「九校戦編I」 (Kyuukou Sen Hen I )
“Nine Schools Competition Part I”
It’s time to set up for the second arc.
Ninja Police Sensei
Last arc left unanswered questions on how Ono-sensei knew the kinds of things she did, and this one answered it – she’s a Public Safety investigator for the police. As far as reveals go, this one did nothing for me. I liked how they smoothly slipped in that she’s a stealth mage (I think?), though I went back to being annoyed when they called her a BS Magician and then didn’t explain what the hell that is! (No, no, don’t tell me. If they’re not going to say, I don’t want to know.) This was just the first scene in an episode full of foreshadowing though.
A New Nakama
I’ve seen some of the promo material, so I knew we were still missing at least one main member of Tatsuya’s nakama, and now he’s here. Yoshida Mikihiko (Tamaru Atsushi) has arrived! I honestly liked him from the get-go, and not just because he and Tatsuya started throwing out shounen-ai, causing Leo to feel left out, and is the next season of Free! here already? No, the reason was…
Erika is Best Girl!
That’s right, Erika is still best girl! Finding out that she and Mikihiko are osananajimi was jealousy-inducing, but best of all was more of the fun Mahouka banter I enjoy so much. Erika went with bloomers!? ERIKA IS BEST GIRL!! Between Mikihiko blushing like an otome and Leo calmly appraising the situation followed by drawing ALL the best (wrong) conclusions – you’re thinking of pantsu, Leo! And yeah, maybe bloomers too – it was great! I feel like I’ll be saying this a lot, but I really wish they would slow down more and let us indulge in more of the Mahouka banter. It’s fun.
Technobabble & Foreshadowing
This episode was chock full of technobabble, some of which worked better than others. First was the flight magic, which I wasn’t impressed with. As soon as they started talking about it, I thought “So I guess flying will become important soon”, and I was right. The problem is that they didn’t foreshadow this enough. It’s better to show rather than tell, but if they had to talk about it, had they done it in volume one and then showed Tatsuya conquering the difficult problem in volume three, it would have been impressive. Then we would have had enough time to internalize how difficult the feat is, so when it’s accomplished, we can go “Damn, nice!” As is we never got the chance, and 15 minutes after they brought it up someone had solved the problem. Doesn’t seem so hard then, no matter what they say.
The better foreshadowing was with Taurus Silver, and I call it better foreshadowing because I’m still not entirely sure of the answer. All signs point to Tatsuya being Taurus Silver, from him having some of his weapons to being able to calibrate CADs manually to the Major calling him up and asking him to check over their new sniper rifle (oh, and Tatsuya saying he was going to FLT, Taurus Silver’s company, on his next day off), there are signs all over the place that Tatsuya is the legendary engineer. Not only did they show instead of tell and not confirm this until it’s necessary (I assume…I could totally be wrong, and that’s okay), they also foreshadowed it back in episode two, the very thing I just said they should have done with flying. That was well done, and it both justifies why Tatsuya has those guns and makes a lot of other things about him make sense. If I’m right that is. I could totally be wrong.
The rest of the episode was…well, it was just there. We’ve once again confirmed that Kirihara was introduced badly since he’s now clearly not a douchebag, while Hanzo was introduced and characterized better, since he’s staying pretty consistent (and still a bit of an ass, or at least a tsundere). Then Miyuki shows up in her Mirage Bat outfit, and that was okay I guess. Oh, and there are some international criminals or some shit, but unless all these ties together into a wider plot then I just can’t bring myself to give a shit. We’ll see, as the Nine Schools Competition arc continues next week. Until then!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Foreshadowing and technobabble abound as we set up for the new arc #mahouka 08
- “Um…in that case, wouldn’t Shiba-kun fit the bill?” Wait, what? I thought all the sempai girls were playing coy when they were talking about needing engineers, kind of teasing Tatsuya before they asked. They really didn’t think of him? How rude.
- They still have landlines in the magic-future? Now retro.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: The root of procrastination; Ashamed; The fear of doing nothing; and Personifying your muse.
Wow first of all, Dat Erika! Seriously. Hot. Secondly pretty good start up episode to the second arc. Too bad they didn’t clarified on why Miyuki kept on collapsing like that but overall it was funny from a different point of view.
Also, I have to say that all the girls say that Tatsuya is average but Erika said Tatsuya beat Kirihama in looks…So does that mean Kirihara(hama?) is below average?
I was wondering how that soccer game went nice to see it fleshed out in animated form.
“why Miyuki kept on collapsing like that”
I thought it was pretty clear that Miyuki has one hell of a tell.
Yeah, that. She’s not as good at keeping a secret as Tatsuya, especially when Tatsuya is giving up half of it just for the lulz.
The episode was good, setting up for future events. I actually like Mikihiko, though Isori is just as fine 😛
Developing flying type magic huh, the episode made it seem that Tasuya was just doing this (solving one of the 3 great magic conundrums) for shits and giggles. They should have at least made it clear that it helps with his ultimate goal of creating a Gravity Control-Type Thermonuclear Fusion Reactor LOL. (Which he mentioned in passing IIRC)
They actually brought up a similar thing in during Tatsuya’s talk with Mibu, except it didn’t make it into the anime. Part of why he was noting that Mibu’s goal was small was due to comparing it to his final goal: another one of the Three Great Puzzles.
Yeah the anime has been kind of weird with some of the bits of conversations and scenes left out. I’m still not sure why it left out that Tatsuya was interested in the three great mysteries a few episodes ago since it was a pretty important bit there.
The weird thing is that one left-out sentence is relevant to the two arcs I expect to see adapted.
This was by far the best episode of mahouka yet; I adored absolutely every scene in this episode.
Tatsuya is definitely Taurus Silver. Stilts, did you miss the meaning behind Miyuki face desking in the scene between Tatsuya and A-chan or did you simply not want to mention it? It was dramatic irony from Miyuki’s perspective and our own if you caught on. I didn’t realize it right away and only made the connection later in the episode, but, imo, there were plenty of signs that made the connection between Tatsuya and “Lord Silver” before then.
Aye, I caught that, I just didn’t bother to mention it. At that point all it said was that Miyuki probably knew who Taurus Silver was, but it could have been Tatsuya, or her, or someone they both knew for all that told us. It was the other things that clarified it was Tatsuya to me.
What if he is, and at the same time isn’t that Taurus Silver?
he is but he isnt? like his brother or something?
nah he IS Taurus.. almost 100% sure , makes sense with all the stuff he can do.
He is definitely Silver Show Spoiler ▼
Flight magic now huh? Yea, like the 1st episode of this second arc much better! Hope they make good use of it. Hope for more bantering and action! This 2nd arc 1st ep. definitely don’t disappoint so far. Seem better than 1st arc in term of potential.
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Also, for anyone who wants to know, BS Magician:
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It was actually explained at that point.
Stilts, I honestly thought that even if you didn’t know the exact term, you would have at least guessed the connotations behind it.
After all, ‘BS’ is the shortened form of a fairly common English term… a term anyone probably would have used whenever they witness really badly written plot/characters.
Also to clarify, I do know that ‘BS’ in Mahouka actually stands for:
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Which is why I thought more people would have linked it to the English ‘BS’…
Before I thought of that, I thought of Bull Shit.
That’s exactly what I was implying. Even if you didn’t know what ‘BS’ meant in Mahouka, as long as you thought of that (what you’d normally think ‘BS’ meant), then you’d be on the right track.
It’s weird, now that you think about it, right? An English-speaker new to Mahouka has a better chance of guessing what ‘BS’ means than a non-English speaker.
I mentioned in last episode’s comments that this adaptation has dropped some foreshadowing, and flight magic is one of those. The 3 Great Puzzles mentioned here were supposed to come up a lot earlier (definitely mentioned in LN in one of the Mibu-Tatsuya conversations in the cafeteria, possibly earlier).
They also cut a big reason Tatsuya was interested in Mikihiko, which is him placing third in the theory portion of the exams, after Tatsuya and Miyuki.
In regards to foreshadowing or the lack thereof in the anime, this is a rather strange approach to tell a story. Foreshadowing a topic ahead of time and then bringing it up again is a viable solution, but only if the foreshadowing is done ahead of time. It’s like try to set up a Chekhov’s Gun, but forgetting to put the gun into story.
One thing I have noticed when comparing apples and oranges (light novel adaptations) is the difference level in terms of background details. Look at every single scene we’re shown here in Mahouka. Barring the talking heads that are actually in the scene, scant detail (both pictures and text) is paid to the background. Compare and contrast this with Horizon or No Game No Life, where every scene is pack full of minute little details for the careful viewer.
