「九校戦編III」 (Kyuukou Sen Hen III)
“Nine Schools Competition Part III”

More set up for the Nine Schools Competition arc. They’re at the hotel now!

For Exposition’s Sake

As a writer myself, I’ve struggled with exposition. How do you work it into the story without bending the narrative to give you excuses to spout exposition? I prefer it be done in one of two ways: woven naturally into the narrative, or flagrantly done outside of the narrative. DEATH NOTE is a good example of both of these. Most of the exposition (explaining the rules of the Death Notes) is uncovered as it becomes relevant and through the actions of the characters – natural exposition. But the anime also gave us extras (and reminders) via its commercial cuts – that’s flagrant exposition. With this in mind, how does Mahouka do with the suicide car scene?

Fails on both counts. (Though of course, these are my opinions on how exposition “should” be done, so your mileage may vary.) There was absolutely no tension in the scene when there were all of those powerful magicians on the bus, so the point of the scene was exposition – to talk about how disorderly launched spells can clash (explaining why there should have been exposition), bring up Tatsuya’s Gram Dispersion ability (which apparently cancels magical sequences), and even to lead to the discussion between Kirihara and Hanzo. I would have preferred they just infodump on us during the commercial cuts, but if not exposition needs to be woven more tightly into the narrative, not tied into a scene that seems so completely disjointed from the rest of the episode. Though I’m sure we’ll later find out it’s not, for reasons that are utterly unclear right now (other than the “Watch out for terrorists!” bit however many episodes ago).

Side note: If you’re going to do a suicide attack, try to suck less than this. It really felt like there was no chance the car would reach them.

The Magic-Future is Prudish

So wearing a knee-length skirt and tube top is considered scandalous in the magic-future? (I guess everyone has just gotten used to Erika. P.S. Those shoes are awesome!) Commenters mentioned this a while ago, so it’s nice to see it actually sort of mentioned in the story again…though once again, the reason wasn’t explained, so it still feels a bit odd. I have mixed feelings about this whole thing, fanservice aside. On the one hand, I like it when authors tweak basic cultural things in fantasy or sci-fi worlds, and the socially acceptable dress code is certainly one of them. On the other hand, it feels so weird when characters point it out since I’m sitting there going “Really? That’s inappropriate?” I guess I would prefer if everyone dressed more conservatively without comment, save for perhaps in a swimsuit episode. Like they did with the onsen scene later this episode. None of the typical anime onsen nudity, but it passed without comment, like it was the normal thing to do. Since it is, I felt that worked better. I still remain conflicted though.

Forced By Their Parents

Despite Erika being probably my favorite character in this series, I didn’t feel anything when she revealed how she and Mikihiko aren’t at school because they want to be, but because their parents forced them to. It smacks of first world problems. Once again, LN readers have been somewhat of a help here – I understand intellectually, thanks to some of your explanations, that magicians aren’t exactly the creme of the crop, and they are actually limited in their career choices because they’re magicians (though other LN readers refuted this, so maybe that’s not right). The problem is, even if that’s true, I don’t feel any of that. Because the anime glossed over all of that, it lacks the impact, so I found myself duly jotting that down as a note for this post and then moving on. I felt nothing. In fiction, that’s a grave error. About the best I can say is that Erika was cute in her waitress outfit, so at least there was that.

What’s Wrong With Your Eyes!?

What’s wrong with your faaaace–I mean, eeeeyes? That aside, here we have exposition once again, and it was pretty flagrant, but I didn’t mind it. It told us something about this old guy’s character, that he likes to test people and he prizes creativity over power. But seriously, what’s wrong with his eyes? They’re just holes. That can’t be healthy. Are they made of Varanium? Get help!

This Is Not The Onsen Scene You’re Looking For

As previously noted, this was an onsen scene without fanservice (mostly). Which is fine! A little pointless overall, but fine. If I had to say anything, it’s that, without the fanservice, it became uncomfortably clear that what Eimi (Nishi Asuka) was trying to do to Honoka was, you know, sexual harassment (and almost sexual assault). No means no, girls! As morally suspect as it perhaps is, we viewers can ignore the dissonance when there’s fanservice to be had, just as comedic sociopathy (trope!) only works when the jokes are funny. When those elements are gone? A little awkward.

But the most interesting part of this scene was when Miyuki said:

“I’ve never thought of him [Tatsuya] as a potential love interest.”

That confirms what many LN readers have been saying for a while. I felt like she offered that up there a little too quickly, though that doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t mean it or anything. It does call into question why there has been so much subtext between Tatsuya and Miyuki if they’re only going to be platonic partners, considering how No Game No Life did that with barely any subtext at all. But I shouldn’t compare these two adaptations. It’s not fair to one of them.

Looking Ahead – Guh

Some people think hate is the opposite of love. They’re wrong. Apathy is the opposite of love. As the Capturing God would tell you, if you hate something, at least you feel something about it, and hate is a strong emotion that can even turn to love. Apathy, however, is the lack of emotion. It’s blah. For fiction, it’s far better to inspire hate than apathy, because at least you made an impression. Blah stories are forgotten.

I’m completely apathetic about Mahouka right now. I’m hoping this arc will solve that, but so far it’s still dragging along. Hopefully it will get better, because, though I’ve never left a series unfinished since I began blogging for RandomC, I’m not absolutely against it, and this show is testing my limits. We’ll see, we’ll see. I’ll be back next week – and for the rest of the spring season – at the very least. We’ll see after that.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Awkward exposition, fumbling development & a tricky old man in the prudish magic-future. My apathy for this adaptation is rising #mahouka 10

Random thoughts:

  • Apparently Tatsuya doesn’t like cosplay. I can’t relate to him anymore.
  • Miyuki makes all the other girls gay. So that’s good for her? Not with Eimi around, apparently.
  • To be clear: my apathy is primarily about this adaptation, not the underlying source material. The problem is that this adaptation is being fumbled so thoroughly that I’m losing my desire to ever check out the source. Adaptations have risks, and this is one of them.
  • Disclaimer: Please do not post spoilers in the comments. If you want to talk about future events, make sure to both enclose your comment in spoiler tags and identify what the spoiler is about (without spoiling) so other readers know whether to click on it. Also, if I ask any questions in my posts, assume they’re hypothetical unless otherwise noted. Thank you for your understanding.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Movies are half credit, Goals & expectations, Private accountability, and The root of procrastination.

Full-length images: 09, 10, 13, 14, 18, 20, 25, 28.




  1. I’m amazed that even though you’re not enjoying blogging this series, you still manage to write very long and detailed posts. Kudos to your writing abilities!

    1. Thank you very much! That means a lot. I try to be as professional as I possibly can, which is why I’m giving plenty of forewarning that a drop might happen. Maybe, maybe not, but I want to make sure it’s not a surprise, and that I give you good posts for as long as I’m blogging this. Or anything, really.

      1. I certainly wouldn’t blame you for dropping it. Granted my opinion there’s not worth much since I don’t actually watch the show, I just read your posts on it.. for some reason?

      2. …The problem is that this adaptation is being fumbled so thoroughly that I’m losing my desire to ever check out the source.

        Quickly read volumes 1 & 2 now! Before the show ruins any interest you have left in Mahouka!

      3. Unfortunately, I almost never read LN source material because I don’t much like the format. I’m a writer, and I like full novels with glorious descriptive text and the whole shebang. LNs seem too easy to me.

      4. @Stilts

        All that said, didn’t you praise even that show about the demon’s lord daughter working in a magic store? Honestly, even as lacking as this adaptation is, Mahouka is still in a different leagues compared to something like that.

      5. @Stilts
        Cohesive? As in cohesive fanservice? Or perhaps you find all those fairytale stories replacing Sunday school for those who watch anime instead of attending one interesting and fun? People tend to laugh at all Schwarzenegger style action movies with their invincible mains and happy endings, but when it comes to anime, all of this is suddenly a good thing? One of the attractive points of anime back in the days was that some shows weren’t afraid of not having a happy ending or making a biting social commentary. Now, if instead of pink unicorns and naive idealists someone tries to write about more realistic and less pleasant things, it gets censored first, then reviewed way more critically.
        I’m well aware about the flaws of the original novels and their adaptation, but even the way it is, this show is still much better than many other shows that receive a more favorable reviews just for tits and magic dust.

      6. @Conrad

        I believe Stilts meant cohesive narrative structure. If I were to comment on the purpose of the 9SC arc, it’s to finally showcase just what the hell the author’s been writing all that exposition for. Since everyone participates, we get to see the abilities of the rest of the cast in a controlled environment. It comes off as really artificial now that I think about it.

      7. @Solace

        Yup, I understood it the same way, it’s just that I don’t accept the kind of story that that show was selling as the one worth some serious attention. It’s like vacuum – calling it continuous doesn’t change the fact that there’s nothing there.

        About the other point, I don’t like the high-school setting of Mahouka in the first place. As I mentioned before, you can make all the characters at least college students, and that wouldn’t require any significant changes. But if it’s a high-school setting, then the competitions like that make sense. And they are also interesting because of their artificial nature. You can compare at least three ways of magical prowess evaluation: the least practical, but the easiest one to implement, the tests, more practical, but requiring much more resources and organizational effort, the 9SC, and the live combat, which is as practical as it gets.

      8. Lol, you should probably lighten up a bit Conrad. I gave Yuushibu the award for best fanservice last year, so I clearly don’t consider it high art. It was a more cohesive story though, even if it was far more simple than Mahouka, because things followed from A to B and there were no gaping holes in the plot. Well, probably some, but they weren’t so numerous as here at least.

        Either way, fiction shouldn’t be a serious business all the time, and even when it is, it can still be fun. You don’t need to fly to your favorite show’s defenses and/or put down others. They can stand on their own. Just discussing them with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your lips is far more fun ; )

      9. Bwahahaha Stilts. I saw that twinkle in your eye when you nominated Yuushibu for being more cohesive.

        It was just plain fun, and delivered well.

        Stilts, I disagree with you on only one statement you made earlier: That some writing should not be shared, ever, when the intended audience is not considered or only intended to please the single person.

        There’s no end to noise and trash content out there, and that’s impossible to curtail because of the motivations behind them, but I don’t believe the gems among them should be dismissed– throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You may not want to list a piece of self published work intended only for yourself in your porfolio if it is not a hit, but if it is a sleeper hit shouldn’t you continue and enourage others to continue delivering what people like even if not intended. Use a pseudonym if you must, but I prefer encouraging writing than discouraging it (even though there’s a lot of crap out there I will snub my nose at and will never read in entirety).

        I’ve been thinking about the delivery on intended audience. Yuushibu works well to cater to the light hearted comedy & fan-service crowds, but exceeds its admittedly low bar with decent plot and character development as well. Some folk are turned off by the fanservice, but miss out because of that.

        At the same time, some stories are written to explicitly please one person: The author, or didn’t please physical publishers but self (web) published,and liked otherwise. I believe SAO and Mahouka both started as a Web Novels. Emily Dickinson’s works were similar in that they were only intended for herself, but later discovered and shared. The attitudes about their own works are all humble, but differ in that she never intended to share.

        There’s obviously some rough patches going this route, because if there’s profit companies want in, and any success at all is to be celebrated. There’s got to be time limitations to adapting vs striking interest while the iron is hot. Flow is hard. SAO’s main problem was the side story nature of episodes jinxed the flow of the main plot. Fixing Mahouka’s flow. . . may have exceeded the time, manpower abilities than the author and studio staff were able.

