So I finished watching the newest episode of Mahoka Koko no Rettosei also known as The Irregular At Magic High School and, I’m starting to get a tad bit annoyed. Now when this series was first revealed on the anime list, its unique style of clothing and use of magic with guns pulled me in. I had never read the visual novel or even heard of it before I had seen the preview. Hell, I didn’t even care for reading the genre tags associated with it. My eyes liked what they saw and so I blindly began to watch.
It has been an up and down relationship with this show and I. At first when I found out it was a heavily focused school type of show, I rolled my eyes expecting a easy going slice of life. But then, it happened. That EPISODE 6! It was like the show went from being all nice and the living is easy to, WHOA DAT VIOLENCE! Ever since that episode, I have stayed faithful to watching the whole show and I have been enjoying it…for the most part.
There is just one little (more like OP) problem… This guy.
This is Tatsuya. He is the main character of the anime and I really did like him. He was calm, cool, intelligent, strong willed, and analytical. Pretty much he had the L (Death Note) thing going. Personality wise this did make him a little cold and emotionless compared to others in the series but, I felt that was due to his hidden past. A past which by the way, THEY STILL HAVEN’T EXPLAINED YET (24 episodes in)!
Still, I can let that pass because I feel they are holding on to it for the season finale or season 2. Watching so far has felt like on the surface, a kind of a bland, boring, and all over the place story. But with some clever dialogue, character changes, plot twists (especially episode 24) and quick flash backs, there seems to be something more violent and darker going on in the background. This is shown by the family house’s politics, what seems to be a cold war with Japan and other Asian countries, and Tatsuya’s passive aggressive interactions with anyone in his family outside of Miyuki.
Now let me get to my main problem with the anime but more specifically Tatsuya. He is just TOO DAYUM STRONG. Out of the gate, the show wants viewers to know that Tatsuya is in fact irregular. He is not your average student and while you think that he is just ahead of the curve or just given those “main character” genes, his strength is scary at some points. The violence that Tatsuya carries out throughout the show is by far on a whole different level compared to everyone else, including the villains. Its like watching someone just pubstomp the mess out of a whole enemy team without breaking a sweat. This is my problem. There is no learning curve. Tatsuya does not grow instead, he just reveals. He never has one moment in the whole show that even shows him breaking a sweat or worried. This could be because of his cold and calculated personality but, remember that even L broke a sweat when dealing with Kira and I can name tons of other characters like Tatsuya who have also had their fair share of “Oh Shit” moments. Add on to this the last minute of episode 24 where it is revealed that Tatsuya hasn’t even been using his full power and was limited for most of the show. Forget pubstomping! We are talking smiting, matrix reality breaking abilities and 420 MLG strats.
Now an overpowered protagonist is not inherently bad. It’s just such characters easily become boring once they no longer have any challenges to overcome. They’ll succeed at everything just because they are them. Why would I continue watching when I already know that the protagonist will win no matter what? The thrill of fights become not as prominent as fights are one-sided. There is no tension or worry. That being said, OP characters could work if the said protagonist was fun to watch (Alucard). I wouldn’t say overpowered protagonists are bad though; it just depends on how you execute it. One recently that I feel is perfectly executed is Claire Stanfield.
Now understand there is a HUGE difference between an OP character and a strong one. Kenshin Himura is an example of a character who is powerful (could be considered OP) yet, lives in a world that pushes him to the limits. He shows that even when you are probably the strongest person in your world and the “main character”, you still have to work to earn that title. It is never freely given to you.
This is where my inner hatred and despise for Sword Art Online comes into play. A friend of mine did call me out for liking Tatsuya and not liking Kirito and he has a valid point. The only difference between the two is Kirito is more of a dick and show off compared to Tatsuya but, they both are OP characters. Tatsuya only shows off his power when he is forced to due to the premise of the show which makes it more redeeming. Kirito however, likes to go all out and then act like he is weak and powerless.
Leading back to my point with Kenshin. What made Kenshin a better character than Kirito is that Kenshin trained for his strength. He went through many trials and tribulations in order to acquire his skills. Even then, there were tons of other characters who were still just as strong as him, if not stronger. Kirito was automatically “beast” from the get go because he just so happened to get in as a beta tester for the game (a part of the story by the way that is never shown). He’s hardly ever in real danger because he just outlevels every other player in the game. I mean he “dies”…and then doesn’t.
Kenshin trained since he was a boy to obtain his strength. Ichigo had to learn how to unlock his true potential and even got bodied a lot on his way to reaching that goal. Goku trained and was still not the strongest by the time he hit his mid-thirties. Kirito lacks a consistence personality as well; one moment he’s a depressed loner and in the next, a team player. His tendencies, thoughts and actions were all over the place. I personally believe it was because the author was incapable of displaying a strong character and instead went for showing off his generic badassery like fireworks. People have flaws and struggles. Overpowered characters fake it.
TL;DR I hate Kirito, I’m a Hypocrite, and The Irregular at Magic High School is pissing me off. Just another struggle of an Otaku.
Magic High is wrapping up soon so, expect a review of it on my blog. I am sure you can get an idea based on what I said here but, I did have fun watching.