Another note that I increasingly find frustrating with Mahouka is the series’s insistence on sticking to the script but cutting things out left and right. Playing by the book as per the light novel is all well and good, but only if the presentation and details are preserved. Sticking with the original script by taking “creative liberties” with what details are and aren’t important leaves viewers hanging since they don’t know what the bloody hell is going on. I actually liked Mahouka the most when they went off script, when the writers did something unique to the anime to tell the narrative since most of those scenes made a hell of a lot more sense. (Or at least gave up more to work with.)
It should be clear to anyone who’s familiar with LN’s that it’s impossible to properly adapt them. With all the long-winded technical descriptions that are actually important, large cast of characters, politics, history, cultural changes (which are completely neglected by the anime, btw), and so on, and so forth, it will be unwatchable if you include everything, and there are only so few self-contained things that can be removed without any impact on the following story.
What could be a winner is not an adaptation, but an anime based on LN’s. If they were to take the LN’s and make their own script with necessary changes to characters, story, and setting, it could turn out to be a good show. Loosely related, yes, the one that makes some fans rage, yes, but if it were good as a stand-alone work, then, in fact, it would be a win for everyone. Obviously, doing that might be even harder than creating a good original anime, and all their talented staff appears to be busy with NGNL this season.
Buuuuuullshiiiit! I don’t know if you remember, but Kyoukaisen was referred to impossible to adapt, and then they did a damn good job. Were things lost in the translation? Yeah, but they got most of the important things in, even if the viewer had to do more work to follow along than is necessary with most stories. This isn’t impossible to adapt by any means, they just need to either slow it down or (as Dreyakis said) retool it for anime rather than trying to adapt is straight. Trying to use the LN as storyboards without enough episodes per arc is a fool’s errand.
Oh, and Madhouse doesn’t necessarily have “staff”. Remember that the last big show director Ishizuka Atsuko (doing No Game No Life) did was Sakurasou, for J.C.Staff. Likewise, Mahouka’s director Ono Manabu helmed both seasons of Kyoukaisen for Sunrise. Plus there are publishers, original creators and other factors to add in. Just looking at the studio isn’t that helpful.
To me, Kyoukaisen is not a good reference. I intentionally only watched the show itself, not reading pages after pages of additional info/explanations/etc., and the impression it left is that of a forgettable and nonsensical, but fun to watch show. I’m aware that it’s an intricate story set in a very detailed world with well-fleshed out characters, but that’s not what the anime itself was giving to a viewer. It was more of a teaser you can watch and have fun by just giving up on trying to make sense of why the things go the way they do. But if it were a stand-alone work claiming to be srsbsns, then I doubt I would have any kind words to tell about it.
Mahouka is very technical, to the point where sometimes you have to go back and re-read a paragraph or two in order to make sense of the ongoing explanation. If you just go ahead without making things clear to yourself, it’s going to snowball and severely impact your reading experience. It’s no coincidence that most of the LN’s chapter are translated by Dreyakis alone – I remember some translators giving it a try only to step back and say that they had a hard time constructing readable English sentences.
And I don’t understand what’s the point in a studio that doesn’t have permanent staff that’s involved in all of its main shows. It’s OK to invite a freelance director, particularly if it’s a side project, but doing so all the time is a bad practice. I might think whatever of, say, KyoAni, but they have their distinct style and approach to picking and making shows, so saying “KyoAni show” already tells a lot. Madhouse this days, on the other hand, is inconsistent in terms of style, and that ruins the studio’s image. It also makes me sad because it probably implies that we won’t see another show made by exactly the same people who work on NGNL now.
Studios like KyoAni and SHAFT are the minority. Most studios do things like Madhouse, Sunrise, J.C.Staff and the others, which is why I’ve begun to largely ignore studio name unless it’s one of the few ones (BONES is another) with more consistent staff.
Even with the incredible focus on world building, Mahouka would not have been impossible to adapt. The problem is that Madhouse seems to be doing a direct adaptation which the source material is obviously not cut out for. Like Dreyakis mentioned the story needed to be reformatted and reorganized to minimize the tell and emphasize the show. This could have been done by either including more anime-original scenes/episodes that allow for the world building/character development or by slimming down the work to focus strictly upon one key conflict. For example the first arc could have easily been expanded into a single cour, a lot of the info dumping eliminated, better development of the Japanese Blanche branch, and more focus upon the characters and tensions between magic users and non-magic users. You would have been left with a fairly standard fantasy/sci-fi show, but one that moves along at a brisk pace and provides enough eye candy to make up for the lack of tertiary details.
Mahouka’s adaptation though appears to want everything, the world building, the character development (with tragic back story), the battles, the villains. Due to the nature of the source material however we end up with only incomplete components, info dumping that doesn’t lead anywhere, non existent character development beyond simple interactions, battles that seem to come out of nowhere and end too soon, and villains that are seemingly inserted just to provide a reason for those battles. Creative liberty was taken not in better organizing the story for anime, but by simply hacking off things that would not fit into 2 cours. The result is a series of random elements mentioned in the show, but never explained because those explanations were removed in the name of slimming down the source material.
For such a popular series it is quite surprising that more attention was not paid to presentation and structure for this adaptation. It’s almost as though Madhouse were afraid that imaginatively reorganizing the story into something fit for TV would drive away a good chunk of viewers who have already read the LNs. Whatever the reason though the choice has resulted in a very dilettantish and haphazard adaptation so far.
KyoAni, SHAFT, BONES – that’s already a decent list. I’d say Sunrise is also fairly consistent, they just like making trainwrecks. There are also smaller studios and substudios, like White Fox, so it’s not like everyone’s following J.C.Staff’s example. Of course, if you want to churn out three-four shows a season every season, you have to compromise, but is it worth it? How many mediocre shows would it take for SHAFT to make as much money as they’ve made off Monogatari franchise, for example?
Well, that’s “adapted from” vs “based on”. When people talk about anime adaptations, they usually assume almost direct translation, you can always hear numerous complains if something’s changed, added, or omitted. I don’t think Mahouka is suited for that. On the other hand, if you have a free reign with the source material, the resulting anime can be something else, for good and for bad. Still, when I look at how this show is turning out, I start thinking even the kind of treatment the Starship Troopers movie gave to the source material could be more acceptable.
eh I think they’ve been pretty good about adapting the LNs so far. Sure there’s blatant info dumps every so often because they couldn’t figure out how to work things in naturally, and it feels like the author is pulling stuff out of his ass 5 minutes before it becomes important, but that’s because the LNs are like that too.
It’s fun for what it is, but if you expect a literary masterpiece out of this, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.
@Conrad – Some studios are better/more consistent than others, but my understanding is that directors, who often work for different studios, play a big role in the final product. Lack of “permanent staff” is not surprising. Think of movies/TV shows etc. Quite common, if not industry practice(?), for directors and other staff to move around.
Question = to what extent are the problems due to Mad House’s decisions and how much are due to the director’s decisions. Personally, I don’t put all the blame on Mad House’s doorstep. Can’t say if the “talented staff” are working on NGNL, but I do think the staff on NGNL is doing a MUCH better job of adaptation. I wonder how MKnR anime would have turned out if the staff for the two shows had been swapped.
— Mahouka is very technical, to the point where sometimes you have to go back and re-read a paragraph or two in order to make sense of the ongoing explanation. If you just go ahead without making things clear to yourself, it’s going to snowball and severely impact your reading experience.
Exactly. I’ve had to reread parts myself once in a while – even hit wiki a couple of times for the physics stuff. Frankly, I found it all interesting, but not surprised if others don’t. The technical complexity and resulting greater exposition is why I’ve kept saying that MKnR is not for everyone (though clearly many do like it “as is” given the series’ popularity).
I do not agree that it’s “impossible” to properly adapt an LN. Watched anime versions of LNs I’ve read which I thought were well adapted – i.e presenting the full story in anime form. Even so, no doubt some LNs are more difficult to properly adapt than others, and some may indeed be simply unsuitable/too difficult. At this point, I’m not certain whether that’s the case for MKnR. It should be noted that more than just the type of source material (e.g. LN) is a factor. As you suggest, two different staffs and/or production studios could easily put out markedly different adaptations of the same source material.
At least for me, regardless of the source material it’s clear that the current MKnR adaptation could be markedly better. Attempting to cover less source material over both cours and do not make small, but material changes which have an adverse effect would be two very good places to start.
