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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – 12 »« Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – 10

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – 11

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

There were multiple instances of characters working in what looked like Microsoft Excel. I believe that tells you everything you need to know about this show.

Erika & Mari-sempai

I know that Erika and Mari went to the same sword fighting school (or more specifically, Mari went to Erika’s family’s school), but it looks like the relationship between them isn’t too hot. Perhaps Erika just knows more about Mari than most, or they butted heads when they were younger (and necessarily more stupid…face it, we were all dumber when we were younger), but to my eyes it looks like Mari has a personality that Erika just can’t (or would prefer not to) handle. I would like to see more interaction between these two, if only to find out what the deal is.

Flirty Mayumi, I Think?

The exchange between Tatsuya and Mayumi was strange. I felt like they were going for more of that flirty Mayumi vibe, but the dialogue felt flaccid to me. Unlike with Honoka earlier, at least Tatsuya seemed to understand what Mayumi was going for (he complimented her, helped her up), but Tatsuya was so devoid of emotion that it sapped any pleasure out of Mayumi’s antics. And I do appreciate how this was sort of the point – Mayumi herself pointed out that Tatsuya doesn’t give her any special treatment, i.e. he doesn’t get flustered, nervous, distracted, etc. He doesn’t go all gaga over her, in other words. That doesn’t make up for the oddly lax pacing, though pouting Mayumi helped.

Oh No, They’re…Ahead?

Here’s a lesson in dramatic tension – it’s hard to get worried when the good guys are ahead. As First High’s excel spreadsheet shows (excel, in my anime? Kill me now. Real life has officially invaded my pastimes, and I’m pissed), our heroes are ahead by 90 points, and for some reason they have to win four of the next six matches and the rookies’ performances may decide the tournament? Does not compute. I’ve been looking forward to this arc because I love tournament arcs. Negima and FAIRY TAIL are two of my favorite manga, and they knew/know how to do a damn tournament arc. The odds are stacked against, tough enemies that are plotting specifically against our heroes, epic reversals and unexpected victories (or defeats)…damn they knew their stuff! It’s no fun when the protagonists are ahead though, at least not for long. Even Gaworare knew that. Pardon me if I remain puzzled until some organic tension appears.

Logic Over Emotion

I think I’ve figured out this series’ greatest strength, and why it’s not jiving for me. Now, part of this is certainly because this adaptation has been mishandled, so while I’m going to speak to the underlying source material, I could be totally wrong since I haven’t read it. You can tell me whether I’m on the right track or not.

This series is all about logic. The intricate magical system is designed so that, when you understand it in depth, all the drama and tension will make sense…even if it’s not organically there. You can see this in the competitions we saw this episode; I’m sure there’s some explanation for why the things Mari, Mayumi, and Kanon did were so impressive, but I didn’t feel any emotion from their wins. Okay, maybe a little from Kanon’s victory, but that’s because it was a far more simple setup based around the ideas of offense, defense, and Kanon’s decision to ignore the latter in favor of the former.

And this has repeated many times, from the “tension” this episode (despite the fact that they’re well ahead in rankings) to how Tatsuya’s development of magical flight was probably technically impressive (but didn’t feel like it), all the way back to Tatsuya’s duel against Hanzo. It very much fits in with the programming-esque ethos of the magic system, because I’ve known many a programmer and most of them prized themselves of being extremely logical people. Mahouka is an intellectual exercise as much as anything else, because once you “get it” – if you can get it – it all clicks together.

The problem is that a table with only one leg cannot support itself. Logic alone isn’t enough to support a story, at least in my eyes. Without emotional resonance, it ends up being as try as a technical manual, or perhaps an excel spreadsheet. I’d rather just read a history book, where the dry recitation of facts is standard. And to be clear, I don’t mind doing a lot of work to enjoy a story! Kyoukaisen took an unbelievable amount of work for me. It mixed both logic and emotion though, something I’ve never seen Mahouka do. I’m sure that works for some people, but it’s not grabbing a hold of me.

Looking Ahead

I can only assume more events will happen. Miyuki still has to compete, and it sounds like Tatsuya might get dragged into the ring as well.

Note: Me dropping this series is getting increasingly likely. I’ll still do episode 12, but unless something pretty special happens, that may be the last episode I cover. My apologies to any fans of this adaptation in advance.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The competition gets under way, with First High cleaning up. So why are they acting like they’re behind? #mahouka 11

Random thoughts:

  • Tatsuya is also Special Officer Ryuuya Ooguro, Strategic-class Magician. But of course, they didn’t explain what any of that means. I’m fine with that as far as the Ryuuya Ooguro bit, because that is foreshadowing that makes me wonder, but they probably should have explained what Strategic-class Magician means. Luckily, I have Google to fill in where this anime fails.
  • Wait, did I hear correctly that Mizuki’s glasses protect her from the heat? o.O
  • Magic skeet shooting, magic gun-tennis–wait, gun tennis? Weird.
  • At least Leo is finally going to get to do something again. This show needs more Leo.
  • 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: Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing, I don’t want you to succeed, Movies are half credit, and Goals & expectations.

Full-length images: 26, 31, 32.

 

Preview

June 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm
101 comments »
  • June 15, 2014 at 10:06 pmXSharkNinja

    Last Week: “Just get to the damn tournament already!”
    This Week: “Wait, that’s it?”
    I probably won’t be dropping this soon since the world is still interesting but even without the readers jumping up and down it’s pretty obvious that Mahouka was badly adapted which is a shame.

    • June 16, 2014 at 12:23 amEuzio

      Agreed. There is no denying that Mahouka was not exactly very well executed in its anime adaptation. But I guess that is the difficulty of doing so. The novels does use quite alot of technical lingo and unsaid thought descriptions. Lots of exposition on the side characters and even a few major ones were skipped out totally leading to pretty weird scenarios at points.

      • June 17, 2014 at 3:37 pmSinsI

        IMHO, if you are adapting a story with long important descriptions, you have to do them in a completely different way: instead of having some characters voice those descriptions, they should’ve made several mini-stories that explain those things by showing them or their use. It takes far more screen time, but looks far better and more organic.

  • June 15, 2014 at 10:15 pmPrinny Mask

    After an episode I think about what they might’ve done to make Mahouka better, and it’s not that easy for a show like this, but so far what I’ve come up with is that it might’ve been an improvement if they rearranged some of the scenes. I mean like they have the car crash incident at the end of episode 9, then they sorta explain it in 10, then they also have the thieves appear and dealt with at the end of 10, and then they sorta explain them in 11. That’s less than half an episode worth of content strung across three episodes. Just combine it into one episode, and get that exposition out of the way all at once instead of having it appear for a couple of minutes, and break up whatever else is going on, every episode. This episode for example, they finally start getting into the actual competition with Mari, then right after they interrupt for less than three minutes to explain the thieves, which actually only took like five seconds with the rest being more about Tatsuya, before going back to the competition. Why did they jam that right inbetween? They could’ve just put it right after the Major showed up in the beginning of the episode, and it would have be fine. There’s also Masaki being in the OP and appearing at the end of episode 7 hinting that he’s going to be important this arc, but this is the fourth episode where he’s hardly even been seen at all. I have no doubt he’ll be very important, but it’s like I nearly forgot about him, because there’s such a huge gap between when he does appear.

    I think the scenes like the car incident are like this because they’re trying to create suspense (and maybe because it’s originally written in this order?), but it doesn’t work in this show when Tatsuya is so badass that you’re just like, “eh, Tatsuya will do something, and everything will end up just perfectly fine,” because it literally is exactly like that every time. Erika from the clubs, Mibu from Kirihara, Mizuki from Mikihiko, the car crash, Mikihiko from the thieves, technically even the first and second episodes when he talked Mari out of giving them all a punishment. There’s no suspense in these situations, because it’s pretty much a givein that Tatsuya will swoop in and save the day. The scenes like the car incident and the thieves are trying to be cliffhangers and create interest in the next episode by not giving you much to go on, but in reality they give so little that it just bugs the heck out of you when these random guys keep popping up. If nothing else it would alleviate one of the problems with this show, even if it’s just a smaller one. It might help the flow as well, since this show pretty much has none. It’s not jarring when it jumps from one scene to the next, but that doesn’t mean they lead into each other well. Pretty much everything about Mahouka is middle-of-the-road. It’s not jarring, but it doesn’t flow. The characters aren’t boring, but they’re not interesting. The show’s not bad, but it’s not good.

    On a happier note, I like how we’re getting to see more of everyone’s abilities, even if it isn’t for very long. Mayumi in particular just seems like she’s been completely passed over until now. Tatsuya’s great and all, but it’s just nice to get to see the others show off as well. With that said, I hope next episode we’ll see what Honoka and Shizuku can do. I believe that they’ve showed off pretty much everyone’s abilities to the extent where you generally know what they’re good at (Erika=speed, Leo=fortifying, Jyumonji=barriers, Mikihiko=spirit…things, etc.) except those two. Hopefully there aren’t anymore…incidents before we get to see that at least.

    • June 16, 2014 at 6:30 pmStrenX

      I feel like the show would be a lot better if they slowed down the pacing. They cut out a lot of character and world building scenes/dialog to make room for more action stuff and that really doesn’t suit the story.

      The characters make this story for me, and this adaptation just doesn’t do enough to make you know, care about, or like any of them enough.

      • June 16, 2014 at 7:26 pmPrinny Mask

        That was something else I thought of later. I figure at this point they should’ve made it at least 10 episodes per arc. Mahouka already drags on at moments even though it skips this much, so it’s like why not? Right now things move along with the speed of a slug, even though the pacing is fast enough that they need to cut entire scenes. I’d be okay with the show becoming even slower if it meant they’d include those important scenes. I’m still stuck wondering how Honoka and Shizuku became so close to Tatsuya and Miyuki, and Kirihara cared so much about Mibu when they both pretty much had only one episode show anything that could’ve led to development. Honoka and Shizuku introduce themselves and hangout with everyone at the beginning of episode 2, then bam episode 8 they start talking like they’ve been really good friends all this time. What? I wish I could get closer to my friends by not doing or saying anything to them for six episodes. I wish I had friends.

        Mahouka actually does accomplish something for me though. It makes me want to watch more of this show. It makes me want to watch a spin-off that would be 100% character interaction with almost no technical exposition whatsoever. The very few times these scenes appear are easily the best out of the whole show. Just give me more Erika and Tatsuya trolling, please. The more I think about it the more I believe that this could be made into a great comedy if they gave the characters a little more life. Just think, Tatsuya would be transformed from broken OP main character to trolling dead-pan tsukkomi extraordinaire. Now that I’d look forward to watching every week.

  • June 15, 2014 at 10:17 pmCybersteel

    Talking about tournament arcs, Fairy Tail’s Mirajane battle was my favorite. One of the few cases where an adaptation can elaborate more on the source material.

    Too bad Erika isn’t competing. Won’t get to see her in skimpy sportswear.

    • June 15, 2014 at 11:58 pmdeVaras

      “Lets have a tournament in which out main character doesn’t compete. Brilliant!” – said no one ever

    • June 16, 2014 at 10:34 amPancakes

      You can have a tournament where the MC is not a participant, if the other characters participating are at least built up enough to empathize with in the process. Mahouka has done the former, but has definitely neglected the latter.

    • June 17, 2014 at 5:53 amLumin

      Sad truth

      (Long running) Manga adaptions: Too less material -> Have to add materials/filters to expand

      (Long running) Light Novel adaptions: Too much material -> Have to cut down (usually those good parts)

  • June 15, 2014 at 10:20 pmDivini

    I definitely agree there has been little ‘emotion’ vs ‘logic’ except for Kanon’s match. For that aspect, it’s not really the adaptation’s fault; for the events this episode, the source material had fairly the same tone.