        However, it is still success! It can be done better in hindsight, sure, but any success at all is a big deal.

      10. You missed my point slightly, though understandably so. This is a subtle one, so let me try to explain.

        A story written for one person is fine. Stephen King (in On Writing) talks about his First Reader – in his case, his wife – as being the person he writes all of his books for. He knows that if he writes a book that she likes, it will be a good one, because she is a representative of his target market. If she likes it and its still a flop, he’ll probably try to figure out why, but he doesn’t focus on everyone else. He just focuses on her.

        A story written for one person is great. The problem is when that one person is the author. A story is meant to be both written and read, and if it’s written for the author, then it’s more about the writing than the reading. Trust me on this. I’ve never sat down and read my own book all the way through, because I can’t read it like a reader; not when I feel compelled to stop and correct mistakes. When an author writes only for themselves, they prioritize what’s fun to write rather than what’s fun to read. Authors should certainly write stories they wish to read – bringing the kinds of stories we like into the world is what a great authors does – but they have to focus on both sides, otherwise it becomes self-indulgent.

        I’ll cap this off by invoking Kurt Vonnegut once again. His #1 rule of writing is:

        1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

        The self-indulgent story threatens to waste people’s time – something I would argue that both SAO and Mahouka, though especially Mahouka, as well as many fanfics, does through excessive details and insufficient editing – and that’s what I don’t like. Writing fiction is a relationship between the author and the story, the reader and the story, and the author and the reader. Without all sides of that relationship, the car wobbles unevenly and can even fall apart.

        That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see those stories exist. I don’t want to censor them or anything. This is simple a mistake, and mistakes are best learned from by putting your work out there, getting it ripped to shreds, and getting better. It’s a mistake that I hope authors learn from quickly though, because I do not wish my time to be wasted, nor do I want other’s time wasted as well.

        Note: LN readers probably don’t think their time was wasted reading Mahouka, and in the balance it probably wasn’t, but what if it was streamlined and simplified? Every author is guilty of wasting a reader’s time to some degree, but when a story is chocked full of so many extraneous details due to self-indulgent writing, they’re getting far closer to breaking that rule. That’s something to be wary of.

        I kind of wandered around in that explanation a bit, but I hope this clarifies my position.

      11. Stilts, it does thanks.

        I suppose I see enough commercial success (possibly in spite of writing, or possibly the monkey typewriter scenario) with (trashy) self indulgent writing. There’s obviously some writing skill involved, but I think the one man’s trash is another’s treasure applies for time wasters as well. If there’s an audience for it, more power to the writer/audience relationship.

        I can’t stand overly simple writing, or overly descriptive personally. It is indeed a time-waster for me. I personally prefer tighter writing, especially of the shorter story format where every sentence and often every word has impact. Robert E Howard’s writing comes to mind: Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet. I have to reread the lines because the writing is so tight.

        Ultimately yes, it is a burning process. Use what works, toss what does not. Still, what works is not always so obvious. I am often surprised, sometimes disgusted (ugh Harry Potter, 50 shades… ), but sometimes very pleasantly. I did like SAO’s LN, but I acknowledge the problems with it too displeasing others.

      12. @Stilts

        That comment wasn’t meant to defend Mahouka specifically. It should be clear from my comments on the previous episodes what I think about it as an adaptation, and even if I try to give it a fair treatment as a standalone show, it doesn’t really change the way I feel about it. Still, it’s clear that there are some anime-only viewers who think of the show as at least decent, and I can’t ignore that this episode was executed better than the one before it, which I thought to be seriously bad. That’s why I was a bit surprised when your review almost ignored that change, even if there’s no guarantee that it becomes a trend. I can’t believe that you’re any less tired of pointing out the same old set of problems this show has, so I expected to see a slight shift in the focus.

        That’s for Mahouka itself. What actually annoys me is how people keep asking for story-centered shows with detailed setting and original characters, but when someone takes a shot at making such show, it gets buried under complaints. When it comes to a complex story, it’s almost natural to try to disassemble and analyze it, which leads to a certain amount of well-deserved critical remarks because no story is perfect. There’s also a limit to story complexity that anime as a medium can safely contain, stepping past that threshold increases the number of critics exponentially. If a show that tries to tell too much too fast also lacks fanservice, fancy animation and other visceral pleasures, what starts as constructive criticism can spiral into simple bashing. OK, things don’t always end up that way, but it’s a fact that we’re harder on the shows that actually try to answer to our requests.

        At the same time, if the show is categorized as a fanservice one, or as one about cute girls doing cute things, or something like that, it’s somehow fine to go with the most primitive story featuring as cliched characters as it gets. And the reviews are going to say how it’s fun, and enjoyable to watch, just don’t expect anything special from it, because it’s kind of show.

        What comes after that is the message of the show. Yuushibu’s seriously pissed me off with that type of propaganda used to ensure that the growing NEET’s otaku stay obedient and content which it called its story. Special interest groups first use you in their games, then crush all your efforts and discard you, you suck it up, abandon your old self and try to fit in, then new corporates decide to play those discarded pieces once again, and you heroically struggle in order to remain the obedient tool you’ve become. Cool. I much prefer the middle finger a certain saboteur gave in the similar situation in Chaika. More realistic as well. There’s no eternal piece after the end of war, countries don’t disband their armies and special forces, and the monsters you first created and then discarded once they had lost their use don’t go to work the floor, they cause tragedies like 9/11. Or perhaps the defeats of demon lords in Iraq and Libya have immediately turned those countries into serene and blissful lands?

        It’s a common trend for anime to have stories and characters completely detached from reality and show artificial interactions of naive and preachy characters. I mean, it’s fun to watch stuff like that every now and then, but there should be limit to everything. If almost every show tries to treat me as a kindergartner, it starts to get on the nerves. Big time.

        Oh well, it’s not like anything’s going to change even if I write another ten rants like that. But it’s weird how the anime has changed from the mix containing rather keen social criticism to that homogeneous mass of tame shows playing it safe.

      13. @Conrad

        >What actually annoys me is how people keep asking for story-centered shows with detailed setting and original characters, but when someone takes a shot at making such show, it gets buried under complaints.

        Speaking for myself, I’m the kind of the guy who wants to have his cake and eat it too. It’s not a simple matter of just trying. I don’t sugarcoat it. If it’s terrible, then it’s terrible. No amount of rationalizing, justifying, bargaining will change that.

        For all those fanservice shows, at least I know what I’m getting. I don’t expect grimdark themes from something like Neptunia or DAL. For shows that try to tackle some of the more mature subject matter, I expect a little (read: a lot) more.

      14. @Solace

        Chances of striking gold on the first try are low. It’s hard to make an engaging story, interesting characters, and achieve overall balance of all elements. The more complex your story is, the higher are the chances that you will fail at something (or everything), and the higher are the production costs. Studios will have to fail repeatedly, but trust their core staff and keep trying again if you want good and deep shows to appear systematically. If all we do is criticize them, the aura of negativity will spread and consume even those who were originally fine with their work. In the end, studios will stop trying to make such shows or will go under. That’s one of the reasons I was trying to understand if Madhouse is actually trying here or just hopes for some small but easy money.

        In general, the show that tries to cram too big and convoluted a story in its run is as guilty as the one that underdelivers in terms of plot. From the point of view of a completely neutral viewer with no preferences for either, of course. Obviously, real people aren’t like that. Moreover, there’s a matter of demand and supply. How many shows a season forego attempts at making good story, and how many shows try too hard with bigger plot (not PLOT)? Then, which one is the greater sin here and now?

        Another point is that while viewers’ demand influences what shows are offered, it goes another way as well. If people are fed shallow fanservice shows set in fairytale environment year after year, they come to expect all the shows to be like that. And if they don’t get their serving of boobs or action every five minutes, they’ll throw a tantrum and make sure everyone knows how bad that show is. That’s their attention span now.

        So, I don’t mind shows that try and fail as long as they actually try. No, I actually want such shows to be made. Healthy criticism is also important, it’s the feedback the authors need to improve, but it should stay healthy. We severely lack variety in what’s offered, and Psycho Pass alone is not enough to fill the gaping space.

  2. No fanservice? Guess this show’s gotta be popular with the girls, too, huh.

    Also, I’ve dropped this show a long time ago. Madhouse is way better in making No Game No Life than this adaptation.

    Red HeartGold ZX
    1. I’ve been harboring this same thought for a while now… I know this is a Mahouka post, but seriously I can’t help but say that the No Game No Life anime is much better in world-building, making us understand the rules, plot progression, character development, and even integrating comedy and fan service.

      1. Yes, exactly. Madhouse’s anime adaptation of NGNL is very well-written and the comedy, parody and animation is top-notch as well. But I think it’s also a matter of the staff & director which I know NGNL has the same one as Sakurasou, so…

        Red HeartGold ZX
    2. Personally, I like it when a show doesn’t use fanservice while retaining its qualities, but having an onsen scene without fanservice is like… Like… Having No Game No Life without games?

  3. I completely agree with you Stilts about this adaptation. Even though I’ve never read the light novels, I enjoyed the manga (though I still felt that even in there, the brother-sister love subtext was awkwardly placed) and so came to watch Mahouka. But the anime, one can just feel the holes in the information, whether the person knows what the holes are or aren’t. I simply can’t help but feel that much is unexplained and that I just don’t have that satisfied feeling at the end of each episode. I also feel like the fanservice and hints between Miyuki and Tatsuya are rather awkward (not that I mind fanservice or the siblings); I just get this feeling that it distracts and detracts from the plot. It doesn’t flow. I’m hoping this overall arc will pick up though. Hope still hasn’t left the building.

  4. Yeah, ever since the second episode, it’s been pretty clear that this adaptation is about making money and not trying to make a great series. The issue for Mahouka, and probably the reason it took this long to make an adaptation, is that there are so many characters and so many interwoven scenes that it isn’t really possible to cut anything without screwing up ten other things. I constantly watch the show and think, “I understand why this is happening, but they skipped all of the rationale for it, so of course all of the new viewers are complaining”. It also doesn’t help that it relies pretty heavily on the narrator’s tone, and the anime doesn’t even have a narrator. When I first heard about the adaptation, I assumed they were going to take 36 episodes for the first two arcs, because it was a guaranteed financial success and it really needs that kind of pacing. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.

  5. I think they are doing pretty well to tell you the truth. They are basically adapting the unadaptable.

    And let’s face it. This is tons better than season 2 of Infinite Stratos. And that was blogged.

      1. The tone of the show matters. Horizon had a lot of comedy and fanservice, which made it watchable regardless of the plot presentation. Mahouka novels are straitlaced and no-nonsense, plus the setting is much closer to the real world, so if Tatsuya was running naked for most of the season, it would look absolutely awkward no matter the circumstances. Mahouka is meant to be taken seriously, so it’s important for reader/viewer to understand what’s going on and why the developments make sense. It doesn’t have the means to smooth things over if it fails at that.

      2. I agree with Solace. I feel like Kyoukaisen was a lot harder to do, and the fact that they pulled that off in any manner or form is impressive. This is being done badly.

        That said, it seems like the interesting events in Kyoukaisen are more spread out, while in Mahouka they take a looooot of time to set things up. That makes it harder to adapt into an anime because the suits are loathe to write a check for 12 episodes of exposition and world building. They don’t think that would sell.

