English: The irregular at magic high school
Status: Currently Airing
Aired: Apr 6, 2014 to ?
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.751 (scored by 27774 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisMagic—A century has passed since this concept has been recognized as a formal technology instead of the product of the occult or folklore.
The season is spring and it is time for a brand new school year.
At the National Magic University First Affiliate High School, A.K.A Magic High School, students are divided into two distinct groups according to their academic performances. The "Bloom," who demonstrate the highest grades and are enrolled in the "First Course," and the "Weed," who have a poor academic record and are enrolled in the "Second Course."
This spring, a very peculiar brother and sister enroll as new students.
The brother is an under achiever with some deficiencies and enrolls as a "Weed," while his younger sister is an honor student, who enrolls as a "Bloom."
The brother, with a somewhat philosophical expression, and the younger sister who holds feelings a little stronger than sibling love for him...
Ever since these two have entered through the gates of this prestigious school, the calm campus was beginning to change...
(Source: Aniplex USA)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
Other: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Yoku Wakaru Mahouka!
Characters & Voice Actors
The purpose of this review is primarily to address the points raised in previous reviews about this anime. If you're looking for an accurate evaluation of the show, I'd suggest watching a little yourself or holding off until more episodes are released and the story develops further. Hopefully, this review will make the anime more enjoyable for you, or atleast clear up some questions. I'll try my best to avoid any spoilers, but in case I let anything slip, I apologize in advance.
Let me first state that I believe a review should reflect upon the entire show, not just the first half of it. For many anime, it is common for the first half to be slow and ease the audience into familiarity of a new world, yet all of the reviews so far are based solely upon the first 9 of 26 episodes. I strongly recommend that you stick with the show atleast up to the end of the 9 Schools Competition arc, where you'll be able to make a more holistic judgment about the anime. At the very least, I wanted to provide a counter balance to the other reviews in order to not mislead potential viewers. With that said, let's begin!
I'll start with a quick introduction of the show:
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is based in a world where magic has only recently become more accessible through the invention of the Casting Assistance Device (CAD), but even so, the number of individuals capable of using magic are still in the minority. While the benefits of magic have just barely been explored, the potential of magic in domestic and global, especially military, affairs has the entire world scrambling to establish domination over this new resource. It is in this discordant situation that we find our main characters, a pair of siblings enrolling in their first year at the prestigious magic high school, First High School. However, even in an environment filled exclusively with fellow magicians, the siblings cannot escape the conflicts inherent in magic. Of the 200 students admitted into First High, only 100 with greater magical talent are selected to receive personal instruction (Course One or "Blooms"), while the other half shares the same curriculum, but instead receives their education solely from digital sources (Course Two or "Weeds"). Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei follows Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba as they face the discrimination, abuse, greed, and jealousy that their status as magicians entails.
So, one of the biggest qualms people seem to have with this series is the fact that the Tatsuya is essentially the most powerful character of the entire cast and, to be honest, I completely agree. Tatsuya's status as a Course Two student suggests that his magical talent is inferior to that of Course One students, yet as the story progresses, we quickly see that this is far from the truth. In fact, Tatsuya's mastery of martial arts and magical theory and engineering elevate his combat ability beyond that of any character, allowing him to easily overcome any and every obstacle he faces. And thus rises the protest: "Why, this is just wish fulfillment! The 'weak, unappreciated guy' turns out to be some overpowered, unbeatable hero and becomes popular with everyone!"
However, if you look closely, Tatsuya is far from that ideal, likable protagonist that you might think he is. Consider the following: Tatsuya isn't an attention seeker, doesn't seem to particularly enjoy life at First High and is a major target for bullies who are jealous of him. With his combat abilities and magical knowledge, he could easily find a position in society that would acknowledge his talents, yet he still choses to attend school. What possible incentive could he have for choosing to remain in such a place? (I'll cover this more later)
Another problem arising from Tatsuya's unmatched abilities is that he dispels any sense of danger or crisis from the predicaments he faces. While this is true for the first few episodes, the scale of the opposition he faces can only grow, so give it some time to develop and you'll be rewarded with more interesting situations and action. After all, a story with absolutely no major conflict couldn't possibly have become so popular.