    I’m really really sad you’re thinking of dropping this Stilts. As my pitch to convince you to continue – without spoiling anything, the events that will take place in the rest of this arc DOES mix logic and emotion very well to create a really exciting atmosphere. (assuming good adaptation ofc)

    I hope you’d still give it a chance.

    • June 15, 2014 at 10:35 pmStilts

      That’s what I’ve been hearing, and I’d like to see that happen, but it’s just taking so damn long to get there it’s taxing my ability to stay the course. Add onto that how I’m swamped with the season preview, then END posts and intros, and it’s basically at the point where unless if gets real good real quick, I don’t know if I can stick with it. I could power through that with ease with Log Horizon because I was enjoying it so much, but I’m not getting that here =/

      • June 16, 2014 at 3:00 amMentar

        Stilts: As you remember, I’ve been one of the most avid pro-Mahouka voices from the start, but over the time, my dissatisfaction over the conversion has grown pretty much in lockstep with your own souring on the show. It’s regrettable, but the script is so heavy-handed, unpolished and devoid of any finesse, it’s breaking my heart. Personally, I would suggest that you wait until the Masaki-Tatsuya showdown from the OP (probably ep14). If by then you haven’t warmed up to it, you never will.

        The “no high tension” remark of yours is spot-on, however this is one thing that I can’t blame the anime for. The LN doesn’t bother with artificially playing up tension by doing the standard trick by having the “good guys” trail (tbh, this total disregard for standard tropes is something I like about the show). It is _exactly_ as you wrote: It’s about dealing with circumstances in a creative, logical way. It doesn’t work for you because the show mostly fails to establish emotional connections to the characters – if you don’t really care/root for them, the story feels cold and flat. This is where the heavy-handedness and lack of finesse comes into play.

        For me, the big big strength of the original material are the _characters_, and for a character-centric viewer like me, who also likes logical thinking, this was a match made in heaven. In the original, the characters are lively, distinct, likable and with motivations which give them _personality_. But here they are only wooden caricatures of their real selves. To give two examples:

        o The show has hinted at the massive friction between the Yotsuba family and Tatsuya, but shown nothing substantial. The LN reader by now _knows_ what has been warping Miyuki so much, and appreciates her struggle for Tatsuya’s sake. She knows much more than she lets on and has a much deeper character than the oblivious barbie doll the anime puts on display. Frankly, I’m following the Mahouka franchise primarily to see how she will fare, since I feel strong empathy to her, as a big fan of hers. In contrast to that, the anime Miyuki regularly gets on my nerves. This is _absurd_

        o They are finally showing glimpses of Mayumi’s playfulness, but it feels “off”. Mayumi has _always_ been teasing the hell out of everyone involved and is curious about Tatsuya because he is immune. But this is only part of her appeal, and her issues about being a “number” clan member are completely omitted.

        So, with the depth of the main characters invisible and most of the humor of the interpersonal banter lost in third-rate scriptwriting, this is exactly the “second leg” that makes the LN work and the anime fail for me.

        If you’re hoping for nailbiting tension to become the second leg, I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to happen. It’s the characters that either have to “come through” or not. I still have some hope, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it anymore.

      • June 16, 2014 at 8:27 amLucarion

        @ Mentar I’m going to be a bit of a jerk and dump all the blame on the director. I had a BAD feeling when I saw his name on the staff.

      • June 17, 2014 at 6:51 pmflCer

        I basically dumbed down my analytical processes and accepted that the show is trying to have depth by putting hideous amounts of technical detail with relatively no depth.

        I really don’t like that this show is hell bent on portraying the characters to be as technically impressive as they possibly can in every 24 minute episode.

    • June 15, 2014 at 11:01 pmSteelman

      I respect the opinion of the LN readers, but to be honest… why should we believe that it gets better at this point? I kept hearing that the second arc is better than the first, but we are now into its fourth episode, and literally nothing interesting has happened yet. I mean no offense, but as Stilts pointed out, Mahouka managed the rare feat to turn even a tournament arc, which is a high point in excitement for most shows, into a thoroughly boring affair.

      The main problem is indeed that there is zero tension here – it feels like a Germany vs Saudi Arabia match at the World Cup (8-0 in 2002 for those who do not know), it is so obvious the better team will win that watching feels utterly pointless.

      Unfortunately, I also do not see how this problem could be solved, since the author has clearly spent a considerable amount of energy depicting Tatsuya as a vastly overpowered character. Now OP characters can work, but only when they are matched against seemingly insurmountable odds – a good example this season would be NGNL: sure Sora and Shiro are unrealistically skilled, but they have to be, because they are constanly put in ridicously unfavourable situations. This works in NGNL because the show does not take itself too seriously. However, Mahouka plays it completely straight, and I really cannot see how it could go from mildly inconvenient terrostic attacks to a credible threat to Tatsuya and co. in the span of a couple episodes – or at least before I lose any remaining trace of interest in this show.

      • June 15, 2014 at 11:15 pmmillie10468

        As a LN reader, while I do agree with you that you should probably not believe people who say it’ll get better, especially at this point where what we thought was better obviously isn’t for some people,I keep wanting to say stuff about this thing people have against Tatsuya’s OPness and the lack of tension. I Highly doubt the anime will ever get to the point the LNs have gotten where we can see why the author made him that powerful. That he might have gone too far with Tatsuya’s powers regardless is debatable because some, like me, fully believe the story doesn’t work as well if Tatsuya was merely strong and defeatable. Unfortunately, the anime won’t get to the point where the stakes are higher so I have a feeling your dissatisfaction with the series would still be there even if the anime had done a great job adapting the series.

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:20 amPtolemaios00

        As an LN reader, I really don’t think it will get better. The Nine Schools Competition was an awesome highlight of the LN, and they are botching it up. Mayumi’s event was interesting to read, but skimmed over here with very little exposition. I dread how they will screw with the other events. I know they are leading up to climax at the NSC main event Monolith Code, but I can see them skimping on the other events.

        Also, Tatsuya’s OP-ness might not even make it into this anime.
        Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 15, 2014 at 10:43 pmcclragnarok

    >> Wait, did I hear correctly that Mizuki’s glasses protect her from the heat? o.O

    That would be the “heat” of competition. In other words, the passion and excitement from the competitors and fans.

  • June 15, 2014 at 10:58 pmLGM

    “Note: Me dropping this series is getting increasingly likely. I’ll still do episode 12, but unless something pretty special happens, that may be the last episode I cover. My apologies to any fans of this adaptation in advance.”

    Dude, there’s no need to apologize. I’m a fan of the LN & I own all the Mandarin-translate LNs & even I felt that this anime is horribly lame & worst, boring as hell.

    Seriously, I never expected this anime to be so bad but in retrospect I should have known. Even ignoring the elephant in the room (which I’ll address after this) the LN is full of talking & even more magical tecno-bubbles; that work pretty well in the LN but make me go “COME ON! Stop talking now!” in the anime.

    But the worst thing about Mahouka that people clearly have problem with (which surprise me a bit that I’m totally OK with it) is that it is “clearly” an Objectivism & power fantasy like SAO. I say “clearly” because I never saw Mahouka as that. (…for all those years, damn I’m slow) Until I saw some posts at Wrong Every Time regarding Mahouka.

    Note: I hate SAO with a passion because I’m a gamer & THAT piece of poo is not a story in any MMO that could possibly even get pass alpha let alone beta.

    Its not to say I never watch anything that is power fantasy or even have some Objectivism – I actually love that kind of LNs. I just never notice Mahouka has them mainly because even though the MC seemingly had it good & is one of – if not the strongest individual in the world I have never had the desire to be him as his life is actually pretty horrible.

    So if after esp12 Stilts still want to drop Mahouka, please know that at least this Mahouka fan is totally ok with it. & sorry man, you really should had continue with Sidonia no Kishi rather than Mahouka – this is not saying Zephyr is not great for the weekly reviews, just Stilts really should watch that anime if you had the time.

    …I just realize I might have a very unhealthy desire to read stories of seemingly powerful & confident bad guys & jerks get owned by the MC(s) with little to no efforts. T-that is alarming.

    • June 15, 2014 at 11:32 pmStilts

      Oh, don’t worry, I’m watching the fuck out of Sidonia no Kishi, and that shiz is goooood.

      As for SAO, I’m sure I’ll continue saying this for a while, but the best way to think of that show is not as an MMO show. In that it fails. Think of it like a fairly generic fantasy show though, and it makes more sense. Still not great, but not as anger-inducing.

    • June 17, 2014 at 4:32 amReverseTales

      @LGM

      …I just realize I might have a very unhealthy desire to read stories of seemingly powerful & confident bad guys & jerks get owned by the MC(s) with little to no efforts. T-that is alarming.

      That’s one of the reasons why I really liked Mahouka (LN). As Stilts said, the whole thing is really logical, which felt great to read because seriously, how many stories are there where you get stupid stand-offs for the sake of an emotional climax?
      In Mahouka, anyone stupid enough to openly flaunt their power would have had assassins from half a dozen different organisations after him, before he could even start something.
      Instead, you get scheming masterminds everywhere, and watching their schemes coming undone is so satisfying. Couple that with the breakthroughs in psuedo-science magic, varied cast, and it’s like you’re looking at a legit alternate reality. So fun to read.

      @Stilts
      There’s no need to apologise. I can get that, from an anime-only perspective, this must seem confusing and boring at the same time. Personally, I’m holding out for episode 13 (trying to guess from the current pacing) where hopefully, things will get better. Because less awkward info-dumping and foreshadowing. Maybe.

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:03 pmNex

    The exchange at the beginning of this episode really reinforced something for me, namely how unbearable Tatsuya is through most of the show.

    Even when effectively praising someone else, the narrative has to frame it in a way that makes Tatsuya “right”, because someone else doing a good job still needs to be beneath our all-knowing main character.

    It’s such a shame, the fictional world and magic system has so much interesting potential, but we’re allowed to see precious little beyond what we’re given at face value, via the two unlikable leads.

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:04 pmmillie10468

    At this point, I don’t even feel like LN readers should try and convince people to keep watching any more because I doubt the anime will recreate any of the feelings we had reading the novels for anime-only viewers. As the weeks go by, it becomes increasingly very clear to me that Madhouse either doesn’t like the source material or it’s the first work of the team adapting the novels.

    The 9SC in the novels, to me, was much more urgent. It was exciting to read about First High’s endeavors, and when we were told of the possibility of them miscalculating their chances of winning, I was very interested in finding out what Tatsuya was going to do to salvage the situation. Why? Because the previous volume had just explained quite a bit about his predicament (which the anime omitted) so I was wondering if he’d care about anything that wasn’t Miyuki and his involvement with the competition would give me answers. Look, I get that it’s only the beginning of the competition itself, however, this episode hasn’t convinced me that Madhouse knows what’s it’s doing with the adaptation. For God’s sake, how do you make a competitive atmosphere so boring? The 9SC is a huge deal, the overall atmosphere should have reflected it. Maybe it’s just me but I definitely felt it in the novels.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the LNs are perfect or masterpieces by any measure, absolutely not. But I do think it could have been adapted way way better. There’s something inherently off about this adaptation. It’s so bland, and I’m not just talking about the portrayals of the characters. The non-action animation is horrible a lot of the time and the pale color scheme puts me off as well. And I still believe them putting Tatsuya’s MB at the very beginning of the first episode was a bad idea. Mahouka isn’t a primarily action series. It’s more like drama/SoL with bits of action dispersed through. Making it seem like an all action series was a wrong move.

