Mahouka Koukou no Reittousei 04 – Social Conservatism and an Unequal Society


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One of the key aspects of this series has been the unequal nature of Japanese society, with those who have significant magical power given high status, privilege and power, whereas those without are effectively pushed to one side and told to make do. The entire premise of a two course system at this magic high school is based upon the idea of magic as inherently superior to every other skill or ability. The persistence of status inequality is a major characteristic of the Japanese social system, and while there are features in Japanese society that emphasise and promote social integration, it is clear that conflicting opinions about the nature of what it means to be Japanese can have major consequences for the level of social conflict in Japan. Within the world of Mahouka, the ability to use strong magic, coupled with the comparative strength of countries magicians with regards to other countries becomes a key means with which the Japanese state creates its vision of a strong, glorious country. In essence the strength of ones magic is of upmost importance, not only to the individual so that they can acquire high status and privilege, but also to the country and a national ethos. Read more of this post

Mahouka Koukou no Reittousei 03 – Dangerous Assumptions


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To follow on from last week’s episode we now see how dangerous making assumptions based on ones position within the society of Mahouka Koukou no Reittousei can be. Hattori’s hubris in assuming that Tatsuya is inherently inferior, and therefore is no match for his apparent superiority has been demonstrated to be false. His utter defeat through ultimately simple, and largely magic free means also helps to reveal how fragile the basis for magic discrimination is, and how easily its implied superiority can be brought down. Arguably, the character of Tatsuya has demonstrated how weak magic can be in the face of other abilities and powers – and through the use of his ninjutsu training we are also given a glimpse into the weaknesses of magic. A total reliance on ones magic powers is inherently flawed, as while they bring status and prestige, unless you understand their weaknesses and realise that on their own they can be defeated, your entire basis for high social standing becomes unstable and insecure. Read more of this post

Mahouka Koukou no Reittousei 02 – Judging a book by its cover


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It’s fascinating watching the different classes in Mahouka interact, particularly when we see the attitudes that the majority of those in Course One demonstrate when interacting with Course Two. To follow on from last weeks exploration of Blooms and Weeds as two distinct social classes, we can see how Course Onw, those who are considered to be both gifted and powerful dismiss those in Course Two as inferior, weak, and unnecessary wastes of space. A clear example of this attitude is found in Hattori Hanzou’s reaction to the Shiba siblings entering the Student Council office. While he interacts with Miyuki, congratulating her for entering the Student Council, Tatsuya is treated as an invisible object, with Hanzou’s attitude clearly demonstrating that he doesn’t see the need to even acknowledge Tatsuya’s existence. He has already demonstrated his frustration at the existence of Tatsuya, or perhaps a more general frustration at the existence of Course Two in general during the first episode, as he gets annoyed, even embarrassed that Mayumi Saegusa acknowledges and interacts with Tatsuya and other Course Two members in the same way she talks to those in Course One. Read more of this post

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – It’s a bit like the real world, but with magic


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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei has to be one of the most hyped anime of the season, with fans of the light novel series proclaiming it as the best thing since sliced bread, and a truly wonderful piece of storytelling. Now while I have absolutely no knowledge of the actual story, the light novels, or any idea of what to expect I have to say that such claims are stretching things a little. Which is not to say that the first episode wasn’t enjoyable, introducing a main character who seems to be rather over-powered in much the same vein as Izayoi from Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo, although in the case of Tatsuya, rather than flaunt his (apparently) extraordinary gifts he is forced to hide them due to the nature of the society he lives in, and likely pressures from his family. Read more of this post