Episode 1 Impressions: The Irregular at Magic High School

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The subject of magic is an interesting realm in the world of writing.  Often taking the form of conflict and mystery.  While The Irregular at Magic High School is yet another take on conflict, its presentation and world design may in fact help it stand out from the crowd.

Synopsis
e1irregular14At the dawn of the 21st century, man has made magic into an actual technology.  However after the climate became drastically changed by a global cooling around 2030, resources and food became limited and thus wars broke out creating World War III.  This war lasted 20 years and caused the population to drop to 3 billion.  The only thing keeping away the use of thermal nuclear war was due to the solidarity of the magical technicians.  Even now, each country races to create greater and more powerful magicians.

Taking the perspective of Tatsuya Shiba, who is now attending one of the most prestige magic schools, we get a glimpse into this world that seeks to create such powerful magicians.  While he claims he sucks at practicing magic, he aspires to become a magical engineer instead.  He joins National Magic University Affiliated First High School along with his sister Miyuki Shiba.  Miyuki unlike her brother is actually quite talented in magic use and is quickly brought in as a Course 1 student even though her grades and martial arts are lower than her brother’s.  That’s because society weighs magical skills far above any other.

In the First Magical University, even though all students could be considered elite, there is a great divide between the students.  Weeds (Course 2) are sub par in magic but still hold potential, while Blooms (Course 1) are deemed high potential in magic.  This divide becomes quickly obvious when students murmur about Tatsuya being a “Weed” and the first welcoming ceremony features back seats being designated for Course 2 while the front are for Course 1.

e1irregular1Not all of the students greet Tatsuya with mocking eyes though.  Before he heads to the ceremony he bumps into the Student Council President Mayumi Saegusa who he claims is a CAD, though it’s not immediately defined.  It’s obvious later that Mayumi takes an interest in Tatsuya, though their encounter is cut short when another classmate requests her presence to prepare for the ceremony.

During the ceremony Tatsuya meets Mizuki Shibata and Erika Chiba.  Later in the class halls, Mizuki realizes Tatsuya’s relation to Miyuki as they both have a similar aura and commanding eyes.  Tatsuya is alarmed by Mizuki’s ability to see auras which he calls “Hypersensitivity to Spirit Particle Emission” as it may reveal his secret, though it’s not revealed what that is.

Before Tatsuya can react on this fear, Miyuki shows up along with Mayumi.  While Mayumi wished to discuss something important with the two of them, she takes her leave along with a male who seems to find Tatsuya’s presence unpleasant.  While Miyuki apologizes for the possible hostility, Tatsuya assures her with a gentle hand.  Seemingly overly affectionate, causing Mizuki to blush and Erika to rush them to class.

That night Miyuki receives a call from her father congratulating her acceptance at the school, though this infuriates her as she knows that he will not call Tatsuya to do the same.  Her anger is known by a release of magic, freezing the counter.  Though Tatsuya calms her and assures her that he doesn’t expect a call.  Being as he turned his father down on working at his business and instead enlisted into the school.

e1irregular2The following day, Tatsuya and Miyuki rush off to a local shrine where Tatsuya trains.  Miyuki slides across the road with magic like skis and Tatsuya runs with large strides with infused foot steps.  Once at the shrine, Tatsuya is greeted by an immediate attack by many fighters.  He effortlessly pummels each as they come at him.

While he fights, Miyuki is greeted by an undetected approach by the sensei Yakumo.  Miyuki points out that he’s heir to a line of time-honored ancient magic users, so it puzzles her that he claims to be a magic ninja.  After Yakumo becomes embarrassingly aroused by Miyuki’s uniform, Tatsuya begins attacking Yakumo with great skill.  Though he ends up being no match for the sensei, and eventually is bested.

Later at class, Tatsuya meets Leonhart Saijo who sits in front of him.  While also a Weed, Leo specializes in Convergence-type Fortifying Magic Sequences.  When he requests Tatsuya’s specialty, he replies that he lacks any specialty but desires to become a magical engineer.  Later at lunch, Mizuki mentions her desire to be an engineer as well.  Though this friendly exchange is quickly turned to a hostile encounter when Miyuki shows up and asks to sit with them.