I’m under the impression that, compared to anime, a director plays much more important role when it comes to movies. Big name directors can freely decide whether they want to work with that specific producer(s) on that specific script or not, and they are usually given a great deal of freedom when it comes to almost everything, other staff included. In the case of anime, a director has to work with the staff that’s assigned to the project, and might be even restricted in terms of the changes to the script. Anime directors don’t have enough popularity/influence to point producers to a door if they don’t like something, and they aren’t making enough money to afford not accepting work offers for extended periods of time.
If a director is a permanent part of the studio staff, it at least tells that he fits in and is capable to deliver consistent shows if he keeps working the other permanent staff members. If a director has to work with some random selection of staff members pulled from all over the industry, then an excellent show can be followed by an abysmal one, and it’s easy to guess which scenario is more likely.
NGNL is objectively easier to adapt, and they should greatly benefit from the involvement of the original author. It not only helps to quickly and safely determine what can be dropped, but also greenlights all the changes: there’s no need for external approvals, and the fans are less likely to rage if it’s authorized and tuned by the original creator. Of course, the animation team itself does a spectacular job, but it looks like we just got lucky this time that exactly that team of staff members had been assembled.
Of course, not every LN is hard to adapt. For example, Madan no Ou to Vanadis or Gakusen Toshi Asterisk could be made into anime with no problem whatsoever. It’s when you have a lot of narrative, particularly in the form of character thoughts, and the one that’s not easy to follow, that you get problems with adapting it to anime. Even so, it’s possible to take the wordy explanation, make diagrams and other animated illustration, and with that visual support reduce the narration to just a few phrases. If well made, that transition can greatly ease the understanding process for viewers, but that’s by no means a trivial thing to do. Every instructor can copy the textbook’s contents on a whiteboard, but only few can make slides that would present the same topic in a much more accessible form. What we have with this adaptation is an instructor who’s constantly complaining on how packed the syllabus is while rushing the topics by bombarding students with disjointed fragments from the textbook and leaving the rest (including making sense of things) to home reading.
@Pancakes: I agree in part with your post, especially comments like “…hacking off things that would not fit into 2 cours. The result is a series of random elements mentioned in the show, but never explained because those explanations were removed in the name of slimming down the source material.” However, I disagree with other parts.
— The problem is that Madhouse seems to be doing a direct adaptation which the source material is obviously not cut out for. Like Dreyakis mentioned the story needed to be reformatted and reorganized to minimize the tell and emphasize the show.
Personally, I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment of what Dreyakis said. Perhaps he can clarify. I read his comment as EITHER stick to the full story (e.g. “only if the presentation and details are preserved”), OR do something “based upon” (e.g. “since most of those scenes made a hell of a lot more sense”) – not just the latter.
IMO, “direct” adaption would be a challenge, but not necessarily an impossible one. Frankly, I don’t consider “based upon”/”alternative version” story rewrites as a true “adaptation”. A good, if not quite equivalent, “direct” adaptation is feasible IMO if, as Dreyakis suggested, the anime preserves the LNs presentation and details – i.e. stop cutting out so much material/rearranging order and don’t make materially adverse, odd little changes. More “tell” involved that way, but see below on that. Right now, the anime is trying to appeal to all viewers and satisfying few, if any.
Frankly, I don’t agree with simply “emphasize show and minimize tell”. Obviously there’s a limit to “tell”, but there’s also a limit to “show”. You can only get so much from “show”. If Tasuya has a severe look on his face, is he angry, concerned, or constipated? Tatsuya’s internal dialog is very important, and the anime could easily include a lot more of that.
Horizon has a TON or “tell”. They talk incessantly during battles with a lot of exposition. Spice and Wolf is pretty much ALL “tell”. Can’t explain economics by “show”. Okay, I see a bunch of coins, so what? Log Horizon had plenty of “tell” – “World Fracture” scene for one example. You had “tell” about the skills along with the “show”. How much “tell” is in the LOTR movies? The The Fellowship of the Ring starts off with a bunch of “tell” narrated on top of the “show”.
— For example the first arc could have easily been expanded into a single cour, a lot of the info dumping eliminated, better development of the Japanese Blanche branch, and more focus upon the characters and tensions between magic users and non-magic users. You would have been left with a fairly standard fantasy/sci-fi show, [emphasis added] but one that moves along at a brisk pace and provides enough eye candy to make up for the lack of tertiary details.
First, if you’re going to expand the first arc into one-cour, then what’s the problem with adding 2 or so episodes to encompass all that cut material per my suggestions above? Second, I do NOT want “fairly standard” and/or “brisk paced eye-candy” MKnR. PLENTY of that type of stuff already. Fine on occasion, but not what I want as a steady anime diet. TBH, I’m getting tired of being constantly inundated by that style of adaptation. I can think of at least three shows other than MKnR which IMO are suffering from that adaptation style this season alone.
For me, those “positives” would NOT make up for the missing detail, depth, complexity and sophistication. The fact that MKnR is NOT “fairly standard” (IMO) is the very reason I like it as much as I do. You take away most of what I like about the original story = it’s no longer MKnR. Frankly, if your going to rewrite the story to such a degree, why even bother? Just go write an original story – “Mahou HS Sensou”… oh wait. Never mind.
— It’s almost as though Madhouse were afraid that imaginatively reorganizing the story into something fit for TV would drive away a good chunk of viewers who have already read the LNs.
And with good reason – they would alienate a lot of loyal LN readers including myself. See above about do NOT want “based upon”/”shounenized”/etc. MKnR. Been there done that with an “imaginative reorganization” of another favorite series of mine in which I (along with number of other source material readers) was bitterly disappointed with said “adaptation”. Good “eye-candy” notwithstanding, you took something I considered very good/excellent and gave me greatly simplified, over-the-top, battle focused “meh” instead. Not happy. Now, if I do NOT like the original story – sure, feel free to do “based upon” or whatever.
Some random thoughts…
1. Mikihiko Yoshida was supposed to be introduced earlier on the first arc during their first class but was not named. He was supposed to attract attention because he finished assigning his classes very fast and left the room afterwards before Haruka Ono entered the room.
2. Loved the Erika fanservice!!! And LOL at Leo’s comments about her dress.
3. Tatsuya sensed he will be forcefully conscripted to join the Engineering Team. So before it was discussed, he planned to ditch the Student Council room. But her sister blocked his escape route!
4. When Azusa Nakajou was getting hyper on Tatsuya’s gun-shapped CAD, Miyuki made mistakes on her work. The reason was she was holding her laughter. It was fun for me this part; Tatsuya answered randomly to Azusa, Miyuki broke her back trying to hold her laughter and I was laughing out loud while watching it!
5. During the Student Council room breaktime, that part was from Mayumi’s point of view in the novel. She was totally caught of guard and said the “ehh” part loud as her question to Tatsuya was akin to random rambling.
6. The redhead was Eimi Akechi, beside Eimi was Subaru Satomi, the androgynous guy was Kei Isori, the maroon-haired was Kanon Chiyoda (if you noticed Kei and Kanon are a bit “close”). And of course, don’t forget Honoka and Shizuku.
7. Tatsuya was called “Special Officer/Lieutenant” by Major Kazama which appears to be from Japanese Military. So there’s a very high chance Tatsuya’s one also.
8. Silver Taurus works from FLT, Tatsuya is connected with FLT and will go there and have his “Third Eye” modded. Tatsuya has Silver Taurus’s Limited Edition gun, the Long Horn series and is great at software and wants to be a Magic Engineer. Both have the same initials, Tatsuya Shiba(Shiba Tatsuya) as TS(ST), and Silver Taurus as ST. Does that ring a bell?
9. Only Tatsuya is badass enough to pull a badass air chair with a pose.
10. Miyuki doing an air ballerina. Spectacular!
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Stilts edit: Spoilers! What’s going to happen next episode is a textbook spoiler. Watch it.
P.S. Can’t wait for Kyouko Fujibayashi to be shown in the anime. Here’s her pic.
“Third Eye” is not at FLT. Otherwise he wouldn’t have to schedule his arrangement with Kazama to be earlier.
I think you read my post wrong. “Third Eye” will Show Spoiler ▼
Stilts edit: Once again, use spoiler tags for things that haven’t happened yet.
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Stilts edit: Spoiler tag added for the above quoted spoiler.
Actually, that’s not true….
