English: The irregular at magic high school
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 6, 2014 to Sep 28, 2014
23 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.811 (scored by 53372 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
Set in 2095, magic is now a form of technology and science. After the 3rd world war, magic wielders were high in demand in the world to defend their individual countries from further chaos. Mahouka follows two siblings, Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba, who are enrolled in Fist High School. Based on enrolment test scores, the brother becomes a Weed, a presumed low-achieving magician, while his little sister becomes a Bloom, a presumed high-achiever in magic. However, there's more to these two siblings than as first thought. And school life at First High School will no longer be the same...
And thus, the most anticipated, but highly controversial, anime of the spring season has reached its conclusion. Controversial in the fact that this series ranged from "Mahouka is the best anime ever!" to "Wow, this series is complete BS." So how did it truly turn out? Was it as good as the die-hard fans claim it was? What about the opinions of the critics who truly despise this series? I find that Mahouka truly fits in between the two; it's neither really good, nor really bad. It was nonetheless a somewhat enjoyable anime series that I didn't regret watching.
Before I begin, I will say that there's a high chance that you may end up being in either of the aforementioned polarizing sides. To make things a bit easier, for those who really like and would only watch a huge action-packed series with an adventurous plot, non-stop fight scenes, and emotional characters like some shounens have, you probably want to stop reading this review and find another anime series. The relatively slow-paced Mahouka will actually bore you really fast, and would DEFINITELY not be for you. I probably weeded out a few of you, and you'll thank me for it. Now, I can't guarantee that this review will be spoiler free, but let's dwell a bit further into this series, shall we?
Mahouka focuses on two main leads, who are the Shiba siblings, Tatsuya and Miyuki. The series is split into three arcs, each having a specific school event attached to them (enrolment, a school competition, and a thesis competition). The general idea of Mahouka is that conflict arises, usually from a specialized group having ulterior motives for magic, preventing these school events from going as calm and smoothly as planned, and the students from First High School and other acquaintances will have to deal with them. Conflict doesn't happen immediately, however; everything is set up with loads of dialogue and explanations. Unfortunately, the huge amount of set up can turn stale for some viewers.
The biggest problem about Mahouka is definitely its pacing. Some would find this series to be incredibly slow due to all the explanations and dialogue used to set up a conflict, especially as a shounen anime. This is highly prominent in the first arc. Later, the events in the story became extremely rushed, which happened most often in the second arc. Most magic was no longer explained in its entirety, and some prior background have been omitted at times. I ended up consulting light novel readers a few times of what I just witnessed. Regardless of your opinion on Mahouka, this is easily the biggest flaw. I like to turn that around and use it as a way to say that this series is unpredictable in nature because of this pacing. You don't know what will Mahouka bring the next episode, but even this can be a relatively frustrating process, especially considering that the plot had very good potential to be great. In all, the story was executed well to a certain extent, but it definitely could of been better. Viewers will have to acknowledge this imminent flaw should they decide to take the plunge to this series.
However, each arc does have some pretty interesting perks in the story. There were very well thought out concepts for all the arcs, but the 3rd arc of the series (Episodes 18-26) was easily my favourite. Of course, I won't say what happens then, but for me, the final arc made the series a worthwhile watch. It might be frustrating to have to consult LN readers at times to know some background facts that Madhouse has omitted, as well as a lot of confusing bits here and there, but it's flushed out enough to at least give a small sense of satisfaction at the end to the typical anime watcher such as myself. 6/10
No complaints here. The art style is very typical of shounen anime, and instances where the animation quality gets noticeably bad is extremely rare. Action scenes are fluid and flashy, while the character designs are very cool and slick. Honestly, those are some pretty badass school uniforms. There's nothing about the art and animation that really stands out compared to other series, but it gets the job done, and does the job well. I really give Madhouse credit for the great animation quality of this series. 8/10
Another one of the better points of this anime. Mahouka has a huge cast of characters (which will be explained later), and Madhouse pretty much recruited the best of the best to voice them. No character sounds awkward or out of place, as most match their individual character's personality very well. I mean, it's like a dream team of all-star seiyuus, including Yuichi Nakamura (Tatsuya), Saori Hayami (Miyuki), and Kana Hanazawa (Mayumi), just to name a few. A job well done to all the voice actors and actresses involved in this series.
