What’s it about ?
The novelty is going to blow your mind : it’s the adaptation of a light novel centering on a high-school where students learn tech-assisted magic ! With an extensive female cast surrounding a special snowflake male protagonist !
Tatsuya, our main character. He’s got an actual personality, which is a plus. (Thank you, Yuuichi Nakamura, for conveying so much within so little dialogue.) He’s not constantly narrating his every thought at us, which is appreciated. Especially as he’s obviously got an agenda, and it’s to the show’s credit that it lets us piece it together progressively.
The idea here is that despite being a hard worker, he’s been consistently been put down by society. His parents would rather him aim lower. The Magic High School puts him among the second-rank students, and he should be lucky to even have been accepted. His answer has been to put up a front of accepting it, and overcompensate by training himself even harder in his strengths. Which are many : he’s an accomplished martial artist, and while he’s not that good at actual magic, he can achieve a lot through quick-witted analysis. But he’s careful not to let it show too much ; it’s too early to reveal his hand yet, so he’ll bide his time for now.
Miyuki, his younger sister, is a good contrast : she’s a genuine magical prodigy and thus gets to be a first-rank student, but she believes she doesn’t deserve any of it, and would rather HE get all the honours. I’m less thrilled by her worship going a bit too far, but he’s careful to keep it at a reasonable level : she’s his precious little sister and he enjoys the attention, but that’s it.
We meet a few classmates of Tatsuya’s : Mizuki the shy one, Erika the tomboy, and Leonhart the lecherous dude. With the last two being a bit hotheaded (and obviously at stage one of the tsundere romance), it’s no surprise that they don’t take kindly to the arrogance of the first-class students.
Mayumi, the Student Council President, breaks up the fight before it escalates too far. Interestingly, Tatsuya goes out of his way to downplay it as horseplay ; now’s not the moment to make waves. She’s not fooled, and is going to keep an eye on him.
Budget ! The animation here is sumptuous, with very well-directed fight scenes. Tons of scenery porn too, and there’s many neat touches with the magic effects.
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with the female uniforms (what are the colours supposed to be about ? Magic types ?), but they must be a PITA to animate and still look as good as this.
And of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the Taku Iwasaki soundtrack, which is as engaging as ever.
It’s taken a long time, but finally I’ve found a wish-fulfilment light novel adaptation I’m actually enjoying watching. Oh, sure, it helps that it’s got impressive production values, a snazzy soundtrack, and some good world-building ; but the real success here is in building an actual protagonist, who looks like he actually wants to do stuff instead of just bumbling through life and having everything handed down to him. This isn’t a clueless nice guy ; he’s a calculating bastard who’s faking every and each of his social interactions.
I’m optimistic about this one, which is more than I could say going in.