「入学編II」 (Nyuugaku-hen II)
“Enrollment Part II”

I can see why Tatsuya gets on some people’s nerves. Here’s when he should, and where he works.

Tatsuya The Stoic

Tatsuya may be quite a badass, and he showed some of that this episode in his seemingly easy defeat of Student Council Vice President Hattori Gyobushojo Hanzo (Kimura Ryouhei), or as I think of him, angry Hachiken. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) I don’t think that’s why people complain about him being overpowered, though. You don’t hear people complain about how, say, Alucard from Hellsing is overpowered, even though he’s waaaaay more overpowered than nearly every character I’ve ever seen. Why? Because Alucard has style. If a character is totally overpowered but they’re having a blast – Izayoi of Mondaiji or Sora & Shiro of No Game No Life – we don’t complain, because we’re having too much fun.

But that’s not who Tatsuya is. He’s the stoic (trope!), which works in certain situations, but doesn’t in others. (For students of philosophy, that’s little-s stoic, not capital-s Stoic. There’s a big difference.) Let’s take a Western example, the movie Gladiator. Russel Crowe’s character is a hulking mass of stoic determination, but it works because he’s under pressure the entire damn film, and it would take a stoic behemoth to not crack. But what about social situations? The lighter, school life situations that we find here in Mahouka?

There, it doesn’t work quite so well. That’s when Tatsuya comes off as a tiresome know-it-all, like when he points out that Mari must obviously cook because of her hands. First of all, that’s bullshit because I cook every damn day and I don’t cut up my hands all the time, but other than that, the stoic just isn’t interesting when there’s no pressure. Tatsuya can’t relax, and it’s no fun to see that in what should be a relaxing scene. He is better than many such characters, because A) He points out himself that he can’t get angry, which is why he’s glad that Miyuki does it for him – I respect and appreciate that self-awareness – and B) just when I’m starting to get down on him, he trolls brocon-mode Miyuki, and that’s hilarious to me. But the rest of the time he doesn’t work in relaxed situations. It’s like when he was in the magic experiment room, and he was frustrated, saying “Is this the best I can do?” I understand his frustration, but I don’t feel it, and that’s not how you get us invested in a character.

Tense Situations

Then there are the situations where Tatsuya works. Back to my Gladiator comparison, when the pressure is on it’s fun to see Tatsuya badass his way through a bunch of fools. Hanzo was cruising for a bruising from the moment he made the idiotic assumption that no Weed could beat him – if he were smarter he would have realized that Tatsuya would have never challenged him unless he was pretty sure he would win, and that means he should have been a hell of a lot more wary – so it was great seeing Tatsuya doll the punishment out. Tatsuya is a weapon, and weapons have little place in polite company, but when the company starts getting rude and the situation turns sour, that’s what you want to have. I think that Tatsuya will be best when the tension is high. I just fear for what will happen the rest of the time. Shiroe (Log Horizon) and Toori (Kyoukaisen) had enough sheer personality to helm intricate sci-fi/fantasy worlds and work well in any situation needed, but Tatsuya doesn’t seem to have that much characters. Yet. Maybe.

Brocon Miyuki & Tatsuya’s STFU Face

I still don’t know what Tatsuya is up to here, but I’m pretty sure he wants to keep a low profile, and Miyuki constantly sticking her neck out and trying to push him to the fore doesn’t seem to be appreciated. I kept catching these STFU faces from Tatsuya, which were kind of funny to be honest. What I wish is that there would have been an earnest conversation between the two that gave us some hints into whatever the hell Tatsuya is up to, but instead all we got was him staying in faintly patronizing Onii-sama mode to reassure Miyuki. Once again, that stoic problem again. I wanted more honesty from him, more flaws, not him being strong for his imouto.

As for Miyuki, whether or not I’ll end up liking her may hinge greatly on what the meaning behind those glances she kept giving to Tatsuya. Was she asking for permission? Or is she privy to whatever Tatuya is up to and was inquiring whether her accepting would endanger his/their mission? (Don’t answer, LN readers. Remember, all questions are rhetorical.) If it’s the former, Miyuki is a weak-willed girl and I’ll be mostly done with her, so I hope it’s the latter. I like strong women, and Mahouka seems to have a lot of them – Disciplinary Chair Watanabe Mari (Inoue Marina) has already won her way into my esteem for that very reason – but Miyuki has me concerned. I want to see more steel in her spine. Seeking permission from a man isn’t cute, at least not in my book.

Explain Yourself!

Last week I defended Mahouka somewhat for doing a decent job at introducing such an intricate world, but after watching the first episodes No Game No Life and Sidonia no Kishi, I’m more down on the job they’re doing here. Those two managed to smoothly integrate us into their worlds, whereas Mahouka still has unexplained exposition that’s just frustrating when you feel like you ought to know what’s going on. Now, I’m a veteran of the Kyoukaisen wars, so it hasn’t gotten even close to my tolerance level, but I understand where people’s frustration comes in here. Partially I think it’s a problem with adapting this particular source material – they would have to tweak a lot of things to introduce it more smoothly, and since a lot of the people who will buy the BD/DVDs will be LN readers, that’s not worth the time. (It’s all about the money, folks.) That doesn’t mean I’m not going to call them out on it, though. Hopefully this’ll end up as another “Once you get into it, it’s great!” stories, but it’s already lost out on the much more preferable “Watch it, it’s great!”

Looking Ahead

They left off on the most interesting part of the episode, right after Tatsuya owned Hanzo, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing them explain themselves there. Still not sure whether I’ll pick this up, but I’ll probably give Episode Three a blog and then decide. Thanks for bearing with me once again!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Miyuki & Tatsuya get recruited, which ends with Tatsuya whooping the stuck up Vice Prez’s ass. Take that you pretentious bitch! #mahouka 02

Random thoughts:

  • “Well, I do admit that it’s crossed my mind before. That if only we weren’t related by blood, I’d want her as my lover.” DUUUUUUDE, Tatsuya!! “Needless to say, I’m joking.” HAH! Well played, troll-oniisama. Well played.
  • Mari is smart. If a population is always being policed by an “other” – whether it’s race, social class, or in this case, academic class – they’re going to resent them for it. They need to be policed by some of their own. That problem makes me feel right at home, unfortunately.
  • I don’t know if this is correct, but I was getting Shirou (Fate/stay Night) vibes from Tatsuya’s combat abilities at the end there. If you can’t be good generally, get REALLY good at what you can do, and plan ahead/around your many weaknesses. Specialize to the hilt!
  • Disclaimer: Please do not post spoilers in the comments. If you want to talk about ANY future events, make sure to both use spoiler tags and identify (without spoiling) what’s inside the tags, so other readers know whether they should click on it or not. Also, all questions asked in my post are rhetorical unless otherwise noted. Thank you for your understanding.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: I’ll allow it; Useful lies; Missing the point; and You don’t get credit for the words you don’t write.


ED Sequence

ED: 「ミレナリオ」 (Millenario) by ELISA



      1. I wasnt surprised one bit that Tatsuya would beat that elitist brat vice president in a second. I mean did you guys forget what happened in the first episode prologue? A younger Tatsuya obliterating 6 FRIKIN BATTLESHIPS with a FINGER!

        I bet if everyone in the magic highschool saw that, they’ll start to wonder how they can be ranked as a bloom while someone of that caliber was ranked as a weed. Certainly their ranking system or assessment is broken.

        Also gotta love these characters the “Almighty Janitor” trope where it shows the main lead ranked as the lowest in power levels or hierarchy only for the MC to show them up, kinda like Touma from Index and Saitama from One-punch man.

    1. That’s what I was feeling the whole time while I was watching this show that there’s a reason for the way the two siblings act. Tatsuya is stoic and whatnot, but it feels like he progressively became that way because of his past.

    2. I suspected as much when they took the time to have him point out that he can’t get angry – that kind of self-awareness seemed too pointed to just be illuminating some quirk of his character.

      P.S. For the record, I don’t actually like little hints like this. If I don’t sense it coming in the narrative itself, I really don’t want to know until it happens, save for when we pass that part of the story and it’s been left on the cutting room floor. Only then do I sometimes want to know.

      1. I do like hints at times, but I don’t feel like the hints they’ve been leaving have been very good.

        I’m just hoping that they reveal the past of the two siblings adequately and at a decent pace. Most of the time, I don’t want to watch 3/4ths of show and only get to know why the characters are what they are then. I want to get to know them, and then see them further develop after they reveal the past of our protagonists.

      2. I hope this doesn’t violate the spoiler policy, but this post is rather impressive.Stilts has made many perceptive observations about Tatsuya. Infact, it seems that many of these posts have strung together parts of the main question the plot is trying to raise for an observant viewer so far, such as Tatsuya’s stoicism, and his apparent nature as a weapon.

        Two observations in particular stood out:
        ” A) He points out himself that he can’t get angry, which is why he’s glad that Miyuki does it for him – I respect and appreciate that self-awareness”

        In other words, Tatsuya’s stoicism is linked to his incapability to get angry. His lack of anger and stoicism is not a matter of self-control, or even personality. It is a matter of capability – Tatsuya, simply isn’t capable of getting angry.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        The Second Observation that impressed me was this
        ” Tatsuya is a weapon, and weapons have little place in polite company, ”

        It’s another sharp observation, and as quite a few commentators have already speculated, it is a reasonable conjecture that Tatsuya’s stoicism and character is linked in some manner to his nature and history as a weapon.

        Those two observations are major, and critical. If you take both of them together, a rather disturbing series of questions arises:

        Given that Tatsuya is a weapon, three questions emerges:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        3) How was Tatsuya forged as a weapon? Is his stoic, emotionless nature linked to his nature as a weapon?

        There has been quite abit of reasonable speculation (based on the limited information the show has given so far) as to the third question (I’m not saying which speculation is right or wrong, only that they are good speculations that are reasonable to make at this stage).

        I’ve not seen anyone however, touching on the first and second questions, although, at this stage, you could make some speculations on the first two questions, and you might even be close to the truth. Mahouka is a series built for speculation.

        But just keep in mind the two observations that Stilts caught are important to the enigma that is Tatsuya.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      3. In reply to “Hopefully this’ll end up as another “Once you get into it, it’s great!””, as a LN reader,IMO, I must say things will not be suddenly interesting in the next few episodes, but in the mid season, things will extremely interestings.

        For a guage, this is how I rate the LN in the scale of 10 : (Just IMO)

        Vol 1-2: 5.5
        Vol 3-4: 9.5
        vol 5: 8
        vol 6-7: 8.5
        vol 8: 7

        estimate 4 episodes per volume

        The spoiler below explains why I rate them this way

        Show Spoiler ▼

    3. So far this follows to manga 100%
      and I was bit disappointed but there was nothing about the story past or development in manga at the end
      I really hope anime beats manga somehow cos show is awesome

      1. @daikama
        Because you’d normally think:

        manga -> anime adaptation – just make the pictures move and voice the dialogue.

        On the other hand, novels (light or else) to anime (or even manga) can be harder. Things which make sense in context in the novel might not be portrayed correctly(?).

        Plus, the pacing is totally different. You can split up and pace a novel however you’d like. But anime needs to fit into seasons of episodes. This sometimes plays havoc with with the author’s original pacing.

        As a result, things (especially conversations) can get cut out or changed. Which means things stop making sense, characters get no development, etc.

        An example would be
        Show Spoiler ▼

    1. The guy you see at the end of the opening is Masaki Ichijou
      Show Spoiler ▼

      The time-stop effect is Tatsuya activating Elemental Sight. Time still flows normally, but Tatsuya thinks really fast so time seems slower.

    1. Kind of reminded me of season one of Infinite Stratos when Chifuyu trolled the girls.

      Chifuyu: So do you girls want him?

      All: =D Really?!

      Chifuyu: Idiots. Of course not.

      All: ~_~ Eeehhhhhh?!

