Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Review

This is review number two hundred and ninety. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup. The show I’ll be reviewing is called Mahouka Kouko no Rettousei or The Irregular at Magic High School. It’s a twenty six episode anime about a student who fights terrorists with magic. The plot doesn’t actually matter in this anime since it’s just a light novel where the author hates his life and escapes in the pages of his miserable product. This show is certainly unique but for all the bad reasons. It also has a sister crushing hard on her brother, so there’s that. Let’s read on.

Story

The show is about a guy named Tatsuya that does awesome things because he just can. It follows his adventures as a student of First High School that trains strong magicians. He is placed in a section considered inferior to other students but he soon proves everyone wrong when potential terrorist attacks are prevented by this inferior student. Soon, everyone is interested with this guy that scored low on the test but seems to be better than any student in the academy.

Taking the Pants Off

This is the most voted anime in my review poll. Early on, it was already garnering a lot of votes. Mahouka Kouko no Rettousei is easily one of the most hyped anime of Spring 2014. I naturally wanted to see what the big deal is. If it can get 400 votes in two weeks then something good must be happening here. So I watched this show one weekend and, in all honestly, I do not get it. While the show has some few bright moments, I simply do not understand its purpose. I guess from the title it’ll be about an irregular student and the whole show centered on him. But in the end, what really is the point? Mahouka is just a stream of ridiculous light novel clichés and wish fulfillment turned way up. Basically, Mahouka is about a perfect guy that is so perfect that he literally can’t die. He’s a smart student that can solve scientific quandaries and impossibilities in one episode. He is also popular with the girls, he is skilled at combat, he gets high scores in tests, he has an awesome incest relationship that’s totally not creepy and he’s so perfect no one in the entire run of the show can stop him. He is perfect. He is upsettingly perfect. I do not understand this show. Is conventional storytelling really something to abandon to feature a guy that can’t lose? I’m actually more concerned about the people that consumed the light novel. If it is about a perfect guy and it packs one satisfying wish fulfillment, isn’t it a bit sad that people gravitate to it? How much does our life suck that we have to watch an anime where our main character does no wrong and conquers all challenges with ease? Is it really that wonderful to watch? Is that what people are into these days? Light novel has spun a movement where climax is null, villains aren’t important and character progression don’t mean diddle. It’s all about how f*cking cool and omnipotent can we make our main character.  It’s about exploring wish fulfillments. I’ve seen a few characters explore the idea before but I think Mahouka featured it at its absolute best. Or worst, depends on where you’re coming from. I mean, if you like shows where the main character just wins despite the long confusing exposition dump then this show is what you’re looking for. If you’re a fan of typical storytelling where a character grows, villains are as awesome as our lead and side characters aren’t just there to gawk at our main character then Mahouka will really test your patience.

I honestly do not like this show. While the fact that the main character is perfect, I think the pretentious storytelling is what really grates me. I think this show hates its audience. The anime is loaded with a lot of nonsensical talk about sciency stuff. There are talks about oscillation, mist dispersal, material burst, substance particles and a lot of stupid big words that really don’t mean a damn thing in the long run. The worst part is that the show doesn’t dumb it down for us.  So you’re bombarded with big words while you’re still trying to grasp the show’s main story. The anime would often explain in big scientific words how a student cast a spell. For example, our main character explains how he executes an Essential Singularity type spell by generating Psion waves and over exposing his enemy to it. He achieved that by applying compound waves of three different oscillation Psion frequencies calibrated to create a triangle wave.  The show loves dumping out these long winded narrations. Maybe some viewers enjoy these kinds of dialogue where only smart people can really understand the whole load of it. In case you didn’t understand all that Psion wave bullsh*t, he basically unleashed used MP to defeat his opponent. That’s it. I mean, the oscillation explanation isn’t part of some big theory in the narrative. The anime just likes to brag and it will alienate as much of its audience as it can. I am honestly overwhelmed at first. The show is really just acting smart since all of this bullsh*t is still fiction so there’s really no point in a long winded hypothetical theory of how the show’s universe works. In the end, the story still sucked. Anyways, I often just dumb the whole thing down on my own. When people mention something stupidly out of my reach, I just get the basic gist and go “oh, he used a strong magic spell by consuming MP”. It’s really the same but with more bells and whistles. Imagine how pretentious you have to be though to explain so much and yet have a very pathetic story to present. This is Mahouka. No matter how smart it appears to be, it doesn’t really help in the long run. So be warned that the dialogue often needlessly goes off track and it often affects the overall progression of the story.

So this show is really just about the perfect student at some magic high school. It follows the exploits of Tatsuya Shiba as he spends his rather unusual high school life. The show often focuses on the dangerous missions he undertakes both as a student council member and a high ranking member of the military. As the show progresses, you are often given more information about him. See, he starts out as this typical guy with a cool personality but the audience soon discovers that he is more than that. As more details about him is revealed, the audience also see a lot of chances where Tatsuya just acts all cool and amazing. This guy started out as a normal magic student with a low entrance test score. He then turns into a disciplinary member of the student council. After that, it is revealed he has ties with the military. After that, it appears he is also an inventor. After that, well, more things about this guy are revealed. That’s the whole point of the show. Sure there are arcs and narrative are about terrorism but it’s often overshadowed by the show constantly putting Tatsuya on the spotlight. Take it for what is. It’s about a perfect guy doing various things to display just how perfect he is. Certainly not the best plot you’ll ever see but you have to give points for how original the premise is. It’s also interesting just how much of a gawd this guy is. Aren’t you curious as well just how far the show will glorify him?

Anyways, this show has three arcs. At this point, it’s honestly pointless to talk about it. I must stick to my review format as much as I can though. So the first arc is about the Blooms and the Weeds. The Shibuya siblings have successfully entered First High magic school. The youngest, Miyuki Shiba, has passed for Course one where the best of the best is eventually grouped in. The eldest, Tatsuya Shiba, is placed in Course 2 where people who didn’t do so well on the test is grouped in. The school group strong magicians in one class based on the test results because they serve better soldiers when they graduate. Being Course one means you are the cream of the crop and you are destined for something big. If you’re in Course two then you are considered something inferior. The school has a long tradition of Course one students being considered “Blooms’ while the others are considered “Weeds”. Weeds bows down to the Blooms. The first arc is now about this course two student who has everyone intrigued. Miyuki insists that the test score is biased and that her brother should’ve been the one in Course one. Still, a Weed is a Weed. He is now considered inferior. He accepts it as well but after a few incidents, a lot of people started to have some interest in Tatsuya. One of them is the student council president who suddenly appoints Tatsuya in the disciplinary committee. A Weed is now about to have authority over other students and this is just a bomb waiting to explode.

