Lamenting The Worst Anime 2021

Worst anime 2021

Here we are ready to lament the worst anime 2021 gave us.

While we all hoped 2021 would be a better year in general after the train wreck that was 2020, most of us ended up disappointed. And as we enter 2022 with the very first cases of Covid finally reaching my little piece of nowhere it seems unlikely that 2022 will be any better realistically. That said, there has been plenty to celebrate and if you want something upbeat, be sure to check out my post celebrating the best 2021 anime had to offer.

This post however is more a reflection on the anime that just crashed and burned or couldn’t live up to expectations – rather like 2021 as a year really.

Keep in mind that the choices below are entirely my own opinion and I am aware that there are other anime I’ve yet to watch. As always I encourage my readers to leave their choices in the comments below.

Why throw stones at the worst anime 2021?

I know you really shouldn’t kick a bad anime when it is down but sometimes something is so bad you just have to say something. The worst anime 2021 had to offer probably isn’t the worst thing ever but some of these anime just hurt. Particularly the number of sequels of part 2’s of seasons that just couldn’t hit the heights of their predecessers.

Still, keep in mind if something was truly unwatchable I probably didn’t get all the way through it and so it won’t appear in this post so really this is just the worst anime I sat through in 2021 rather than the worst all up.

And without any further delay, let’s examine some of the worst anime 2021 vomitted forth.

Karandi Sad Transparent

The Promised Neverland Season 2- The Worst Continuing Anime 2021

The Promised Neverland Season 2
The worst continuing anime 2021?

It isn’t often that I get the feeling that even the people making the anime have just given up but by midway through season 2 of The Promised Neverland that was exactly how I felt. And the final episode that was barely animated at all, more a poor slide-show with narration, more or less confirmed that no-one was interested in finishing this story properly.

It was such a disappointment after the love and care that seemed to be put into the direction of season one. That and the story just fell apart and made utterly no sense by the end. The manga readers got to sit back and smugly tell anime only viewers to read the source while we just kind of looked on with pained expressions as The Promised Neverland failed to deliver on anything season one had promised.

Although, it seems that in terms of worst anime 2021 definitely went out of its way to tank more than one franchise that had started strongly. The sequel to How Not To Summon a Demonlord kind of fizzled and even My Next Life as a Villainess failed to capture the charm of the original.

Deep Insanity – Worst Anime 2021 Despite Having a Brilliant Promotional Video

Deep Insanity Episode 2
Worst anime 2021

Have you ever watched an anime trailer or a movie trailer and been super excited? Even if it seems a bit vague on details you still get a sense that something good is coming your way? Well, Deep Insanity did just that in its Teaser PV and boy did I want to see this anime in the Fall 2021 season.

The video features the harsh snowy setting and sows a character struggling to walk upward in a snow storm and that seemed like an interesting setting and the slow, deliberate pace really built up anticipation before he reaches an edge and the music swells. The character pulls down their hood, removes their goggles to reveal their face and then the camera pans around and we are overlooking a glowing hole in the ice.

It is so cool and mysterious. And the anime utterly failed to capture any of that in its story.

Instead we have bland characters, a plot that makes little sense, and terrible CGI. It’s just not good. I’d actually say it is a strong contender for worst anime 2021 has to offer in almost all categories (though some of the other titles on this list may have it beat).

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei – Worst Spin-off Anime 2021

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 6
Worst spin-off 2021

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei, or The Honor Student at Magic High School, isn’t actually terrible so maybe calling it a worst anime 2021 really isn’t justified. It just never quite lived up to the original in terms of entertainment. Largely because we’ve seen most of the events before and Miyuki’s perspective doesn’t add nearly enough to make it feel novel (and a few things it adds actually makes me like her less as a character).

Certainly this is watchable and one or two moments with some of the female cast members are actually kind of charming but honestly this was a spin-off we didn’t really need and my feelings about it are fairly similar to how I ended up feeling about Sword Oratoria for the DanMachi series. I’d much rather get more of the main story than watch the spin-off.

Platinum End – Worst Hyped Anime 2021

Platinum End
Worst hyped anime 2021

I’m sure someone somewhere appreciates Platinum End but for me this was perhaps the most disappointing anime of 2021. And even if it hadn’t been hyped up before the season started with promoters making a big deal of its connections to the likes of Death Note, this anime would still have made a worst anime 2021 list because it just isn’t very good.

One dimensional characters, shocking gore rather than credible plot developments, terribly obvious traps and heroes who repeatedly seem to make stupid decisions have all doomed this anime to fall and fall hard (even if all the characters are gaining angel wings to fly).

While the start was a little shaky it did seem like they might pull together a watchable battle royale from it but unfortunately every step of the way this story has manged to get worse. I’d say it was the worst battle royale anime of 2021 except that Battle Game in 5 Seconds also came out this year.

Tesla Note – Worst CGI Anime 2021

Tesla Note Episode 2
Worst CGI anime 2021

The plot of Tesla Note (when it bothers to focus on it) isn’t actually that bad, however few people are ever going to watch enough of it to know that because visually this one is a disaster. Then again, I didn’t like how the Duke of Death looked and still haven’t gone back to finish that either.

It isn’t just that the characters all move weirdly or that their facial expressions are creepy or even the awful colour scheme applied to a number of characters. Tesla Note is just one of those anime that is really ugly to watch and despite the kind of interesting spy story I probably won’t be able to recommend watching it as it really was the worst anime 2021 threw at me at least in terms of CGI.