    1. ANY character who acts innocent and smiles with their eyes closed/squinted A LOT is a sure sign that they’re truly uber underneath it all. Mayumi, Chiffon, Aizen, Saito (Kenshin), Xellos, etc…

  1. I haven’t read the source material, so I don’t really know all of this. Tatsuya’s stoic nature as a whole didn’t bother me. It was only until you pointed it out that I started thinking about it. I feel like his stoic nature may be a little justified if what I think about the underlying things that the first episode showed us is true. From what I saw, I was under the impression that Tatsuya may have been involved with the military or some pretty harsh things in the past regarding the battlefield/military operations that has affected his mental state, and that’s why he is the way he is. Though, Tatsuya does come off as a know-it-all, so that could be annoying, but again, it didn’t come off us annoying to me because it seems that Tatsuya has a lot of experience and knowledge because of his past experiences.

    1. Yeah, he’s toeing the line at times. If there wasn’t that secret agent / shell-shocked veteran vibe of his, he’d be pissing me off full power, but with those it’s only when he goes all know-it-all unnecessarily (i.e. the cooking thing) that I’m like dude, lay off.

      1. If he wants to not standout and keep a low profile, he needs to make people think he’s more oblivious to things, but I think because of his more quiet confidence, he can’t really do that and it’s a little bit interesting in a weird way. Though, he’s making it so painfully obvious for anyone who interacts with him that there’s more to him than he’s letting on. Seriously though, I’d prefer if he actually knows something that he’d either pretend otherwise, or simply not say a word. Though, so far, I’m enjoying Tatsuya even if I’m giving him flack for this.

      2. The anime’s kind of at fault for not explaining it but most household activities during this time period are handled by robots. So these days when people try to cook they usually hurt themselves because people aren’t used to it.

        And yes, why Mari cooks becomes significant too.

      3. The anime didn’t really handle that (the cooking thing) scene very well. There’s plenty of more important stuff that they skipped, so I think they should have simply skipped that scene.

        Mari’s question in that scene is a difficult one to answer for a polite kouhai like Miyuki. Mari was basically kind of teasing Miyuki there. That’s why (overprotective big brother) Tatsuya jumped in and answered the question for her.

      4. @Lucarion

        Ahhhh, that makes sense. Honestly sometimes I wish they’d just straight interrupt the action (like pause the scene) and dump exposition like that on us, or do little “Did You Know?” sections in between scene transitions. Kind of like how they’d explain various mechanics in Log Horizon sometimes. Flagrantly dump exposition on me, I don’t care, just make sure this stuff makes sense!

  2. Did anyone seriously just want to punch that Vice-president in the face? He was pissing me off. Actually, the whole discrimination thing between Course 1 and Course 2 students is pissing me off. I like it though because it has this weird dynamic in the show that I feel may play a big part later on, but I can never be too sure. They may just leave it open and not actually resolve anything on that front which would be a shame.

      1. They will definitely explain the detailed mechanics of Tatsuya’s victory next episode. I’ll let the animation reveal his techniques, but two things keep in mind for now are: Tatsuya’s fancy gun with “multiple storages”, he is also trained in ninjutsu by the bald monk dude.

    1. Well from what I see, it’s the culture over there they segregate on purpose. It’s the have and the have nots and the vice president is just telling it how it is nothing wrong with that. I believe the future is even more fucked up since they fought world war three.

  3. I love this anime. The animation of the actual CAD activations and fights is awesome and doesn’t clash with what I imagined in the LN. Also, A-chan is so cute in person. I can’t wait to see her freak out over Tatsuya’s Silver Trident.

  4. Just give in Stilts, the comments this series has generated with episode 1 alone has already condemned you to covering it all 😛

    So far the only concern for me is the Gary Stu vibes Tatsuya is giving off. Stoic, regarded as “weak” (yet beats a person superior to him in the blink of an eye), loved sexually by his sister (and likely others in the future), and wanted for the discipline committee? While I know the fight will be explained next episode (and the stoic attitude later apparently), it still leaves concerns in the back of my mind. As long as he has a weakness or two that aren’t solved through some ridiculous deus ex machina (as the cart moving practice evidenced for) then things should be good.

    1. Views/comments are only one of the metrics I take into consideration when deciding whether to blog a show, and I’ll overrule them in a heartbeat if I feel I should. Don’t test me bro, I’m crazy! I have a shunpo and a fancy magical gun!!

      <3 We’ll see, we’ll see. Still a 2-cour Saturday show, but we’ll see what I’m feeling after next week’s post.

      1. Read the Log Horizon LNs. Liked it. Liked the anime version better. 🙂

        Read part of the Mahouka LNs so far. Liked it too. I think you’ll be fine with covering this series, Stilts…though there might be some time spent on the series lore before some good parts….(but LH did that too didn’t they?)

        If anything else, Tatsuya might not be a Kirito, maybe even more OP than Kirito,
        but its probable that Tatsuya’s Show Spoiler ▼

        will hook you to this story.

  5. Somehow the whole always together with imotou thing is making me freak out with this show because somehow the it doesnt fit with tatsuya’s whole secret agent vibe and even if lets say imotousan is actually a vip to be protected can he at least act the secret in secret agent part? Now inseriously want them to be apart and doing their own thing for an episode lmao. Haha

  6. While I am worried about him not manifesting any flaws and being ridiculously overpowered, at the moment I’m digging it. Finally, a male lead that’s unique! He’s not a stupid loser pervert, he’s not a quivering mass of useless nervousness, he’s not an utterly bland smile all the time and wish everybody the best and be the best you can be cop-out!

    He might seem a little boring to you guys but he’s a breath of fresh air to me. I have really had enough of the above three examples.

    1. Tatsuya personality and type of character is found in so many different anime that I could hardly call it a breath of fresh air since about every other anime character is like this. Though, that’s just my opinion.

      1. “Tatsuya personality and type of character is found in so many different anime” personally, I like those type of characters because sadly what is popular lately are the clone of Shinji Ikari the archetype of the weak and the emotional character and I’m really sick of them. So can you tell me please some title

      2. Bear in mind that what’s “fresh” and “popular” is largely subjective. I can point out examples of both stoic characters and Shinji-type whiners, but I watch a LOT of anime. For those who are slightly more deliberate in their watch list, it would be easy to miss one or the other for a while.

  7. You have valid concerns Stilts. Take the time to get to know the characters and for better or for worse those concerns will be answered. If you can trust it enough to give it a chance I think you’ll eventually be glad you did.

  8. *yawn*

    Oh my Lord what a boring episode that was. I literally sat on my ass and kept waiting till something exciting to happen, and it just didn’t. I wanted a well-written story that fits exposition in between the characters building and plot development. Instead the episode is nothing but non-stop exposition involving a lot of made-up terms that don’t mean a thing to the audience, and boring exchanges between equally boring characters. When i thought that the main meat finally kicked in, it sucked and the credit rolled just like that. I mean c’mon, 1st eps alone had lots of expositions like this one did. It’s all about expositions. No reason to care.

    *sigh* whatever. I’ll definitely come back for the next eps anyway to see what’s the hype’s all about. But if this kind of narrative continues over, sorry, i’ve got better things to do.

    1. On the contrary, i thought that the episode was well done. But that’s just me. I liked the exposition simply because it’s information that i desperately need if i’m going to decide if i’m going to continue watching.

      I learned with Log Horizon that sometimes more exposition is actually better than constant action because it makes you appreciate when the action does roll around. I almost dropped Log Horizon because, like you, i wasn’t enjoying the long winded talks but it made the story soooooo much better. It’s like having all the pieces necessary but not knowing how to put them together. The moment that happens is truly an amazing thing.

      1. I dunno. To be honest, the first two eps of Log Horizon were more fun and exciting than Mahouka’s. Besides, the expositions on LH were mostly told alongside consistently moving plot and actions. While in Mahouka, they literally dumped everything on our face with the plot barely moved at all.

      2. true true. I agree that LH’s first episodes were a lot more enjoyable to watch, but they dropped off for me. Especially after that first battle with the dual blade. It was really Akatsuki and Shiroe’s awkward but cute relationship and Shiroe’s combat explanations that kept my interest alive. At least in those first couple of episodes. It was almost like psuedo action. What was more important was the dialogue establishing the rules behind the action.

        I want to think that with all the information that’s up for grabs, this show will offer a similar experience. It’s true the overlying plot hasn’t moved, but all the little mundane parts are important too.

      3. Valid complaints. One thing I think is that it’s a matter of taste – not good or bad, but merely different. Even when I was miffed that they weren’t explaining things properly, I was never bored, because I tend to like this kind of show. Like I said last week, if this kind of story doesn’t work for you, that’s fine – a story doesn’t need everyone to be popular and well-loved, it just needs enough really excited fans. to whit, Kyoukaisen or Kurobasu.

        Log Horizon definitely had a smoother first few episodes. It lagged a little bit after that, up until Shiroe’s conference, after which it all paid off. It might just be that they’re having to lead with some of the slower parts here because of the author’s comparative inexperience when he wrote Volume 1, since I believe it’s his first major work.

  9. @Stilts
    One thing i did notice was how the magic system in this story was largely unexplained. I had to pause a few times because they kept throwing Psyons, CAD, and Eidos at me when i took the time to figure out what they were and why i should care about them, the clouds parted and i could see the light….

    Those 3 little preview specials didn’t really do it for me so i asked my friend who has read the LNs for the answers. He ended up telling me more than what i wanted. BUT! i won’t give away anything. Bottom line, if i jumped into this blind and didn’t see the specials or read the source material, i would be so confused yet allured by Tatsuya being a badass.

    I still don’t really know what he did in that fight. All i know is that he beat an arrogant Bloom and that alone is enough to keep me watching.

      1. I can certainly try. From what i’ve gathered from my buddy as well as the specials the magic system is actually not that confusing, they just put fancy names on it to make it sound so very sophisticated. But also remember that this is all just speculation and at best, a huge guess.

        The Eidos – From the specials we were told that they are the “information” of all events in history or something like that. I like to think of it as what you want the spell to do.

        For example when that one student activated her Flash spell in episode 1: It’s a bright light that disorients the people around you. Another example, the vice president actually went through Eidos and the magical program before the duel. He said he was going to activate a speed oriented, simple activation sequence (very simple spell that he can activate quickly) that would cause a shockwave that pushes Tatsuya with enough force that it sends him flying 10 meters backwards and the impulse from him hitting the wall would render him unable to fight. In this case, the vice president is using what he knows about basic physics (force, impulse, and momentum) and constructed a “magic program” to do just what he wants. When you have a spell, you can then install it into your…

        CAD -(Casting Assistant Device maybe??). Think of the spell like a program you write. And if the spell is software, the CAD would have to be hardware with physical restrictions on how many spells you could put into it. Like the crappy Dell that’s sitting in your basement with windows XP SP1 that only has 320gb of hard drive space and most of it is used up because someone keeps installing toolbars on IE…

        These are your modernized wands. They come as bracelets or even as flashy as a gun. The way my friend put it was that the CAD helps visualize the spell and makes it easier for the magician to cast. So for Tatsuya, i’m assuming because his CAD is a gun, his special power(s) use range to his advantage.

        Psyons – These are the “building blocks” that all magic programs are made of. So i want to say it’s the magician’s Mana Pool, Magic Points or simply (MP).

        There are certainly more questions that i have yet to answer myself but knowing these big 3 helped a whole lot in understanding what they were talking about…

      2. I’ll add some clarifications.

        Eidos is the information attached to a thing. Temperature, velocity, weight, location, color, etc., all of that is part of the eidos. Magic essentially rewrites some aspect of the eidos. For example, if I had a blue object that I wanted to turn red, I would rewrite what wavelength of light the object reflects. Information will generally revert to a natural state over time, though.

        As Synic said, CADs are the hardware of modern magic, replacing wands, talismans, and other media used in traditional magic. There are 2 types: generalized, and specialized. Specialized CADs are faster than generalized CADs, but they aren’t as versatile. They can hold fewer activation sequences (99 for G, compared to 9 for S), and the ones it can hold are confined to one general type of magic (vibration, movement, etc.). Tatsuya’s CAD, as with most gun-shaped CADs, is a specialized one, while VP Hattori’s bracelet is a generalized one. Most people use a generalized CAD for their daily life, as versatility generally trumps the speed advantage that the specialized type provides. As he mentioned, Tatsuya doesn’t use a generalized CAD, but he can somewhat mimic the versatility using the cartridges/magazines that we saw in his case.