      3. I’m gonna copy what I said down further, up here:

        “I would argue that Kyoukaisen’s expositions are saved by very flashy action scenes and their super sexy character designs. In Mahouka, the exposition is done like a bunch of prudent, conservative lawyers in a business meeting.”

      4. I agree with everything said above, Kyoukaisen‘s plentiful humor, fanservice and flashiness definitely helped with enjoying it. Also, like Stilts said, the events are paced better. To use his choice of words from later on in the comments, Kyoukaisen’s pace is more like setupeventsetupeventsetupevent with humor thrown in the mix and most of those events being setup too.

        Also, as Stilts said here, what’s being cut and how it affects things is (obviously) important too.

        For a comparison, Mahouka cuts character interaction and development in chunks (big victims being Mayumi, Miyuki and possibly Honoka&Shizuku), explanations of terms it throws out (BS magician) and important details (Kirihara’s introduction made wrong impression).

        Kyoukaisen cut parts of character interaction, but not to the point things come out of blue. For example, about half of TenzouxMary and NeshinbaraxShakespeare was cut, but that didn’t really change things much. Banter between everyone was also cut quite heavily, but enough was kept that most characters got their characterization.
        Kyoukaisen also cut huge chunks of details and long explanations, but most of those didn’t really affect things (for example, information on what’s happening in the countries that don’t appear yet, eating policies of England or why Kimi used different door to enter the English party than others). I admit some of the explanations would have been helpful on understanding on key events, but most of the events could be figured out with little thinking. I personally found it nice that not all explanations were hand-fed to me.
        Besides, we had Stilts’ superb blogging to fill in the holes.

        (note: it should be obvious from the difference in details, but I’m using comments on RandomC on basis for Mahouka, but my own reading experience for Kyoukaisen)

      5. Nyahaha, well thanks again. Plus, there’s something to be said for how Kyoukaisen was so awesome and enjoyable that I wanted to dive into all the background details and bring it all to the fore for everyone, whereas Mahouka is inspiring none of the kind.

        Mind you, I had the advantage of watching the entire first season of Kyoukaisen (and getting past the dip of confusion and into the badass Mr. Impossible, Kimi’s dance, Shirojiro fighting mechs, Neito v Suzu, Horizon’s final battle etc awesomeness), so I already knew I wanted to do the work for that show. Had I started from the first episode it may have been different. Those first few episodes took some work to grasp, lol

      6. @Stilts

        So, you compare your impressions about the show for which you had and were checking out the additional details to the show that you evaluate based on what’s shown onscreen alone? Putting all the other numerous differences between the shows aside, that alone makes such comparisons pointless.

    1. Sorry, this adaptation really hasn’t been done well. Regardless of whether your second sentence is true or not, there are pretty obvious areas where the adaptation could have done better, and cleaning some of it up would make a significant improvement over what we currently have. As an LN reader, I can connect the dots and fill in the details that were cut to see how/why things are happening on screen. But if I didn’t have any prior info, I’d have a hard time trying to figure out why something is supposedly significant when they haven’t bothered to show why that would be the case.

      When Miyuki mentioned Tatsuya’s Gram Demolition, I thought to myself, “I bet they aren’t gonna bother explaining the term”, and… they didn’t. There have been far too many terms that I’ve been explaining in the comments of various episodes, hoping to clarify things for new viewers. I get that exposition can be boring, but if you’re gonna throw around terms you never explain, then new viewers will eventually tune out whatever half-assed exposition you do give, serving no purpose other than to waste time. May as well have dropped the entire thing to make room for something else, or taken the time to explain better. Going halfway results in the worst of both worlds.

      Another issue I have: Has the anime ever actually explained the Numbers system and the 10 Master Clans? Do new viewers realize the significance of family names such as Ichijou (1), Saegusa(7), and Jyumonji (10)? Why Mayumi being delayed to the bus for family matters might indicate larger (political/social) issues going on than if it were, say, Mizuki’s family?

      I’m not even gonna get into the over-emphasizing of Miyuki’s bro-con, cutting Tatsuya’s monologues, and other issues regarding character development.

      People in past episode comments have likened the cuts made to that of a chainsaw rather than a scalpel, taking chunks out without much precision and leaving a disjointed mess. It’s just not a good idea to cut scenes/lines if you’re gonna show something later on that depends on those cut parts. I understand that the source material makes it hard to cut anything when scenes connect more like a web than parallel threads. However, whatever decision-making process went into making the cuts, it was clearly the wrong method to use.

      1. @Cyouni
        I’m aware of that, but why even mention the term? Why add that line for Miyuki? What exactly does that do for anyone? I feel like if you’re gonna make a change, it should serve a purpose. I don’t see why they couldn’t just save the term for when it first shows up, along with its explanation and the realization that dawned on Mari regarding her suspicion about the disappearing psion noise. That was just another example of a change that, to me, served no discernible purpose, especially when there are larger issues that could(should) be addressed instead.

      2. I didn’t even realize they didn’t explain Gram Demolition. Tatsuya uses it so much from now on that I forgot.

        I think I should mention that Kudou Retsu is from the Number 9 Clan, the Kudou family. He is considered one of the most powerful magicians for Japan, and used to be the most powerful in the world. I think his magic derives from Ancient Magic similarly to Mikihiko.

        Also, I like your chainsaw analogy.

      3. The show maybe poorly executed when compared to the LN (which I have not read) but I feel you can grasp what’s happening by making connections between the scenes.
        You can see magical signs on the car (and Tatsuya affirms it after the bus ride) which are removed by Gram Dispersal before Miyuki casts her flame suppressing spell. We’re also told that simultaneously cast spells can wreak havoc and Mari wonders who removed the spells. That’s more than enough info to determine what type of magic Gram Dispersal is.
        I may be wrong in my conclusion but it doesn’t feel like there’s a hole in the story.
        Not the best show this season but it isn’t terrible either.

      4. I’m not disagreeing with any of the points said. But I do feel the need to add that it doesn’t really turns away all “new” viewers. Just the ones who don’t have a feel for this stuff.

        While I can see the jumbled mess and how things are explained for no reason or not explained for whatever reason, I’ve had no problem understanding what the hell they are talking about and actually (or at least think I do) have a good grasp on the “world”. So basically, this adaption in my opinion is more for those who have a “feel” for this than just for everyone.

        Doesn’t change that adaption-wise, it’s still done subparr though. ^_^;

  6. I feel like they tried to put in Tatsuya’s hidden narration during the Miyuki-Erika conversation in the form of his expressions and made it a little too subtle.

    Also, man, that felt like a long time waiting for the car to get there. Felt like it lacked any urgency at all, since apparently they had enough conversation time, which they probably could have handled more cleanly. A sort of split-screen, perhaps, for the cut views of everyone. (If we take a look at the light novel, there was barely time for a few words/short sentences.)

    Finally, what’s up with Kudou Retsu’s eyes.

  7. As discussed last week a bit the reveals in Mahouka almost seem like a science paper, they are very stale, focus too much on detail and associated explanations, and dump it all upon you making the assumption you’re strong enough in the field to be reading those sheets of paper in the first place. While this is fine for academics, it does not work for storytelling. The car chase like you talked about Stilts is a prime example as it seems out of place in the whole narrative and very underwhelming when the end of episode 9 made it out to be a pretty significant event. Not to mention the “thieves” at the end of this episode, what? No buildup, no explanation, the action over long before it should really end, and the story continues on as though nothing is wrong. Don’t even get me started on Erika and how we are expected to know she’s part of a powerful family when nothing of the sort has been mentioned in the anime thus far.

    At this stage it’s becoming increasingly hard to give Mahouka a break or two as it has had plenty to improve and so far hasn’t. Even WIXOSS is (subjectively) better than Mahouka at this point, having managed to turn itself around pretty substantially within the span of a single episode. I’ll watch this through to the end considering how far in we are, but there is little in the way of positive remarks to make for a show that has got pacing, character and plot development, and world building all flawed at the core. I can understand why many LN readers are not too happy with the way Mahouka has turned out.

    Also Stilts regarding Miyuki it can be argued from an anime-only perspective that her rebuttal of romantic interest in Tatsuya is nothing more than an attempt to get her peers off her back, that she still is enamoured of her brother. After all it is forbidden love and there has yet to be any development anime-wise that indicates exactly how she feels about Tatsuya; until then that scene does nothing to shake the image of an onii-sama singing princess wanting nothing more than a romp through the sheets.

    1. Yeah, still feels to me like she’s deeply in love. I wonder if they’ll be able to come with an believable explanation that she simply “adores” him for saving her life or whatever happened in the past. There certainly were again enough scenes of her either being jealous or unhappy that he didn’t pay attention to her.

      1. The anime has made a total mess of the relationship between Miyuki and Tatsuya. While details are slowly revealed there is enough exposition at this point in the LN for the reader to grasp what it is. Scenes that are extremely important are done in a fashion that makes them seem trivial because of the lack of context. Such as:
        Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Actually the thing about Erika being from a prominent family was hinted(and I use that term loosely) in the enrollment arc. Once when Tatsuya 1st encountered her and again in the Erika Mibu fight. Granted it was never explained how influential the Chiba family is.

  8. They sure like to mess with characters’ eyes. I have a guess as to what they were trying to do here, but I don’t think it was a particularly good idea.

    Overall, this episode was OK. I mean, compared to what we’ve seen so far, it was fine. Car scene didn’t turn out well, but I can’t immediately come up with an idea of how it could have been handled better. They don’t have someone like Esdese to leisurely chat during Time Stop, and they didn’t want to do slow motion for some reason, so, yeah.

    By the way, if not for Tatsuya’s Gram Dispersion, they would have been screwed despite having the bus chock full of powerful magicians. This scene was a fine illustration of the point that most of these students aren’t exactly ready for military duties – they have the ability, but they don’t have the experience and discipline, which almost resulted in them killing themselves by taking (wrong) action.

  9. If sleeveless dresses are considered scandalous, and even public baths are done wearing thin bathrobes, then just how conservative is Mahouka’s universe? Religious fundamentalist level?
    (I’m assuming this is appropriate level for them:http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vAfEqH_eg38/UENHCO4wP2I/AAAAAAAAfdQ/tTfDpOMJMdM/s1600/Al+Karam+Latest+Abaya+Designs+2012-2013-she-styles.blogspot.com+%25281%2529.jpg)

    Also, the Army seems to be a prevalent underlying factor this arc(the Army-owned hotel, Tatsuya’s secret army correspondence).

    1. Since this is explained well before this point in the LN I don’t think it rates as a spoiler especially since it’s really just background. Supposedly the society of this time has become rather prudish with regards to dress and it’s expected that people who are not performing something like athletics would have their whole body covered including arms and legs. Fabric of this time is able to compensate in hot weather and keep the wearer at a comfortable temperature.

    2. As mentioned in the beginning there was a global climate change that lowered the temperature and ultimately led to World War 3. During that time the global temperatures decreased so people began to wear clothes that completely covered their entire body.

  10. Oh, and another thing. I often watch Captain Earth right after Mahouka, and it really makes me wonder. Mahouka is a low-budget poorly done adaptation, while Captain Earth is a high-budget original show from one of the few remaining studios which can actually make a good original show. And despite all of that Mahouka is still the more interesting one. That’s just sad. Also explains why we don’t see many original series.

