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

This is what I’ve been waiting for – it’s magical combat time!

This Is What I’ve Been Waiting For!

Sanderson’s First Law states:

Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.

What first interested me about Mahouka is that it’s Hard Magic, which means the magic system should be well set up enough to solve lot of problems without resorting to bullshit dues ex machina. This is especially true of combat, and Mahouka did not disappoint. Take Leo’s combat abilities. Them talking about fortification magic (and even the voice-activated part being old school, though I was once again lost on the programmer-esque sequential casting jargon) fit in well with what we already knew of the magic system, so it was cool to see it used in a new way. (Disclaimer: it might only fit in with what I know about the magic system due to your comments, since the anime has been leaving out things left and right. So thanks!) Leo is a bruiser! A tanky bruiser, but that’s cool too. Plus the fight animation was good, which I appreciated.

False Equality

Equality is a tricky thing. I feel like the goal is something like equality of opportunity + mutual respect (i.e. even if someone is better at something, they shouldn’t go around thinking that makes them a better person), not equality of outcomes. Mibu-sempai never had a clear enough view of what she was after for me to say she was on the wrong side of that argument, but she definitely wasn’t on the right side. Tatsuya was right – if everyone was truly equal (equality of outcomes), they’d all be trodden upon together. Differences are good! Different but with an equal shot of obtaining happiness. Something like that.

Putting Yourself Down

That’s when Miyuki hit with the knock out punch. “Was magic the only barometer by which you could be measured?” I hate to say this (note: that’s a lie, I love to say this), but I totally called it! Mibu’s problem is that she was pinning all of her self-worth to her magical abilities, and when they didn’t measure up, that meant she felt like she was nothing. It didn’t matter that she was one of (if not the) best pure swordswomen that any of the cast had seen, or that she was beautiful, or that she was intelligent and kind, if her magic was shit, she was shit. It wasn’t others that were putting her down, it was her.

You can’t do that all. Never pin your full self-worth to one thing. There’s far more to each one of us than grades, or salary, or magical ability. Also, who the fuck cares if some assholes are mocking you? Fuck em. There’s an old saying that goes something like “People can only put you down if you let them”, and it’s a lie. Cutting words can wound no matter what. You can certainly control whether they’re a minor inconvenience or a critical strike though.

Miyuki’s Strength

A lot of commenters have been saying how much Miyuki is getting shafted in this adaptation, and this week we finally got to see some of her strength. Her in silly brocon “onii-sama!” mode doesn’t annoy me, but I like her more when she’s nuking bitches, flying around, freezing fingers, and generally being intelligent, competent, and powerful. I still want to see more depth, but we’ll get there I’m sure. I’ll give her some more time.

She’s a Weed!?

Backtracking a little, I rolled my eyes when Erika owned two guys in a row, and then stayed behind to finish one more. Just kick his ass and go along! Or have Miyuki nuke him, sheesh. I mean sure, maybe he was better than the other two, and maybe Erika could tell that, but we weren’t given any indication of that, so it made no sense in context.

It ended up working out well though. Erika is the kind of weed Mibu should try to be (and Leo, and Tatsuya too), one who doesn’t let a silly classification or the words of strangers get her down. Erika is strong, stronger at kenjutsu than even a badass like Mari, even if her magic is probably a bit shit. Or maybe it’s her grades? Because damn! That flash-stepping was badass, though I almost liked it more when Mibu turned on the Cast Jamming and Erika bested her without the flashy magic. A good fight with good meaning.

Misunderstanding Failure

This episode was still a tad uneven, with some things that made me go “WRRRYYYY!?” The biggest was the misunderstanding between Mibu and Mari. Now, scenes can be symbolic and serve the story without coming off as overly convenient. The battle between Erika & Mibu did exactly that, since they were both radically different kinds of weeds. This just made me go “ugh”. Mibu-sempai’s whole arc came about because she completely misunderstood something Mari said? That felt unnecessary to me. At least Tatsuya is one of those inexplicably rare male leads who can actually hold a girl while she’s crying. At least one person did something right.

His Own Reasons

Speaking of Tatsuya, here’s another bit of evidence against him being a Gary Stu – he’s not universally loved. Take the beginning of the episode when Tatsuya tells the others to not go so easy on Mibu-sempai. Leo did not like that. Later too, Tatsuya wasn’t planning on going after Blanche for Mibu-sempai – no, it was because someone had interrupted his and Miyuki’s peaceful life, and that meant some bitches needed their faces pounded in. Technically that doesn’t preclude Tatsuya from being a Gary Stu, but to me part of it is being overpowered and universally loved, and I don’t think Tatsuya can claim the latter. Not if he keeps being a callous dick, at least. (Note: I’m not complaining.)

Not Such a Bad Guy After All

Finally, kenjutsu club captain Kirihara came back and asked to come along for the raid. The clear point here was to show that he’s not such a bad guy after all, but without the context I’m told there was in the LN, it came off as being very abrupt – from full asshole to suddenly complex individual. Jyumonji-sempai came across a lot better though. He’s a savvy guy, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of him – and soon, seeing him fight!

Looking Ahead – Right Through the Front Door!

It looks like they’ll be finished adapting the second volume next episode (I assume). Hopefully there’s lots of action ahead! Also, hopefully they continue adapting at a four-episode-per-volume pace, because the past three episodes, while still flawed, worked a lot better than the first three.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Finally, it’s fighting time! Leo, Erika, Tatsuya, Miyuki…we got some badasses over here #mahouka 06

Random thoughts:

  • Ono-sensei may look more respectable in a sweater, but she’s still hot. Dem sweater puppies, DAMN! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
  • The whole time Tatsuya and Miyuki were talking to Mibu-sempai in the vault, I was like “Holy fuck deal with the terrorists you two.”
  • I wonder if that truth serum thing the disciplinary committee dude was talking about was a lie? I hope so, because that would be way more awesome.
  • All members of the disciplinary committee should know martial ar–oh, they already do. Well played!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Your muse is a lie; Write by outline; Orderly, original; and Respect.

Full-length images: 03, 14, 15, 38.

 

Preview

178 Comments

  1. Kill them all!!! Well, if this were spartacus, the violence would be a lot more bloody with Tatsuya around.

    He’s still pretty much invincible, and most of his challenges are a bit straw-men. That’s the point of the story though!

    Drasca
  2. The whole time Tatsuya and Miyuki were talking to Mibu-sempai in the vault, I was like “Holy fuck deal with the terrorists you two.”

    Meh. It’s not like they amounted to anything. They didn’t even have magic, after all. 😛

    (THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS A JOKE, DELIBERATELY MAKING FUN OF THE DISCRIMINATION SHOWN IN THE SERIES. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.)

    Wanderer
    1. It was imagery, like naked Jyumonji a few episodes back. Not much to say about it, other’n how Miyuki has a nice body & it looks like Tatsuya has a lot of scars.

      Stilts
      1. Being “irrelevant to the story” is something that the creator decides. It’s not your story. We can, as readers or viewers, decide if it works or if is good or bad but the creative rights belongs to the creator, including the right to write irrelevant stories.

        I also think that you need some Ichika power level to ignore Miyuki’s attraction the creator is showing us, the viewers. If this as not the intent, then someone did a bad job I dare to say.

        Kazuo Teramoto
      2. @Kazuo Teramoto

        You know, that’s an interesting issue. As someone who is both a content creator and a (massive) content consumer, I have a unique perspective on it. Allow me to share.

        You’re correct…technically. It is up to the creator to decide what belongs in a story, and they cannot be “wrong”. It’s their story, warts and all. However, what most people mean when they say something is “irrelevant to the story” (or doesn’t belong there, etc) is that the thing in question diminishes the story, and in this the reader is perfectly within their rights to criticize.

        We all hold the creative arts up to a higher standard than other products. It’s not “is this providing me enough value to warrant the cost I paid?”, but rather “Is this the best work it could possibly be?” We criticize fictions for being less than it might be, no matter how much enjoyment we get! Isn’t that crazy?

        But it’s valid. Just mentally translate those comments to what people are really saying and it begins to make sense. The author decides what belongs, but we all get to decide whether it worked out or not. That’s the reader’s right.

        Stilts
      3. I think that in this case, I read the complaint rather as “I dislike the sexual tension, it makes me feel uncomfortable (due to the incest angle), I wish it wasn’t there”. It does however matter in the bigger picture.

        Mentar
      4. @Kazuo

        The whole problem with the adaptation, is not the focus on Miyuki’s obsession with her brother. It is the portrayal of that obsession, as nothing more than a conventional LN Incest fetish, slid in there to cynically appeal to a certain demographic. By axing out so many of Miyuki’s monologues, we don’t get to see the very crucial hints and indications, that Miyuki’s obsession is more complex than just “Lol Incest-fanservice”. But this is precisely why people seem to hate Miyuki – her obsession seems to be all that her character is about, and the anime hasn’t given us any reason to believe that there’s a much more complex character behind that pseudo-incestuous obsession.

        And therein lies the problem, because at this stage in the LNs, it’s very clear from Miyuki’s monologue that there’s FAR FAR more to her character than merely being ” a robot that says only Onii-Sama , Onii-Sama”, to quote a blunt assessment of her character as shown in the anime in a certain anime forum. But it’s very hard to dispute anime only viewers who argue that Tatsuya is a pure wish fulfillment character, and Miyuki is a plot device for Incestuous fantasies, by recourse to anime material alone. By that standards, the anime has thoroughly failed in characterization.

        Andmeuths
      5. @Kazuo Teramoto

        Who counts as the creator in this case? The author of the LN? The director? If only the director is to be considered, then fine, it just my opinion. If the original author is the creator and the anime is intended to represent the original story then the director is being unfaithful to both the story and the audience and that is without even mentioning spoilers, just the information that has be left out from the LN up until this point.

        Bear
      6. I agree with Bear in that Andmeuths’ post captures the issue for me as well. It’s HOW the anime is portraying her and that part of the story. It leaves out a lot of Miyuki’s dialog/content (especially an important plot point :<) and "amps up" the whole "incest" part via little anime only extras. Miyuki isn't my favorite MKnR character, but I like her a lot less in the anime.

        daikama
  3. Mibu-sempai’s whole arc came about because she completely misunderstood something Mari said? That felt unnecessary to me.

    Oh God, the restraint is killing me.

    Must…not…say anything.

    Need to go watch RAW now though. I wanna put more stuff here! *pouts*

    Kuntzy
  4. It’s a funny progression of things alright. First it’s about discrimination amongst the high school students, the sudden mention of an anti-magic organization in their school, then suddenly said organization is actually a front for terrorists that are trying to undermine Japanese sovereignty, then suddenly it’s not about discrimination at all but is instead about kids not believing in themselves enough because of a misunderstanding (but suddenly later on, it’s not even that). In the meanwhile of all this, Tatsuya comes off as a huge twat.

    The tone and message is all over the place. Pick something and stick with it, jeez.

    Solace
  5. Well this had to be the weakest episode so far, largely because of how dilettantish the dialogue between the characters was. The whole reason Mibu joined up with Blanche began with a misunderstanding; alright that’s fine, if properly built up. What was described though during the hospital scene was stretching the definition of misunderstanding a bit too far; really Mibu not only didn’t hear Mari correctly, but also twisted it around completely such that the meaning similarly changed. To get something like that requires a level of clinical self-centeredness we have not been shown Mibu possesses. The entire event could have been handled much better to impart the intended emotional impact instead of the stale, eye-rolling moment received instead.

    This just builds on the significant lack of character development we have so far and the huge amount being cut out from this adaptation. Thankfully only one more episode in this arc before we can see if the LN readers’ predictions of grandeur (hopes) come to fruition. Currently though Mahouka (like Black Bullet) is definitely suffering from over hyping and unrealistic expectations.