    @Stilts
    I wouldn’t blame you if you really did drop the series. Don’t let anyone convince you to keep watching by saying it gets better. We LN readers can’t say that with confidence anymore. If you do decide to drop it, could you marathon it when it’s completed and give your overall thoughts on it later?

    • June 15, 2014 at 11:15 pmLGM

      I agree everything of your post except the marathon part.

      It doesn’t sounded like bad request to you & me since we’re fans of the LN but try imagine yourself marathoning an anime series you previously dropped because you can’t stand it anymore & you’ll know what a horrible request that really is.

      • June 15, 2014 at 11:17 pmmillie10468

        I guess that would be horrible. Oh well, it was just a suggestion anyway :)

      • June 15, 2014 at 11:29 pmSK

        If Stilts does drop it, I would suggest he not bother marathoning the rest unless he hears from people that it actually did pick up, as LN readers have hoped. There hasn’t been much (anything?) in the adaptation thus far to suggest things will turn around and that the core issues of the anime will be addressed.

      • June 15, 2014 at 11:36 pmStilts

        Oh, even if I stop blogging it, I’ll probably keep watching it. Anything I thought had enough potential to blog I’d probably finish out regardless. An END post would also be fairly likely, though in this particular case I think I’ll be out of the country at Oktoberfest when the finale airs, so maybe not ^^

      • June 15, 2014 at 11:54 pmLGM

        @Stilts

        Oh really? That actually disappoints me just a little bit since I had decided just an hour ago that if you really did drop the show I would post a spoiler-tastic post on your esp12 review to close thing off.

      • June 16, 2014 at 12:06 amSolace

        @LGM

        DOOM? In my Mahouka? It’s more likely than you think.

        coughinterdimensionalcoughvampirecoughdemonscough

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:10 amdaikama

        @LGM/SK I agree that there is no point in marathoning MNkR anime later unless things substantially improve (per SK’s suggestion), and of course time permits. Frankly, I cannot see that happening as much I’d it to happen. Too much material attempted to be covered, and worse, the presentation of what is covered is lackluster “meh” at best. Just a bad adaptation IMO.

        @LGM
        I had decided just an hour ago that if you really did drop the show I would post a spoiler-tastic post on your esp12 review to close thing off.

        I’m sure you’re not alone on that to some degree since I’m also considering posting some things that were left out as I’m curious to know whether that cut material would make a meaningful difference for anime-only viewers. However, keep in mind that there seems to be a least a couple of people here who want to read the LN after the anime ends. So I encourage you to use spoiler tags if you plan to post major revelations.

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:22 pmnyanlol

    I’m reading this but i decided a fair while ago to just read the LN. it’ll be easier that way

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:37 pmCyouni

    All I have to say is that this adaptation has completely shafted Mayumi.

    • June 16, 2014 at 12:41 amPtolemaios00

      Agreed. So very agreed. They cut out all the exposition about her skills during her performance, and they allocate that to Mari and Kanon? WTF!

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:38 pmSK

    Just a note, you are allowed to use a racket if you want. Mayumi is just confident enough in her own magic ability that she wouldn’t need to use one. That competition was supposed to reinforce the notion that she is an extremely capable magician, but hey, why not cut out more explanations to make scenes seem rather pointless?

    • June 15, 2014 at 11:42 pmmillie10468

      I wonder when it was that LN readers even began to have high expectations? Because I remember most of us thinking the adaptation would suck even before it started airing. Episode 1 wasn’t so good that I began to think “Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad” so I’m seriously trying to find out how we could even have expectations for us to be this disappointed. Do you remember when you started thinking it would be a good adaptation?

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:34 amdaikama

        @millie10468: Frankly, I had the reverse situation. Evidently I was one of a few who had “high” expectations preseason based upon three things (1) I liked the LNs a lot; (2) 2-cour/26 episode run which in theory would have given enough time to properly explain things/world-building (e.g don’t cover LN vol 06/07); and (3) I thought Horizon adaptations were good overall.

        MKnR episode 01 swiftly and thoroughly disabused me of any high (or even moderate) expectations (hope?) that I had going into the season. Subsequent episodes only reinforced that notion. In retrospect, I probably didn’t factor in the nature of the source material adequately. Still, I think it is possible to do a much better adaptation that this. Without question, I unduly dismissed adaptation risk in general. Should have known better. If nothing else, thanks to MKnR anime, lesson learned and learned well.

      • June 16, 2014 at 9:18 amStilts

        I just want to note that we put the anticipation level for this at moderate. Nailed it!

      • June 17, 2014 at 5:03 pmReverseTales

        I had high expectations for ages. The LN series was all ‘this is how a society that uses magic really behaves. No hot-blooded powerups on the verge of death. Just cold, clinical strategy to efficiently cheap shot enemies.’
        I also heard that the length of the anime was 26 episodes, which like daikama said, should have been enough to do justice to the LN series. I knew it was highly technical and therefore hard to adapt, but I heard that they’d been working on it for (what I thought was) a really long time, so I was really excited.
        On the bright side, there are two positive things this anime has going:
        1. It might actually get better later. <- Feels possible
        2. If it doesn’t, it has at least opened the path to a reboot. Someone can take everything that went wrong with this adaptation, all the disappointed comments, and use that as a basis to create an adaptation that will blow our minds. Hopefully.

  • June 15, 2014 at 11:59 pmGoXDS

    just to put things into perspective, 1st place in most events are 50 pts (one event is worth 100).

    and not sure what to call it but being “worried” even when 90 pts in the lead is more of a prideful mentality since First High has won 2 years in a row and they just want to guarantee their position. and this is before factoring in the 1st Years’ scores. though I agree that it’s less tense as a tournament.

    I won’t go as far as agreeing with the quick run through the events (probably going to focus on Newcomers since that’s where the main cast is). some cuts during this portion is probably warranted for the medium. but they’re pushing all the “real” action back so much and these initial few were quite frankly quite boring since we don’t even get time to get into the mood of the tournament with how fast they went through these. especially Mayumi. as someone mentioned, they don’t even mention her Magic at all (probably not the whole way with it but the basic part at least). with how little we’ve seen of her in the anime, her scene felt empty, no real emotion.

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:01 amSolace

    @Stilts

    If we can use a nuke analogy, a Strategic-class mage would be equivalent to a strategic nuke (notice the shared terms), meant to dole out a lot of damage over large areas of strategic significance. Compare it to, say, a tactical nuke, where it’s used as you would a conventional weapon on the battlefield, like artillery, AA, etc. As far as I know (and I’m too lazy to check), I don’t think there’s such a thing as a Tactical-class mage. Hope this helps.

    • June 16, 2014 at 12:20 amStilts

      I actually stumbled across that on a wiki a few weeks back for some reason or other, so I wasn’t confused this time. They still should have explained it, though.

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:24 amPtolemaios00

        I found it funny that when I googled “Strategic Class…”, Google auto-populates “…Magician” onto the end for me.

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:30 amPtolemaios00

        Also, Log Horizon had categorizations for Magic classes: http://log-horizon.wikia.com/wiki/Magic
        I think the categories fit here.

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • June 17, 2014 at 5:15 pmReverseTales

      Additional Information:
      Strategic Magicians can spam those spells, so rather than a nuke, it’s more fun to imagine them as a mobile nuclear missile silo.
      There is also the fact that they can pass as normal humans (at least the ‘unofficial’ ones can), and are just as vulnerable to cheap shots, which makes things even more interesting (from a certain point of view).

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:09 amTeutates

    well all those things about the adaption have been talked about before :P

    its somewhat spoilerisch but i keep it light even in the spoiler tag.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Is it still badly done ? yeah yeah it is. Even though i enjoy it.
    This whole anime is a bad gated entrance to this universe ( i don’t remember how the term is called but pokemon is something that does it extremely right :P )

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:16 amAnonymosity

    So those competitions were basically supposed to show how crazy awesome Mayumi and Mari are? Sure, I can kind of understand, but I think we knew that about Mari already and for Mayumi it’s too little too late. And telling those awesome parts might help too (although they did that with Mari and it didn’t help, so…)

    About the lack of excitement, I think part of the reason is Tatsuya: seeing as he’s the main character, most of the events are probably shown from his perspective in the LNs and he isn’t exactly the most emotionally involved guy around. So if those scenes were directly adapted from his POV, it sort of makes sense.
    That still doesn’t explain why the anime staff can’t do their job and fix that though…

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:24 amPancakes

    Yeah it’s clear this adaptation is going to fall flat on its face now, there isn’t any tangible hooks to keep the viewer interested. A tournament arc offers a great chance to inject emotion, struggle, and development into a story (which is why they’re used so often), but Mahouka has seemingly found the way to pull staleness from this fountain of creativity. Not only were the different events rushed through, but the impact (when it was even presented) seemed contrived and forced. Not to mention little thought was given to explaining the tournament layout, points system, and why First School needs to win (I think) 4 more matches to secure the whole thing.

    Then we return to Tatsuya who offers no better emulation of the adaptation as a whole. Tatsuya is everywhere at once, solving all the problems without so much a bead of sweat, and yet remains increasingly flat, two dimensional, and emotionally boring. His weaknesses are simply that, traits haphazardly applied to him to give him a semblance of realism; in actuality those weaknesses never prevent him from doing whatever he wants when he wants. After all, there was little problem in stopping those thieves after Tatsuya literally showed up out of nowhere. It’s irritating how easy it would have been to ground his power, and yet it’s as though Madhouse is deliberately ignoring Tatsuya’s personal development to appeal to the viewers’ desire of wish fulfillment. No need to repeat what Miyuki is like as well, it makes Tatsuya look like a complex character.

    As mentioned last week Mahouka is very similar to a science article: it describes everything in extensive detail, provides explanations and hypotheses for specific observations and results, and does this all in the driest manner possible with as much jargon as possible. While the report format works wonderfully for such things as the multiple reactions and pathways of cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrenes within human lipid biochemistry, it simply does not work for storytelling, especially that which must be shown and not told. This adaptation really needed a staff with freedom, imagination, and ingenuity to get right, the source material just isn’t suited for a direct adaptation.

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:37 amdaikama

    @Stilts: Mahouka is an intellectual exercise as much as anything else, because once you “get it” – if you can get it – it all clicks together. The problem is that a table with only one leg cannot support itself. Logic alone isn’t enough to support a story, at least in my eyes.

    Agree. No doubt there is the “intellectual exercise” aspect to the story (e.g. magic system) which some like and others don’t. As I mentioned, for me that is part of why I like MKnR, but not all. A big reason I like MKnR LN is the characters/character interaction/”SOL” type moments. I found them entertaining and often funny (along with providing character depth and personality). That “SOL” stuff is important given that the “main” story, world building, etc. take considerable time to set-up (and yes, longer than some will like). I don’t mind the slower story build up because I’m enjoying all those “SOL” moments not to mention said “intellectual exercise”.

    That’s not all. There are some timely important plot revelations cut out or grossly diluted by the anime that kept my interest as well when reading the LN (also made some characters more appealing/explained their actions). On top of all the cut, altered, and rearranged source material related issues, perhaps worse IMO is that the presentation of what they are showing is lackluster and flat. Frankly, the phrase “phoning it in” comes to mind here.