Some question the decision to use a school setting for this story, and perhaps, on a superficial level, the bright and slightly childish environment of a school seems to ruin the dark themes of the anime. But as we'll soon see, a magical high school is anything but a safe haven to develop a young magician's abilities. In fact, the shocking difference between our expectations and reality contributes greatly to the idea that there is a appalling lack of protection for these maturing magicians, who could decide the future of the nation and even the fate of the world.
The high school setting also gives us insight into the status of the magical community. As stated previously, the only real difference between the Course One and Course Two students is the presence of a magic instructor. The limited number of educators reflects the relatively recent expansion of the magic community, which can be likened to a third world country, but armed with enough power to change the world. In such a situation, it's only to be expected that outside powers would fight for exploitation of such an opportunity while others would fear its potential and plot its annihilation. Such is the daily environment that our characters find themselves in as they struggle to avoid succumbing to a variety of plots ranging from those of terrorists to governments, of classmates to family members.
The class differentiation between Course One and Two leads to a multitude of major problems in the show. While all 200 students have proven themselves through their enrollment to First High, the talent and effort of Course One students have been acknowledged to be above the that of Course Two students, as designated by the flower symbol on their uniforms that Course Two students lack. Driven by their families to become the strongest magicians, yet living in a world where the majority of the population is unaffiliated with magic, the only sense of security for these young magicians lies in their superiority over their Course Two peers. However, having already proven their ability, some Course Two students have the potential of overtaking Course One students and replacing them through hard work, and thus Course One students resort to using derogatory terms like "Weeds" to both flaunt their status of "Blooms" while discouraging Course Two students from attempting to work their way up to Course One.
The Course Two perspective is much more complicated, as they are caught between two conflicting ways of thinking. Having once been the cream of the crop, after entering First High, one of the most prestigious magic schools in Japan, these young magicians find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order, looked down upon by peers of superior heritage, talent, performance or even all three. On one hand, these youths are tempted by the anti-magic calls for "equality", which is to eliminate magic from all evaluation processes, but essentially ignores all the work that magicians put into honing their magical prowess. On the other hand, all Course Two students have already been acknowledged to hold substantial magical ability through their acceptance into First High. As such, it's only natural that they too would be proud of their magical talents and therefore would be loathe to simply surrender a major part of who they are. Then, the only choice left would simply be to work hard to earn a spot in Course One. But how does hard work hold up in the face of pure talent, or the lack thereof? Against peers with seemingly monstrous magical power and the fact that effort can only take one so far, it's unsurprising for some students to completely lose hope.
Now enter Tatsuya, a high school freshman labeled as a magically inferior Course Two student, yet whose unrivaled combat abilities allow him to challenge even the most powerful Course One students. The appearance of such an irregular existence has the entire school beginning to question the class system that has been such an intregal part of the school, as well as the Course One students' egos. In the presence of such a misfit, it is inevitable that people would start to raise questions, some of which can be applied to our own societies and lives. How are people and their abilities evaluated? To what extent are we able to appreciate a person as a whole through our current standards? Perhaps what we see as important today really came from insignificant roots.
Indeed, these are legitimate questions in their own right, but the story lies beyond them and focuses more upon Tatsuya himself. For what reason would someone who clearly understands that he would be undervalued choose to enter such a place? He's hardly the hopeless idealist that would take the time to prove society wrong and he would be much more appreciated had he chosen to attend a school with less of a focus on magical ability. And while we're at it, why has Tatsuya invested so heavily in the martial arts? He hardly seems to care about being combatively superior to his peers and practicing the martial arts doesn't seem to be his passion. In fact, Tatsuya barely seems to have any passions and nearly never shows any sort of emotion at all.
Now, let's talk about our other main character, Miyuki. Miyuki is what would widely be described as "perfect": beautiful, extremely talented, well mannered and intelligent. With Miyuki as the little sister to the plain and less talented Tatsuya, one would naturally expect for there to be some tension in their relationship. What's more is that despite Tatsuya being nearly a year older, both siblings are enrolled in the same grade, with the younger sister ranked as #1 of the entire class while the older brother is just barely accepted into the school.
