Warning: Mild Spoilers Alert!!!
In a world where magic exists and heavily utilized via modern technology…
Lineage determines the number of magicians that can exist. Master clans are known throughout Japan for their magic specialties. Magicians enter magic-related schools to harness their abilities, but some schools have oppressive structures to keep certain students in their place.
Enter Tatsuya Shiba, the brother and appointed bodyguard to Miyuki Shiba, a prodigy magician in her own right. They both enter First High School where segregation exists based on students’ magic abilities. Miyuki with her high caliber abilities is first of her class as a “Bloom.” Meanwhile, Tatsuya is inept in specific abilities as a “Weed.” Despite these categories, Miyuki remains fiercely loyal to her brother as Tatsuya easily gains popularity through his technological know-how, combat skills, and the magic techniques not commonly tested for in entrance exams.
Each character introduced widens the array of magic capabilities shown in the show. Even characters considered to be “weaker” than others shine and stand out when the opportunity calls. There are ice users, fire users, sword users, spirit users (“Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony…”). The plot also has a nice way of starting small with the school system, and then widening their world building into the politics of magicians and non-magicians.
When the plot moves into the Nine Schools Competition is when the characters and art style get to shine. It really opens up the use of magic for combat, especially in the military. Every fight scene is clear, on point, and very entertaining. Not only do we see more combat from Tatsuya, but from his friends at his school and even students from other schools. One of the best fight scenes occurs between Tatsuya and another child student are utilized by the government. They bring in the skills representative of the major clans of Japan, diversifying the kinds of magic displayed. Between those two and a few awesome sword technique scenes later on, it’s hard to look away during this portion of the show.
The anime has a cool way of displaying magic but uses its world terms too easily as if its audience should know what characters are discussing. It doesn’t take the time to explain what certain technology is or the actual types of magic. Instead, as the plot moves along audience members take in the information as is. Every time I watch it I feel like I need a specific dictionary for what they discuss. This includes prolonged exposition scenes that could be more clear and succinct.
There are also incestuous undertones occurring between Tatsuya and Miyuki. Their relationship presents itself as a bit more than simply brother and sister, especially on Miyuki’s part. On the one hand the show displays why Tatsuya doesn’t reciprocate in the same way, but on the other hand the amount of closeness Miyuki feels for him can be a bit uncomfortable. Since other characters point this out, it is possible this is a plot device. However, in the grand scheme of things it’s unnecessary.
All in all, The Irregular at Magic High has an interesting concept, but there are some areas of poor execution.