    So yeah, the “intellectual exercise” aspect is a big part of series, but IMO to say that is the only (key) aspect or draw to MKnR LN is simply inaccurate. I highly doubt the LN would be this popular if that was the case. Is the LN perfect? No, but IMO it’s a LOT better than this adaptation. I certainly would NOT like the series nearly as much if I just watched anime. In fact, 99.9% likely I would have dropped it by now had I not read the LN.

    Here’s a lesson in dramatic tension – it’s hard to get worried when the good guys are ahead.

    Frankly, I never took “Will 1st HS win?” as the major source of tension for this arc. For me the enjoyment for that particular plot line was the journey rather than the destination. This really isn’t a very intense arc anyway. As usual, the anime didn’t set up the situation very well. FYI #1 – “Newcomer Division” (“ND” – which is freshman only) events give 1/2 points compared to the “open” division events, and not all events are worth the same amount of points. FYI #2 – Reason for ND division is that typically there is a huge gulf in ability between 1st year students and 2nd and 3rd year students in all magic HS (not sure if that came across in the anime).

    1st HS is in the lead for now, but that can easily change. The 9SC competition last 10 days, and 1st high (despite what the anime might imply) is not expected to win every single event. Actually, 3rd HS, under the strength of the “Crimson Prince” and “Cardinal George” is expected to win the ND division. So 1st HS needs to make sure they win the events in which its contestants are favored and build up an early lead. Fall short of the projected required lead, and 1st HS will be likely overtaken by some other school later in the competition – most likely by 3rd HS.

    So yeah, 1st HS is leading, but not by as much as they projected. The current point lead should be enough – if the rest of the competition goes as expected, but the margin of safely is slim. These early disappointments are causing for concern for 1st HS 9SC leaders. Some male 1st HS contestants are not performing up to expectations for various reasons (all explained in LN), one of which is poor CAD maintenance. Frankly, that whole scene (hotel room celebration) was poorly executed IMO.

    As First High’s excel spreadsheet shows (excel, in my anime? Kill me now. Real life has officially invaded my pastimes, and I’m pissed)…

    O.o It’s on a PC in the background. Not the first time there have been charts/graphs/data, etc. in some anime. Not an issue for me.

    … unless something pretty special happens, that may be the last episode I cover. My apologies to any fans of this adaptation in advance. My apologies to any fans of this adaptation in advance.

    I’d be shocked if anything “special” happens sufficient to garner your interest. More importantly, no need to apologize IMO. After 12 episodes, I think you clearly gave the anime more than a fair shot. The adaptation is simply not working, and there’s a new season approaching. Why be stuck with something you don’t enjoy when there’s likely to be one other show besides Fate kaleid liner Prisma Illya Season 2 you’d rather blog?

    • June 16, 2014 at 9:30 amStilts

      Glad to hear I got the intellectual exercise thing right, because as much as I can sense it in the source, this adaptation hasn’t been much of an intellectual exercise itself. It’s hard to do that when gaping sections of the equation are missing.

      I was mostly joking about the excel stuff. That’s more a compounding of other quibbles with the show all coming back to me in a “Is this what I’m doing in my free time?” moment when I saw those spreadsheets. If things were going better I would have cheered the story for showing characters manipulating data in such a realistic way.

      As for the competition as a source of tension, if the whole situation was explained better, even being ahead isn’t a problem. I mentioned Gaworare, and during the athletics festival episodes the Quest Hall team actually WAS ahead for a lot of it, but there was enough tension to make the later matches feel like they mattered even when they were still ahead. That also had to do with the stakes though, in that there were some, and there are none other than pride here. Still not an inescapable problem, but if the point was to say “The freshmen matches are going to matter!”, that could have been gotten across a lot more smoothly. Damn if that isn’t true for most things in this anime, though.

      And yeah, I doubt it’ll recover from here. I just believe in giving as much forewarning about a potential drop as possible, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Hopefully summer will have a pleasant surprise or two.

      • June 16, 2014 at 5:36 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: It’s hard to do that when gaping sections of the equation are missing.

        Yep. IDK if I did a good job explaining things or not. There is definitely a substantial amount of science in the series which is why I said in my season preview post I wouldn’t be surprised if the author had a degree in physics. However, it’s not simply “intellectual exercise” for the sake of that. Furthermore, I would not say the “intellectual exercise” part of the story is the main draw of MKnR – at least not for me. The anime’s half-measure approach (to put it nicely) isn’t working on multiple levels – not only in terms of the “intellectual” parts, but the story as a whole.

        As for the competition as a source of tension, if the whole situation was explained better, even being ahead isn’t a problem.

        No doubt. FWIW, there is a reason for the story to have 1st HS as the 9SC favorite and leading early on though spoiler shackles for that. Also, there is more that just pride on the line. Again, the anime’s failure to emphasize/give detail about the importance of a magician’s success/ability/etc. in almost every aspect of their life (i.e. family (e.g 10 Master Families, 18 Replacement Families, etc.), social standing, career, etc.). *sigh* At this point I don’t think it even matters. More gaping sections missing though I’m sure you figured that out by now.

        Hopefully summer will have a pleasant surprise or two.

        Hopefully.

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:43 ambobon721

    As far as I remember, the explanation on what a “strategic class magician” is will come a bit later. It’s either on the next arc or the next two arcs. One thing I’m quite sure of: It was never explained in this arc. I think “special officer” was explained in this arc. I just can’t remember if it was earlier or later.

  • June 16, 2014 at 1:05 amPtolemaios00

    I give up on defending this series. The studio is actively destroying the narrative with haphazard exclusions. Maybe they think the pretty characters, visuals and unique setting will get by, but none of that is particularly impressive compared to other offerings this season. The characters’ prettiness are limited by the prudish society of these characters. The magic is meant to be more calculated so it is not super flashy. The setting is a supernatural high school cliche with an intricate science of magic that is left completely unexplained.

    I really don’t know what the script writers are doing. It doesn’t feel like they even read the LN. It feels like they are animating this based off of someone else’s summary of events that skims through the most exciting sections. It’s just a….really badly told story.

    • June 16, 2014 at 8:20 amLucarion

      Agreed. I was happy when Mahouka announced it was going to have 26 episodes. I thought that would have given it enough time for it to be a good (or at least decent) adaptation. 26 episodes felt like a dream come true…

      Now I just want the nightmare to end. A bad anime can sometimes be worse for a fandom than no anime.

  • June 16, 2014 at 1:06 amRimel

    again with the Kyoukaisen comparison, seriously Kyoukaisen was not such great series at all. what made watch was not the intricate story (that I don’t understand one bit) or the marveling setting. it was your plain run of the mill fan service (shame on me)

    • June 16, 2014 at 5:40 amLibélula

      Noooo, until now Ive only seen the first season, but Kyoukaisen is so weird in every way that nothing comes close to it:)

      -The MC is absolutely over the top stupid, the final fight was genius – challenge followed by walking only a few centimeters every step, the Pope labelling the last fight a field trip and so hindering the enrollment of Horizon, the inferiority complex of Honda in her final fight…

      -Then the creativity – the weird characters, the powers, the system, the background – told in a few sentences at the end of episode one so to not let it take the spotlight but rather to focus on the characters.

      -The character design wich was so wierd that it fit perfectly to the equally weird plot.

      -The two different endings, used really well to capture the emotions of the episode.

      -The last ending screen – continuing the last dialogue and making fun of the WHOLE DRAMATIC PART of the plot.

      -And the soundtrack!

      Really, I didnt want to watch this at first (“character design is bäh”-the me at that time), and I oly did so years after the first season. But Ive rarely seen something that coherent.

      Though Ive gotta say, because Kyoukaisen is so “special” in every way, you just cannot compare it to anything else – and I dont mean because its good (it is!) but because its just wierd as ***. Its like comparing Being John Malkovich to Schindlers List. Theres no basis for comparison.

    • June 16, 2014 at 9:40 amStilts

      @Rimel

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but I do ask that you respect mine. The fantastic part about fiction is there’s so much variety that each of us can find stories that absolutely resonate with us, even if those stories are totally different. If Kyoukaisen wasn’t that for you, that’s cool, but it was for me, so I’m going to keep referring to it (and other stories I loved) whenever I feel it’s appropriate.

    • June 17, 2014 at 1:07 pmRimel

      @Stilts

      Sorry if I sounded rude or anything, but I just expressed my thought on Kyoukaisen, and like you said having different opinions on a said series is bound to happen and I don’t mind any reference to any other series and in the same spirit may you be inclined to accept afterward my thoughts on the series you are referring to.

      @Libélula

      I just thought that Kyoukaisen was not appealing to its audience with its plot and it was more fan service oriented that anything that is my sincere opinion about it. I understand your points about character-design, stupid weird main character, sound track and other points you mentioned … But they are all superficial.

      You said that “the background or “the world building” was told in a few sentences at the end of episode one so to not let it take the spotlight, but rather to focus on the characters.” But for me it killed the series if I don’t understand the world of the series then the motivation, the choice, the depth of the characters are meaningless.

      But it’s not that series didn’t appeal to me at all, the MC like you said was interesting, the battles were engaging and I liked the humor, but that’s it, it’s like appreciating a sculpture without knowing its history, maybe the sculpture would appeal more to me more if I understood its thousand years worth of history.

  • June 16, 2014 at 1:37 amzztop

    @Stilts: Perhaps Mahouka isn’t a show to follow weekly, but one which you follow as an entire arc; ie. you give your impressions on an arc after it has fully aired.

  • June 16, 2014 at 1:54 amechykr

    Man, that has got to be the most uneventful episode so far. Besides the tech/jargon exposition, hardly anything ever happened. In that case, the writers ought to have focused more on the character interactions instead.

  • June 16, 2014 at 3:38 amRukia

    They cut out way too much Mayumi. Not happy about how they have handled her at all.

  • June 16, 2014 at 3:54 ampredatorvmt

    In Counter Strike:GO, maps are not absolutely balance.
    For example, dust_2 is T-sided. That’s why we have to swap team by the half of the match: to play both as the advantaged and the disadvantaged in the same match.

    =>What does that means? It means: sometime, just because you are ahead on paper, it doesn’t mean you are actually ahead.
    ————————————-
    I play both CS:GO and Dota to experience and understand the dilemma of 1st High Brass:
    +)1st High has 3rd-year “10-masterclan-class” Trio: Mari, Mayumi and Katsuto.
    +)1st High lacks of quality technical staffs.
    +)3rd High has 2 “10-masterclan-class” in form of Masaki and his gay friend.

    =>Their advantage: (Official division)
    1)Mayumi, Mari and Katsuto will probably win every match they are in.
    =>Their disadvantage: (Newcomer division)
    1)Beside the trio (who can be counted as outliers), the roster is pretty much average for official division.
    2)The lack of logistic will spell problems, compared to other schools.
    3)Reserved situation compared to official division: Due to Masaki and his gay friend,their Newcomer division will be trashed!!!
    ^
    That’s spoiler free.
    ————————————-
    *Now for the spoiler*
    The odds will stack against 1st High by the next episode.
    *Spoiler end.*

    =>And 1st High probably has to rely on their supposedly “get-stomped_bitch” newcomer division *cough* Tatsuya *cough*.

    • June 16, 2014 at 4:33 ampredatorvmt

      May be i wasn’t clear enough:
      Basicially, right now 1st High is doing good because they’re using the ACE(Mayumi/Mari), the best they have to offer.
      This is the “advantage” period of the match for 1st High. It’s natural, matter-of-fact that they will get a few point.