Soon, other people started noticing Tatsuya. A lot of people who wants change among the Bloom/Weed dynamic want to do something drastic and they want Tatsuya in. Our main character easily caught wind of the situation though and decided to do something about it before a literal bomb actually explodes. I particularly like the first arc because I still have no idea what the show was about. I like the idea of a guy belittled by others only to come out roaring like a lion. Sure, her creepy sister ruins the momentum sometimes but I like how the anime was able to feature the student body as a whole. I quite like the whole Weed/Bloom dynamic. While the show spouts some idealistic stuff about how inferior people only impose inferiority upon themselves, I enjoy how Weeds can defy expectation. I honestly think this is where the show was heading into. It feels like a fun premise that has a lot of potential. There is really no need to overcomplicate the whole situation. And yet, the show decided to overcomplicate it. Upon the introduction of a terrorist group, the Weed/Bloom dynamic fade away and the anime then focuses on the siege of the terrorists. This is where Tatsuya assumed his place on the high pedestal and ruins the story. While there are some moments where a side character unleashes his awesomeness, I don’t think it’s really wise to have ONE GUY defeat an entire terrorist group. Literally one guy defeated a slew of armed terrorists and came out unharmed. This is where I began to question the show’s intent. The Weed/Bloom story sounds wonderful so I don’t understand why there is suddenly a lot of focus on one character. Sure, he’s the protagonist but the show seems a bit titled. I never expected the show to be about the guy so I was honestly a bit confused. The other arcs soon turn the entire experience into something, personally, a bit upsetting.

The second arc is about the Nine School Competition. It’s kind of like an Olympics game where the best student magicians battle in different kinds of sports. Only Blooms are given a chance to compete though since winning at the games is actually a serious matter. Tatsuya is given the opportunity to be involved though. He will be assigned as an engineer that calibrates and fixes the various CADs of the athletes. CADs are the device they use to summon magic. It’s like a weapon but more handy since most CADs are wrapped around the wrists and you type activation sequences in it. Tatsuya is tasked to handle some of the CADs of the competing students despite the objection of the actual engineers actually appointed the role. They aren’t the main character though so f*ck them. The second arc features a lot of the sports the characters engage in. It also introduces a lot of side characters that play a role in the story. As the competition progresses though, foul play started to arise when some First High students are subjected to various dirty tricks. Tatsuya is soon forced to do something about it. He decided to help out the First High school in obtaining the overall championship trophy despite all the dirty tactics that seems to be happening. It didn’t take long as well for a terrorist group to be involved and for them to target the NSC for purposes known only to them. If there’s one thing the terrorists haven’t learned, it’s the simple fact that you do not mess with Tatsuya and this particular terrorist group is about to learn that the hard way.

At this point, you’ll notice that each arc is really long. The show goes out of its way to really introduce a lot of the side characters. For the first arc, I didn’t mind because the student body was being represented. Coupled by the pretentious scientific exposition dump and all that information dump about the various NSC sports, introducing the characters really drag the story a lot. The show also focuses on what Tatsuya is doing so the story really stagnates. Still, the show has a way of making side characters interesting. I really think that introducing Mikihiko could’ve been done in a faster manner so the show didn’t have to spend wasting time on a side character. I mean, the show often drags a story for two or even three episodes just so it can properly establish a character’s role but then the initial climax would often just involve Tatsuya doing something miraculous. It feels a bit counter intuitive that the anime would force audiences to sit through three episodes of exposition garbage only to have Tatsuya do all the leg work. For all the time wasted on character introduction, it’s often a bit infuriating that they don’t do anything special in the long run. A terrorist suicide attack? Stopped by Tatsuya. A scientific impossibility about flying that top scientists can’t solve? Tatsuya cracked it after it was established in the same episode that it’s impossible to crack it. A freaking sport where a side character is participating in? It’ll be won because Tatsuya did something amazing with her CAD. I mean, for gawd sakes, where does it stop? You mean to tell me that the guy that casts force shields couldn’t stop that suicide attack? Couldn’t there have been maybe one or two students who could’ve at least helped in cracking the scientific conundrum? Does he really have to do it by himself? Couldn’t the player at least provide Tatsuya with the basics and the data provided to calibrate the CAD for them to win the game? Does it really have to be him just magically whipping up a winning formula to win the game by himself? The show drowns itself with a lot of characters yet all the important moments are given to Tatsuya. So I often ask myself exactly what is the point of the anime. Why go to so much trouble, subject the audience to a lot of scientific bullsh*t and useless exposition dump if the end of each story usually involve just one guy doing the impossible that none of the scientific garbage is able to properly explain. It’s a bit exhausting watching this show. I honestly don’t get it. Anyways, the second arc is really just a drawn out story of how Tatsuya won the NSC single handedly. Everything in between is just hollow context.

Oh, the second arc also introduced us to a formidable opponent. This is just me embellishing his importance though. Among the participants of the competition is a duo considered to be an aggressively awesome team. One is so smart that he has solved a scientific problem at a young age and another is so strong that he is a decorated war veteran at such a young age. Their awesome combination has set their sights on Tatsuya and it was soon established that Tatsuya will enter a handicap match with them. Guess who won. Seriously, I want you, dear readers, to take a guess. Most anime would make an arch rival imposing. He’ll at least have some edge over our main character that’ll give way to our protagonist training hard and doing his best for the next encounter. With that all said, really, guess who won. Most anime would try to humanize the main character with a crushing defeat that would expose their vulnerable side and it’ll lead to a character journey of finding himself thus making him a better person. Really, guess who won. Guess who won against a match involving a child prodigy teaming up with a veteran, with a scary blood trail, against a guy who brought down an entire terrorist organization. Isn’t it just so upsetting that such a thing can happen? It’s honestly a tad insulting that a guy can win against such a match. While he does look cool beating up two formidable opponents by himself and you’re honestly anticipating it to happen, I still think that it lacks any real entertainment. It’s cool. So what? It isn’t meaningful in anyway and I think any shounen anime can do the same. They don’t do that though because there is still a huge importance in other things that improves the overall experience. Storytelling, rivalry and character development still matters. Mahouka doesn’t have that. It’s hollow and meaningless. The pretentious attempt at storytelling, the slow paced story due to character introduction and the main character playing the game with the unlimited lives cheat isn’t something I consider to be something anyone should watch, to be honest.

Now I’ll be fair though, I finished the damn anime because I still enjoyed it to a degree. Deep down, I do understand the appeal of a perfect character that is so perfect others can’t even reach his feet. During each arc, I was anticipating the action to break out and for Tatsuya to do something cool. The show might lack any real storytelling but seeing Tatsuya kick ass is pretty satisfying. Despite the flaws, you often suspend disbelief and just enjoy seeing a bad guy helpless in Tatsuya’s presence. If this one enjoyable element was paired with a better story and more meaningful side characters, then I honestly think the anime could’ve been ten times more awesome. Seeing our main character effortless win doesn’t really do much for me especially if the climactic moment is bogged down with slow pacing and pretentious exposition dump.