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Of course, the biggest give-away that Tatsuya’s military also is in the title itself:
The Irregular at Magic School: Irregulars are a form of military, and our lead is Tatsuya.
except that’s only because of choice of translation. original Japanese is Rettousei, which is, translated literally, poor-performing student (as opposed to yuutousei, well-performing student)
Or what if the students are being trained to join the military (magic cold war happening atm)
*dun dun dun*
This isn’t Hogwarts, so yeah magicians in still school whether Bloom or Weed will belong to the military. After all Japan retains its edge because of magic.
Tatsuya is an Irregular because 1) he’s already in the military and 2) his magic isn’t fit for standardized tests and 3) he’s badass.
Tatsuya’s initials have nothing to do with Taurus Silver’s. That’s just an English coincidence. HOWEVER, the pronunciation of “Shiba” in Japanese sounds very much like “Silver”. Next episode should explain the rest.
Another episode which doesn’t stand out and features similar structural problems as before, but to be fair it is a transition episode so we’ll see what happens next.
Agree about the flying bit though, the way it was shown here is just going to add fuel to fire of the Gary Stu callers. It is supposedly a serious question within the Mahouka-verse, yet our (overpowered) Tatsuya solves it easily without a hitch in the span of 15 minutes. That is not good storytelling. Considering the propensity to info dump, would it have been so difficult to have shown Tatsuya working at this problem earlier and use some of that time to provide the info as well? That little rework would have completely eradicated this issue.
It’s clear now the defects with Mahouka are not with the story, but with the adaptation. At least the hidden plot details are now starting to get revealed which offers the opportunity for Mahouka to get on track with a straightforward conflict and enemy. Interesting you also pointed out that potential Tatsuya-Taraus Silver link there Stilts, never occurred to me while watching. Going to have to think on that a bit 😛
“It is supposedly a serious question within the Mahouka-verse, yet our (overpowered) Tatsuya solves it easily without a hitch in the span of 15 minutes. That is not good storytelling. Considering the propensity to info dump, would it have been so difficult to have shown Tatsuya working at this problem earlier and use some of that time to provide the info as well? That little rework would have completely eradicated this issue.”
That’s exactly what I’m disappointed about. I’m just hoping the visit to FLT will actually address that issue. Not that timing makes a HUGE difference because he did end up solving one of the great mysteries. However, it taking him a year sounds more reasonable than him taking a day or a few hours. He might be a genius but even geniuses need to rest, don’t they?
I’m under the impression this guy doesn’t sleep; he waits.
Sadly, as someone who tends to see the anime versions first without knowing the source material a majority of the time, I definitely get that “Gary Stu” impression from Tatsuya much like I did with Akatsuki in Hagure Yuusha no Estetica (even though I’ve been told he does face actual powerful enemies that give him trouble later on in the source material). I know there’s more to it than that with the LN based on people’s comments here, but until I actually get around to checking the source materials out, assuming I’m able to, what the anime shows is all I have to go on.
Like I know the anime says Tatsuya has flaws and such that keeps him from being at the top but since we don’t get much detailed explanations about how he’s flawed (that we can at least understand, much less care about), it just feels empty considering all the other “advanced”, “brilliant”, etc. things Tatsuya does in the meantime.
Or Miyuki. I’ve been told that she’s pretty badass in the LN. Sadly, the anime version seems to make her look little more than an obsessed brocon with Tatsuya on the brain 24/7 to where it’s just annoying me now, with only that one short moment with attacking the Blanche Branch building displaying a bit of her strength (and even then, Tatsuya is all she’s thinking about).
And Mayumi and Mari, sadly, don’t seem to be getting nearly the attention they did that I’m told is in the LN.
Again, this is all purely from a person seeing the anime version first/only and not having read the source material.
you have the tendency to say “sadly” for every little things, I understand that Tatsuya seems overpowered but doesn’t automatically make the show bad or less enjoyable, I can enjoy a show with a OP main character the same way I enjoy a crying all the time weak willed main character. Tatsuya’s flaws were obviously shown: in short he is slow in casting magic and he is limited in the number of use if you compare it to other magicians, by the way that was explained clearly in the two occasions when he was doing tests.
Miyuki is badass and that “scene” like you said was not enough because she is always thinking about her brother. I really don’t understand you logic, how can someone be less badass if he thinks dearly of someone else?? and “sadly” that doesn’t make sense.
I’m not sure if it’s just because reading the comments here exposes me to so many LN readers, but I still don’t feel like Tatsuya is a Gary Stu. Closer than many, perhaps – I get why some people say that, even if it’s a misuse of the term – but it still felt like the flight problem was an adaptation/storytelling problem rather than a flaw with the underlying character or plot.
Not that it makes it any easier to defend Tatsuya as not being a Gary Stu, though. I’ve mostly started ignoring the accusation though. I can’t honestly be persuaded to care.
In terms of ability, Tatsuya is clearly overpowered. His strength is a combination of both the inherent ability and the large amount of effort, but that doesn’t change the fact. What makes the story work is that there are a lot of things binding him, so if he were to brute force an issue, he would have to deal with enough unpleasant consequences to make one consider a more elegant solution in the first place. The tension resulting from him maneuvering within those constraints, and other parties making sure that the chains aren’t too loose, is one of the key elements of the novels, and it’s something that should have been hinted already by this point in the story. “Should” is the key word here…
I honestly would’ve preferred this intro for ep 1, because it’s closer to what magic is in the Mahoukaverse.
Oh, and this is Tatsuya’s theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGXzlRoNtHU
Someone make an AMV with this, quick
Well, we all know what BS usually stands for, right? And naturally, she doesn’t like it when she’s called out on her lack of the magical ability.
It means Born Specialized or something like that, but apparently saying the whole term was too hard for the production committee. Considering how all the other concepts are mentioned in full, this makes no sense.
Yup, I’ve read the LN’s translations, but I also try to imagine what an anime-only viewer might think. So, when “BS” came up, I was going “uh-huh, I can guess what went through the minds of many people, they better explain”. Then… Nope, let’s just leave it like that. That’s a BS effort, Madhouse.
Miyuki is channelling a cross between Illya and Miyu from Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya with that outfit.
Mahou Shoujo naturally can fly right!?
Nope! It takes effort. Unless you’re Illya, of course. She thinks in nonsense and dreams enough for it to be easy, nyahaha!
For me, Miyuki’s reactions to Azusa’s shout out on how she adores Taurus Silver and Tatsuya’s little comment about Silver practically told me exactly who Silver is. That scene was pretty awesome.
I wonder why I even bother to read other reviews. You have a special way of writing that makes it impossible to not get where you’re coming from. It might be the same thing or criticisms others are saying…and yet it sounds different and more valid coming from you. How do you do it, Stilts?
Anyway, I completely agree with everything you said (except one: Erika is NOT best girl:) ) It makes me happy that at least some people who are really giving this a chance will get some of the main points despite the anime screwing up in various important ways. I don’t blame the anime too much…but I do blame them in some ways. Despite the criticism against telling and not showing in the novels, it does get the job done. Therefore I won’t be shaking my head in confusion 2 novels down the road, and while I get that full adaptation of the novel is impossible, I can’t help but wonder whether the animators even read the source material first. I can understand cutting out something due to constraints but, if that happens, shouldn’t all events depending on that something be cut too? If major events happen as a result of that something cut out, it’s impossible to cut them all out. And that’s where I’m confused. Anyone reading the novels would have known how important Tatsuya’s goal was. The anime got that… but then they broadened the parameters of the goal so much that other important elements couldn’t be inferred from such a goal. Had they mentioned Tatsuya’s very specific goal of building a thermonuclear reactor, it would have been a lot easy to see how him solving the mystery of flying magic connected to his goal of building the reactor which ties into the real broad aspect of his goal. As for the flying magic itself, someone else pointed out how much of a difference one word would have made had Miyuki gone,”Onii-sama, you’ve FINALLY done it, blah, blah.” It’s not like it would have taken time away from her worship. These may seem like small negligible things but I’m afraid they’ll soon add up till one can barely understand how certain things came to be and end up yelling “Asspulls” or something.
Anyway, I’m just happy you haven’t been scared off yet. The anime (and subsequently novels) are currently taking a huge blow in discussion threads 🙁 so it helps to see a review that isn’t all negative. Thanks Stilts 🙂
Here’s a tip: don’t read anime forums. You’ll be happier for it.
I really try not to… but the places to read thoughts on episodes are quite limited.
Most anime forums/discussions tend to devolve into “your taste is shit and you should kill yourself”. Very few places actually have decent discussions in both the main article and comments. RC is one such place and another I recently discovered is WrongEveryTime. The blogger is actually quite insightful and it also attracts a lot of insightful thoughts in the comments. Highly recommend checking it out if you want to escape the ‘fanboys’ of the main forums.