        Activation sequences are the software that are written for the CADs. If a magician wants to use magic with a CAD, they need to have the activation sequence for the spell in the CAD. The activation sequence isn’t necessary to cast a spell, but it is if the magician wants to use the speed advantage that a CAD offers. There is also some compatibility required between the activation sequence and the magician, so a magician can’t cast any spell just by copying an activation sequence.

        Psions are more or less MP. Modern CADs are more efficient, so the psion count of an individual (max MP) isn’t as big of a factor as it used to be.

        There is another kind of particle involved in some magic, but they aren’t really important at this point in the story.

        Any more terms that you (or anyone else) want explained? The LNs have a lot of infodumps, especially early on, to explain terms, but I’m not sure the anime includes enough explanation for those who haven’t read the source.

      3. @SK: Nice job on the explanation. I’d like to add some things to what you posted.

        – The concept of Eidos is important.
        – General CADs are more difficult to use (think “advanced”) than Specialized CADs. As noted in the anime, Tatsuya isn’t able to use a General CAD effectively. He tries to make up for the Specialized CADs lack of versatility by having various “spell magazines” he can swap in and out.
        – There are other factors involved with activation speed (i.e. “casting speed”) besides the type of CAD. Individual skill/talent play a big role which is why Hattori (a course 1 student) thought he’d still be faster than Tatsuya (course 2) despite using a General CAD.
        – There are four main types of magic which are subdivided into two systems for each type: “Speed/Weight Change”, “Movement/Vibration”, “Converge/Dissipate”, and “Absorb/ Release”.
        – Almost every magician uses a CAD to cast spells. That’s why Erika defeated Morisaki last episode by simply knocking his specialized CAD (gun shape type) from his hand.
        – As SK notes, you can’t just copy any spell and use it. Same goes for CADs. CADs are specifically calibrated for each magician.

        Lastly, as SK says, if people have questions, feel free to ask.

    1. You mention a lot of unexplained things, but there has been a small series that begun airing a few weeks prior to the show itself (and I didn’t see anyone mention here), Yoku Wakaru Mahouka. Since the novel itself contains big infodumps at various places in addition to infodump chapters, there’s this small thing to help you understand the things that may have not been explained in the show itself.
      I haven’t seen it myself though, since I’m following the novel and didn’t feel the need to see it.

      Haxton Fale
    1. B-because m-muh w-world building, m-muh b-boring a-always-win MCs and m-muh “I-I think I c-can do better t-than this”. Watch how Japanese Magical Batman wins every fight because he’s a special snowflake.

    2. For one, the usage of “Gary Stu” or “Mary Sue” generally denotes self-inserting.

      Tatsuya is most definitely not a self-insert character. Overpowered, yes. Self-insert, no.

      1. And who doesn’t want to self-insert on a cool, edgy, stoic-by-force, rich, overpowered MC who is eternally admired and loved by his own beautiful imouto?

        Show Spoiler ▼

        This guy’s practically Kirito who is actually “living the dream but can’t enjoy it because of circumstances”.

      2. Not just based on it. They’re damn near identical to each other. So much so that describing one effectively describes the other.

        I think this is what makes this whole story a work of genius.

      3. >MC based on a god.

        What’s so ingenious about that? It doesn’t make him, for better or worse, any less OP/wish-fulfillment/Gary Stu-y, being an equivalent of a god.

        Don’t tell me he can turn apples into nukes too. That’s just too awesome.

      4. He’s a special god. One of the most interesting and complex deities ever conceptualized.

        And Tatsuya illustrates and embodies most everything about him to perfection.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      5. There is a difference between overpowered and Gary Stu. A Gary Stu/Mary Sue is specifically a better captain than Kirk, a better doctor than Bones, more logical than Spock, a better engineer than Scotty, better at languages than Uhura, a better pilot than Sulu, etc. Tatsuya has already shown that he’s not good at some things (general practical magic), whereas Kirito was the best at everything. That’s what makes Kirito a Gary Stu, while Tatsuya is just Shirous past his weaknesses into overpowered land.

        Feel free to gripe about him being overpowered, just complain about the right thing : )

      6. The reason people even get to thinking of Tatsuya as a Gary Stu is because the series takes so damn long to explain him! That’s really my only criticism of this series. It shoves little hints down your throat about Tatsuya for two entire volumes, and then finally we get the big reveal at such a casual moment that you wonder why it wasn’t done back in Volume 1 when Miyuki first got pissed about her parents and their family’s treatment of Tatsuya.

      7. Until explanations are given people can be forgiven for relating Tatsuya to Kirito. After all it was the first relation I made upon viewing and reading up a bit on Rettousei. Both characters currently have a similar personality, power potential, and love life.

        The point of separation, however, is that Kirito is a Gary Stu. He beat SAO through a deus ex machina, he had every single girl who met him come to want him romantically, he always had more power than the toughest boss at the time, got sole access to the rarest skill, and he always made the correct decisions. Kirito exclusively is why SAO has acquired such a sh*tstorm to date.

        This is why I have doubts until Tatsuya’s past is elaborated upon, he has been set up similar to Kirito. There’s nothing wrong with the strong and silent male MC (I prefer them to the wave of whiny weaklings), but they need a weakness/defect to make them realistic and believable. As long as Tatsuya has one Rettousei won’t have the same problems as SAO.

      8. Tatsuya has already shown that he’s not good at some things (general practical magic), whereas Kirito was the best at everything.

        That’s wrong. Kirito is weak IRL(his reality, mind you). He wouldn’t have been poisoned in the Alicization Arc if he wasn’t. He might be good with computers but we were given that he has been playing/tinkering with them at young age with his aunt. He was surely taught by her.

        Miyuki clearly stated that while Tatsuya is weak at more common magics that doesn’t matter because his true strength lies elsewhere. Even when we are told about why he’s so strong you can clearly see he was born special already.

        So in short, while Kirito had to study to gain his genius status, Tatsuya was born a genius already. Tatsuya is the instant expert here and thus, a Gary Stu.

      9. Actually, you are a wrong there. I will put it in spoilers, although I will not say anything specific.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        As for Kirito, Kirito was already skilled in Kendo/swordplay. Not sure how you can call him weak, He was only weak cause of being in coma for a few years so his muscles were weakened.

        The difference is, Kirito get all the good stuff and didnt pay for it in anyway. Any negative Kirito had was only temporary (except for the loss of some friends. Kirito suffered temporary and indirectly).

        Tatsuya got the good stuff as well, Show Spoiler ▼

      10. I don’t know if bait or serious…

        You forget Kirito stopped practicing Kendo before SAO. He was never good for anything except when computer-related. He’s probably the ultimate SysAd, but he’s worth nothing in a contest of physical strength.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Also what does paying for it mean anything? Gary Stus are wish-fulfillment characters and that’s what matters here, when Tatsuya’s current situation is every guy’s wild hidden dream.

      11. @Stilts Yes, but? What if all those traits, better captain, better doctor–better everything,really– were well justified and reasoned out? Then “Mary Sue” just became a very interesting character. What if the story actually gets us to invest emotion into said character? Wen the character becomes more than just his skills and abilities–an actual character? When we’re actually more interested about who he is rather than what he can do? Can we still call said character a Sue?

        Now, I hope I don’t sound angry here…Really, not. ^^ I love your posts Stilts. But it’s just that I have rather strong feelings about the Sue discussion. And Mahouka’s got nothing to do with it. I can go on an on about why I think Mary Sue should be a Dead Horse Trope…I used to use the term too, I thought I knew what it was, I thought it was a neat little term used to describe a certain, specific kind of character. I used it. I was OK with it…But now I have come to despise it. My primary reason being: the term has become so inflated that it could be used to describe almost everyone. And that no one it seems can agree on what exactly makes up a Sue. Everyone can be a Sue. I can prove it too. And if the term can be anything…then it’s useless. And when the term is useless…it needs to die. Not to mention it serves to limit people’s imagination and fool people into thinking characters have to be of a certain “kind” to be acceptable. That if a character has certain characteristics then they’re automatically bad. What happened to the days when stories were supposed to be about extraordinary people? But even if you do someone totally incompetent, apparently the character can still be called a Sue under certain definitions. Hell, check out Bella from Twilight. Also, why is it that no one can decide what exactly it is that makes up a Sue? And even if they can agree, it turns out those traits aren’t bad by themselves. Mary Sue problems are largely the result of bad writing anyway, but then let’s just call them what they are: badly written, and unbelievable characters. Not Sues.

        @Moondoggie. I’ll take being born gifted rather than someone who became gifted as a result of plot contrivance. At least with Tatsuya, we actually have a clear picture of what he can and cannot do. Also, being born a genius doesn’t make one a bad character: we have genius characters in literature and these characters. And neither is being born powerful: Hercules for example. Strangled two snakes while still a baby. He always won, but thousands of years later we still talk about the guy because of the insane shit he pulled off. He always won, and the universe literally wouldn’t be the same without him…but I don’t think anyone can call Hercules a Sue.

      12. @TheMoondoggie: and this is why the reveal needs to come a lot sooner, because without it no one will understand why it absolutely SUCKS to be Tatsuya and why Miyuki is so defensive/possessive of him.

      13. @Moondoggie

        Who in their right minds would want to be Tatsuya?

        Show Spoiler ▼

        But assuming he was a wish-fulfillment character? Does that make him a bad character? As the hero he’s supposed to be cool and the most interesting guy in the story–otherwise people would get bored of following him. He’s already stoic, if he was a bad character too, I doubt this series would get as popular as it did. Tatsuya would be mondo boring. But he isn’t…We’re supposed to want to follow him and enjoy seeing his exploits. So even if he really was a wish-fulfillment character that alone doesn’t disqualify him from being someone worth watching. Besides, I could say the same thing about…well anyone. It’s “every guy’s” secret wish to be a rockstar pirate like a Jack Sparrow; a Time Lord, a superhero…You can even go with history: who wouldn’t want to go conquer the world ala Alexander and Genghis Khan? It’s also every guy’s wish to meet a beautiful waif who grants you the power to make everyone obey your command and thus give you power to spearhead a major revolution in just a couple of years. It’s every guy’s secret dream to be the only guy in a school full of hot girls from around the world.It’s every guy’s secret wish to gain the power to end anyone who pisses you off just by writing their name.

        Point is: so apparently any character or person who has traits people would find desirable or enviable are automatically Sues? How does that work? It’s nothing against you, Moondoggie…I just REALLY hate the Sue trope.

      14. Its mentioned later in the novels that super talent people are often suffer more misfortune than the amount of happiness they can get with their talents.

        Tatsuya may be super powerful in combat and have a lovely sister, but
        Show Spoiler ▼

      15. To add my 2 cents in regards to the emotional discussion. (Sorry Stilts its more targeted to the LN discussion going on here 🙁 So try not to click as there are some spoilers! )

        Show Spoiler ▼

      16. Re: Tatsuya
        Show Spoiler ▼

      17. @Lucarion

        Hercules isn’t a sue, he’s dimwitted.

        I’ll take being born gifted rather than someone who became gifted as a result of plot contrivance.

        Saying that one is born a genius IS plot contrivance.

        At least with Tatsuya, we actually have a clear picture of what he can and cannot do.

        That goes for a lot of MCs. Kirito included.

        Also, being born a genius doesn’t make one a bad character: we have genius characters in literature and these characters. And neither is being born powerful: Hercules for example.

        But assuming he was a wish-fulfillment character? Does that make him a bad character?

        I don’t see where you’re coming with this. Are you saying being a Stu is bad?

        IMO Not really because being Gary Stu is the tendency of every MC ever. I acknowledge that there are times when things go their way, and there are times when things don’t. But does that stop them being cool? Does that stop people wishing sometimes they’re that character? No. Does it stop us from liking their character? No. So why are you guys afraid to put a label that Tatsuya deserves when there’s nothing bad about said label.