    Pancakes
    1. You’d better pay closer attention to the next episode then, because it addresses some of the issues you’ve pointed out. Let me just say that with the author’s propensity to info-dumping, you can be sure that everything has probably been addressed in the novels. There’s a reason for everything.

      millie10468
    2. I’ve heard about that from a few places, but it doesn’t remove the issue that the upcoming revelation should at least be hinted at. At the moment Mahouka’s plot (at least in the anime) is very chaotic, there are clear lines of division between events that should not even exist; good stories always organically weave a line between points which provides foreshadowing to tantalize the imagination with something “more” lurking in the background. Even Kanojo ga Flag does this and it’s basically a harem comedy; the viewer knows there is something more not yet explained, but clearly hinted at.

      With Mahouka though these revelations are just dumped upon us, no explanation given until after the fact. It is a very jarring method of presentation which promotes confusion and irritation. There needed to be more time allotted to explanation and monologue in this adaptation, which is kind of ironic considering it’s already 2 cours. Another 12 episodes would have gone a long way towards removing many of these issues that keep popping up every week.

      Pancakes
      1. @Pancakes:There needed to be more time allotted to explanation and monologue in this adaptation, which is kind of ironic considering it’s already 2 cours.

        It’s not ironic IMO, but rather a poor decision by the director or whoever to take such an aggressive pace. Need more time? Simple – adapt less. Cover volumes 1-4 + MAYBE parts of volume 5 and/or 8. Leave volumes 6 & 7 and others for season 2. Do a good job with season 1, and you’d most likely get another season given the series popularity. As it stands, I wouldn’t bet either way that this gets a season 2. TBH, I’m not so sure I’d want one the way things are going thus far.

        daikama
      2. The author does hint at upcoming revelations. Some of the hints are rather obvious, and some are very subtle. Some of the hints come several volumes in advance. Unfortunately, the anime cuts a lot of the material, including the hints.

        Not a big spoiler, but anyway:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        cclragnarok
      3. @cclragnarok

        You have pretty much summed up the issue: these key components have been eliminated from this adaptation. I am coming into this as an anime-only viewer so their removal hurts me more because I do not know what is upcoming unlike you guys who have read the LNs. It shows the weakness of Mahouka’s adaptation when us anime-only viewers are expected to turn to the source material (or fellow commenters) just to get their questions answered.

        @diakama

        It’s very likely considering the pacing and the amount being cut that the producers are trying to reach the good bits further into the story in order to justify making this adaptation. Quite sad really as Mahouka is just another name (like Black Bullet this season) on the increasingly long list of rushed adaptations trying to take advantage of ephemeral hype and interest, although it will be interesting to see just what point they are trying to reach by the series’ end.

        Disagree on the renewal though, personally I can see one happening in the future. Like SAO the criticisms expressed here are in the minority, too many people cannot see the forest for the trees.

        Pancakes
      4. @Pancakes: it will be interesting to see just what point they are trying to reach by the series’ end.

        Already have a very good idea in terms of what volumes the anime will cover -> 1-4 + 6-7 + most (maybe all) of vol. 8. No clue if any of volume 5 will be covered. Only significant question is whether anime goes in order of LN or rearranges some things. Already some order rearranging of small parts as (in theory) I posted. (OT: WHY is my post still in moderation purgatory? :<). Could end with vol 7 or vol. 8.

        FWIW, basing my prediction upon OP/ED spoilers and the fact that arc after vol. 6 & 7 is split into three volumes. No way they can cover vol 3-4 + 6-11 in 20 episodes (sure hope not). As for why to cover so much? At this point, IMO it's becoming clear this is a "shounenized" type of adaptation. Focus on the action/flashy battles for "mainstream/mass market" appeal. Volume 7 has a ton of action.

        Disagree on the renewal though, personally I can see one happening in the future. Like SAO the criticisms expressed here are in the minority, too many people cannot see the forest for the trees.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a 2nd season is a long shot, but I don’t think it’s as likely as I would have if the adaptation been more on a Log Horizon level. Sure SAO got a second season, but wasn’t right away. Compare the time lag for SAO’s 2nd season with Log Horizon’s. Heck, according to one site, Selector Infected WIXOSS is already green-lighted for a second season.

        As for the forest for the trees part, IDK. I haven’t made a concerted effort to read comments from multiple sites. From what I have read (here and a couple other places), LN reader reaction is split. Definitely a few unhappy LN readers as well as some satisfied ones. Anime only viewer reaction is mixed as well. Very few “great”/”very good” type comments while a number of “it’s a lot better than Mahou Sensou” type posts. Kind of damning with faint praise if you ask me. As I recall, SAO 1st cour (ep 1-12 or so) was much more well received. Wasn’t until the 2nd half that you got the huge division of viewer reaction.

        daikama
      5. On the “forest for the trees” part, I haven’t seen many LN readers that have been overly pleased. A few “this isn’t that bad” comments, but at least around here everyone seems to be able to separate how the anime adaptation is going, and just wishes it would reveal the true majesty of the LNs.

        And as for SAO, it had plenty of backlash early on. If you could take out the pointless side stories and harem one-shots from the first cour and just mined it for the “ploty” ones (i.e. anything focused on dungeon crawling or Asuna) it would have been pretty good, if you ignored the Gary Stu parts of Kirito’s dual wielding and whatnot. Then came the second cour… *shudders*

        Stilts
      6. @daikama

        I’m pretty sure the reason SAO didn’t get greenlighted immediately is because Aniplex is weird. The source material was finished, the series was selling EXTREMELY well and it was the most popular show of it’s year. There was literally NO REASON not to greenlight a second season immediately imo.

        And let us not forget Durarara!! which was and still is one of the BEST selling shows of all time (the novel also sold ridiculously well too) but it took 4 years for them to announce a second season. Imo whenever it Aniplex is involved you can’t really tell when they are going to announce stuff even when it makes no sense for them not too. And waiting for to long in some cases can be a death sentence to a shows popularity (just look at Shakugan no Shana).

        However it’s hard to argue with their decisions given they are one of the biggest and most successful companies in the business.

        leatherhead333
      7. @leatherhead333: All good points. I shouldn’t have used SAO as a comparison. Clearly there’s a lot of factors involved. TBH, I sometimes wonder why certain series get a 2nd (3rd, etc.) season while others don’t. Anyway, my point was that I don’t think a 2nd season is an absolute certainty – particularly given the adaptation quality (IMO) thus far.

        daikama
  6. Does anyone else here feel that the way that they are handling the discrimination issue is completely unrealistic? It is as if there is a promotion of the viewpoint that if you “feel” that you are being discriminated against then it is all in your “mind.” Case in point, the scene where they are talking to Mibu, and the writer plays the story line out to be that she “misinterpreted” her own discrimination. Then, the boy who clearly had extreme bias against her for being in a different class (to the point that he was going to seriously hurt her with magic during a duel) NOW has revealed that he has always respected her. Please! At the beginning of this series, I really felt for the “weeds.” However, as the story is progressing, the author is making it sound like it isn’t the societal system that is against the “weeds,” it is a fabrication that is created in their minds. The whole scene where Mibu is crying on the main character’s body was complete BS. His explanation that the thought that magic was the only barometer to evaluate a person was wrong was true, however he completely ignores the implications that that has on her in society. As far as I understand, people with magic aptitude end up getting paid more and ultimately have a higher status in society. Yes, she can feel that she herself is okay, but would that change anything in society? She would still be seen and be treated by to others as “secondary.” This is my biggest gripe in this series so far.

    WhatTha
    1. Before I address some of your issues, let me just say that I think there’s not just ONE way of discriminating against people and there’s not just a single way of portraying it in media. It might seem unrealistic if it’s compared to real life but anime isn’t supposed to be that realistic. Plus, this is discrimination that deals with magic, a concept that is not real and therefore has no “real” real life precedent of being handled. Applying real life concepts to magic, especially in this anime, is asking for a world of trouble.

      That being said, there are some issues you’ve pointed out that will be addressed next week and therefore it will be unwise of me to try to explain them if you don’t want to be spoiled. However, what I can safely say is that, if you’re expecting Tatsuya to be some embodiment of change in Mahouka’s universe, you’re probably watching the wrong show. He isn’t someone who cares about discrimination or feels some need to change the status quo. This isn’t some show that espouses the values of civil rights. Some claim it’s the author’s right-wing ideologies peeking through. Whether or not that’s true is irrelevant for the in-universe of Mahouka. Tatsuya is…peculiar… in a lot of ways in that things that should bother him don’t. I don’t think the author is saying that discrimination is only in your mind if you feel it. Tatsuya has acknowledged that there’s real discrimination. He feels it after all. He’s just not interested in doing anything about it as long as he get what he wants from the school. Or are you saying that he should be more willing to change the status quo? Because that’s a whole ‘nother issue that will be addressed, his complete and utter disinterest or apathy in things outside of his immediate environment.

      In a nutshell, since this isn’t a SJW book, I don’t see anything wrong in how the author has portrayed his version of discrimination so far. If you read this, thanks for reading 🙂

      millie10468
      1. I don’t think you understood my point. I really don’t care for how Tatsuya is portrayed. What is irking me is how the author is portraying discrimination in his/her world. How the “weed” characters “misunderstand” how their treatment in society is not “discrimination” or “harmful,” but a fabrication. Then, without any meaningful discussion by the other side (IE last weeks “debate” was a joke), they change their viewpoints as they all come to the conclusion that their perceived discrimination was not “real.” That they should become “complacent” with their status in society. *Cue the Tear Scene.* Tatsuya could be portrayed as the most racist, sexist, cracked-out person that ever existed. I don’t care. What I care about is how convincing the storyline is. People are just not that way. Yes, anime is fictional. However, great series become great because people become immersed in the storyline. To become immersed, there must be some sort of thread of believability, even for the most ludicrous of storylines. For me, instead of being completely immersed, my eyes trouble me from constantly rolling backwards to the point that I can’t view the screen.

        WhatTha
      2. …but anime isn’t supposed to be that realistic.

        Pardon my language, but b*llshit. Yes, fiction need not be realistic in the sense that it doesn’t have to rigidly adhere to the real world setting we all live in and tolerate – it’s fine to splice in magicians, dragons, space ship-eating aliens, titans, witches, etc – but in regards to the people? Yes, it has to be realistic. Or more correctly, it needs to touch upon truth.

        If the characters don’t come across as authentic and true, the story has failed. They don’t have to be relateable, they can be characters so outlandish that it’s hard to imagine them in real life (a warrior king, a debased serial killer, anyone from JoJo), but if there isn’t a streak of truth in them and the challenges they undertake, it’s all for naught.

        Stilts
      3. Before I address some of your issues, let me just say that I think there’s not just ONE way of discriminating against people and there’s not just a single way of portraying it in media. It might seem unrealistic if it’s compared to real life but anime isn’t supposed to be that realistic. Plus, this is discrimination that deals with magic, a concept that is not real and therefore has no “real” real life precedent of being handled. Applying real life concepts to magic, especially in this anime, is asking for a world of trouble.

        Saying something isn’t supposed to be realistic does the medium a great disservice. Not everything should strive for realism, but to handwave that and say they’re not supposed to be realistic anyway attacks the one thing I love about fiction.
        One of the biggest things I consume fiction for is to see how humans react in a situation that is quite (or not so quite) foreign to our own. How would our world react to the existence of magic (and that it’s gonna be a science in 2095)? How would people react to the zombie apocalypse (The Walking Dead/The Last of Us)? Nuclear apocalypse (Fallout/*shudder* Coppelion)? Human augmentation (Deus Ex)? Police states? Surveillance (Watch Dogs)? Objectivism made reality (BioShock)? Aliens? Space/FTL travel (Star Trek/Mass Effect)? Terrorists (24, Tom Clancy)? Bioengineered monkeys taking over Earth (Planet of the Apes?) First contact (Space Odyssey series, The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1958)? The list goes on.