Generally, I agree with Solace, though not all places are THAT bad. For example I want to give the Animesuki mods some credit for maintaining a relatively civil atmosphere with only few spoilers.
For some particularly unsavory people, hating just isn’t that much fun if there isn’t anyone around you can pester. Interesting social phenomenon on the internet. And unfortunately, the current conversion leaves enough weaknesses to criticize.
Wasn’t animesuki’s database compromised?
It was compromised… Ah well…
Just being myself, explaining myself clearly, and trying not to hate. A lot of people trip up on the second or third point, and of course, no one else can be me 😀 (Thankfully. Then I’d have to take em out)
I will come to the defense of the animators and script writers to a certain degree. While I won’t defend the ham-fisted ways they’ve gone about animating some of the scenes they’ve chosen to show, from the get-go I fully expected them to leave out some important details. It can sometimes be hard to remember all the intricate details of a story even if you’re the original creator (trust me on that one), so a team of others coming in, and people who probably have only read the source material maybe once…well, I’m not surprised they’d miss a few things. Even were this adaptation going better, it’s an complex story, so I expected a few things would be lost.
It’s still not going as well as it could (and perhaps should) be going, but I don’t want to act like its an easy feat. It’s a hard one, they just happen to be tripping up more than is perhaps warranted.
Really ? I have to rewatch that part, I thought it was just Miyuki showing her inappropriate jelousy yet again. Maybe they could have added some sounds of hold back laughter from Miyuki, I would have understood better the situation and what it implied. They only showed some errors on Miyuki’s screen. Maybe it was clearer in the LN.
I’m generally satisfied with the show, but reading everyone’s comments and making my own considerations, I see that the adaptation doesn’t reach excellency with this one.
silly me, this was intended as a reply to Ungas123 above. Disregard this, can’t delete messages (if some Admin wants to, he’s welcome).
I don’t think she was holding back her laughter. That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing Miyuki would do. I think she just has a really obvious tell.
Obvious to the audience. The characters within are dumbfounded by plot, or if they do know their thoughts aren’t explored beyond the gag– which is the same as not knowing.
I will fully enjoy the mass bro-con sis-con teasing by their friends if the implication is explored however. The relationship humour is one of the better points of this show.
Here’s the pic from the manga.
Look at the lower right panel part of the pic, at how Tatsuya randomly answered Aa-chan’s question, Miyuki’s stumbling with a big sweat behind her head.
On the lower left part, Miyuki was avoiding showing her face to everyone else, with a bit of sweat on her cheeks and she’s shivering. Suzune noticed her strange behavior.
Those two points doesnt show her being a jealous yandere but instead holding back her laughter.
Blood loss trauma… Help
Find a way to give Erika more screen time!
In terms of plot progression, I actually thought that the flying magic stuff moved too quickly in the LN as well. There’s a bit more foreshadowing in the LN, but still not enough in my opinion.
What saved the LN was that the explanations made sense. The reasoning for why flying is hard made sense, and Tatsuya’s solution also made sense. The LN also made it clear that Tatsuya’s flying magic is related to Taurus Silver’s loop cast system.
Basically, the technobabble really carried the LN here, and it will continue to play an important role in the story. The nine-school competition arc is my favorite arc in the LN, but I’m not sure the anime can make it work after skipping most of the magic system explanations.
When the characters are just bouncing their personalities off each other this show seems fairly good. But whenever it tries to get into exposition things take a turn for the worse. Not because exposition is bad inherently, but because it’s become clear that people have gone into the exposition with chainsaws and hacked out huge sections of it, to the point that exposition no longer explains anything. Characters start on an explanation, viewers are left going “well, they’re babbling again, just nod and smile and pretend it means something.”
I would call this a representation of the Mahouka problem in miniature. An explanation that we should have, which in fact probably should have been given at the same time as the term, but which for one reason or another someone decided to cut, while still leaving in the term that needed explaining.
Good point. That little scene was a microcosm of this show’s exposition problem. Chainsaws aren’t the appropriate tool here.
“I understand the parts about actualizing a Gravity Control Type Thermonuclear Fusion Reactor, and actualizing a Quasi-perpetual Motion Machine based on Infinite Inertial Expansion, but I can’t figure out how to explain why General-purpose Flying Spells can’t be actualized…”
“Once again, Brother, you’ve made the impossible possible.”
…this show is a parody, right?
“Foreshadowing” factor seem to be a really big deal for you, Stilts.
I think you might have a syndrome of over analyzing everything, (because otherwise you would have seen it for how it was made to be seen), from normal perspective this episode was simply made to make Tatsuya look just “really, really fucking cool”, SC introduced the problem of “flight”, then they hinted as much as possible that Tatsuya is the genius creator, and then he simply solves problem of flying with magic after school, because he could, because it was as easy as tying shoelaces for him.
And if it makes it look that way, then it gives a completely wrong impression.
I don’t think that foreshadowing is always necessary, and I don’t remember Stilts claiming something like that either. The problem is that here we had an example of clumsy foreshadowing even in the novels, the anime with its pacing just made the matters worse. There was no need to bring up the topic of the flying magic at school, they could go straight to the scene at home and provide additional explanations at that time.
Order of presentation does matter, which is pretty much the whole of storytelling, or in the case of novels the quality of writing.
So far, the Anime’s really bad at pacing, lead-up and presentation. Maybe it is inherent to the light novel where there’s plenty of room for dialogue and internal monologue, giving room for the reader to diguest the ideas, but having flight be solved within the same 20 minute episode trivializes the conflict.
The fine tuning was trivial too, since there was no passage of time. If it took our main character hours to make the actual maintenence (or at least pretend 20 minutes passed), that’d be a signifigant effort. Instead, he was done before instant ramen.
Maybe that flies underneath the suspension of disbelief goggles for others, but it does not for me.
It is harder to believe he has any actual challenge or difficulties when there’s instant gratification to his problems and conflict.
It’s an enduring rant of mine that anime don’t do a better job at managing the flow of time. Some do, but it’s a common problem that they don’t manage the changed pacing brought about by compressing what may take an hour to read (and might be set down and come back to) into a 22 minute episode. Other stories in other mediums have pacing problems too, but anime rarely makes use of simple cuts (or even on-screen messages like in Isshukan Friends) to show the passage of time.
I wish more would.
One thing to remember is that when the story starts, we abruptly invade into the lives of characters, and it’s not like we were following them all the way from the childhood. It’s natural for them to be already working on/dealing with some ongoing matters, and it’s actually weird if everything of importance starts only after we get to join the party. If something has started during the time before the interval that’s covered by the show, you can throw in a flashback if necessary, or just present the result if a short explanation suffices. Trying to foreshadow that specific matter in a forced manner and five minutes prior to the relevant event is not a good way to do things, but that’s the problem that was carried over from the novels (an example of the thing they could cut out, but didn’t).
The three great puzzles should have been mentioned in the conversation with Mibu, where their introduction wasn’t forced at all, and the flying magic, while mentioned in passing, should have been introduced back then as well, simultaneously establishing the scale of the problem. That’s what the novels do, but the anime doesn’t. The discussion during the lunch wasn’t necessary, rather, it just came out of left field and made the the things feel forced. Explaining that Tatsuya’s implementation is based on loop-cast system, on the other hand, is important for obvious reasons. They will probably do that in the next episode, but cutting the episode without doing that even though they had time gives deus ex machina feeling.
Yep so many ways to improve. I do acknowledge and bow that it is no easy task to make an anime, especially converting from a LN, but this could’ve been done better.
Much agreed on time, pacing and presentation. It makes me appreciate the shows that do it well all that much more. Currently on my list: Nisekoi, No Game No Life and Sidonia no Kishi. Each have timeskips and good pacing presentation. They each have flaws. For nisekoi it is romcom cliches, Sidonia’s character animation, … NGNL too much fan– who am I kidding I yum the fan service up and it is done well. I’m hard pressed to find flaws in NGNL.
I would amend further under that branch of time, that japenese media as a whole do not appreciate the time it takes to actually develop skill. There is a lot of emphasis on overly talented young characters with no real reason, while denying the strengths of adults.
I really enjoy when shows present adults as not completely useless. Even Gundam Build fighters does this, in contrast to the major body of their work being focused on teenage mavericks. Lt Ral & Master (amongst countless others) get their spotlight at the end as disgustingly overpowered. It is competing with adults with entire nations at their backs… not just overpowered kids with no experience or reason to actually believe they can handle a situation.