On that note, do we think CGI characters will ever not look like gaping fish when they talk?

Full Dive – Worst Anime Viewing Experience 2021

Full Dive
Worst anime viewing experience 2021?

It’s actually hard to describe the terrible experience that is watching Full Dive. It very much has earned its place amongst the worst anime 2021 spewed out over the year and honestly I’m just not sure who is supposed to enjoy it. For those who will defend it by claiming it to be a satire or comedy, maybe they enjoyed aspects of it, but a character knowingly putting themselves in an awful situation and then constantly complaining about it doesn’t do it for me.

Throw in an entire cast of awful people doing awful things and zero stakes at all with the plot because honestly the guy could just stop logging in to the game and it all just becomes a bit hard to take.

Had it provided some kind of commentary on other isekai or trapped in a game anime that wasn’t just obvious ripping off the tropes of the genre then maybe I could see some redeemable qualities, but instead watching this anime was an experience that got worse and worse as the episodes continued to roll along and yes, much like the character in the show could have stopped playing, I could have stopped watching. But there was this voice in the back of my head that just kept asking me to wait to see if there was some point to all of it.

Turns out, there isn’t. Full Dive is just an unpleasant show to watch with unpleasant characters, middling visuals, and no pay-off for sticking around. Yep, I’d happily vote for this one for being the worst anime 2021 gave me.

What are your picks for worst anime in 2021?

So those were my choices for worst anime 2021 for various reasons but I’d love to know what my readers regret watching this year. Be sure to leave a comment sharing you worst anime 2021 experience and why.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Reminiscence Arc Review: A Special From The Irregular at Magic High School

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Reminiscence Arc Review

The Irregular at Magic High School or Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei was an anime I quite enjoyed however rather than getting a straight sequel we instead had quite a long gap before finally the Visitor Arc appeared finally continuing the story. Then we got the spin-off, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei which just didn’t quite hit the spot. Now we have the Reminiscence Arc which is essentially a prequel framed through a reminiscence the current Miyuki is having. And it is only a one hour special so it isn’t exactly going for a deep dive but there is the promise of more Irregular to come so maybe I’ll just have to be patient.

I’m so good at that.

Reminiscence Arc

Reminiscence Arc examines the trip Miyuki and Tatsuya took together to Okinawa and the incident that occurred there.

Basically, Reminiscence Arc wants to explain how Miyuki ended up being completely obsessed with her older brother Tatsuya, give a small amount of insight into the family behind the scenes, and give us a little more back story on how Tatsuya became the fairly emotionless, overpowered main character he becomes and just why he seems to care so much about Miyuki’s safety.

As a gap filler it is perfectly serviceable and if you were going through a check list of wanting answers you could tick most of them off by the end. However you could just as easily put the information out in a wiki so that real question is whether or not they’ve woven an entertaining enough story around which this information is evealed.

On that point mileage may vary.

Reminiscence Arc

While Reminiscence Arc sets the scene well demonstrating tensions between Miyuki and Tatsuya as well as the very strained family dynamic that they exist within there’s a lot of plot convenience going on here. Miyuki’s internal thoughts are very much for the benefit of the audience more than her given so much of what seems to cross her mind for the first time is something she really shouldn’t just be thinking for the first time having lived with this situation for seven years.

More than that, her conveniently walking into the beach thugs, who naturally then go straight to picking a stereotypical fight, and those same thugs ending up being employed at the military base they visit later but there’s seemingly no problem that a soldier picked a fight with a child on the beach… It’s all a bit artificial and exists only to allow the story to happen pushing the characters toward the final conflict where Miyuki and their mother are placed in danger and Tatsuya has to go and destroy the enemy while Miyuki gets a history lesson from mother dearest.

Reminiscence Arc

On that note, can we put their mother down in the list of worst anime parents ever. I mean, it was kind of obvious from the previous narrative arcs that the family were pretty awful but finding out just how cold their family really have been to Tatsuya and how they’ve shaped him into being who he is was pretty horrific. That Tatsuya even saved her life after the attack at the base is kind of amazing given everything (then again, he isn’t holding grudges because that would require him to have emotions toward her).

Reminiscence Arc

The final conflict in Reminiscence Arc is similar to previous ones where Tatsuya has finally gotten serious, although he is clearly younger and less experienced here. Still, if you like watching Tatsuya clean up the rubbish then Reminiscence Arc has you covered.

The framing with Tatsuya and Miyuki in the present day returning to Okinawa works well enough but really isn’t actually necessary as it adds little to the reminiscence itself. It won’t even really help people who haven’t seen the rest of the story catch up as there just isn’t enough information and those who have seen the rest of the story don’t need it.

Still, I enjoyed this. I kind of wish we could just get another series of Irregular but as a stand alone encounter Reminiscence Arc hits the right notes and the character information was appreciated.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Reminiscence Arc. Dir R Yoshida. 8Bit Studio. 2021

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Celebrating The Best Anime 2021

Best Anime 2021

Here we are ready to celebrate the best anime 2021 gave us.

2021 was definitely not the year most people were hoping for after 2020, yet for me it marked a return to my blog that I love. While I didn’t watch as many anime as I hoped and I haven’t caught up on some of the bigger hitting shows (particularly when they have previous seasons I hadn’t finished), I did enjoy consistently watching and reviewing anime each season once again and so I am going to reflect now on the best anime 2021 had to offer (from the selection of anime I watched).

