how pre-airing hype only exists to mutate the reputation of what could have been a forgettable mediocre title, into an abomination we will always be using as an example of what a bad anime is all about.
Hello Mahouka, how are you? Here, sit next to your best friend, SAO. Feeling comfortable enough? Yes? Ok… GUYS GAG THEM! GRAB THEIR FEET! WATCH OUT, HE IS TRYING TO GET AWAY! WHERE IS THE ROPE? BRING THE TAR!
I have read several posts from many websites claiming the main character, Tatsuya, is a cool character. It was one of the reasons that prompted my interest in this anime. It is certain, he is a cool character. He also wonderfully lacks many of the most annoying traits so frequently seen in practically EVERY other anime, such as: perversion, stupiditiy, immaturity, harem, constant whining, being too small or feminine looking (I am not being biased, but this point gets a bit tedious when seen so freaking often), or weak, or too isolated (yet technically he is but his charisma carries him out of this natural tendency), or having annoying best friends or childhood friends. Pretty much all of the most repeated main character traits so boringly seen in so many anime as if it were not some imaginative quality but a standard rule. He breaks the mold from many of the most common lead characters. There is a bit of a bro complex desire exibited by his sister but he never demonstrates any weakness or desire to take her up on her seemingly innocent attempts to make passes or seduction. Then again, Miyuki, the sister, although she seems infatuated with her big brother constantly denies any interest beyond sibling love.
This however is one of the minor downsides to this story. The constant morally bankrupt obsession with so many studios to include overt or subtle incestuous behaviors is a bit annoying and appalling. Given that, this show at least attempts to keep it closer to a admiration sort of infatuation that though hinted at is never delved into which gives it a bit more of a innocent though admittedly slightly unhealthy and obsessive quality. Her love is so strange that she thinks of him as perhaps a adoptive father as well as a brother since she listens to anything he says or even orders of her and she often even waits for his orders. Though you might think this is a bit strange as well, it is somewhat understandable given the distance the two were pushed from their family following a tragedy.
Other characters give it plenty of that merry men feel to it without resorting to the usual but dull set of pre manufactured personalities that most other animes are more than guilty of doing. Though there are still some manufactured like elements to the characters what makes them stand out most is the lack of the most sterotypical ones such as a pervy best friend. Humor and jokes in many animes often resort to subtle or overtly adult themes with strong sexual suggestions or with strong harem overtures. Though there is a slight harem-esque mood presented here, it is only in the sense that his charisma attracts the interest of many ladies rather so much as every female character becoming so obsessed with the main that even sharing him with every other lady would be ok with them. That is not only unrealistic, but more than a bit sexist and insulting to women as well as boring because of how often this sort of set up is used in anime. That is where this show does that sort of thing right. You only get the sense that women are generally attracted to him because of his appealing characteristics rather than unreasonable and illogical obsession with no basis in reality of nearly every human to ever live.
The commraderie in general is also one of the shows strong points. The mood is fairly light, friendly, open, close knit, trusting, honest, and genuine. It feels far more natural than what I usually see in a typical anime. Characters also play off each others strengths and aid the weaknesses more than expected as well which is also a big plus.
1. There is a strong and cool central character who carries himself well and seems to always be ready to address virtually any problem yet he is not without some weaknesses which you also get to see. This makes him a well balanced lead character. He has pretty much none of the annoying stereotype lead teenage-ish male character that so many other anime shows and many mangas have. He is a far stronger, balanced, and true character. All people have their issues but the way things are so often presented as stereotypes all sense of connection to reality is frequently lost, but not here. There is just enough implied subtle hints about the background to give you a fairly strong footing and foundation to understand the story. More clues are frequently dropped through out the show such as when the commander refers to Yanagi.