Even so, Miyuki respects Tatsuya to the point worship. Perhaps in some other shows, there would be no explanation for their relationship, or it'd be a simple and lame "Oh, he's nice" excuse. But in Mahouka, the commonplace relationship between older brother and younger sister is completely skewed by the magic world and in order to fully comprehend how it came to be this way, you'd have to understand the dark secrets behind magic families and the public perception of magicians, which may or may not be revealed later in the anime.
To sum it all up, ladies and gentlemen, the anime is not even halfway through yet! Things have only just begun to get interesting! I believe that Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei has not yet had the chance to develop its main themes that made it so popular and if you choose to give it the time, it will undoubtably prove itself to be a remarkable anime. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you found it worthwhile! Any feedback is greatly appreciated from both "helpful" and "not helpful"s alike! read more
1. Gratification of a desire.
2. In psychoanalytic theory, the satisfaction of a desire, need, or impulse through a dream, fantasy, or other exercise of the imagination."
I've never written a review before, so I hope this proves helpful to ya'll! For this review, I'm going to be talking about an anime that I watched for quite a different reason than probably most other people. To explore this, I'm gonna go over all the major categories - hopefully, by the end of this review, you'll have a helpful understanding of the pros and cons of this anime! Please keep in mind that I've watched the anime up to it's most recent episode (14), and I've not read the LN, although I have looked up some info on the wiki to clarify some points. I'll do my best to keep this spoiler free.
By itself, the story isn't bad. In fact, if you were to remove the male and female MCs, the story would probably shine. However, story and character are inevitablely inseparable, and thus must be judged in light of each other.
I personally found the story to be engaging. The first arc flowed well enough, and the second one is also doing a fair job of keeping my attention. People have said there are pacing issues, but I haven't really found this to be the case. Worldbuilding (especially the magic system) has been done really well - it's very obvious that a lot of care and detail went into the world to make it work so logically and tacitly. The lore is very interesting, and I genuinely want to know more about the world of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei as the show goes on. Then again, there are a HUGE number of plot holes as well. A lot of the show seems to have been made up for the purpose of plot and convenience, and so a lot of things don't make sense. Here's a short list:
1) Why does First High have a First and Second Course program? Only the Firsts get magic trainers, but to enroll at the magic-oriented university in the first place, you have to be exceptionally good at magic. That's like saying a typical university takes only people who get 35s and 36s on the ACT, but only provides classes and instructors to those who got the 36s, and everyone else gets to take Shop classes forever.
2) Why is the Bloom and Weed discrimination only perpetuated by a few of the cardboard cutout characters (which is discussed below)? I thought it was supposed to be a school-wide problem?
3) Why even HAVE a Nine Schools Competition when First High has the absolute best magicians? Like, this isn't a matter of subjective opinion - First High only accepts the absolute best. This competition is desperately trying to mimic the Tri-Wizard Tournament from Harry Potter, but in HP, it made sense. After all, the British magic people went to the British school, the French magic people went to the French school, etc. In Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, this is not the case. And indeed, as we see, First High can only lose due to repeated (um, where are the referees?) sabotage due to hostile third parties.
Furthermore, a HUGE problem is that there is nothing at stake in the story. Since both the male and female MCs are so insanely good at pretty much everything they do (with a few exceptions), nothing is being risked at any point. There's no uncertainty over what'll happen, there's no fear for the MCs' safety, and more unfortunately, there's no unpredictability. Everything is painfully obvious from the get-go. While other animes with OP MCs will at least throw them into some peril, this is absolutely not the case in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. Fights are over in under ten seconds each (which isn't bad, but there's no emotional involvement as a result, especially since the MCs always win), and dangerous situations happen to others or are also resolved in under ten seconds.
Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but when I know what's gonna go down even before the episode happens, then there's no reason to care much for what's going to happen. This is due to the MCs, which I'll discuss in a little bit.
This, honestly, is one of the show's two strongest points. Everything is gorgeous, the magic looks fantastic, and the animation never dips even when action is scarce. A lot of love went into making this world look and feel fantastic, and the vibrancy of the world is truly a pleasure to behold.
Many people seem to judge a show on the OP and ED, but I personally skip OPs and EDs to avoid spoilers, so I'll be judging Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei by the actual sound. Which is fantastic as well. All of the effects are crisp and visceral - the pops pop deliciously, the crackles crackle with fervor, and overall, the sound does a phenomenal job of bringing the world to life.