Keep in mind that the choices below are entirely my own opinion and I am aware that there are other anime I’ve yet to watch. As always I encourage my readers to leave their choices in the comments below and join me in celebrating another year of anime.

Why celebrate the best anime 2021?

It is sometimes very easy as a reviewer or even just someone who watches a lot of anime to become jaded or judgemental and it is always good to remember why you fell in love with anime in the first place. It wasn’t because that first anime you saw was perfect but rather because it spoke to you, excited you, made you feel something.

Hopefully you still smile when watching anime – even ones that aren’t so great.

Karandi Excited full body Transparent edited

Fruits Basket – The Best Continuing Anime 2021

Fruits Basket The Final Season
- Best continuing anime 2021

No surprise that Fruits Basket will join the list of best anime from 2021 that I am celebrating. Honestly, whether it was a new title or a continuing one, Fruits Basket Final Season was everything I could have wanted and even with the super-long epilogue of an ending I still feel so glad that after so many years from the original anime we finally got to see this whole story animated.

And it was worth the wait.

This story made me cry and smile and really connected with the characters and it was absolutely the cathartic emotional viewing experience I needed in 2021.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song – Best Original Anime 2021

Vivy Fluorite Eye's Song - Best anime 2021

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song wasn’t perfect but for an original anime it came with a sci-fi story that worked and a solid lead character whose growth really made the journey feel worthwhile. All of this with some truly beautiful visuals and moments scattered throughout its 13 episode run that really just made you feel the love that must have been poured into its creation.

It ended up being one of my favourite anime from the year and given the hit and miss nature of original anime definitely proved to be one of the better ones. It really felt like someone had thought it through from start to finish and if you are curious about the creation of this anime reading about the process they went through is actually kind of interesting.

Anyway, Vivy is definitely one of the best anime 2021 had to offer in terms of being an anime that consistently made me smile just to watch it and it left an impression. I know that some viewers were less charmed by it but for me it hit all the right marks and where it fell short it didn’t seem to matter all that much while watching.

Horimiya – Best Romance Anime 2021

Horimiya - best romance anime of 2021

Okay, if I was truly honest I’d give best romance to Fruits Basket but I decided I wasn’t going to duplicate titles on this list. So that leaves me with Horimiya (because I certainly wasn’t going to give it to Koikimo and I just didn’t watch that many romances in 2021).

And Horimiya has some very solid moments that mean it isn’t exactly out of place on a best anime 2021 list. It’s just a case where despite having interesting characters and potentially interesting plot points the story very quickly skewed toward standard with the two main characters losing a lot of what made them interesting along the way.

That said, Miyamura was one of those characters I really just enjoyed spending time with throughout the season. I really could have cried when he got his hair-cut.

Saihate no Paladin – Best Isekai Anime 2021

Saihate no Paladin
Best isekai anime 2021?

I know, I’m opening up a whole pile of controversy by going with Saihate no Paladin for best isekai anime of 2021. I know it isn’t the most popular and I know that the slower nature of the story hasn’t got the mass appeal of others in this genre. But I also know that this is the story that will stick with me and that Will is a character I care about a lot more than a lot of isekai protagonist so for me making Saihate no Paladin the best isekai anime 2021 had to offer was a pretty simple choice.

But to be fair, I will throw a mention to Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation which has also managed to do a pretty excellent job in developing flawed characters. I don’t like it as much but I can definitely see why some people are holding it up as the best isekai and I’m certainly curious enough that I’m going to keep watching even though protagonist Rudeus really annoys me sometimes.

I’d equally like to give a shout out to Tsukimichi Moonlit Fantasy which for a comedy isekai actually still managed a fair amount of world-building and was surprisingly entertaining.

Still, for the start of what seems to be a truly epic tale, Saihate no Paladin is the place to be and honestly I think the slow pace won’t feel quite so slow if you were binge watching rather than seasonal weekly watching.

Mars Red – Best First Episode of an Anime 2021

Mars Red Episode 1
Best first episode of an anime 2021

You know how every year there’s an anime where the first episode just takes your breath away and then the rest of the series utterly fails to ever make you feel that way again? Yep, Mars Red was 2021’s offer for an anime that opened with a dramatic and interesting premise all delivered in a slow and almost theatrical manner.

By the mid-season it was clear the story was dragging its feet and direction was being lost. At no point had the characters managed to move us the way they had in the opening scenario and there was just so much that felt unnecessary. And then the ending kind of happened and I think most of us forgot Mars Red was even a thing.

And yet, that first episode deserves to be celebrated. If only the rest of the series had managed to be equally as moving.

Mieruko-Chan – Best Friends In An Anime 2021

Mieruko-Chan Episode 10
Best friends in an anime 2021

Okay, I really just wanted to put Mieruko-Chan on the list for best anime 2021 and I knew that I couldn’t really say it was the best horror because while it does have some awesomely creepy ghost designs and some genuinely tense scenes, it really isn’t all that horrific. It certainly doesn’t make the list for best comedy.

But what it does do, and does better than so many other anime, is create a genuine friendship between protagonist Miko and best-friend Hana. Too many anime declare two characters friends and have them go through the motions of being friends but it never really feels real. Miko and Hana on the other hand are a true joy to watch together with great friendship chemistry.

I would love to see more friendships like this one and honestly I’d happily watch another season of Mieruko-Chan just to see more Hana/Miko moments.