LiSA's “Rising Hope” is arguably one of, if not, THE best opening song of Spring Anime 2014, while GARDiNELiA's “grilletto” stands up as one of the better opening songs for Summer 2014. The ending themes are decent too, but sometimes, the ending scene of an episode does not transition well into the song, especially when suspense was attempted to be made. Mahouka's OST is good in general, and definitely sounds very shounen-like. A good plus side of the series. 9/10
Now, this is the second category that many individuals critic about Mahouka. The story focuses on Tatsuya Shiba and Miyuki Shiba, two characters that are, for some reason, really hated by a lot of people out there. Do the Shiba siblings make or break the series? For some, there is that chance. So I'll explain the pair to the best of my abilities, alongside the other characters of series, and note the places where some people hate about them.
Tatsuya is enrolled into the First High School as a weed. This would mean that he's presumably weak in magic, right? Wrong. Rather, this guy is seriously overpowered. We definitely can question how on earth was he determined to be an inferior weed in the first place due to these placement tests. The problem some people have over Tatsuya is that he is claimed to be just another “Gary Stu”. He only seems to get more and more OP as the series progresses, making him pretty much the “perfect” protagonist. I personally don't think he's completely perfect; he comes at the cost that he rarely develops emotionally. Tatsuya in a sense doesn't feel human, which does make it difficult for him to fit with his classmates and live a perfectly normal school life with his little sister. His lack of human emotions is definitely a conflict that he must always go through, and is something that is explored throughout the series.
Tatsuya's mysterious nature definitely creates some suspense in Mahouka. We know Tatsuya is great, but just HOW good he is? What skills will be pull off next? The enigma that is Tatsuya really makes viewers wonder just who the hell he really is. How many things he can pull of his sleeve is pretty damn incredible. Heck, his classmates don't really know who he really is as well later. Tatsuya is an enigmatic character, but whether this is an enjoyable trait is definitely up to the viewer.
Miyuki is the other main character, who is perhaps as controversial as his older brother. Miyuki is your beautiful, smart and kind female character that many look up to. However, her personality and ideals in general, like Tatsuya, are very simple. Some may argue that it's even bland. Oh, and she may have a slight bro-con for Tatsuya. I'm pretty sure all the complaints that Madhouse got over her cries of "Onii-sama" ended up having her get less screen time later in the series. Now, it definitely isn't as black and white as this; however, Madhouse unfortunately does not dwell into this further, which is something that I'll be looking into in the light novels. I do like Miyuki, mostly because of her sincerity and well-mannered demeanour, while getting notable roles in the story as well. However, I'll note that both Tatsuya and Miyuki barely undergo development throughout the series, at least emotionally and a character as a whole. If you get frustrated about characters who really only develop in terms of OPness, then this probably won't be the series for you. For others who don't mind, you're in for a treat.
The supporting cast is very cool, but they are the supporting cast for a reason. After all, Mahouka centres around Tatsuya and Miyuki the most, who are relatively mysterious but simple individuals in the first place. Some characters appear in episodes to glue some parts of the story together, but they don't get quite enough spotlight to have them fully develop. Again, a lack of character development may be a flaw of this series for some viewers, but that would be way too much to put in a 26-episode series, especially considering that some parts were already feeling rushed. There's at least enough of a blueprint for all the supporting characters to be able to pick a favourite. I personally love the student council president Mayumi myself, but I was slightly disappointed that she didn't get that much time to develop as a character. Overall, this huge cast of characters is nice, but unfortunate sacrifices had to be made in order to prevent these 3 arcs from stretching over 40 episodes. 7/10
This series is flawed, yes. The pacing of the story is my biggest concern, with a somewhat lack of character development being another. But I did have the motivation to continue and look forward for the next episode. I personally found the series to be quite enlightening, and there was enough substance for me to be intrigued to continue in watching, even if I know there was quite a few things wrong about it. The concept of Mahouka is very nice, although Madhouse may have not brought it out to its full potential. I do look forward to reading the light novels and continue the series from there.
On a completely realistic overview, character and story must be weighed more than the art and sound of an anime series. The former may be the weaker points of the series, but it definitely isn't AS bad as some people say it is, nor you should write if off just because of the flaws I've listed above. This is a series where you really have to see it to give a proper opinion on it. Don't inflate your expectations, or you will be disappointed. If you are interested enough after the first few episodes, I'll say that you'll be on the road to watching a pretty nice series. Will it blow you away? No. Will this be a waste of your time? Mostly likely no as well. All in all, despite some flaws, it has been a pleasure watching Mahouka, and I hope some of you will consider watching this series as well!
Final score: 7/10
(First review, feel free to give some feedback!) read more
- This Review Contains Spoilers -
I'm not entirely sure why I watched all of Mahouka. At some point it was a scholarly interest in why this was the latest hottest thing in light novels. It might have been because people said it gets better in the novels later and I wondered at what stage that would be. At another point it was purely to see if I could finish it as a personal challenge. If I could keep watching I might be able to find something good about this anime. Something that at the end of the day I could say "sure it was mostly bad, but there was this one thing about the show that was enjoyable".