        Fiction is based on a lot of what-if scenarios. For me, the characters’ reactions to their environment take precedence over its setting. If these characters can’t hope to behave realistically, then that only serves to take me out of the experience. Narrative dissonance. I don’t buy into the characters’ stories or plights or motiviations. I’m not asking to empathize with the characters, I’m asking to be able to sympathize with them. If I can’t even muster sympathy when that was what the author was going, then they failed.

        Solace
      4. @Solace and Stilts

        You both raise some good points about the realism in media and after reading your views, I can see how shortsighted that line of thought was. I may have misrepresented what I wanted to say so thanks for the information, both of you:)

        That said, I think what I’m finding hard to understand is why this arc, and especially the discrimination angle, makes a lot of sense to me but not to others. I can’t blame the adaptation because it seems like the premise itself is hard to digest for some people so they would equally have the same issues with the LNs that go into much details. This is why I attempted to bridge that gap by claiming that anime doesn’t have to be real. However, to me and a lot of other people, we have been convinced of the authenticity of the characters and their reactions to their environment. While I can’t personally ever hope to empathize with Tatsuya, I can at least sympathize with his issues and see why he would take certain actions since they make narrational sense. The author might not be genius at writing about politics but he does appear to have his characters react and act in ways that seem rational, to a large extent, and in line with their previous characterizations. Of course, it’s a matter of subjectivity and one might claim I’m a blind fanboy. Be that as it may, as long as characters remain consistent, I can’t help but want to know how the author plans to do things.

        millie10468
      5. @millie10468

        To me, the problem isn’t that I don’t understand it, it’s that it rings false. With what we know from the anime it feels like a bunch of bratty entitled kids complaining about going to Yale instead of Harvard (or the other way around…I don’t know which one is supposed to be better), and even if that’s not the case – even if all people with magical aptitude are forced to be magicians, even if they’re shitty at it and would rather sell finely crafted wooden dolls on Etsy – they haven’t shown us that, so it rings false.

        Discrimination is when people deny you opportunities because of something outside of your control which doesn’t really matter, like race, gender, politics, or sexual orientation. It’s not when people judge you based on your abilities, even if some of those abilities are baked in. The difference between what the show treats like “discrimination” and what many of us have seen in the real world is what makes it ring false.

        We get it, it just looks silly in light of the very real evils we’ve seen. From the anime alone, it smacks of discrimination from the mind of someone who has never experienced discrimination. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what it feels like.

        Stilts
      6. I fail to see how the supposed discrimination here is anything other than a folly. What the student council president basically alluded to last episode was that the notion of discrimination is self-made; it is merely the students’ self-deprecation and it does not exist outside their minds. This idea is repeated to Mibu by the cast in this episode.

        Now, sure, yes, discrimination can be self-made. But whether it is self-made here is suspect. The idea is an affront to common sense and to history – equivalent to making such a speech straight after Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, arguing that there is no such thing as discrimination, that it is all in their minds.

        Such is a farce. Certainly, it could be argued that anime is pure fiction and that everything could be kept that way. However, albeit true, that would not make a story that accords with common sense. As Stilts said, it could be filled with magic, dragons and fantastic creatures but what truly engages the audience is the conduct exhibited by the characters. This could be shown through old cartoons where there is no dialogue whatsoever and only actions, with personified creatures. The audience is engaged because they could link themselves with what the characters are doing. If it was a mere portrayal of how an animal normally acts in the wild, it would certainly be incredibly boring for most. If it portrayed a four legged animal which walked up-side down, the audience would clearly think that something is wrong or abnormal. That is just how fiction is. As such, if everything portrayed in the anime is reflected upon the audience’s emotions, then it cannot be said that because anime is fictional, that it is isolated from reality.

        Actus
    2. I agree with you and the fact that they blamed Mibu’s discrimination to how she herself perceived it in her mind is making me angry. This is the best example of blaming the victim.

      aeria
      1. I agree with you. It irked me in the manga to no avail, and the anime didn’t do better. It’s as if the events in episode 3 didn’t happen and now the bully has always “respected” Mibu, who has benn pisoned by the lies of others. No, harassing her club members, forcing duels and attacking with magic didn’t have anything to do with that.

        “No one despised you as a ‘Weed’ more than you yourself.”
        “And what about the bully who attacked me without provocation?”
        “That was all in your imagination. No, wait, oniichan was awesome there, and his deeds can’t be imaginary. Then it’s because he loves you!”
        “…you’re kidding me, right?”

        Mistic
  7. @Stilts
    I can’t tell how refreshing it is to have a review of this anime from someone who genuinely seems interested and isn’t swayed much by the excess negativity (and overly positive) comments on the net. After each episode, I look around to see what type of comments and reviews there are, and by far, Stilts is the only one who seems neutral in the evaluation of the episodes. Some bloggers are overly enthusiastic(usually people who have read and enjoyed the LNs) and some are overly critical (some have read and did not enjoy the LNs). I mean, I understand if something isn’t a person’s cup of tea but acting like there’s absolutely nothing worth enjoying or sounding like people who enjoy watching this anime are somehow lacking in refined taste pisses me off. Luckily, this is the one place I can count on being offered a view that acknowledges and criticizes when it has to.

    I also appreciate how you don’t immediately jump to conclusions about character motivations when the arc hasn’t even ended yet 🙂

    As for Tatsuya, I recall writing somewhere that if he came off as a jerk, he was probably being portrayed correctly. He isn’t someone you would want to emulate, either in real life or in the show. He undoubtedly has his reasons for being that way but… he’s someone who just doesn’t give a shit about anything that doesn’t affect him and his immediate vicinity (Miyuki) And that is one of the many reasons I like his character.

    As for Miyuki, there are people who don’t and will never like her, regardless of how she’s being portrayed, but there’s none among them who will say Miyuki doesn’t know how to take care of herself. She’s no damsel in distress, that’s for sure.

    Erika and Mibu’s. I liked what you said about Erika being the kind of Weed Mibu should have aimed to be. I’ve thought of it that way because, honestly, once I got past this arc in the LN, I didn’t look back much. But you’re right about Mibu. I think she already has a low self-esteem before being affected by the discrimination and being in a position to be taken advantage of by Blanche.

    Anyway, thanks so much for being willing to give this anime a genuine chance. It’s reflected in every word you write.

    millie10468
    1. I mean, I understand if something isn’t a person’s cup of tea but acting like there’s absolutely nothing worth enjoying or sounding like people who enjoy watching this anime are somehow lacking in refined taste pisses me off. Luckily, this is the one place I can count on being offered a view that acknowledges and criticizes when it has to.

      Don’t take criticism of the work that you like as criticism against you as a person. It’s important to distance yourself from any work you love and be able to see flaws for what they are; flaws. I can only speak for myself, but the issue isn’t that someone likes something ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI ), but that they put it on a pedestal with flimsy reasons for why and refuse to take criticisms of the work head on in a discussion while taking any attack on the work as an attack on themselves, which not only stifles said discussion, it also causes a lot of hurt feelings. I’m pretty grateful I’m able to look at some of my most beloved works in media and be able to point out flaws in them and, GASP, be sane and frank about it. (That being said, I don’t think there’s anything particularly redeeming about Mahouka aside from seeing the action animated and pondering about what it could’ve been, like a fantastically written dystopic scifi tale of love and courage, but I guess I’m one of those guys who wants to have their cake and eat it too.)

      As for Tatsuya, I recall writing somewhere that if he came off as a jerk, he was probably being portrayed correctly. He isn’t someone you would want to emulate, either in real life or in the show. He undoubtedly has his reasons for being that way but… he’s someone who just doesn’t give a shit about anything that doesn’t affect him and his immediate vicinity (Miyuki) And that is one of the many reasons I like his character.

      http://instagram.com/p/ngJs_THZ6A/

      Solace
      1. Solace: Why dystopic? Seriously, I don’t understand it. The messages that Mahouka is sending are absolutely _positive_. Keep your head high. Don’t be an arrogant ass looking down at others. Do your best. Define yourself over your strengths, don’t get fixated on your weaknesses. Combat discrimination where it is reasonably possible (yes, that too – Mari/Mayumi), but do NOT fall into the trap to overdo negativity. Try to see ways to bridge gaps.

        Now I can accept to some degree if people are arguing “But discrimination in RL does happen and is much more severe than how it is displayed here. And fighting it is the good fight and not terrorism”. To which I respond that this is still a fictional work with a fictional setting, not a social commentary on the real world. And even then, I prefer the positive approach over the “you are a victim who can’t win unless we smash the evil system” style. It’s just no constructive way to deal with it, IMHO.

        Mentar
      2. I was talking of people who have expressly come out to say “If you like Mahouka, you have shit taste.” And there have.

        Mahouka has its flaws. No one, even the most rabid fanboy, can claim otherwise. However, I am complaining about is not the people who point out valid reasons flaws or criticisms of the show, but those who fling ad hominem attacks about the people who watch the show that have nothing to do with any flaws.

        It’s your prerogative to feel like there’s nothing redeeming about the show save for the animation and what-could-have beens. Just like it’s my prerogative to be able to enjoy it, flaws and all, without someone attacking my taste in entertainment. That’s what I meant.

        As for the picture, I’ve never said Tatsuya was either a good or a great man. Why should he be interested in fighting for someone else. I don’t think this is a show you should be watching if you want an MC who fights for the good of mankind or something. And honestly, I find his ability to not give a shit intriguing. There are plenty of the other kind of characters out there. I’d find those if I wanted to watch them.

        millie10468
      3. Of course it’s a dystopia.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Stilts edit: Spoiler tags muthaf*ckah, do you use em!?

        Solace
      4. Yes, there’s a difference between criticizing a work for its flaws, and criticizing the people watching it. However, there ARE reviews that actually are critical of the viewers who enjoy a given series (How many people/blogs are out there who dismiss everyone who enjoyed SAO as Kirito fanboys/girls? Dismiss anyone who likes rap as crude and unable to discern “good” music? Act condescending towards those who enjoy Michael Bay movies with explosions and eye-candy, only enjoying low-budget indie films? I could go on and on with examples, but you get the point.) Stilts (and the rest of RandomC, as far as I’ve seen) does a good job of critiquing a series on its merits and flaws without being judgmental or condescending towards its audience, particularly those with a different opinion.

        It’s true that there are people who will take offense to any negative opinions about something they like (actual fanboys). I wouldn’t just dismiss millie’s point, however, since it’s also true that there are people who will bash both the show and anyone who likes it (actual haters), particularly in the case of something as hyped as MKnR.

        SK
      5. If you argue that our own RL world we live in is a Dystopia, too, then I’d at least attribute to you that you’re consistent, though I would still disagree.

        To me, a Dystopia is a pessimist, desperation-inducing world, where government forms have broken down, people are generally struggling to retain their own lives and developments are negative. Essentially “the world is going down the sh*tter”. The Mahoukaverse is nothing like that, the way I see it.

        Mentar
      6. The state of the world isn’t in what you call great shape. Throw in some supernatural power that is used as a display of force and that’s a recipe for dystopia. What you’re describing is post-apocalyptic fiction, which is a subgenre to dystopian fiction.

        Solace
      7. Solace: “Don’t take criticism of the work that you like as criticism against you as a person.”.

        With all due respect, it is a “bit” hard to take that statement seriously when you posted in your EP 03 comments “Glad to see at least a few people aren’t drinking the proverbial Kool-aid…”, or “I’m a very bitter and wrathful person toward people who drink the Kool-Aid. I’m not the person who’s constantly pushing the idea that Mahouka is (gasp!) really good!” Frankly, comments like that along with “I’m pretty grateful I’m able to look at some of my most beloved works in media and be able to point out flaws in them and, GASP, be sane and frank about it.” IMO come across at best as condescending and patronizing.