Heion Sedia no Idaten Tachi – Best Antagonist in an Anime 2021

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi
Best antagoinsts in an anime 2021

I kind of ended up disappointed with Heion Sedai no Idaten Tachi despite it opening on a real high note with its psychedelic colour-scheme and fairly interesting concept. The lack of ending hurt it more than anything else and maybe if the story continues I’ll get back on board. However, I do have to celebrate an anime giving us antagonists who are dynamic and interesting characters in their own right and who have hopes and dreams and react to the changing situation in a sensible manner.

No Sailor Moon villains here who essentially rinse and repeat the same plot over and over again losing every one of their lackeys before confronting and being defeated by Sailor Moon. Nope, the demons of Heion Sedai no Idaten Tachi think things through and when the ship starts sinking some of those lackeys know when to cut and run. Those who stay try to turn the situation to their advantage or to at the least ensure that their species survives.

It’s kind of interesting having villains who you actually want to know more about rather than simply waiting for them to get snuffed by the ‘good guys’. Then again, calling the Idaten the good guys might be a stretch as well because they are more a force of nature rather than in any way overly concerned with saving anyone.

Anyway, the end result is that Heion Sedai no Idaten Tachi definitely gave us the best antagonist in an anime during 2021.

The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent – Best Relaxing Anime 2021

Best relaxing anime 2021

Finally, my favourite anime to just relax and switch my brain off while watching in 2021 goes to The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent. While the story is kind of slow and everything is very easy for Sei (the main character) there’s a genuine sense of calm that comes from watching this story and it is pretty enough with some great character designs for the male cast and honestly I just had fun watching it.

I suspect that this will become an anime I binge later on when I just need to shut out the noise for awhile and there’s something to be said for the perfect anime to relax to.

That said, everything about the anime is pretty ordinary and maybe that’s exactly what I needed in 2021.

What are your picks for best anime in 2021?

So those were my choices for best anime 2021 for various reasons but I’d love to know what my readers watched and enjoyed this year. Be sue to leave a comment sharing you best anime 2021 and why.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Series Review – Will This Spin-Off Satisfy Irregular Fans?

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Series Review

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is an anime I approached with great enthusiasm.

After all, I had loved The Irregular at Magic High School and thought Miyuki’s character had a lot more to say than she’d been given the opportunity for when playing support to Tatsuya’s overpowered main character.

However as a spin-off it is inevitable that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei would be compared to its parent story. And even outside of that, the approach taken here of shifting an action fantasy into a more cute girls kind of story with a bit of magic thrown in had been done before by Index/Railgun only I kind of feel that franchise understood its audience a lot better and what would make for a more interesting story.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsousei

Which ultimately meant that while Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsouei, or The Honor Student at Magic High School, is perfecty watchable, there’s little here that would lead me to recommend this over the original. Even people who enjoyed Irregular would probably do better rewatching that as there’s little in this iteration that is done better, not so much added, and a lot of world-building and the aspects that make the magic high school franchise so interesting just feel lacking here.

Is Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei worth watching?

At thirteen episodes and covering the Enrolment arc (including the attempt by terrorist group Blanche to attack the school) and the Nine Schools Competition Arc, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei packs in content that was covered across 18 episodes in Irregular. When you also consider that episode 1 is essential before the story of Irregular starts you really only have 12 episodes to cover this content. It was inevitable that something was going to suffer from this.

And by and large, what suffers is the world building itself and the context for the various sub-plots.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

While Irregular had Tatsuya finding out who was behind the various plots and foiling them in order to keep his sister safe, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei follows Miyuki and her friends and the various plots only kind of brush past them while they involve themselves in school activities. Not to mention we lose a lot of the information about how magic in this world works and how Tatusya excels at engineering spells.

For viewers who have watched the original series, you can fill in the gaps just fine and see how the events here run parallel to the events there and support the overall narrative.

For new viewers I kind of feel like this would feel like Lord of the Rings if you only saw Aragorn’s story and never followed Frodo, Sam, or Gandalf. Don’t get me wrong, Aragorn is a cool character and gets some very solid moments. However ultimately Frodo and Sam get to Mount Doom and Aragorn is essentially playing decoy. He isn’t the main event.

Miyuki is very much like Aragorn in that she has some amazing moments, her magic is very cool (quite literally at times), but while she’s competing in the Nine School’s Competition, Tatsuya is the one foiling another terrorist plot only in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei we barely see Tatsuya’s contribution which makes the story feel a little incomplete.

Don't mess with Miyuki - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

The other core problem that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei ends up suffering from is it is hard to really surprise your audience when they already know how events play out. There’s little or no tension during the enrolment arc as we know none of the main characters suffer harm from it. Equally, the Nine Schools Competition has little bite when you already know the outcome of every event.

At times, this spin-off is actually up to the challenge of finding other ways to draw the audience in.

For instance, during the enrolment arc they have Eimi teaming up with Shizuku and Honoka to play detective in a previously unseen side-story about the girls wanting to help out Tatsuya without letting Miyuki or Tatsuya know. The girls are charming as a group and the sequence is fun and energetic and even knowing they weren’t going to really solve the case or get into real danger they managed to make this scene engaging and as the girls find themselves in some peril it really drew the audience in.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 4 - Eimi, Shizuku and Honoka

If nothing else, this sequence firmly establishes why these girls are such big fans of Miyuki going forward.

Furthermore, when we get to the nine schools competition, clearly they knew they couldn’t rely on tension with the outcomes already shown in the original series. Instead, they worked on upping the emotional stakes for the competitors themselves and nowhere was this more effective than in the competition between Shizuku and Miyuki for winner of Pillar’s Break.