    1. >interesting

      The concept and premise sure are interesting, which is a few of the reasons why I’m still here, but it’s just wasted potential. I started Black Bullet not too long ago and I think it’s utterly fascinating how that show managed to elicit feelings of tension and enjoyment in just 2 episodes, when Mahouka has only managed to disappoint in all 10.

      1. Black Bullet is hardly a perfect adaptation either. There are plot holes and nonsensical developments you can see with the naked eye, and some of them aren’t the fault of the source material. Still, it has a different tone and doesn’t take itself too seriously, so you can focus on character interaction and pretend you haven’t seen anything stupid. Besides, the episodes before the last two were much less deserving of praise.

        Well, what I was talking about is how we either have a studio which can’t make a good show despite borrowing very interesting concept, and the studio that can’t come up with interesting details to give shape to their concept. There are people who write light novels, of which some are actually quite decent, but you face adaptation issues if you borrow their work. And there are no people to write decent original scripts even for high-budget shows. I sure hope to see an original show to prove me wrong. Soon. May be.

      2. What kind of feelings the show manage to elicit depends on the person. I find much more enjoyment from shows like this than action packed Animes. Unfortunately, I do not think you can define what is “interesting” and what is not. I’m surprised you are not saying Black Bullet is a wasted potential too because the pace is not consistent at all. Please do not be too biased, and don’t try to induce a fanboy war here.

      3. @Conrad @Hater

        >Black Bullet is hardly a perfect adaptation either. There are plot holes and nonsensical developments you can see with the naked eye

        No argument there, buddy. No argument whatsoever. I never said it’s a crowning moment or championed as such. It’s just that I think it means something if I can marathon Black Bullet with palpable anticipation to start the next episode,compared to when it feels like an eternity watching each episode of Mahouka.

        >I’m surprised you are not saying Black Bullet is a wasted potential too because the pace is not consistent at all

        I’m not gonna argue about the pacing. There’s clearly huge swaths of stuff cut out to keep the brisk pace, but you don’t feel it in the thick of the moment. But yes, it’s an issue, but one I’m willing to overlook here, considering the rest of it is actually not that bad IMO.

        Black Bullet manages to actually address various [interesting] aspects of its world in a concise, but clear manner. Mahouka just glosses over them while completely playing it black and white. I consider the handling of the themes in Mahouka as wasted potential. You get that Cursed Children are discriminated against because they are the product of Gastrea. You have a princess who wants equal rights for them because they are nonetheless born human. You have people who want them to ascend and usher in the next stage of human evolution. You have people who treat them as tools of war. You have the MC who treats them as they would any other person. You feel a sense of despair in the world with the towering Monoliths and the endless No Man’s Land throughout Japan. Things are clearly not pretty in the world, in spite of the lighthearted moments sprinkled throughout the series. I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff, but this is all from the top of my head in 7 episodes.

        Mahouka so far is about Tatsuya doing badass/”impossible” things while quashing terrorist plots with his hot-ass sister constantly pimping him and telling you about it for half the running time in the next episode. No addressing the human military weapon aspect, magicians’ place in society, the magical military industrial complex, class warfare, posthumanism, other bigger picture stuff. Nope. Might as well be called “Recently, My Godly Onii-sama at Magic High School is Destroying Terrorists and Taking Names”

      4. @Solace

        Heh, well, I pretty much agree on all point. That said, Black Bullet can introduce and devote some time to discussing all those things because it skips the “how” part. How exactly Gastrea virus works? What exact changes does it cause in Cursed Children? And so on. Same for the cyborgs. It just works. If it were to start working in a new way, that would be something you couldn’t anticipate, but, well, that’s just how it works. You save time here, you devote it to other things.

        Now, with Mahouka, you have magic. And there’s an endless description of “how” exactly it works. You keep it – well, you can’t keep it completely, so you keep pieces of it – you don’t have time to discuss many other things. You drop it – then, that would require writing a completely new script. Also, that would alienate the hardcore fans. And it doesn’t look like Madhouse hopes to sell Blu-rays to many people outside of that hardcore fans group.

        Even so, Mahouka has some substance. When you don’t understand, it’s not because it didn’t make sense in the first place, it’s just that it wasn’t explained. Sure, that’s not much of a consolation, but it’s better than watching an episode with no substance at all.

      5. @Solace

        It’s weird, the reply I left yesterday shows as awaiting moderation. Well, what I tried to say there was that I agree with you on pretty much all the points, but, unlike BB, Mahouka anime is between a rock and a hard place. BB doesn’t spend time to explain “how”, so it can afford to devote it to other aspects. We don’t know how the Gastrea virus works, and we can’t predict much when it comes to Gastrea/Cursed Children and their abilities/limits. Same goes for cyborgs. Same goes for all those completely unrealistic Tendo techniques. It just works somehow, onto the next topic, we have more important things to talk about – this is what BB does.

        Mahouka has explicit magic system that goes to explain all those “how”. If you leave it in the adaptation, you’ll destroy the pacing and make the show boring to many people in the audience. If you leave disjointed fragments of it, as the show does, you still destroy the pacing and make a lot of people not just bored, but also confused. If you throw away all the “how”, you’ll have to write an entirely new script rather just copy/paste excerpts from the novels. Moreover, you will likely alienate all the hardcore fans, and you can’t really count on a (modified) adaptation to do well enough to sell to people other than hardcore fans.

        Other than the magic system, it’s the tone of the novels that make it difficult to adapt. There’s no fanservice, and it tries to be realistic, which includes the not-so-fairytale image of the society. I have a strong suspicion that they spend a lot of effort on subtle and not so subtle censoring, which kills another thing the readers appreciate about the novels. If you try to make a steak from soybeans, it won’t be the same as the real one.

    2. You mean I’m not the only one disappointed with Captain Earth? Thought I was the only one amid how much praise it seems to be receiving when it really seems little more than a bland and halfhearted rehashing of old ideas. Even though it’s pretty much a copy of the movies Break Blade IMO is the best mecha show this season.

      Agree with you too Solace, the premise and background is what made me watch Mahouka in the first place, but how it’s been presented so far does little to endear me to the series. Personally the most enjoyment I get out of Mahouka so far is when it drops little chunks of its history timeline on us.

      1. Captain Earth had a fairly strong start, and the concept itself isn’t bad, I mean, you can do a lot of different things with it. Now that’s my subjective opinion, but after the first few episodes there was a sharp drop in both the quantity and quality of elements they introduce to give shape to their story. What’s more, new developments undermine the initial achievements, for example, the characters who appeared likeable and competent when introduced and shortly thereafter keep undergoing degradation.
        Looks like they started making series knowing how they want to start and end it, but having only a vague idea of how to fill the space in between. And winging it just doesn’t go quite right. The show can still recover, but at this point it’s hardly exciting to watch.

    3. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion of course, but I wonder just what it is about Mahouka that you find particularly interesting. It has a promising premise and potential, admittedly, but I find the execution to be sorely lacking, seemingly depending on a viewer base that’s read the original source material.

      And hey, if you’re a fan just in it to see the story animated, that’s cool. For a fair majority of the rest of us though, it’s hard not to be put to sleep.

      Ryan Ashfyre
      1. I’m one of those who didn’t want to see the novels adapted because I didn’t believe it would turn out well.

        And while it’s likely not interesting for everyone, I would expect a good number of people to show at least some interest in Mahouka’s story and setting. The show doesn’t deliver when it comes to providing details and explanations to make viewers understand what’s going on, but it does enough for one to think that there’s a reason for how the things are going. Basically, even if you can’t grasp it, you can still feel that there’s a foundation the story’s built on. I’d rather watch a show with some essence, even it it’s poorly executed, than yet another shallow series that just rehash the same things over and over. Of course, I’d rather see a better adaptation, but no matter how short of my expectations it comes, that’s not enough of a reason to completely ignore all of its good points.

      2. @Conrad

        It doesn’t deliver period. The content it tries to include is interesting and all but the execution of said content is so poor that I find it hard to care about what happens to the characters. There’s just no pathos.

      3. @Solace

        But you see, as bad as it is, we’re still watching it. That’s partially because we’re used to seeing shows that are even worse than Mahouka. Moreover, it’s hard not to notice that Mahouka’s at least trying to do things in a slightly different way than all those run-of-the-mill series we get every season.

        As long as people keep watching, the show still has a change to improve their impressions. I think that out of the episodes we’ve seen so far, the last one was among the better ones. If it becomes a trend, there’s some hope for this show. Now, it has already failed as an adaptation, but it can still pull itself out of the swamp and end up in the league of above-average shows. We know that it can do better, and it should be fairly clear what things they have to change to improve it at least a bit. For once, it looks like they now censor it a bit less, with that talk about Tatsuya covered in blood lust and having the experience of killing people spelled out openly. Well, not like they have much choice, unless they plan to completely cut out the scene at the end of this arc.

      4. @Conrad

        I’m sorry, I don’t believe in giving out consolation prizes to works that tries to be different but utterly fails, so saying, “at least this show tries to be different!”, doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. If I had a penny every time I heard that as a games enthusiast with the indie game boom, I’d be a rich man.

      5. @Solace

        Well, I’m just trying to look at the show from the different points of view and try to be fair to it, even though it’s goddamn difficult for a novels’ reader. It’s hard to argue that it’s a bad adaptation, and this show is clearly ridden with various problems. How it fares compared to its peers as a standalone show is a different matter though.
        I also find it annoying how people compare Mahouka to Horizon despite the fact that as far as adapting the story goes, Mahouka might be even faring better. If it had had fanservice, budget (which influences not just the animation quality, but who and how works on the adapatation), and novels had not been translated, I wonder what the general opinion of the show would have been.

        Let’s make a thought experiment – assume that Mahouka is an original show by Sunrise, and let’s upgrade the animation a bit for it to fit the bill. Now, what would be the opinion and the expectations of the viewers at this point?

        Honestly, having dozens of novels’ readers posting comments and having the source within arm’s reach for anyone who cares to compare doesn’t help the show at all. If you don’t know how the script should go, some of the problems go unnoticed, others can’t be immediately confirmed as problems and might be forgotten by the time you can confirm them as such. Not to mention how the shows often leave many things unexplained, so unless you know that they should have been explained… Well, I think you get the idea.

      6. @Conrad

        I don’t think think lack of information in an original series (in which we have nothing to refer to) is any different from that lack of information in an adaptation. It’s terrible either way. I’m sure it’s even worse in the former case, because you can’t exactly fill in the blanks with prior knowledge because you have none, but you’re nonetheless able to recognize that there clearly should be something here. All in all, I’d be annoyed either way.

      7. @Solace
        Oh, but the thing is, the lack of information is a common thing in all the original shows. And I’m not talking about the presence/absence of something like the detailed magical system that Mahouka novels feature and build upon, it’s common to see things happening in anime just because. You can even see later events contradicting earlier established rules/facts because the setting and the plotlines turn into complicated mess that the creators can’t keep up with on the go. And yet, depending on the presentation, such shows can still be popular.
        It’s like when a dead pixel appears on the screen: usually, you don’t notice it immediately and it doesn’t bother you at all. The moment you become aware of it, you can’t look anywhere else and it feels like half a screen is covered in them. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

        The thing about Mahouka is that novels almost exclusively target you mind, not your heart. In this case, the moment you break the logic, you get into trouble because you loose contact with your reader. The anime was bound to break the logic, so it should have tried better in adding things that attach the viewers emotionally, even if they aren’t present in the source. And I’m not talking about making Miyuki even creepier than in the novels. I guess my complains about “soulless” adaptation have to do with this, but it’s also something that can be fixed, and fixed relatively fast.