2. Strong enemies that are usually hidden in a veil of secrecy. This is both a strong point and in some respects a weak point. It is a good way to present antagonists in the story but every story arc seems to follow the same pattern. There are just enough variation that it is not so clear they are really all that similar so it maybe forgiveable. There are plenty of enemies to come across but the biggest and main enemy that is constently hinted at is as yet presented in any story arc as the enemy. Though some clues are revealed as to why and how this antagonist came to be an antagonist, it is as yet unclear completely. Enemies's strengths are usually built heavily upon the discretion of their actions so that they are a good match no matter how good Shiba and his friends are. There are plenty of other types of enemies too most of which are presented in the last story arc. Even to a degree some of his friends are antagonistic at first. And here is another slight distinction, many animes often turn enemies into allies, which is in some respects fine and dandy, but here it is a bit more realistic because they are more like rivals for benevolent goals. Enemies that cross certain lines and turned to allies is a bit harder to swallow with some rare exceptions however, and it is used a bit too often in the same anime story. There is a little of that here but mostly it is as said before classmates who are either biased or rivals for attention and success, so it is not quite the same caliber which makes it a bit more unique.
3. The way things are carried from one episode to the next and one story arc to the next are pretty inspiring. There are a few little points that cross and connect one story arc to the next and one episode to the next to give it sort of a seemless like story telling feel to it.
4. The underrated also have plenty of ability. Nothing strikes a cord quite as sharply for many of us as prejudice and biases. The clash between course 1 and course 2 students is pretty hostile and you can feel the tensions oozing from under the surface from the very first show. The efforts the hero does to alleviate this are perhaps too successful even to the hero's own dismay as he did not want to stand out too much and you are often reminded of that fact. It is not really that he does not want to stand out, but that he can not stand out lest he incurs the wrath of his enemies for which he is not prepared for yet. The underdog angle is always a good way to get attention in a story because almost everyone roots for an underdog. It reveals a realistic social disarray still felt in much of the world. Then again maybe it might inspire hope that someday there will be no prejudices.
5. There is always some great climax to every story to look forward toward. Even before that, the action oriented build up with plenty of intrigue and intelligent tactical thinking plying against the forces of hostiity make for some gripping entertainment. For a man who has supposedly has no emotion to get angry enough to attack an enemy you just know that that enemy has gone too far. Perhaps his lack of emotions is a ploy or maybe he just has reduced sensitivity to them. Whatever the deal is with him and emotions, he is much harder to get any rise out of let alone anger so when you do incur his wrath you just know it will be a force to be reckoned with.
6. Strong support cast. Though some of you may debate this point. The friendly banter bounced around among the most important characters certainly gives off a fairly genuine friendship feel. Though most are course two students, there are a few course one students and staff and others who offer a friendly hand as well. The ninja teacher is probably the most pervy but two things make that not such a big deal. One, is he is a fairly minor character and not so central to the group of the most important characters. Two, he is not a total pervert. His occasional jabs at perverted behavior is not an absolute since he does not take every oppornity to act like a fool like other perverted characters. Maya (I think that was her name), or Shiba's aunt, has a bit too much mystery about her. She is one of the weaker characters at this point because of that. There are only a few hints in the series about who she is and what she is capable of doing. His father is even more of a mystery and shows up only once and very breifly at that. Leo and Chiba are almost like a comedy duo couple with implications that they act like a married couple. Miki and Crystal Eyes are more the shy introverted types and oddly enough their personalities match well to the point they compliment each other. However, Miki's social ineptness mostly comes from a single event in his past that shook his nerves and his confidence and gave rise to the person he is now.
7. Magic is not everything. Though magic is portrayed as the ultimate abilty most coveted by all the world, Shiba for one, shows that magic alone does not mean someone is bettter and that you can succeed even without it. There are more than a few other characters like Chiba that can support this argument. Chiba does perhaps the best job right in the first episode when she nearly beats the crap out of a course 1 student for insulting her. This can be extrapolated to mean other things that people think are the only or most important thing needed to succeed in life such as luck or money. I do not know if this is meant as a reference to that sort of thinking but anyone could easily infer it does.