        IMO anyone who hates a Garu Stu is dumb and should stop watching any fantasy/fiction ever. If they like a repulsive loser as an MC then, wow, shit taste right there.

        He(Hercules) always won.

        I don’t think failing to save your wife and kids counts as winning.

        Tatsuya is a Sue/Stu partly because he’s powerful AND smart. I’m much rather partial to people said to have studied and worked to be good at one limited area(Kirito and computers) rather than be born gifted at a specific area that has a lot of uses(Tatsuya and magic).


        because without it no one will understand why it absolutely SUCKS to be Tatsuya

        His past really don’t matter. His present status is a Gary Stu.

      18. @TheMoondoggie
        Most of Kirito’s OP abilities are linked to his high reaction speed, not being good with computers. He could still react to Suguha’s sword after his coma, but his body couldn’t hold up. Only things that immediately come to mind related to his computer skills would be saving Yui from deletion and the thing he made in Mother’s Rosario. Also, being good with computers is a rather broad skill when most of the time we see the character is inside VRMMOs.

      19. @SK

        So should we draw a line on Kirito’s abilities? Now that you mentioned it “being good in MMO” =/= “being good with computers in general” after all. Since we see him inside a game most of the time maybe we should concentrate on the “pro gamer” part of him.

        Usually I expect people who are good with computers to be usually good with, at least, one game.

      20. The term Mary Sue has been tossed around so many times that the meaning gets lost. It should be noted what the most important factor to qualify is: The blatant author bias. Its actually rarer in anime than you think.

        In the case of Kirito he definitely qualifies. He literally can’t do wrong, and the story bends over backwards to put him on top whether it contradicts the rules put on the setting or the characters shilling how great it is.

        This is painfully obvious on the ALO finale where not only does he get a deus ex machina, he proceeds to torture a human being to near death and it plays it of as heroic. That was the point I was utterly disgusted at SAO.

        As for Tatsuya, I can’t comment on him yet. I don’t know him well enough. Spotti g a true sue actually can tak awhile. I only started hating Kirito around 8 episodes when his sueness became obvious.

      21. My own two cents regarding Tatsuya. (LN spoilers ahoy, needless to say.)

        Show Spoiler ▼

      22. Frag has the right idea regarding Mary Sues. The best way to use the term is for characters that appear to be a form of wish fulfillment/self fantasy for the author. Thus everything goes right for them, they always succeed, are more powerful than everyone else, etc. In effect the Mary Sue is a solipsist where other characters and the story’s plots simply serve as objects to better illuminate the grandeur and feats of the Mary Sue. Is it a surprise then that the term originated from fan fiction?

        Probably the biggest reason it’s overused and so diffuse is because it’s a catchy buzzword. Hate a particular character but cannot explain why? Just label them a Mary Sue. Don’t need to explain the reasoning because most people already have an image of what a Mary Sue looks like (just not the ability to put it into words).

        Nevertheless, however, true Mary Sues/Gary Stus cannot be identified until around the climax and central conflict of the story as usually this is where the plot begins to bend to fit them. Using the SAO example again this is represented by Kirito’s victory over the SAO creator even though he technically died. It’s why anyone calling Tatsuya a Gary Stu at this stage is shortsighted. There has been neither enough information provided regarding Tatsuya nor a conflict which lets us see him in action.

      23. @Pancakes

        While I agree that Sue/Stu is a common buzzword now, IMO, the real reason why it became like that in the first place is because of two of it’s traits:

        – A Sue/Stu has to win all the time.
        – It has to look like an author’s wish fulfillment.

        I know there are other traits, but these two are shared by nearly every MC ever, with enough space for arguments. If we use this two strictly then Kirito(who failed in a number of events) cannot be a Gary Stu, while Tatsuya is one(Tatsuya has never lost/failed to my knowledge). If we argued, however that “to win all the time” meant as “to win at the end of every arc” then both are Stus, as well as a lot of MCs. On your description of a Stu(“accidental winner”), if we go by that there are a lot of MCs that would fit the description too.

        IMO the term Gary Stu, right from the very start, is really a buzzword for haters. The term is too ambiguous and constantly evolves. Which is why I opted to use it in a more positive light, since the bad parts people talked about is shared by so many MCs one argue that if a Gary Stu is a bad character, then he’s arguing that the MC of any story is bad.

      24. @TheMoondoggie
        I really didn’t have a problem with Kirito being a great player. The advantages from his beta test experience, not to mention the ridiculous grinding he did, gave him enough of a head start to where I could reasonably see him remaining among the top players. Even his dual-wielding skill, as coded by Kayaba, isn’t really breaking anything (besides the believability of being an MMO). The more pressing issue I had was the deus ex machina way that both the SAO and ALO arcs ended. I have a hard time believing the “power of love” allows a gamer to overrule game code, unless everyone before the final fight who was paralyzed and watching their friend about to die didn’t have enough love. Both Asuna and Kirito literally should have died in that final duel; it seems like they lived solely because he is Kirito and she is his love interest. The Santa item drop hints that people actually don’t (immediately) die when they are killed, but we only ever see this happen for Kirito. He almost always wins, but if I can’t see the reasoning for multiple events beyond, “he won because he’s the protagonist”, that’s a pretty major flaw for a character.

      25. You’re right that defining a Mary Sues as always winning is incorrect, which is why I tried to avoid stating that (didn’t try hard enough I guess :P) and instead used the solipsist label. The nuance is not that Mary Sues always win (like you said, all MCs usually do except for people like Hamlet), but rather how. If the character wins because of their actions alone, all the time, then you might be looking at a Mary Sue. You can fail at something trivial and still succeed at the bigger thing after all, which ironically is the main method used by some novice authors to try and cover up their character’s Mary Sue-ness.

        Using Kirito again, his victories were almost all as a result of his actions alone. Boss fights? Beaten using his unique skills or strategic knowledge. SAO creator? Deus ex machina. Off the top of my head I can only remember two fights where he won with the assistance of others (the reaper centipede and the fairy guardians) and only two failures on his part (losing the stadium duel with the SAO creator and his first attempt at beating the fairy guardians). Whereas with Tatsuya we only have one fight so far to judge him by.

        Thinking about this a bit it might be better to visualize the Mary Sue as a continuum rather than an absolute. It could take into account the natural complexities of some characters that are not well represented by any one label. It may also help in comparisons like the one running between Tatsuya and Kirito by helping to identify just what makes one a bigger Gary Stu than the other. And most importantly it would actually give some common meaning to the term.

        As an aside I’m amazed this discussion hasn’t yet broken down into a yelling and screaming sh*tstorm 😛

      26. @SK

        But that’s a universal truth: MCs win because they’re MC. Anything else are just “muh reasons for plot”.

        Surely no one would buy a series about an MC that always lose, right? Studio would lose money, author would lose fans. Unless of course that author is a H-manga/VN/LN author and the series is NTR.

      27. @Moondoggie. See? That’s the problem. Neither of us can agree on what the Sue term actually means. Look, if the definition has evolved to mean something else, then by all means–use the term. I wouldn’t mind.

        But, unfortunately, that’s a little hard for me to do who grew with the idea that Sues are never good things. When I hear the word “Sue”, I automatically assume its derogatory. And I’m taking it’s the same for a lot of other people.

        About the Hercules example: Of course, he isn’t. I love Hercules. But you can definitely call him as Sue under certain definitions: There’s this demigod who was born with freakish strength and manages to outclass and defeat all of his opponents despite being somewhat dimwitted(but apparently becomes very clever when he has to) and for some reason the gods needed his help during the titanomachy because he’s just that special. He committed a terrible crime, but that could hardly be called his fault since Hera was the one who caused his madness–even Theseus said it wasn’t his fault. But Hercules still blames himself and desires repentance. In the process he ends up becoming the greatest hero in Greece due to his tragedy, everything you got him to do, he accomplished. He apparently can’t die because even death is afraid of him, and in the end he had to end his own life. So Hercules is the son of a god, was born strong, was born rich(as a prince),is smart when the story requires it despite supposedly being a dummy, is hailed and loved by most everyone, could not be defeated and apparently despite living in a world full of gods and monsters, the Olympians still needed his assistance, and he committed a “crime” that he was effectively blameless for…Now imagine if some new anime character had all these trait there’s a good chance someone out there will call him a Sue.

        And no, being born a genius isn’t contrivance. It’s a character trait. If one is born a genius, it’ll make sense why he seems to pick up certain things easier than most, and why he’s capable of thing in a level beyond that which he is supposed to. It’s part of who they are. As long as you don’t stretch it so far that it becomes unbelievable.

      28. @Pancakes:

        his victories were almost all as a result of his actions alone.

        Almost, but not all. Also you say that like it’s a bad thing.


        But, unfortunately, that’s a little hard for me to do who grew with the idea that Sues are never good things. When I hear the word “Sue”, I automatically assume its derogatory. And I’m taking it’s the same for a lot of other people.

        That’s just mean you’re a bit closed minded. This will be a good exercise for you.

      29. Again: Blatant author bias.

        Making mistakes, winning or losing that doesn’t make or unmake a sue. It’s the obvious shilling of a character that goes beyond any common sense or plausibility.

        Back to Kirito and his sueness being blatant on his act of torturing someone. Kirito has continously been shilled as a paragon of good. Torture is a despicable act, usually done by villians or anti-heroes. The latter has the excuse of it being necessary usualy done because the result would save lives.

        Kirito had no such excuse. The villian was at his mercy and yet he tortured him with full knowledge that it is potentially lethal. It was nothing more than an act of self gratification. Yet after the despicable deed is done, he gets kisses from his girlfriend and praise from his friends. He never faces any consequences externally or internally. That is a Mary Sue.

      30. Gah, my post got cut off.


        It’s part of who they are. As long as you don’t stretch it so far that it becomes unbelievable.

        It is unbelievable. He can read/analyze spells while they are being casted.

      31. @Moondoggie

        Already mentioned that there were exceptions to that generalization. As for the good/bad dichotomy it largely depends on whether you enjoyed SAO or not. For me personally it was annoying after the first few times as I prefer better rounded characters. Everyone’s mileage will vary regarding Kirito.

      32. Back to Kirito and his sueness being blatant on his act of torturing someone. Kirito has continously been shilled as a paragon of good.

        When was this? There is no such thing. If he was any paragon of good then it must have missed me because he murdered people in SAO.

        Kirito had no such excuse. The villian was at his mercy and yet he tortured him with full knowledge that it is potentially lethal. It was nothing more than an act of self gratification. Yet after the despicable deed is done, he gets kisses from his girlfriend and praise from his friends. He never faces any consequences externally or internally. That is a Mary Sue.

        So it’s now considered a Mary Sue to take revenge on a person who delights in hurting the people the MC cares about? What about the MCs who killed the badguys that were going to hurt their love interests too and got their happily ever after? If this is true then another evolution has occurred.

        Your definition of a Sue is very new, fragb85.

      33. Now you’re ignoring my point.

        His previous killings were excusable as self-defense. But torturing someone helpless? Revenge and torture are two very different things. And its not the act that’s the problem, its the fact that what he did was played as heroic.

        It is not a new definition at all. Author bias has always been the biggest factor of defining a sue.

      34. @fragb85

        You’re giving that part way more thought than needed. It is torture but it’s also revenge at the same time. Why can’t it be both? I’d probably do worse if I was in Kirito’s shoes.

        As for author bias, most authors have this tendency anyway.

      35. Started skimming this thread b/c damn you guys love to talk (also, spoilers errwhere). So I’ll just respond to the last time I was replied to directly.


        Mary Sue/Gary Stu is still a useful term because it does denote a certain kind of character. It’s also overused, like when someone calls something “cliched”. Usually what people are saying when they call a character a mary sue or a story cliched is “I don’t like this, but I’m not entirely sure why so I’m going to grab a reason that seems good and go with that.”

        And the kicker? Usually that’s not even the real reason they don’t like the story! Usually the reason people don’t like a character is because they feel no empathy for them, they have no interest in their struggle, or something deeper than that. Usually people get annoyed with “cliched” stories because they jump to assumptions or fail to look past the first impression to glimpse the story inside (in the same way that people are turned off by animation they don’t like).

