28 CommentsIrregular at Magic High School / By Scamp /

Mahouka – Irregular at Magic High School episode 5 – A row of facepalms

[HorribleSubs] Mahouka - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.24_[2014.05.04_22.17.25]When the student council president went into her big speech at the end of the episode in the auditorium about how the systematic oppression of those with less magic skills is actually the fault of those oppressed and they just need to be saved by those higher up, I was reminded of two anime. The first was those utterly bizarre Happy Science religious cult movies. Specifically Rebirth of Buddha and the scene where Buddha, reborn as Sister from Arakawa Under the Bridge, stands in an auditorium and makes a ten minute long speech about faith and spirituality and the like. It’s long and boring and makes fuck all sense, but everyone in the crowd starts perking their head up and paying attention and being totally moved by the whole experience. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if, much like in Rebirth of Buddha, beams of light started shining down on the student council president as she slowly ascended, riding on the back of a giant golden elephant. Sadly Mahouka is not as good as Rebirth of Buddha, but I suppose it was just the student council president speaking and not Tatsuya.

The other anime I was reminded of was Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Specifically the scene where Yang Wenli was asked to make a speech at a political rally. Instead of forwarding a political argument using empty platitudes ala student council president, Yang Wenli’s speech consists of saying “I’m Yang Wenli, pleased to meet you” and sits down again.

[HorribleSubs] Mahouka - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.51_[2014.05.03_22.43.31]I’m now able to follow Mahouka’s long winded magic explanations. While his expectations can feel a little belittling to the audience in a “lol how can you not know this” sort of way, Tatsuya’s explanations are detailed and relatively easy to follow once you understand there’s a very rigid set of rules magic follows in this world. Which would be fine if I’d reading a textbook and was preparing for my magic finals at the end of the season. Instead I’m watching an anime and these explanations are long and boring. If it so pains you to remove your precious world building and yet you can’t find a way to interweave it more elegantly into your story in a natural fashion, take a leaf out of Attack on Titan’s book at put those long-winded shit into the mid-episode eye-catches. That way it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story and I can still go and read all this magic nonsense if I feel so inclined.

Except the point of this magic isn’t to do world building. How the magic system works hasn’t played that much into the story so far beyond explaining why Tatsuya is actually flawed at magic even though his failure has no practical inhibitors in real life, like being shit at speaking Latin or something like that. The purpose of these long-winded scenes is to make Tatsuya seem real smart and to explain shit to everyone so it looks like he’s lording the information and being generally superior in every way. Once you look through the lens of reading everything in this show is designed to make Tatsuya appear more perfect, it all makes way more sense.

[HorribleSubs] Mahouka - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.13_[2014.05.04_22.17.09]The only scene that doesn’t quite play into this is when all the speeches about social inequality come into play because all they do is make Tatsuya seem like a snobby prick. However that would be because you are a normal, nice person who tries their hardest not to be a snobby prick. You may slip up every now and then and use a slur you don’t realise is a slur then bitch about political correctness going mad and then eventually not using the word again, but your heart is in the right place so we don’t hold it against you. Meanwhile Tatsuya appears like a snobby prick because the worldview Mahouka is presenting is that it’s the oppressed’s fault they’re oppressed and that’s because they’re just too stupid and resort to violence when they could just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop bitching.

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28 Comments

  1. Posted May 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    The really sad part about the explanations and “world-building” where you accuse poor series adapter-kuns? They cut out 90% of the infodumping and internal monologues to be found in the novels. They did their best, for you! Let not their sacrifice be in vain!

    Honestly, the problem with the world-building is the same as the one with the speech and whole “logical discussion”. This author doesn’t really know how to write these things, yet he’s so set on them. The magic system is often brought up by the LN readers as to why read it, and how it’s deeply thought and so on and so forth.

    It’s just explained in as roundabout a manner as possible, and often from slightly differing angles… but there’s nothing there. Just as the “logical arguments” used by Mayumi are but appeals to emotions.

    I truly do wonder why I read this series, and yet, when the 13th novel’s translation is concluded, I’ll read that one as well. But not with the excitement I’ve had when a new chapter of SAO came out.

    Yes, I like SAO and dislike Mahouka. It can happen.

  2. Rodrigo
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    When I first heard of the Happy Science movies I thought they would be kind of boring, but that whole buddha ascending on a golden elephant thing has me interested now. Maybe I should give them a go.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      According to Shinmaru, the best Happy Science movie is Laws of Eternity because it has Hitler and Nietzsche teaming up together. The movies are mostly boring and mostly incomprehensible but there’s the odd moment of utter ridiculousness

  3. gedata
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Nothing to say about explosions ‘n’ stuff,

  4. Nagisa33
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    “That LoGH reference makes me want to watch LoGH” I think every time a LoGH reference pops up. Still haven’t started it yet.

    Welp, time to get back to reading a textbook and preparing for my magic (Cultural Anthropology and Psych of the Black Experience) finals. It’s going to be a long week full of distractions isn’t it. Hahahahahaha!

    • Posted May 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Hey, they announced a remake! I was in the same boat with Sailor Moon, waited long enough (5 years?), and voila! A remake! Heh.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Watch LoGH
      Do iiiiiiiit
      It has yaoi

    • D13560
      Posted May 6, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Like Ishinude or Shinmaru said, it’s not that complex and the series, plot and characters are memorable. I remember those early pointless episodes like the one were a Toga wearing dude subjugates a planet and gets away with it with a satellite defense and the one were they are trying to kill the emperor with an explosive cane.