      If you want the exciting “disadavantage” period with SHTF, don’t worry. It will come right up after this.
      ….Although i seriously doubt they can make anything but another bland episode.

  • June 16, 2014 at 4:06 amYouTube

    Well that episode was dull.

  • June 16, 2014 at 4:17 amMentar

    Well, at least we have one highlight for LN readers: One of the most interesting characters in the series which only got extremely few illustrations popped up.

    Yes, the “secretary” :)

    • June 16, 2014 at 10:19 pmPtolemaios00

      She didn’t even get a mention! She has such a cool nickname too!

  • June 16, 2014 at 6:21 amKayu

    Others may drop this show but for me, I am really enjoy watching this show. Why am I enjoying it I don’t even know. Did I re-watch the show? Yeah, more than 5 times, and still planning on to.

  • June 16, 2014 at 7:24 amkamichama

    Well, I am LN readers too, the one I feel bad about this show:
    1. When we want MC show something cool, he just become narrator of the show.
    2. And my favorite character (Mayumi) almost all her scene was axed >.<.
    3. After Tatsuya stop kendo team, I think Tatsuya already not doing anything cool. I think many of people want to look at Tatsuya's action, but what we got is kirihara in action when subdue the terrorist.
    4. A lot of scene of romcom was axed in this adaption.
    But I think as an anime, Mahouka not that bad, just from our point of view of LN readers. Even we are a bit disappointed, I believe LN readers still want to want adaptation of Yokohama arc.

    @Stilts
    I believe you absolutely will be excited at that arc :)

    • June 16, 2014 at 7:26 amkamichama

      *But I think as an anime, Mahouka not that bad, just from our point of view of LN readers. Even we are a bit disappointed, I believe LN readers still want to want adaptation of Yokohama arc.

      correction:
      But I think as an anime, Mahouka not that bad, just from our point of view of LN readers. Even we are a bit disappointed, I believe LN readers still want to watch adaptation of Yokohama arc.

    • June 16, 2014 at 9:54 amW.P

      “But I think as an anime, Mahouka not that bad, just from our point of view of LN readers. Even we are a bit disappointed, I believe LN readers still want to want adaptation of Yokohama arc.”

      Yeah, kind agreed here.
      Started reading LN after totally uneventful episode 10 and just finished High Schools Competition arc.
      Pretty much everything is quite reasonable and understandble now and it’s really enjoyable to see how they animated significant scenes from LN.
      Although, as stated multiple times, it’s shamefull that anime version is rather unfriendly towards those who had not read the original.

  • June 16, 2014 at 8:04 amCassandra

    Tatsuya getting dragged into the competition seems very likely.
    Mild or is it subtle foreshadowing? It might just be.

  • June 16, 2014 at 8:14 amLucarion

    I can’t blame people for dropping this. I did. Starting now. And I’m one of the fanboys. (At the very least Stilts, if you do drop this, can you at least come back for Yokohama? I would love to read your take on that.)

    I tried to not say anything–I really did–I wanted the anime to do well. I still do. I wanted people to get more interested in the story, I wanted the anime to bring in a new crop of fans. But with each episode it got harder and harder to hide my disappointment–let’s face facts: Mahouka is a mediocre anime. And a TERRIBLE adaptation. If I didn’t know anything about the LNs and just took at as it is, I’d probably like it more and keep watching for the wincest–and even that got on my nerves with how the anime chose to go about it. (And I HATE feeling like this, because I absolutely adore Miyuki and to see her incarnated into a one-note brocon girl feels borderline blasphemous)The direction is terrible, the action is lack-luster (those events are a definite offender), and the characters are there just to move the plot along and do very little to endear themselves to the viewer.

    This is where the anime failed miserably.

    We don’t care about the characters. At all. That’s why watching it feels like such a chore. If we did, the characters could be taking a dump on screen for all we care and we’d still be invested in the scene. That’s why stuff like K-On got so popular. Because people actually liked the characters and wanted to more of them, even thought they technically did nothing and just bummed around the club room. In Mahouka, the characters can do all kinds of “cool” shit with their screen time, but it’s all pointless since the show gave us little to no reason to care about the people doing the “cool” shit. The characters in the anime are nothing but pale shadows of the characters in the novels. AnimeTatsuya is a boring ass Gary Stu. There. I said it. Why on earth would anyone sympathize with him? How can anyone get attached enough to want to follow his story when he’s the way he is? Now, LNTatsuya? Why do I feel so invested in his exploits despite knowing he’ll probably win all of his engagements? Well, it’s because he’s DESPERATE to win all the time, and he INTENDS to keep it that way because he’s TERRIFIED of losing since there was a time in his life when he almost lost and it nearly broke his sanity–he went mad with grief, and he doesn’t want to feel that way ever again. So he went through great pains to make he stays the most powerful creature in the universe. That, I find interesting. LNTatsuya’s NOT a character that deals with “loss” easily or gracefully. What’s more, the story sometimes goes to show him that his particular “talents” are useless for what he really wants to do, and portrays him as a man (or monster) with a mostly empty existence–heck, his powers even kinda make his whole situation sorta pathetic. Also, he was more of a loveable rogue in the novels–he liked trolling people and he liked to bullshit. So yeah, there’s that much of a difference. And I’m not even getting into everything else the anime butchered.

    I thought the first episode was perfect because I thought it set up all the right things and had some pretty fluid action in it. But as time went on the anime only continued to prove me wrong–it wasn’t going to focus on the right things, it actually ended up focusing on all the wrong things: it turned Tatsuya and Miyuki’s relationship into a bad joke, it technobabbled on the lame stuff and screwed the technobabble that was actually interesting (like “trident” and Tatsuya’s magic), it cut out KEY character defining moments–Miyuki’s monologue in episode 3 was one thing; I lost all faith I had in the series when they decided to screw Tatsuya’s monologue in episode 8 too. (They shouldn’t have cut that out, because by the time they get to explaining everything in the “flashback episodes”–no one will care anymore. It’s the kind of thing you NEED to drop on viewers to get more people to sympathize with Tatsuya.) And? They cut out all the “fun” scenes–Mahouka is a serious story, but it knew how to sprinkle little bits of fun now and then–when the anime decided to skip showing the FLT engineers playing “sky tag”–the anime’s intention was clear. It took “serious” too seriously. It made the anime cold and bland…and tasteless.

    Anyway, I’m done. I can’t defend the indefensible. If they screw up Yokohama(likely)I’m going treat this like Tsukihime and deny its existence. Madhouse screwed up.

    • June 16, 2014 at 11:41 amSolace

      @Lucarion

      You know, reading your comment made me think of something. This whole discrepancy between the LNs and the anime is pretty similar to what happened with the film adaptation of Starship Troopers where the original novel was criticized for [seemingly] promoting militarism, racism, fascism, and other bad -isms you can think of. The director of the film, Paul Verhoeven, subscribed to that view of the novel and sought to use the film to parody the themes that the novel [seemingly] promoted because, I’m guessing, he thought it was Poe’s law in longform and that it wouldn’t fly with the general audience.

      I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that Madhouse thought the Mahouka LNs promoted, at the very least, questionable things (which include but are not limited to: allegations of Japanese self-victimization, nationalism, jingoism, classism, elitism, and even maybe objectivism) and decided to just downplay some stuff (side characters getting the shaft because the studio don’t see them as important contributors at all) and dial it up to 11 for others (such as the incestuous undertones, Tatsuya’s OP nature) ala parody. At first glance, those are controversial, but nonetheless, interesting themes to want to address, but Satou’s almost one-sided view of the world makes it seem like he really believes those things and that bleeds into his writing (like Miyuki’s image of the Yamato Nadeshiko and her slut-shaming Mizuki and others). Now, on the most basic level, I will defend people’s right to write whatever they want, but I will also exercise my right to criticize what they write, if that makes any sense.

      I’m willing to give the studio the benefit of the doubt here that they very much understand the nature of the LNs and just decided to do a haphazard parody.

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:24 pmSK

        If that were the case, the question becomes, why pick up the project? I’d assume the reason they picked it up was to take advantage of the large base of people who had read the LN (built-in fanbase, built-in sales). If you’re gonna go out of your way to make it a parody, you’re liable to piss off a chunk of that base. Unless the people in charge think a parody will increase the viewer/buyer pool enough to offset that loss, it makes no business sense to attempt that.

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:42 pmSolace

        @SK

        Starship Troopers (film), depending on who you ask, isn’t very good either. It’s considered a cult classic and it didn’t make THAT much money in comparison to its budget, so http://i.imgur.com/WTbnWL7.gif

        Just giving my two-cents. I don’t know the financial agreements in place for the adaptation but at the end of the day, everyone gets paid. Did fans go all up in arms over the “crappy” film adaptation? Maybe. But it doesn’t take away from the brilliance that is the original novel.

      • June 16, 2014 at 8:26 pmLucarion

        First off, Solace. Let me apologize for the harsher tone I took the last time I replied to your comment. I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that. You’re just stating your opinion and people have the right to interpret the work however they want. I was frustrated and tired of defending the series left and right–but then I got to thinking: “If the show was good, why would I even need to do that?”. If I have to go around justifying practically everything to other people, then the anime isn’t doing a very good job as an anime. What Mahouka has here is BAD story-telling. Cuts are one thing. We expected that. But the anime’s job is to tell a good story despite all those cuts. The anime gave people very little reason to care about or like anyone in the story. It’s important to show scenes where character’s just act like themselves–and to do it well–the anime focused too much on animating all the plot scenes, but not enough on the scenes where we just got to know the people populating the story-world. I forgave the show back then because it was Enrollment arc (and even that was in question because I actually liked Enrollment arc in the novels and the manga–it wasn’t as strong as the other parts, but it was good enough to get people invested and interested), but when I saw that they were going to do the same thing with 9 Schools? I lost my shit.

        So yeah, still a big fan of the source material and manga adaptations. Not a big fan of the anime.

        ………………………………………………………………………………..

        On another topic, in defense of the original novels, let me explain why I don’t think those “-isms” don’t really apply here:

        Nationalism–Hard to do when your main character has no national feelings or sense of patriotic loyalty. Tatsuya would let Japan burn if it served his interests, and he’s only part of the military as long as those interests are met. He doesn’t care about nationality or race–everyone is the same in his eyes. He justifies the actions the Chinese and the Koreans did as simply being part of the nature of war, and isn’t blind to the terrible Nazi-esque things Japan did to keep their independence. It’s a very grey world in Mahouka.

        Slut-shaming–The thing is the characters in Mahouka are very much a product of their times. The thing with Miyuki’s comment is because in the time the story is set, because of the global cooling that happened several decades back people took to wearing longer coats, and warmer in general. So stuff like Mizuki’s outfit became rarely seen and was seen as being quite revealing.

        Jingoism–Aside from what I said about the nationalism and the characters being products of their time. The same goes here. The world is on edge because the effects of the last war continues to linger everywhere. One wrong move, and a country could lose its independence, and Japan already went too far to give up on that now.

        Classism–The thing here is that the whole magician’s thing is comparable to doctors securing their rights rather than the rich securing their wealth. Mages don’t make as much money as the muggles think they do, and they don’t really get special treatment despite he muggles thinking they do. The truth? The whole situation is in reverse. It’s the mages who are being discriminated against with their being seen as tools for the protection and service of the state. Most of the power still belongs in the hands of the ungifted, and while they show respect and deference to the nagicians–everyone is aware that everyone is just using each other to their own ends. The mages accept because they’re given something to do and get certain perks for adhering to the rules set by the muggles. A clan’s position in the 10MC isn’t inherited and are given by the government to the family that has the strongest ability with magic.