        But I don’t blame people for that. I’m a storyteller and a critic (to some degree…blogging this long has forced some of those skills on me), so I’m better equipped to diagnose why a story does or does not work, either for me or in general. I can pick out when a character is truly being a Mary Sue (though I’m not always right) and when a story is truly cliched (once again, when I don’t screw it up). Others aren’t. It’s like me, who doesn’t have a particularly practiced palate for food, trying to describe why I do or don’t like a dish. I probably will snatch a reason out of the few I have available to me, but I might be wrong. I don’t always have the necessary experience and vocabulary to adequately explain why I don’t like a dish, but I do know I don’t like it.

        By its very definition, a Mary Sue/Gary Stu is not a well constructed character. If they’re constructed well – if they’re good at a lot of things, but it makes sense and we feel empathy for them and become engaged in their struggles – then they’re not a Mary Sue, they’re an interesting character. There are still a lot of Mary Sues though, especially in fanfiction, and the term still has use. I suggest you read past what most people mean when they say Mary Sue/Gary Stu, which is “I don’t like this character, and they seem a bit imba so I’m going to say it’s because they’re a Mary Sue.” Most really don’t know why, though. It’s just a commonly misused phrase.

        Except the ones who do. Or the ones who generally do, but are mistaken this time. Language and ideas are funny things because we screw them up so damn often. Isn’t it fun? 😀

  10. The 2nd episode is a bit of a let down for me, probably because I watched Sidonia and Mekaku beforehand. Furthermore, Miyuki is seriously grating my nerve and I might wait for this series to end before doing a marathon, just so that I can happily skip Miyuki whenever she got annoying.

    Apart from that, glad to see that they managed to maintain high production value and wish they’ll discuss further the discrimination issue within the school.

  11. Tatsuya’s secret is actually very simple…and it has very little to do with his powers…

    Show Spoiler ▼

  12. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Miyuki’s glances were her asking permission and Tatsuya saying yes.

    But the major humor is that Tatsuya is bad at reading his sister and thought she was asking permission on if it was OK for her to join. When really she was asking permission for throwing him into the spotlight, really.

  13. I can’t wait for the 3rd episode! The series so far is just exposing its world and characters, but it doesn’t let us be bored as it makes us thirsty to know that supposedly “big secret” about the main lead Tatsuya and his true ability. however, in this episode I was confused: is Tatsuya really weak in magic or not? He himself said, “I’m slow” when he activated his magic. So I suppose, someone talking to himself is normally not “lying”! I keep hearing: he is an overpowered character and I’m not gonna lie “I like that type of character!” So, I suppose he has maybe something holding back his power or maybe he is truly weak in magic, but his power come from another source??? I keep having this theories, but because I don’t have enough information about the world of the series and the magic itself I can’t make a clear picture.

    1. No idea myself yet, but I stand by my assumption that he’s a Shirou (Fate/stay Night) or Batman-type, someone who is truly limited but gets around it with intense specialization and preparation.

    2. Regarding Tatsuya’s weakness in magic
      Show Spoiler ▼

  14. In that magic experiment room, Erika mouthed something to herself after Tatsuya said he was invided by the Disciplinary Committee and I thought it was weird… Until I searched and found out that…

    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Yeah. As a LN reader, there are many subtle hints in this episode where only LN readers perceive, unfortunely.

      Tatsuya is OP and don’t is OP, just be patient. The magic system, family system, etc, Will be explained soon, a little 😛

      For Miyuki “haters”. Just wait too.

    1. That’s encouraging (and blessedly vague). Hopefully they don’t waste too much time revealing more, because while I’m a patient man, her looking to Tatsuya for permission trips my feminist rage, lol

  15. The pacing was better than episode 1, I’ll give it that. It ended at the exact point I expected it to as well. I can almost guarantee 4 episodes for the first volume now. Next episode should go to the end of chapter 4 and 4 should do the entirety of chapter 5.

    Anyways, I won’t lie to you Stilts. If you’re not already leaning towards picking it up, I honestly don’t think anything that happens next week is going to change your mind. Maybe, possibly, hopefully the explanation for how Tatsuya beat Hanzo will do it, but I don’t really have too much faith at this point. Ah well, we’ll see.

    About the Miyuki looking like she’s asking permission thing though. I know you said that we shouldn’t say anything, but it should be noted that the second look she gave Tatsuya ( after she got shut down from recommending him) didn’t happen in the novel. She actually accepted the position rather quickly after. That one little change honestly ticked me off a bit. Having her look at him a second time actually makes it seem like the first look was for the same reason as the second, which was obviously not the case.

    1. @Kuntzy: I can almost guarantee 4 episodes for the first volume now. Next episode should go to the end of chapter 4 and 4 should do the entirety of chapter 5.

      You may be right, but I wouldn’t go as far to say almost guarantee. They did slow down some which had to happen given episode 01’s torrid pace, but so far about 58% of volume 01 (based upon LN English TL word count) has been covered. That’s exactly between a 3 and 4 episode per LN volume pace.

      Question I have is if they use the start of next episode for a big infodump on the magic system (include material from earlier in volume 01). Would be a good time to do so. If they do, then I’d say your theory is spot on (i.e. 4 episodes for LN volume 01). OTOH, if they keep to a minimal infodump (i.e. how it’s been so far), then I think there’s a good chance that EP 04 will contain parts of LN volume 02 the same way Horizon Season 01 final episode (EP 13) ended with parts of the next LN volume. FWIW, I hope your right because they’re going to have to explain some of this stuff sooner or later. At least I hope they do.

      Anyways, I won’t lie to you Stilts. If you’re not already leaning towards picking it up, I honestly don’t think anything that happens next week is going to change your mind.

      Yep, I agree with that. Same goes for others who are on the fence about this series.

      Also agree with your comment about Miyuki’s acceptance of the SC position. It ties into the point I made above about how little changes, additions/omissions, etc. can be misleading. FWIW, I wouldn’t consider your comment a spoiler but rather a point of clarification.

      1. Yeah, mostly that’s just me trying to place in my head where I think the best stopping points are for episodes. ‘Almost guarantee’ is obviously a bit strong of a word to use considering that anything can happen, but I honestly think the episodes from here on will be paced closer to 2 than 1. I may have been a bit rude about it last week (and I do apologize for that), but I do believe episode 1’s pacing was screwed by a pre-established stopping point they felt they had to end off on since it was the only scene that really corresponds to the whole ‘magic school’ setting.

        As far as next week goes, I do believe they can manage to squeak out a good 7 to 10 minutes out of the explanation of the fight and aftermath. Then of course, we get to THAT scene. (Oh boy, I can see the torches and pitchforks already.) That should be able to take us to the end of the episode. (hopefully.)

        This is (I believe) Satou-sensei’s first work so growing pains are expected, but it’s really a shame that the beginning is so lacking in comparison to later arcs. I was lucky enough to start the series about a month before Vol. 8 so I was capable of reading beyond to what I consider the series high point (Yokohama), but I honestly can’t really blame a lot of the show’s detractors right now. It’s hype was just too high for the first arc to live up to.

      2. @ Kutzny.

        There has been quite a few reviews that have dubbed Mahouka one of the most “Light Novelish” animes ever. While those comments are usually meant to be negative, the irony is that they are partly right. Mahouka’s author (just like Hagani’s author, and quite a few other first time LN authors) gradually improve in writing quality with every volume. In that aspect, it is emblematic of a certain class of LNs written by first time authors that improve on average over time.

      3. @Kuntzy: FWIW, I agree with what you wrote before (wasn’t offended :D). For Episode 01, my point wasn’t that you were wrong about why, but I disagreed with the director’s (or whoever) decision to do so. He chose option A and IMO option B was better.

        As for overall pacing, it’s tough to say at this point without having a good idea of what exactly will be covered. Too what extent is volume 8 included? I would think at least the last story in vol. 5 will be covered if, as it appears, volumes 6 & 7 will be covered this run. Factoring in the length of vol 3 & 4, my best guesstimate at this point is pacing = around 3.5 episodes per LN volume. Closer to 4 episodes per LN volume without LN vol. 8 stuff, and closer to 3 episodes per LN volume with LN vol. 8 stuff. That isn’t far off the “standard” 4 episodes per LN volume, but as previously noted, IMO MKnR needs something like Log Horizon’s 5 episodes per LN volume pacing given all the detail.

        Then of course, we get to THAT scene. (Oh boy, I can see the torches and pitchforks already.)

        LOL – yeah, discussion should be interesting for sure.

        I was lucky enough to start the series about a month before Vol. 8 so I was capable of reading beyond to what I consider the series high point (Yokohama), but I honestly can’t really blame a lot of the show’s detractors right now. It’s hype was just too high for the first arc to live up to.

        IIRC, I picked up the LN right before LN vol. 6 TL began. The Yokohama arc is very good (ties as my favorite arc), but I liked the 9 Schools Competition a lot as well (LOL’d quite a bit reading that). I agree that the first arc isn’t as good as the next two. Like anyone else, no doubt the author’s skills improved over time. Still, apart from some missteps towards the end of volume 02, IMO the first arc is pretty good overall. The magic system was a big initial draw for the series. I did need to reread some things and hit Wiki for the physics stuff, but worth the effort IMO. Quite creative and unique, and IMO the MKnR world and overall story is all the better for it.

        That being said, due in large part to all world building exposition/story setup, the first arc is simply not dynamic when compared to the later arcs, and neither the preseason hype nor early stumbling (IMO) by the anime adaptation help. So yeah, like you I can understand why some are having issues with the show. I’m sure many anime-only viewers are just as tired of reading “Wait, things will be explained” or “Don’t make definitive conclusions yet” as LN readers are tired of posting those comments.

      4. @daikama

        Welp, you can pretty much throw my outline right out the window now.

        Just saw some screens of episodes 3’s preview and it looks like they’re planning on finishing vol. 1 next episode.

      5. @Kuntzy: “Just saw some screens of episodes 3′s preview and it looks like they’re planning on finishing vol. 1 next episode.

        Thanks for the update, but… wow! Seriously!? LOL, you convinced me that EP 03 would end at chapter 4’s end. 😛 Frankly, I didn’t pay attention to the next episode previews. Guess I should have. Our discussion did prompt me to skim through the rest of vol. 01, and I had forgotten about the very end of chapter 04. I’m quite curious to see how the anime handles that material (e.g. what’s included/cut/altered).

        I think next episode will give substantial clues in terms of what to expect for the anime adaptation going forward. Assuming they do finish vol 1 in 3 episodes, I can’t see how the same doesn’t happen for volume 2 = Enrollment Arc finished in six episodes (less? O.o).

        Thanks again for the update, and please post if you have any more.

    2. @Kuntzy

      I’ll keep whether I’m leaning towards picking it up or not to myself for now. I like to take my time on decisions because while usually they don’t change from my first inclination, sometimes I wake up suddenly and go “What the hell am I thinking!?” We’ll see, we’ll see ; )

  16. @Stilts: …whereas Mahouka still has unexplained exposition that’s just frustrating when you feel like you ought to know what’s going on. … That doesn’t mean I’m not going to call them out on it, though.”

    Thank you for that. At the risk of repeating myself, this is not a series you can rush by cutting out the “boring” material in order to get to the “exciting” action scenes ASAP. Not just the complex magic system and world setting, but all those so called “unimportant” details which add up – hints/clues providing some early insight into the underlying plot lines, relationships, and the characters themselves – particularly the “side” characters (who in the LN play an active role). It’s not just cut material, but even changes in diction as well (may or may not be a sub TL issue). Again, a number of things are not as they appear at first glance, and with the caveat of how the adaptation proceeds, many things won’t be clear for quite some time. Goes back to why those details/hints are important to the storytelling.

    FYI regarding Mari’s bento scene: The anime altered/cut out part of source material. In the LN, Miyuki was simply trying to start a conversation (“make small talk”) with Mari when she asked about her bento. The LN makes it clear that Mari intentionally responded in a teasing manner which did not mesh well with a straight-laced Miyuki who took it the wrong way and literally started to panic. Tatsuya noticed Miyuki’s overreaction, and cut in with his own little friendly jab back at Mari (“…I see.” as he intensely stared at Mari’s hands). That gave Miyuki time to recover her composure. There was one scene last episode in particular which I thought might be misconstrued due to omitted material.

