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.