The audience will probably all know exactly how this competition ends but they really made us care about it and this was perhaps the pinnacle achievement of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Too bad it wasn’t actually the climax as it was certainly the highest emotional point the series reached.

Shizuku - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

Which probably brings me to a positive I should mention. While the theory behind magic and how it has been blended with technology is only very loosely explained in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei, the actual use of magic by characters in the events of the Nine School Competition remains very impressive. The versatility with which the characters use the various magics makes for some visually very interesting sequences and ultimately one of the things I always loved about this franchise was the thought behind the magic system here.

Not to mention, totally beautiful.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 8

The other real positive I am taking away from Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is the additional screen time given to the girls from Third High. It was kind of nice to see another school humanised this time around and while those characters didn’t get quite enough screen time to really become favourites, Airi and Shiori certainly gave the competition their all and by the time the series ended I kind of wished the spin-off had just jumped from first to third high and given us a totally different take on this world.

Actually, I’d watch that spin-off. Airi and Shiori at third high, convinced they were the strongest of the new generation magicians and then coming smack up against the Shiba’s. It would be awesome to see what they do next.

Equally, it would have been good if we’d had a couple more episodes to get to know these girls before the competition started as they could have been really stolen the show I think.

Honor Ep9 2

As I said at the beginning of the review, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is watchable. There’s some fun moments along the way, some great magical feats, and the competition is enjoyable enough with rival characters given enough substance to be entertaining.

Ultimately though, it doesn’t do enough to break free from the shackles of feeling like it is just filling in cracks in the original. I almost feel like the best way to watch Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei might be just to figure out where each of these episodes fit in conjunction with the originally series and alternate between the two perspectives.

Honour Ep2 5

That said, for fans of this franchise, this isn’t bad. While you might, like me, find it a little lacking in punch, you will get to spend time with the girls from the first course and you will certainly get many more moments of Miyuki and Tatsuya together.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the series if you’ve watched it so be sure to leave a comment below.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13 Impressions – An Almost Off-Screen Massacre To Make Space For A Bath Scene

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

I often wonder with stories, such as Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei whether there ever really was enough ‘untold’ story in the original series (in this case The Irregular at Magic High School) to justify the spin-off. As episode 13 of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei comes to a close with a few reveals about the bloom/weed system and a minor flashback for the Shiba siblings really the only take-aways, I’m kind of left thinking that there wasn’t in this case. Though that didn’t stop this final episode being pretty.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei never really found its own identity.

When the best part of the nine schools arc really was the ending with Tatsuya single-handedly taking out the terrorist organisation that threatened his sister, I always wondered what Miyuki would offer up as a finishing act. While we get a brief glimpse of the massacre that closed out this arc in Irregular, the focus here does remain firmly with the girls but mostly that just makes me wish I was watching Irregular instead.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13

Which isn’t to say this was a bad episode.

Airi, the blonde girl from third high who set herself up as Miyuki’s rival in this arc, puts in a promising performance in Mirage Bat. As a mid-season episode or even background to the events in Irregular, this was a pretty decent showing.

The two girls dominated the final of Mirage Bat and both were emotionally invested in the competition which really helped draw the audience in for this final event in the competition. Unfortunately, it didn’t engage me as emotionally as Eimi’s dramatic battle during Pillar’s Break and it didn’t come close to Shizuku taking on Miyuki.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 13

Ultimately, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei was a victim of earlier successes with characters we liked a lot more making it so much harder for a Miyuki/Airi match-off to really be a show closing event.

It also didn’t help that Miyuki’s only driving force here is to promote her brother. She brings nothing new to the equation and finds no other goal. Meanwhile, Airi’s motivation is reiterated and enhanced through the flashback of her conversation with her mother.

While Airi has been a character who I’ve had mixed feelings about she definitely got the best moments of this final episode and it would have been great to have seen her right at the end and find out what is next for her and the other girls of third high. After all the effort this spin-off seems to have put in to me investing in these characters, seeing them after the competition and their next steps would have really consolidated them whereas it kind of feels like they just disappear here.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13

All that aside, a chunk of this episode is given to a bath sequence. While it is good that Airi and Miyuki finally actually have a conversation, not sure why it is set in the bath with the other girls playing with water magic and ripping robes off each other (actually I know exactly why – fan-service – but I’m just not sure which audience this scene is trying to appeal to given I’m sure people who would really appreciate this scene probably checked out from watching this anime half-a-season ago).

We then have the dance party tying up loose ends and we finally find out why first high has two different uniforms and course one and course 2 students. I’m just not sure that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei needs to exist in order to get this explanation. Still, if you have to do a spin-off at least give me some information that I missed out on in the original.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 13

Anyway, that’s all for Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsouei. I’ll get to a full series review soon and I kind of hope we get more stories set in this universe but honestly I’ll happily go back to Tatusya as the main character.

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Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 12 Impressions – She Can Fly!

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 12
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

Okay, there’s not a lot learned this week in terms of plot with Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Sure the shadowy bad-guys discuss a plot to kill like a hundred people in the audience and shut down the competition after their sabotage attempts were thwarted by a brother with a sister complex but largely this episode wants to celebrate pretty outfits and Miyuki’s magical flying feat in the qualifying match for Mirage Bat.

Don't mess with Miyuki - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei
You do not mess with Miyuki.