    Partially I think it’s a problem with adapting this particular source material – they would have to tweak a lot of things to introduce it more smoothly, and since a lot of the people who will buy the BD/DVDs will be LN readers, that’s not worth the time. (It’s all about the money, folks.) That doesn’t mean I’m not going to call them out on it, though.

    I agree that the source material may not be well suited for adaptation – a viewpoint I’m starting to consider more and more. However, as you note, that doesn’t provide complete absolution for those in charge of the adaptation. IMO, it could and should have done better, especially considering the preseason hype. I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “tweak” the material, but as an LN reader, personally, this is not the adaptation I was hoping for. I’m all for a better, “smoother” introduction – definitely “worth the time” IMO.

    Hopefully this’ll end up as another “Once you get into it, it’s great!” stories, but it’s already lost out on the much more preferable “Watch it, it’s great!”

    Hopefully so as you say, but keep in mind this story takes a lot of time to ramp up. That being said, given how the adaptation has proceeded (incl. hints on arcs to be covered) thus far, I won’t even hazard a guess as to how this turns out overall in the end. I have no plans to drop at this time, but my expectations for the anime are markedly reduced from preseason.

  17. So I finally got myself to watch the two episodes and color me surprised. There are things that may have annoyed me a little while watching, but I enjoyed the episodes. I’m not sure what to think about the sibling love, if I’m to call it that way. I did laugh at brother’s troll moment, though.

    In any case, I find the whole setting intriguing enough, same as some of the characters, so I’m up for the ride. Much better than last season’s Mahou Sensou, at least.

  18. So, are you guys enjoying our Japanese Magical Batman-centric show? I know I do, since the episode doesn’t feel like lacking anything: nothing that matters was removed due to time constraints. 😀

    Yay!!! Cheers for following the LN. Some studio finally did it right.

    But let’s not lower our guard. A good part of the first volume of the manga/LN was explanation on how magic works and due to this episode looks like we can’t avoid Magic Physics 101 next week.

    1. I would enjoyed it more if Miyuki has her own agency (rather than doing everything for the sake of her oni-sama) and for Tatsuya to stop leading Miyuki on (urgghh).

      But as mentioned by the various LN readers above, the story will get better (and please God let Miyuki grow some spine) so I’ll keep watching. For now.

  19. See, Stilts: That’s why a proper neutral review of Mahouka is so precious. People get the unfiltered dope, it’s not the same when people review the show who don’t know it, yet clearly hate it (the hater faction), or when people review it who know the entire story by heart and love it (the fanboys). You are a rare breed. Don’t you THINK of shedding your commitment here, people like me will hound you to the end of earth if you do 😛

    About your observations: Tatsuya as a rational Stoic is a proper description. There’s a very specific reason for his stoicism, we’ll get into that in the future. Nevertheless, he is most definitely all-powerful or omniscient, and it’s a fact that a lot of things don’t go his way – which is why I consider the cliche “Gary stu” label unfitting. It suggests too many things that simply aren’t like this. Also, Tatsuya is less of an independent actor as someone driven by circumstances (the most important circumstance being Miyuki’s ambition to flaunt Tatsuya’s skills).

    About Miyuki and powerful women in the show: Don’t you worry. I had a good, hearty laugh when someone tried to sell that Mahouka is sexist, and about submission. Nothing further from the truth than that, the girls kick ass all around (and are in fact the driving forces for 80% of all developments). Same with Miyuki. When the chips are down, she will reveal a very different side to her. You will simply have to be patient, you’ll get the (very interesting) backstory to her and Tatsuya fed in bits and pieces.

    About “Explain yourself!”: This is going to be difficult. Watch the Wakaru Mahouka chibi theaters for details, and/or read the manga, which is still a clear reduction from the verbose light novel, but offering many more details. For example, in the anime most of the playful-flirty Mayumi exchanges were skipped, skewing her personality. Read the manga to chapter 6 to fill in the gaps.

    And don’t dare running from blogging duty 😉 – seriously, you make a real difference here.

    1. *whimpers* I’m scurred. Someone hold me! Winking Xellos is coming after me ヽ(゚Д゚)ノ

      Good to hear about the women though. I’m too much of a feminist to enjoy meek and submissive women, especially after Log Horizon showed how to do it right.

  20. Incest… why did it have to be incest?!

    I’d enjoy this a lot more if the sibling relationship wasn’t so darn creepy. The lover like stuff in the first episode (I woulda scoffed at it even if they weren’t siblings), and now Mayumi alternately looking to her bro for permission to do stuff, then trying to have him do things he doesn’t want to… I can’t tell if Tatsuya’s either completely oblivious to her feelings, or an epic troll with that comment of his.

    Other than that the pacing was a bit slow; an entire episode just to get Tatsuya on a disciplinary committee? Not to mention that having superpowered students in charge of policing their superpowered peers is a disaster waiting to happen. Seriously, discipline, especially for hormonally charged teenage walking bombs, should be handled by responsible adults. The whole weed/bloom aspect is perhaps the least interesting to me (aside from the brocon/siscon fun). We’ll see if it gets better, but so far I’m teetering on the brink of dropping this.

    1. To be fair, from what I gather from the super reliable source that is anime, students policing other students seems to be common in Japanese schools (or at least, Japanese schools featured in anime). I agree that putting hormonally-charged teenagers in charge of almost anything is a bad idea, but can’t fault Mahouka for coming up with it.

      1. Well, since I’m American and skipped high school I don’t know whether such a disciplinary committee is common for a typical Japanese school either. The thing is though, this isn’t an “ordinary Japanese High School,” it’s a top-tier school for what will become the country’s next generation armed forces. Generally I don’t mind the “absurdly powerful student council” or “two teacher school” tropes. However, for a school this important to the nation’s future where the effects of inter student conflict can become rather explosive, to be run without adult oversight stretches credulity.

        For instance, when the President noted that having only Blooms on the disciplinary committee was causing dissatisfaction amongst the Weeds, the solution that occurred to me was not to put a token Weed on the committee, but to have the rules enforced by a neutral third party (i.e. adults) that would attract the ire of both classes. Nothing like a common “enemy” to bring people together.

      2. @ Hochmeister
        Where would you get these adults, though? The reason behind the 2 course system is a lack of magic instructors/personnel. Even if you added policing to the instructors’ plate, there would probably be bias for the students they personally know (Blooms, mostly) over someone they rarely ever have contact with, so that wouldn’t really solve the issue.
        There’s no way you’re gonna have non-magicians try to police the students, as they would require expensive equipment or be a completely ineffective force. Bringing in military magicians to a high school carries its own problems.

  21. Would anyone mind telling me, what exactly is the controversy that connects this show and SAO?
    From what I have gathered, both were adapted from light novels with a doggedly supportive fan base, and both feature a MC that wins all the time (or are criticized for doing so). Those two things, though, don’t seem to account for the frequency with which comparisons are being drawn.

    1. You pretty much said it. The hype is one (both LNs are very popular), and both feature powerful MCs (cue “Gary Stu” debates). Other than that, IDK, people are bored I guess.

    2. What you said, mostly. So far I’ve found the comparisons undeserving, but I get why they happen. There are just enough similarities to make those who only pay attention to the top LNs or anime compare the two, while the rest of us are experienced enough to develop a more nuanced view.

    3. Another similarity is that early Mahouka is highly exposition driven, and tends to digress into long tracts of world building exposition. And finally, both characters are…. taciturn people whose characters were mainly built from their internal thoughts. And since LN anime adaptations tends to do very badly at showing the internal world of their characters, those kind of protagonists tend to be reviled for being badly characterized, since their internal world tends to be hidden in anime.

  22. A poignant observation on stoicism and its applications in various social environments and settings. At several points through the episode, I found it difficult to get inside Tatsuya’s head precisely because he was being taciturn and frugal with his expressions. From a visual perspective, a character’s expressions are typically a hint at their mental state, giving the viewers more insight on how the character reacts and thinks. In Tatsuya’s case, the sparse amount of expressions could be remedied by a few internal lines verbalized for the viewer’s benefit.

    However, stepping back from an individual’s point of view, I wonder from whose perspective we will be seeing Mahouka the anime being presented from. For example, a considerable chunk of the light novel was presented through Tatsuya’s eyes, giving readers access to his internal thoughts and helping to follow his train of thought. Given the anime’s current way of handling things, I find it very hard to imagine that this behavior will be replicated given the third person perspective of essentially standing behind the siblings as they encounter various circumstances. Unfortunately, this brings me back to my first point in that without a few tidbits of what is running through Tatsuya’s mind, his anime persona will continue to be a tough nut to crack. (Or is that the intention all along?)

    1. @Dreyakis: For example, a considerable chunk of the light novel was presented through Tatsuya’s eyes, giving readers access to his internal thoughts and helping to follow his train of thought.

      Good point. Not sure why that’s the case, but definitely agree that restoring at least some of Tatsuya’s internal dialog would go a long ways.

      If you don’t mind, I’d like some clarification on a quick CAD technical question in the spoiler below. Thanks. 😀

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. @daikama In regards to your question:
        Show Spoiler ▼

    2. I do wish more anime would take advantage of character’s internal dialogues. I know it’s odd to animate since you have to have the character standing their frozen while they go through their thoughts at talking speed, rather than in text, where it can happen inside of a second, but I’d be fine if they froze the action Death Note-style so we could hear their thoughts. I just feel like the characters’ internal thoughts are too important to the underlying story to leave out.

      1. Then again, inserting a character’s internal monologue doesn’t necessarily mean a complete halt in the action. I do recall the instance in Log Horizon when the younger crew was beset by monsters (and Touya was about to buy the farm) that reality slowed to a crawl while Minori had a minor mental breakdown to help illustrate the point. Setting aside my views on her reaction, that remained a perfectly valid way to bring a character’s internal turmoil to light without essentially stopping time completely.

      2. @Stilts: I agree regarding the benefits of internal dialog, which as Dreyakis astutely points out, plays a big role in the MKnR LNs. I would add Horizon’s adaptation to Dreyakis’ Log Horizon example. As I recall, there is a significant amount of internal dialog going in during Horizon’s battles, and the action isn’t always frozen. EP 12’s fight between Futayo and Muneshige where Futayo mentally explains what she needs to do to win is a good example IMO.

      3. Both true, and good points. I wish more anime would employ all three tactics to get us inside characters’ heads rather than force us to watch from the outside a story that wasn’t originally written to be experienced that way. However they’ve got to do it, we shouldn’t lose those elements, especially when anime has so much more control over time than live action adaptations do. It’s harder to show characters suddenly moving a millimeter a minute with live actors, after all ^^

      4. Of course, the delicious irony of our discussion here is that all of this actually happened in the anime. Hattori did exactly what we are talking about and had a little imagine spot of his own as he contemplated what he would do to Tatsuya.

        A “pity” things didn’t play quite as well as he thought it would. (laugh)

  23. I really hope you continue to blog this one, Stilts.

    This series certainly has enough things to discuss, and we, as the watcher, clearly need a neutral reviewer.

    Mahouka is also a big name which attract lots of commenter, I am sure that commenters is one of the happiness for an author.

    1. Lots of comments are certainly fun : ) But the thing I’m enjoying most so far is that this series is actually really easy to write about. There’s been a lot to talk about in both episodes so far.

  24. “I wanted more honesty from him, more flaws, not him being strong for his imouto.”

    I Found this line amazing. I read the LN and all the worries about his personality was perfectly guided by the author. This is gonna be a very enjoyable anime blog to read.

  25. Stilts: I’ll reiterate what my fellow LN readers are saying, definitely would be nice if you continue the series. We did warn you and RC readers at large that the series definitely isn’t something that you can apply the typical “3 Episode Rule” simply cuz the series does’t pick up until the second arc.

