OP Sequence

OP: 「Howling」by ASCA

「来訪者編Ⅰ」 (Raihou-sha-hen Ⅰ)
“Visitor Arc I”

Alright cease the cheering, lay down the fireworks, because everyone’s most anticipated season pick is here at last. Or, well, at least if you’re a Mahouka fan since I seriously doubt few are going to be swayed by round two of magical walking on water and city-sized kabooms. Never know though, there’s a first time for everything—provided you’ve seen the first season of course because there’s no way you’re going into this one blind.

As a quick refresher (if previews weren’t enough), Mahouka is pretty much what happens when a passion for world building and exposition meets less-than-stellar storytelling and a serious penchant for overpowered main characters. This world may be all about magic being used a scientifically researched and professionally applied medium alongside some societal musing on the efficacy of various means of testing student abilities, but in truth it’s all about Tatsuya (Nakamura Yuuichi), because Tatsuya is Magic Jesus and nothing gets past perfection. Right off the bat we can see this in action, as besides the usual Onii-sama Miyuki-isms you know you’ve been missing (don’t deny, even I get some fun out of them on occasion) we also have the gang in on the love and the promise that far more of it will be coming down the pipeline. Bigger indicator, however, is the new antagonist of the moment in Angelica (Hikasa Yoko), as not has Tatsuya just so happened to correctly identify her with nary a bit of effort, but the girl has gone out of her way to confirm his suspicions and already get sucked into his magical Casanova ways, because reasons. I’ll give her some credit though; when you’re going full stereotypical American overseas, it can be hard keeping everything else straight too.

Besides the usual expectations there are some signs of mellowing and (dare say) straightforwardness for this season going forward. Infodumps for example, probably the main headache of the first season, are not present in this episode, and while I don’t anticipate their absence to remain for long, minimizing or rationalizing their presence would really play to this series’ strengths in characters and setting (just take that quick bout between Miyuki and Angelica and the short exposition on skill selection, that’s exactly how such information should be conveyed in this format). Likewise is this arc’s story. Although the usual confusion can be expected for those not overly familiar with Mahouka’s source material, this arc is fairly self-contained and should ideally play out better than the material before. Don’t expect Tatsuya to suddenly become grounded and believable mind you—that would be asking for too much where Magic Jesus is concerned—but receiving a fairly decent power fantasy is a good prediction when all the major twists and turns are already in the open.

We’ll know more in the next couple of episodes about where this season is heading of course, but without a doubt if you enjoyed Mahouka’s first kick at the anime can you’re definitely going to like what’s on tap this season too.

22 Comments

    1. ONORE ONORE ONORE!

      You will accept Jesusya as your Lord and Saviour and be thankful for 26 episodes, dare I say 52 episodes of turning water into your whines.

      Kurisu Vi Britannia
  1. Oh god please no. No. NOOOO.

    For the love of all is sacred, make him somewhat funny or sympathetic this time. Or just shift the attention somewhere else, we know he can do it all, now go to play Jesus in the corner, the adults want to be entertained by more interesting characters and plots than here I am and be saved by Jesus. And please no stupid magical technobabble.

    cvb
      1. The thing is I like op characters when done in a funny way or making them weak in other aspects. Keima from Kaminomi, Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life, Sousuke from FMP are op characters I love and are very amusing to watch because is just the right call for them not giving on the self fullfilment they are prone to when portraited as walking gods, they give more game. But Tatsuya is just what and edgy 14 year old would write.

        I don’t know about the LN and I don’t care, an anime adaptation should stand on its own.

        cvb
  2. I remember the first season (barely). I think I found it rather refreshing next to the usual gamut of LN adaptations with MCs monologing about their usual pathetic ‘seishun’ or whatever. Not refreshing enough to bother with this season though. If I want an overpowered MC, I’ll just read an isekai manga. Speaking of MC, I think I was okay with his Gary Stu schtick. It’s the sister and her “onii-sama~” crap that I found more annoying, iirc.

    SomeGuyDude
    1. Oh yeah Miyuki and her crushing on Tatsuya was probably the thing only hated more than Tatsuya’s abilities. The funny thing is this episode didn’t even feature it in any notable capacity, but it’s still early days lol.

