Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Irregular at Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei)

Well, it looks like another year is coming to a close soon. I certainly hope everyone is doing alright this time of year. Christmas time can be a stressful and dark time for so many people so I do hope everyone tries to be a bit more thoughtful. Personally, I could have cared less about celebrating Christmas this year. My heart and my wallet just weren't in it this year, but I gave the old college try anyway. I'm just too nice, I guess. 

One guy who probably wouldn't have such problems would be Shiba Tatsuya, the largely unfeeling protagonist from the fantastic Summer 2014 anime The Irregular at Magic High School. Things like guilt, anger, rage, and even depression don't seem to have an impact of Tatsuya. That could be because his feelings were removed in order for him to gain the powers of magic. However, even after such a transformation he still doesn't gain the respect he deserves and is discriminated not only by his own family, but by his school as well. Ouch. Good thing he doesn't have feelings, I guess. Of course, many of his fellow students don't know his personal history, but they probably wouldn't care anyway. 

In this anime the year is 2095 and magic is the name of the game. Rightly or wrongly, magicians are trained to be weapons of war and when they go to school they are separated into two courses. Course one is the more talented of the two and they are unofficially referred to as "Blooms." Course two is unofficially called the "Weeds" and that isn't really a good thing. It's kind of an insult. I mean, would you like being called a Weed?

Tatsuya seems uniquely able to deal with these difficult situations, though. Not only doesn't he not feel, but he also is quick to shut up his naysayers. He proves that Weeds can be stronger than Blooms. Much stronger. 

Tatsuya isn't just a magician with a few inadequacies that are incredibly overanalyzed by the critics because he's also a genius, a strategist, and a military warrior known as Mahesvara. I'm getting ahead of myself, though. 

The only remaining thing that Tatsuya can feel is a devotion to his sister, Miyuki. This often causes some rather humorous interactions with Miyuki's and Tatsuya's classmates. Being a bro-con or a sis-con are things that only otakus like myself can understand or find funny, but anytime a brother and sister seem to be overly close in anime the sister is the bro-con and the brother is the sis-con. I'm not sure if this is humor for the Western world, but it's been a pretty popular topic in anime lately. And the humorous bits that are caused by the scenario are actually quite funny. When Miyuki herself begins to wonder if she's falling for her brother or Tatsuya wonders about his sister's affection it only gets better. This is anime is surprisingly funny for one where I was expecting more action than anything.

These 26 episodes are divided into three relatively separate albeit chronological arcs. The first one mostly deals with the discrimination that Course 2 students face from Course 1 students. Tatsuya's abilities, even though he tries hard to hide them and mostly succeeds, only serve as a lightning rod of controversy among the students. 

The second arc showcases Tatsuya's abilities as a strategist as he helps the representatives of the First Magic High School take on the other schools in the Nine School Magic Competition.  

The final arc sees warfare break out and Tatsuya and his fellow students display the lessons they have learned. Trust me, Tatsuya will blow you away. Quite literally. The one thing you really don't want to do is mess with his sister. That's the one emotion he has left and if you push your luck he will destroy your country, your anime collection, and your kitten. Maybe not in that order, but everything you know and love will disappear. 

I'm surprised I liked this anime. Although this one has been in my queue ever since April I just got around to it a few days ago and finished it in just as many. I believe it is on Netflix for the moment. I could think of a worse anime to watch. Rather than go out and get completely 'faced for the New Year you could just stay at home and give this a try. Your stomach will probably thank you for it, too. 

The 26 episodes are adapted from the first seven light novels by Sato Tsutomu, but there are seven more light novels left to be adapted as of this writing so I certainly hope that there is another anime to follow up this one. The finale certainly begged for one. Season two or we riot. Who is with me? 

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