    In terms of your review and this episode, it is definitely nice seeing a Neutral posting. Soo many people are blatantly hating it (some due to the hype, some due to the slow build-up, etc) and not giving it a fair shot. But, on the flip-side, others are just hyping it up too much, which helps feed the former group. Personally, I’m enjoying your posts for the last two episodes, as its nice seeing a more objective perspective since you lack any background knowledge or seeming bias. So, I’ll echo the sentiment in that I hope you continue to blog the show.

    As for the episode itself, while I did have some grievances, the pacing felt much better than the first episode gave us. If they can follow this sort of pacing here on out, I’m not going to be too worried for the rest of the adapation. Assuming this pace keeps up I think it’ll be safe to say that us LN reader discussion on how much will be adapated will be along the right lines (as in Volumes 1~4 and parts of 5/8).

    STOP READING AND DO NOT CLICK IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS. These are not big/game-changing/story-influencing spoilers, but they are still a kind of spoiler, so please avoid clicking if you dont want to be spoiled)
    Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Whelp that certainly puts me much more at ease.
        (I do realize I could have chcked I kind of just forgot the site that lists them (I usually don’t look up seiyuu and cast all that often :P)

        But, still, that does make me quite happy. That news in conjunction with the opening gives me hope only V1-4 and parts of 5/8 will be covered 😀 (Good cuz means that 9 Schools will be covered and fleshed out well since theres a ton of main/side char development there 😀 )

    1. @Stratski: I agree. The pacing was better and I hope to see that trend continue. At this point, I’m just not sure to what extent it will. Again, I agree that vol 1-4 + parts of vol 8 and maybe part of vol. 5 is the way to go for adaptation coverage. However, AFAIK, MAL lists update during the season (especially 2-cour shows), and the character/VA list is not all inclusive. In short, I wouldn’t take MAL character list as dispositive on this issue.

      Specifically: SPOILERS – LN READERS ONLY Show Spoiler ▼

    2. I dunno, some stuff in the OP and especially the ED would indicate that we will reach Yokohama. Obviously that doesn’t guarantee anything, but I wouldn’t count on keeping the slower pace.

      1. SK: Personally I take the OP/EDs with a grain of salt. Many series have scenes in OPs/EDs that never make it to the actual show. Hell, some of them tease at later events that their original cour never covered. Granted, I may just be in denial here and not wanting to see the so-far torrid pace kept up x__x;; But yeah, I do agree that it doesn’t mean anything but at the same time it does leave the door open.

        Also, the torrid pace thus far isn’t too important here in the Enrollment Arc. If they finish the arc in 7 episodes I’ll be content)ish)lol

        daikama: Ah, see, I almost never bother with looking seiyuu and such up so I didn’t know that detail. Guess I can’t assume anything for sure any more 🙁

        And, as for the episode daikama/your spoiler tag:
        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. @Stratski: You have a point about the possible benefits of reordering (e.g delaying) and/or cutting parts of the source material, but given some of the comments by non-LN readers, I have to wonder about the wisdom of that. Some viewers seem to find even the limited exposition so far “boring/slow”, whereas others are trying to figure out what’s going on and/or scenes are being misinterpreted due to material cuts. Long ways to go, but right now my impression is that the anime is trying to appeal to all sides and ends up as “jack of all trades, master of none”. Assuming Kuntzy is right about next episode covering up through vol. 01, ch. 4 (and IMO he is), I’m quite curious to see how the anime handles the ch. 4 source material.

  26. It’s fine if you don’t like ‘Seeking permission from a man’, as you put it, Stilts, but it can hardly be called ‘not cute’, did you even click the link you put on ‘glances’?It’s most definitely cute and I don’t think it’s so much as Miyuki being weak-willed, rather it’s more like a normal family dynamic, kids usually look towards their parents for permission and younger siblings towards older siblings, at least in my experience – and in this particular case, Miyuki obviously has a lot of respect and admiration for Tatsuya, which makes her behavior entirely understandable.On the other hand I hope this show doesn’t go with ‘strong women’ tropes, personally I find such characters boring.

    On a side-note and as friendly criticism, from your writings I gather you favor leftist/liberal politics?Which is fine, but political views in general are somewhat narrowed-minded and has a tendency to cloud people’s judgment, like in the above case where you saw gender-politics in a situation that has a more common sense interpretation.I’m not criticizing your political positions or saying you should keep politics out of your writing, just that being self-aware of your own political leanings and looking at things from different perspectives might help improve your writing.

    Also since you’re a self-proclaimed feminist, by which I presume you mean that you support equality?Show Spoiler ▼

    Not sure if the spoiler tags were necessary, but just to be safe.

    1. You see, I find it very unattractive, and it doesn’t have anything to do with whatever my politics may be – the thought of a woman depending on me, save for in the situation of a young daughter or other charge, is unappealing. Adults (or people of a similar age, of which Tatsuya and Miyuki are) should be equals in my eyes, and all of them should be equally capable of making decisions for themselves.

      Now, where Miyuki is concerned it’s not a problem if she seeks counsel from Tatsuya, since they are family and obviously quite close. She shouldn’t have to go it alone any more than he should. There may have been more to those looks – some said that the first one was her seeking to put him forward and he misunderstood it, which is a comedic misunderstanding and way more interesting. It just didn’t strike me as that because of the SECOND look and his little permissive nod, as well as most of the interactions I’ve seen between the two of them so far.

      As for my political views, they only become narrow-minded when one exclusively looks through the lens of a political ideology. I don’t do that. It is merely one of the many lenses I look through, just as you and everyone else does, and I try not to be dogmatic about it. To pretend that I’m perfectly objective would be silly though, and I’ve never claimed it – I have my biases and preferences, and I don’t shy away from them. This is one – equality and personal freedom are two American ideals (ideals being the key word there, since they’re frequently fallen short of) of which I subscribe, whereas deference and respect for one’s elders are Japanese ideals which I’m not too fond of. That’s just one of many other lenses I look through though, I assure you.

      Also, remember that there’s a different between a strong female character and the trope I think you’re confusing with them. The problem is that so far, Miyuki doesn’t seem to be acting as if she has much agency – she’s acting for her brother’s behalf, but only (generally) with his permission. All the other female characters have agency, which is why they are actually (at least so far) strong female characters, just as the males are so far. Miyuki is the exception so far.

      I will keep a watch out for any untoward bias though. While one mention doesn’t a crisis make, I’ll try to make sure there isn’t any fire where you’re smelling smoke. ‘Tis the least I can do for you taking the time to comment and offer some feedback : )

  27. If you’re a feminist, you should have room to accept strong women that live independently as well as those that are weak willed. I hardly think Miyuki relying on Tatsuya’s decision making is as grave a sin as you and others here claim, as if that reliance was founded on matters of gender superiority. It’s just simply that the siblings are walking a fine line with what is acceptable from their family’s perspective and it’s a good idea for Miyuki not to spread/flaunt her brother’s capabilities.

    Giorno Giovanna
    1. But of course. It’s fine if Miyuki is like that, just as it’s fine if a woman wants to defer to her husband and not have any say in most matters. (As is the case with men as well.) The important thing is the OPTION, that she have the right and ability to make decisions if she so desires.

      Doesn’t mean I can’t get annoyed with a character who doesn’t take advantage of that option, though. Were this real life I would shrug and move on because her life would not affect mine, but since my role here is to give my impressions, give them I do. Your point is well taken though – however Miyuki is choosing to act, the presence of so many other strong female characters makes it seem like it’s her choice, which is fine, no matter whether I agree with it or not.

      1. Its kinda funny, cause Miyuki is…

        Show Spoiler ▼

        I think Miyuki defers to her brother, cause her brother’s situation is a bit sensitive as he seems to hold various secrets. Ofcourse, she also idolizes him cause “she owes her life to him”, although not sure in what way yet.

      2. I just can’t say anything, but would recommend deferring your opinion of the relationships and positions of the various characters. It’s going to take a while to make things clear. And I’m not saying that your viewpoint is right or wrong at this point. We haven’t even seen the whole cast yet and some of them are important to the overall story.

    2. “If you’re a feminist, you should have room to accept strong women that live independently as well as those that are weak willed.”

      From my perspective as a woman, being weak willed does not mean that every single of Miyuki’s action needed her brother’s approval. A weak willed woman/girl can mean that the person dislike confrontation or would rather let her partner/husband/etc do the decision making. Miyuki was shown to have agency when she defended Tatsuya, only to have said agency being taken from her when she was made to look back at him TWICE seeking for permission/approval. And that, is bad writing on the author/production team’s behalf.

      1. I’ve been trying to discuss without spoilers so all I have to say is that there really should be no discussion about how strong Miyuki is as a character, as like Bear says, the circumstances behind her need to clarify her actions is not based on anything like what people are stating here.

        Giorno Giovanna
      2. Likely true Gio, since I’ve been hearing again and again that it takes a while to reveal everything…which isn’t ideal, and doesn’t show the highest skill in writing the original source material, but being that this is the author’s first major work, mistakes are understandable.


        Some commenters have noted that the second look is anime original, so if things progress as they’re saying (and I’m hoping) they will in regards to Miyuki, I’ll kind of ignore that and act like it happens. As is, I agree with you.

        tl;dr Probably the production team’s fault, lol

  28. I feel like there’s a giant disparity between light novel Tatsuya and anime Tatsuya. He has more character in the light novel but isn’t as cool as he is in the anime. Show Spoiler ▼

  29. Please don’t drop this.This anime had potential to be the best anime of this year.Even animation is not so good (picture not so sharp,clear and too much white) but storyline is great,characters design is cool and nice flow too.

  30. To be honest this series really isn’t grabbing me, can’t stand half the voice acting and finding the content fairly boring, I’ll give it one more episode before I drop.

  31. I feel like a lot of the issues with the show so far stem from there just being too much of the world PLUS the story to cover in such a way that keeps the audience entertained in a proper manner for a 23 minute episode. There’s a lot of stuff that people who have read the LN or mangas (does Yuutousei count as canon to the main storyline?) understand because it is explained to the reader.

    Since anime is a time limited medium that needs to have a good semblance of pacing to keep the audience involved, certain things are being cut out (like information about the magic system or certain aspects of Tatsuya and Miyuki’s backstory). I assume they will be able to make up for these deficiencies later on, but right now it’s understandable why someone coming in without any clue about the LN would be confused about the magic or think that Tatsuya is broken OP and too stoic.

    I guess there’s an unwritten rule in anime that it’s ok to make shortcuts to make the show more entertaining since the majority of people watching will have read the source material anyways and just want to see all the flashy scenes instead.

  32. Regarding Tatsuya’s frustration during class, the students had to complete the task within 0.9 seconds. Most of his class were completing the task around the 0.8 second range while he was struggling hard to get 1.1 seconds. In addition it’s already been a few days since class started and his time has not been getting any better.

  33. Should’ve known it was Marina-san voicing Mari. Her voice is rather recognizable. Now this is just a very minor nitpick of mine but Show Spoiler ▼

  34. Stilts, the fact that you don’t “feel” Tatsuya is actually a good indication that the story is progressing nicely.

    I will admit that due to anime brevity and the lack of Tatsuya’s inner monologue, his character seems more 1.5 dimensional at this point.

  35. I Usually never post a single think when i read about the coverage in Randomc. Because the coverage always meet my excitement when the show is good its “literally good” and when the show is bad its just “Meh”.

    But just this time, i feel the need to post my frustation about Mahouka. There’s 2 thing that cringe my nerve when i saw about the last 2 episode.

    1) World Building
    2 Episode has aired and until now, not a single thing i understand about the world behind mahouka. It’s just….. frustrating. Not a single thing is explained neatly. What the hell is Psion? And what the hell did they doing in episode 2, what kind of practice is that?. For me, it’s just full of WTF moment.

    2) Character
    The most dissapointing MC, stoic character with half assed personality. And the last episode when the MC just kick his opponent butt just make me “What the Hell is going on?”.

    For a high expectation show, Mahouka just…… I don’t know. 3 Episode rule, If the next episode still the same like the previous one, I really need to drop this series. It’s just a waste of time.