  11. I was just passing by this post when I saw some of the screenshots were a bit close together timing wise, so I checked who was making the post. Then I opened the first 2 offending screen shots.


    OTOH, who are the other 4 that noticed that slight-of-hand

    ps. liking Kaori Honoka and Miyuki @ the bath scene… (one VERY flustered and one cool as a cucumber)

    1. @info600

      ?? I’m confused. Are you talking about how the screen caps aren’t taken evenly from all scenes based on how much time is spent on each scene? Because if so, I’ve never done that. I try to give a broad impression of the episode via the screen caps, but I’m fine with skipping most (or all) of a scene if the caps wouldn’t be interesting.

      1. @ Stilts: not really what I meant, but I watched the episode before the post were up and I noticed that some scenes got more screenshots than others…

        (ie. “Keep Calm and Carry On”…

  12. Tatsuya wearing the Bloom symbol at the banquet, was that due to him taking part in the competition? He was still bloomless when they were in the hotel lobby.
    I actually thought that this episode was quite intersting, especially the talk between Hanzo and Kirihara, though could have done without the IMO timewasting onsen scene.
    Wonder when we’ ll get some interesting action without the good guys easily owning the bad ones.

    1. Since he’s representing First High in a competition, they gave him a jacket with the school logo for use in official events, such as the banquet. There was no time for adjustments, though, so it doesn’t fit him as well as his usual jacket, making him less likely to wear it when he doesn’t need to.

    2. I was thinking the same thing as well, wondering if it was an animation mistake. If these jackets are the official tournament jackets, then it would make sense that Tatsuya would also have a bloom on his jacket.

      OTOH if the school was providing Tatsuy with a bloom jacket just to “protect” him from discrimination due to his status, then they would ironically be institutionalizing such discrimination. Something which Tatsuya would surely not have allowed, considering how he doesn’t give a damn about his status.

  13. “Despite Erika being probably my favorite character in this series, I didn’t feel anything when she revealed how she and Mikihiko aren’t at school because they want to be, but because their parents forced them to.”

    She is not talking about school she is talking about being waiters so that they can mingle with the schools elite that were selected as school representitives for the Nine school competition.

  14. Yeah, from the information I get around the net, it seems that this adaptation is really derping up compared to the source material. I’m still forcing myself to hold back and not read the LN until the anime’s done, though, as there are still enjoyable points about it. Let’s just hope that it gets better from here on out.

    Also, props to you Stilt’s for going on and writing a nice and detailed post about this episode even though you don’t feel that much for it at the moment. That’s professionalism and dedication right there.

  15. This series is definitely catered more to the LN readers. It just gives animated form to the action in the LN, but it kind of falters in describing the technicalities and setting of the world. A lot of the LN is exposition that doesn’t carry well to the anime.

    I know Stilts will bring up Kyoukaisen as a success in adapting a technical LN into an anime. However, I would argue that Kyoukaisen’s expositions are saved by very flashy action scenes and their super sexy character designs. In Mahouka, the exposition is done like a bunch of prudent, conservative lawyers in a business meeting.

    The action in Mahouka is less impressive to viewers since it is usually short. There is no trading blows or surprising counters. Everything is usually settled within seconds with one shot kills (literally in the case of Tatsuya). HOWEVER, the one-shot-kills are impressive with how much thought and planning goes into getting that absolute advantage. That really only comes across in the LN and the anime can only drag out the semi-interesting scenes (ie. Erika’s fanservice, Mizuki fanservice, Honoka fanservice, Miyuki fanservice….etc.)

    1. That makes sense. Kyoukaisen’s action was very stylish, with plenty of back-and-forth and the action spread out through the story more. Mahouka does not have those advantages, so it’s like setupsetupsetupsetupsetupACTION…wait, that didn’t really make a lot of sense. Setupsetupsetupsetup…

    2. at the same time, I’d say it fails to cater to LN readers. they cut out a lot of the character interactions (Mayumi/Honoka/Shizuka) which is definitely one of the strong points. I like the magic/explanations but the anime cuts out too much to make it worthwhile.

      the only thing it does is to have an adaption “exist” and simply that. not sure if someone would be satisfied with that but I’m surely not.

      1. As a LN reader, I already know the story and and technicalities. This adaptation isn’t like Game of Thrones where they change characters and plot points. All I’m enjoying right now is the animated action and character designs. I’m pretty bored during the “business meeting” sections mainly because I’ve heard it all before already.

        Yes, the omissions are slightly annoying, but that’s only an empathetic feeling for non-LN readers. I would want non-LN readers to appreciate this series I like from just watching this adaptation. So far, it seems the series are losing viewers…

    3. I have to agree with GoXDS here, it’s disturbing to say the least.. I don’t even know what they intend by making an adaptation that quite literally annoys even LN readers at times.

  16. Lather Rinse Repeat. If nothing else, the adaptation has been consistent in that the same issues I have with it keep cropping up each episode. It’s not just the large source material omissions, but the presentation of what the anime retains which IMO most often falls flat and/or suffers from some anime only change(s) (incl. source material rearrangement). I could list examples for EP 10, but frankly, it doesn’t seem worth the effort at this point.

    The material cuts remain as well though perhaps not as bad as last episode which noticeably cut some very significant details in terms of character background. Instead the EP 09 gave viewers, at best, some oblique, cryptic clues which can be interpreted in various ways rather than well defined, important information. I really do wonder if the grim/dark aspects of the series are being toned down significantly in the anime. Sure seems to be that way so far, and to do so IMO would materially and adversely affect not just the characters, but the overall story as well. At any rate, “side” characters continue to suffer from material cuts. Kanon is one example in EP 10. I found her to be a fun character in the LN. In the anime, I’m not holding out much hope. There are other examples as well, but why bother at this point? The dearth of information overall, spotty exposition when present, and missing (or at best delayed) important revelations continue to harm the anime’s version of the story, and IMO do nothing beneficial for the presentation.

    Pacing is still Formula 1 race car fast in terms of material covered. LN vol. 03 is 55%-60% longer than vol. 01 (based on Eng. TL word count) and about 70% longer than vol. 02. For reference, MKnR vol. 03 is about 40% longer than Log Horizon LN vol. 1-5 on average (based on Eng. TL word count). Given where EP 10 ended, we are about 2/3 of the way through LN vol. 03. Perhaps, the anime might slow down and cover vol. 03 in four episodes, but this is a fairly long LN volume, and such a fixed adaptation ratio (i.e. 4 ep./LN volume) doesn’t work IMO. FYI, MKnR vol. 04 is even longer than vol. 03.

    Nothing truly surprising about the pacing if, as it seems from the OP/ED, the anime is set to cover 7 or 8 LN volumes in 26 episodes. Is what it is, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable. Had the execution been better, some of the pacing issues could have been alleviated, but I find the execution exacerbating and/or creating problems instead. So far, I’m finding MKnR’s anime adaptation the antithesis of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon’s anime adaptation.

    At this point, I’m pretty much burned out. DL episode with thoughts of “what will they leave out/screw up this time”, watch episode confirming said concerns, read review/comments, post clarification(s) in an attempt to alleviate said anime deficiencies and/or dispute extrapolation of anime deficiencies onto source material. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. NOTE: I do NOT blame anime only viewers for having issues with the show. More like get in line. I question the assertion that this “adaptation” is made for LN readers. From what I can tell, few, if any, LN readers are truly satisfied, and a number such as myself are NOT happy with this adaptation. TBH, I think MKnR anime is probably doing the series franchise more harm than good.

    I’m not dropping the series entirely (yet), but I have lost all motivation in terms of making an effort to keep up with MKnR anime on a weekly basis. Stilts is certainly not alone on that point.

  17. @Stilts: It does call into question why there has been so much subtext between Tatsuya and Miyuki if they’re only going to be platonic partners…

    Welcome to Miyuki’s cut exposition from LN vol. 01 (anime EP 03). Her feelings and their relationship is complicated for “reasons”, and the anime is glossing over that in spades.

    What’s Wrong With Your Eyes!?

    Gah! That was just bad IMO. For the sake of those who like the anime, I hope it doesn’t indicate that the budget is already running out.

    Hopefully it will get better, because, though I’ve never left a series unfinished since I began blogging for RandomC, I’m not absolutely against it, and this show is testing my limits. We’ll see, we’ll see. I’ll be back next week – and for the rest of the spring season – at the very least. We’ll see after that.

    First, see my above post in how I can empathize with you despite being a fan of the LN. At the risk of potential down-vote oblivion, my opinion is this. If you want to drop the show at the end of this season, do it. I see NO reason to continue blogging a show you don’t find interesting enough, or worse, do not like. IIRC, at one point you took a season off from blogging on RC to “recharge” (right?). Given your two jobs, book, etc., I envision some some potential burn-out risk if you force yourself to continue reviewing MKnR anime for another 13 weeks. Like I said, I can empathize with you.

    1. Ahaha, well thank you. And yeah, a combination of real life + the phenomenally ham-fisted Maoyuu adaptation burned me out for a bit. I manage my time better nowadays, so I’m not feeling any burnout (especially with NGNL as my other show…droool), but another cour…

      Well, like I said, we’ll see~

  18. It looks to be pretty clear that this is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think Mahouka’s that bad. To me it’s one of those shows where you turn off your brain and it’s 1000x more enjoyable. Probably the most anticlimactic car crash I’ve ever seen? Whatever, moving on. More awkward exposition? Eh, hopefully it’ll make sense eventually. Well, wait…okay, I guess it is that bad. But for some reason I still find it really enjoyable. I mean, most of the time I’m probably about as emotionless as Tatsuya when I watch it except for when he’s in total troll mode, Erika or Honoka shows up, or they finally get to some action, but I don’t mind watching it at all. Maybe I’m secretly a masochist…It’s like I’m trapped in quicksand (the whole show), but it’s interesting enough to be a rope thrown to me, and I’m so slowly being pulled out until I’m finally clear and at the aforementioned moments that I really enjoy.

    For everyone else, I really am not sure how they could make the show that much better though. It already drags on with all this exposition and set-up sludge, and they only seem to explain the bare minimum most of the time by cutting out lots of smaller interaction chunks, but it sounds like everything is so interwoven that in order to have it ideal the show would have to be at least twice as long as it already is. And then it would take so long to resolve anything it would seem like it’s dragging even more! I really don’t know. It just appears that an adaptation of this was pretty much doomed from the start from a quality standpoint.

    Prinny Mask
  19. Yeah, after the car scene and the thieves seen, all I could think was…”Okaaaaayyyyy what was the point of that?”

    And I’m one of those anime viewers who has pretty much stopped paying attention to the explanations of how things are working since it doesn’t really seem like the anime will be showing anything that will really require people to remember such things. It’s feeling not too far behind Infinite Stratos 2 but on the opposite end of the scale. Whereas IS2 had little meaningful plot and excessive (not very good) harem antics most of the time, Mahouka seems to be having not THAT much plot (more than IS2 though) and excessive exposition and magical technical talk…

  20. I certainly won’t hold it against you if you drop this one, Stilts, because your feelings mirror mine. There’s plenty of shows this season that I’m either really enjoying or have been feeling dissapointed by – at the very least, they cause a wide variety of emotions. This show, though? It’s just…kind of there. I watch it because I don’t make a habit out of dropping shows (I watched more than 50 shows last year and dropped only one after the 3-episode rule) and I don’t have anything else to watch on Saturdays. But apathy is the only thing I feel towards this after ten episodes, because it just fails to engage on any level. It’s enough to make me want to mutter the eight deadly words.