Anyways, the last arc is about a terrorist group trying to invade another competition. This one is about the Magical Thesis Competition where schools now brag about how smart their students are. Students from the nine schools would present their thesis about groundbreaking stuff concerning magic. Tatsuya is once again asked to join the competition because they just want to and terrorists have, once again, decided to go to where he is. The third arc heavily features a lot of what the terrorist group is doing and very little about anything else. It seems the anime has expanded the story where the terrorist groups are now a huge component of the story. It’s a far cry from the Weed/Bloom dynamic the show started out with. Once again, as well, there is a lot of overwhelming exposition dumping involved about the thesis Tatsuya is working on. I think it’s about a remote controlled nuclear reactor of something. Just like any scientific garbage unleashed in the previous arcs, this one didn’t matter in the long run. The anime just wanted to prove that it’s smart so it does a lot of this. The established terrorist organization heavily featured didn’t matter in the long run as well. There were a lot of planning on their side but they really suck at spreading fear in the hearts of people. While I do love the fact that side characters are getting a chance to join the melee, I still didn’t quite like how unconvincing the terrorist group is. They sent this genetically altered man to do some killing and he was thwarted by a couple of students. It’s pretty pathetic. This arc’s eventual climax though involves an ugly battle with the terrorist group where students are suddenly caught between the crossfire. Of course, Tatsuya then charged head on and killed a lot of people. Not by himself this time though. The battle is huge that a lot of side characters were able to have some moments to themselves. The show was still pretty upsetting though because it revealed an ability Tatsuya has that solidify his perfect status. Imagine an army of bad guys with tanks and heavy fire arms and the guy was able to save every student and prevent them from dying. Learning that he had such a skill really made me sick. For gawd sakes, it’s a bit too much to literally give him cheat codes of unlimited lives. C’mon. Is he really not flawed in anyway whatsoever?

All three arcs are basically the same. Sure, they might have a story to present but the structure is all the same. It’s just a way for Tatsuya to be amazing. I do love the slight gore featured in the third arc. During the first two arcs, students just hurt each other. It wasn’t until the last few episodes where people really died at the hands of Tatsuya. I think the plot would eventually become more grim as it progresses and I sincerely hope a lot of people will die. I just think we deserve a notable death after seeing Tatsuya strut around so god-like.

Now, I hate a lot of things in this show but there is definitely one thing about it that I really enjoy. It’s the side characters and their blooming relationships. There is always a couple that soon starts to like each other. Most of them are introduced in the arc and they often end up with someone they share a mutual bond with. Obviously, I like this part of the show because Tatsuya is not involved. It just features two characters that were once at clashing heads suddenly turning soft and starts liking each other. It’s a nice way to utilize the large cast. Having some of them actually ending up in a relationship together kind of gives you pay off that is badly lacking in the entire show. Seeing two characters end up together gives justification to the heavy exposition dumps that plague the show. I also love how fluffy and cute the anime also present the relationships. You eventually grow attach to a character so it’s really fun seeing them blush and act all shy around each other. I think a relationship blossom per arc and that’s really one of the things I gladly look out for in the show. It’s really just a minor part of the show. Some of the moments barely last five minutes but I still think that it’s really the only portion of the anime that I truly enjoy. Actually, anything involving the side characters is something I quite enjoy. I mean, it’s nice seeing them just fool around instead of gravitating around Tatsuya and praising him to death.

Tatsuya is an interesting character to a degree. The show introduced him as this cool guy that has a calm demeanor that lets him evaluate situations. This leads him to act more effectively during various situations. In the first arc, he was this guy belittled for being inferior but soon proved people wrong by kicking ass in the hardest way. He has a cold personality and he has a really weird relationship with his sister. It was nicely explained towards the later episodes why he acts this way. It’s most subtle hints but it’s enough to understand his character. I quite like him as an inferior but the show soon started to go batsh*t crazy with the praises. It started out subtle with various girls just hovering around him despite only meeting him the first time. I chalk it up to accidental harems. It’s a light novel cliché where girls are attracted to the main character. They don’t form a harem and it’s never implied that a harem exists but a bunch of girls hovering over our main character can only be called as such. Every light novel anime has it so I have no problem with it. Things started to turn weird though when Tatsuya is build up as this amazing person. He’s a talented student that balances his low magical ability with strong physical skill. It’s a cool thing to witness someone overcoming his flaws with ease. Then the show revealed that the guy is also secretly a military officer, he is a smart guy that invented flying spells on a whim, he’s a famous inventor, he knows a lot about people and their lineage just by looking at them, and he has the ability to kill an entire army by himself and so on and so on. The anime went a bit too far with embellishing this bastard. Some of his traits could’ve been given to other characters to keep them in the loop. I think it’s a bit overkill that one guy can be this awesome. The biggest problem though is that everyone just accepts it as their reality. When Tatsuya does something amazing, no one would try to be better than him. You have more than twenty characters and they all just go awe at how amazing Tatsuya is. Some of them are superior geniuses, amazingly skilled warriors with a lineage to uphold and prideful members of a prestigious political family yet they all just kneel down at Tatsuya. There’s no resistance, no tension and no conflict. They just accept that Tatsuya is perfect.

As far as wish fulfillments go, I think Tatsuya relationship with her sister borders the insane. A light novel anime like this is really just a big wish fulfillment for its audience. Still, Miyuki Shiba doesn’t really do anything significant in the anime except worship her brother. There is a story here but the anime never really focuses on it. There was a scene in the opening sequence where a more than dead Miyuki is being brought back to life by Tatsuya so really, there’s a story between the two that the show refuses to explore. Instead, we just get flirtatious incest. Miyuki literally worships her brother and she constantly wants to be by her side. Every moment with them alone is a bit uncomfortable to watch. It’s supposed to be cute but Miyuki doesn’t really do anything else in the show. I’ve seen flirtatious incest but nothing quite as creepy as the one in Mahouka. Hell, hentai incest works for me but something about Miyuki obsessing over her brother and Tatsuya just letting her be creepy just doesn’t sit well with me. It’s all one sided flirtation as well. Tatsuya is a cold person who doesn’t care about. Flirtatious incest is supposed to be a give and take as to give us the illusion of a dangerous romance. Mahouka doesn’t do that so it’s really just love in all the wrong places. Miyuki has the ability to use ice and her emotions usually affect the intensity of her power. She doesn’t use it as much though and often waits for Tatsuya to unleash her collar before she starts biting. I don’t really like Miyuki’s over dependency over Tatsuya. It’s like she doesn’t really think about anything else besides her big brother. See, it’s creepy.

The side characters are all pretty great. For me, being overshadowed by Tatsuya just makes me want to learn more about them. Even though they are really just stepping stones for Tatsuya to walk all over, I still quite like the interaction among them. There are a lot of them though and most don’t really have a big purpose on the show. It’s also going to be a pain in the ass to explain them all. Let me just talk about the stands out though. The first one is the student council president, Mayumi Saegusa. She’s the one that insisted on Tatsuya joining the disciplinary committee. She has a nice way of controlling a situation and her bubbly attitude contrast her serious role in the school makes her a pretty interesting character. There is Katsuo Jumonji who heads the club management committee. He is a large guy from a powerful family. He is intimidating and even Tatsuya admits that Jumonji’s existence is intimidating. The guy casts large shields in battle and he takes charge of a group amazingly making him a pretty formidable guy. There are a lot of student council members introduced throughout the show. There are also a lot of police and undercover agents that interact with Tatsuya as well. With the story blowing over huge and turning more into an international conflict with terrorists, you can bet these characters have bigger roles to play later on. My favorite characters are among Tatsuya’s classmates. There is Erika Chiba and Leonard Saijo. They are skilled people that were delegated to the Weeds along with Tatsuya. They have some talent that matches Tatsuya’s physical prowess though and they were a huge part of why I think the Bloom/Weed dynamic had so much potential in the show. They also look cute as a couple. It’s just hinted at but their interaction is so lively that I bet there’s a fan art of them kissing. There is also big boobs, I mean, Mizuki Shibata. She has super powers involving seeing small particles or something but I mostly remember her because of her boobs. There is always one character that has a set that you always admire. Mizuki has boobs I really like. It reminds me of Mix’s from Aquarion Evol but that’s just me being dirty. Lastly, there is Mikihiko Yoshida. This guy comes from an ancient line of spirit summoners and he has the ability of clairvoyance. He has this timid personality with him that matches perfectly with Mizuki’s. It’s a shame the show didn’t take it a step further.