8. Martial Arts and Ninjas. Not everyone likes fantasy or magic elements of a story which is another way this series stands out a little. Not only are there feats of martial arts and some good action close quarters combat fighting but it is revealed that some martial arts such as ninjitsu have their own form of magic that can be mastered. Shiba is apprently an expert at not just conventional military magic and magic engineering and hand to hand combat but ancient ninjitsu magic as well. This could sure be clarified a bit more however since it is left a bit fuzzy.
9. Cool under fire. Shiba never seems to lose his cool well at least when there is danger. He does seem to get a bit shaken under some social issues which he struggles to understand and sometimes dealing with the finer points of women. However when his or his friends' lives are on the line no one is more calm and collected than he is unless you were using a combat android of some type or some sort alien like a Vulcan. This fact alone makes him a pretty serious and dangerous opponent in any situation.
10. Early notoriaty. This may not seem like a big deal but because things sort of heat up pretty quickly there is little to wait for before the viewer has a good idea what he or she is in for. Within the first 3 or 4 episodes, Shiba goes from a fairly non descript unknown freshmen in the backwater known as the course 2 student body to one of the most well known and admired students in the school. He very early on shakes the very foundation that made the discriminitory atmosphere among course 1 and 2 students possible and he does it with pizzaz. When he is nominated for the displinary committee what he does to disuade protests to his nomination really sets the tone for the story. He stands out despite not wanting to just by being himself. It is almost as if, even if he did far less to get this fame, he would still achieve it. His personality simply clashes too much with immorality and social injustice such that he is automatically squared off against said challenges.
1. The single biggest downside, is the show is and certainly feels unfinished. There are far too many things and questions left lingering not to mention there is no demonstration of the aftermath as might be expected after such an epic type of tale such as seen for example in the celebration scene in Star Wars IV. With a show like this and say for example Nura, I well more than expect to see some hint of what changes among the society, culture, or among friends for the lead character or characters after their saga-esque trial. One of the reasons it is in fact expected is because both shows frequently dropped hints that there were things lingering and it is implied they would be resolved in the end but were not or not yet.
2. Some of the so called logic and pseudo-magical science really makes little to no sense such as the limit of 5 types of command. Not only that but it really does not make alot of sense how or why it should affect any other ability let alone the ability to use other magic. He clearly has a great deal of power, and probably more than anyone could ever guess or perhaps even compete against. This is also more than a bit countered more illogically by the fact that the CAD devices actually are responsible for said commands so, he would theoretically not even need to worry about 5 commands or more or less since the so called devices are supposed to handle it. It would benefit the writers and the audience a great deal more if far more thought than was put into this so that it would not sound like a conjumbled mess of political jargon. Sure he supposedly has several spells memorized but the scale or scope of what he supposedly knows measured against the full capacity of any human brain let alone one as smart as his, fails to balance out with respect to the reasoning for those limitations. Lets say, he has memorized say 10,000 spells word for word, that at least would give us, the viewer, a reasonable baseline that makes more sense than the handful of spells so far implied. Even that though realistically would not necessarily mean the limits would be full proof as logic. But that is way better than the murky understanding presented. If you said no one memorizes spells or maybe only 10, and he has 10,000, then it would have a much better and clearer indication of where he and his skills stand compared to other magic powered characters. Still, it does not add up very clearly that he would not know more common spells or be able to use them.
3. The bro-complex incestuous overtures are another low point though not as bad as some animes. To have such a thing at all is a bit odd for such a other wise good and well balanced story. The other negative point is that it is one of those things used too often and suggests a lack of creativity. We get that she loves her brother but do we really need such obvious over the top lovey dovey eyes or comments or motions every other scene they share? You can express silbling or family love just as well without going over the top or beyond certain bounderies real or implied. Though in this case they are all implied.
4. Some of the sports at the nine schools event do not make sense and seem a bit laughable and haphazardly created such as using guns to play tennis.
