I’m really hyped about The Irregular at Magic High School. The title stinks and the animation’s a little ‘meh’ but it’s adapted from a really good, fairly deep light novel series. Some folks might be put off by the level of bro-con in the primary female lead, but at least there’s an in-story reason for her fixation… and his oddity. The story starts, not with a flash forward, but a flash back…
Magic was discovered at the opening of the 21st century. it was fused with technology not long thereafter, in the form of “CADs” Casting Assistance Devices — which handles the complicated casting protocols that we would term “rituals” and allow the caster to just supply the energy. Ancient magic practitioners exist who don’t use CADs, but can create more powerful effects (albeit much slower). But while all this was being discovered, in the 2030’s the icecaps started melting and droughts/famine etc. began. In 2045, World War III started. It lasted 20 years, but never went nuclear, because the world’s magicians wouldn’t let it. Now, thirty years after the end of the last global war, all powers are racing to research magic and produce magic users; two of the greatest powers are the US and Japan. China is playing catch-up, and is very, very aggressive.
Japan has a series of magical high schools with limited enrollment; there just aren’t enough teachers, so the top half of the students get the best the school has to offer, while the rest get second best. That’s still pretty good, but it doesn’t include full time instruction; most of their lessons are computerized and self-study. Because First High School’s symbol is a flower, the top half of the students call themselves “Blooms” and the second half…. well, the Blooms call them “Weeds.” You can guess the rest.
Into this charged atmosphere enters a pair of students, brother and sister, born 11 months apart. Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba. Miyuki scored the second highest on the entrance exam, and Tatsuya scored the highest. But it’s Miyuki who’s the freshman Rep and it doesn’t sit well with her. Tatsuya, it seems, has a weakness in his practical application, and so he score so low on that half, it knocked him into the second group. And his top-notch martial arts counts not at all.
The first episode makes us acquainted with the lead characters and the situation in the school. Several major characters are introduced, and a couple more get cameos. It also makes it obvious that there’s secrets — several of them, behind the Shiba siblings, and the fact that they live alone, without their parents. Tatsuya makes several mental references to “Numbers” upon hearing the names of classmates and the school president, whom he encounters several times. I’m not going to give away what that is all about just yet. Nor explain exactly what happened in the encounter at the school gate. I just don’t want to spoil the fun…. The light novel series this is drawn from is one of those rare types where everything fits together and makes sense; even if it was all made up along the way, it hangs together so well, it’s impossible to tell the difference. I’m really looking forward to it.