    1. I feel the same way. It’s as if only LN readers can fully enjoy this series. Not really a fan of all this talk of “wait and see, it will become awesome” or “you should read/watch the extra material”. Seems to be a common case with light novels adaptations, unfortunately.

      1. Well, for Anime i prefer for something like first episode with a blast of awesomeness. And mahouka for me just fail to give me the expectation i wanted. It’s just bland, first 1:30 is awesome and the rest? Not something i had in mind. It’s just NO. 🙂

    2. I will advice instead of watching this a high expectations, maybe watching it with moderate expectations will be better.

      The start up of this story is slow, extremely slow.

      When I start watching this series (in the form of episode 1) a week ago, I just feel that it is just a so so anime.

      By some chance, I start reading the manga, and my opinion just changes to hmmm, not too bad, it gets pretty interesting towards the end.

      So I picked up the LN to read and my opinion changes to “Wow, its good”, and I manage to read tens of thousands of words over the weekend, something I rarely do.

      My impression is that most LN readers have high expectations as they have already experience the really good parts, while anime watchers are still trapped in the slow start portion.

      Thats why as a LN reader now, I will advice to watch this show at moderate expectations now 🙂 If you wish to watch it as a high expectations show, give this series a break, and start watching this 2 months later 🙂

      1. Well for me anime is something you watch it or leave it. And, i never bothered to read the LN or Manga if the impact in anime is just so so.

        As anime watchers, like me. The slow start kinda bothering me. It’s make me think “Why all of the people praise this kind of anime”.
        For me, i prefer the presentation like SAO have in the first episode. That show managed to catch my attention for half of the season, even if the rest is just utter rubbish. But the show managed to make me excited to wait and see whats happened next episode.

        But for mahouka, it’s different it didn’t deliver anything excitement for the last 2 episode, it’s just….. nothing happened, nothing at all. it’s just bland.

        Sorry to say, but for now i will apply 3 episode rule. If the next one, fail as bad as this or the last one. i will consider to drop this series

    1. Her brother is still a man. Unless he’s actually a woman is disguise, but I digress.

      Also, there is a major difference between seeking guidance and seeking permission. Miyuki was shown to be looking at Tatsuya twice and Tatsuya was shown to be nodding at her in response. That is seeking permission and receiving it.

      1. I don’t think that seeking guidance or even permission is a bad thing in its own if the seeker is okay. It’s not like he beats her every time she disobeys him or anything like that. Don’t forget the -sama in onii-sama it shows the huge respect that she has for her brother for some reason. I think that if Tatsuya sought guidance from his sister no one will fuss about it because “feminism”

      2. If Miyuki sought permission from Tatsuya and then later on Tatsuya sought permission from Miyuki? Sure, sounds good. Then they’d clearly have some big delicate secret or something and they’re trying to not screw up by acting incautiously.

        If Tatsuya sought permission from Miyuki before acting? People would call him a wuss, but the underlying reason is the same – a lack of agency. Lack of agency isn’t attractive, no matter one’s gender. Whatever the words people use to describe it, it’s all the same root cause. It’s just “okay” in more people’s eyes if a woman lacks agency, and that’s the part that’s not ideal, to put it lightly.

        @ lebleu

        True, he’s not a stranger, but I think the problem is that they’re not even a year apart. If Miyuki was 5+ years younger than Tatsuya and still a child, I’d have no problem with her asking her onii-sama for permission, in the same way that I have no problem (and would in fact prefer) my nieces and nephews ask me or another adult before they run off and do something unusual. But Tatsuya and Miyuki are the same age, so that doesn’t apply.

      3. This is getting rather silly so I’ll try to keep it short, the problem with Stilts’s and aeria’s views(also typical of people with feminist leanings) is that they presume that agency is something that can be taken away, which is simply not true, personal agency is something that is always present, even if the person herself doesn’t want it.

        According to you Miyuki lacks agency because she acts on behalf of her brother and looks for his permission, which in my view ‘is’ her exercising of her agency(even the part asking for permission is an exercise of agency).What Stilts and aeria are actually doing is, taking a behavior they don’t like or don’t approve of and claiming it as a lack of agency then insinuating it as sexism using their own feminist bias, and blaming the production team for what they perceive as an issue even though the issue is their own bias and inaccurate presumptions rather than the show.

        Sorry, if this comes off as offensive, it’s not meant to be, I didn’t want to write another long comment like the above if possible.

        On a side note am I the only one whose tried of so called feminists who are supposedly against sex based discrimination, but are always focusing on people’s genitals?I mean if a person was against discrimination based on sex I’d imagine they would disregard a person’s genitals, not excessively focus on it.Like the above case with aeria, in which if Tatsuya was female it’d apparently be okay, the important variable being the person’s sex which technically makes her complaint sexist and also hypocritical, at least in my book.

      4. You’re right in a way. People always have a choice, even if all the other options they have are bad (i.e. they incur extremely negative consequences). There’s a difference between absolute choice and, hmmmm, let’s call it functional choice? Something like that.

        An example would be a test in school. You have a choice whether to take the test or not. That’s always a choice. But if the consequences for not taking it – you’ll fail the class, you won’t graduate, your parents will disown you, whatever – are sufficiently bad, most people would say they “don’t have a choice”. Of course they have a choice, in an absolute sense, but the consequences are so unfavorable for not choosing a certain way that it feels like you may as well not have a choice at all.

        From a truly feminist perspective, the point is that Miyuki has the option of agency. Whether she exercises it or not is up to her, just as it is with everyone else.

        But you’re also right in saying it’s something we don’t like, which is why we’re calling it out. It’s her choice, but that doesn’t mean we have to like her (as a character) for it.

        Honestly, me talking about that stoking my feminist rage was a throwaway line you shouldn’t read too much into. Mostly what I was saying is “I don’t like passive characters”, which was how Miyuki was acting. And I would say the same thing were it a male character, because I find passive character to be unappealing, save for certain exceptions (there are exceptions to every rule).

        As for your last paragraph, I shant get into it much because I don’t really care about getting into gender politics, I was just trying to explain why I wasn’t sold on a character so far. All I’ll say is that it’s easier to say “we should disregard people’s gender!” when you’re male, and that women don’t always have that choice.

        No more from me on this, I have work to do~

    2. Did anyone give a thought to the possibility that Miyuki may just be a character who gets very attached and dependent to a persons she loves? I’ve met a ton of people who always look for someone else’s permission to do things because they’re very dependent in nature. It doesn’t matter if she’s a guy or a girl because I’ve seen both male and female depend on others quite heavily in that way that we see in this show. It’s just that’s how they are as a person, and there isn’t sexist about it if we look at it from that perspective. This is just my opinion though.

      My personal view with this though is that they have a secret that truly needs to stay… well… secret, and she looks at her brother to see what boundaries she can cross while still maintaining secrecy.

      1. Oh, by the way, Stilts, I forget to address this issue about Asian culture and whatnot. I’m Filipino and can’t exactly speak for all other Asian cultures, but in my particular culture, the older brother is highly respected. Even if the older brother is not even a year apart, they address them with the term kuya and listen to them as an authority in the family because it’s heavily looked at that if something ever happens to the dad, the older brother is supposed to step up and take that responsibility. Traditionally, they also follow in their father’s footsteps and profession, and gain a larger inheritance than the other siblings. You may not agree with that or not, but I just wanted to bring it into the light that this was how things are in a sense with a whole bunch of Asian cultures.

      2. True, true. It doesn’t seeeeem like that’s as strong in Japanese culture, but deference to one’s elders, even if by less than a year, is certainly stronger than it is in my own culture. Both of your points are valid, imo.

      3. As someone who has lived in both the US and Japan, respect for elders (or, perhaps more accurately, those with more experience) is certainly more pronounced in Japan. The sempai-kouhai relationship is a good example. The kouhai is supposed to respect and defer to their sempai, while the sempai takes them under their wing, becoming a mentor, a teacher, someone who will look out for their kouhai. Obviously, this doesn’t always hold (Clannad’s soccer club comes to mind), and there is some degree of this in the US, but it’s not important enough culturally to have its own specific term, as upper/underclassman doesn’t have the same connotation.
        The sibling dynamic will differ from family to family, though. And despite the sometimes excessive use of the honorific -sama in anime, it does indicate either a high degree of respect or a very formal household if used for a family member.

      4. Now, from what I’ve observed or seen, actual titles to display respect are much more varied in Japan, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the idea of respect is more prominent as a whole. Familiarity and kinship with even strangers is something that Filipinos have more of than Japan or other Asian cultures. This sense of patriotism or love for our people is very open with how we address each other with very simple ways of respect. In Filipino/Tagalog, there are only a very few terms to refer to strangers (there are of course other terms, but these are commonly used ones unless you count other terms like tol and whatnot, but I digress): Lolo, Lola, Tito, Tita, Kuya, and Ate (you can look up the pronunciations on Google). This is where things get a little bit weird because while it’s meant to be a respectful gesture towards other people you don’t know, those are also the same terms used for family members. Lolo meaning Grandpa, Lola meaning grandpa, Tito meaning uncle, Tita meaning aunt, Kuya meaning older brother, and Ate meaning older sister. Yet, Lolo and Lola can refer to a person who is above their 50s and whatnot; Tito and Tita can refer to people older than you by a significant margin by like 10-15 years or so; and Ate and Kuya can be terms referred to people older than you, but are still in the same age group. This is an example of expressing respect while a sense of familiarity and openness towards others to show that while being respectful.

        The other thing to take into account is manner of speech and cultural acts of respect. Japan has a lot of honorifics that help with that, but in Tagalog/Filipino we have words that express respect without actually having an exact meaning. Let me give you one example of a gesture of respect in our culture. Thee act of Mano is a very big thing in the Philippines. Mano is the act of taking an older person’s hand, bowing your head and placing the back of their on your forehead. It’s supposed to mimic an European style hand-kissing to show respect except you don’t actually kiss the hand, but you put it up to your forehead. This is a sign of respect you’re giving to the elder, but in turn, it’s a sign that the elder is offering his blessing to you. Now, when you usually do this, you say, “Mano, po.” This literally translates into, “Your hands please.” Now, the po doesn’t mean please, but is usually a word fixated into a sentence to offer your sincere respect to someone. It doesn’t have a meaning, but is a word meant to express your respect for the person you are using it to. There is another variation called opp, but you guys can look up the difference because I’ve been going on too long with this subject.

        Looking at all these factors, I would say that both cultures hold respect in a high regard, but are delivered differently. I could say that Japan is a little bit more professional about the whole respect thing while Filipinos are more family-like with the way they do things. One isn’t better, but it’s merely a difference in culture and a way of doing things. I’d say that both cultures hold respect equally.

  36. I really got no idea what the hype is all about regarding this anime, but after watching the first episode and having no idea of what the story is about with no expectations whatsoever, I was immediately sucked in into the story and was really intrigued. So after that, I immediately downloaded all of the light novels with so much curiosity and started to read it… and now, I’ve spent staying up many nights reading the novels and I can’t stop. Really enjoying it so far.

    Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to your next Mahouka posts, Stilts! 🙂

  37. It’s probably been mentioned, but the reason for that stoicism is:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  38. Does nobody noticed that there is no echii so far in the series? Even the female clothing doesn’t show much from head to toes! Well, we can always argue about the “curvature” nngh. If this anime stand out without using echii or toning it down at the least then this show is a first for me in the high school battle genre, which is “good”.

    I really can’t view the main character in an echii situation, can you imagine a stoic protagonist like Tatsuya in “baka! I hate you! Did you see my pantsu!? kinda situation” No. I can’t even … anyway, we are only at the beginning of the series, but I can’t wait to see the protagonist in those situations, I want to know badly how he will respond!

  39. at no time mentioned ecchi, but honestly if I seek fights with good plot development here I will not find. This series is limited to only meet all otaku fantasy looking, badass protagonist surrounded by girls

    1. It’s not like they will say “watch out! now is a echii scene”, but what I wanted to say is that all, I mean “all” the anime that I watched that took the premise of high school battle are effectively echii and this one stand out from them because it doesn’t use that plot device.

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