        Elitism–What Mahouka glorifies is competence. Competence determines worth in the series. To be able to do something and do it well is what the story sees as a great virtue. One’s origins need not matter. And again, Tatsuya looks at everyone equally.

        Objectivism–Moving on.

        As for the incest and Tatsuya’s OP nature? Well, since there’s little reason for me to want to hide spoilers, both of that can actually be explain by the fact that Tatsuya and Miyuki…

        …are gods.

        Because in a world where magic has been broken down and made understood by science, to have the main characters be a couple of deconstructed gods–broken down and made understood by science–feels absolutely perfect.

      • June 16, 2014 at 9:14 pmStilts

        Interesting that you bring up slut-shaming when I was just reading an article about that earlier. They’re not going so far as to openly do that here, but there’s a definite feel to it, and that’s one thing I don’t like. I feel like it’s more a case of the author implementing a world-building change (cooler weather + high-tech clothes = more modest clothing. It makes sense!) and not understanding the unfortunate implications because, well, he’s a dude. Maybe that’s not the case, but it’s always rubbed me the wrong way.

      • June 16, 2014 at 9:29 pmKrono

        @SK

        What they’re suggesting, regardless of whether or not it’s accurate, would be decisions made after the studio picked up the project. The studio picks up the rights to adapt a currently popular series, then picks a director to adapt it who’s done something relatively similar before. Then the director figures out how to adapt it.

        They aren’t going to renege on the contract simply because once they actually look at it they find that it’ll be difficult, or seems to have a message they don’t agree with. That they may piss off a chunk of the existing fanbase in the process depending on what they decide to do is something that won’t be of great concern to them. That’s pretty much a given for any adaption, which is part of the reason the phases “the manga’s better” and “the book is better” exist.

      • June 16, 2014 at 10:35 pmSolace

        @Lucarion

        You seem to be mistaken, I wasn’t saying that Tatsuya is a nationalist, but rather Mahouka’s focus on Japan’s superiority in whatever there is can be seen as nationalistic and borderline jingoistic. They might as well have replicated that whole intro sequence in BioShock when you were heading into Rapture: “All good things of this earth flow into the city.” Except instead of “flow into the city,” it’d be “comes from Japan.” Consider the following (but, again, not limited to the below): Japan is the sole nation in their universe to remain independent and sovereign, has the strongest group of mages in the world (yes, I know USNA is comparable, but they lack breadth, though it’s also funny that even their top mage has Japanese blood -> everything leads back to the Japanese).

        There are quite a few things that you label as being a product of their world’s times. Who chose to write about those times? The Mahoukaverse wasn’t created in a vacuum and nor should it be viewed in a vacuum because it stifles discussion and reflection. What I’m getting at is that it’s due to authorial intent. First, the inclusion of global cooling rather than warming leading to a more prudent dress code, which makes no sense because extreme temperatures (as in winter/summer) still exist. If it’s warm, wear lighter clothing. It’s not like a nuclear winter occurred. Satou is using Miyuki as a platform to project his own ideals on about what a lady should be: prim, proper, reserved, soft-spoken, and not “letting her tits hang out”. You know, lady things. Miyuki is [i]Satou’s[/i] perfect woman, [i]his[/i] Yamato Nadeshiko. This is readily apparent in the LNs with the way he would spend pages upon pages describing how utterly beautiful she is and that every time she enters the room, everybody’s heads go up, and they stay there.

        By your reasoning, The Turner Diaries’s world should be judged as a product of its time and it’s actually not racist or white supremacist. It’s an extreme case, but does saying it’s just a product of its time make it any less of a heinous piece of inflammatory literature? Does it make Mahouka any less socially conservative or even controversial in its apparent ideas?

        The whole section about non-nuclear proliferation is also a product of that authorial intent. Satou most likely doesn’t like nuclear weapons and thus easily wished it away (via the actions by the international mage community) for the Mahoukaverse. A world without nuclear weapons is a pipe dream It’s ironic and almost hilarious how after mages removed nukes, that what’s replacing those nukes are those same mages. Can’t they see they are the ones fueling an era of magical military industrial complex? “A man chooses, a slave obeys.” What are mages? They have the clout to reject nation, philosophy, ideology, but they let themselves be shackled. What gives? And, this is slightly off-topic, technically, with the shortage of food due to global cooling and Japan being a major importer of foodstuffs, the other countries could’ve starved the Japanese during World War 3.

        The part about classism that you just wrote is reminiscent of how the rich and powerful justify their position in society. That it’s hard being rich and powerful (ala Damocles). That they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. That the have-nots are just jealous of them. That what is shown to us is NOT how it actually is. All the while sipping their proverbial wine in their spacious apartments with 60” screen TVs, with commodities and more commodities. Tatsuya comes off as defending their lifestyle and then you mean to tell me that that’s not the case at all. That they’re not privileged? It comes off as disingenuous. I’m sure you remember the end of episode 2 when discussion exploded. The people under them just don’t understand. Which makes no sense. Nuance and context is key to making sure everyone’s on the same page regarding this issue. That’s just the first facet of this problem.

        The second arises when you consider how Mahouka spends all this time showing us how cool and intricate magic is, that there are these very influential families not unlike zaibatsu, that there’s this mage school system and magical olympics, and then it decides to pull the “woe is magical me” card? That magic’s a curse? That’s again disingenuous. If that’s the case, then the tone is all over the place. It’s not too different from Hideo Kojima’s constant wanking over the military in the Metal Gear Solid series where he goes into great detail about military hardware and then tries to fit in commentary on the military industrial complex, PMCs, and how war is terrible in the form of “War has changed.” This could’ve been helped if they showed us from the beginning that, hey, magic is fucking TERRIBLE and kept it tonally consistent from then on.

        Psycho-Pass is a show that tried to sell us on a world where pre-crime is a thing and is used to stop crime. At first the viewer might think it was something useful, possibly even good, but then it slowly, but surely shows us more and more cases where such a system is failing. The perfect system is not perfect after all. It didn’t take too long to show us that it’s actually fucking broken. Mahouka either takes forever to get moving or pretty much keeps the same tone in that magic is cool and terrorists are bad and they hate mages and Japan.

        Elitism stems from classism and it basically revolves the cementing of a social class, that they deserve to win/lead by virtue of their talent. You’d say, but the ones who do win win deservingly because of superior magic. True, but their magic prowess is a product of their bloodline, so by extension, if you’re from a certain bloodline and is blessed with the right genes, bingo, you’re considered an elite. It certainly sounds nice to reduce this issue down to such a line as Mahouka glorifying competence when it’s really just a small club of people playing nepotism. Hell, if I were to take it one step further, it seems this work is trying to say that the elite are competent and no one else is. This wouldn’t get such a scathing review from me if it had just one competent character that exercises noblesse oblige. Or even just one character who really was blessed with magic but is utterly disenfranchised. I appreciate different perspectives and is why after reading about Major Kazama, I’m disappointed he’s really only a side character and not a protagonist. There ought to be at least a moral foil to Tatsuya.

        When works like this try to tackle such touchy subjects, it’s always important to ask yourself, “why did the author write it like this?”, when analyzing it. Why is China and Korea unequivocally terrible in this world? Why are they so hellbent on trying to invade Japan? Did the people here somehow lose access to history? Did everyone forget about Cold War 1? Why the author can’t into believable geopolitics? Why didn’t they address the real world concept of Eidos and Idea by saying, “Plato was right all along”? Now I’m just rambling.

      • June 16, 2014 at 11:23 pmSK

        @Krono
        And if that’s how the process actually goes, then it’s a pretty stupid model. Why would you pick up a project without taking a look at it beforehand? I’d understand if these themes didn’t show up until several volumes in or hadn’t yet been written (For example, had [LN]Oreimo not undergone executive meddling and actually stuck with the wincest end, I could understand the studio being wary of the message/theme and going in a different direction, even if many signs pointed to that as the logical end) but if you wanted to see those (supposed) messages that Solace pointed out, you could make a case for at least a few of them by the end of the first arc (2 volumes). Buying the rights to a property without even skimming it seems rather idiotic, and a quick path to self-destruction.
        I’m under the assumption that a studio would pick up a popular series because… it’s popular. With an established fanbase, there is already a potential pool of consumers buying discs, so there isn’t as big of a risk to the company’s bottom line to produce an adaptation. If you are going to alienate much of the established fanbase, what the hell was the point of picking up the series in the first place? Their changes better be good enough to replace the loss in potential customers, or it’s just a bad business decision. If they care about certain messages to the point where they would be willing to lose some business, then be more picky from the start. If they think they can pick and choose the parts of the story they like while discarding or changing the rest, and still maintain the popularity of the original, that’s pretty arrogant and likely to result in shows bombing.

        Essentially, if what you said is true, then I just cannot comprehend the thought process, as it doesn’t seem to make any business sense.

      • June 17, 2014 at 12:34 amLucarion

        Brazil is still independent. As for the magician’s letting themselves be shackled, well look at it this way: Japanese magicians are like pets. All their privileges come from the government rather than something they worked for, and will lose support if they fail to meet certain standards. Plus, they were selectively bred. They’re respected and treated well because of their powers and because they are responsible for protecting the country, and the magicians respect the muggle laws because aside from giving a sweet social contract, the muggles still produce the food and are responsible for running everything else in society. The power balance is very delicate and it’s why the 10MC’s were created–so the one mage clan will check each other to make sure no one gets too powerful. They’re not one entity working on a common mission. No. They share common goals, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily are part of the same team. What makes Tatsuya’s family unique–out of the 10 they are most power-hungry and are trying to get more power than they’re supposed to have. It’s breaking the balance and the other families don’t like where they’re going.

        As for Miyuki being Satou’s dream girl…She could be? But I think not, cause there’s a better explanation for why he felt like he needed to stress how beautiful she was: Just as Tatsuya was meant to be the strongest man in the universe, Miyuki is supposed to be the most beautiful. Tatsuya’s godlike strength could be shown with the stuff he does, but how do you get godlike beauty across? Miyuki’s supposed to be just that beautiful. So beautiful she grabs the attention of anyone who sees her. So beautiful you can hardly even believe she exists. But this can all be explained when you realize Mahouka is really, I-shit-people-not, just a reimagining of the Shiva myths. It’s why Tatsuya and Miyuki are the way they are. Because Tatsuya is Shiva, of course he’s going to be overpowered as fuck. Because Miyuki is the female Shiva, his wife Parvati, of course she’s going to be the most beautiful woman in existence. “Shiba-kun”, and “Shiba-san”. The terrorists and the antagonists? All stand-ins for the demons that sometimes come to invade the home of the gods, which causes the normally indifferent Shiva to rouse and start kicking ass.

        OK, just for the people who are still interested:

        Tatsuya = Shiva. (Male Shiva)

        Miyuki = Parvati. (Female Shiva)

        Tatsurou = Daksha.

        Ushiyama (Taurus) and the FLT engineers = Nandi and the Sidhas.

        Lina = Kali and Sirius (the star of Shiva and the black dog that accompanies him in his wrathful state).