The villains in the anime are all stupid chess pieces that Tatsuya just eliminates. I love the whole idea of terrorists though and they all have cool names with them. When it comes to fighting though, some of them tucks their tail away and run pretty early. It is satisfying to see Tatsuya kill a bad guy but it would’ve been great if he was subjected to some pain as well. Heroes are mostly remembered for their struggles and even death than any amount of henchmen they kill. It’s annoying as well because the show took the time establish just how bad they are. In the case of the Nine School Competition with the two prodigies, I was hoping a tough rivalry could be established and yet Tatsuya finished them in just one episode. Every villain had some decent build up but it really just takes Tatsuya one or two episodes to dispose of them. Maybe there is a villain down the line that will cripple Tatsuya but nothing like that appeared in the anime. It’s not really satisfying seeing a one sided victory. Villains are supposed to be menacing. They don’t get defeated in one episode.

mahouka3

I really wanted to like Mahouka. I mean, it just looks really good and there are some moments I comeback for. Still, I do not support this whole idea that one character should be perfect. Even Medaka (perfect character from Medaka’s Box) had flaws and insecurities that make her relatable. Tatsuya does not so he’s just this jerk that spoils all the fun for the audience and the rest of the characters. I’ll give Madhouse some points for giving us two interesting light novel anime for Spring 2014. No Game No Life was interesting to a degree and the same goes for Mahouka. They were still pretty subpar though. They had flaws that were just too glaring to dismiss but Madhouse has a way of making people sit through something they don’t like. It’s like magic. Also note that these two light novels explored the whole “perfect flawless main character” angle. I think Madhouse might have more of them. Good gawd, that is going to suck if I am subjected to more upsetting characters like Tatsuya. Manabu Ono directed this anime. He is known for also handling a messy light novel called Horizon in the Middle of nowhere. I can tell that Manabu knows how to make characters interesting. Between the slime from Horizon and Mizuki in Mahouka, he has a knack for making side characters interesting. He even did my favorite four koma slice of life in A-Channel so I know this dude has talent. Story isn’t really a big thing for him since the characters really just shine more than anything else. I wonder if he enjoyed adapting this self-satisfyingly obnoxious light novel. I think he did every character in Mahouka justice so I’ll give him points for that. I just wish it was a big headache for him as it was for me because I respect him too much to think he also like Tatsuya. I hope Tatsuya die in the light novel. Ah, that’s one wish fulfillment I hope gets granted.

Sight and Sound

Ah sh*t. I recently said that Mizuki’s big boobs reminded me of the same big boobs from Mix of Aquarion Evol. That’s because it was created by the same person. Kana Ishida knows how to make attractive young teenagers and there is definitely a wide range of looks in her designs. Ishida makes young slender characters and big bulky muscle bounded ones as well. Design on the faces is pretty ordinary though. There aren’t a lot of eye grabbing components to mention about the faces. They look clean and I guess there is also some range since other characters have some moe eyes but not enough to set each character apart. It’s usually the hair style or the various accessories that define them. Mizuki is this timid girl with big boobs. She has glasses on that compliments her expressive eyes. The design might not be flashy but it certainly compliments the personalities of each character. The student council president has a gentle face but with red eyes and wavy cute hair. It nicely captures her playful yet commanding persona. By far though, I think the uniforms are the best thing about the designs. I love the blue green palette and I also enjoy the see through portion of the uniform for the girls. The guys have a simple uniform on but it has the blue green on the borders. It looks unique and it definitely compliments each characters design making them more stands out in a simple manner.

The animation is pretty decent. It was able to nicely capture the magic induced sequences littered all throughout the show. Every fight scene is nicely animated with a steady pacing and nice effects for the magic to come through. Some of the casting moments and CAD Activation is also pretty cool by themselves. The director is smart by utilizing various camera angles to add more depth to the scenes. They were pretty short but each fight scene is nicely animated. I personally enjoy the face-off between Tatsuya and the two prodigies in the second arc. It was pretty cool seeing one dominate over the other with their deadly spells and then that climactic counter attack by Tatsuya that silenced the crowd was pretty outstanding. Of course, the various facial expressions are nicely animated as well. Miyuki is the best example of this because she is serious, blushing, happy and sad often in just one scene. It’s because she’s a crazy b*tch but it’s a nice way to really improve the storytelling thanks to the brilliant animation. Seeing other characters act shy and interact with each other is also nicely presented. It’s the main reason why I love the shippings in the anime. The animation was able to capture an aura of cuteness between the characters.

The anime has two OP. The first one is “Rising Hope” by LiSA. This is an energetic song and it has a catchy chorus. I’m not quite sure about the lyrics though. It’s like a person fighting against all odds or something. It certainly captures the anime’s appeal. The OP sequence features all the characters with the incest also presented. It also has a summary of the first and second arc in it. It featured some of the climactic moments so it definitely spoils a few surprises of the show. As I said though, the story doesn’t matter much in this anime so they can spoil as much as they want.  The second one is “grilletto” by GARNiDELiA. It’s pretty much like the first OP. It had the same pace to it but with the singer giving forth a wonderful vibe to the song. The OP sequence once again features every character that appears in the second and third arc. It also spoils a few moments like the fight with the man eating tiger. Still, it is actually much better than the show itself, to be quite honest.

The anime has two ED as well. The first one is “Millenario” by ELISA. It’s a nice ballad about an eternal love. Elisa’s voice is outstanding in this song. She hits the high notes splendidly and gives a really solem vibe to the song. I really love it. The verse was nice and slow then the chorus just features her amazing high voice. It’s pretty awesome to listen to. The ED sequence features Miyuki. I think she’s sad or something as she looks on in a post-apocalyptic place. I don’t really know what it’s about but it seems to hint at something about Miyuki herself. Still, it’s all vague. The second ED is “Mirror” by Rei Yasuda. This is similar to the OP songs. It is vibrant and the Rei features her amazing voice. This one had amore solemn pacing though similar to the first ED. The ED sequence features all the characters and an ambiguous event surrounding them. Much like the first, it feels like its forewarning something that doesn’t happen in the anime. I think it teased few events of the light novel after the arcs the show adapted.