    So yeah, depending on what ends up airing on Saturdays next season, I might not be sticking around for this second half either.

    1. I’m actually trying to drop more shows, to preserve my time for other things. Being a competitionist for completions sake just seems pointless to me. Not that I don’t still do it a lot (and will likely do it for this show even if I do stop blogging it), but I’m trying!

      There’s too many awesome things to do in life to spend it doing stuff we don’t like. Though occasionally I still will, because that’s what being a professional is all about, sadly.

      1. Well, as I see it, I already weed out the really bad stuff watching either the first episode or using the three-episode rule. Whatever remains are shows that I’m watching because they’re so bad it’s hilarious (like Magical Warfare) or things that I like but have a chance of turning bad. In the latter case, when they turn bad, my thoughts shift from just enjoying the show to analyzing why the show doesn’t work and sticking with it to the end to complete that analysis. Being a completionist is only a small part of it. It also makes me appreciate the shows that do work a lot more, because I can see what they do well where others failed. Not to mention I write articles for a magazine, so it helps me explain why either a show is good or allows me to tear one a new asshole.

        Shows that fill me with apathy, however, are the only type that make me feel I’m wasting my time. I just get bored watching them and thus if I ever drop a show, nine out of ten times it’s one of those.

      2. Ahhh, sounds like you’re better at dropping shows in the first 1-3 episodes than me. I used to hardly ever drop anything I started unless it was catastrophic, but I’ve gotten better at that.

        By the way, what magazine do you write for? That’s cool!

      3. Haha, thanks. I’ve been working as a freelancer (writing reviews) for the last year or so for Aniway, a Dutch anime/manga magazine. And it is indeed pretty cool to see an article you wrote all fancied up in a magazine on the store shelves.

        But man, you used to watch nearly everything you started to completion? How’d you even manage to do that? I would’ve gone crazy mad long ago! Respect!

      1. The LNs are meh but at least the explanations are there. The anime forgo a few things and this causes plot holes for people who haven’t read the LN.

        For example: Say you haven’t read the LNs. Explain why the MC is wearing a Bloom uniform at the party.


  21. Sorry if the content on my comment is more of Mahoukoukou in overall, not as this episode only.

    As a LN reader I found that Mahoukoukou is a story that’s not suited for adaptation… For me it’s the kind of story that’s good for read 1 volume at a time, not being separated into chunks of episodes (due to it’s slow pace nature). As an episode a week in anime, it’ll make the interest of viewers to diminish, waiting for something more interesting to happen.

    And the expotition is indeed troublesome to adapt, it’s basically a wall of text describing the concept behind any events that’s related to the magical world. I likes it since I’m an both art and engineer student that it gives me quite inspiration as a reference on my story’s own world building. But for those who didn’t, who wanted more of interesting events to happen in the story, I believe it’s quite boring and tedious.

    As to analyze why, I found that because Mahoukoukou is originally an “amateur” web-novel posted with unlimited page restriction (the author have the ultimate privilege of how much he writes in a chapter), he tends to satisfy his world building needs in the story without limit. Basically as an amateur writer, he writes as he likes it without any restriction and it seems people loving it more than he would ever anticipated. And when it’s suddenly published into books, a single CHAPTER become two BOOKS.. or if I remember it right, the first year arc was a single chapter so LN vol 1-11 is a chapter from the web-novel.

    1. I’m all for self-publishing (I plan to do it myself), but editors are still necessary. It’s important to have someone around to kick you in the head when you are writing too much, because then you start wasting the reader’s time, and that’s pretty much the #1 author’s sin. If one chapter turned into two books…wow, this dude needs to learn to curtail himself a bit! That’s nuts.

      1. Well he wrote entirely for fun, satisfying himself… it’s just people love it, so publisher told him to make a profit from originally free to read story, and in the end it’s turned up like this mess. People being harsh to the author stating that his story is flawed and amateurish, when in fact he is an amateur at the time he wrote this, it’s kinda sad. Maybe he should’ve rewrite it from scratch before re-publishing it as a book, but I bet the publisher didn’t want that.

      2. But you see, even if a story is in some ways self-indulgent, I think it should be written with the reader in mind, because otherwise you’re wasting the reader’s time. If you want to write it only for yourself, keep it locked away in a drawer, or better yet, keep it as a perfect idea in your mind. If you’re going to release it into the world though, you should do your damnest to make it presentable, or you’ll waste the time of a lot of people and lessen your work for having done so.

        A story is an experience between itself and the storyteller, and that’s valuable, even essential. It’s also an experience between the story and the reader though, and that should never be forgotten. That will last long after the storyteller has moved on or is gone, with any luck. That will echo throughout the world.

      3. I understand your point, and I agree with that. It’s just that what I don’t like is how haters always hate without understanding from the whole perspective, that’s blaming only the author even though there’s probably many factors involved. Mahoukoukou case is similar to SAO; an amateur writer failed to publish their story with famous publisher started writing story for fun in a web-novel form, then after they gather so much attention from readers, the publisher (which failing them in the first place) offered them to publish it as books. This shows that publisher is quite flippant; the same material they reject before, being accepted later after it has tons of fan-base. Luckily it’s only two case of web-novel to LN like this, I don’t know if there will be next case.

        The difference between web-novel and LN is quite subtle but I think it’s important to be included in this case:
        First, people probably read web-novel with the mindset that it’s mostly written by amateurs, of course there’s some professionals too in minority.
        Second, it’s unrestricted in the content, either in the amount/style/quality of the writing.
        Third, it’s free to read, people could read it as much as they want without any hassle.

        The first and second point is the one that made this case unique (Mahoukoukou and SAO) they are written in quite different writing style from their book counterpart. There’s no limit on how much they write and there’s no quality insurance provided from the web-novel site (I don’t know wether back then the author hire an editor or not). And people back then read them as it is, amateur novel, not as an overhyped series like now. I think it should’ve been rewritten from scratch before published as a professional work, instead of simple porting from web novel to LN form.

        Woah sorry for too much ranting D8 I think I’ve just violated yout golden rule… /slapped

      4. I really don’t disagree, to be honest. The value proposition going from “free” to “costs money” really does matter. It’s kind of like reading fanfic…back in the day when I ever read fanfic (though it didn’t last for long), there were a few long, winding ones that I read because there was something interesting there past the amateur-hour prose, and since it was free and I had the time I shrugged and read through. That doesn’t make it good, but it’s understandable.

        Then again, I still think there’s a difference between fanfic (which is necessarily forbidden from turning pro) and an original web-novel. Since you’re not using the source story to draw people in, you have to do it all on your own story’s merits, and…

        Well, we’ve pretty much beat this dead horse sufficiently. Suffice to say, we’re not that far off. Were I doing it, I would have gotten an editor and made it a professional affair…but then again, that’s exactly what I’m doing, nyahaha!

  22. IMO No Game No Life is bloody terrible so I’m really not getting the constant favorable comparisons people are always making to this or that. It annoys me how it’s just kind of become “common knowledge” that that show which frankly suffers from it’s own slew of problems (see the scene where Shiro is playing Chess and being in check already makes an illegal move to mate her opponent as an example) is some sort of masterful adaptation by comparison.

    Maybe I need a particularly special disposition in order to come to this conclusion along with the rest of people, but while far from what I’d consider a must watch ever week type show I find Mahouka to be far more enjoyable and interesting to watch than the other Madhouse adaptation. I also recognize that unlike that one this is going to be continuing into it’s second half so there’s much more to build on here.

    Also no show is ever as good as it’s hyped to be, especially one by Aniplex so people really need to stop falling for their bullshit already. I mean really…..

    Kaioshin Sama
    1. I like NGNL and yes that chessboard state was idiotic when you think about it because if Shiro was really trying to lose she could have done it in 2 turns. I’ve read a bit of the LN and it’s pretty clear that the author hasn’t really thought through the games that they play completely. But Rule Of Cool strikes so the viewer doesn’t really care because it’s so awesome. The directing, music and the visuals all trick the viewer into not thinking logically like Shaft’s psychedelic background images.

      But in the end I like both shows for different reasons. They are entertaining and in the end whatever other people think about them is of no consequence to me. I am just sad that Mahouka is trying to cram 7-8 LN in 26 episodes. Cuts are inevitable and they cut too much.

      But again it’s cool to me as new LN reader to actually see visually the things that I only had to picture in my mind. Like that scene with the 3 masked and armed people sneaking in. I just couldn’t picture in my head how exactly that event played out but now I have visuals and everything is clear to me. Also I had no idea that Subaru usually wears glasses since the only image of her comes from the onsen scene where she is not wearing them.

      Also I agree that Elder Kudo’s eyes are freaky. WTH was that about. o.o

      1. I dislike this cynical line of thinking very much. The Rule of Cool and all of its subsequent sister tropes aren’t used because viewers are morons. It’s because we’re alert to logical inconsistencies, but are fully willing to suspend our disbelief because we find joy in what we’re watching anyways. Expecting logical consistency in works of fiction is unrealistic. It’s how you utilize your tropes to get your audience to enjoy your work is what counts. Because the bulk of the writing is very good, I’m fully willing to forgive inconsistency.

      2. But Rule Of Cool strikes so the viewer doesn’t really care because it’s so awesome. The directing, music and the visuals all trick the viewer into not thinking logically like Shaft’s psychedelic background images.

        I guess my phrasing was bad. What I really wanted to say is that something awesome happens in the show so the viewer on it’s own volition forgoes to nitpick because it is very entertaining and the little inconsistencies that may or may not happen do not matter in the big picture to the viewer. I never wanted to imply that viewers are morons. =P

        It’s how you utilize your tropes to get your audience to enjoy your work is what counts.

        I am pretty sure that content creators don’t think about tropes when creating their work. It’s a percentage of audiences that created tropes to categorize recognizable patterns in shows. I think you may have spent a little too much time on http://tvtropes.org

      3. People do exactly what you say with rule of cool stuff all the time and what’s worse absolutely revel in it. They get caught up in small details that probably shouldn’t matter and then dismiss it all as saying “Oh but we’re having fun”. Granted that’s well within people’s prerogative to do, it just seems so….shallow somehow. I feel like I’m dying a little inside every time I stop by this blog nowadays to read what people have to say on the very limited number of shows that are being covered compared to the days of yore with Omni and Divine running the site. I’m also the kind of person that asks for a little more in my entertainment than just brainless entertainment. I even ask for it out of this show because personally I don’t think it’s a particularly good adaptation and comes across as kind of dry and phoned in in terms of the script and pacing, but that doesn’t mean I would find it any better if it was up in my grill as much as No Game No Life is.

        Also you make a good point about how a lot of the times it’s the viewers that make the tropes for themselves and not always the shows and industry types. For example the idea of Miyuki as this yandere brocon who is getting in the way of potential shipping with Tatsuya. That seems to be the reason that so many people seem to absolutely detest her character and it’s just all kinds of dumb. IMO by and large the viewers these days are usually morons and just don’t realize it because they’re also really selective and fixated morons, just not on the things that used to matter.