I never found that thing. I can find nothing to recommend about Mahouka. It is bad on pretty much every level.
The first point it fails at, and the main point that drags down the entire show, is the main character. Tatsuya Shiba is a highly talented magician who has been placed in the crappy kids class. He's there because he is bad at pushing a square inch wooden block across a floor with his mind. This is the only thing he is bad at in the world of magic. He is a master magician who can cancel out other magicians magic. He's baffling intelligent to the point that he can calculate mind-bogglingly complex magical problems in milliseconds. In his spare time he's the world's greatest engineer, fronting as the mysterious Silver creating the best magical equipment in the world. He solves magical problems that the rest of the world have been struggling with for years. He creates the power of flight on a whim. He can see through walls. He can take down an entire platoon of terrorists by himself. He can detonate the power equivalent of an atomic bomb over anywhere in the world. He can heal all wounds instantly. He can raise the dead. But he is not very good at pushing a square inch block across a floor so clearly he's a flawed character.
When your main character is as perfect as this, there is no tension. There is no struggle. Any problem presented to Tatsuya can be solved with no issue. Yet the show likes to pretend he genuinely has factors against him. It's purely lipservice though that has no practical limitations on his capability to do literally anything. Whenever the show tries to make me feel like Tatsuya is inconvenienced, it ends up flipping around and making me feel like I should be on the side of the people against Tatsuya. It got to the point that for long periods of the show I found it easier to treat Tatsuya like he was the villain.
You know that big Darwinian speech given by Charles Vi Brittania from Code Geass where he goes on about how the strong will destroy and subjugate the weak and that's why everyone will bow down to Brittania and all hail Brrrrrrrrritannia? That's Tatsuya's, and by extension the author's outlook on life. Except when Charles delivers his speech about the myth of equality, it's by Norio Wakamoto hamming it up to 11 as the most evil character in the world. In Mahouka it's Tatsuya delivering the speech about how equality is a bad thing and we should destroy those who seek to change that, and we're supposed to agree with his outlook.
The weird thing is, Tatsuya would make a pretty great supervillain. His calm attitude and dangerous intelligence is perfect Bond villain material. He's a cold-blooded killer who wipes out several thousand people without remorse during the show. You can totally do villain as protagonist thing. Light Yagami did a pretty good job of it as a similar smart person with dangerous beliefs and phenomenal power. Tatsuya though is always presented as the hero. All the villains are terrorists, more terrorists, and the Chinese, none of whom are presented as anything other than cardboard cutouts of villains. The first episode shows that the school has a dumb system where less magically talented kids are treated like shit by the upper class of magical students. But instead of coming to the conclusion that the whole system is dumb because it creates a class system, the show comes to the conclusion that the system is bad because it didn't rate Tatsuya highly.
So we have unstable foundations from which to build this show on, but what about the more superficial presentation angle. Are the magical fights fun? No.
Technobabble. Magical sequences in the show are interrupted by long explanations of the magical theory behind them. Characters would sit in the cafe and discuss magic. Tatsuya would move a block across a room then launch into a lengthy explanation why this was difficult for him. Tatsuya would explain why wizards flying is really difficult for most of an episode and then proceed to solve it a minute later accompanied by another explanation. I got a pretty good grasp on the world's magic system by the end of the show, but these scenes are all excruciatingly boring even with that knowledge. Eyes glaze over as they talk about oscillating magical frequencies and squiddidly heebijeebies and whatnot. What was even more frustrating is you could use none of this knowledge to enjoy the show more. None of the explanations helped the viewer understanding what was going on in a battle better or let you work out what was going on yourself. Even with the knowledge of magic I gained, it never became useful to know for anything else. It wasn't building lore either since it felt mostly like reading from a highly boring textbook. So what was the point of these lengthy magical explanations?
The explanation is pretty easy really. You know in Kill la Kill one of the characters would have an explanation as to why Matoi Ryuko gained this incredible power of hers, delving into theories about life fibres and so on, until Mako would burst in and yell "so what you're saying is Ryuko has awesome powers", turning the entire previous conversation into a hilarious joke that outlined that none of it was really important? That's Mahouka's magical explanations except it's explaining why Tatsuya is totally awesome. Also it's not played as a joke.
