Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei was one of my most anticipated shows of the season and I am absolutely ecstatic after that first episode. It has all the elements of your usually high school set-up, however, the world involving a mix of magic and technology is a very unique new concept as is the social hierarchy within the school. Add a stoic but badass older brother and his adorable and sweet younger sister (with a slight brother complex) and you have the makings of an awesome new show.
Unlike the magic high school world of Mahou Sensou from last season, the introductions in Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei set the world with far more complex dynamics. The episode begins with a general set-up of the mesh where magic became systemized as a technology at the dawn of the 21st century. You’ll see this in the way students activate magic through command sequences from wristlets. Our prologue voice over is narrated by Tatsuya Shiba, voice by Nakamura Yuuichi who gives a quick overview of the historical progression of the world. Around the year 2030, the climate drastically cooled, food supply dwindled and in 2045, World War Three was waged for twenty years. After the population plummeted, mankind only resolve itself due to the global intervention of the world’s magic technicians. The story begins at the end of the 21st century where each nation is engaging in a magic-tech arms race against each other. The narrative swaps to a young Miyuki Shiba’s point of view, as she watches her brother undergo a test and basically become a human weapon.
Flash forward a few years later when the Shiba siblings have been admitted into the National University Affiliated First High School where Miyuki is appalled that her older brother has been admitted into Course 2 as a Weed rather than Course 1 as a Bloom. There was a lot of incest talk surrounding Tatsuya and Miyuki and episode 1 surely delivers just as much but it’s just so sweet and cute to see Miyuki blush over her older brother’s words. I love the uniforms and the character designs, the translucent chiffon in the girls’ uniforms are so gorgeous and so refreshingly new.
Tatsuya’s inner monologue mostly introduces the premise within the school where students are socially divided as Weeds or Blooms, The Blooms are the elite while the Weeds are… irregular. As Tatsuya explores the school, he meets the Student Body President, Mayumi Saegusa. Everyone seems pretty surprised on first impression when they realize that Tatsuya and Miyuki are siblings despite being placed in different categories. Tatsuya also meets Mizuki Shibata, Erika Chiba and Leonhart “Leo” Saijo. Tatsuya definitely has some secrets in his back pocket that he’s not revealing. When Tatsuya mentions his sister, Mizuki naturally makes the familial connection between them and Tatsuya deduces that she’s able to read auras, hypersensitive to spirit particle emission, and internally decides that it would be dangerous for Mizuki to observe his “secret.” Strangely (or maybe not that strangely) in this time period and world, everyone is super polite with one another.
On off school hours, an exchange between Miyuki and Tatsuya reveals some strife between the siblings and perhaps their family…? Do they come from a divorced home? And why is Mizuki so much bitterer about it than Tatsuya? Even her powers slightly manifest from her uncomfortable feelings. In another scene, we see Miyuki and Tatsuya visiting a dojo where Tatsuya gets to show off his kickass taijutsu skills. We are also introduced to Yakumo-sensei (who claims to be a shinobi) and when Yakumo-sensei gets a bit too excited over Miyuki, onii-sama intervenes and they face off. I love seeing how Tatsuya is so protective and caring for his younger sister.
Back at school, reveals to his classmates that he wants to become a magic engineer because his “practical skills” suck. Tatsuya’s main group of friends generally solidify after the first episode. The school scenes toward the end of the episode really just illustrate the clear cut divide between Blooms and Weeds especially when Miyuki wants to spend time with her older brother on campus. Even on the matter of walking home, the Blooms are pretty intent on keeping Miyuki away from her brother. (Honestly why is this even anyone’s business? [because it’s anime okay]) The fight escalates and Tatsuya is just about to intervene with his badass skill, the student body president and disciplinary committee breaks up the fight first. So full frontal magic attacks on campus are also against the rules. Tatsuya steps up to smooth out the fray with the disciplinary committee member and his ability to analyze spell activation sequences are pretty useful… subterfuge. When the disciplinary committee member accuses him of being adept at deception, Tatsuya humbly claims that he’s only a Course 2 student.
This set up makes EVERYTHING so much more interesting. Why is Tatsuya at the high school instead of his father’s company (as mentioned in passing dialogue)? Who created the Blooms and Weeds categories and what does the screening process entail. Miyuki mentions that her life was a gift from her brother and in the credits we see kid Tatsuya kneeling by kid Miyuki who’s lying in a pool of her own blood (back story and development to be revealed, I’m sure). I’m excited to see what everyone’s magic specialities are and how the battle choreography is going to go down. Really solid introduction to the series, giving us perspective from the over-arching makeup of the world, to the dynamics of the school, all the way into the interpersonal relationships between the characters. Can’t wait to see more of the series!!
What are you pondering today?