      So watch it, and take your time, it’s most likely going to be a treat.

  5. Aethelwulf
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    They’re in a school. They have the most perfect, natural venue for explaining how their magic works(“Today class, we are going to learn about ‘X’. As you should already know…”). I still can’t believe they haven’t used it.

    And I laughed so hard at the “you’d be way too perfect” line. Would such a bald declaration as to how Tatsuya’s character is written count as breaking the fourth wall?

    • Scamp
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      There’s no actual school at magic high school doncha know because classes are boring and anyway Tatsuya is too smart for class

  6. Ken
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    The snobby prick who lies when negotiating with dissidents. Yes, Your freedom is guaranteed. Later, I didn’t mean everyones freedom and actually I had my fingers crossed when I said that so ha ha we’re taking you all in. What an a-hole.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Nooooo Tatsuya is perfect nooooooo

      • Ken
        Posted May 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Even his lies are perfect. What also got to me was how he instantly assumed the role of negotiator even though he’s the newbie council member. But that’s only natural because he knows he’s perfect and the star of this anime so he can do no wrong.

        I can’t wait for the next episode of the Irregular Elitist Prick at Magic High School.

  7. Smithcb
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t think they ever planned to win a debate. The second attack makes it look as though this was all a ruse to draw everyone to the auditorium, while attacking someplace else.

  8. Lirael
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Honestly every episode just gets worst. i cant wait for them to just fight (probably next episode) and stop trying to say anything meaningful.

    I mean, the Gary Stu told the kendo Weed at the start he has no problem with the school, the school is not to blame for the discrimination because it said it didnt allow the term Weed. Uh, its a school. they /have/ to take care of all those underage bastards. Saying some shit is wrong then turning not one but two blind eyes is not them doing their duty. Not that terrorist activity will help much….

    And the presidents speech…i think more than just the lack of actual content to it, it baffled me how they had the whole student body clap it. Blooms that were opressing Weeds were basically cheering a speech that said their fun times were over. Meanwhile, Weeds were clapping as the president said that they’d have to suffer through the whole school year just so they’d get a chance of having some sort of election (as it would only happen when she stepped down).

    At this point I’m only watching so i know what Scamp is complaining about in these reviews

    • Scamp
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      That part amused me too.

      “Doing this thing is illegal”
      “Hey they did that thing”
      “well lol not our problem”

    • Ken
      Posted May 6, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      I’m beginning to think that the president’s magic ability is to make people agree with any BS she says. Her power can be thwarted with duct tape.

  9. Mormegil
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    I fell asleep during this episode.

  10. Posted May 5, 2014 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    What I want to know is where the student council president got the impression that there were going to be “new discriminatory practices.” She couldn’t have even known what the Course 2 students wanted to do because, as this episode made very clear, they’re too stupid to know what they want. They’re so stupid that they went to a pre-arranged meeting to negotiate with the student council, and yet they still hadn’t come up with any demands. This show’s tripe would still be dumb as long as the SC president made that speech, but what makes it offensive to me is that they refuse to portray even a single Course 2 student that stands up for themselves and is also smart enough to have a coherent idea of what they want. But no, instead they’re all idiots and the only way they can have equality is for the student council president to just hand it to them out of the kindness of her heart.

  11. Mentar, Mentar
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Wherefore art thou, Mentar?

    • Scamp
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      I think he’s given up.

      Shame really

    • Lirael
      Posted May 6, 2014 at 4:30 am | Permalink

      I can post for him…

      *ahem*

      This is an unfair review because you havent seen a thing that hasnt happened yet. and you cant judge him until that thing.

      Also, your interpretation of the anime character is wrong because in the novel things were different

      [insert backstory attempting to defend Gary Stu by comparing him to himself]

  12. Canary Paint
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I got so bored and uncaring 5 minutes into this episode that it is now a big, fat drop for me. Couldn’t finish it…

    One important point to make is, that even if they snuck in world-building monologue in a Titan fashion, it would still be boring as fuck and I certainly wouldn’t be pausing to read it like I often did in Titan.

    My judgement is admittedly highly suspect as I have not yet dropped the anime with the girl that can’t talk well and who shoots a giant, magic gun and I kinda liked SAO because it reminded me of playing Morrowind and Oblivion.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted May 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Nah, SAO lacked all the best parts of Morrowind, namely:
      – Kirito swinging a sword at a monster and passing right through it because he rolled a miss
      – everyone goes around running and jumping in place like an idiot to level up Athletics and Acrobatics
      – people walks for forty minutes in a completely barren wasteland to get anywhere
      – every time someone gets wounded he just sits there and sleeps for a few hours
      – sleeping in someone else’s bed is a crime punishable by jail.

      • bodyvamp
        Posted May 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        You forgot:
        -Gets attacked every 10 steps by another Cliff Racer

  13. hurr
    Posted May 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Except Morrowind has actual grey morality, interesting subplots/guild quests, good worldbuilding and – even though the fighting system sucks because you can spam the best attack – still better thought-out rules for both magic and physical combat.

    Also, fuck Oblivion. Worst new TES game.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted May 6, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand Skyrim IS pretty much like Sword Art Online. You can get whatever woman you want to marry you and move into your house and everyone needs your help to save them from a final boss who’s a goddamn pussy.

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      Oblivion is more like Flowers of Evil just for the faces-gone-wrong aspect.

      Also, does Sword Art Online have mammoths falling from the sky or giants that can make you an astronaut in one swing?

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