This brings me to the biggest problem of the anime, and the reason for my original dictionary quote at the beginning of this review. Every. Single. Character. Is flatter than a sheet of paper. And while the male MC does have an intricate backstory, his overwhelming ability annihilates any interest I might have in him. But even worse than this is the way everyone treats him. As a writer myself, it's very hard to avoid making a Gary Stu; due to the fact that we as writers want to write what is most natural to us (ourselves), and we want to live adventures that are only possible for our characters. So writing yourself into a super awesome character is very easy to do.
This does not make it excusable.
EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. In the anime absolutely ADORES the male MC (except for his rivals, of course). And they take EVERY. SINGLE. OPPORTUNITY. To tell him how awesome he is. I'm not exaggerating on this. The MC gets complimented (and I don't mean a "good job" kind of compliment, but a "you are so amazing I wish I were dating you or better friends with you or more like you" type of compliment) OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER. At least 2-5 times per episode. And yes, the male MC is superpowered, but that doesn't justify the kind of foot-worshiping we see in this anime.
On a base level, this becomes aggravating and wearying very, very quickly. But on a deeper level, it takes an unfortunate chunk out of the story. Without giving away too much, there's one point in the anime where the male MC does something absolutely extraordinary by completely revolutionizing a concept previously thought impossible. In any other anime, this would be grounds for the MC to be amazing and for your admiration of that MC to grow. However, due to the constant barrage of incredible feats the male MC consistently performs in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, this major revolution comes across as flat. Stale. Uninteresting. There's no room for significant praise when such praise has been unendingly heaped on the male MC from episode 1. This is a very clear example of severe wish fulfillment.
Moving on to the female MC, she's about as deep a character as a puddle of water. And she has about the same amount of charm too. Her main purpose, aside from PWNING N00BS, is to ceaselessly praise and talk up to the male MC. Like, ALL the time. In the second episode, she is given a great honor, but instead of accepting it graciously, she throws a fit that the male MC isn't being recognized for his awesomeness instead. And actually, she does that in episode 1 too. And in other episodes. This female MC only backs down when given a commanding nod from the male MC, which clearly means he is her superior in every regard. This is also a very bad case of wish fulfillment.
This wouldn't be so bad if she was a servant or indebted to the male MC somehow, but the kicker is that she's... his sister. His younger sister. I get that sibling relationships are supposed to be good, but the male MC is clearly the female MC's idol. I'm not even gonna talk about the incest between them, which this anime clearly is in favor of. Such incest is a design choice, and so I'm willing to accept it as part of the story. But the female MC's foot-licking toward her older brother comes off as possessive and creepy.
People relate to characters who have flaws, and despite the desperate assertions of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, neither of the MCs have any real flaws. The male MC's absolute lack of emotions could be considered a flaw, but the fact that everyone still loves him regardless means that it really isn't a flaw. The male MC's lack of skill in a certain area of magic could be considered a flaw, but the fact that he still is insanely OP means that it really isn't a flaw. The male MC's social aloofness could be considered a flaw, but the fact that he's described as absurdly handsome and a chick-magnet means that it really isn't a flaw. Etc.
As for every other character, I genuinely can't remember a single name of anybody else. And I'm usually pretty good with names. The only exception would be Ririka (or something like that - I could look it up, but then again, this is a great example of how underdeveloped the other characters are) - she actually comes off as interesting and slightly multifaceted compared to the other characters. Then again, that's not saying much in this anime, but regardless, she serves as a breath of fresh air in an otherwise lifeless and stale list of cardboard cutout characters whose only purpose is to populate the much more interesting world of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei.
Oh, and the villains are overwhelmingly under-established. They have poor motivations, awful direction, and almost no planning. What were the villains up to in the first section of this anime? Something about magic and equality? Something relating to terrorism? I'm not quite sure. And as for the villains in the second part? That hasn't been revealed yet, so I honestly can't comment. But it seems like a persona vendetta against the MCs' school, which also doesn't make sense.
But I've gone on this for long enough.