5. Tarus Silver's a genius but it is a pen name of not one but at least two people, or is it? This is sort of unclear. What is clear however is that Shiba owns and runs his own company which makes his character seem far more mature and in fact well older than a high school student. This disparity is confusing and nothing is offered to explain this situation satisfactorily. From this part of the story, I get the strong sense that Shiba had either already gone through high school and college or that he tested out of high school or skipped grades. It also feels like he is in fact about 27 or 28 years old. This is not only due to his relative physique but his attitude, maturity, mannerisms, speech, experience, and so on. The fact he is a military veteran also belies the reality of him being a high schooler and yes I have seen underage soldiers in many an anime (which is frankly pretty dumb and unrealistic in many ways), but it is far less likely especially in cultures like modern day Japan. There is little connection to reality when this sort of thing is unveiled. Yes there are and have been child soldiers, but they are usually the exception not the rule and they are pretty much non existant in rich first world cultures like the west and Japan. This is part of a strange system of overfocus on underage people. Bottom line is, he does not seem like a high schooler and nothing about him matches that premise so it feels like the audience is being lied to or played a fool for. They could do much to clarify this problem as well. Perhaps he is like Jon Cryer when he played a witness under witness protection whose life was put in danger so he pretended to be a high school student to hide. That angle or something similar makes much more sense for Shiba and fits him far better.
6. Romance is downplayed too much. Sure this guy is low on emotion though to say nonexistent is probably false despite his denial that he has any or only one. I know it is not really needed but there is enough hints that it should happen that you end up expecting it. It is hard to say who his true partner, significant other, and future wife is for sure, but it appears most likely to be the student body president Saegusa (not sure of spelling). The problem is, it is left hanging a bit too much to get a feel that there is anything there. It is pretty certain that Saegusa at least on her part likes Shiba, but how much is not totally clear as there is just not enough to go on. On the trip to the nine schools event, there is a implied suggestion that she blushes or something when one of her friends mentions his name. I do not need a total rewrite or something so blatant to totally change the genre to romance but if you are gonna hint at it enough to make the viewers wonder, then do not keep them in suspense for too long and throw more hints and a bit more romantic feelers into it so that we do not feel they were only teasing the viewers.
This is so close to getting a ten that it is difficult to rate. The things that hold it back however are the things it gets wrong like the bizzare bro con thing, the half hearted way powers are explained and why he can not do common magic, but most of all because it is an unifinsihed story with far too many factors left hanging in the air. Other wise it is one of the most intriguing animations I have come across. It is good enough to watch several times and still not get bored. Other top class animes I reviewed sometimes have little flaws that make watching them repeatedly a bit more challenging. The biggest thing is perhaps the strong central character and his aspiring character traits seen in few if any other story anywhere. He is almost too well put together and so perfect that you may think he is an illusion. It is not totally true he does have a few human qualities and flaws that bring him back down but you will only see them after you got to know him well enough to be awestruck by all his positive qualities. It is both nice and refreshing to see a lead character that doesn't feel like he fell off the luny bin paddy wagon before reaching the mental ward. If you seen enough animes, then you know what I mean. Alot of shows have too many flaws in the main character that it is hard to like him or her at all.
So, it's been a long time since I did my last review and I felt I should do one series that I got incredibly hyped up on at first, thought this series had the potential to go somewhere, got excited and really intensely, passionate about this series...only to have it fall through the roof, like so many others such as Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online, and the most recent Black Bullet. Wait, sorry, I lied...let's be honest, Black Bullet was never really going anywhere in the first place.
Like some other reviewer has said *ahem* roriconfan *ahem* Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei was an anime adapted from a light novel series by Sato Tsutomu, who shall be referred to as You-know-who from now on, his name should be blighted from the heavens. Of course, I disagree with the aforesaid reviewer that all light novels are crap, there are some very good ones such as Fate/Zero that are quite splendid in all things. However, as I so often disagree with this reviewer, here is the one point upon which I agree with him...the Irregular at Magic High School seems merely like You-know-who wrote this series merely for wish fulfillment, and isn't really getting any sense of any plots or ideas on how to go about this. Usually, as an author or if you're intending to write a book, it is best to bang out an outline before, that way you can work out your plot and see what if anything will go wrong, and fix it in the outline. Trust me, it's easier to rewrite four pages of an outline than rewrite hundreds of pages of books in order to save yourself then.