Overall Score

6/10 “I don’t quite like seeing our hero win at everything. I like the idea that heroes can bleed. I enjoy anime for the relatable feelings of hardship and struggle our character faces. If I wanted to see someone be better at everything, I wouldn’t be watching anime in the first place. I don’t like this anime.”

With a more than beyond Mary Sue character, pretentious heavy exposition narrative and pathetic villains, there is very little to enjoy about this show. If you can relate to the author who seems to be having a great time satisfying his imagination by thinking a guy can be so good at everything then you might like this anime. I have to tell you though that it’s sad for someone to think that the wish fulfillment in this show can satiate what they’re looking for. The entire concept of the show sounds pathetic and you’d have to be one miserable bastard to like what this show is selling. This is just my opinion though but I strongly dislike this show. If you like perfect characters who win at everything then check this show out. If you enjoy shows with dialogue heavy exposition about sciency stuff then you should check this one out as well. If you enjoy simple storytelling in your anime like a good villain, relatable characters and an interesting plot then this show has none of that. It’s a pretentious show at best. I do not recommend this.

41 thoughts on “Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Review

  1. [blockquote]Basically, Mahouka is about a perfect guy that is so perfect that he literally can’t die.[/blockquote]

    Then. how about letting Tatsuya getting punched by Touma Kamijou with his Imagine Breaker!

    Nice review on Mahouka, and I have to point out that it was this show that shafted Magical Warfare to becoming a terrible Madhouse anime series, ’cause Kadokawa wanted Mahouka to become the most hyped series in Spring 2014. Honestly, there’s nothing to hype on Mahouka as it was boring to watch generally.

    • I’ll have to check out Magical Warfare now just so I can rip on Mahouka some more. And yes, it’s a boring show. Compared to all the other great Spring shows, hype is wasted on Mahouka.

      lol, i would love to see Touma punch the crap out of Tatsuya. Sadly, he’ll just regenerate then fly or something. It’s stupid.

  2. Tatsuya is an enigmatic character, but whether this is an enjoyable trait or not is definitely up to the viewer! I enjoyed him but its not that I don’t enjoy an anime for the relatable feelings of hardship and struggle our character faces. I just enjoy both the kind of anime, and I enjoyed this one because Tatsuya made me wonder about Just How good he is? and what skills can he possibly pull out next? So, It was quite entertaining to me for that reason. 😛

    And now for some shameless plugging, I also wrote an review on this anime, here read it might change your views regarding the anime 🙂 – http://www.animecataclysm.com/2014/10/review-irregular-at-magic-high-school_1.html

    • I’m just not sold. Like you, I also wondered how good he is but then I realize that he has the ability to not die and I just think it was too much. and is it really worth twenty six episodes to just see if a character can fly or not? Don’t you think twenty six precious episodes could’ve been given to other things as well? If the only reason to watch this anime is to see how good Tatsuya is then I don’t really think its worth it.

      shameless plugging!!! that’s fine. just no spams!!!! XD

      • Now, if you put it that way even I would say “Nope, its not worth it”. But, I just didn’t watch this anime and gave it 26 precious episodes just to see how good Tatsuya is! I personally found the series to be quite enlightening, and the idea of taking a “magical” theme and making it into a sci-fi/technological show also seemed like a very interesting idea to me, you know? I was quite intrigued by the plot and saw a lot of potential in this show! That is why I watched it. But, by no means am I trying to say that this show is fantastic and it is worth your time. I just wanna say that it would be a good fit for people interested in sci-fi shows and it not that bad as you people say it is and its watchable. 😛

        • I was enthralled by the scifi/magic angle as well. It was very similar to the exposition style of Toaru Index where science is used to explain powers, here magic is explained with big scientific explanations. The problem is that nothing really materializes from it. Fight scenes are short and the story dragged on for far too long to enjoy any aspect of it. Then it’ll usually just end with Tatsuya taking all the glory.
          I respect that you like the show but I personally just hate it and i want more people to hate it. I’m evil that way.

  3. But in the end, what really is the point? Mahouka is just a stream of ridiculous light novel clichés and wish fulfillment turned way up. Basically, Mahouka is about a perfect guy that is so perfect that he literally can’t die.

    ^ That, my friend, is hilarious. Tatsuya is close, but not perfect. He is however, rather overpowered in his context. Let’s consider his powers of regeneration. For the small price of some pain, he can rebuild his whole body using magic.

    The problem is that nothing really materializes from it. Fight scenes are short and the story dragged on for far too long to enjoy any aspect of it. Then it’ll usually just end with Tatsuya taking all the glory.
    I respect that you like the show but I personally just hate it and i want more people to hate it. I’m evil that way.

    ^ Hahahahaha, nothing much new there. I mean, you seem from previous reviews, to absolutely dislike characters that can’t lose. You’d probably take a chunk from 4-5 points off of any anime if the like occurred.

    Now about the show: It wasn’t the best, but it really wasn’t the worst of anime. It was actually pretty decent.

    “I don’t quite like seeing our hero win at everything. I like the idea that heroes can bleed. I enjoy anime for the relatable feelings of hardship and struggle our character faces. If I wanted to see someone be better at everything, I wouldn’t be watching anime in the first place. I don’t like this anime.”

    ^ Basically…you watch anime…because you want an anime where the hero is…relatable?

    The flip-side for people is that anime, basically, is all fantasy. Most anime don’t even indirectly translate into reality, or something occurring similarly.

    I mean, would you suddenly just upvote this anime if Tatsuya had a mental breakdown, collapsed, and had to be nursed back to health by his sister, while she whispers how great, all-powerful, and wonderful he is?!?!

    That’s exactly what I don’t get. I mean, do you really just love to see your hero get beaten up, crushed and defeated? That’s the sort of mentality that some people have.

    I mean, in most shonen, it’s common for the main hero to get “beaten”, somehow survive, and come back stronger, in a very ridiculous fashion.

    It’s certainly more illogical that Tatsuya would be defeated, and then proceed to come back.

    In reality, people who are beaten, who lose out, who generally lose out in life, continue to lose out and die. There’s no miracle comeback, no super save, no magical training experience that helps you win. That, is true wish fulfillment. That if you only would train in combat for 30 days straight, you could go up and beat up the bully that bothers you in life.

    Anyway, that’s just my 10 cents.

    Nice review, and I actually think the 6/10 was pretty justified here.

    • reviews are still purely opinion based. I guess seeing and reviewing and evaluating so many shows gives you an idea what a main character should be like. After all, I’ve seen ten episode anime develop an ideal main character and Mahouka just refuses to do so. It’s stunted and I don’t quite like a viewing journey where I can root for the main character. I watch anime for the conflict and the process of resolving the conflict. Mahouka had a cheat code to skip it all. It just didn’t sit right with me. But I don’t knock off four points for a bad main character lol, even perfect ones, the show is a culmination of all the things done right and wrong by the show.