I really, really wanted to like this. I very much did. The magic system is remarkable and impressive, and the world itself is interesting and engaging. But absolutely abysmal characters, non-existent character development, and a mundanely routine plot served to detract sharply from any charm the world might have had on its own. What truly sinks the ship, however, is the flattery of the male MC. While this might seem as nitpicking, it happens on such an exaggerated and persistent level that it honestly causes me to literally moan aloud every time the male MC is worshiped by his fans (which happens multiple times per episode). It's so forced and jarring that it kills any immersive qualities Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei might otherwise have, and it causes me to constantly look to see how much more of the episode is left to go. If the ridiculous and never-ending compliments were removed, as well as the obsessive sister MC, this show would be much, much, much, much, much more enjoyable.
The art is awesome, and the sound is phenomenal. But the awful and wooden characters, the lack of any character development whatsoever, and the completely predictable story serve to tank what could have otherwise been an impressive and fun anime. Overall, all the ingredients for success are found here, but absolutely nothing good is done with them. Instead, negative elements are thrown in - meaning that in the end, like with an uncooked cake, all you have left to eat is a soppy, flower and sugar and egg goop that has been further poisoned with toxic nuclear waste. An extreme statement, I know, but hey - at least it's on par with the compliments given to the male MC, albeit in a negative manner instead of a worshipful one. read more
-Protagonist is considered "weak", but is actually really strong
-Both deal with magic and science
-Mahouka is like Majutsu no Index but with more explanations about how magic works
Mahouka Kouka no Rettousei features a fusion of magic and science where magic has been made into a science. In Toaru Majutsu no Index, it features a similar fusion of magic and science, although admittedly its more of a science vs magic thing.
Personally, I find both fun and entertaining to watch because of that combination ^^
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei and Toaru Majutsu no Index are highly similar in the case that they both invole...
Magic and Science in many ways.
A "weak" male main character made fun of just because of their levels or ranks
Both protagonists have a sort of unique power that separates them from others.
Love-struck female characters that you just can't help but enjoy.
Awesome Action in the first episode. (maybe)
Both deal with a world involving magic and science.
Both feature a male protagonist who is stronger than it would first appear.
Similar genres, mix of sci-fi/fantasy and action.
A boy with exceptional combat skills enrolls in a combat oriented high school to meet his brand new harem, with no initial intention of actually participating in combat. His dreams are shortly crushed by the student council president within the first couple of episodes.
-Chrome Shelled Regios has a far more interesting setting and a more stylized art direction.
-The characters in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei all look bland, but the dialogue between them tends to be a bit more clever.
-Both have pretty good action sequences.
Both have light novel source materials and focus on a cool MC hiding his untold back story and past experience from the rest of the militaristic high school and slowly showing it off as he gets into more fights surrounding a mixture of hand to hand combat, specialized weapons, and magic / kai. Also both have an interesting support cast to make up for the withdrawn personality of the MC.
Similar mc who is rather weak in terms of their official status in the school, but turns out to be the most powerful badass around.
Similar school uniforms and combat suits. Laid back protagonists. Pure wish fulfilment self insert mc's.
Pseudo harem approach.
Both mc's extremely capable to the point that usual equipment cannot bring out their maximum potential.
Both mc's coerced into taking up positions that require fighting.
Similar supporting characters.
Similar character designs.
Unique to Mahouka:
Cute little imouto.
Siscon male mc.
Brocon female mc.
Not so modest protagonist when it comes to displaying his combat abilities.
More details of techniques and their implementation.
Unique to CSR:
Protagonist very modest when it comes to combat skills. Always holds back.
Dense mc, incredibly dense.
Has a survival theme.
Multiple female mc's.
A boy enrols in a brand new high school to "learn" new things but more or less another reason. They both join a group, 17th Platoon or the student council/disciplinary committee.
- Both have a protagonist who has others originally consider him weak
- Both protagonists are both absurdly overpowered
- Both protagonists have a sort of impassive attitude
- Schools for learning combat skills (although Mahouka's does more than just combat)
- Student council is somewhat similar to the 17th
Opening Theme#1: "Rising Hope" by LiSA (eps 2-13)
#2: "grilletto" by GARNiDELiA (eps 14-?)
Ending Theme#1: "Rising Hope" by LiSA (ep 1)
#2: "Millenario (ミレナリオ)" by ELISA (eps 2-13, 18)
#3: "Mirror" by Rei Yasuda (eps 14-17, 19-)
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