Because that's what You-know-who would have to do to save this series.
And now on to the review. Schazzam!
So, the premise is based on this boy, 15 year old Tatsuya Shiba who with his younger bro-con sister Miyuki Shiba decides to enroll in one of the state funded alchemical research facilites to work as a state alchemist for a dictatorship that funds the research of its' alchemist in return for their services as weapons....Oh, I'm sorry, it looks I misplaced this synopsis with Fullmetal Alchemist. But essentially insert magicians in the place of alchemist and a highschool in Japan as the site of the magic research facility at the behest of the government, and you essentially have what it turns out to be. Hell, you even have the most blatantly relaxing and comforting sense of persecution I've ever seen. There is this whole conept of Weeds and Blooms, where as the Blooms are the course 1 students who are given actual human teachers and expected to succeed while the Weeds are the course 2 students who have to learn everything from a computer and are never really expected to amount to much...further excacerbated by the arrogant bias of the Blooms that they are better than the Weeds. Now, add into this the mix that our dear Miyuki Shiba (who was a delight until you figure out she's essentially a bolt on for Tatsuyas' prompt) is a bloom and Tatsuya's a Weed, you have the potential for some lovely chemistry and melodrama there. That is never expanded on.
The show instead sidesteps the whole lovely issue of persecution and repression by merely making Tatsuya overpowered as anything. Oh, and by the way, he is technically supposed to be classified and not use certain techniques in public, so why let him outside and why not lock him up in some forsaken research facility like every other sensible government? No? Let's send him off to high school, where it's clear he doesn't have the common sense to keep a low profile and so all in the same time manages to make himself stand out. And he also doesn't really act proactively: he just reacts to everything, like some stupid shounen hero and always manages to show up to save the day with his overpowered abilities, while no one else can do anything.
Also, the reasoning and logic in all of these characters is flawed: if this character is not a cardboard cut out, that means usually they are going to become one or are going to disappear and not expanded upon in any way. They do not act to anything, and it is only Tatsuya doing some rather inconsequential scenes that really tick me off and add nothing to the story.
Several characters also act out of character, and do not progress the story in any way even though what would be a natural reaction for them is not expanded upon.
SPOILERS IN BOLD
So, to expound on my last sentence, Tatsuyas' sister Miyuki is threatened by the Yotsuba clan of magicians whom is their clan, but their collective existence is bound by the clan. So, as Tatsuya is the Guardian of Miyuki and should be defending her with his life since she is his only one true passion, he should be taking small steps right now to fight against the Yotsuba, like a Lelouch and Nunnally sort of thing. Yet, all Tatsuya is content to do is let the Yotsuba run rampantly and control his sisters' life while he sits there and knowingly does nothing. Doesn't make any sense when you square it with this idea that he loves and cherishes his sister above all else, and would do anything for her. Anyone right now would be taking steps to protect her in his position. Also his whole repressed emotions due to brain damage/operations thing would not guarantee him the whole placid as a stone wall thing...he would get embarrassed, flustered, nervous, and all the other regular normal emotions like highschoolers, just without anger, rage, lust, hate, happiness, love, bliss, or pride. So, he would have women he likes or feel the need to date or stuff, just not like marry. Yet, he never shows any of this, which either means that the damage is more extensive than anyone thought, or the author is making an oopsy. I think You-know-who made a big oopsy.
So, at times also you notice they give large explanations for the magic and techniques and science that really disrupt the flow of the story, and make some characters seem dumber than they are jus to provide explanation. Third years in a magic high school should know what some basic techniques first years can use, and not have everything explained to them. Especially the daughter of the head of one of the Ten Master Clans and a Student Council President, for Christs' sake. It's funny how sake and sake (the drink) are spelled the same way.