        Oh, and let’s be fair here. Instead of MKnR, you pushed NieR/Spec Ops & Muv Luv Alt. far more than I’ve seen anyone push MKnR – quote: “NieR/Spec Ops: The Line is the Holy Bible, but MLA is not too far off.” I sure as hell have not equated MKnR (or any other anime/LN/novel/TV series/movie/game/etc.) to a work upon which a major RL religion is founded.

        Given your current commentary, I can only assume you still have not read the MKnr LN (despite availability in English) in your continuing quest to “see how deep this rabbit hole goes, the descent into madness, the plunge into the darkness, the spectacle of this carnival of stupid.”, or in other words (yours) “At this point, I’m just watching to see if it can hit so-bad-it’s-good status.

        You don’t like the anime/series, fine. However, you crossed a line with me when conspicuously posting some very spoilerish things without using tags. There ARE some anime only viewers who enjoy the anime and do not want to be spoiled. In fact, I made a concerted, time consuming effort when writing earlier posts to specifically avoid mentioning some of those very same spoilers you just listed. “Thanks” for wasting all that effort.

        USE SPOILER TAGS!

        daikama
      8. @daikama

        Allow me to defend myself here.

        First, prefacing “with all due respect” generally means everything after that is pretty disrespectful. It’s like saying, “I’m not racist but…”

        Second, my comment is also directed at myself, because I know I was a being huge dick back in the episode 3 comments. I get confrontational about things I feel strongly about (of which I actually don’t have many of in terms of media… but never, ever mention FFXIII and its games to me; ask Zephyr about it). I have no excuse. It’s been three weeks, and I’m not sure how much apologies are worth on the internet nowadays, but my sincere apologies to all offended parties. I’ve [tried] to keep it civil in the subsequent episodes’ comments since then, focusing on the work itself. (Mentar being here makes it harder, along with a few MAL regulars, but I try.) But the damage is already done, seeing how every comment I make gets a quite a few thumbs down, probably means I’m on quite a few people’s shitlists. And that’s ok. Petty, but ok. That’s their prerogative.

        “I’m pretty grateful I’m able to look at some of my most beloved works in media and be able to point out flaws in them and, GASP, be sane and frank about it.”

        Sorry if it sounded condescending, but I really think that everyone should take a moment to analyze works they love under a lens and if it comes to it, accept that there are flaws, and to not be all up in arms about it. That’s really it. If you can’t do that, then… ok? It wouldn’t be nice trying to discuss it with you then since it’ll be an echo chamber.

        I’ve said a lot of flowery crap in the comments there, but the point still stands; I get more entertainment reading and participating in the discussions for each episode rather than watching the actual show itself. I’ve given it six episodes and by episode 3 or 4 I realized that it’s not gonna get any better for me, it’s not painfully bad to me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get a ride out of watching it with everyone else. You guys make it worth it.

        I can’t even get mad at the series at this point. It’s become too easy to pick at it, so make fun of it for a bit, and then wait till the next episode.

        I’ll never dive deep into the LNs, because it’s asking me to make a commitment to a series I’ve already deemed as doomed. The anime, while not a good representation of the source material, still has same major events and major character motivations. As such, there’s just nothing for me in the source, because it’s gonna be just that stuff, but more words. It was the same deal with SAO. Same. Deal.

        And yes, that wasn’t the best time to shill my favorite works. I was making a joke. Should’ve used Holy Grail instead. Either way, if you have the time for it, check them out. I just hope I didn’t turn you away from doing that already.

        Third, fair enough about spoilers, but I thought I made it vague enough to not mean anything to newbies. I think by pointing this out you made some self-fulfilling prophecy. But I’ve used the tags liberally in the other comments.

        Fourth, I think you take a break from posting multipage essays on explaining things. People will ask for them, and then you can explain all you want there. It also helps to be less verbose in your explanations.

        Solace
      9. @Solace: “Allow me to defend myself here.”

        Allow me to return the favor. First and foremost, I certainly hope that your example (“I’m not racist but…”) is NOT directed towards me and/or making ANY insinuations. PERIOD. You could have easily used a different example.

        “I get more entertainment reading and participating in the discussions for each episode rather than watching the actual show itself. …but that doesn’t mean I don’t get a ride out of watching it with everyone else. You guys make it worth it. I can’t even get mad at the series at this point. It’s become too easy to pick at it, so make fun of it for a bit, and then wait till the next episode.”

        So your plan is to watch the show, make fun of it, then wait for the next episode and repeat. IMO, your above statements read as nothing but “I have fun trolling the show.” Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. In what way do we “make it worth it”? Also, it’s hard to take your apology seriously when you use words like “petty”.

        Substituting “Holy Grail” for “Holy Bible” makes little, if any, difference IMO when used as a benchmark to lavish praise upon your own favorite works. Religious associations aside, either one is an extremely high bar. “Accept that there are flaws” in MKnR? No shit kidding. What work of mankind is truly flawless? I honestly wonder how “accepting” you would be of criticism about NieR/Spec Ops or MLA – especially given your warning to “never, ever mention FFXIII and its games”.

        Such statements strike me as hypocritical when you admonish others about “accepting flaws” in their own favorite works. Same goes for your accusations of some “agenda” by those who disagree with your viewpoint (e.g. your reply to Dfog in EP 05). Frankly, if anyone has an “agenda” here, it seems to be you given your comments.

        “…I thought I made it vague enough to not mean anything to newbies.”

        WHAT!? How the hell are your spoilers (now in a tag via Stilts’ edit) “vague”!? >_> As for “I think by pointing this out you made some self-fulfilling prophecy”, should I just ignore your obvious spoilers rather than comment so that Stilts can put them in spoiler tags where they belong?

        “It also helps to be less verbose in your explanations.”

        True, and point already taken/noted (posted as much). Given some of your previous post lengths, something for both of us to keep in mind.

        daikama
      10. @daikama

        So your plan is to watch the show, make fun of it, then wait for the next episode and repeat. IMO, your above statements read as nothing but “I have fun trolling the show.” Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. In what way do we “make it worth it”? Also, it’s hard to take your apology seriously when you use words like “petty”.

        That was a joke. Every episode I write a small blurb about what I just saw (which honestly hasn’t been great), and then I reply to other comments. I don’t see how that constitutes as trolling if I make legitimate claims about what I just saw. Trolling would be “MAN WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS STILL WATCHING THIS SHOW FOR, SHIT SUCKS BRAH.” Big difference, right?

        Were you around for Guilty Crown’s broadcast? I sadly wasn’t. It would’ve been an enjoyable watch with everyone in the community. That was like watching a trainwreck in slow motion, and it was glorious.

        And yes, it’s petty when people hold grudges against someone on the internet, but they do it anyway. I’m just saying it like it is. My apology is for people who enough care to read it (and maybe accept it). For others, it’s *see Solace in username field, thumbs down at speed of light*. My apology isn’t for those guys. I’ve owned up to my mistakes.

        Substituting “Holy Grail” for “Holy Bible” makes little, if any, difference IMO when used as a benchmark to lavish praise upon your own favorite works

        It’s a joke. Apologies if the humor wasn’t getting through. Hyperbole runs in the veins of the videogame community.

        Sidenote: Have you ever experienced a work that you consider so good that it’s changed you in some way? Gosh, I have quite a few of them and I think they deserve all the praise they get, opinions of their quality aside.

        I honestly wonder how “accepting” you would be of criticism about NieR/Spec Ops or MLA – especially given your warning to “never, ever mention FFXIII and its games”.

        Try me.

        I’m saying pretty accepting or ambivalent, but I’m guessing you’re not buying that. Seeing how this is a blog for anime and not for video games/VNs, I’m not gonna bore you with essays of minute details about how those works are flawed, but I’ve had my fair share of forum discussions with others regarding them, and no, no insults were thrown. Here’s a quick glimpse, but I’m sure people have found more wrong with these games:

        – NieR can be seen as disjointed since it incorporates different genre mechanics during different sections of the game including text adventure, isometric dungeon crawler, bullet hell, side-scroller, etc. Has questionable sidequests. It’s also very ugly-looking and has boring combat mechanics.

        – Spec Ops: The Line plays as a fairly run of the mill third person shooter with very iffy controls. For a game that has choice, there was this one section where choice was taken away from the player and that lessened the impact of finding out the result of what you did.

        I don’t get mad because those are legitimate gripes people had, but they didn’t affect me as much as it affected others.

        – And FFXIII. I was being hyperbolic when I said “don’t mention it to me”. You can mention it to me now, I guess, just don’t expect me say more than I have to. Time has helped a lot with how I feel about this series.

        In general: let’s not get into FFXIII. People close to me know full and well how I feel about that series, but here’s a little bit of insight. Played 30 hours still end of chapter 13/14. Kept hoping for game to get better. It didn’t . Felt it was a terrible FF and a terrible game. Found that I wasn’t alone in feeling that. Articulated on why I felt it was bad (on rails, barebones RPG, all style, no substance, incoherent story, faulty characterization, etc.) and what I felt was good (music, graphics, underlying lore), much like other people did at the time. Fans didn’t take that kindly and proceeded to ignore criticisms, employing some heavy use of Poe’s law, spinning flaws as strengths, ending with critics christening them the FFXIII defense force. It’s been more than FOUR years since that game came out and people are still arguing over it. It’s more a nuanced problem than I make it out to be here, but that’s the gist of it; this reply is already longer than I wanted it to be.

        Solace
    2. @millie10468

      I’ll skip the dystopia discussion and just say thank you (and to SK & the others as well) for your kind words. I try to remain as objective as I can and judge a work on its own merits (being truly objective is impossible, but it’s worth the effort to try), or if all else fails, I stay away from the ones I doubt I can remain objective about (I tend to be pretty critical of KyoAni, so I haven’t been blogging their series for a while now).

      Except for the ones I really love. In which case, screw it, fanboy ahoy!

      (I kid, I kid, I even criticized Kyoukaisen, Sakurasou, Ano Natsu, and Log Horizon when they deserved it, but I can’t quite call myself objective on those. I give my myself more latitude to gush though, because that’s more fun to read ^^)

      Stilts
  8. Mibu is really treading on thin ice for me. For one I can understand the concept of having insecurities that end up being a target for people to use you. That’s a very human element to have. But the problem is she KNEW what she was going was wrong (during the scene in the library) yet she continued to go through with things. She could have stopped what she was doing and possibly made up for things by aiding in halting the operation. But she didn’t. She even helped these guys escape and was willing to fight through her own fellow students as well. Now THAT’s not something i can sympathize with. Acknowledging what you are going wrong is pointless if you continue to go through with it. She knew that students could have very easily gotten hurt or worse killed with this operation so I’m having a hard time feeling a wink of pity for her.

    I honestly thought Tatsuya was going to scold her for her actions considering he shot down Ono’s request to give her a chance because he thought of it as “misplaced sympathy”. Yet we seem him very clearly sympathizing with her after she gushes about having a misunderstanding with Mibu. His actions seem rather inconsistent. I mean I don’t mind him being a dick when necessary because being nice about everything is a naive way to handle things sometimes.

    Speaking of the terrorists why did they suddenly just decide to quit using guns and explosives? Are guns ineffective against magicians or something? They all pull a “MGS4” and start fighting with their knifes for no real reason. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    leatherhead333
    1. Just a question: which scene was Tatsuya clearly sympathizing with her? I’m asking because I’m wondering if it’s a case of one scene having different meanings for different people.

      millie10468
      1. Very likely a case of subjectivity, I never saw him sympathizing as much as not rocking the boat and letting Mibu “get it out of her system”. It’s hard to know what Tatsuya is thinking currently because of his stoicism and lack of internal dialogue; we have to rely upon Tatsuya’s discussions with others to understand his views and current disposition.