It is definitely pretty and Miyuki’s genuine joy at utlilising her brother’s magic is a joy to see. Though I think this might be the first episode of the Irregular at Magic High School Spin-Off that has actually mentioned Silver and his engineering (I could be wrong but I don’t recall it coming up previously in this season), which means perhaps some viewers might have been left in the dark on this one.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei lets Miyuki fly.

Miyuki’s magical feats, made possible by her brother’s excellent engineering, in the original series were more a by-product rather than the focus. However Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsousei makes her flying the actual point. The how and why are just kind of thinly sketched in and we spend most of this episode admiring the outfits of contestants and watching the girls jump for shiny balls of light.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 12 - Miyuki at Mirage Bat

Which actually is kind of rewarding in its own way and has its own charm. I’m just not entirely sold on this series as a whole and it doesn’t surprise me that this is all the tension, drama, or even spectacle it can must for a penultimate episode.

Sure we’re heading toward a showdown between blonde girl from third high and Miyuki, though the outcome would be a foregone conclusion even if we hadn’t already seen this match up. There’s just nothing else that has been given any kind of substance here so if they suddenly decide to focus on the terrorist plot that would feel like a weird way to go in a final episode.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 12

On that note, blonde girl (whose name I swear I will learn by the final episode) finally grew on me this week. Her acceptance that she’s about to be outclassed was pretty decent and yet she won’t just give up. Even knowing she’s probably going to lose, she’s going to give it her all.

Meanwhile, if Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei wanted to make Miyuki endearing it has kind of missed the mark. I don’t dislike her, but this season hasn’t exactly made her any clearer as a character or made me more interested in her. If anything, I kind of feel there’s even less to her than I suspected while watching Irregular. Which is a shame because when they let her cut loose with her magic she is actually pretty fun.

Right, we have one episode to go and some more pretty flying to be had, one hopes. I wonder if the rest of the episode will be filled with celebration of First High’s victory? Otherwise I am just not sure what they are going to fill the episode with.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 12

I am sure we’ll get some more Tatsuya and Miyuki closeness and I’m equally sure the President will mock them for it.

And food. There should definitely be food.

But all this speculation is just sugar-coating that I have very little to say about episode 12 of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. It was there. It did its thing. If you wanted some great outfits to cosplay, there are plenty of cute anime girls here. Also, Mirage Bat is way more entertaining to watch than Quidditch. Just saying.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

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Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 11 Impressions – The Girls Play Detective Again

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 11 Review
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

When I said in my episode 10 impressions of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei that it was unlikely that the boys will get much screen time, I didn’t know just how true that was despite a chunk of this episode did deal with the final of the Monolith Code event. But we’ll get back to that.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 11

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei just keeps charging forward.

Perhaps the most egregious issues I’ve found the whole way through this Irregular at Magic High School spin-off is the pace at which it tackles each narrative arc. There’s no time to set things up or establish characters. No time to really understand how people are feeling or are responding to what is going on. Half the time it feels like the main plot line is actually just background noise.

However, even assuming the idea was to shift the focus on to Miyuki and her friends, the girls in the rookie competition for Mirage Bat really got the short end of the stick this week.

First we see a group of shadowy business men being shadowy as they openly discuss their sabotage plan, which had a lot more impact in the original story because we’d actually seen the bus-crash play out and the acts of sabotage were very much what Tatsuya was dealing with. It was the main plot line whereas here its been mentioned once or twice, we did see the accident for Battle Board but really there’s been nothing overt until the boys got blown up last week.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 11

Almost instantly we cut away and instead of actually seeing much of the match with the rookie girls, we instead see the girls in the stands congratulating Tatsuya for being amazing. Sure we get to see the celebration the girls have on placing first and second, but even then they are waving to Tatsuya and then the event is done. We saw maybe one animated leap from both girls.

The short cuts in animation aren’t limited to the events this episode of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. It was actually fairly obvious throughout that this one didn’t have the polish of previous episodes. The magic when Miyuki was casting it lacked its usual brilliance and pretty much everything felt a bit flat.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 11

I guess then they realise that they needed to give us some different take on this whole sabotage plot, so instead of seeing Tatusya actually getting to the bottom of things, the girls group up to play amateur detective and do manage to shut down one ploy in a series of scenes that have minimal movement and even the one decent action sequence ended up going to the girls of third high and the animation was pretty stilted.

Honestly, the trouble here is you can’t help but compare Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei to Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, and this arc is coming up very much a sad second because they haven’t given us enough to make the girls competing the focus (outside of the pillar break match up) and the way they’ve delivered the sabotage plot is just not satisfying. Even if there was no original take on this arc, this episode really butchered both potential plot focuses.

And then we get to the boys in Monolith Code. They don’t bother to re-establish who the other two boys are helping Tatsuya as the reserves or what their abilities are. They barely get any lines at all. Then when you see the boys walking together both to the even and after it is over, they are so badly drawn you can barely recognise which one Tatsuya is (and I’m sure their heights changed at one point).

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 11

Add in that we barely get stills of arguably one of the best match ups of the Nine Schools competition before the whole thing is over and really there was little to cling on to in this episode that is satisfying.

Unless of course you really like Eimi running meetings for wannabe girl detectives.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 11

Anyway, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has 2 episodes left, we still need to see Miyuki compete in Mirage Bat and I guess that will be where this series ends? I’ve tried to remain optimistic but really this isn’t must watch additional material for fans of Irregular. It’s added too little and with the quality definitely taking a dive in this episode a lot of the charm has pretty much worn off of it.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

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Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 10 – Impressions – Victory and Defeat

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 10
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

It is finally time for the match between Shizuku and Miyuki in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei.