So, the story is really bad, and doesn't go anywhere, acts like a normal shounen, and provides some lovely horrible cognitive dissonance by throwing in horrible scientific explanations in the middle of a battle scene that disrupt the battle or character development.
Ishida Kana did a wonderful animating and designing these characters, and I applaud their wonderful work they did. I look forward to seeing whatever they do again, and I sincerely hope they do more.
The animation was smooth, clean, and flawless, and I really liked it. However, for all the hyping up of these battles, they felt and looked certainly more disappointing than I felt they were in the light novels, which is always pretty bad.
So, yeah, the sound wasn't amazing. Motoyama Satoshi I feel didn't really put his best effort for this, as I heard the same techno soundtracks over and over often times when I felt a more orchestral or quieter, lullaby like piece would have worked and his openings and endings weren't exactly wowing either. I mean, they weren't exactly Aldnoah.Zeros' Heavenly light by Kalafina, so I wasn't really impressed.
The characters were honestly, at the end, rather okay. They weren't really much to write home about, as you had all the typical types that typically conglomerate within highschool anime, such as the bookish, glasses characters, the outgoing wild tsundere? type, the dull and bland protagonist who is hyped up, and the slightly idiotic muscle for brains characters, and the bro-con imouto. Everything is all there, and any real potential these characters is lost among the sea and waves of pointlessly making Tatsuya look awesome, to the point several characters are forced out of characters to look so.
SO, all in all, the characters could be better, but if you like cliches and the taste of cardboard, which is not all that charming after eating the equivalent in hospital food, then you might like this.
Eh, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei or the Irregular at Magic High School certainly deserves a look if you're down on your luck for want of better anime, but this certainly not the best by any stretch of the imagination. If you want something worth investing time and money in this season, check out so far Zankyou no Terror, Tokyo Ghouls, or even the aforementioned Aldnoah Zero seems to be of worthier time than this. BUt, if you are of the gentler pursuits in life, then I must recommend Glasslip which seems to be so far cultured towards those of the more peaceful variety.
The Irregular at Magic High School is a slight twist on the modified high-school drama. While the series first few episodes do a good job of pulling you in with its expansive world and detailed magic system, it doesn't do much when it actually has your attention. The episodes leading into the middle of the season are bogged down by mostly pointless pontificating by the series many cookie cutter characters.
The characters are pretty generic and if you’ve watched any high school animes in the last 5-10 years you’ll quickly recognize the tropes: the aloof badass main character, the sister attracted to her brother, overly emotional classmate with a friend that shows no emotion at all, etc.
On top of its mediocre characters the series has a severe problem with pacing, the early episodes of the season were very well done, with a fairly even balance between Action, Dialogue and World Building. Unfortunately past about episode 6 or 7 the later two take up most of the spotlight with entire episodes spent just talking.
All that being said, it does have its good points. The series is very well animated (almost suprisingly so) and as I mentioned above, the magic and the world actually are pretty interesting. I keep hoping it gets better with each episode and for the most part, I was disappointed. Starting at episode 15 though it does start picking up, hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
I could write out a long, thoughtful, in-detail review but I will instead summarize to save you time.
After a promising beginning, the show nose-dives into generic wish fulfillment garbage. The characters are flat and uninteresting. The 'plot' is generic and frustratingly bland despite an intriguing setup for the first story arc which is completely wasted and ignored for the remainder of the show. The waste of space that is the protagonist can barely be called a character and spends the entire show being a showy invincible hero in the worst sense, completely draining any tension or meaning from any scene he is involved in and rendering the remaining cast not only redundant, but meaningless. I kept expecting the next episode to introduce something I could care about or some plot point that would make it all work, but instead we got an eleven episode tournament arc and then some meaningless military espionage and some mumbo jumbo about magical nuclear reactors.
Watch something else, anything else, before you waste your time on this title like I did.