      1. Bringing in real world conflict definitely leaves a bitter aftertaste. Just like how Mahouka likes bashing other countries, Solo Leveling sure like putting Japan down. From the sidelines, one can only shake their head at their 1D portrayal of other countries.

        hoshi
  3. It’s interesting to return to Mahouka after going through Misfit of the Demon King Academy.

    On paper, both series feel very similar. An overpowered MC that is always right and does the impossible time and time again. A magic school setting where the ignorant look down on the MC. Social and international conflicts and power plays. Mysterious backstories and events in the past that changed the world.

    And yet, the differences reveal where Mahouka fails and Misfit triumphs. In Misfit, the overpowered status of the protagonist is part of the joke. “Yeah, we know he’s invincible, let’s have fun!”. Mahouka, on the other hand, takes itself too seriously in comparison and plays Tatsuya’s character straight. Moreover, its modern future setting, with real countries involved, makes many of the conflicts, values and morals feel controversial, to put it politely when compared to a fantasy setting with humans and demons. I still cringe when I remember the initial arc, when they “justified” that a school where pupils of the lower class were (unofficially) bullied and (officially) barred from being eligible for the school council presidency wasn’t really discriminatory and those who protested were brainwashed by China’s agents.

    Mistic
    1. Some years ago there was a sort of more direct jingoism revival in anime, manga and light novels where there is a relationship with real world sociopolitics, like in Gate and even a manga that was sprouting imperialist propaganda and was racist against koreans. They certainly aged like milk.

      cvb
      1. To be fair those types of stories have always existed, it’s just rare to ever see them garner major attention and wind up receiving adaptations. Western literature for example has plenty of examples of jingoist and nativist stories, but unless you know where to look you never see or hear about them because none of them are ever popular enough to attract funding for mainstream promotion or adaptation.

        1. I know there are always there, I was talking specifically about the manganime environment, Like 5 years ago it became popular this sort of unholy marriage of fantasy and modern real life army tropes and some authors went to say that hey we are good soldiers what is a Nanking.

          While this is in the future and it’s years since the last adaptation, I just can’t get out of my head these things watching this. It certainly was a product from back then.

          cvb
    2. It’s probably why against all common sense I’ll stick with this show for its entire run. The difference in writing and characterization of Anoth vs. Tatsuya is IMO an excellent showcase of the dos and don’ts for power trips and wish fulfillment stories.

      Also agree on setting. The real-world nature and intended seriousness of Mahouka is what likely enhances its various faults more so than Maou Gakuin given the expectations such an atmosphere generates. If it had been a strictly fantasy story set on a wholly fictional world, it probably wouldn’t have received as much attention as it has towards its world and characters.

  4. Mahouka is a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s nice to see a competent male protagonist who doesn’t have the emotional maturity of a five year who still believes coodies is a medical fact. Shame I’ll probably just binge this at the end than following it as it releases. This season is at least 5 years too late – most Mahouka fans are caught up with the novel.

    Grandier
    1. The timing of this sequel definitely hurts, because while Mahouka fans will be satisfied, it’ll be hard to draw in new viewers when few likely remember or have even seen the first season. Ironically a lot like Shingeki no Kyojin, except without the mass appeal to get it fully over the hump.

  5. The screenshots just look too good for me to ignore and I expect this to be among the better animated shows in this season, so I’ll probably hate watch this as I already did for the 1st season. Same reason why I’ll also get around to catch up on SOA sometime in the future where I’m currently still sitting at the 2nd half of season 2.

    boingman
  6. As someone who hasn’t read the LN, I’m just appreciative of the fact that the story is not drawing out the ‘mystery’ of Lina’s identity, but instead brings into question ‘why she’s here’.

    Also, I can’t wait for Lina’s upcoming shenanigans since it appears she believes Miyuki to be the unidentified nuker.

    Beedle
  7. Went into this practically blind, having only watched a couple of episodes of the previous series. XD
    Can’t say I understood everything that’s going on. So, can’t really say if it’s fast or just me being confused.

    Just read Stilts post that was linked here and I might be in agreement with him. Besides, my pics folder has several Mayumi pictures in it, so I gave this another shot. Also, sending a terrible spy on an infiltration mission has piqued my interest. Will at least watch this arc to see what’s going on.

    theirs

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