      And i understand the whole wish fulfillment and fantasy angle of stories but not giving us context for character development just seems like the show lacks depth. Sure you can win but why not explore other possibilities, expand the premise, play with the context, surprise the viewer, deliver an anime experience than is much better than a story of a character being good at everything. It doesn’t have to be so one dimensional considering it had twenty six episodes to alot for growth.

      and speaking for all cancer patients and every injured person both mentally and physically, I think your last line is abit too black and white. “In reality, people who are beaten, who lose out, who generally lose out in life, continue to lose out and die. There’s no miracle comeback, no super save, no magical training experience that helps you win.” I think you’re missing the human component in your idea. Humans are predictable and not as one dimensional as you’d expect. Sure, some battered, abused people lose out in life but most would let the wound heal and win. I believe real life has room for losers and I would like to believe that no one stays a loser for long. That’s just my ten cents. XD

  4. Did anyone else just find it annoying that you spend the last ark just watching what would be 16 year olds who have just started high school do what supposedly trained professionals can’t for the life of them do?

  5. By no means am I an Anime reviewer nor do I possibly pay enough attention hit all the points. But nonetheless I thought this anime wasnt bad.

    Sure enough Tatsuya is one OP MC without a doubt it’s irking. He solves mysteries and scientific wonders single handedly within the span of days that no one else can do. But I dunno I find it interesting. His character itself is interesting. But that’s all it was. There was no big reveal on how or why he’s like that. There was so much room for development but it was neglected. The story with the aunt and their relationship was poorly developed not to mention they couldve easily make this anime much better if they simply expanded on these aspect. Why is he able to perform these godly actions and yet everyone treats him like dirt. Surely enogh it’s not a struggle. But the least they could do is explain it. Make me impressed. Shock me. Surprise me. They was so many things left out that to the point I was disappointed and upset. At the end of the day this anime had POTENTIAL to be better. But they missed their chance. I enjoyed it to a certain degree but nowhere near how people are HATING on this Anime. I simply don’t understand the merits that make it garbage. But I agree it’s bad. But it’s not awful. There are much worse. Like SAO2 > >

  6. Hm, I’m kinda late commenting on this post but whatever.
    While I do agree with your statement on Tatsuya being… perfect, I didn’t find it that bad. It was for the most part, enjoyable if nothing else.
    Then again, I’m nothing close to an anime reviewer, what do I know?

    • no, don’t say that. I only form words that sounds convincing. Your opinion matters too. For me, I just really don’t approve of this anime after learning to appreciate three hundred plus shows that doesn’t sway like this one. I understand people enjoy Mahouka for the same reasons I hate it. It’s OK to love Mahouka. XD

  7. Saw the first arc. Reached the point where asking not to be treated as shit despite qualifying of the top 200 students in the country was equated to lazy & jealous lowlives who are brainwashed by evil foreigner terrorists. Dropped the thing. And before watching, I saw many “The LN/anime which slaps in the face of modern monotonous anime” praises in various sites. The bland characterization, boring fights, lack of plot & blatant straw-manning used by the supposed good guys made me wonder how could anyone even like this thing.

    • Apparently a lot of people like this show though despite the fact it really doesn’t look good. Thank you for sharing my sentiment. This anime is bad. Spread the word.

  8. it’s an anime in which they squeezed the 7 volumes of light novel. The reason why you guys assumed that he is perfect, it is because in the seven volume they didn’t show or explained how he ended up like that. And as for me, they made a wonderful job in making that anime. So far so good that they managed to squeezed the 7 volumes so far. If they made a season 2 for that, I would probably be happy because you will get a glimpse of his past. And I hope it will be based on light novel too.

    By the way, if you didn’t like the anime, it’s better to read the light novel. It’s more detailed.

    • I don’t really think it’s a pace issue since the problem is more on the actual premise: perfect guy does things perfectly.
      So you’ve read the light novel? He didn’t come off as perfect in the light novel? He didn’t solve the flying conundrum on a whim after being established that hundreds of scientists cannot solve it? He didn’t resurrect the dead after fighting off terrorists much better than actual police force trained to do that crap?
      I don’t think it’s a matter of lack of explanation. He was perfect. He never lost. The other characters look up to him for no good reason. It’s off putting and upsetting having such a perfect character exist as if he was the sun and everything revolve around him.

      But you’re right? I have not seen light novel. Is he not the perfect flying solving resurrecting the dead mary sue the anime painted him out as? I would really like a reason not to hate this character.

      • Let me say this first, I follow and read this series occasionally since I tend to get busy (I’ve completed Vol.14). I must say that I follow this series because its interesting plot. BUT, i cannot say that I like this series (there are many negative factors, in my opinion).

        Many people who haven’t read the light novel may say that he’s too perfect. There are many details that anime doesn’t cover. Therefore, I will point out some critical information from your comment.

        Regarding flying device, the reason why many scientist cannot accomplish the flying device is because their lack of technology and understanding in magic engineering. MC complete the device by implementing the loop cast (which is invented by him). Instead of letting human do all tedious works in casting activation sequence repeatedly, MC let the loop-cast system do it instead. The reason why he can complete it in short time is because he may study the previous research and come to a solution that might solve the current problem (as he can point out why the English researchers fail their flying experiment). With his intelligence, it may not that impossible for him.

        However, there are many areas must be improved since PSION consumption is too high to the point that normal magician cannot use it for a long period.

        MC’s research is not the same as other magic researchers because
        – His activation sequence reading abilityใ
        – His great understanding in magic engineering to the extent that he can determine the reason why other flying experiment fails (That experiment’s specialists’ assumption is wrong in the first place, but they didn’t know why).
        – He has some kind of hidden motivation and push him this far. (I’ve read up until Vol.14)
        – From the story flow, it is hinted that MC has acquired all Cardinal Codes. (the reason is not known as of Vol.14)

        Regarding resurrecting the dead, I must correct it to “near dead”. MC CANNOT resurrect the dead. He can heal all injured people at the price of condensed pain upon himself.

        While it is true that he is overpower (to the extent of breaking power chart of this series), that doesn’t mean that he has no restrain. If I remember correctly, his sister seal his power (PSION storage) is sealed by half (which mean there are some skills that he cannot use while being sealed). The price for him in order to get hold of this great power is his strong emotion, which may not return. He might hold this great power doesn’t mean that he’s invincible. There are many unknown factors (ability of his family’s magician. As MC said him self, “He does not know whether he can defeat his own family, if it is 1-1 then he might be able to defeat him/her” )

        Finally, I must say that this MC is one hell of unique MC. I’ve read many manga, LN, and etc. I feel that many MC in other series is very similar with each other. (For example, they are weak at first so they must train, train, train, train, blah, blah, blah. In order to quicken the story pace, they must let the MC has some kind of talent, special power, or hidden potential). LOL, same old, same old MC.

        Hope this help you regarding your questions and sorry for my bad English skills.

        • those sounds like great explanations…on why he is indeed perfect. Let me ask you this, it never bothered you that this guy alone was able to figure out the loop cast thingy by himself? research aside, the fact that he ALONE has figured it out not only makes him smart or special but isn’t the story portraying him as perfect? As in, the only smart and special guy in the long history of magic and one guy got it by himself.
          Doesn’t it bother you that “he” is the only one the story embellish? HE, by himself, obtain those cardinal code, figured out the loop cast thing and other stuff like that.