        Pancakes
    2. Reason why terrorists were using batons and swords instead of guns.

      They were in melee combat and you wouldn’t want to accidentally kill your allies.

      The guns in mahouka are all high caliber rifles with armor piercing designed to break through a magician’s data fortification magic, so its very likely that the bullets will penetrate the target and hit something else behind it.

      FlayvorOfEvil
      1. They had the school surrounded. They could have easily just kept their position and made it impossible for anyone to escape if their bullets are capable of that. Not to mention they also had explosives and smoke gas which could also keep them at bay.

        Even if they were worried about shooting each other keeping a pistol or something on you would make more sense to me since not all magicians are going to react fast enough to something like that. Regardless of their power they are still human and getting a bullet through the the arm or something is still going to hurt.

        leatherhead333
      2. I don’t think keeping an encirclement around the school would be wise, Had they done that they would just be waiting for law enforcement to aim at their backsides. Considering that the students are capable of defending themselves and whatnot the terrorist would have been caught in a pincer attack.

        Kazakiri
      3. @leatherhead333: Encirclement runs counter the operational goal which was magic espionage (not sure how well the anime conveyed that). It’s hit and run – most “troops” create a diversion (RPGs, etc.) to distract, tie up and ideally (failed) subdue 1s HS forces (both teacher and student) while a select group infiltrate the library and crack/download the spell database. Not the best way of going about it IMO Like performing surgery with a broadsword rather than scalpel.

        daikama
      4. The high-caliber rifles you’re talking about are clearly stated to be rare and expensive weapons, something out of the budget of even smaller nations. Most firearms aren’t made to counter magicians, and the ones Blanche had are not the special ones.

        SK
      5. @SK: True, but AFAIK, antinite is just as minimum just regulated (if not more so), and even more rare and expensive than anti-magician rifles. My impression from the LN was that only some of the Blanche assault team had such rings (unlike the anime which showed a whole bunch of rings), but if they had an RPG and at least a few antinite rings, I don’t think having some anti-magician rifles is out of the question.

        daikama
    3. @leatherhead333

      On Mibu, bear in mind that she didn’t have a lot of time to think things through once Tatsuya & Miyuki were there. Yeah, she probably should have clued in earlier, but it’s hard to admit you’re wrong when you’re in that deep, and once Tatsuya and Miyuki showed up there was no time.

      Do you think you could come to a life-changing realization and switch sides in the span of a few seconds? Maybe, but probably not. We all would probably do the same thing – run away, try to figure things out when people aren’t trying to arrest us, and then slowly turn to regret our actions later on when the sheer weight of the stupidity we’ve engaged in breaks through our stubborn desire to not be wrong.

      Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

      Stilts
      1. One also has to consider that when the chips are down and the everything is going against them there are people that DO give up as there is no point in making things worse. Mibu was working with terrorists so if she had escaped with them she would no doubt have been labeled a criminal and would likely lose everything as a result of being so stubborn. I forgot where i heard this from but “If “sorry” was enough to cut it we wouldn’t need the police.”

        The only reason Mibu has not been punished so far is that Tatsuya and his crew are the only ones that know she was working with them but since they will likely keep quiet about it she basically gets a free pass from any kind of punishment for her actions. Misguided or not when someone goes to these lengths they always consider the consequences. Going through with it in the end is your fault and no one else’s.

        I doubt that she was in the dark about their plan of attacking the school so the fact that she even considered helping with this means she was willing to put the lives of her fellow students at risk for her cause which is severely unjust in itself. She was already realizing that what she was doing was wrong before Tatsuya and Miyuki showed up so it would not have been out of line for her to give up then. I know some people might think it would be a cheap way to resolve things but it definitely wouldn’t be an unrealistic outcome.

        leatherhead333
  9. Stilts: Thank you SO much for restoring my faith in the human race. So there ARE bloggers who do not have prior knowledge of the material, are NOT part of a unifying echo chamber and are able to use their brain to piece together a puzzle which doesn’t seem to be all THAT difficult to me. I subscribe to your evaluation of the “False Equality” and “Putting yourself down” paragraphs 100%.

    It is flabbergasting to me that people still don’t get that Tatsuya is refusing “Equality” as in “Equality in Terms of Magical Prowess”. And that it is complete BS to link this as the only metric to measure a person’s worth against it (Miyuki outlined that very well). A male can’t bear babies, a blind won’t become a brilliant painter, and someone who can’t run 100 meters in less than 13 seconds can’t become a participant of the Olympic Games, that’s the simple truth of the matter and not discrimination. There CANNOT be full equality as in everyone will be equal in outcome. However – and that is MY take on the message of the show – the overall message of Mahouka is an optimistic one. Define yourself by your strengths, not by a potential weakness in one single measure. Keep your head high and work within your limits, and you DESERVE the respect of others. Defining you as the victim of the result of lacking skills only hurts yourself.

    This is why I’m chuckling that so many people who have been highly critical of the show so far are now suddenly complaining that “it’s all over the place”. It is NOT. This has been the message all along. They only have interpreted anti-equality as “screw you losers, only the winners count” and are finally realizing that their puzzle pieces they pulled out of the show won’t fit together. I’m seriously beginning to wonder what must have gone on in several people’s personal lives to have this discrimination debate rub them so MASSIVELY wrong, leading them to such extremely negative (mis)interpretations.

    Well, to each his own. Thanks for being one of the rare voices who actually used their own head and did NOT buy the easy way out, parroting the echo chamber.

    Mentar
    1. Tatsuya seems to love looking at only one definition of equality as total equality (what is essentially the socialist ideal), but not the idea of equal opportunity, which is what realistically people want. I’m surprised no one he’s talked to tried to correct him; “Um, I don’t think they’re talking about socialism here…” Not everyone starts at the same place with the same resources (ahem, “check your privilege”), but they should all have their fair shot at whatever it is they want to do. If they fail, that’s natural, fail and try again. Or not and try something else. The sad part is is that these guys are pigeon-holed as mages to live as mages. You should know from reading the LNs that they imply that there is no social mobility in that “lower class” of mages. If you’re not born with aptitude, well, you’re pretty much boned for life. Caste system coupled with social stratification and you have a more accurate picture of what the Mahoukaverse is trying to show.

      Solace
      1. Solace: So why exactly do you think that they don’t have “their fair shot at whatever it is they want to do”?

        There’s been entry examinations to gauge their skills, and there was no indication whatsoever that they have been unfair or discriminatory in any way. There are only limited resources for full education, and assigning these places primarily to those with the highest aptitude seems a reasonable solution to me. It’s the same with people wanting to become Doctors – if you’re not skilled enough to pass the entry exams, then that’s sad, but still not unfair! And what’s this “no social mobility in that lower class”? Without spoiling who, there are examples of people rising from weed to bloom or bloom-level classes in the LN.

        So yes, if you’re not born with aptitude, you can’t become a mage. If you’re not born a woman, you can’t bear babies either. Take up a different career path, then. Just like real life, too.

        Mentar
      2. I think you’re missing the point. Lower-classed mages can’t take up a different career path. Sure they got their fair shake with the entrance exam and whatnot, BUT THEY’RE STUCK THERE. They can’t get much better than what they’re born with, no matter what kind of effort they put in. It is also said they’re forced to take mage jobs even if they pay worse than civvie jobs. What kind of system is that? Stop ignoring the point about social mobility.

        Solace
      3. Where do you have this from? I’m a bit confused, since this is simply incorrect. There are multiple examples in the show of people who drop out of the magic high school entirely (e.g. Kobayakawa). They are not forced to be “bad” mages, they simply have to take on a different career. Nothing keeps them from doing so.

        Mentar
    2. #Mentar

      You’re making me blush! *does so*

      Thank you for the kind compliments. I haven’t found it too hard to find the underlying themes here, or at least the immediate ones – there’s enough clues to make them clear, though they’re not explicitly spelled out. I understand other’s criticisms – some things I’m having to infer rather heavily, owing to uneven presentation – but a lot of the points are there in the end.

      I’ll keep doing my best! \o/

      Stilts
  10. I once commented to a friend in passing that it seems that anime in general has forgotten how to write characterization and exposition episodes in comparison to fighting episodes. This is, of course, a gross generalization of my point. There are several series in the current season (Knights of Sidonia, No Game No Life, etc.) that do perfectly well in episodes that do not resort to combat sequences to do the heavy lifting.

    From my perspective, the dominance of shounen tropes and writing in manga has in turn affected writing ability on the anime screen. The major works of the modern era rely heavily on fighting chapters to sell their material, often linking half a dozen chapters together for one “fight”. Ironically, I have found that I have come to enjoy pure combat episodes since they are both a feast for the eyes and also disguise the inept writing in a series simply by the dint that no characterization or exposition is being mangled.

    Thus far in Mahouka, I have found much of the writing to be uneven given that much of the world-building was left incomplete, leaving a rather mixed picture. (Much as how the explanation beyond magic engineering threw some viewers for a loop.) In contrast, magic combat is a common denominator that needs no explanation. The sad realization I am left with is simply “This will be a decent episode if they spend the majority of the time fighting”. They simply did that well enough in this current episode, though perhaps damning them with faint praise would be a better way of putting it.

    Dreyakis
    1. There are definitely limitations when translating very verbose LN’s such as Mahouka and Horizon into anime adaptations. These limits are especially obvious for series where the action is so kickass and awesome. Thus there is a feeling of disjointedness when heavy exposition episodes switch to action episodes. It is less awkward for series like Bakemonogatari or ToAruIndex where they are rambling on the entire time. For this series, they are talking/thinking just as much during the fights as during their discussions, but then anime stops voicing their thoughts when the action comes around.

      1. And yet, Kyoukaisen did better than this, at least so far. Yes, it was confusing as hell for the first four episodes – that whole “impossible to adapt” thing again – and they jammed a LOT in every scene, but the characterization and world building were done better than here.

        It’s possible, you just have to spend the time to develop the characters and the world and trust that your viewers will stick with you, rather than lean on the action like Dreyakis said.

        P.S. Well spotted Dreyakis. Depressingly well spotted.

        Stilts
  11. Well it’s all well and good but whether or not Mari is stronger than Erika in a real battle is debatable… Other than that @stilts “Right through the front door” makes me think he’s already aware of what will happen next…

    Kazakiri
      1. Show Spoiler ▼

        Stilts edit: Spoilers again! Watch it, or I’m going to have to take more permanent action. Repeated spoilers are NOT appreciated.

        Kazakiri
      2. In a line cut from the Erika vs. Sayaka fight, Erika says that she oversaw Mari’s certification, but not that she was actually her primary instructor. Mari Show Spoiler ▼

        Erika’s sword skills are definitely better than Mari’s, but who wins an actual duel would probably depend heavily on the conditions/environment.

        Stilts edit: *sings* Waaaatch those spooooilers pleeeease!

        SK
    1. @Kazakiri

      I actually don’t know what’s going to happen next. I can just read the plot fairly well.

      And holy hell guys, mark those spoilers! Spoilers everywhere!

      Stilts
  12. His Own Reasons

    Speaking of Tatsuya, here’s another bit of evidence against him being a Gary Stu – he’s not universally loved. Take the beginning of the episode when Tatsuya tells the others to not go so easy on Mibu-sempai. Leo did not like that. Later too, Tatsuya wasn’t planning on going after Blanche for Mibu-sempai – no, it was because someone had interrupted his and Miyuki’s peaceful life, and that meant some bitches needed their faces pounded in. Technically that doesn’t preclude Tatsuya from being a Gary Stu, but to me part of it is being overpowered and universally loved, and I don’t think Tatsuya can claim the latter. Not if he keeps being a callous dick, at least. (Note: I’m not complaining.)