When Shizuku said she wanted to take on Miyuki in the Pillar Break final for some that must have seemed crazy. Eimi, still a bit shaky after her match with Shiori last week, certainly wondered why she wanted to take Miyuki head on early in episode 10.

Eimi - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 10

However, maybe that’s all just a sign of how determined Shizuku really is. This episode saw her pull out some impressive works of magic including specialised attacks and using more than one CAD simultaneously. Though, as usual I’m left wondering if the significance of that would be lost on some viewers given we really haven’t had as much world building in this spin-off.

Are crowd reactions enough for Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei to get the idea across?

It seems Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei was aware that some of the audience at least wouldn’t quite get how impressive Shizuku was being when she pulled out the gun shaped CAD as they pulled out a whole slew of audience members to react and comment on the action.

Shizuku - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei
She does look very impressive and determined.

And while this approach would have gotten people up to speed that what they were seeing was both unusual and impressive, it came at the cost of slowing the match down. See Shizuku pulled out the CAD and then stood there while everyone reacted before she finally launched her attack. While one could argue there was the calculation time as well as building up the spell, all it effectively did was give her opponent time to react as well and make the contest feel large in scale but slow.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei - Miyuki

That said, I won’t take anything away from Shizuku. Given Tatsuya had only started training her in using two CADs 15 days prior, she put up an impressive fight and pulled off something adult magicians in this world would have had difficulty doing. That she was always outclassed by Miyuki doesn’t reduce how amazing Shizuku is.

Equally, at the end of the match, when Honoka goes to comfort Shizuku, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei managed to land a rare truly emotional moment. While everyone who had watched The Irregular at Magic High School new this outcome, seeing it from Shizuku’s perspective and really feeling her frustration at her loss, was actually well played and the scene worked very well.

What about Miyuki?

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 10 - Miyuki and Tatsuya

You can kind of tell Miyuki has never had the chance to really have friends before coming to first high. Certainly she never had any kind of friendly rivalry. It was interesting to see her reaction to learning Shizuku wanted to go head-to-head with her and was contemplating beating her.

Though one does have to wonder what Miyuki thought would happen when students from the same school competed in the same event? Or did the protagonist of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei just assume that the other students acknowledged she was better and would step aside? Given her personality, that seems unlikely.

It seems far more likely she just never considered it until Tatsuya made her face the possibility that a friend of hers wanted to test their powers against her.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei - Miyuki is Jealous

And so the match concluded with the expected outcome.

What next for Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei?

The next event in the Nine Schools Competition was Mirage Bat and that has gotten off to a flying start (pun intended) with the rookie event launching here.

However, I was surprised when we saw the rookie boys team being taken out in their comp. While this was a major development in Irregular, given that plot focuses on Tatsuya, I wasn’t sure if it would get any screen time here or how it would really fit. Now I’m curious as to what they intend to do with this.

With only 3 episodes left, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has mirage bat to conclude and now this potential story line for the boys (and it seems unlikely they’ll get much screen time given the two others that Tatsuya recruits have barely appeared in the spin-off). I can’t help but feel this will be a rushed conclusion but I guess we’ll see.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

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Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 9 – Impressions – Yippee Ki-Yay

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 9
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

I really wasn’t expecting much from Eimi’s match against Shiori from Third High this week on Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Given the conclusion was inevitable, I expected it to be relatively fun to watch but unmoving. I mean, Eimi’s last match was fun but this isn’t a character I am particularly invested in.

How happy I am to be wrong. For perhaps the first time this season The Honour Student at Magic High managed to get me fully emotionally invested in a scene and as Eimi delivered her tired ‘Yippee Ki-Yay’ at the end of the match I both had a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 9

Eimi stole the show this week in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

This was just a masterfully put together match with two characters they’ve tried to build up during the tournament so we’ve seen them enough and new their names and they’ve really worked at giving us a reason to care for them (even if it hasn’t always been effective). Both entered this round of Pillar’s Break determined to win and with strong engineers behind them. So the real question came down to whether a controlled and planned tactic could overcome Eimi’s raw talent for destruction.

Right from the opening buzzer, Eimi went on the attack with her usual cavalier attitude that the one who strikes first, wins.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 9

There might be something in that claims, because to be honest, I’m pretty sure if Shiori had attacked faster in the second half of the match she’d have left Eimi without any moves but let’s not rewrite the match.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei gave both of these girls screen time as we watched them attack and counter and moved between them, the audience who were reacting to each move and making predictions about who had the upper hand, and even cut to the two engineers behind the players once or twice.

This really helped feel the impact of each attack and the building tension both for the contestants and those who were supporting them. If we took out these comments and commentaries basically we have one girl hurling ice pillars and another blocking attacks and a lot of the excitement of this sequence would have just disappeared.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 9

That the battle ended with both girls collapsing on their podiums more or less said it all. While Eimi emerged the ‘victor’ both had put up a worthy fight and honestly deserve props for a fantastic effort.

On the back of such a strong first half, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei tried to deliver an equally emotionally second half but just couldn’t do it.

First we had Shizuku choosing to face Miyuki in the final round of Pillar Break even though she could have just taken the three way tie. While I know this sets up a cool face-off between the two, we already know the outcome so the build up here is not doing a great job at making me anticipate the next episode. Then we cut to Honoka’s final in battle board.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 9

Now Honoka has had some great moments in this spin-off series. Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has really allowed this timid girl to have some shining sequences and honestly she’s had the most character development of any of the cast across the nine episodes. Therefore, this match should have been one that naturally drew us in.