It is great to see characters grow, but really kids are near useless especially against those who’ve had a lifetime of experience and building power behind their backs.
There are breakthroughs to be made, but nothing is done in a vacuum. For Mahouka, it is a mark in its favor that Tatsuya having schedule regular visits to that company means extensive knowledge networks beyond himself. He’s no longer just a miracle kid, he’s propped up the work of many others.
You’ve brought up an interesting point, I’ve always thought that almost all of Mahouka’s main characters could be turned into graduate students (if you want to keep the educational facility setting) with very little changes. Rather, it’s like a bunch of proficient young adults were stuffed into the bodies of high-school students while keeping their skills and mental maturity, at least in the areas that matter.
At first I thought it was done just to target a wider audience and attach “light” to “novels”, but there might be other reasons. For example, as a high school student, Tatsuya doesn’t possess nearly as much influence and doesn’t boast the kind of social status that we can expect him to have in the future. Same goes for Miyuki. Heck, even as high-school students, Mayumi and Katsuto can pull enough strings to make me think it would be no fun if they were any more influential than that.
Saying things like “how it was made/meant to be seen” is a loaded phrase. Authors may have a certain thing they were trying to convey, but each person’s experience with the material is valid as well, and what they draw from that thing.
As for me over-analyzing everything, to a certain degree I have to do that with the shows I blog because otherwise I would have nothing to talk about. I really do think about these things all the time though, because I’m a storyteller and I’m interested in when stories are told well (or not).
And because Mahouka is its author’s first work, there’s also a bit of rivalry, right? Which, obviously, isn’t a bad thing.
Rivalry? What do you mean? *confused*
Aren’t you writing your first novel as well? It was mostly pronounced in the first few reviews, but I was clearly getting the feeling of “I’m not going to make the same mistake” from them 🙂
Oh, haha! No, I don’t feel any rivalry with Tsutomu-sensei. He’s already a successful author and I’m not, so if anything I’m an upstart rather than a rival. There’s plenty of room for both of us to succeed though, not the least because we write in different languages.
Mind you, there are plenty of mistakes that he (and others) have made that I do not intend to repeat. Some I’ll probably make anyway, because this stuff is hard. For the rest, I hope to make new and exciting mistakes 😀 Then someone else can vow not to make the mistakes I made, and the circle continues.
Isn’t fiction fun? 😀
Well, I was talking about the rivalry in a good sense, not “I’ll take over your readers, bwahaha!” sort of thing 🙂 The fact that he’s got successful on the first try is exactly what makes him someone whom another aspiring author might want to compete with. May be it’s just me, but it really looked that you were putting more effort than usual into disassembling the story and examining the elements that make it up.
And sure, knowing about all kinds of pitfalls doesn’t necessarily mean you would notice and evade one if it happened to be set in front of you. I’m pretty sure the staff working on this show knows better than any one of us about how to do and how not to do things when it comes to anime adaptation in general, but knowing and putting that knowledge to use are two different animals, even more so if it’s creative work we’re talking about.
Well, watching authors struggle is also entertaining in it own way, bwahaha 🙂
This episode is the calm before the storm…
I know that they have cut scenes with Shizuku/Honoka but…have they showed up at all since their first appearance? there was an odd comment today made by the pair that can only be explained if they knew him (which they would if we knew the two groups were hanging out, but that was left out completely in the anime thus far IIRC?)
the adaptation’s really trying to throw in too much from the LN with the minimum investment in detail
Nope, Honoka and Shizuku have been mostly missing since the second episode. They were suppose to be always with Miyuki ever since that incident in the first episode. That makes it look like Miyuki is a loner and always tailing Tatsuya.
There was one part that was suppose to happen around episode 5 where they were suppose to have lunch together with Tatsuya in their classroom as they ran late in their practicals. Miyuki showed how fast her cast speed(around 200ms IIRC) was to the group at that part.
In this episode as well, they left out the part where Tatsuya was summoned to the faculty room and Honoka/Shizuku was with the group waiting for the reason why he was called by the teachers.
The director probably hates Honoka.
Depending on how successful this series goes, if we’re to see more of Honoka and Shizuku, then we might have to hope the spin-off manga Yuutousei centred around Miyuki gets its own anime as well, much like Railgun to Index.
To be honest though, Honoka and Shizuku don’t have much of a role in Enrollment besides introduction. The most hateful cuts are the ones done to the ones who actually had stuff removed like Mayumi, Mayumi, Mayumi, Miyuki and Miyuki and to a certain extent Mari and Erika.
Mayumi is very well liked by people who read just the first novels and that’s because she isn’t just too SHAI SHAI GAARU or whatever they made her out to be in this.
guess we just have to wait till Nine Schools Competition to see those two in all their glory. anime-only viewers also have no clue what Mayumi’s really like either ._. or Mari perhaps
What is this “Morally Decadent Era” Mikihiko and Leo are referring to where bloomers are common? LOL
Jealous Miyuki is fun to watch, everytime she fumbles over her computer controls whenever A-chan oogles over her onii-sama’s CAD guns.
And I have absolutely no idea why she’s cosplaying at the end, though she looks cute in it. <3
that era is what is now today, right now, for us.
she’s not cosplaying, just dressing up for Mirage Bat, one of the events at Nine Schools Competition
Land lines are harder to hack, thus why they probably still have land lines.
Other than that, I got nothing.
Adding to the whole Taurus Silver’s guns thing: Show Spoiler ▼
I’m just spoilering it in case. This whole fangirling thing also happened back when Tatsuya was putting away his CAD after his duel with Hattori, and the above was mentioned by Azusa at that point.
Reminds me of Agent 47’s Silverballers.
Real question: Why does everyone assume that Tatsuya solved the problem of flight in one episode?
Just because it’s the first time we were introduced to it doesn’t mean it’s something he hasn’t been working on in the past. Indeed, the very fact that Tatsuya was aware of the England flight experiments and was able to point out their flawed design suggests that this is a subject he’s been actively looking into and aware of. This is not the type of news that you see on yahoo or television. Its an academic study that you would only be aware of if you were working in the same field or were actively looking for.
You can argue that its awfully coincidental that flight comes up as a topic at school and Tatsuya happens to solve it in the same episode, but so what. Isn’t it awfully coincidental that the first episode started on the day of the opening ceremony? Also, its not like flight was the climax of the series. From what I hear its a prerequisite, a stepping stone, so why does it require massive foreshadowing?
Unrelated: Imo, Erika is in the lead in the “Best Girl” competition.
False equivalence. Where the anime decides to start has no relevance to this issue. Firstly, we never knew that Tatsuya was working on the flight magic problem, so this whole solving it by the end of the day thing is certainly from left field. He did talk about generating energy with Sayaka (which here we CAN deduce as something that he’s been working on for a while), but you didn’t hear flight being mentioned there did you? You seem to subscribe to the idea that it’s OK to not foreshadow and just let things happen as is, ad lib style. That is the kind of sloppy writing that takes viewers aback, and not in a good way. The fact that they had Tatsuya solving it that night while talking about it earlier in the day is not the whole issue. The whole issue is seen when compounded with the fact that (1) the flight problem is extremely difficult to solve, maybe like the Millenium Problems and (2) he outsmarted a whole team of researchers who probably worked on that problem for maybe as long as Tatsuya’s been alive. The script is basically bending itself ass-backwards to drill in the point that Tatsuya is unequivocally awesome.
No one’s asking for massive foreshadowing; just foreshadowing. A line of dialogue would’ve rectified this quite elegantly. It’s like suddenly taking out Cherkov’s gun when we the entire time the show presented itself like it was an anti-gun convention.
And I’m asking whats the problem with never hearing about him working on flight before this episode? From what I gathered from the show and how the discovery was presented, I’d say everyone is misinterpreting the significance of the sustained flight discovery. Tatsuya states at the end of the episode,
“This has brought me one step closer to my goal.”
This tells me two things:
1) flight, although incredible to others, is not the end goal.
2) Tatsuya has a goal that he’s working towards with his research.
So what does that make flight? It is foreshadowing for this greater goal. Why would you need foreshadowing for foreshadowing?
“The whole issue is seen when compounded with the fact that (1) the flight problem is extremely difficult to solve, maybe like the Millenium Problems and (2) he outsmarted a whole team of researchers who probably worked on that problem for maybe as long as Tatsuya’s been alive.”
1) Idk what the millennium problems are, but it sounds like they are difficult to solve.
