First Impressions: The Irregular at Magic High School


My instincts tell me they're building to something

In the months leading up to April, I asked a lot of people what they were most looking forward to during the spring season. Without a doubt, the most common answer was The Irregular at Magic High School (AKA Mahouka). Currently one of the most popular light novel series in Japan, the anime adaptation of this series has been a hot topic of conversation among fans for months now; it was finally released just a few days ago. 

To which I say: Big deal.

I'm not going to trash this first episode and say that it was absolutely terrible, but I will say that I totally understand why some viewers will dislike it. There are lots of little things about this series that could make you want to write it off right away. These potential turn-offs include an uncomfortably close relationship between the main siblings, Miyuki and Tatsuya, and the fact that this is yet another high school action-drama-comedy series of the like that we've probably seen a million times in the past. Anyone who says that they are tired of series like this and just doesn't want to put up with yet another character who says 'onii-sama' in every other sentence, has ample justification for their feelings. However, in my opinion, they're going to be missing out on something that has potential to be the next big thing. 

Our setting is the somewhat-near future, where magic is now a commonplace thing that is being researched and developed by countries all over the world after the third World War sent the population of the Earth spiraling downward. The main characters are siblings named Tatsuya and Miyuki, who have been enrolled in a prestigious magic high school. Miyuki, the younger sister, is a "bloom" which means that she is one of the premiere students. Tatsuya, on the other hand, is a "weed," or simply a reserve student/magic user. There is a clear divide between these two types of students, but these two siblings will attempt to navigate the waters of high school together despite this. [Editor's Note: It's not racist if it's magic...wait no, actually it kind of is.]

As I said before, anyone who watches the first episode and decides to pass is going to be pretty justified as there are a lot of negatives right off the bat. Despite these issues though, I found myself more than a little intrigued by various aspects of the series. Little things such as the school uniforms were catching my eye and yes, while the sibling relationship is a little too close for comfort, the relationships in this first episode were sweet in their own way and well-established. 

And while the character designs were less than original, the animation itself really didn't look half bad. In particular, pay attention to the magic sequences and see if those catch your eye as much as they did mine. 

This first episode doesn't do a lot to impress. Not a lot happens as it's really all about setting up the setting, relationships and main characters, but my instincts are telling me that they're building to something, and damn if I'm not at least a little curious to see what that something is. Honestly, this first episode doesn't leave me with the desire to recommend it to anyone wholeheartedly, but I do suggest at least giving it a glance to see if you too are hooked on the premise -- despite this episode's all-too-apparent limitations.

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LB Bryant
LB BryantAssociate Editor   gamer profile

I've been writing about anime and manga either professionally or semi-professionally since August 31st 2005 starting on before graduating up to ICv2 and other sites more + disclosures


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