What these magical explanations also do is make Mahouka very dull to look at. The vast majority of the show is talking heads with no artistry put into their presentation. The magical fights are equally pretty dull with no interesting fight choreography. In general Mahouka is pretty bland visually and doesn't have great animation either. The music, since I'm on the subject of production values, is also pretty bland. A bunch of generic jpop for OP/ED and insert songs is the most it can muster. The pacing is also awful, in particular during the middle and boringest arc, and again I can attribute this mostly to these Tatsuya-appealing sessions of lengthy magical explanations that ultimately lead to no conclusion beyond Mako yelling "so what you're saying is Tatsuya is totally awesome right".
There's also a whole load of nitpicky problems. One that bugged me was the show's weirdly conservative treatment of women. Tatsuya's sister is madly in love with him, but oddly that didn't bother me too much because it's just another method the show uses to appeal to Tatsuya. No what I'm referring to is the weird way anytime a woman would wear something other than the most skin-covering clothing, a character would comment on how they should cover up and stop being such a dirty whore. Usually by Tatsuya, because he's a gentleman *tips fedora*. All while the camera pans lovingly up the underdressed woman's skin and makes their boobs really shiny. It's a small thing, but it compounds with lots of other little things that make me really start to resent the author.
I really tried scraping through my memory banks to find something I liked about the show, but I could come up with nothing. I mostly just found more and more nitpicky problems the further I probed. The character designs are bland to the point that I kept mixing up characters. It has too many characters in general and there were a large chunk of them for whom I didn't understand their purpose. That one episode where the student council leader gave a speech during a debate that solved nothing but somehow their opposition thought they were defeated by this incredibly speech. How boring the presentation of the magical sports were and how bloody long they kept showing them. Perhaps the closest I can think of as a good thing about Mahouka is how, by the end, Tatsuya's power goes beyond the point of even self-parody. So what, one wry smile from the whole show, and even that is an ironic one?
Here's a suggestion for you if you're thinking of watching Mahouka. Puff your cheeks out. Now stick your tongue out slightly. Now blow air out of your mouth so it escapes under your tongue. This should cause your tongue to make a rasping noise, not dissimilar to that of a fart. Congratulations. You have now done something more fun that watching Mahouka with about as much artistic merit. read more
Exposition-heavy dystopian societies who share common themes of discrimination, ethics that are subject of change as regimes pass, political intrigue and a large support cast of varied characters define both of these Sci-fi shows.
Both animated works are set in futuristic worlds deeply shaken by class struggle, both contain a healthy dose of political intrigue, explore the human nature, and boast large casts of characters.
Both are works of Sci-fi that require a knowledge of in-universe physics and technology, have huge questions about morality, and also the MCs both care deeply about their sisters and they play a huge part in their brother's stories.
Both have long expositions related to world-building and sophisticated politics with sci-fi and future elements and a huge cast of unique characters with various objectives.
Exposition heavy series which continuously address the morals of various political systems and extremist groups, and how do such groups even exist.
Full of political intrigue, analysis on nationalism and top notch dialogue.
Both involve politics and the ethical obligations of people in positions of power. Both have very large amounts of dialogue and not a lot of movement on the screen.
both potray a single individual who is well versed in politic and military conduct, while bearing a personal burden due to unfavorable circumstances in the past and has complex relationship with his only sibling that would later define him as a character.
These two anime both feature a futuristic world which is filled with magic and magic-related elements. Strike the Blood goes a bit further by also adding in some supernatural elements. They both contain action and romance, but Strike the Blood also adds in some ecchi and comedy.
Both anime also feature annoying, yet skillful female main characters. You have Miyuki from Mahouka who calls her brother Tatsuya by "Onii-sama" about a hundred times per episode and Yukina from Strike the Blood who insists on interrupting Kojou's catchphrase "This is my fight" with her infamous "No Senpai, this is OUR fight."
Both have magic considered more as a science, action and harem.
Mahouka has an OP Male MC that protects his friends against enemies. There are hints of romance.
Strike the Blood also has an OP Male MC. STB uses romance/harem to further the story more than Mahouka.
Artwork and episode set-ups are similar. Mahouka has long arcs, while STB has usually 3 ep. arcs.
-The anime are divided in short arcs.
-Both of the MC are a bit overpowered.
-The story in both animes are futures with magic.
The MC have many similar personality like calmness, liked by all girls, and didn't know about women heart. And the heroine always say annoying statements. In STB you'll find Himeragi says "senpai" and in Mahouka you'll find Miyuki says "onisama".
Opening Theme#1: "Rising Hope" by LiSA (eps 2-3, 5-13)
#2: "grilletto" by GARNiDELiA (eps 14-26)
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, 19-26)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
AnimaKai [AnimaKai] (Brazilian Portuguese)
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