    Tatsuya has a sinister personality. That is a fact. He will never “save” everyone like how Kamijou Touma would do. He choses whom he’ll “save” and only will save those whom he hadn’t chosen if Miyuki only demands it.

    That is why he said those nasty lines about Mibu to Leo which made him pissed. And that is also why he choose to eradicate those Blanche so that he can “save” his and Miyuki’s peaceful life.

    Ungas123
    1. What I personally don’t get about the complaints about his reaction to the discrimination is why every MC has to be a “hero” and fight for the everybody or the common good. Of course, under those criteria, Tatsuya is absolutely the most boring MC ever.

      millie10468
      1. Again with the extremes and no middle ground. If Tatsuya can help someone on his own accord not because he can gain something from it, it helps to show he’s not all robot and actually has some compassion, proving to us that he’s a real human being [and a real hero lol, maybe]. I actually wonder if the twist is that Tatsuya is the villain and that everyone else in the world exists to validate his ideology.

        Solace
      2. For the time being, let’s put it this way: Tatsuya doesn’t show much empathy. In that aspect, the anime is right on the money in picturing him (unlike other characters which the anime literally butchered)

        Mentar
      3. Millie, the anime cannot show him as a hero, because he does not fit an expected definition of heroism. I don’t see why it is a sin in itself to portray Tatsuya as sinister as opposed to heroic.

        Could it be, that the way Tatsuya behaves is inconsistent with a “wish-fulfillment” heroic “ally of justice?” Are you operating under that assumption? Because I can’t see any other reason why someone should expect Tatsuya to be a heroic figure, and any divergences from this ideal to be demerit to the story.

        Andmeuths
      4. Um… my main point was similar to yours…that I didn’t get why people were expecting him to act like a generic hero. Maybe I wasn’t able to explain it well?

        millie10468
  13. I can’t speak for the anime-only viewers, but I felt this episode fell a little flat in presentation compared to what I envisioned in the light novel. Problem with the anime format is the lack of time to get through the available material. I generally wish there were more voice overs and exposition during the fight scenes to at least somewhat address their strategies, because there is a TON of strategy in their every move.

    The way they handled Leo’s fight was great! I think they spent just enough time explaining his abilities and fighting method. However, they skip any internal thoughts with the Erika vs. Mibu fight and the Sawaki vs. Kinoe scene.

    Overall though, I do like they covered a lot during the episode. I just think voiceovers during the fighting could help flesh out the actions beyond just superpowered brawling.

    1. Kinoe thought he could just waltz past Sawaki, as he thought Sawaki was among the common blooms; Weak physical abilities. Unfortunately for him Sawaki is a member of the ‘Magic Martial Arts Club’ thus he got taken out without a problem.

      Kazakiri
      1. Could have been a quick fix, just let Kotarou say that Sawaki is a member of said club after taking out Tsukasa. Reminds me of the fact that there was no comment about Tatsuya and Sawaki’s grip strength during their initial meeting…

        Kazakiri
      2. “Yea, my point exactly. LN readers would know that, but the anime covered none of that.

        Hmmm,I was honestly not bothered too much about that. I mean,sure I wouldn’t mind a little bit of explaining as long as it’s not done DURING the action scene else it’ll feel too…shounen-ish. If an action scene is good(generally speaking),I’m sure some of us will have no issues with um letting ourselves be distracted by them so as not to ask too many questions at the time. However,we might want some answers afterwards although in this case,it seems that the show didn’t plan on giving us any. Still,I see it as a minor issue tbh.

        MgMaster
      1. Not bad,but not exactly memorable. Feels like a typical opening for a magic/highschool anime although keeping the comparisons to those of the same genre,all of the Index/Railgun and Shakugan no Shana openings were much better.

        MgMaster
      2. @zztop

        It’s a LiSA OP. It’s fine, and it does its job as an OP well, but I’ve heard a lot of her music and this one doesn’t really distinguish itself to me. It probably won’t be one of my top OPs of the year, but I’ll listen to it without complaint.

        Stilts
  14. One thing I really liked this episode was that some of the OTHER guys,other than Tatsuya,got a few shining moments and it seems that next week will continue this trend – maybe even better.

    It’s been something that’s been kind of bothering me since the beginning of the show. All the bad guys are males,most of the good & VERY COMPETENT characters are females with the few decent males being completely overshadowed by them and there’s the used gal by the baddies which seemed to be all males.

    I know,I know,I shouldn’t even be nitpicking such things in a LN adaptation but it’s still nice to see that the series might try to avoid such tropes,even thought I’m not holding my breath on that for the majority of the show.

    Heck,I wasn’t even bothered by the kenjutsu club captain Kirihara being portrayed as a decent guy in such an abrupt way(although I recognize it as a flaw and see why people would be bothered by it).

    MgMaster
    1. Agreed – I like seeing badass (though still feminine) female characters, and Mahouka appears to have plenty of them. I just hope more of them get a chance to strut their stuff.

      Stilts
  15. I partly disagree that Mibu was just pining her self-worth on her magical abilities. She assumed others were also basing her self-worth on those abilities. Hence, Mari’s comment was taken in the opposite direction from what was intended because she assumed that Mari must look down on her due to their difference in magical ability.

    I think one problem with this story and, probably with the LN, has to do with the episodic nature of the story. If this story was written as a novel rather than an LN, we would be discussing the whole book. As it is, we’re talking about it in the equivalent of a chapter by chapter discussion. To those who haven’t read the LNs I think you need to almost look at it like you were reading a mystery. Each character gets more and more revealed about themselves and the situation they’re in as the story progresses. You can’t assume that the first impression you have of them is actually who they are or what they’re situation is. Just as Mibu misunderstood Mari, things that Tatsuya and Miyuki have said can get misunderstood because the background as to why they said them is missing.

    Bear
    1. Given it is a magic school, where scores are publicly ranked and their subsequent career prospects too, their worth is judged.

      There’s more to life sure, but the nature of the school and society judges them– which is a spit in the face to all the lip service the kids do about lessening discrimination.

      They could be nicer to each other. That’s about all they can do. Real world is far harsher.

      Drasca
    2. @Bear

      But here’s the thing – just because others are basing your worth on certain abilities doesn’t mean you have to give a rat’s ass about what they think. If she had other things she could also draw her self-worth from – and she does, kendo chief among them – and if she gave those areas of her life the respect they deserve, people’s judgement due to her magical abilities could have been shrugged off. That didn’t happen. She let them get to her because she cared too much about what others thought, when in reality, fuck em.

      Stilts
      1. @Stilts

        RIght, but the rub here is that she looked up to Mari, as an expert kendoist, so not only did she feel looked down on for her relative lack of magical abilities, but given the way Mari phrased her reply, assumed she was being looked down on for the one area she excelled in. Getting put down by someone who you admire about something you have extreme pride in is devastating no matter how much you know that objectively you shouldn’t let that affect you.

        Bear
      2. Now that’s true. Hearing from the Mari would hurt, but that doesn’t make up for the immaturity of her character that let the words of a single person wound her so deeply. That at least I’m okay with – that’s a sign of immaturity rather than idiocy, and since they’re all high schoolers, that makes a lot of sense.

        Stilts
  16. My take from this episode: Discrimination, being simplified into either you have an advantage i.e. magical prowess, or you don’t i.e. sucks to be you then.

    At this point, I’m not sure whether to blame the author for lack of understanding on how discrimination works or the animation director for cutting out much needed exposition from the anime.

    aeria
    1. According to people who read the LNs, you have people who say it’s the original source material being just as dumb, and then you have other people who say it’s actually done better. I dunno who to believe, but as it stands, the anime is doing a terrible job getting its, frankly disturbing, message across.

      Solace
    2. No, it does NOT. The show has been picturing those who discriminate others based on their magical skills as total assholes, consistently. But if you have no or only poor magical skills, the probability of you ending up as a great magician are small. Which is also logical if you think about it.

      Mentar
    3. Even with things cut out the discrimination aspect is still pretty straightforward. Those with magical prowess have been shown to be pretentious and arrogant when throwing their weight around, and those without weak and diminutive when only using the magic metric to judge themselves.

      The main issue is that these parts are only elaborated upon superficially, haphazardly, and randomly so it leads to confusion over just what message is trying to be portrayed regarding magic discrimination. Overall it seems like the discrimination is meant as background material to provide depth to the Mahouka-verse, thus explaining why it hasn’t been more than scratched at by the adaptation so far.

      Pancakes
      1. Not in this show, no. Sorry. Morisaki got flattened, Hattori got flattened, the magic kenjutsu guys were flattened… Mizuki (a particularly soft-spoken girl) escalated against the first-course guys… even Mibu, who was the personified victim, fought back in her own way. Please list a scene in which a weed was shown “weak and diminutive”, I come up empty.

        Mentar
      2. No you misunderstood me, I meant in reference to the remarks being made about how Weeds should look towards their other skills in non-magic areas rather than their magic prowess; Tatsuya among others stated that reliance upon the magic metric to self judge was wrong as it failed to account for other differences that can make an individual strong. Weak and diminutive was my (halfhearted) attempt to try and describe this need to expand the scaling of an individual’s power beyond just their magic casting capabilities.

        Obviously the Weeds in the show are not “weak and diminutive”, but is there no doubt that to continuously judge oneself in comparison to others using only one metric makes one mentally timid and self conscious, what some people may consider “weak”.

        Pancakes
      3. I see what you mean, but is this really so? Take normal high school, for example, where you could roughly substitute “intellect” for “magical ability”. Here, students are “measured” in exams all the time, and they are graded on it. But does this really necessarily lead to the high-scoring students to look down on the low-scoring ones, and the low-scoring ones to be weak and diminutive towards the top-scorers? At least not where I am coming from, though I won’t deny that it might be different elsewhere. I was in the top-scoring bracket, and if any bullying was going on (only mild and temporary), it was the other way round ^_^;

        In the Mahoukaverse, all weeds in the story have their own specialties which enable them to outperform blooms in their respective area. That alone should enable them to hold their own, as long as there are no helpful people out reinforcing the message what discriminated poor hopeless victims they are.

        Mentar
      4. In the Mahoukaverse, all weeds in the story have their own specialties which enable them to outperform blooms in their respective area. That alone should enable them to hold their own, as long as there are no helpful people out reinforcing the message what discriminated poor hopeless victims they are.

        Sounds like you’re equating all Weeds to BS Magicians, which is not the actual case. I think it would be better to say all Relevant Weeds, as we have no information on random nameless weeds

        Kazakiri
      5. Please read what I wrote. All weeds _in the story_, as in “mentioned in the story text”. BS magicians are something entirely different and should not be discussed here in the first place (spoiler).

        Mentar
      6. There’s really at least three tiers, not two. Those at the bottom with little ability and generally envious of everyone above them. Inferiority complex may apply.

        Those at the middle, with some power and ability but still not enough commitment and full on understanding, to understand and accept their own strengths and weaknesses. Enough power to be arrogant, but not enough wisdom to deal with others appropriately. They waste time on distractions, activities and emotions that prevent them from getting on top.

        Those at the top, the ultra-competitive that are fully committed, and don’t underestimate others because they’re too busy doing everything it takes to stay on top. Arrogance still applies, but doesn’t take opponents lightly, because if they did they wouldn’t stay competitively on top. You don’t stay on top by misjudging your opponents.

        Most Blooms are on the bottom, most first class students are in the middle, and the student council is on the top– and arguably some of the individual blooms too.

        This is a social dynamic. The blooms are actually just middling. They’re still students, but they’re not top tier committed and more subject to blind jealousy. The top tier kids generally don’t have time to be jealous. They’re busy doing whatever it takes to stay on top.

        Drasca
      7. Drasca: Could it be that you accidentally confused Blooms and Weeds in your reply? Maybe you could revisit it and give 1-2 examples of characters you’d put in the various tiers? That would be helpful.