I’m not entirely sure why it didn’t given we had a solid rivalry between the two characters, some solid magical shenanigans on the water, but it all felt a little by the numbers.

Still, I did really enjoy the first half of this episode and the second half works well enough even if it isn’t quite as moving. I’ll look forward to Shizuku’s match against Miyuki because maybe they’ll really manage to show-case the best of those two characters the way they did with Eimi and Shiori this week.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

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Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei – A spin-off focusing more on the group than a main character

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei - Article
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

I’ve been covering Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei (or The Honor Student at Magic High School) episodically this season and while I will probably have a few things to say about it in my review, mostly it has been an enjoyable enough experience. However, while watching it, one thing has become fairly clear to me, and that is that despite all the write-ups that described this story as a retelling from Miyuki’s point of view, I really should have paid attention to the added on information that MAL gave which is, “and the other female characters“.

That’s actually fairly important because while we are spending more time with Miyuki than we did in the original anime (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei) we’re actually spending far more time with the supporting cast including Honoka, Shizuku and Eimi.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 4 - Eimi, Shizuku and Honoka

At first I thought this was a little bit strange but then I started thinking about other spin-off series that have taken much the same approach and lost the focus on a main character to instead flesh out a supporting cast and taking on a more slice-of-life (and usually cute girls doing cute things) approach and I realised there’s probably a solid marketing reason behind this kind of decision making.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei isn’t the first to take an ensemble approach.

The obvious comparison for me came when I was watching Honoka, Shizuku and Eimi playing detective and getting in over their heads in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei to the cast of A Certain Scientific Railgun.

Airing in 2010 and being a spin-off to A Certain Magical Index, Railgun more or less ditched protagonist Kamijou from the original and Index is almost a no-show, as the focus shifts to Misaka Mikoto (the Railgun herself) and her friends including a number of characters that quite regularly get in over their heads because they aren’t protagonists but do hang around with them and somehow get involved in extreme situations involving terrorists, conspiracies, and end of the world scenarios.


The formulaic approach to building a cast of bubbly female girls with powers works and in Railgun many would argue (including me) that it far surpassed the enjoyment of the original series. Giving us the world we loved, some of the key events from the original plot, but also providing us with fresh situations and scenarios ranging from the deadly serious to the absolutely frivolous. More than that, Railgun got the balance of cute girls being cute with the more serious action sequences just right.

While Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei hasn’t had quite the magic of Railgun, its cast is surprisingly enjoyable. While Shizuku and Honoka were present in Irregular, they were definitely not in the inner circle as they are Miyuki’s friends and not necessarily Tatsuya’s. By shifting the focus away from Tatsuya, we essentially shed a lot of the characters from the series that were in his class, cutting down the large cast, and giving the girls around Miyuki much more screen time.

Honour Ep2 2

And honestly, they are pretty fun characters.

Where they haven’t quite managed to hold their own is that they’ve not been given a huge amount to do. Even when playing ‘detective’ Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei didn’t really give them any new material to uncover or their own plots to explore and so we constantly end up back at events we’ve already seen and know these characters don’t necessarily play a pivotal role in. Railgun managed to find new challenges in amongst the ones we’d seen to provide the characters with a bit more scope.

Still, seeing Eimi saving Honoka and Shizuku from club recruitment by riding her horse into a crowd or watching the girls rally together in defence of Tatsuya, or even just their preparations for events as we see them behind the scenes confronting their own insecurities, has been pretty fun. With a bit more effort on the plot side this mix of characters could have definitely surpassed the original series.

Honour Ep4 7

Equally, because of the characters we’ve shed from the original, now that we’re at the Nine Schools Competition, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has been able to build up one of the rival schools and the characters the girls are competing against. They are no longer just the faceless opponent to be overcome or represented entirely by the one male character Tatsuya will end up facing off against, but now they’ve become real people with their hopes and dreams of competing and winning the competition.

It would have been awesome if the story had slowed down a bit more and given us time to really get to know these characters and watch them prepare for the competition and interact with the cast we know a bit more, but we continue to race through the events, I guess in an effort to wrap this arc up by the end of the season. Again, in principle, the new characters could be great, but the execution hasn’t really allowed them to spread their wings and win over the audience.

Honour Ep6 9

But, if we want to think about why Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei took this approach at all, I guess we just need to compare the promotional images of the two series and think about which audiences the two shows are targeting. Also telling that the ‘action’ tag has been removed from Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Just look at the girls’ school uniforms. While there are one or two females who do hand-to-hand combat in the series, most of the girls are more stand back and use ranged magical attack types so the focus of the spin-off was never going to be action.

It’s an almost identical trend to the changes from A Certain Magical Index to A Certain Scientific Railgun in terms of the promotional image, though Railgun didn’t lose its action tag because the girls in Railgun are just as likely to get involved in a fight as the boys.

There’s some definite positives to this approach to spin-offs. It does allow characters who were more in the background a chance to come into their own and shine, and when done well this can enhance the world-building of the original series as well as help craft a solid individual identity for the spin-off show. Equally, you can expand the audience beyond the original series by appealing to a slightly different demographic.

The key consideration is whether you’ve done it well and whether the spin-off does stand on its own as a solid piece of entertainment.

I’m still not completely convinced that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei has managed it, though the approach it took wasn’t wrong. Hopefully by the end of the series it will have found its groove because there’s certainly enough potential in the cast.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

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Karandi James