It has been one week since I finished The Irregular at Magic High School, or Mahouka Koukou no Rettosei. I had to do various things to shake of the fact that it ended: I took up various tasks like editing the club blog layout, starting up a blog as a portal for student resources, reading various Wikia entries, started on another anime GetBackers, and going out on unplanned events. All just to numb down the post-Mahouka feels.
But I am more or less sane enough to give a less emotionally driven review now, but instead of writing another dissertation I will just keep this concise in a Q and A format.
What was the most attractive part about Mahouka?
Instinctively I would say the girls, but I actually enjoyed two things more: the music and the magic element of the background. To be frank, again, the magic’s explanation were delivered terribly and sounded like pointless technobabble: it is like an engineer trying to communicate how exactly his machine works to consumers by telling them about the parts and how they come together, instead of explaining how they should best use it. Come to think of it, the anime actually absolutely failed at this aspect, but I am a huge sucker for fictional magic theories, enough of a sucker to look up the sources myself to endure this. It seemed to me that the magical framework is trying to be inclusive as possible, yet still wanted the futuristic theme. It ended up treating reality like a cyberspace, where magic are software used to rewrite the reality.
Again it is not very brain-friendly, but it got me hooked for some time, and somehow wanting more.
I don’t have to explain the music anymore. I have been looping Rei Yasuda’s Spotify playlist tirelessly for the past week. Still going strong.
So…you mentioned girls?
*tries to avoid this question*
So, broad to narrow….the anime is really well drawn, characters are well-designed, given rather distinguishable traits….and all the main girls are pretty nice too. They are really well-drawn appearance wise, and their sound acting get extra points too!
Well, who am I kidding.
No and yes. Not girls, just one girl. I am in a moe-ish trance on Mayumi Saegusa. I almost never go this low when it comes to anime girls, but Mayumi is really one of a kind. Reason driven, easily approachable, not annoying (as compared to Miyuki), actually not a useless damsel in distress, level headed, confident, right balance of adorableness and gorgeousness.
Secretly glad she wasn’t real and won’t age, but she is like the first character that I remembered to follow up on Wikia to find out if she will enjoy a good end. I couldn’t care less about Tatsuya having a harem or the fanservice ruining most of the experience. I am not exactly shipping Mayumi and TAtsuya, but for goodness’s sake. Mayumi Saegusa better have a satisfying end.
Mayumi aside, what characters left a strong impression?
I cannot say anyone else left an amazing impression aside from the leads. Tatsuya is odd: I don’t exactly like or hate him. For the most part I just see him as a alternate version of Saitama, but I sort of get annoyed by the fact that he is basically omnipotent. This also leads to most, if not all of the antagonists being downright useless fodder, especially the Chinese gang leaders. To really enjoy this anime, you need to acknowledge that Tatsuya is basically god: a genius engineer who basically invented magical flight, all-powerful healer by reverting states to pre-injury, unbeatable melee combatant, magical omniscient who can read and cancel spells, and so on.
The rest…well. Erika is the rude girl that can use a sword really well in a world is full of magic, Leo is the Caucasian-Japanese that uses voice activation to fight and packs a punch, Mikihiko is the awkward guy who uses magic of the more classical kind. They weren’t, honestly, memorable. But when it comes to the show one does not get them mixed up. I did mix up Yanagi and one of the Shiba brother in the police until the end though.
What do you think about the parallels between Tatsuya and Kirito?
While Mahouka and SAO actually has surprising amounts of things in common (not good), I actually failed to see the similarities between Tatsuya and Kirito. Despite the low character development in both, Tatsuya constantly delivers new things about him due to him being a magical experimental subject while Kirito is ninety percent about being good with swords in a virtual reality MMO. Kirito tries to come across as a character with class, but constantly manage to look generic and boring. Meanwhile Tatsuya tries to come across as emotionally void, but he always manages to have sassy moments left and right. All in all, while both are not very interesting characters, Tatsuya has been moderately comfortable to watch while Kirito has been unbearable. I may change my opinion if Tatsuya fails to show character growth in future seasons, but for now I don’t see how the two are similar, and I know who I prefer to watch.
On top of that, Tatsuya’s overpowered-ness is obviously intended and is likely the main theme of the series as a whole. Just imagine a different version of One Punch Man that sadly lacks comedy.
Overall, again, how would you rate it and who would you recommended it to?
In terms of ratings, I have to say this may be the most controversial anime I have watched.
Out of 10, I really think it deserves at least an 8 for all the effort put into the magic, along with great sound and decent illustrations. But if I were to be much more critical (especially regarding the plot and delivery, which can seem like a product of a high schooler’s submission), even a 6.5 may be a little too generous. The bro-con really ruined it for me, and the conflict between the large amount of worship Tatsuya gets in the anime and the show’s effort to portray him as being victimized is off-putting. I have to admit that I really overlooked a lot of things when I first wrote the earlier review, but I don’t intend to edit it. I would probably recommend it to those who don’t mind spending time on 26 episodes on a more controversial anime and enjoy good music and voices. Those who are not overly picky about delivery and flow would also get some enjoyment from this.
Honestly, I don’t think Mahouka will make it into anyone’s Top 5 or even 10 anime list soon, especially those who really spend their time reviewing anime in detail. But to the casual audience (like me) who can stand incest and appreciates sci-fi style (but actually magic fantasy), this is a pretty alright watch. It is just a shame they didn’t make the whole overpowered ordeal a comedy.
Regardless, I hope a decent Season 2 will come out of this.