Anime Review: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (Magic Scientifically Explained!)

Written by: Tsutomu Sato Illustrated by: Waki Ikawa Original Run: April 5,2014-September 27,2014 No. of episodes: 26
Written by: Tsutomu Sato
Illustrated by: Waki Ikawa
Original Run: April 5,2014-September 27,2014
No. of episodes: 26

OVERVIEW:

The story is set near the end of the 21st century, when continents and nations are in the race to develop magic technicians.

After World War III that lasted for 20 years, countries have been gathering skilled and talented students to enroll in some state-run institutions. One of these institutions is the National Magic University in Japan.

While you are generally considered elite upon enrollment, a Bloom-Weed system exists in the university. Blooms are those students who show great potential during the practical screening opposite to the Weeds who are considered irregular and are often looked down by the former.

This long-running system which is tagged as a form of discrimination is about to change with the entrance of the Shiba siblings….along with the secrets they’re about to reveal.

REVIEW:

I like this anime for some good reasons. And despite those notable nonsense and annoying points, I still think the good outweighed the bad. Here are some of…

The Good Points

Concept. I love the idea that magic is scientifically explained in this anime. Indeed, who will need magic wands and chants when you’ve got CADs and activation sequence.

CADMagic is not a new theme in anime, but it was definitely given a fresh face here in Mahouka, and I think that it’s brilliant. The Bloom-Weed concept is a good starting point of the story as well. Even on the first episode, we are already introduced to a potential root of conflict in the series, thus, keeping us hyped up and clawing for what will happen in the succeeding scenes.

Magical terms. I highly appreciate the effort put by the writer of this anime in coming up with great technical/magical terms. While a lot of the concepts are really difficult to understand, despite Tatsuya’s detailed (but still way too technical) explanation, you’ll still have fun looking at it.

Incorporation of Taijutsu. And just when you think the fun ends with technically controlled magic, you’re treated to an awesome taijutsu display by the protagonist Tatsuya Shiba and the shinobi-slash-instructor Kokonoe-sensei.

And who wouldn’t love the idea of science and martial arts placed altogether in combat? The idea’s epic!

Graphics. With vibrant colors and well drawn characters, I’ll give graphics a 7 (10 being the highest). Unlike other magic anime like Magi which is characterized by colors and more colors everywhere, Mahouka just has the right touch in it.

Supporting Characters. I’m very pleased to say that Mahouka is one of those anime that has great supporting characters on board.

erika-leoErika and Leo – the cat and dog on the team, who loves pissing each other off. Ironically, they’ve got a great combat tandem compared to the other students in their batch.

miki-mizukiMizuki and Mikihiko – the conservative and shy pair whose magic expertise is a perfect fit. They don’t usually hover on big scenes, but the pair comes in handy for concerns beyond Tetsuya’s technical genius.

studentcouncilStudent Council – What I like about the team is their variation. We’ve got the lovely and smart, Saegusa as the president, and a bunch of personality cocktails from the headstrong Mari, intellectual Ichihara, innocent A-chan, up to the reliable Jumonji. They’re a blast.

I can’t imagine the series without these guys. It’s fun having them around. In fact, I can’t see how our protagonist, despite his god-like abilities, can keep the story moving alone.

And speaking of our main character…..

The Not-so-Good Points

Main Characters. I know. It surprised me as well to know that I liked the supporting characters more than the main.

tatsuya-miyukiWe’ve got 2 main characters here, Shiba Tatsuya and his younger sister Miyuki. They would’ve been likeable for several reasons. One, they are good looking. Two, they’ve got interesting and mysterious backgrounds at the start. Three, Tatsuya’s a Weed and Miyuki’s a Bloom – a good setting for siblings enrolling on the same school but placed on different categories, a.k.a. good conflict.

But their characterization ruined some scenes. Big time.

On the initial episodes, it was established that Tatsuya’s a cool guy, whom his sister respects (and obviously has a crush on) and who’s hiding something. This is mysterious, and admit it, we’re hooked with mysteries.

tatsuya-2Tatsuya is impressive. No argument to that. The way he stopped the threat by reading the activation sequence of a Bloom who attempted to start a fight with the Weeds was awesome. He’s automatically our no-ordinary-guy in the campus. That was great. And for a first year? Heck, that was awesome…at first.

But when I start learning about:

  • Tatsuya being special officer Ryuuya Ooguro, a strategic-class magician who’s working for the government in a special mission,

  • Tatsuya being Silver, the legendary magic engineer who have invented high end weapons and unique activation sequence that are used by select high grade government officials,

  • Tatsuya, being able to use top secret military grade magic which no student is capable of doing,

  • Tatsuya being the developer of gravity control type magic, which other great engineers failed to create,

  • Tatsuya being able to self-restore himself on near-death situations!

I realize that whatever the writer is trying to accomplish, Tatsuya will always be in the spot light. While he’s the main character, I don’t think it’s a nice move.

The story started out great, as I mentioned on the concept. But rather than focusing on the potential of the story itself, what was shown is more like the greatness of Tatsuya Shiba and how he can win everything – anyone, regardless of the skill.

It’s as if the whole story is there for the sake of showing how great Tatsuya is, and how you shouldn’t mess up when he’s around. It started nice, but him, always on the focus – and easily winning, made the story boring.

miyukiMiyuki Shiba is no different. She doesn’t surprise us with her brains like her brother, but she has her epic way of creeping me out when she starts flirting with Tatsuya.

I think it’s creepy. That’s beside the point that what she’s doing and feeling is immoral. Even if Tatsuya’s that awesome and that good-looking, I still find her incestuous relationship and desperate mode of clinging to her brother, very inappropriate and annoying.

And Tatsuya, being the supposed kind-hearted, sister-loving onii-san, just allowing Miyuki to flirt with him, is not helping. NO. IT’S CREEPY, IT’S IMPROPER and I DON’T LIKE IT. (Those who liked it should be ashamed.)

Villains. The fact that no villain seemed to be strong enough to at least give Tatsuya a good, decent punch is plain annoying. Because you see, it’s difficult to root for a main character who doesn’t show any signs of struggle at all.

tatsuya-1And that’s exactly who Tatsuya is – a main character who doesn’t struggle because the battalion of villains/terrorists, who are supposed to be terrifying, is lame.

Moreover, they don’t seem to learn from their mistakes. They’ve got the money to supply armories and ammunitions for their soldiers so why can’t they hire strong and badass magicians who’ll take care of Tatsuya? Surely, there’s someone out, isn’t there?

prince and cardinalThe Crimson Prince, Masaki Ichijo and Cardinal George, Kuchijoji Shinkuro may have been a great match in combat. But with Tatsuya’s restoration ability? C’mon..who can hurt him?

Conflict. Good conflict starts with good villains. And since we do not have any, there’s nothing much to expect from this aspect.

Character development. Tatsuya and Miyuki remained the same for the entire series. The supporting characters however, did show developments in terms of their attitude towards each other, and well, their intimacy as well.

There’s still so much left to explore on the supporting characters that we have. It’s just sad they weren’t given enough time to show what they’ve got in this series.

Rating

mahouka-2In a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is a 6! (I’m actually debating whether to give this a 5, 6 or 7. But I like the concept so much that it has to be a 6.And the ending gave hints of a sequel, so I’m crossing my fingers for better villains and character development next time.)

How about you? What’s your rating for this anime? Let’s hear your thoughts on the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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