        Anyway frankly I’d be all for this Stilts fellow dropping blogging the show. The guy strikes me as your standard average people’s voice writer type that I see on a lot of blogs nowadays that writes about the popular shows for the largest possible audience. He like many of todays anime fan that makes it’s home base on forums like /a seems to be the type that is attracted to manic energy, instant gratification and lowbrow comedy type shows, which is something that NGNL has a lot of along with the aforementioned Horizon (which strangely shares directors but not producers with this show) this show very much does not so of course he’s not going to have much inspiration to write about it. What’s the point of writing about something if you don’t have anything to add to the mix and have no passion for it?

        Kaioshin Sama
      4. I guess my phrasing was bad. What I really wanted to say is that something awesome happens in the show so the viewer on it’s own volition forgoes to nitpick because it is very entertaining and the little inconsistencies that may or may not happen do not matter in the big picture to the viewer. I never wanted to imply that viewers are morons. =P

        You should pay attention. It wasn’t that your phrasing was bad, you literally implied that we, the audience, were ‘tricked’ into thinking in certain ways.

        I am pretty sure that content creators don’t think about tropes when creating their work. It’s a percentage of audiences that created tropes to categorize recognizable patterns in shows. I think you may have spent a little too much time on http://tvtropes.org

        A very wise man once wrote that “there is nothing new under the sun.” That doubly goes for mediums like writing. There arguably isn’t something that can be called ‘unique’ in terms of what people write. It generally is one’s one rendition on a certain story, or their own commentary on a topic. The goal is to put your own unique style into the story (which is why stories will look vastly different from each other).

        Because writing isn’t unique, we find repeatedly used plot points, tools, character archetypes, and such that are used over and over again. It’s not that authors go straight to http://tvtropes.org to get inspiration for their writing, it’s that they repeatedly use familiar tools in writing that we have documented what they exactly are and how they are used.

        And with that being said, I use ‘tropes’ merely as an overarching filler word for how one goes about their content creating.

      5. @Kaioshin Sama

        If you don’t like how I or the other writers here write, then I suggest you don’t read it. I don’t go out of my way to read or talk about things that annoy me, so I suggest you do the same.

        But if you’re going to stick around, please consider refraining from insulting others or the things they like. You can disagree, that’s fine, but coming in here and spitting on people’s preferences, assuming they’re idiots – which is the easy way out, instead of trying to empathize with others and understand why they do or like the things they do – and insulting my writing is a waste of everybody’s time and energy.

        I try to write good blog posts that both convey my own impressions and reactions as well as analyze how the stories I’m talking about are being told, because the art of storytelling is interesting to me. Others appear to like this. If you do not, then my posts are not for you, just as No Game No Life is not for you. I suggest you stop indulging in outrage porn and go enjoy the things you do enjoy. You’ll have a lot better time that way.

    2. if you dislike it that much, it not because the story is poorly written but because you just don’t like the story. just comparing the two adaptations Mahouka has a LOT more blatant problems.

      as Zirthiel mentioned, some people could just use Rule of Cool to disregard minor “?” moments, which imo can be explained with a little imagination or thought. some of the technical problems can’t with the given information in the anime though possible with LN knowledge. sure, Shiro lost in that chess game. but she also cheated, so she beat Jibril as well, like back in Rock-Paper-Scissors game. if Jibril doesn’t call out on her playing an illegal move, then both sides have lost, resulting in a draw.

      if you really just dislike NGNL, just ignore the comparisons since they don’t work for you. it’s not your fault you dislike it and others are also entitled to their opinion and love it. though I’m pretty sure I can point out adaptation errors for Mahouka for each one you point out in NGNL

    3. People forgive things like the chess thing because most everything else is going so well that a mistake or two doesn’t bother them too much. It’s not that they don’t know (though I don’t know chess, and didn’t have a clue), it’s that they’re willing to shrug and go “I’ll allow it.”

      1. It’s a blatant error that even an amateur chess player with a basic understanding of the game would immediately notice and pretty much entirely ruins the idea of Shiro as this genius unbeatable player that the whole last two episodes have been spent trying to set up but I don’t understand these things so I’ll allow it and in the mean time here’s a link to some other article I wrote so as to deflect attention from what is pretty much selective griping. And this makes it any better how?

        And that’s why I have a hard time taking commentary on that particular Madhouse adaptation and any comparison of it being made to this one seriously. The selective allowances that it’s advocates make in the face of blatant logical and game theory errors that show comes out with week after week just because and then trying to compare this show unfavourably to that one like it’s any better is pretty pale. I mean as far as I can tell this show hasn’t made any blatant logical errors or internal inconsistencies in anything it does and this show has to deal with it’s own internal logic. If it’s guilty of anything in particular it’s not having a clear unified theme and direction yet, but at least it’s not completely failing at basic logic every single weak.

        Tl;dr: IMO the whole this show sucks and go watch NGNL thing instead thing that people are desperately trying to pull is borne out of nothing more than a false dichotomy created by peoples own susceptibility to hype, counter-hype and selective reception of ideas. Both currently have flat one-dimensional Main characters that happen to be siblings and need to get a fucking move on at establishing more eventful scenarios and outcomes, just one is more loud, obnoxious and in your face about everything so it seems cooler if you don’t think about it too hard like people seem to insist is somehow a good thing nowadays.

        Kaioshin Sama
      2. @Kaioshin
        see my above comment about chess game.
        other logical inconsistencies? like what else?
        you also say that you dislike people liking something even if they had to disregard a few problems to do so, aren’t you doing the same? there’s plenty in Mahouka, and acknowledging that you like it despite such is the same. but as Stilts already mentioned, you’re entitled to your opinion, we’re entitled to ours. some people’s comments may be biased but yours are also quite biased atm as well

      3. also don’t forget Shiro was not putting in her all as she was completely depressed and confused and the whole reason they started the game was for her to lose though Shiro was half-reluctant

    1. They will probably going to cram everything to and including Show Spoiler ▼

      because they opened the anime with a scene from that arc and they are rushing like crazy to cram everything in. -.-

  23. I want to say the exposition gets better after the competition starts. The info dumps turn into live commentary for the events and it feels a bit more natural. There should be more in the way of character interactions too, which I feel is one of the show’s stronger points right now.

    Also, no qualms here on dropping the show if your interest wanes. I’m starting to get a little apathetic of the show too, even as a LN reader. Still, completion for completion’s sake is a thing I’ve been guilty of on numerous occasions as well =P.

  24. Honestly, as an LN reader, who tried defending the show in the first one or two episodes, I can’t help but admit I lost interest in watching this adaption probably back in episode 3 or 4.

    This adaption has simply cut too many corners, left small, important details out, and quite frankly disregarded a lot of characterization that makes us LN love the characters. Its really sad, and its hard but to accept and echo the sentiment that this series is more or less a money grab from those who read/loved the LNs and wanted to see the series animated.

    There is so much more justice they could have done to make the story and characterization flow without leaving non-LN readers in the dust. Like other LNs, its easy for me to connect the dots and understand whats not explained simply due to having read the novels. And its frankly disappointing that the route this anime has take is the assumption of that knowledge and leaving out other pieces.

    I’;m honestly most saddened and annoyed at Mayumi’s basic lack of characterization as she is by far one of the best characters in the novels. Its just sad we’re hardly able to see it in this adaption.

    As for the LN being able to be adapted into an animated format, a lot of us LN readers echo’ed the sentiment that it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that there is simply a TON of building and explaining that works well on page making it tougher for an explanation without an info-dump. And I agree that its sad they didn’t try and figure out a way of explaining details and backgrounds and such better 😐

    I guess it is what it is. But I will say I’m pretty disappointed/dampened by this adaption and really wish it could have been executed better.

    1. I agree that this was never going to be everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s great! I prefer stories that unapologetically do what they want to do, and find an audience that love this idiosyncratic thing they do even if the others don’t get it. Hell, with how dry and programmer-esque this is, it might not even have been my cup of tea, though I have been known to love intricate magic systems many a time (I’m a marketer and a writer though, so the particular logic behind the magic in this story escapes me by nature).

      That said, they kind of fucked it up, so who knows 🙁 ‘Tis a shame.

      1. This anime is like a frosted cake without any actual cake. It’s an empty shell of frosting. It’a presentable and pretty, but when you bring out the knife, the whole thing collapses on itself.

        A better comparison would be that the novel is a textbook and the anime is a study aid that’s meant to be used to summarize the lecture and reading. I can enjoy the show because I know what would happen because I read the entire series again while I was recovering from surgery, but I can clearly see that people who don’t have the background won’t be able to enjoy it. I have learned after 2 years of poor performance in college that study aids can’t be used to even remotely prepare you for a test.

    2. I think NGNL was extremely lucky as they had the author participating in its adaptation. Because of that, even though it had some original moments, it still reflected the author’s intention extremely well (well, at least only in my opinion).

      Mahouka, on the other hand… they’ve probably given up on trying to find experienced anime staff who also happen to have knowledge in science, software, engineering, AND politics, etc.
      But still, I think things will pick up in the Nine Schools Competition! Some of the events don’t really require much exposition (relatively speaking) and should be fun (again, relatively speaking) to watch!

  25. An anime adaption has two weak/strong points compared to the manga

    1 time. Anime has a tighter deadlock for the week. So they must decision what they want to cut out
    2 money. Anime has a tighter money budget as manga. More animations needs more frame power, for the eyes. A manga use the imiinagation of the reader. So mostly in manga play in the mind, inner eye of the mind

    But yeah, even this anime here, is far more intresting as captain earth. Earth use the same plot 3 times now, it begin to get boring or surpassed thiis line already

    Remembrr, the viewers are no zombies, they have iminagation snd that give them the power of prediction i it get better with experiance

    So only littel kids are enjoy it to the fullest…

  26. I dropped this after a couple of episodes too, but I don’t think this a good source material/bad adaptation case, before watching the anime I read some of the LN and the manga sometime back, both of those were as boring as this show and were consequently dropped, it’s more like bad source material/worse adaptation, at least for me.Granted, as a medium LNs never appealed to me in the first place, so it could partially be that, but the same can’t be said for manga.

    Also looking at things now(mostly through Stilts reviews), the show/story seems too stretched without a direction or enough content, it’s like the story can’t decide what kind of story it’s going to be, I mean it has some serious elements(politics,plots,etc.) to it mixed up with highschool and haremish elements, while those elements are fine by themselves, the way they’re all mixed makes the story come-off as nonsensical(not in a good,intentional nonsensical way either).

  27. Yeah, i still not understand this terrorits attacks. Are they done from forigein blanche members? When not, why they even do suicide attacks?. It is not explained at all, just “be careful they might attack you” explenation… i am not get it

    1. Perhaps this Patriarch is behind this. His entrance in the Hall, was a bit strange. “If i was a terrorist, only 4 here in this room would noticed it”… (btw, he can read Minds it seems)

      Is this all a Big secret Test for the 10 Family house children? a test of Power?

      1. I doubt he can read minds. He probably just observed who looked past the woman to the man behind. Him being able to so accurately mention that only five did it was a little suspect, but of course he also could have been guessing or lying. I wouldn’t jump to mind reading unless we’re given more evidence than that.

      2. good Point, i missed these seconds behind the woman. I thought he was smiling for himself. But then, only few peoples let dropped “Terrorist”. The Secret Service know it. He himself know it now too, and the Patriarch dropped it on the show.

        So far 3 Persons dropped “terrorist”. I feel like the background of this universe should explained a bit more for the Anime only viewer. Only the OP and a little flashbacks are not enough, to explain the Military society and so on. Are these terrorist hunting the “power house” clan’s? or want they sabotage these tunier, or use it to make a bomb attack like the Blance raid?