        Mentar
  17. I’m curious about some of Tatsuya’s quirks: i.e. the scars, the near-lack of empathy, his fierce desire to protect his sister at all costs…
    Is this connected to something bigger? I’ve heard rumours of a sort on forums.

    zztop
    1. Just a rumor? Consider yourself lucky.

      It’s a spoiler, but I can say that you are supposed to realize that there’s far more to Tatsuya and Miyuki than meets the eye at this stage, and if the anime has failed to convey that, the adaptation has failed character-wise.

      Andmeuths
  18. All that heavy discussion.

    Focusing on the positive, I like how they decided to bring out Miyuki like that. You get the feeling that there’s more to her than being a bro-con and the delivery came out well.

    I don’t find all that much a problem about how they portrayed discrimination though. Not sure about people who lived in affluent cities or those who do not have the fortune of living in a society with racial harmony (which DO see symptoms of discrimination, albeit lighter ones). The discrimination is probably quite real, and could probably be described in greater detail in the source material. To say that it is portrayed as something that’s only in the mind is unfair.

    I was a little bemused by how the entire issue with Mibu started, but in retrospect sometimes the biggest issues are caused by the smallest misunderstandings. What I imagined, of course, is that it was more of a ignition point than a breaking point, or that it was a snowflake in an avalanche of incidents that might have built up to cause Mibu’s thinking to go haywire.

    I find her character rather believable, because there are people out there who, due to discrimination and circumstances, start thinking the world’s unfair just because they don’t have this and that and attempt to do some sh** in order to bring about his/her perceived state of equality. My point? Different people had different circumstances, met different people, formed different kinds of perspectives and thoughts. Slipshod as it seems, I believe that to be true.

    Tatsuya’s backstory is intriguing me a bit here. This man was apathetic enough to trick Mibu and her friends out with wordplay then has enough heart to comfort the same person while she was crying buckets because of her foolishness. I’m interested as to how he came about with that.

    Owaranai
  19. I’m a bit disappointed Mahouka’s producers aren’t organising any end card/original character design contests, like what Mekakucity Actors is doing now, and what Gargantia did last year.

    zztop
  20. Makise Kuristina
  21. Well, Mahouka can be pretty good when it’s doing action. The swordfight in particular was quite well done. Unfortunately my enjoyment drops like a rock the minute the characters open their mouths, and even the more action heavy episodes like this one are mostly dialogue.

    I have neither the desire or enthusiasm to further elaborate my thoughts on this episode, but there is one overall observation I’d like to make. Many compare Mahouke to Sword art Online, typically with respect to the main character. Irregardless of this, they are identical in one way. Both shows could have benefited greatly from a looser, less rigid adaption of the source material.

    Hochmeister
    1. @Hochmeister: Both shows could have benefited greatly from a looser, less rigid adaption of the source material.

      IDK if you have read the MKnR LN, but this is NOT what I consider a “rigid” (i.e. faithful) adaptation when you cut so much material, make noticeable changes (“small” or not), and “amp up” certain aspects (as noted in my post below – awaiting moderation >_>). Frankly, I’d much rather have the anime be more inclusive/stick to the source material rather than some “based upon” type adaptation. Already had one of my favorite series given that treatment and I found the “adaptation” markedly inferior to the original. (*sigh* add one more “reboot” to the wish list.)

      FWIW, I don’t consider MKnR comparable SAO. The both feature powerful protagonists, but so do a lot of stories. TBH, I much prefer Tatsuya to Kirito though to be fair to Kirito, I dropped SAO after volume 01 (same for anime – didn’t watch the 1/2 half of the 2-cour run). At any rate, neither Tatsuya nor Kirito are the only OP protagonists. Hellsing’s (OVA) Alucard is certainly among the top, and IMO that isn’t enough to make MKnR (or SAO) comparable to Hellsing OVA outside of that one factor IMO.

      daikama
      1. Meh. “Typo”/error in the last paragraph of my above comment. Meant to say above that I didn’t watch the SECOND half of SOA’s 2-cour run (e.g. eps 13-25). Need a edit function.

        daikama
      2. The first half of SAO was based on a bunch of very short stories, most of which were scattered around in later light novels. As a result its plot jumped around incoherently. If the writers had taken the basic premise of the story and used it to write something more coherent (much like what the author is trying to do by rewriting the SAO arc as SAO Progressive), it could have been a lot better and still meshed with the future arcs.

        The first few volumes of Mahouka are incredibly dense and technical, and generally agreed to have the worst plot. While they’ve skipped and condensed a lot, AFAIK they’re still hitting the main plot points, and the result is a drawn out underwhelming arc. Similarly to SAO, I think it could have been better if they had thrown out the details of the plot and re-written it into something that flowed faster and better. Adaptions should be free to deviate from their source material, especially when said material has its own flaws. Of course, this runs the risk of making things worse as well, but sometimes an adaption should aspire to be better than the source material rather than wallowing in mediocrity.

        Hochmeister
      3. @Hochmeister: I don’t have any issue with your comments about SAO. Still, some enjoyed the show a lot and if they do, fine with me.

        From the “AFAIK” comment, I assume you haven’t read the LN. That’s fine, but the anime is not hitting all main the plot points – one major plot development already passed by in EP 03. It’s also cutting much of what I like about the LN (e.g. side characters, entertaining SOL/banter type moments, etc.). In short, I do not think it is doing a good job of capturing the full story. As for the “general consensus” (probably correct), that’s the first two volumes/first arc which will be over next episode.

        Frankly, IMO it’s the anime’s attempt to move faster/modify towards the mass market which is causing problems with the flow. Faster does not always =/= better. Spice and Wolf, for one example, isn’t fast paced and action oriented. There are at least three other adaptations this season which IMO are suffering from that type of fast paced adaptation. Frankly, I get bored with nothing but simplified, streamlined, fast-paced adaptations rushing to tie together action scenes.

        Could MKnR (LN) be improved? Sure. Same goes for almost any story to various degrees. Overall, I don’t have any significant issues with LN vol 1’s set-up/world building (there IS much more than just that). Not the most exciting/best part of the series, but I found it interesting and entertaining in its own right. Vol. 2 is where I think things get too over-the-top. What specifically you would change (cut out/rewrite) to make things flow faster and better?

        Adaptions should be free to deviate from their source material, especially when said material has its own flaws.

        In theory, sure, but who determines what those “flaws” are? What one considers a “flaw” someone else might like. For example, ditch the magic system and make it *poof* magic and the series becomes much more mundane, simple, and less enjoyable for me. Simply put, it wouldn’t be as good. I can only speak for myself, but my honest impression is that I’m not alone on that. Same goes for another adaptation which deviated markedly from source material, and I know I wasn’t the only one unhappy with that “improvement”. Minor corrections are one thing, major changes are another. If the original work isn’t sufficiently “good” on it’s own, then IMO either write an anime original story or find a better work to adapt.

        …sometimes an adaption should aspire to be better than the source material rather than wallowing in mediocrity.

        Rather than sometimes, I’d say always, but same goes for the reverse, perhaps more so. An adaptation should always strive to be no worse than the source material. As you note, there IS a risk. Frankly, IMO the clear majority of anime alterations to source material I’ve noticed have been for the worse. In some cases, much worse. If you contend that MKnR anime is “wallowing in mediocrity”, I have no argument. If you extend that sentiment to the LN first arc, particularly vol 1, I disagree. I definitely think it’s above average though I wouldn’t call it great/outstanding.

        daikama
    2. @Stilts on ” I wonder if that truth serum thing the disciplinary committee dude was talking about was a lie? I hope so, because that would be way more awesome.”

      hmm if I answer that it would be a spoiler lol
      But i can tell you that it is not a lie. As for who can do that truth serum thing, you’ll find out later. (its in the Volume 6 of LN)

      Kuroichi
      1. @Kuroichi
        The answer to your question will arive LATER after 2 ARCS. One of them is quite long, the next arc, and the other is quite short, just bunch of side stories of side characters.

        P.S. If you remember my previous post on the previous episodes about Mayumi taking a bath, it’s one of the side stories. If you guys forgot about the picture Mayumi taking a bath, here it is.

        P.P.S. If you can’t wait that long here’s a spoon: Show Spoiler ▼

        Ungas123
  22. I was wrong about the anime not finishing the Enrollment arc this episode. Step in the right direction though IMO that time was not put to best use. With each episode, I’m more and more convinced that the “adaptation” is simply what I call “distilled shounen” or “shounenization”. Streamline/simplify the story, forgo depth, conspicuously spotlight “THE hero”, and strongly focus on the ACTION/battles. Granted some of the fight scenes were pretty good, but that’s a small consolation for me since magic battles are only ONE of the reasons I enjoy the series. I do like SOME “pure” shounen shows, but that doesn’t mean I want a constant diet of nothing but that 24/7. Some issues I had with the presentation:

    – W…T…F!? #1: Yet again we get another (IMO) very awkward, unnecessary, and out of place “naked” scene which was not in the LN. I found it misplaced, distracting and off-putting. Frankly, I felt less uncomfortable watching heavy fanservice shows like HighSchool DxD. Seriously, STOP doing that! “Amping up” the “incest” element is neither necessary nor beneficial to the story. And because naked HS siblings are not enough, add another “Ono-sensei fanservice” attempt (panning up from Ono-sensei’s knees to her anime inspired huge chest). That struck me as very out of place given the situation. In LN, her clothes are described as appearing to have “bulletproof and anti-blade qualities”. For me, a much different impression compared to the anime. Same goes for Ono-sensei in general. :<

    – Glad to see Erika FINALLY get some deserved screen time (of course it was a fight scene), but it wouldn't be such a "WTF – why is this 'weed' so good?" moment for anime only viewers if the anime hadn't cut so much of her background (along with other stuff). That cut material is there for a purpose. *sigh* Didn't even explain why Mibu's antinite ring wasn't effective. WTF is the purpose of "explaining" how antinite works if you don't build off if it?

    – As a LN reader, Erika’s anime only line telling Tatsuya “I definitely wouldn’t want to oppose you in an actual battle.” GAH! What are you doing to one of my favorite characters!? IMO more "shounenization" since all must be egregiously subordinate to THE hero. Please stick to the source material and do NOT dumb down/minimize Erika (or other “side” characters) into “Tatsuya misc. sidekick #459". She's a strong enough character to stand on her own. Considering the conversation, she’s not even the ambush type anyway. Hello? Character consistency? *sigh*

    – FYI regarding Erika’s and Mari’s relationship, anime altered/watered down the explanation given on top of cutting out a lot of Erika’s background last episode… and it does matter. LN version of Erika’s response to Mibu during the fight: (NO spoiler) Show Spoiler ▼

    – W…T…F!? #2: WHY is Tatsumi explaining in detail about Mari using quasi-legal interrogation methods? “Hey, our chief is really good at not so legal interrogation (FYI – it is VERY borderline if not illegal in MKnR). Here’s exactly what she does in case you want to prepare to some sort of countermeasure. Oh, since it’s not perfectly legal, please just forget about that part when you talk to your lawyer.” >_> NOT in LN for obvious reasons. ALL they told Kinoe was (paraphrasing) “if you haven’t figured it out, our job was to tail you – now please follow us”. Unless the anime makes some significant changes next episode, I see absolutely NO purpose in moving that information forward to this point in the story.

    – Mibu’s post battle scene. Not happy with Mibu’s anime only added line of ”There was an incident in which I was discriminated against as a course 2 student…” Diction is important, and this does nothing IMO but muddy the whole issue further. I fail to understand how adding that line, specifically using that word, is in any way beneficial.