          But I do get it now. The light novel seems to be tediously making sure he doesn’t just acquire things on magic and dos indeed create a narrative for his perfectness. I do believe other people can indeed nod at the idea that yes, he is perfect but he took all the necessary steps to get there. Other people though, like me, doesn’t quite like the idea that HE is the only one capable of this as if the other characters are human and he is gawd. Strip all the narrative and you have one character in a cast of twelve or so outshining the others and they just accept the fact that HE is better than them.

          Wait, so he is perfect now with his powers half sealed so, what, he reach gawd status upon releasing those seals. this is insane,

          BUT I get it now. I do understand his appeal. He certainly isn’t your typical main character and thank you for sharing your views on him. I’m just harsh on him for reasons my personal preference cannot tolerate. I hope others, who like the character like you do, share their veiw point as well.

          • Thank you for reading my reply.

            Regarding MC Preference, I think that as long as this discussion does not turn in to something more than that. There’s no problem.

            It is definitely true that he is too perfect. He can do almost everything as long as it concerns Magic Engineering. However, he’s not too proficient in hardware things (so he need his partner ,Mr. Taurus. (Ushiyama)) in order to complete the loop cast. (This point may be one of the weaknesses that Author try to add into him. LOL)

            People who want to see or expect character progress or growth may not like this character. But there are some progress in MC just a little. LOL

            As of now, I understand that he can invent and complete almost all new technology in short time due to his knowledge in Cardinal Codes (which are not revealed when, where, and how he got them as of Vol.14). These codes may be give him a tremendous amount of knowledge in Magic Engineering.

            In terms of combat capability, he’s too proficient in one area (reconstructing (regenerating) and breaking (decomposing) things) LOL. Due to his unique skills, he cannot use other type of magic efficiently (As MC stated himself, “He can use other magic (due to his second magic calculation area) but it takes too long (about 3-4 times amount of time of normal magician need to execute that specific magic)). This means that when he face an elite magician, he can only fight them by using his unique magic skills, some simple and prepared beforehand magic sequence in the cartridge of his specialised CAD (as you have seen in the battle between ichijou and MC) and martial arts.

            About Mist Dispersion, you may think that this skills is invincible but there are some countermeasure that effectively negate this skill. For example, Jyuumonji’s Phalanx can block this skill. All he has to do is just putting wall between MC and him. Another example come from the character which does not appear in the anime yet, Angelina Kudou Shields, his skill miss the target due to her skill.

            It’s true that his Material Burst is very very and very powerful. But, this skills definitely cannot be used in normal battles (indeed, this skill’s destructive power is comparable to the nuclear warhead itself, this destructive power depends on how much mass he turns into energy). This skill put him into the one of the most powerful magician in warfare on earth.

            Here’s the link that has all information regarding his power (as far as I’ve read, it is quite accurate)

            http://mahouka-koukou-no-rettousei.wikia.com/wiki/Shiba_Tatsuya/Powers_and_Abilities

            As you pointed out before, this MC definitely overshadow other characters greatly especially his classmates but sometimes in the storyline, he need them in order to accomplish his/their objective.

            As I have pointed out in the previous comment, I only interest in plot and how it will turn out. Recently, I start to get bore as story progress (as of Vol.14). Story pace is not good anymore since author keep adding new characters and new mysteries while keeping all that mysteries in the dark. Moreover, MC’s ultimate goal is not concretely revealed. Right now, there are 16 Volumes.But, I just don’t have any motivation to read them. LOL

  9. This is one of them anime shows that demands you to read or have background knowledge of the Light Novel. I like the show because I’ve read the LN and know the small kinks that the anime skipped. Despite the fact that it’s a horrible way to present an anime (shameless advertising of the LN) reading the novel does give you more insight as to the why’s and how’s (school kids kicking ass) etc.

    For ex. those friends of his, Chiba, Shibata, are all kids from special magical families (the 13 Numbered Main Family and 100+ branch) that have their own techniques and whatnot. Think of Naruto Bloodline clans as comparison. Each and every one of them have been trained to become a weapon. If you haven’t noticed, that’s one of the main themes of the show, magicians are being used and viewed by society as nothing but weapons whereas Tatsuya and others (not just his classmates but magicians around the world) invent stuff because they want to change society’s view of magicians as more than weapons. They strive to invent technology that helps society, not just military. That’s one of Tatsuya’s driving force as to why he wants to become a magical engineer. Seriously, it was explained in the anime as well.

    As for why he’s so damn smart and why he could invent stuff that scientists couldn’t, it’s just luck. He was born lucky, or unlucky whichever you prefer. He has an innate magical ability to read magical sequences that evolved because he was experimented on (in a nutshell, because magic here is explained as comparable to computer programming, he can read the software because of his eye-technique aka. Sharingan). Of course, there are some limitations to his power.

    Really reaching the spoiler part now but as to why he and her sister has such a weird relationship wasn’t explained in the anime. However, in the LN, simply put, Miyuki blames herself for what happened to her Onii-sama, so she does everything in her power to make amends (which turns into admiration, then infatuation). While Tatsuya cannot literally feel any strong emotion (love, hate, jealousy) and the only thing that remained was the desire to protect his sister (cuz mom wanted a super-bodyguard that won’t betray them.)

    This show is deeper than you think if you actually read the LN, which again, is stupidly done by the anime, to assume people already read the LN. The show was actually dumbed down so to speak.

    Maybe, if they make Season 2, everything would be made clearer because I do agree, season 1 seemed like such a curbstomp and wankfest to Tatsuya. In later volumes, they go deeper into international terrorist organizations (Like Index-terrorist level villains)

    • Okay, a lot of LN readers always use the excuse of “you didn’t read the LN” for this anime. You just explained small nuances of the series that makes the story slightly good. But, the small nuances of kids being weapons is never the problem. The main issue is that Tatsuya is presented as a perfect being capable of doing anything and succeeding in it. The LN might’ve spun that to say he’s “lucky” but he is still portrayed as perfect. From what I’ve read in your explanations, the author just diluted that fact with exposition. It’s in the anime as well, but no matter how condensed, the problem is never the story. It was Tatsuya himself.

      He hogged the spotlight. He fought, invented stuff and killed people in an awesome manner. He didn’t give any love for the side characters In fact, they were worshiping him as well and telling themselves they aren’t as good as Tatsuya. In conventional storytelling, even a Shounen character would not get this many perfect qualities. The side characters would still be utilized to make the story better. In this series, damn LN or the anime, it was all Tatsuya. Despite all the mind numbing exposition, it couldn’t hide the fact that they placed Tatsuya in a pedestal, and that’s what makes this series bad.

      We don’t need a perfect character, and we don’t need him to be worshiped by others. I don’t care if it’s luck or a genie granted his wish, he didn’t need to be an assassin, a talented student, a guy that can solve year old scientific quandaries, have her sister infatuated by him and have the ability to resurrect the dead. It’s too much, and it’s a damn shame this anime think it could get away with it. I’m sorry but I don’t buy it as much as the thought of vampires sparkling in the sun.

      • Tatsuya is far from perfect. What you see in the anime is only a side of which they show you. Although he is obviously close to a Sue character, he still have failings, huge defects to his character.