        Or are these all part of Triads Mafia Powers plays in the shadow, as “careful we have the power to kill you, your 10 Family High-nose Clan’s”?

        But then, this Anime are getting to many front-lines for it own good

      3. an example how they can build it in:

        A scene where Onii-sama explain it to someone else, how the Kid’s are and they Clan connections. Example Erika, member of the XXX Clan family in X Line of Power. The Clan specialize Powers are XXXX Magic and so on..

        How of them is Nr 1? The President? or the Armor Magic Guy? It is not about seeds and bloomer. it is about “how is higher in the food chain” respect or roots of the children. Even if the school do it alright, that all are the same

      4. They want all to be threaten the same, but the weight of the family is heavier on some shoulders. That is a interesting point for me, a bit more background knowledge for Anime only fan like me

  28. First thing first, I found this episode to be one of the best ones we’ve seen of Mahouka. My favorite parts about this series has been interaction between characters, so that plays a big part there.
    Sure, there was couple of odd things like that car thing (wouldn’t it have been better to just show how it happened, instead of giving slow-motion explanation?) and the ending (was that supposed to be cliffhanger?), but there was considerably less of those in comparison to other episode.
    In a nutshell, this was less bad than other episodes.

    The onsen scene was kind of funny in a weird “look we give you fanservice without fanservice” way. I agree it made Eimi’s actions pretty uncomfortable.

  29. Honestly the only appeal that seems to be left in this show is Tatsuya. That’s pretty much the only good thing I hear about the series because he’s constantly showing how OP he is.

    Personally I’ve almost completely lost all interest in this show. I’m hoping that maybe the red headed boy is able to shake up Tatsuya a bit but i’m kind of doubting it.

    1. Well, i think i saw some kind of Emotion when Erika mentioned “How i look like?” in this Waitress uniform, until they got company. He has just a good self control, that is all. Perhaps a side effect of being a Solider

    2. In a sense, the story revolves around a man versus the system idea, which is hardly visible in the anime. In that context, if Tatsuya were any weaker or less competent, he would just get crushed and the story would end. I’m not talking about a bad end of an arc, you can succeed at the intermediate objective only to find that there’s no longer any path in front of you to walk on. But if you never talk about Tatsuya’s long-term objectives and the things that limit his options, he looks like a wish-fulfillment OP character. They should seriously stop making him more mysterious than he’s supposed to be.

  30. Gotta admire Stilts’ dedication despite his growing apathy to this show.
    I think the onsen scene failed. As far as I remember, it was supposed to be an instrument for Miyuki’s monologue after *that* particular question was thrown at her. I so hope most, if not all, missing important scenes are included or fixed in the blu-rays. I think that would double the episode lengths, though. Waaay out of the studio’s league.
    Unrelated: Guys, especially Erika’s fans, keep your eyes on her hair always… especially with every new arc.

  31. Ok, comparing both Nogenora and Mahouka adaptations, the main difference is the background.

    No game No life is set in another world, and its rules must be explained so that the “MC” can cope with it. Mahouka is set into a “preset future with magic imbued”, which means that magic was always there, and technically there shouldn’t be a reason to explain it, it’s like breathing. But I admit that Nogenora is being awesome, meanwhile Mahouka is just… normal.

    P.S.: The feelings of Mahouka viewers that didn’t read the LN must be the same I had when I found out that Britannia wasn’t set in Britain in Code Geass, and never understood it until I had to find out why. The history behind it is awesome, but is underdeveloped in both animes

    1. The fish-out-of-water parts of NGNL certainly help explain things to the viewer, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do exposition without that. You don’t even have to have some dumbass character who ought to know these things but doesn’t, as many other stories have used. In this case, you do what I described in my post and go outside of the narrative to flagrantly infodump the exposition and then get on with the story rather than contorting the narrative to have characters explain things inside of it.

      1. True, there really are several ways that you can explain a situation without needing the “Naruto factor :P”, and that is what this adaptation lacks, originality. Mahouka follows the LN completely. It gives the feelings that we are simply changing pages read to minutes watched. But it is certainly weird to put Tatsuya’s mind explaining small things here and there, and that is the flaw. In the LN, the small things explained off-record count in the end.

        Last episode you said that the flying device lacked the “wow great!” feeling, but we think of it basically in a world where we fly without magic, because we don’t have it. If we take Mahouka point of view, it took hundreds of years, way before airplanes (they probably tried), to develop a functioning flying magic, and that is the “oh great!” feels that the directors aren’t using to catch the watchers. But as a writer yourself, you have to agree that explaining things that only magical worlds can do to a world lacking it is certainly difficult.

      2. Oh yes, it’s certainly difficult. That’s part of the fun! If it was easy, everybody would be doing it, so I wouldn’t waste my time. Difficult doesn’t mean I’m not going to call out someone when they miss the mark, even if it’s understandable. I don’t hate on the original author for screwing that up, but it’s still there.

  32. Man, I primarily watching this for Tatsuya x Eri. And despite it lacking “impact”, it has solidified Tatsuya as someone Erika can confide in over anyone else, even if he isn’t interested/didn’t pry into her problems. For me, that’s a step up in the right direction, even if they don’t miss a chance to subtly hint at Miyuki’s affections for him. Speaking of Miyuki, it kind of pissed me off when she just assumed Tatsuya had no interest in Erika’s maid outfit. Based on his initial reaction, he thought something about it, but once again, yandere imouto just barges into their conversation. Sorry Miyuki, but they clearly are getting closer, even if by a single millimeter, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now shoo, shoo!

  33. I was wondering, what’s up with “Your comment is awaiting moderation”? I left one reply yesterday, saw this, thought it to be a glitch, left a new one with pretty much the same content today, it now shows that for both. A cursed thread? 🙂

  34. Some people think hate is the opposite of love. They’re wrong. Apathy is the opposite of love

    Ho? Muv Luv Total Eclipse much?

    Well whatever.

    From the looks of things, the viewers are finally seeing the horrible flaws of this adaptation. As I have stated since episode 1, Mahouka is doing a fairly good job of keeping the non-LN readers (meaning me and a fair bit of the audience) out of the loop with all of these technical terms that probably are important but not explained.

    As a Fan Fiction writer that prefers to take a month or so per chapter release, I also come to realize that maybe Mahouka’s chapters might have been too big and too complicated to be properly adapted into an anime.

    Instead of bashing the anime like I have done for the past few episodes, I kinda pity the writer of the LN for having his work butchered to this extent.

    1. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.

      – Eli Wiesel (1986)

  35. Oh boy, I don’t think you guys could sit through Game of Thrones… but I don’t think anybody who watches GoT could sit through Mahouka either lol… assuming they would even consider watching anime…

    I, for one, am still enjoying the series as a non-LN reader. Yes, there are some moments like the spirit scene last week that was quite questionable, but overall, I liked these past two episodes. I feel that the adaptation could be better, but I don’t feel that it’s bad, or at least not as bad as many people are making it out to be.

    With that said, I enjoy Mahouka more or less the same and I look forward to the next episode!

    1. @Dfog: Oh boy, I don’t think you guys could sit through Game of Thrones… but I don’t think anybody who watches GoT could sit through Mahouka either lol… assuming they would even consider watching anime…

      O.o Why do you say that? In terms of the books/LNs, I’ve read the Song of Ice and Fire series (“Game of Thrones”) through A Feast for Crows (the final book, A Dance with Dragons, on my “to read list”) as well as the MKnR LNs through vol 12.

  36. So we have a suicide attempt, by a magician no less, to crash into the students’ bus.

    Several students all tried magic spells at once, and got chastised for it, since it made a “storm” of magic particles that was harder for the called-upon students to actually use their spells. (I’m sorry, I’m the bus and I see this happening? I’m pulling out the CAD before the class President or VP can tell me to. Self-preservation.)

    A prudish future? I’m with Stilts on this one. Prudish morality only works with extremely heavy morality/child rearing laws, like “sanctity before marriage” in a civilization, as well as nudity taboos.

    Erika and other students as servants in order to let them attend the competition – well-played.

    The creepy guy who’s apparently the Patriarch made the atmosphere for the entire completion. His complaining that only 5 students in the crowd saw through his illusion magic, and therefore, only 5 students would have been prepared for a terrorist attack, was both creepy and competitive. Which goes into my final point.

    Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is not about magic-qualified students learning combat magic and non-combat magic in order to be employed by the governments of the world as elite, both in warfare and non-warfare roles. It’s not even a school of the elite for the elite, like Harvard, Yale, or Tokyo U. It’s a thinly-disguised military school crafted to churn out special forces without telling the students that they have been drafted. The reason students are screaming discrimination and confused is because unlike a true military, there is no hierarchy of rank. There’s no rank at all, other than the Student Council in the school.

    This is why you have “Blooms” vs. “Weeds”, just like you have “Airborne” and “Green Beret” versus “G.I.” in the US Army. But nobody told the students, they just saw Course 1 getting all the best teachers, the best emphasis, while Course 2 is being required to prove themselves able to do magical engineering instead of Fireballs 201 or Force Shields 301 or Super-Jump 101. The Patriarch’s “we’re going to test you” speech only proves this theory. It’s the same speech given to new soldiers in Military Intelligence, or Anti-Terrorism training, or Civil Affairs. The average G.I. (General Infantryman) soldier won’t hear this speech until they are deployed overseas to a combat zone.

    It also explains the prudish attitude – in the military, there is no sex “on the job”, and you are “on the job” 24/7, not while in combat or training. Getting a female soldier pregnant, or spreading disease, is a big no-no in the military. Same for non-standard clothing that does not de-emphasize sexual characteristics. Everybody has to look the same, male or female.

    If this is cour 2 (two seasons, 24-26 episodes), it’s almost like I would expect a commissioning ceremony at the end of graduation for all the students.

    1. @jhpace1

      I’ve been saying that shit since the start of the show and everyone said conflicting things about the nature of the schools. Glad to see I’m not the only one subscribing to that idea. That being said, who runs these schools if not the government?

  37. About Gram Demolition, i think without being an LN reader, it can be inferred from what happened earlier: the cancellation of some magics that stacks on the car. I like the subtlety and it makes the watching more engaging as not everything is plain obvious and verbally explained.

  38. I just want to address the prudishness for a second. Having gone to a military school, which is how I view this setup. Her clothes would have been inappropriate in that context. With the exception of football games girls were not allowed on campus in anything but their sunday best. All occasions had a modicum of formality, think business casual. Traditionally you’d never go to a business conference in a summer dress. You’d wear business attire. And given that everyone was in their uniforms it’s safe to assume that this was a fairly formal setting. By the way guys were not allowed on campus when wearing shorts. Just my two cents.

  39. difference is boooobs! erika even tho wearing the same type top… has smaller boobs… meaning people would just look at her and wouldnt think too much of it + shes pretty strong … mizuki on other hand looks like shed have problems holdin her own! so its just some jealousy. dem boobs :O + some common sense advice. shes just saying loook its not such a good idea to wear stripper tops 🙂 people will get the wrong idea and attttack you!!! unless you want that then dress appropriately.



  40. Huh, I love The Irregular at Magic High School but despite that I’ll keep reading your reviews Stilts.

    Interested to read various opinions around the blogosphere. Wished you’d cover the Masaki and Miyuki portion within Episode 10 but still glad for the review.

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