2) Whats so unbelievable about that. Has that not happened before in real life? Do innovators not exist? Is it so strange to believe that his discovery of anti-magic didn’t aid him in his discovery of sustained flight and give him an edge over everyone else in the world?
The scene in the anime mentioned the Three Great Puzzles of Magic:
1) Gravity controlled thermonuclear fusion reactor
2) Perpetual motion device
3) General Flight Magic
These puzzles have been theorized and investigated since Magic was discovered. Two of them are potentially UNLIMITED safe green energy generators. Flight was simply the easiest and least impressive one to solve. Now….guess what’s Tatsuya’s goal…
That really is interesting. I’ve never thought of it that way. I was pretty dismayed at how the anime made the completion of flight magic anti-climactic. But yeah, you are kind of right:
The flight magic is actually foreshadowing (for quite a few things), and foreshadowing that would be foreshadowing foreshadowing-ing-ish-thing.
Obviously, the more awe-inspiring one. <- useless answer, no spoilers
Show Spoiler ▼
The problem is pacing. (Well, one of the problems is pacing.) I can’t speak for others, but I didn’t think Tatsuya solved the problem all in a day, it’s just that, before I had a chance to internalize the idea that “solving the flight problem is hard”, Tatsuya had already solved it, so it felt trivialized. When a character does something impossible, it’s better to slowly build that thing up to be impossible so we can internalize that as truth and then be impressed when they surmount said challenge anyway.
I’m having trouble thinking of anime examples that aren’t MASSIVE spoilers, so take Lord of the Rings – Sam giving up the ring (giving it back to Frodo) only became impressive because it was repeatedly shown how difficult the feat was, by repeatedly showing that Frodo had trouble doing that very thing (and Bilbo as well, & Gandalf feared it, etc). If that had happened earlier in the story, it would have meant nothing, because we wouldn’t have internalized how powerful the ring’s draw was.
As for foreshadowing the foreshadowing, that’s entirely reasonable. That’s called world-building. You build up the world slowly and steadily so that everything that arises can be intuited (or at least seems reasonable) from the underlying foundation the reader understands. For a certain kind of story – a group to which Mahouka belongs – that’s the name of the game.
Need proof? Other commenters have noted that the LNs did foreshadow the flying thing at least a little bit. The anime just cut even that meager foreshadowing out.
It’s quite sad how in reality most things in mahouka the LN makes sense but the anime is having this much trouble conveying the right informations. There is also the problem that some things are not what they seem to be and that they will only be explained later on but a few viewers already complain about them.
It does make sense for Tatsuya to be able to solve the problem on his own when groups of researchers couldn’t, not every researcher possess the same level of expertise in the field, Tatsuya just happens to be awesome, it’s not the first time that an amazing scientist was born and revolutionized everything, there is also another reason but that would be spoiling.
As for the foreshadowing part about flight magic, I’m going to answer in a spoiler but well it’s just putting together the pieces of what’s already been shown in the anime so far
Show Spoiler ▼
Stilts edit: Spoiler tags are enclosed with <>, not . Fixed.
@Stilts re: how ‘The Three Great Puzzles’ don’t seem so great now that one seems to have been solved so easily…
I wonder if there might be some cultural factor at play here. One thing that has always amused me about Japan is their tendency for grouping things into threes. E.g. The Three Great Summer Festivals, the Three Views, the Three Great Hot Springs etc. They’re quite possibly regarded as being on or just slightly under the level of ‘the seven wonders of the world’ in Japan, so perhaps just invoking the cliche of “The Three Great…” is regarded as enough for the intended Japanese audience…?
(Oh, and by the looks of it, even in the novel, it was mentioned just once in passing – i.e. in Tatsuya’s head – prior to the scene in this episode…so I’m personally not surprised they cut it out.)
The concept of the trinity is not new. It’s found all over in religion, philosophy, myths, etc.
Rather, not exclusive to Japanese culture. Might even predate it.
I am aware that the origins of the significance of three probably predate it’s use in Japan, especially in religious circles (though Japan too has it’s own ‘threes’ in that area too). But I’m not claiming that it’s unique to Japan, just that it seems to be more ubiquitous is their society today than it seems to be in our own. I personally haven’t seen as great a propensity in other countries TODAY to use ‘The Three Great…”, whether in using them to figure out a travel itinerary, creating new labels in a particular field or even in debating what is part of a particular triad.
Though I may well be mistaken, of course, being only familiar with a tiny proportion of the world’s societies…
Great point, which really goes to show just how much of Mahouka is conveyed so subtly.
The viewer’s reaction in probably meant to be:
(Scene at school): Why in the world do you know about that?!
(Last scene): Oh, it’s because you’ve been working on it for a while…
But most viewers today are more like: they never showed us that he was working on it, so that’s another deus ex machina (or something similar)…
I’d say as a LN reader that this is a subpar adaptation. I could think of numerous ways for Madhouse to adapt the LNs properly but I’m not sure they’re gonna be good for those who don’t read nor plan to read the LNs. Madhouse could’ve put the technobabble that weren’t part of character conversations in pre-OP narratives. They’ve could’ve also put explanations of unfamiliar terms in boxes as the conversations proceeded just like in Shuffle! (not sure if that was the work of the studio or the fansubbers). Cutting out a lot of conversations and character interactions pretty much left a lot of holes in the plot and characters. It also reduced the fun (read: funny) parts a lot for me.
I’d still stick with the show, though. I’ve waited for the action scenes and Tatsuya trolling everyone to be animated. I’m not gonna let bad execution of non-action scenes discourage me from watching this to the end.
I was hoping Show Spoiler ▼
Stilts edit: Please stop spoiling things. I’m not an LN reader, I don’t like having to read these things so I know where to add your missing tags.
A bunch of spoilers above in bobon721 post, need a tag ASAP 🙂
Anyway, the format of Trivias in epilogues fits well for these case of Technobabble, I think.
they had a web mini-series to explain a lot of stuff that was left out but it’s not nearly adequate enough
Mayumi all the way!! Also, yes, very spoiler name drops in your post.
I Effing agree. This might even solve Show Spoiler ▼
Thanks for that, Stilts… and sorry about that for the anime-only viewers. I’ve been seeing character names from the later novels appearing in the comments section so I thought it was fine, especially when the anime adaptation won’t reach those parts of the story. I think I got my fill of Honoka scenes on episode 9 though I think some important scenes were still cut.
I kinda like Mayumi, too. She’s been getting the short end of the stick regarding characterization in the anime adaptation, though. I hope Madhouse steps it up with the Mayumi-related scenes in the next few episodes since Show Spoiler ▼
A-chan BEST GIRL!!
I like that Shizuku got in a few lines too.
We’ll get more Aa-chan time next arc.
New arc, same issues. Too much material cut, odd little changes for the worse etc. IDK why I still hope for a beneficial change in adaptation method at this point. Silly me. Still, disappointing that the Nine Schools Competition Arc starts off by cutting approximately 20 pages/7000 words (incl. Chapter 0). That’s roughly 8% of LN volume 03 removed before the first frame of episode 08. *sigh* Poor Honoka and Shizuku along with others. Poor world/character building, entertaining (IMO) SOL moments, plot elements/foreshadowing and exposition. “Explain yourself!” indeed.
I LOL’d at [Tatsuya] “So you’re a BS magician, then?” [Haruka] “I don’t like being referred to that way”. Bullshit magician? Yeah, I wouldn’t like that either. OH! You mean “xyz magician”! (“xyz” because Stilts doesn’t want to know, but IMO it’s a defined term, not a spoiler). Why didn’t you say so in the first place and take like maybe 10 seconds to EXPLAIN what that is… like LN does? *sigh* The attempt to adapt as much source material as possible is bad enough IMO, but what time is allotted for each arc isn’t used to best effect. The anime could have easily found those necessary 10 seconds for explanation.
— “I feel like I’ll be saying this a lot, but I really wish they would slow down more and let us indulge in more of the Mahouka banter. It’s fun.”
LOL – welcome to my world. The “SOL”scenes and character banter are a big part of what I enjoy about the LN. Not only fun, but give characters depth which IMO is sorely lacking in the anime. Furthermore, what is kept does not come across as entertaining/funny to me as in the LN due to cuts/changes. Frankly, that whole SC lunch scene felt flat compared to the LN. From LN – NO spoilers:
Show Spoiler ▼
I LOL’d reading “et tu, Miyuki?”, and greatly enjoyed imaging Tatsuya trying to squirm his way out of something he didn’t want to do as the noose drew tighter and tighter. Tatsuya is stoic, but he does have some personality and funny moments. The anime makes him practically wooden by comparison IMO. :<
— “As soon as they started talking about it, I thought “So I guess flying will become important soon”, and I was right. The problem is that they didn’t foreshadow this enough.”