Turns out the other Course 1 members find her sitting with them appalling.  A Course 1 sitting with Course 2s.  When one of them expresses the necessity to create a divide between them, Leo becomes hostile along with Erika.  Though Tatsuya, not wanting a conflict involving his sister, stands and takes his leave and diffuses the situation.

e1irregular13Though sadly this doesn’t end there.  As Miyuki attempts to walk home with Tatsuya, the Course 1 members once again express their distaste for the mixing of classes.  Leo once again steps forward and claims that there is no power difference between the two classes which leads to one of the Course 1 members accepting it as a challenge. The man draws his magic infused gun and Leo rushes forward.  However the gun is knocked from his hand by Erika’s quick movement and use of a baton.

Things progress worst as the other Course 1 members draw their hands in an attempt to cast an assault.  Miyuki fears Tatsuya will get involved but he assures her by his analysis.  A nearby student Honoka readies a spell that darkens the area but is quickly knocked out of focus by a spell from the student president Mayumi.  She states that use of magic other than in self-defense is illegal and a member of the disciplinary board with her asks for statements on what happened.

Tatsuya steps forward and offers an explanation on what happened.  He claims that it was horseplay that got out of hand.  He knew of the Morisaki Clan’s skill in draw speed and just wanted to see it for himself.  While they questioned Honoka’s use of attack magic, Tatsuya claims she was just using a flash spell and that its potency was considerably suppressed.  The disciplinary member commends his ability to analyze spells as they are being cast, but she also questions his motives.  However Tatsuya brushes it off as him being a mere Course 2 student.

Thoughts
I’m very surprised by how much I’m enjoying this first episode.  The obvious shining elements are the great work in animation.  The combat sequences and different odds and end moments were well done.  I just hope they didn’t blow their budget and that this will continue.  While I don’t much care for some of the character designs themselves, the clothing styles are good.

e1irregular6The not so obvious element that made the show great was the world building.  While I dislike school settings, they managed to create some tension with the Weeds and Blooms while also designing an interesting take on magic.  Magic technology and specialties were interesting and not all “Fire vs Ice” elements.  There’s also a nice attention paid to the characters which all seem interesting in their own way.  I just know I’m going to enjoy Erika and Honoka seems cute.

My only big gripe about this show so far is the uncomfortable amount of attention being given to a trope.  That trope being the brother/sister relationship thing.  Tatsuya obviously seems to give great care into the well-being of his sister.  On the same note, Miyuki grows in affection for her brother due to his kind and attentive heart.  This turns into some overly mushy moments that screams sibling romance that goes a bit too far.  I hope this doesn’t continue but unfortunately it looks to be a prime focus based on the flash forward that happens at the beginning. (Edit: This is actually a flash back, so I’m incorrect here.  Thanks burnout26)

Anyhow, this show is definitely on the list of weekly impressions so stay tuned for more.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t stay too school related and gets more into the technology and war surrounding it.

Episode 1: Enrollment Part 1

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Fantastic!

Goods:

  • Great world building
  • Good characters
  • Interesting take on magic
  • Good animation

Fears:

  • Turns into a school drama
  • Sibling romance

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.

  • By burnout26, April 6, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

    The whole brother/sister relationship is taken as a joke since Tatsuya has no emotions except for his sister. Its the overall joke for the show I am sorry to say not to be taken seriously but for laughs. Also it was a flash back to when he was younger not a flash forward when he was a soldier. You did a good review without reading the Light Novel series which this is coming from. Don’t want to spoil anything yet but wanted to tell what is going on.

  • By Zeruel, April 6, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

    Appreciate the comment and clarification burnout26. Sadly I have not read the novel but definitely needed some insight there. I’ll be sure to update thanks to your feedback.

    Is the show taking the relationship between the siblings further than the novel? My opinions aren’t really so focused on the reaction of Erika and Mizuki because I understand that’s for jokes. However every other moment they are together they are constantly intimately close. Maybe I’m looking too much into it? I guess I’ve seen it go downhill in too many other stories.

  • By burnout26, April 6, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

    I believe the show isn’t taking the relationship further since what happened in the anime is what happened in the light novel it gets weirder in the next couple of episodes. Well the light novel for this anime is the fourth best-selling light novel series with 696,322 estimated sales in Japan. If it follows the light novel it should go smoothly so far there are 12 volumes for the light novel only read up too 7 and it gets pretty good the next part after the arc that its in right now isnt the best but the next will be better with more action i hope since that is what happen in the book.

  • By Zeruel, April 6, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

    That gives me some serious hope for it turning out good. Glad I gave it a shot then. It’s slated for 26 episodes so this might end up being a keeper. Just hope they are giving it a proper budget.

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