    – WTF #3: Kirihara’s scene at the end with Juumonji. O.o Again, bad, inexplicable rearrangement of source material IMO. If other viewers thought it was a weak, out of nowhere reason for Kirihara to join up, you’re not alone. In the LN, Kirihara was in the car already (i.e. post ED scene), no questions asked by Juumonji. IMO, it’s easy to surmise why he’s there. Kirihara is quite skilled in combat magic (e.g. sonic blade), a top 2nd year student in terms of overall ability, and he was just attacked. If the anime has time to add things, how about instead retaining some of the cut source material so that LN readers don’t have to explain/clarify things every bloody episode.

    As before, lots of dialog cut here and there – not only the stuff which gives characters personality/depth, but humor as well. There is humor in the story off and on, and though “boring SOL”, those moments make the work much more enjoyable for me as a whole.

    daikama
      1. Kazakiri: GAH! You are correct! My mistake. Skimmed too much/too fast when checking the LN. :< Lesson learned – need to be more careful next time. Well, FWIW I still thought it was a strange admission (LN or anime). Hmm… IIRC (now in doubt LOL), there seems to be some inconsistency with the legal status in the LN. O.o Situational?.

        At any rate, definitely my mistake here. Thanks for clarifying.

        daikama
  23. At least Tatsuya is one of those inexplicably rare male leads who can actually hold a girl while she’s crying. At least one person did something right.

    While all this is happening, perhaps Miyuki should also be credited for reading the situation and restraining her urge to go into a jealous yandere rage everytime her onii-sama is seen getting intimate with other girls. 🙂

    echykr
    1. I was smiling at that part.

      Mibu: I have only one thing to ask of you.
      Tatsuya: What is it?
      Mibu: Stay like that for a bit

      I wanna ship them, but that ain’t happening.

      Vaans
  24. Misunderstanding Failure

    This episode was still a tad uneven, with some things that made me go “WRRRYYYY!?” The biggest was the misunderstanding between Mibu and Mari. Now, scenes can be symbolic and serve the story without coming off as overly convenient. The battle between Erika & Mibu did exactly that, since they were both radically different kinds of weeds. This just made me go “ugh”. Mibu-sempai’s whole arc came about because she completely misunderstood something Mari said? That felt unnecessary to me. At least Tatsuya is one of those inexplicably rare male leads who can actually hold a girl while she’s crying. At least one person did something right.

    As to what Kirihara said, someone manipulated Mibu to misunderstood Mari Show Spoiler ▼

    As far as I’m concerned, Tatsuya didn’t moved because he was asked not to move and probably held her as a “service” not because he actually cares and emphathetic to Mibu. Show Spoiler ▼

    Ungas123
  25. @Stilts on Misunderstanding Failure
    It may seems far fetch now that Mibu’s current action was originated from that particular “misunderstanding” with Mari. But, you will watch later that there is a “catch” on that “misunderstanding” which is probably be explained next episode (it is quite clear in the LN and it has damn sound and solid reason why Mibu acted that defiantly). It’s way more complicated that a “simple” misunderstanding.

    Kuroichi
  26. The students are attending the (only?) magic school around because they have magic, and magic is new enough, and weaponized enough, for society to insist that everyone that has magic ability go to this school, no matter their social standing or their magic ability, from low to high. Once they arrive at the school, however, they are put into Course 1 or Course 2 depending upon their magical abilities as determined by a standard series of tests looking for specific skills.

    In American schools the pressure for determining your career at the “do or die” level comes in college, or at the 12th grade. In Japan it is at 9th grade and 11/12th grade, the so-called entrance exams. This is one reason why students go nuts with these tests, is because of the enormous pressure put upon them by parents and society. Now, in our society money can put you into a better school, no matter your grades. But there is no higher-income school here. It’s just the one school. So you throw together magicians of all calibers and then separate according to the skills a certain segment (military-industrial-politicial complex) is looking for, Course 1 or Course 2. So instead of “college prep” vs. “business” courses, you have “secret agent/military” vs. “technician” courses. This is where the discrimination comes into play.

    I’m reminded of the (fictional?) story at American/European colleges where non-prodigy high school students who had been making A’s their entire lives started getting B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s from the college professors. A bevy of suicides followed after the first semester grades were published. So the colleges had to lower their entrance standards and allow “normal” students into the colleges, so that “normal” grades wouldn’t follow in suicides. Having gone to a college where research grant money counted more to the professors than teaching, I can tell you many professors only taught because they were required to, and when they found a prodigy (or a slave going PhD), they catered to them, not the normal students.

    jhpace1
    1. Just want to step in and say that, while I don’t know about Japan, there’s no “do or die” moment in an American’s career, and it certainly isn’t getting into college. Careers are very long things, and you can make up for many mistakes (or squander many advantages) over the long run.

      Now back to our regularly scheduled anime discussions 😀

      Stilts
  27. I’ve basically switched to the format of trying to read the light novel first and then watching the anime if I do like the series. Adaptations for the LN medium is better taken as a visual suppliment rather than a stand alone I think. Though manga adaptations don’t suffer from the transition to an anime adaptation as much. I’m just making this observation due to the proliferation of direct LN to anime adaptations nowadays unlike the more gradual LN -> Manga -> Anime format in the past decade. It just feels that its a reason for a lot of the tension in the anime viewing community on “hyped” series nowadays.

    Netto
  28. The whole terrorist and Mibu thing was frankly laughable, 6/10 show so far still on the edge weather or not to drop although not much else to watch this season.

    YouTube
  29. On Kirihara, StiltsShow Spoiler ▼

    Zhinvu
      1. Show Spoiler ▼

        Zhinvu
  30. I don’t have a f***ing clue what the anime staff is going for with characterization, i mean they decided to cut mayumi, erika, miyuki, tatsuya but decided to have an anime original scene for kirihara…… whatttttttt??!!!

    GoldenOx
    1. It’s actually hilarious, given that Mayumi’s characterization is probably the third most crucial characterization of all the characters so far, after Miyuki and Tatsuya. She’s a Point-of-view character, with a fascinating secondary character arc that runs along side Miyuki and Tatsuya, and is one of the major sources for perspectives of the world, outside the two siblings.

      And it’s critical, since the author makes utterly no secret that the siblings way of viewing the world is far from objective, but rather, subjected to their own biases. This is another thing the anime has failed to do – and as a result, has led people to the erroneous conclusion that Tatsuya’s views is an authorial mouthpiece for what the author considers ideological truths , as opposed to a highly biased and subjective viewpoint, subjected to their own sets of contradictions.

      As a result, the Haters attempt to explain away logical contradictions, not as deliberate signs put up by the author of the limitations of Tatsuya’s worldview, but rather, as example of the alleged stupidity and blind ideological fanaticism of the author. This has produced astoundingly improbable and downright absurd conclusions in too much of the anime blogosophere, such as Mahouka arguing for the validity of a Randian, Libertarian view of society. And that Mahouka is a simplistic strawman defense of inequality and attack on the idea of equality. I find this just as hilarious, as this view is every bit a strawman as the imaginary strawman they interpret Mahouka’s engagement on the idea of equality as. They fail to see that Tatsuya’s opinions, contradictions and all only make sense if we understand that the author was trying to explore how someone raised in the Elite levels of a society, where all men were most obviously not created equal might see the issue of equality, rather than advocating for a particular political position.

      Stilt’s assessment has been one of the fairest I’ve seen, and that’s an impressive feat.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Andmeuths
  31. Sometimes, its just too many Tatsuya in everything…:(

    I mean, does he have to get involve in everything? No offence and yes, i dont know why he has to be in every scene (not a LN reader)but sometimes its getting on my nerves that the other characters couldnt get a proper moment because of him taking charge of everything. Yes, he is still mysterious and all, but i want to see other characters in action too! Same goes with Miyuki,..i wanna see the other female casts interacting with other male casts(no more Tatsuya please, he’s flagging everyone lol).

    Good thing there’s some spotlight for Erika. Dont get me wrong here, i dont hate the siblings…but i do appreciate if the other casts got the chance to play the hero in this show. 🙁 oh well, good thing this series still got a long way to go

    onion warrior
  32. Well, it’s hard to say that this show is complete shit when the action package is executed greatly. But i agree when some of the comment say that now the show is “all over the place”. When kenjutsu club captain Kirihara out of nowhere join the group the story just become plain stupid.

    I am an anime fans, and i can take any BS in any kind of show. But when the story is cut here and there then forget it. I Can’t even enjoy the show anymore.

    Shinwinds
    1. You did remember the scene where they explained exactly why he tagged along, right? -__-

      Also, please care to inform me why do people think this show is all over the place.I’m genuinely curious. I can think of many more shows which is considered “all over the place”, and I don’t consider Mahouka to be one of them.

      bakakubi
      1. Because not everybody has the same ability, education, and inclination to take in and process every story. I can see the links fairly well, and most usefully in this case, see many of the places where they’re not telling me something they should (the blank spaces), but I have a lot of practice in it.

        Not all people are made equally, and the same is true of stories and people’s abilities to digest them.

        Stilts
      2. I see. Still, I think the information is given out fairly well, and the story pretty easy to follow. But as you said, this may be only for certain people, and not everyone who watches this show. Thanks for the answer Stilts!

        bakakubi
  33. Well looks like I was spot on with my guess on how long the Enrollment Arc would last (8 ep). I’m going to guess Nine Schools Tournament Arc will stretch from ep 9 to 16 and the rest will be Yokohama Arc. (Hopefully this isn’t considered spoilers, as it is mere conjecture).

    And I guess I’m being proven wrong, I am coming around to Sugita as Kirihara; albeit slowly since he hasn’t had many lines yet. I thought his appeal to Jumonji was a little weak but IIRC it wasn’t part of the original novel (I’m just going off the BT translation), but was included in the manga adaptation which I think was a good addition to/deviation from the source.

    Very much enjoyed the scene between Erika and Mibu, seemed to convey the idea that Mibu is a more than competent enough Kendo practioner. Though I would have liked it if they had gone into more depth about how Mari is inferior in swordsmanship to Erika.

    Sawaki intercepting Tsukasa: I imagined to be shown a little better. Tsukasa very foolishly assumes that Sawaki is incompetent without access to Magic (by using the antinite) but is struck down because of that thought. Seems to parallel in theme to Mibu’s conflict and students being more than their magic aptitude.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Thoughts:
    – Nice to see Leo get in on the action, though I wish they could’ve shown him doing more fighting.

    – Kind of glad they dropped the section where Tatsuya is ordered to carry Mibu out, it’s an unnecessary section that would’ve added nothing.

    – Feel that the scene of naked Shiba siblings unnecessary and distracting/detracting from Miyuki’s defense of her brother’s image.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    – Should’ve had Mayumi act more childish when told she couldn’t join the blanchebusters and retaliate against Mari. So far her anime adaptation focuses on her dependable upperclassman side without showing her cute childish side.

    Kind of late, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts in the morning.

    Dusty
    1. Oh yeah, shouldcould’ve also explained what Leo’s Sequential Casting/deployment actually is rather than have Erika comment that he uses Old hardware and techniques. More of a personal nitpick than anything since I’m not sure it is extremely relevant for the viewer to understand. Rather, I feel it would add to the worldbuilding aspect, at least more than saying it’s oldschool.

      Extrapolating(?) on that part about Tsukasa v. Sawaki, they could’ve added something as cliche/simple as

      “He [Sawaki] is nothing/no trouble without his magic!”
      *activates Antinite*
      *knocked out*
      (Tatsumi explains to Tsukasa while camera pans up)

      or something like that. Not that hard to accomplish I feel.

      Dusty
      1. Regarding Leo being old-school:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        SK
  34. @Stilts soon a few terms from the past episodes will start to gain focus.

    The following have already been mentioned in episodes 1-6

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Kazakiri
  35. this series makes it sounds like even if racism and sexism was virtually gone , another sort of discrimination will just take over it .

    No matter how much advancement human made , discrimination will still exist , its human nature. yeah we human sucks

    calcilis

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