        He can never be your typical shounen character because Mahouka wasn’t mean’t to be a shounen. Usually, shounen type are about coming of age, overcoming weaknesses and hardship etc. Shounen is all about flawed MC’s overcoming weaknesses. In Mahouka, it’s made clear that it’s not about those, it’s about a world that dehumanizes magicians, the friction between non-magicals vs. magicals.

        As for the side-character’s worshipping him, you have it wrong. In fact, Tatsuya became a source of inspiration for them. To overcome their limits and defy expectation. His friends are constantly using Tatsuya as a measuring stick as far as “combat-prowess” goes. I know you hate this but in the LN, side-characters are given enough spotlight, to show their skills and magical abilities and character development. In fact, the contrast of having high-schoolers beat professional soldiers just emphasizes on how weaponized those teens are, and how twisted the world views magicians as.

        The world of Mahouka is deep and does not only revolve on Tatsuya, he’s merely one of the main powers “Strategic-class” magician so to speak and boy, does he have tons of problems because of that. Starting from international espionage, to assassination attempts and manipulations to and from him.

        For his combat ability, it’s to be expected of a child-soldier, a “child magician soldier”. He was supposed to be the heir of the Yotsuba family, one of the leading magician families specializing in black-ops, experimentation, and militarization of magic. The fact that he had a defect in magic, meaning he cannot use any other magic besides what he can, his overspecialization, lead to experimentation that damaged his brain as well as enhancing some parts. I’ve already said it but he cannot feel strong emotions, he’s very close to being a robot so to speak. If killing his “friends” would give Miyuki the security she needs, he would not hesitate in doing so.

        Lastly, with great powers comes great shackles (thank you Spider-man). Yes, he is shackled. He cannot use his powers without express permission from Miyuki, who incidentally, is the heir to Yotsuba and is under their control because she fears for Tatsuya’s life, while he fears for his sister’s life because he might be neigh invincible, but she sure as hell isn’t.

        Sure he can resurrect her if she gets killed but there are limitations to that. Tatsuya can only resurrect people who died a few minutes later. He can reconstruct the body, but not the mind, or the spirit, or information that makes up their personality, character, whatever you call it.

        You can even speculate that as far as Tatsuya’s life is concerned, his will always end in tragedy. He cannot feel anything besides the desire to protect Miyuki, he is almost impossible to kill which results in high-risk, suicidal missions, (he can still pain) he can resurrect others at the cost of immeasurable pain to himself, and he’ll always be shackled to the Yotsuba family, and by extension, the Japan military. Their guard dog, assassin, and a human WMD. I wouldn’t wanna be him.

        Now, I can’t force you to like Mahouka, or change your view of it because you are right on some parts. The show and LN does glorify Tatsuya to a certain degree. He does tend to hog the spotlight, and he does tend to incite jealousy among his peers (geniuses always do). But I like it because it’s unique, in magic theory and it almost feels like a deconstruction of your typical shounen anime.

        • When did he fail in the anime?

          And Mahouka is pretty close to To Aru Majutsu no Index. The concept is quite the same, except the main character for Mahouka is a “sue”. From the fights to the exposition, it’s pretty much the same. Let’s not get hung up on the technicality of a Shounen anime. As a light novel show with chapters involving characters fighting people, it’s still fundamentally flawed because it chooses to focus on one single character….every f*cking time.

          You mentioned the characters show off their skills in the LN, but is it ever as good as how the LN portrayed Tatsuya? You mentioned he became a source of inspiration. Why? He could’ve been just a goal the others could reach, and the story can then focus on the characters achieving that goal. He’s an “inspiration” because of the high pedestal he was given. Every crucial and exciting climax involves him. He trumps the moment with his skills, and even the blossoming romance of the side characters play second fiddle to whatever the hell he’s doing. It’s upsetting to think the other characters can’t be compared to Tatsuya or even given a chance to outdone him in just one moment.

          yes, it’s deep but the chapters eventually converge into one thing: Tatsuya doing something cool because he’s a “sue” and the moment and the victory will only belong to him. Any other mention of the deep story is moot when it eventually amounts to just one guy taking all the glory.

          and you’re dumping exposition on me. The character of Tokyo Raven is also a prodigy and became a demi-god towards the end of the series. he is still overshadowed by one awesome teacher, and the experience is a lot more memorable than anything in Mahouka.

          and I have not read the LN, but I won’t be surprised if he breaks free form that shackle all by himself. That’s the upsetting thing about Mahouka. Any chance of making Tatsuya “normal” is just another way to get the pedestal to rise even higher.

          and I’m sorry for being a douche bag. I admit I’m pretty mean when it comes to this anime, but I’ve reviewed three hundred anime at this point. Every single cliche, character development, story structure, plot twists, exposition dumping and even character deaths, I have analyzed and compared to each other. I see a lot of potential in Mahouka because of it’s under utilized cast, and it could’ve been a great spiritual successor to To Aru Majutsu no Index but the potential is ruined because it insists on just making one character good. The exposition and the science stuff is pure gravy, I know, but there is still a lot more potential here if the series gets over glorifying Tatsuya. Except they won’t, and that’s why I hate this one a lot.

  10. Your review was spot on in so many ways. I felt exactly the same way.

    When i first watched MKnR I was a bit excited by how much detail and thought went into creating it’s universe, it’s boundaries and laws. So much so that I got all the light novels (the very first Japanese light novel I’ve read). But after a couple of books I got sick and tired of it. I kept hoping for once they would make Tatsuya more human…but no!!! Tatsuya is that unkillable god that knows everything, can defeat anything, and handles any baffling situation with his customary “wry smiles”. After a couple of books the boundaries and laws and details which I was initially so excited to discover all about became the most meaningless, confusing, and redundant sh** I have ever read! Seriously tho you think the Anime is stressful and full of sh**? Read the light novel.

    • Can I just say that I always pegged Mahouka fans as ultra fanatic when it comes to the LN. As you can see from the comments, LN fans uses the LN as an argument that Mahouka is good. It makes me smile that someone sees past the scientific jargon and calls out the BS as it is.
      Thank you.

      And no ,please. I won’t read the LN. haha.
      People claim it got better in the later parts of the LN though, is it true? Did you ever finish the books?

      • i finished the light novel series and for the most part your grievances about the show are addressed in the next two novels it also deals with how terrifying the yotsuba household is and why tatsuya is “perfect”

        • the way you described it actually makes me want to read the damn thing now. I’m just glad the whole “perfect” thing is actually brought up, because it’s too damn ridiculous not to.

  11. but at the same time the anime did not do justice to the light novels and i’m disappointed at the studio for that

  12. What I hate about this anime more than Tatsuya being perfect is the odd relationship between him and Miyuki. Its so gross I feel like vomiting. It just doesn’t look right. I forced myself the last few episodes just to say I completed the anime.

    • In terms of animation and the overall flow of the story, it’s not that bad. The story an appeal to others, and I take that into consideration when I do my review. Of course, I’d do my best to express how much I hate Mahouka.

  13. I get that no one can be picture perfect but you hating the anime so much based on one criteria seems unreasonable.. he he..

Thoughts~

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