It is foreshadowed in the LN, and part of a bigger picture of which a LOT of little clues were cut out by the anime. Flying magic is one of the “Three Great Puzzles of Weight Systematic Magic” which is explained in LN vol 02 during the second time Mibu meets with Tatsuya at the cafe. Anime shortened/altered that scene to my dismay. I thought the anime mentioned/explained “The Three Great Puzzles” elsewhere, but guess not or in insufficient detail. I’ll err on the side of caution for spoilers, but I think it’s safe to mention that a key component of Flight Magic is the “Loop Cast System” for CADs. Not sure if that came across in the anime.
— “We’ve once again confirmed that Kirihara was introduced badly since he’s now clearly not a douchebag…”
Disagree. Kirihara reflected upon his behavior after recruitment week (he was lucky not to get suspended), and recognized/realized Tatsuya’s talents. Not only Tatsuya taking him down in seconds, but Kirihara saw the aftermath of Tatsuya pawning the Blanche cannon fodder. Clearly, there’s more to Tatsuya than just “some course 2 student (“weed”)”. IMO, Kirihara simply changed his outlook due to new experience. I think that’s more character development than bad introduction.
Yeap, Kirihara wasn’t a douchebag.
He wanted to SPAR with Mibu and PLAY with her that time but came as arrogant (maybe to hide his embarrassment). Kirihara was supposed to hit Mibu’s head first with his downward slash(or was it a lunge strike, cant remember) but changed his trajectory because he didn’t want to hit her head without protection. The results was Mibu striking first and dislocating Kirihara’s arm. Erika even confirmed Kirihara change the trajectory of his swing which was not animated.
When one is truly an arrogant S.O.B., that person would never accept the mistakes they made themselves and always think that they are always right. But on the other hand, Kirihara accepted he was at the wrong and he even reflected on it which a standard S.O.B. character would never do ’cause he wasn’t one to begin with.
On Kirihara, he was absolutely introduced badly. As an anime-only viewer I first saw him and thought Sugita Tomokazu was doing a rare two-dimensional villain role, but then he turns out to be a good guy while LN readers tell me all the reasons why he actually wasn’t being a two-dimensional asshole in that first scene. That first episode he appeared in was the problem. After that he’s almost been another character entirely, anime-wise.
Yeah I agree it was presented badly. The anime needed to clarify what really happened there in order to make the scene a better representation of his character, otherwise it will look like he did a 180 with his attitude.
I realised today that this could have been made obvious by a slight change in the translation. In the anime, the term that Tatsuya uses (起動式の連続処理) is translated as “the successive processing of the Activation Sequences”, whilst the LN translator decided to use “the Loop System”.
Just in case:
Show Spoiler ▼
I think this probably goes to show how important it is for a translator to know the material he/she is translating very well. From what I have heard, the bulk of an interpreter’s effort goes into preparation by getting to know the person he/she is translating for – the same should ideally be true for translators…but I guess they don’t get paid enough…
@Stilts: I think the general problem with anime adaptations like these is the desire of the anime staff to appease the diehard Japanese fans, ie. the ones who actually buy the merchandise and BDs.
Basically,I think they try to cram in all superflous details from the novel to satisfy the specific group of fans and prevent them from accusing the anime of shortchanging things.(while ironically shortchanging more general/casual viewers.) This is to ensure the diehards will buy the merchandise so the anime staff can earn a profit, given how much the industry is dependent on fans buying their goods and BDs.
Just my 2 cents on the economic situation.
that could be the case but there’s a problem imo. just what are they appealing with? half-assed details? I’m pretty sure people don’t buy the BD for technobabble, especially if they simply give an acronym (BS Magician)and not expand, let alone explain the term. people are much more likely to buy for the action or certain characters. imo not too much intense action yet and as for characters, Mayumi, Mari, and Shizuku/Honoka all are lacking scenes. Mayumi’s coming off as a completely different character in the anime atm while Shizuku/Honoka are just completely absent
Appeasing the core audience vs making a show that’s appealing for the general audience. Guess what earns more and requires more effort to make.
As zztop mentioned they are appealing with staying “true” to the source material. Doesn’t matter in the die-hard’s case that details are being ignored or not elaborated upon, the otakus who have read the LNs already know about these things and simply want them included/mentioned in the adaptation (and we all know how ridiculous the culture can be when it comes to inclusions and exclusions). It’s all about the adaptation meeting the expectations that the reader had in mind when originally enjoying the LNs.
Where it hurts is in attracting new viewers to the series, but gamble seems to be that the loss here will be offset by the original fans sticking with it.
See, the problem is that Tatsuya’s character is written into a very narrow corner; he’s stoic and emotionally reserved for a reason. You already know the reason so I won’t elaborate. Since that is an inherent quality of the character, it’s unusually hard to give him a personality via show, rather than tell because he has like two or three facial expressions, but you still have the ability to just let him do things; his face is just one aspect of “show.” In the anime, he does an awful lot of talking and that’s generally where we get to learn a bit of how he ticks, if we can call it that. It’s really mostly just explanations for magic concepts. I’m still not sure what he’s truly fighting for or what his views on certain relevant topics are (he’s a child soldier for fuck’s sake if you think about it).
To contrast, take Walter White (or Jesse Pinkman) from Breaking Bad. I don’t think there were ever any monologues in that show and he has plenty of these small alone moments where he just does things in quiet and that’s one of the places where you get learn about his character close up; by just watching him do, rather than listening to him tell. Listening to him talk [with other characters] is a whole other thing and well-written dialogue can provide much more than with just straight internal monologues.
An example I can give that’s fairly early in the show is when Walt and his wife is attending his college buddy’s birthday party. Walt goes ballistic on Skyler (paraphrased), “You actually told them about my situation? No wonder they making those offers. I don’t need help. It’s like they pity me.” In this one exchange we learn that Walt is prideful. It’s a roundabout way to what is functionally the same thing but that’s the difference between realistic dialogue and what we get in Mahouka. Coupled with fantastic cinematography, there were moments that you bought into Bryan Cranston’s acting that when Walt did some heinous, heinous things, you were genuinely surprised at how Walt thought he was right the whole time.
I’ve spent 8 episodes thus far lamenting how the Mahoukaverse has all these different things that can be tackled or cemented as strong, compelling themes that can catapult it above the other stories of its type. It’s just a wasted potential I feel. Again, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was created independently from Mahouka but still arrived at very similar premises (for the first arc at least), but it was so thematically strong; everything shown served to support the core themes. If I was in charge of the anime adaptation, I’d try to incorporate all that I can in a more intuitive way while putting focus on some of these [darker] themes that are not readily apparent unless you employ fridge logic. Like I would love to know how Tatsuya feels about being so powerful and having almost no equal. How does he feel about the state of the world and his place in it? The idea that Miyuki might be mentally ill for being overly attached to her older brother and how he thinks she should be free to live however she wants. Cognitive dissonance (his friends sticking with him even knowing he’s actually an asshat, wanting to help humanity but only knows how to kill). Stuff like that. The problem here is that we still don’t know what the story is trying to say [due to how contradictory some of the apparent messages are] and that’s a problem 8 episodes in.
It’s more about attaining narrative focus than trying to keep what I think is a mess of ideas from the source material. My description would be that Mahouka is trying to be something like Muv-Luv Alternative, where it tries to have everything but the kitchen sink, like an entire universe with its own living, breathing world, with all its extraneous details to help us suspend our disbelief and buy into a world where humanity is fighting a war of attrition with an alien race and showcasing the best and worst that humanity had to offer. IMO, MLA is probably the best executed and complete effort I’ve seen from Japanese creators because it’s so incredibly focused. It had a story it wanted to tell and didn’t forget it partway through. It had points it wanted to tackle and tackle the points it did.
tl;dr – Tatsuya’s character almost destroys the avenue of “show, don’t tell” due to how he is written. Internal monologue is cheap, but it’s probably the only way at this point. What an arbitrary design choice on part of the author.
My proposal to fixing the whole series is to focus on a set of core themes and never lose sight of them. No contradictory messages, nothing of that sort. You may provide different points of view, but again, no contradictory messages. Everything you present builds upon those themes.
Pretty sure I went on a tangent at some points, this was pretty wordy, so I apologize.
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