        Ooguro Ryuuya? Daitenkoku and the black dragon. His magic? Shiva’s powers. The black suit? The Bhairava aspect. Trident? Shiva’s trishula. Third Eye? Shiva’s third eye. His scanning ability(Elemental Sight)? Shiva’s ability to see “The Brahman”. Why the discrimination against Tatsuya? Because Shiva was discriminated against. Why he doesn’t care? Because Shiva didn’t care. He dotes on Miyuki because Shiva doted on his wife. Miyuki’s “onii-sama” is a play on the words “my lord husband”. Miyuki’s ice powers and name is a reflection of Parvati’s Chinese and Japanese names (“雪山神女” and “雪冰天女”). The indifferent and utterly strange god who while kind and gentle is capable of wrath and inspiring absolute terror; the calm, kind-hearted goddess who is merciless when provoked. Their nicknames and epithets can all be traced to the Shiva myths. They have the same personalities, drives, and even similar backstories–Miyuki literally worships Tatsuya as a higher being, and only Miyuki can get Tatsuya to be more involved in the world around him. People around them react to them the same way people in the myths reacted to the Divine Couple, and that’s why this whole story is the “Irregular at Magic Highschool”–because Shiva is an irregular god who represents everything outside the system, just as everything about Tatsuya goes against what everyone knows about magic or everything else for that matter.

        Heck, I’m under the opinion that the only person who is probably capable of taking Tatsuya down in a fair fight, can only be one of his own sons. But this is for a different time, so I’ll leave this here.

      • June 17, 2014 at 7:55 amZirthiel

        This anime is totally slut-shaming… yep totally. It’s not like it’s going to have an beach episode right after this arc where girls from Tatsuya’s inner circle are going to parade in bikinis.

        Also I am totally not looking forward to that episode. Not at all…

        *whistles innocently*

      • June 17, 2014 at 2:56 pmSolace

        @Lucarion

        Brazil also happens to have the largest population of Japanese expats. But I’m sure the story doesn’t really care about Brazil in the grand scheme of things.

        Mages have the power to achieve autonomy, a city under the sea, a UN for themselves, but they chose to whore themselves out to their respective governments and countries for perks. Like I said, did everyone in the Mahoukaverse forget about Cold War 1? It was an extremely volatile time filled with spies, proxy wars, MAD, all built upon a clash of ideologies. Our world was on the brink of destruction, yet the mages of this world continue adding fuel to the fire. No mages contributing to the military, no more Cold War stand-offs. I’m surprised there isn’t a mercenary mage group that views itself as an equalizer, with no love or affiliation with the 10MCs or any government, and fights where they are needed ala Outer Heaven.

        And that whole part with the Shiva reference is something I’ve seen being peddled as something meaningful. I’ve addressed this before in other areas of the anime community. (Speaking of which, can we actually get a source on the original Shiva tale? I just wanna read it for myself. I’ve tried looking around before, but came up empty.)

        Let me say this: I love allusions/references; they tend to add a second or multiple layers to the work, and can be used to enhance themes or subvert expectations. One of my favorite games of all time was heavily inspired by Apocalypse Now, which was heavily inspired by Heart of Darkness. But why do I absolutely revere Spec Ops: The Line over something like Mahouka when they both draw from a previous inspiration? Well, one is thematically strong, the other is weird mix of Harry Potter crossed with Deus Ex crossed with weird tangents into SoL (which contradict character personalities) and magi babble (which get thrown out the window once the supernatural elements come in).

        Strong literature should work on both levels, that is the straight reading with no allusions, AND the reading with the allusions in mind.

        “Mahouka is a reimagining of the Shiva myth.”

        And I ask, “So what?” Satou made a conscious choice to use the Shiva myth in Mahouka, but does nothing substantial with it. It shouldn’t be used as a crutch for the reader/viewer to go, “OH NOW I GET IT.” The whole Shiva connection only ever comes off as something like this, with him taking surface elements (such as Shiva is powerful so Tatsuya is powerful; Parvati is perfect lady, so Miyuki is perfect lady) without really exploring deep into the underlying meanings of such a tale. Some people who are already fans of Mahouka are just projecting what they think the story is trying to say when it presents almost the opposite or, worse, something entirely irrelevant. The potential is all there, but I don’t gush over potential.

        In contrast, the way it works with Spec Ops: The Line is that everything in its design (from the main menu to even the loading screens) served to solidify its core themes; the purpose and horror of war, the purpose of first person shooters, the effects of war on combatants and non-combatants, critique of player participation in FPSs, etc. It had a story to tell and told it without losing any focus. Looking at Mahouka from afar only makes the disjointed tone all the more apparent especially when you’re telling me all about these things that it should be conveying, but fails to do so.

        In the end, Mahouka lacks emotional umph for me because its narrative and thematic focus is all over the place. It tries to do so much that it feels like it’s doing nothing at all. It’s also one of the reasons why I keep comparing it to the Muv-Luv trilogy due to their similarity in breadth, much to chagrin of other Mahouka fans here, because I honestly think it’s bar-none one of the greatest Japanese works to address pretty much everything I can think of when trying to design a believable, sci-fi world, with much of it owed to its narrative focus and strong themes.

        I still think Mahouka would’ve benefitted from a perspective shift to highlight how far removed from reality the Shiba siblings are. I know the LNs have these sort of shifts, but the impact would be greater from the viewpoint of someone utterly normal (as in not a mage) but nonetheless has a good head on their shoulder.

      • June 18, 2014 at 4:48 pmKrono

        @SK

        Oh, I’m sure they do some investigating of the series before picking up the license. My point is that they won’t be looking at the same things a director would, nor would they be particularly concerned about the series’ “message”. They’d want to know what genre it was (sci-fi, fantasy, sports, etc), their interest in the summary of the series would be about how that would impact length and cost of an adaption, that sort of thing. Having someone sit down and read the entire available series to see if they agree with it’s message is not something they’re going to be doing. They don’t need to agree with it’s message or like it’s story to make a profit off of it.

        As for changes, I think you greatly over-estimate how concerned they are about offending the existing pool of fans. Many series have seen significant, often seemingly pointless changes in the course of adaption. Whether or not the changes are actually better don’t mean much, they’re being made because the director and others in charge think they’re better, or at least will be more profitable.

    • June 17, 2014 at 1:10 pmZen

      Okay, my two cents: This is one of the silliest debates that I’ve ever seen in anime. All I see here are the people who dislike Mahouka arguing that it “advocates a certain controversial socio-political ethos” and should be shunned on that basis. Whereas those who like Mahouka seem for the most part to be trying to put up smoke and mirrors to make it look like this underlying thematic message is some kind of emergent coincidental narrative phenomenon that wasn’t really intended by the author.

      Haters: So you don’t like the socio-political ethos advocated by this show. I get it. But even so that doesn’t mean that there is no good reason for anyone to be into Mahouka. Independent of the thematic content of any piece of media is its raw artistic merit, and it makes perfect sense that many people would be into this show because of elements unrelated to its socio-political ethos, many of which are actually quite well-done, such as the intricate magic system and the highly kinetic, physical magic battles which are nothing like boring wand-on-wand Harry Potter-esque battles. So it is unsurprising that even many who agree with you that the loosely libertarian/neoconservative worldview presented in Mahouka is misled would be into this series/show in spite of their disagreement with its aforementioned socio-political ethos. And there’s nothing wrong with liking a story on the basis of its artistic merit, even when you disagree with its message.

      Secondly, reality check. The socio-political ethos of Mahouka isn’t anywhere nearly as controversial and marginal as you try to make it out to be. Mahouka does not take a hardline libertarian/objectivist position- rather its message is hodgepodge of select (personally cherry-picked by the author, no doubt) libertarian and neoconservative values which come together to form something that is in fact very much in line with the “fiscally conservative/socially liberal” views peculiar to (and in fact quite popular) among the millennial generation. Which comes as no surprise because I’m almost certain I read somewhere that the author himself is a millennial (correct me if I’m wrong). A large number of people actually agree with the socio-political ethos advocated in Mahouka and are likely fans of the show on this basis.

      It makes absolutely no sense to me that the socio-political ethos advocated by a piece of media should have any bearing whatsoever on its merit as a work of art. If you disagree with a work’s socio-political ethos, that’s one thing but then don’t go around decrying the work as having no artistic merit on that basis- argue against the underlying philosophical principles themselves rather than arguing that a work of art should be shunned on the basis of it containing such (offensive to you) philosophical principles. “It offends me therefore it is of no value”- Makes you sound like a bunch of censorship advocates.

      Fanboys: Reality check, quit living in denial. There is an undeniably, unmistakably author-intended tinge of generally libertarianistic/neoconservative elements to the socio-political ethos advocated by Mahouka. Claiming otherwise is preposterous. Suggesting that a person as bright as the author of Mahouka, the same guy who came up with that intricate, internally consistent, real-science-like magic system would fail to notice coincidentally arising libertarian/neoconservative undertones in his story after writing 13 whole volumes is quite frankly very silly and an insult to his intelligence. Equally implausible is suggesting that he would be okay with leaving such emergent undertones in his story after noticing them if he himself disagreed with them. Few if any authors would be okay with their works advocating a message that they themselves were opposed and took offense to, it’d be like Confucius writing a story which taught people to disrespect their parents- that Tsutomu Sato would be a rare exception to this rule is more or less a statistical impossibility.

      But the clearest indicator of authorial intent with regard to Mahouka’s loosely libertarian/neoconservative thematic content is the perfection of its design. That is to say, Mahouka’s world is made up of a combination of elements which are perfect for portraying and extolling the author’s own chimeric breed of vaguely libertarian/neoconservative philosophy. I keep hearing people say that the actions of the characters in this show only appear to be libertarian/neoconservative in nature because they are “a product of their time/condition.” Uhh, yeah true? But these are fictional “times”- the author could have done literally anything with the condition of Mahouka’s fictional world (i.e. its “times”) but chose to make it conducive to characters acting according to loosely libertarian/neoconservative principles. Why did he do this? Clearly because it was his intention to sell these principles to the audience in the first place- and don’t tell me he did it simply because “He wanted to tell a compelling story”- compelling stories can be told in virtually any type of world-setting.

      I’m almost positive that this ridiculous argument that Mahouka’s loosely libertarian/neoconservative elements are merely emergent coincidental narrative phenomena exists because a certain (sizable) segment of the series’ fandom is living in denial. They like Mahouka but disagree with the socio-political ethos that it advocates. Yet like the haters above they too believe that the artistic merit of a work depends on the social value of its advocated socio-political ethos. And because of this belief they cannot reconcile liking Mahouka with disagreeing with its socio-political ethos because a work of art which advocates (what they perceive to be) a “wrong” socio-political ethos is worthless. So they take to denying that Mahouka intentionally advocates the socio-political ethos that it so blindingly obviously advocates. Wake up, it is perfectly fine to like a work of art which advocates views that you disagree with as a work of art, on the basis of its artistic merit, independent of its thematic content. And if you happen to mostly agree with Mahouka’s socio-political ethos but are trying deny that it was a product of authorial intent for the sake of political correctness or something, just stop. Take a little pride in what you believe in- it isn’t nearly as socially unacceptable as you might believe- as mentioned above many young people of anime-viewing age subscribe to similar values. As for the fans who openly state that they agree with Mahouka’s socio-political ethos and like it on that basis- I commend you for being open, honest and bold with your beliefs, what you believe to to be good and right.

      _____________________________________________________________________________

      Final note: I find it extremely ironic and amusing that the same mistaken belief that the artistic value of a work of art depends on the perceived “correctness” of its socio-political ethos is at the heart of the arguments put forward by both haters and fanboys alike (Exemplified in the fine specimens above). This observation is also quite disturbing as it seems to suggest to me that many people would be perfectly willing to censor a work of art on the basis of disagreement with its thematic content alone- because to them any work of art containing what they perceive to be “wrong” or “offensive” thematic content is worthless, possessing no purely artistic value independent of the (perceived) social value of the ethical/socio-political ethos that it advocates…

      • June 17, 2014 at 3:26 pmSolace

        @Zen

        Satou’s not a millennial. He’s actually around 50 years old at most.

        And no, Mahouka is terrible not because of the -isms it [seemingly] promotes; it’s terrible because its writing is terrible and everything else is just shit-icing on the shit-cake. Inflammatory literature gets written all the time and people will get their panties in a bunch over them and that’s just life, man. I ain’t even mad regarding these subtexts; I just find it an interesting case study into the author’s worldview. It’s when the writing is fundamentally terribad that it really grinds my gears. I’d rather Mahouka take it to the political extreme rather than doing a half-assed job that decidedly ignores all the context and nuance that comes with political views.

      • June 17, 2014 at 4:06 pmZen

        Fair enough, Solace. Good to know that there are more reasonable people around who dislike Mahuouka because they think it lacks independent artistic merit rather than merely because its thematic content offends their own political views. With the sort of comments that I’ve been seeing around the blogosphere for the last 11 episodes of this show though, I have to almost swear that more reasonable folks like you are scarce as hen’s teeth.

        So Satou’s around 50 huh? Hmm, him being old and his particular set of political views remind of of Mitt Romney for some strange reason- whose strong commitment to “personal responsibility” has often been said to be “Randian” or “Libertarian,” and who is also generally considered at the same time to have neoconservative tendencies with regard to foreign policy, to which he takes a fairly aggressive approach.

        I frequently find authors of fiction (Folks who primarily write fiction, not philosopher-authors who are primarily philosophers like Rand) who try to advocate their own peculiar breed of socio-political philosophy in their writing to be highly…amusing. They often do so by simply selecting a myriad of values or principles that they agree with and extolling them in the narrative- without employing even the slightest bit of philosophical rigor, neglecting to explain how their own unique hodgepodge of political beliefs is internally consistent within a unified framework- making their views seem self-contradictory to anyone who is familiar with the bodies of philosophical thought from which these carelessly cherry-picked principles originate. Mahouka is no exception…ironic considering the amount of effort Satou obviously put into making his intricate magic system internally consistent…

      • June 17, 2014 at 6:04 pmSK

        @Zen
        Not entirely sure if you’re lumping me in there, but my point was addressing the studio’s views of the author’s material, not the author’s intent or message regarding socio-political policy. Again; if the studio picked up the rights without looking through it beforehand, then later found the messages they perceived in the material as questionable/offensive enough where they would make the entire thing a parody, I cannot comprehend their decision-making from a business standpoint. Whether it’s because of the author’s views or in spite of them, the LNs have a large fanbase, and presumably the studio was hoping to tap into that when it purchased the rights. Turning around and making such a large change is far more likely to create a show that tanks than something that utilizes and grows the already existing fanbase. Their time and money would have been better spent with a franchise whose content isn’t questionable enough for such a large change, if they aren’t going to utilize one of the main advantages of adapting a popular series.

        I’ve read/watched entertainment material from various parts of the political spectrum, and try to put my own preferences aside while doing so. If a story is written with a pro-(libertarian, socialist, democratic, whatever) perspective, I’ll try to view it from that same viewpoint (obviously, I can’t completely separate my own biases, but I’m not going to force everything through the same filter). I could say, if such-and-such were actually based on (my personal socio-political leanings), then this wouldn’t happen, and this would turn out better, and everything would actually make more sense; however, that isn’t what the author/director created, so I can either deal with it, or I can stop consuming the material. Hell, if I really cared that much, I’d go write a (in-all-likelihood terrible) fanfic where I could throw my own opinions in there. As entertainment material, I have dropped books/TV shows/anime that mirrored my own views, simply because they failed to entertain me. At the same time, I have loved shows with differing viewpoints. Doesn’t mean I completely agree with the views they put forth, but they may be thought-provoking, or tell a great story, or simply have some factor that I can’t explain, but that I nevertheless enjoy.

        If the material is more philosophical in nature (assigned material in a poli-sci class, for example), then obviously the above doesn’t apply, since the main point is not to entertain, but to argue for/against a certain viewpoint.

        The reason I threw supposed in parentheses in my earlier post is that while I agree that some (probably most) of the -isms are present, I disagree with a few that people have claimed. Regardless, I really don’t care either way. The author provides a setting for his story, which he can obviously adjust for his own preferences. Maybe I just have a broader tolerance range than others, but I will generally accept the setting as is, and view the story from there. (That isn’t to say I won’t question why certain things are the way they are; I recently marathoned Psycho-Pass, and I was curious how the supposedly perfect society under the Sibyl system arose, as well as how a computer could determine peoples’ potential for becoming criminals.) I enjoy the MKnR LNs because of the characters (much more developed in the LN), the strategic moves made by various factions within the framework of the society depicted, and the logical basis of the magic system.

        As far as authors of fiction advocating a particular view incorrectly/inconsistently, I’d chalk that up to many people not having a clear understanding of their supposed philosophies. I’ve met too many people who claim a viewpoint based on shared opinions for a few hot topics, but either contradict or can’t explain the fundamental philosophies of their supposed view. I’d assume Satou’s background is more in physics/engineering than in philosophy, explaining the difference in consistency (as well as the somewhat tech-manual style of writing), though it may just be that he only cared enough about one of them.

      • June 17, 2014 at 7:00 pmZen

        Not entirely sure if you’re lumping me in there, but my point was addressing the studio’s views of the author’s material, not the author’s intent or message regarding socio-political policy.

        Nah, no worries mate. If you can write something that articulate about how you earnestly do your very best to dissociate your own socio-political leanings from your enjoyment of media then you’re good in my books. Your post was unconcerned with the overall artistic merit of Mahouka and whether or not the presence/appearance certain liberarianistic/neoconservative thematic elements in the work was intended by Satou. My criticism is against any and all people who left a comment all the way to the top of the page (and not just within this little sub-thread) denying the presence of author intended libertarian/neoconservative thematic elements and/or decrying/extolling Mahouka as an artistic travesty/masterpiece based on the disagreement/agreement of the views that it advocates with his/her own socio-political leanings. You did none of that.

        I’d assume Satou’s background is more in physics/engineering than in philosophy, explaining the difference in consistency (as well as the somewhat tech-manual style of writing), though it may just be that he only cared enough about one of them.

        That’s what I’ve always assumed too. Still, if one is looking to sell his socio-political views to an audience a little more philosophical rigor would probably make it more convincing. Although since like you said…

        …many people not having a clear understanding of their supposed philosophies…many people…claim a viewpoint based on shared opinions for a few hot topics, but either contradict or can’t explain the fundamental philosophies of their supposed view.

        …I guess one doesn’t really need to because you can survive on the fiscal success of appealing to the vast majority of people who don’t engage in such rigorous thinking alone, without the support of the (minority) segment of the population which does (Which you alienate through doing so)…

      • June 17, 2014 at 11:23 pmLucarion

        Where on earth did people get the idea that Satou’s 50? From what I know, he’s only around his 20′s.

      • June 18, 2014 at 12:03 amSolace

        @Lucarion

        I searched for Tsutomu Satou’s Japanese Wikipedia page (I can read some Japanese) and the section labeled personal profile has a blurb that says he has never disclosed his birthplace or birthday, but you can make a pretty good guess on his birthday based on some of the comments he made on record in SF Magazine. He said on record that he read Vampire Hunter D in high school (which was published starting 1983) and that before his high school exams he cancelled his subscription to Perry Rhodan after issue #100 (which was released 1979 if we’re talking about the German release, or 1984 if we’re talking about the Japanese release). It notes that there’s a discrepancy with the Japanese translation/publication of Perry Rhodan in that it lagged behind the German release, but it’s only a 5 year difference. That’s why I said Satou is 50 years old at most (50-45 if you wanna talk range) with these calculations.

      • June 18, 2014 at 11:13 pmKrono

        @Solace

        I would bet he’s talking about the Japanese version of Perry Rhodan. The odds of a Japanese teenager having a subscription to the German version in the late 70s/early 80s is pretty low, especially if he’s talking about his highschool entrance exams. That would also fit much better with his statement about Vampire Hunter D. If he was talking about the German version of PR, his statement of having read VHD in highschool would pretty much have to mean “I read the very first one in highschool, just before I graduated.” which would be odd. Talking about the Japanese version gives him several volumes to have read in highschool which would be more normal for that statement. So based on what you’ve said, I’d guess that he graduated highschool around 1988, putting his most likely age at mid 40s.

  • June 16, 2014 at 8:16 amzztop

    Mahouka’s 2nd half will have a new OP by J-pop band GARNiDELiA, & a new ED by Japanese-American model/singer Rachel Rhodes/Yasuda Rei.

    GARNiDELiA previously did Kill la Kill’s 2nd OP, and Yasuda did the ED for the new Battleship Yamato anime.

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:26 pmbakakubi

    Silts a Negima fan? That’s awesome. I should’ve known.

    Negima’s my all time favorite shonen manga, even with its ending (which I can understand why it had to end that way).

    Since we’re on the topic of tournaments, I’d say the Show Spoiler ▼

    was probably the best in the series.

  • June 16, 2014 at 12:33 pmZirthiel

    This is definitely not your kind of a show Stilts. But please keep doing it until episode 14 which will be the finale of this ark. It would be a bit unsatisfying to drop it mid arc.

  • June 16, 2014 at 9:33 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    I think that’s been one of my big questions most of the time…”Is there any reason to care about ?”

  • June 16, 2014 at 10:11 pmmikomi

    It’s too bad the anime didn’t take notes from the manga adaptation, because honestly, I think the manga (so far) has done a hell of good job: creating appropriate atmosphere, more character depth, and still managing to explain concepts.

  • June 17, 2014 at 1:19 amMiaminights

    Apparently “First High” is literal for “Everyone at this highschool is first in life and errrythang”. Also we waited and prayed that the tourney would turn things around…and we got f%cking skeet shooting, the aquatic version of Slopestyle Snowboarding and pistol tennis. What an unbelievable lack of imagination.

    I’ve not read the LN so I have nothing to base on, but purely as an anime this show is pretty poor. Dropped.

  • June 21, 2014 at 11:32 amZirthiel

    I’ve got 99 problems and this is the one.

  • July 15, 2014 at 10:01 amSekundus

    My 2 cents:
    I can tolerate a lot things including plot holes as long as the series continue to entertain me. But one thing in LN bothers me slightly. Why smart students at First High School tolerate the flawed uniform system? I can understand providing limited facilities to more gifted students; but implementing a label on their uniform (emblem or lack of it) is a rather stupid move that invites a lot of problem. Of course it is a good plot point probably designed to stimulate and then put down viewers’ emotion and expectation.

    Even with limited facilities, there are many things that can be designed to lessen the discrimination. A bit disappointing that none of the highly intelligent students at the school forum can think of any to soften the blow of social inequalities. Even I can think of a few such as implementation of ranked classes where students (all wearing identical uniform) are biannually or annually examined and placed into them according to their scores and providing higher ranked classes with more facilities. That way it won’t appear as discrimination and all will appear to have equal chances. Similar selection system can be utilized for job placement, representative selection and many others. Less arrogance and less discrimination because everyone know their privilege are temporary and can lose it if their performance drop or someone below their class outperform them.

    I tried the LN but lost interest after supposedly smart main character defends such system that is too poorly designed for my liking. That said, I still have high hope for the anime series mostly because I am a sucker for underdog/overpowered/intelligent heroes. /end rant

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